Category Archives for Outdoor Gardening

How To Deal With Bacterial Blight Of Cotton Rice And Cassava

Most of us never think where the food that lands on our tables come from. We enjoy the rices, various other starches, beans and and even the garments that we wear daily. We don’t think about where the cotton that makes the shirt we’re absolutely in love with starts out. All we know is that the end product is necessary for us to live our lives in one way or another.

There is so much time and effort that goes into planting and harvesting crops like rice, cassava and even cotton. It’s labour intensive and a long process. Farming is a multi layered activity. It all starts out with planting the crops, cultivating them and finally harvesting them. In between all those processes, things can go wrong. One of the most devastating ways is leaf blight.

If you’re not a farmer, you can’t rightly be expected to know what leaf blight is and how it may affect someone's livelihood. It’s a common enough problem that much information can be found on it, but I’ll try to condense for you and give the bullet points. We’re going to look at how it affects the most prominent crops the world over, rice, cassava and cotton. We’ll look at;

  • What is bacterial leaf blight and what causes it?
  • How does it present in rice, cotton and cassava?
  • How is different or similar in other plants?
  • What does blight mean for a season of crops and how is it treated?
  • Can you prevent the disease from occurring and what is the most effective?

What Is Bacterial Leaf Blight And What Causes It?

a condition that all plants can suffer

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Bacterial Leaf Blight is a condition that all plants can suffer. It’s caused by a virus known as Xanthomonas oryzae. The mechanics of how it happens are multi-layered and there is no real way to avoid it, but it can be controlled and reversed. Without getting too technical about it, it’s a form of plant disease that is not only waterborne, once it has infected your crops it then also becomes seedborne and you end up planting already blighted crops.

Some of the crops that are the most high risk for bacterial leaf blight are cotton and cassava, but most especially rice because of the way the disease is transmitted more easily through water. Although we will be talking about all these of plants, it’s more easily illustrative at first to look at rice to get an idea of the path of the disease.

disease is introduced to plants
  • The disease is introduced to plants through natural openings such as growth cracks on roots
  • The water pores that take water to different parts of the plants.
  • If the plant already has rot spots or leaf wounds, it will use these openings as well.
  • It will then grow, infecting the plants veins and causing a blockage of the the xylem. The xylem is one of two systems of a plant that takes water throughout the plant.
  • Once this is blocked the plant won’t be able to get the water that it needs to sustain it and will become dry, damaged and will eventually wilt and die.

When rice is harvested, stems, roots and even seeds are left behind. Because the bacteria lives on dead plants, it will move through the rice paddy in the waters in its irrigation system, storms and other rainwater. It can also ooze out of any opening in the plant, including the lesions the disease creates and be carried to other nearby plants on the wind.

Now you may be asking yourself where does this disease come from though? It doesn’t just float up out of the ether, no. The bacteria usually starts and is incubated in wild grasses, or any grass, before it’s transmitted on the wind to nearby crops. Because of this it’s very hard to predict when or where leaf blight will occur, although some regions like asia are more prone.

How Does It Present in Crops?

The Disease shows up differently in the specific plants it affects. In some crops it’s more easily spotted than in others.

Bacterial Leaf Blight In Cassava.

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Cassava bacterial blight shows up on the leaves of the plant as;

  • Water soaked spots that can appear anywhere from green to blue.
  • Once the spot starts to rot, they will then look brown.
  • They will be transparent when held up to the light.
  • Sometimes the spots will be circled by green rings of chlorophyll.

Once the leaves turn transparent they become easily dissolvable in water, so that even a light dew will destroy the leaves. When dried they’ll resemble something of a thin scale like entity. Only very rarely does the blight make it to the roots of the plant, but when it does it will make them very dry and brittle, crumbling to the touch.

Additionally the leaves of the plant will turn from a healthy green to a yellowish green within a day or two, gradually shedding. The leaves will look almost as if they’ve been burnt. In high humidity environments, the spread is accelerated and plants will die faster because the humidity will cause it to spread to roots, stems and other areas it wouldn’t in a drier environ.

