how to grow mung bean sprouts cheap and easy

How to grow mung bean sprouts cheap and easy, growing mung bean sprouts in a container.

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 Introduction

mung bean flower in how to grow mung bean sprouts I was looking for a replacement of the candy and sweet stuff I was eating in the evening. Although mung beans have a totally different taste, I really like mung bean sprouts. They have a really good crunch and they taste delicious.

Mung bean sprouts should be much more healthy than candy and chocolate so I think it’s a good choice.

So I started looking for a cheap and easy way to grow mung bean sprouts and I found it.

medium or not?

mung beans in how to grow mung bean sproutsI had already experimented with sprouts but it seemed too much of a hassle cutting of the sprouts because they were growing in a medium.

That problem is now solved and it has a double upside, I don’t have to cut the sprouts to harvest them AND I get to eat more of the sprout because the root can be eaten as well.

How to grow mung bean sprouts without soil?

Take a plastic container without draining holes. Something like an ice cream container would do fine. Fill the bottom with mung beans. Use something measurable to be sure you have enough and not too many mung beans.

Make sure you measure only half of the quantity you want in the end. Mung beans tend to plump up due to the water uptake. The beans can double in size.

Submerged beans

Fill the container with water so the mung beans are submerged.

Let the mung beans soak in the water for about 12 to 24 hours. I personally let them soak for 24 hours.

Spread the beans out

how to grow mung bean sprouts sproutsAfter the above-mentioned period, take a plastic container with small holes in it. I drilled 3mm holes in my containers, that’s about 1/8th of an inch.

Now pour the whole content in the containers with small holes in it and let the water drain.

I personally make sure that the mung beans are spread evenly and they don’t sit on top of each other. It is possible though to layer them thicker.

Make it dark

Put some aluminum foil on top of the container so the sprouts can grow in total darkness.  It doesn’t have to be aluminum foil as long as it keeps the sprouts in total darkness. If the seeds get some light, they will turn green.

Water daily

From that moment on I just fill the container with water every morning and every evening and let the water drain out of the container immediately but slowly. I just let the holes do their work.

The beans are getting watered every morning and evening and in between, there are only the water droplets that stick to the beans for 12 hours at a time. Of course, the covering of the beans helps to keep the beans from drying out.

Put these containers in room temperature and repeat the process every morning and every evening for about 7 days. After 7 days of watering the beans, you have nice fresh mung bean sprouts.

Personally, I start up one container a day so I have mung beans every day and they are just delicious.

conclusion

By now, you should know how to grow mung bean sprouts without any soil.The system I explained is really easy and will result in fresh mung bean sprouts in 7 days when kept at room temperature. If you’re stil hesitant, feel free to contact me.

So this is it for this blog post, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share with friends and other gardeners.

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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.

how to take cuttings from rosemary easy?

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Introduction


rosemary in potRosemary is a herb, used for its smell and taste, as a medicine and as a landscaping plant in drier areas. Every garden should have at least one rosemary plant.


Propagating rosemary by seed can be quite disappointing because the seeds sometimes have difficulty to germinate. There is a possibility to find different kinds of rosemary in garden centers but taking the cuttings ourselves, has some advantages.

You can choose which plant you want cuttings from. It’s interesting for kids to see what happens.

It’s a lot cheaper than buying the plant.

flowering rosemary plant in how to take cuttings from rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis is an evergreen perennial. The topside of the leaves is green; the back side is between white and green. Some types of rosemary are more cold hardy than others. You can also find different kinds of smell and taste.

The flowers that normally show between May and summer are small and blue colored. I know of some cases where the flowering takes place in November.


Taking cuttings from rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or how to take cuttings from rosemary

Scroll down to see the updated version on youtube.

Rosemary is a very forgiving plant when it comes to taking cuttings.

We best take cuttings from the plant when the plant makes new growth.

