Garden Preparation « Archive

Posted on 03 February 2012 by

Practicing Feng Shui in the Vegetable Garden

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

As an avid reader, I have lately been looking into books that deal with personal development and came upon a concept called feng shui.

This concept has its roots buried deep in the Chinese belief system of balance or chi.

Since this belief is over 300 years old; I felt there might be something to it.

So this year, I am going to design my vegetable garden utilizing the feng shui principles.

What I liked about this concept was that nature was looked at as a whole living organism that is full of energy or chi. To have harmony and prosperity in ones environment, these forces need to be balanced.

To balance these forces, one must first Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 27 January 2012 by

Learn about Your Soil-Part II Soil Test

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was asked if I test my soil and my reply was yes and no.

I have not had the traditional, chemical analysis of my soil for many years.

One reason is the biggest excuse and that is I do not have the time.

The other reason is that the recommendations I receive are based on an acre and while I would like to have an acre size garden I do not.

Also, these recommendations are based on a monoculture garden design.

Since I do not farm on an acre nor garden in a monoculture style, I have to guess and reduce any fertilizer recommendations. But being a scientist, aggie, environmentalist and many other things, I decided to do another soil test this fall. But before jumping on the bandwagon, one must first plan it out.

Planning to take a soil test is Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 15 March 2011 by

Planning the Garden the Virtual Way

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Computers are a great tool and many people wonder how we functioned without them.

They can add, subtract, talk to us, and even help us plan our dream home or in this case our dream garden.

How they do this is a secret of numerous databases and magic supplied by gardening gnomes.

Regardless of the mechanics, designing a garden using a computer is a smart approach even for the seasoned gardener.

First, designing a garden virtually verses on graph paper helps the gardener avoid those silly mistakes before the soil is disturbed. It saves time and improves the success rate of the beginning gardener. Most programs provide a plant database where information can be found. This information includes plant zones, soil, sunlight, and moisture requirements along with possible pest problems.

If the gardener is reluctant to design their own garden, many of the programs have Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 17 February 2011 by

DIY Indoor Hot House


By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

A hot house is a great tool that any gardener can benefit from but not everyone has the money or the land required to build one.

A simple hot house can be designed to fit on a windowsill or shelf with no problem.

The concept of a hot house is that it is heated “building” that utilizes solar radiation.

Reflective materials compound this radiation through the use of stone, barrels painted black and filled with water or a combination of many different technologies. Below is a list of supplies that are needed for one hot house but I promise once you make one you will want to make more.


Posted on 07 January 2011 by

Spring Tonic for the Gardener’s Elbow & Soilless Mix

soilless-mixBy Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

This time of year my mind starts wondering around the planting table and my garden elbow begins to ache with an uncontrollable desire to start planting my seeds.

I have dealt with this ailment for many years not only in my professional life but also in personal life.

The only cure for this “gardener’s disease” is to get one’s hands into soil immediately.

But in the calendar on the wall says it’s too soon so what to do.

The solution that gives me some relief from my gardening elbow and planting itch is to start making the soil I plan to use for to start my seeds in. This soil is easy to make and provides the most delicate seeds with a good growing medium to take their first breath on and lay down their first roots.

This soil medium is considered a soilless mix and requires the ingredients below. It keeps well in a sealed container until needed.

Soilless Mix for Seeds

  • 2 bushels horticultural perlite vermiculite, calcined clay or humus
  • 2 bushels of coarse sphagnum peat moss or shredded pine bark Read the rest of this entry »
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