Bacterial Blight In Cotton.

the  most common ways to blight

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One of the most common ways to blight on crops is through water soaked spots, or lesions. It’s no different for bacterial blight of cotton. You’ll first notice the disease creep into your crops through the appearance of these slightly angular looking, light to dark brown spots. They’ll usually be surrounded by a circle as well, just in this case yellow rather than green.

The blight can spread to the leaf veins. These will look like tiny lightning bolts, the stem and root of the plant may be affected as well causing significant damage. In the most extreme cases it also extends to the boll of cotton inside, presenting as water soaked depressions. This often results in unintentional defoliation that leads to a significant loss of crops.

Unfortunately cotton blight is perhaps the most difficult to salvage once the it has started. Mainly because the infection starts in the seed plant and lives on the fuzzy hairs that coat the seed. Blight can start in the middle of the crop life cycle or as little as fourteen days before the harvest cycle begins. This unpredictability is what leads to crop death.

Bacterial Blight In Rice.

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Perhaps the most well known well documented forms, is that of bacterial blight of rice. This is likely because rice is such a well known commodity that is consumed all over the world by so many people.

Like the previous types of blight we discussed, bacterial blight of rice attacks the leafy parts of the plant. It then moves on to the stalks, seeds and roots. Because rice cultivation is so very heavily dependent on water, the blight spreading in this instance is almost a certainty. When this happens entire crop yields are often lost.

So what does the blight look like in rice? Rice blight, like cotton blight most often starts in the seedling stage, although wind and water can transfer the virus to already healthy plants. So unknown to you, it may already be present at the start of your planting cycle without you even knowing it. You’ll know you have rice blight if;

  • Your seedlings start to turn a greyish-green colour.
  • They’ll start to roll up on themselves.
  • Leaves will start to turn yellow and have a straw-like look as the disease progresses.
  • At the later stage, there will be water soaked spot on the leaves of the plant
  • These spots will turn a yellowish-brown eventually causing the entire leaf to turn yellow, wither and die.
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How Is Bacterial Blight Different in Other Plants?

slightly different in all plants

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The blight will be slightly different in all plants. The virus that attacks the plants, Xanthomonas, alters its genetic structure slightly depending on the plant that it’s affecting so that it will be more effective. So for instance, Xanthomonas axonopodis, or Citrus Canker causes leaves and fruit to drop prematurely. Entire groves are likely to be destroyed in an effort to halt the disease.

Unlike rice, cassava or cotton, citrus canker often spells death for an entire crop of citrus fruits. Likewise Late Blight, a disease that affects tomatoes and potatoes late during their planting cycle often causes loss of crops because it’s a particularly strong strain. It also has spores that can spread to nearby plants ruining those as well.

All of these diseases present similarly and you can usually tell that they are blighted because of the water soaked brown, grey or yellow spots on the leaves and fruit of the plant.

What Does Blight Mean For A Season Of Crops And How Is It Treated?

infection can spread

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Just because your crops have become blighted, doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to a whole season of planting and raising. While for some forms of blight this may indeed be the case, for crops such as rice, cassava and cotton if caught early enough it can be reversed or salvaged. You may not get a whole crop yield from planting, but you’ll have saved something.

Treating Blight In Cassava.

This is perhaps the most easy type of blight to treat and manage, because cassava is not generally cultivated in a humidity and moisture rich environment. This cuts down on just how fast and far the infection can spread. Since the disease rarely spreads to the root of the plant there are many way to minimise spreading and to save the crops already planted.

Before planting;

  • The first thing to do is choose the cuttings that you’ll be planting carefully by inspecting for signs of blight. If you’re unable to do this, use a source that you trust when you obtain your cuttings.
  • If using cuttings from an old planting or plants that are already in ground, choose the parts of the plant that are the oldest and growing at least one metre above the planting soil.
  • Don’t plant close, next to or downwind of an infected crop as the wind may carry disease organisms to the new plantings on the rain.
  • Do not plant in the same areas every season. The planting site should be rotated and one site should only be used within a one to two year span.

During growth if notice signs of blight;

  • If only a relative few plants seem to be infected, cut those plants out and leave the rest.
  • Be sure to do this only when plants have not yet been watered or you risk spreading the disease to uninfected plants via the water.
  • Thoroughly clean all tools used to remove infected cuttings so as not to spread the disease to uninfected plants.