When taking cuttings in autumn and winter, the cuttings will be more woody which slows down the process of making roots, so fungus has more chance to develop, thus killing the plant.
We just cut new growth at a length of about 10 cm or 4 inches, we peel off the leaves from the lowest half of the cutting and we put these cuttings in a container filled with neutral potting soil mixed with sand or special cutting soil.
We moisten the soil and let the pot sit in a small forgotten corner of the house.
It’s good to keep the soil moist but certainly not wet. The temperature should be around 20°Cor 68°F. Lower temps may slow down the rooting process again giving chance to fungus to develop.

rosemary cuttings Making the cuttings in summer gives a nice hot temperature without the need of heating maps or so.
The flowering period isn’t the best period to take cuttings but even during this period, we will have very few problems while taking and growing cuttings (we do have to remove the flowers and buds from the cuttings).

As professional growers often do, we can take larger cuttings and put them in water if there’s a big gap between the time we take the cuttings and the time we plant them. The larger cuttings can be shortened to have fresh cuttings while planting and the water keeps the cuttings healthy for a while. Sending cuttings around can be done with wet paper towels wrapped around the bottom half of the cuttings after the cuttings have had their leaves removed from the bottom half.

What do we need to take rosemary cuttings?

  •  Scissors.
  •  Deep container
  • A mother plant where we can take cuttings from (ask your friendly neighbor if necessary).
  • Special cutting soil or soil mixed up with sand.

    rosemary branchNow the cuttings are taken and planted, we have to wait. We can wait between three and eight weeks before the plants start to root.

Just leave the plants alone during this period. Touching the plants now can be devastating for the new roots.

As long as the cuttings stay green, it’s all ok.

If we want the plant itself to grow larger in a shorter amount of time, we can always plant the cuttings close to the side of the container. Once the roots touch the wall, the plant itself will start to grow.

update:

taking cuttings of rosemaryGrowing rosemary from cuttings can be as easy as putting the cuttings into a jar of water and wait until the roots show.
I experimented with rosemary cuttings where I removed the bottom leaves and put the plants in a small jar with about 2 to 3 centimeters of water, that’s about an inch of water.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the percentage of rooted plants was almost 100%.
So just put your cuttings in a sunny place in a jar filled with some water and you’re okay to go. Once the roots show, the plants can easily be transplanted into a pot with potting soil.

So this is it for this blog post, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share with friends and other gardeners.

If you want to get notified when I put on new articles or video’s, please subscribe to my newsletter on the right side of this page.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.

 

how to control cabbage root fly

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How to control cabbage root fly

Introduction

wilted plant due to cabbage fly larvae in how to control cabbage root fly
wilted plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, when I was pulling some weeds between my turnips and my cauliflower, I saw some limp cauliflower plants. Fortunately, I only found two plants that were in a bad condition. 

I pulled out the wilting plants and on both plants I found maggots. This was the job of the cabbage fly larva. This means I had to be concerned about my other brassica plants too. So I had to know how to control cabbage root fly.

The cabbage fly

cabbage in a row in how to control cabbage root flyThe cabbage fly larva feeds on the roots of brassica plants like cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts…
The fly itself doesn’t do any damage but the female lays her eggs near the stem of Brassica plants. When those eggs hatch, the problem is getting out of hand.
The maggots eat the smaller roots first – at this stage the plants can still be saved – and then start feeding of the main root, weakening the plant at first and killing it in the end.



How to get rid of the cabbage root fly?

So, how to get rid of the cabbage root fly and her larva’s.
Well, there are some ways to combat the cabbage fly larva. The different possibilities have to do with the size of the field and the danger of the products or materials.

The least dangerous option:

In garden centers or on the internet, you can find different products that can help you prevent the attack of the larva by taking away the opportunity for the fly to lay eggs near the plant.
The first one that comes to my mind, is the cabbage collar, this is a circular sheet of some kind of carpet. Or you can find biodegradable collars.
In the middle of the sheet is a hole which is cut through on one side right to the outside of the circle. This way the collar can be fitted around the stem of the plant. The sheets have a diameter of about 8 centimeters or 3,15 inches. This size is big enough to stop the cabbage fly larva of getting to the stem and roots of the plant.
The fly always tries to lay the eggs as close as possible to the stem. She’ll even climb down the hole made by the stem swaying in the wind. With the collar in place, the fly can’t lay eggs near the stem so if she lays eggs at the edge of the sheet, the larva will die before they reach the stem.