After Harvesting;

  • Burn or bury all infected stems that you’ve collected during the harvesting process.

Treating Blight In Cotton.

Because of how blight in cotton usually presents which is first on the seedling, there really are only a few ways that it can be treated, and they all start with making sure that the seedling being prepared for planting is pathogen free.

particular strain of the the virus

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One of the few ways that seems to have worked well in the last few years has been a switch to heavily resistant varieties of cotton. A few other solutions that have emerged are;

  • Soil rotation. Because this particular strain of the the virus can not exist outside of soil with crop residue, it’s relatively easy to ensure that crop blight doesn’t carry over to the next planting season.
  • Harvesting a field as soon as blight is detected even if it’s before the start of the harvest season.
  • Use seeds that have been delinted. Delinted seeds have had the hairy parts of the their seed covering removed leaving a smooth seed.
  • Delinting, particularly acid delinting cuts down on the the chance of pathogens such as blight or boll worms being on the seeds that you plant. It also reduces seed rate which leads to more vigorously resisting crops.

Treating Bight in Rice.

This is an easier form of blight to treat, mostly due to there is so much data in regards to treating different types and symptoms because we’ve been doing for such a long time. There are now some blight resistant forms of rice as well, which have become a game changer. But for the non-resistant forms, there are some steps that can be taken;

treating different types and symptoms

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  • This goes without saying, but making sure that you’re using pathogen free plantings is the first step in avoiding blight.
  • Using a good balance of rich nutrients, while avoiding excess nitrogen.
  • Ensuring that water irrigation and drainage channels are clean and clear.
  • Keep fields clean by removing weeds, ratoons and unwanted seedlings.
  • Plow under stubble and seedlings.
  • Allow fallow fields to completely dry to minimise the risk of disease surviving and transferring to flowering fields.
  • Try to use disease resistant varieties of rice when possible.
  • Introduce a targeted solution before damage to help induce resistance in varieties that are not naturally resistant.

These are all things that you can do before and during the initial phase of planting and flowering. Most prevention is done through the planting of disease resistant varieties as well as application of specific chemical solutions to help boost the resistance of plant to blight

Can You prevent The disease From Occurring And What Is Most Effective?

Unfortunately blight is not something can be wholly prevented. There is no foolproof method outside of diseases resistant varieties of ensuring that whatever we plant remains blight free. As much as we may try to control the environments in which we plant, we have no control over the weather. One seedling is all it will take to wreak havoc on an entire seasons worth of planting.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take all the preventions that we can and watch carefully for the first signs of blight. We’ve already spoken of some of the best ways to prevent blight. But those are just stemming a potential problem. The only real way to ensure crop survival alongside your preventatives is to plant disease resistant varieties of your crops.

I hope that this discussion on bacterial leaf blight has given you a better understanding of how the disease works from start to finish. How to spot the first signs of the disease and how to prevent it before it starts or how to reverse if at all possible. Now that we’ve learned all of this together today, as don’t hesitate to pass along your newfound knowledge to a friend.

BONUS VIDEO:

Raised Garden Beds Benefits: 13 Reasons Why You Need One

Have you ever thought about planting a raised garden bed in your backyard?

Have you always heard about raised garden beds but had no idea what they really were or what they could offer in terms of better gardening experiences?

Are you looking for a way to improve your gardening situation and get tons of great benefits from it, too?

If you’re considering putting together a raised garden bed in your backyard, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, you’ll learn a crash course in what these raised beds really are and how they differ from traditional gardening. From there, you’ll be introduced to thirteen of the most common raised garden beds benefits you can expect from embarking on this fun endeavor.

Gardening means different things to different people, and when you’re planning to start a gardening project, you may have some set goals in mind that you hope to accomplish. With the help of raised beds, you’ll be able to achieve everything you’ve planned for your garden and so much more.

So if you’re still wondering about the advantage of raised garden beds, let’s get started!

What is a Raised Garden Bed?

Generally speaking, a raised garden bed is exactly what it sounds like: a bed that is used for growing plants and is raised up off the ground by some means. However, there are many different variations among the types of raised beds available, and you might want to choose one style over another for best results in your own yard.

advantage of raised garden beds

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Most raised garden beds are made of wood with an insert made of mesh or sometimes even plastic sheeting, depending on the drainage needs of your plants. However, garden beds can also be made of wood with aluminum-reinforced corners, recycled plastic, composite wood, and steel, among other materials. Some people have even had success repurposing old tractor tires to create country-style raised garden beds that work fairly well, too.

Generally, raised beds sit a little bit off the ground, but you can also choose elevated raised beds for even easier access to your plants. Even if you have a concrete area you want to turn into a raised garden, you can install beds that are deep enough to hold plenty of soil and water regardless of what’s underneath them. As you can see, there are enough options to help you set up the perfect raised garden no matter what kind of space you have to work with.

1. Keep Weeds Away

Raised garden beds are able to keep weeds away from your plants much more easily than traditional gardening methods. When your plants sit directly in the yard, they’re much more prone to growing weeds that may spread from nearby walkways as well as from any neighboring wild growth that might be in the area.

raised garden beds benefits

Even if you live in a community, your neighbors may have a weed problem that could spread to your yard as well. It’s hard to avoid weeds in your garden regardless of where you’re located, and this could be something you’ve struggled with time and time again in the past.

In fact, it’s one reason that many potential gardeners give for wanting to give up on the hobby altogether!

However, when you have a raised garden bed, you don’t have to worry about the presence of weeds nearly as much. Although it’s impossible to completely remove weeds from an outdoor garden, you won’t see them occurring too often in a raised bed.

When you do, they’ll be much more noticeable and easy to remove as well, and there will be much less of a risk of larger root systems being left behind upon their removal.

2. Better Drainage

Your plants are able to drain much more easily when you use a raised garden bed. When plants are planted in the ground, they are at the mercy of whatever type of soil you have in your backyard. Even if you add nutrients to the soil, this usually doesn’t do much in terms of improving the drainage.

However, when you use a raised garden bed, you can plant your flowers and vegetables in the perfect type of soil to suit their drainage needs.

If you’re trying to grow cactus plants, for example, you may find that they need a much different variety of soil than vegetables might. You can have two separate garden beds and take care of both of these needs easily at the same time.

garden beds benefit

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Also, since your plants are grown in a raised environment, the water can drain from beneath them into the ground below. If you are positioning your plants in your backyard, you don’t really have to worry about it very much after that.

However, if you’re setting them up on a concrete slab, you’ll need to think about how best to drain off the excess water that may seep out onto the concrete. Some people add small irrigation ditches in their concrete slabs for this purpose, while others position the beds close enough to the edge of the concrete to allow for maximum drainage.

3. Better Quality Soil

You can generally start a raised garden bed with much better quality soil than you’d find in your ground out in the yard. The dirt in your backyard may be fine for growing grass and wildflowers, but it’s probably not balanced for vegetable and flower growth.

raised garden bed

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Digging up your yard means you’re going to be stuck with whatever you can get in terms of soil quality. Although you’ll be able to remove rocks and weeds yourself and you may be able to treat your soil to improve its pH and add nutrients, you still won’t have the benefit of a full composition of high-quality soil when you choose this option.

On the other hand, when you use a raised garden bed, you can fill it with the type of soil you think is best for your plants’ needs. You’ll be able to choose the right mix and add any other ingredients you think they need for the perfect growing conditions.

And if you’re growing vegetables, the end result will be much healthier and more flavorful, too!

4. Easier Pest Care

It’s much easier to maintain pest control in a raised garden bed than it is to do so in the whole yard. Plants that are grown in the backyard without the benefit of raised garden beds are susceptible to anything that might be crawling around on the ground.

Pests that live in the dirt can reach your plants much more easily in this situation too, and in no time, you may end up with a major pest issue that you never even considered while you were preparing for your yard garden.

maintain your pest controls

In a raised bed, however, you’ll be able to maintain your pest control much more easily. You can tend to your plants as needed and check them regularly for the presence of insects and other types of pests.

And you won’t likely find nearly as many, either; if you use good-quality soil, the pests will be much less likely to find their way to your plants, especially if you also use a natural or organic pesticide.

Spraying your raised garden beds with pesticides is easier than doing so in a traditional garden, too. It’s also easier to contain the pesticides to the garden itself with a raised bed, rather than risking them seeping into your soil or reaching other parts of your yard.