Insect mesh grow tunnels

A second way to fight the fly is the use of growth tunnels with insect mesh. I’ll buy some as soon as possible so I don’t have to use insecticides.
These tunnels are about 45 centimeters or 17,72 inches wide, 45 centimeters or 17,72 inches high and 3 meters or 9,84 feet long. The use of these tunnels is highly recommended if you like to garden ecologically, so without the use of pesticides. The tunnels can also be used for different kinds of plants ( for instance, carrot fields)

Insect mesh fence

A third system is being used on a professional basis but may also be suited to use in a private garden.
Due to the fact that cabbage flies fly on a very low level, there is the possibility to surround the brassica field with fences of insect mesh of about 1,8 meters or 5,91 feet high.
The top of the cage can be open but the fences have an outward flap in a hook of 45° which works as an eel pod, keeping the flies underneath the flap and with no way to reach the brassica field. Currently, this system is being tested in Belgium but the first success came from Canada. This system can be used for fields up to 2 hectares or 4,94 acres.

moderately dangerous option:

root damaged by cabbage fly larvae in how to control cabbage root fly
root damaged by the larva

I look at this suggestion as fairly dangerous because there is no immediate threat to humans and mammals but this product is highly toxic to insects and marine life. I’m talking about the product called “Conserve” containing the biological insecticide spinosad.

Spinosad is an insecticide which is composed of a mixture of chemical substances. These substances are the product of a fermentation process of the soil bacterium Saccharopolyspora Spinoza.
You can use the product diluted on the leaves or in the ground. When it’s used to attack insects above ground it has to be sprayed on the leaves. This can be detrimental to many good bugs in the garden (for instance the honeybees, bumblebees, parasitic wasps…)
For use against the cabbage root fly, the product has to be diluted with water (There is an explanation on the box on how to do this) The mixture has to be poured on the ground around the stem of the plant ( 100 ml per plant). The product seeps into the ground, killing the maggots.
Using the product the above way is not dangerous for the ‘good bugs’ which are flying around but it does kill a lot of creatures living in the soil. It’s not harmful to worms if used as explained on the box. But too much spinosad in the ground will kill the worms. This can not be said for the other insects and invertebrates living in the soil. These critters (for instance the springtails) will die in no time.

Really dangerous option:

This option concerns the use of chemical pesticides. Personally, I have no experience with chemical fertilizers nor do I have experience with chemical insecticides, so I will not be expanding on this option any further. I just want to you to keep in mind that chemical pesticides can also be harmful to humans and mammals.

Conclusion

So now we have some options and we know how to control cabbage root fly. The mechanical way of working (the tunnel or the fences) might be labor-intensive but I do think it’s a good way to avoid trouble while still cooperating with nature.
So this is it for this article on how to control cabbage root fly, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share with friends and other gardeners.

If you want to get notified when I put on new articles or video’s, please subscribe to my newsletter on the right side of this page.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.

How to make potting soil?

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How to make potting soil? Asked by a reader.

 

Introduction

how to make potting soil 1I know there are thousand different recipes and articles on how to make potting soil. Some are good, some could use something more.
While experimenting I came up with a potting soil I can use, and I am very happy with. I didn’t use any scientific information I just tested out different mixtures to come to my final conclusion and “perfect” mixture.

My potting soil mix

Let me give you a short explanation of how and what I use for my potting soil.
I tend to use a bucket as measuring cup (if you can call this a cup?)

Peat moss

First, I fill one bucket with peat moss, I fill up the bucket with water and let this soak for at least 20 hours.  
Peat moss is very acidic but tends to lose some acidity when soaked in water. Dry peat moss takes a lot of time to soak up water when it’s dry)

Soil

I also use one bucket of soil, this can be old potting soil I pile up outside. If I don’t have any leftover potting soil, I use regular soil. This soil is sterilized by means of a microwave oven to make sure no pathogens or viable weed seeds are in the soil. Reusing potting soil is something I have been doing for quite some time and for me, it works out really well.