5. Better Aeration

Although you might not have thought of it before, your plants need good aeration to thrive, too. Certain plants will feel completely choked in no time if they don’t have a good amount of aeration.

This goes hand-in-hand with soil quality and drainage as well as weed control, but it’s just another added bonus of using a raised garden bed. In a raised garden bed, your plants can be spaced out evenly for maximum aeration, and you never have to worry about other plants or weeds getting in the way.

Planting in the ground doesn’t provide the same benefit, and it sometimes may cause your plants to become choked and to die out very quickly. Better aeration means more delicate plants like flowers and some herbs will be much happier, and you’ll see a greater return on your crop as well.

6. Easier Temperature Control

You can keep up with the temperature of your plants in garden beds a bit more easily than you can when growing them directly in your backyard.

Digging up your backyard and planting your vegetables and flowers directly in the ground means you’re at the mercy of the ground temperature all year long. If there’s an early frost or spring gets started later in any given year, you’ll just have to work around it or risk losing the plants you’ve been growing.

However, since raised garden beds keep the soil up off the ground, the plants will stay warmer all year long than they would otherwise. This means you’ll be able to plant earlier and harvest later than you would with traditional gardening.

It’s also much easier to install hooks for tarps and other coverings that can be used to keep frost from your plants in a raised bed, as well.

temperature for plants

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7. Easier to Reach

If you have trouble bending over, sitting on your knees for a long time, or have any other mobility challenges, a raised garden bed can make it much easier for you to tend to your plants every day. These beds are already higher than the ground itself, so they can be reached by anyone who is capable of bending some or kneeling.

However, if you have a lot of mobility issues and still want to garden, an elevated raised garden bed can help you do just that. With an elevated garden bed, you can reach your plants whether you are able to bend or kneel at all or not.

an elevated raised garden bed

You can even reach them from a wheelchair in many situations, as well as from a chair positioned next to the garden bed. For anyone looking to get involved with a garden despite some physical limitations, this is a great opportunity.

And for anyone who doesn’t have a mobility issue but would still like an easier gardening experience, these elevated garden beds are widely available and can be easily constructed, too.

8. Time to Move

Since you’re growing your plants in a raised bed instead of in the backyard, you can pick up and move with them a lot more easily without having to leave anything behind.

Of course, you’ll still have to tear them down to some degree unless you have farm equipment you can use to transport them from one place to another, but even so, if you’re careful about it, you’ll be able to take your plants and your boxes both with you when you move to a new home.

When gardening with a traditional backyard garden, you simply don’t have the luxury of being able to do this.

plant boxes around

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There’s another great reason why the ability to move your plant boxes around can be a benefit too: temperature and shade. If your boxes are mobile enough that you and another person can pick them up and move them a few times throughout the year, you’ll be better able to position them around your yard in areas where they can get the perfect amount of sunlight every day, regardless of the time of year.

This may seem like a hassle if you have more than a couple garden beds, but if you just have a few it can help you increase the life and longevity of your plants by quite a lot.

9. Neat and Tidy

It’s easier to keep your plants looking tidy when you grow them in raised garden boxes. Although the tidiness of your backyard may not be at the top of your priority list, it’s still probably on there somewhere and it bears mentioning.

raised garden boxes

Growing your plants in a traditional backyard garden can lead to dirt getting tracked everywhere through them when you work on them every day or so. It can also mean that dirt will get tracked back into your house when you’re finished working on your garden.

However, when your plants are grown in raised garden beds, you won’t be dealing with nearly as much dirt on a regular gardening basis as you would be otherwise. There’s less mess for you to worry about, and if any dirt gets knocked out of the beds, it will just blend into your backyard and won’t be a problem.

Keep your plants separated and free from unsightly growths and weeds can also be much easier when they’re a little bit closer to your line of sight than they would be in a traditional garden, too.

10. Dog-Free Zone

If you have trouble with your dog digging up your plants, try making slightly higher raised beds than you otherwise would. This is another great place where elevated garden beds for people with mobility challenges may be useful, but you don’t necessarily have to go that high, depending on the size of your dog.

raised bed

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If you have a small or medium dog, then a slightly raised bed is sure to do the trick to keep your furry friend out of your plants.

However, if the problem is your neighbor’s dog or maybe a different kind of wild animal that’s digging in your garden, you might want to think about sticking to the taller elevated garden beds instead. This way, mammals that might want to get into your plants will be much less inclined to go to the trouble to reach them.

You may still have to worry about deer eating your vegetables if you live in a very rural place, and you might have to be concerned about rodents depending on what you’re growing. However, a taller raised bed can go a long way toward ensuring that your plants are protected from many intruders.

As an added bonus, your dog won’t be able to relieve himself on the vegetables you plan to eat later on, either!

11. Less Contamination

If you have a problem with soil contamination in your area, a raised garden bed is crucial, especially when you’re growing vegetables.

Unfortunately, in many areas across the country and around the world, the soil in the backyards of many communities is full of contaminants that come from nearby factories, mining locations, and even from the chemicals used in cleaning homes and washing cars around the neighborhood.

In many places, this is such a bad problem that the groundwater in these areas becomes polluted as well, which leads to even more potential trouble with the plants you want to grow.

groundwater contamination

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This is especially bad if you want to grow vegetables you’ll be eating later one. If your soil and groundwater are contaminated, then it stands to reason that your plants will become contaminated, too.

Sometimes, this isn’t significant enough to cause a lot of harm when you eat your vegetables, but in some instances, it can be.

With raised garden beds, you can choose the soil you’ll be using, which means you don’t have to worry about contaminants getting into your vegetables. The only things that will go into your plants are the growing ingredients you choose to use on them.

This means that the better the choices you make for your growing medium, the better off you and your plants both will be!

12. Easier Watering

Watering your whole garden can be a challenge on a good day, but with a raised bed it doesn’t have to be. If you have a larger garden, you may have trouble getting it evenly watered with the use of your garden hose or even with sprinklers.

whole garden watering

And uneven gardening means you’re wasting money and water both on places that might not need it, all while other places that need more attention are losing out. This is a common problem in bigger gardens, but it may even happen in smaller ones too, depending on your growing tendencies.

With a raised garden bed, you don’t have to worry about nearly as many watering issues.

Although you’ll still need to pay attention to watering correctly, when you can see your plants and their soil much more easily in a raised garden bed, you’ll be able to tell which ones are getting the water they need and which ones may need a little bit more attention.

If you’re using sprinklers, you can still set them up to work with your raised bed, although this will take a little extra DIY work in the long run. You might also choose to use time-release waterers for your plants in garden beds, but take care not to under or over water them if you do.

13. Fun DIY Project

It can be exciting to work on building your raised garden beds and putting them together yourself or with friends and family members. Gardening itself is a nice hobby that can become a way of life for some people, but if you’re looking for even more of a creative outlet, building your own raised garden beds and setting up your backyard to accommodate them can be a truly exciting endeavor.

Whether you’re handy with tools or not, there are a lot of methods of building raised beds out there that may work for you, even if you don’t have a lot of experience or skill level with these types of projects. And if you need a little extra help, it can also be fun to talk to your friends or family about pitching in, too.

building raised beds method

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Just remember that it is a little bit costly to put together these garden beds on your own, so make sure you set aside plenty of money in your budget to totally cover your project. It can also take a while to complete the task, and you may need more than a single free weekend to do it.

Once again, this mostly depends on the type of garden bed you choose to put together. For example, the repurposed tractor tire variety can be accomplished much more quickly than a steel or wooden box can be.

Conclusion

Growing your raised garden bed can give you tons of incredible benefits, some of which you may not ever have thought possible before. Whether you plan to grow herbs, flowers or vegetables in your garden beds, going this route instead of sticking to traditional backyard gardening can make a huge difference in the gardening experience you have.

Of course, there are some downsides to raised garden beds, too. As with anything, there are a few cons to go along with the pros. We’ve listed three of the most common negative aspects of raised bed gardening below:

raised garden beds
  • It’s more expensive than traditional gardening. With traditional gardening, you can buy tools and seeds and just go dig up the yard and plant everything. You may have to factor in the cost of soil treatments, depending on where you live, but that’s about it. With raised bed gardening, you’ll need to buy tools and seeds as well as soil and the materials to make the box, too.