Compost 

Next, I fill a bucket with compost.
In our city, we’re lucky we can buy compost in great quantities for a really small price. This compost is made using the hot composting method so pathogens and viable seeds aren’t a problem.
Update: Since then I make my own hot compost. If you want to know what it takes to make compost, click here.

Sand

I also use half a bucket of sand (sharp river sand) to make sure the potting soil drains well.
Above mentioned are the basic materials I use to make my potting soil.

Amendments

how to make potting soil 2Now to amend my potting soil, I use a hand of seaweed minerals (contains high amounts of calcium). I also amend with basalt meal (really small quantity, not even half a hand full. Last but not least, I amend with an organic fertilizer 6-3-12 NPK with some added magnesium. Because this fertilizer is slow release, there’s no danger the plants will get burned.
This whole mixture, I mix up in my wheelbarrow and I get my really good potting mix. If you want now, you can make the same potting mix as I do.

update:

In the meanwhile, I already changed my potting soil mixture. I tend to use a lot of organic matter in the form of compost and mulch and I don’t amend with fertilizer anymore. I make my own liquid fertilizer and I use mealworm frass as dry fertilizer. Of course, I also use about 10 to 20% of vermicompost to make the soil alive and healthy.

So this is it for this blog post on how to make potting soil. I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share with friends and other gardeners.

If you want to get notified when I put on new articles or video’s, please subscribe to my newsletter on the right side of this page.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.

What to do against powdery mildew?

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What to do against powdery mildew?

We have spotted an infection of powdery mildew on one of our cucumber plants.
powdery mildew
leaf infected with powdery mildew
Luckily we saw it early, so we still have time to control the damage.
Nevertheless, we want to conduct a small experiment with the infected plant. Reason for this experiment is rumors and some scientific tests that were conducted, using a mixture of water and cow milk. It is said that powdery mildew can be prevented and even stopped when already present by using this mixture of water and milk.
I don’t know if it’s fact or fiction because results tend to differ. We have started the experiment anyway because it could be a good solution for organic gardening. (We really don’t like chemicals in our garden and even biological treatments can be devastating for nature.)
So, we currently have one plant infected with powdery mildew. This is what we did: we made a mixture of water and milk 1:1 and we sprayed it all over the plant.
Although powdery mildew only starts on one side of the leaf, we sprayed both sides of the leaves and the stem (because the stem is infected too).
powdery mildew on stem
stem infected with powdery mildew

Symptoms of powdery mildew:

We started seeing small white spots on the upper side of the leaf. These spots grew larger until the whole top side of the leaf became grayish white. After a while, the infected leafs dry out and fall off the plant.
In case of powdery mildew, we really need to do something as quickly as possible. Under normal circumstances, we have to cut off the infected parts (don’t throw these on the compost pile because it will infect the whole pile) and spray the rest of the plants.
In our case, for the sake of the experiment, we didn’t cut the infected leaves but let them stay on the plant. Now we’re waiting to see if the infection will spread or not. If the mixture is effective, the powdery mildew will at least be blocked to spread further.
The problem we face at this moment is the fact that different sources tell different stories. For instance, the amount of milk and water varies from source to source.
Also, the time between treatments differs from source to source. Some sources tell to treat the plants every two weeks. Other sources say the plants have to be treated two times a week.
treating powdery mildew
spraying milk mixture
against powdery mildew
In this experiment, not knowing what to do precisely, we start with our mixture, as said before, on a ratio of 1 to 1. And we use the mixture two times a week.
So, after reading all the above mentioned, you know, we’ll be back soon with an update. I guess the success is up to the cow now.
sincerely,

fatsteve
update:

I have to be honest, the milk and water solution did stagnate the growth of the fungus but it didn’t eliminate the disease. I didn’t carry on with the test as the calculated price for the milk would be more expensive than pulling out the plant and sowing a new plant.

 

So this is it for this blog post, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share with friends and other gardeners.

If you want to get notified when I put on new articles or video’s, please subscribe to my newsletter on the right side of this page.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.