    You can purchase premade raised garden bed boxes, but they tend to cost more than it would potentially cost to set this up on your own.
  • You may need a lot of help building your beds. If you aren’t buying premade raised garden beds, then you probably won’t be able to complete the building project on your own. This is at least a two-person job, but depending on the scope of your project, you may need even more help than that. If you don’t know a lot of people where you live or can’t seem to coordinate enough help, then raised gardening may not be right for you.
  • It may take a lot of planning, trial and error to get it right. With a traditional garden, you can usually just plant everything and keep it watered to see how it goes. You may make changes here and there throughout the process, but for the most part, it’s pretty straightforward. With raised gardening, you’ll have to plan out the amount of space in your yard devoted to the beds first. Then you’ll need to section off each bed to give every plant enough room to grow.
  • If you make mistakes with this planning at first, you may have to sacrifice some of your plants to give the others room to grow freely. It can be tough learning how much space to devote to each individual plant when gardening in raised beds.

If you’re willing to work around the negative aspects of raised gardening, however, you can get so much more return from this great project than you may even realize. In no time, you’ll have beautiful flowers, fresh herbs, or tasty vegetables just waiting for you to enjoy them as part of your daily life.

BONUS VIDEO:

How To Turn Your Garden Soil Into The Best Soil For Growing Vegetables

Do you want to grow a garden in your backyard?

Do you have terrible quality soil that’s full of rocks, sand, or clay?

Do you feel as if there’s no way anything is going to grow well in your yard, no matter how hard you try?

Don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know in a crash course on garden soil quality. We’ll be focusing on vegetable gardening, so if you’re trying to grow something tasty in your yard, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to improve your soil’s quality and get it ready for new plants in no time.

By the time you get through reading, you’ll know how to determine the best soil for vegetables as well as how to tell what type of soil you have to work with. You’ll know how to alter the texture and quality of your own soil, and you’ll even learn how to perform a simple test that can tell you a lot about your garden.

There’s a lot to learn about soil, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

5 Soil Factors to Look For

When you’re trying to choose the right kind of soil for any type of garden, there are always important factors you need to keep in mind. The best soil for a vegetable garden may differ from the right choice for flowers or other types of plants, but no matter what you’re trying to grow, the standards you should be looking for will remain the same across the board. Below is a quick list of the 5 soil factors you need to keep in mind when you’re considering whether or not your yard’s soil is ready for a healthy vegetable garden.

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1. Good nutrient supply—but not too good.

Nutrients present in the soil are very important to the healthy and thriving growth of your plants, but if there are too many nutrients present, this can actually be detrimental to your vegetables. It’s the same as over-fertilizing a crop—too many nutrients will make the pH balance of the soil incorrect for plant growth and may damage the roots or inhibit the plant’s ability to soak up water.

2. Plenty of beneficial living organisms.

Living organisms in the soil help plants grow correctly. This is a normal part of nature, and so it’s important to be sure there are enough organisms present in the soil to keep your plants growing strong and naturally. This is even true of natural plant pests, to a point. However, you don’t want to choose soil that’s swarming with pests, either.

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3. Good drainage.

If you plant your vegetables in soil that doesn’t drain very well, you’re not going to have vegetables for very long. A lack of good drainage in the soil keeps your plants from growing well, and eventually, it will even rot the roots of the plants and cause them to die quickly. This is the same as over-watering a plant in a pot that’s kept indoors.

4. Good depth.

You want to choose soil that’s deep enough to contain the roots of the plants you’ll be growing. Some plants have larger and deeper roots than others, so this depends largely on the type of plant you’ll be growing. Carrots, for example, are a root vegetable and will need a much deeper depth than plants that grow on vines, like cucumbers.

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5. Good soil texture.

Soil texture is the proportion by weight of silt, clay, and sand in a soil sample. The texture of a soil helps decide how good that soil will be at holding and draining water, how firm it will be for root growth, and how well it will help your plants thrive. The best soil for growing vegetables will have a soil texture that supports the healthy growth of those vegetables.

Which Soil Texture is Best for Vegetables?

The basic answer to this question is that it depends on the plant—but with that said, there are some standards that tend to remain the same no matter what type of plant you want to grow. For one more obvious example, you probably know plants aren’t going to grow very well if their soil is made up almost entirely of pebbles! Below are a few tips to help you better understand the right type of soil for your garden.

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  • Most plants prefer loamy soil, which means the balance between sand, silt, and clay is balanced in a given soil sample. Many plants also thrive in a loamy soil that’s slightly on the sandy side.
  • Too much of any of these aspects of soil will cause your plants to have to adapt if they want to keep growing.
  • If your plant must adapt to suit a different type of soil, you may end up with either stunted growth or very stringy plants that aren’t strong. The vegetables they produce may not be rich and healthy, and they may not have a lot of flavor.
  • When all else fails, opt for loamy soil!

Step-by-Step Soil Texture Tests

There are a few different ways you can try checking the soil texture in your yard at home. The method you choose largely depends on what you have available or what you can easily pick up to help you complete the process. Although it might sound like a complicated matter, testing the texture of your soil isn’t too difficult. It’s also a very important step in the process of creating the best soil for veggie garden use.

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Below are the steps to testing your soil texture using one of the most popular at-home methods.

1. Use a shovel to remove the grass and top couple of inches of soil from the ground.

2. Dig out a straight hole a little over 6” deep.

3. Use your shovel to wedge straight down in the hole and then slice off a piece of the soil.

4. Take any noticeable twigs, grass, roots, or rocks out of the soil sample.

5. Place the soil sample in a glass jar. You can use a mason jar for this, but you may also use an old food jar as long as you rinse it out and dry it well first. Fill the jar about 1/3 with soil.

6. Fill the jar the rest of the way with water.

7. Add one teaspoon of dish detergent.

8. Close the jar tightly and shake it well for a few minutes. You want the soil to be floating in the water very well before you stop shaking the jar.

9. Set the jar on a flat surface where it can be undisturbed for a few days. Watch it carefully for 1 minute.

10. After 1 minute has passed, use a marker to mark the level at which the sand settles after 1 minute.

11. Check back in 1 day and you will see that more sediment has settled in the jar. Mark this line, too. This shows you where the silt level is.

12. On the second day, you’ll be able to mark a third and final line that shows you the clay sediment level in your soil sample.

13. Measure the depths of each level after 2 days. Divide the depth of each layer by the total depth of soil in the jar. Multiply that result by 100.

14. The resulting percentage you get will tell you what type of soil texture you have.

How to Prepare the Soil for Your Vegetable Garden

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Organic vegetable garden soil preparation doesn’t have to be as difficult or complicated as it sounds! Remember that soil texture is your number one concern when choosing the right type of soil for your garden, but that there are other factors you need to keep in mind as well. In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take in order to set up the perfect soil for your vegetable garden from day one. Although it may seem like a little bit of extra effort, it will be well worth, it in the end, to enjoy healthy, delicious vegetables straight from your own backyard!

Tools Needed

best soil for vegetables
  • Trowel
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Gardening gloves
  • High-quality fertilizer
  • Compost (optional)
  • Wheelbarrow for soil transportation (optional)

Steps

1. The first step is to aerate and loosen the soil in your garden. This is important because it will make it much easier for your plant’s roots to take hold and grow as needed for maximum plant health.

2. Use your shovel to remove the grass and top couple of inches from the soil.

3. As you’re doing this, stop periodically to remove any noticeable rocks, pebbles, grass, twigs, and roots that might be in the way. Pay special attention to the root systems of any weeds that might be present in your soil. Removing them now will be a big help later on!

4. Still using your shovel, turn over the soil repeatedly until it’s been thoroughly mixed up. Basically, you want to move the soil around rather than letting it just stay packed into place. This will allow more even aeration throughout.

5. If you notice a lot of worms in your soil, that’s a good sign and means it’s very healthy! However, be mindful of an abundance of plant pests that may also be present in the soil.

6. This is the point at which you’ll want to fertilize or compost your garden. Spread a good-quality fertilizer, compost, or both evenly throughout the tilled soil. Fertilizer packaging should give you specific directions for how much to use per area.

7. This is also the point at which you may add something to improve the texture and quality of your soil. In the following section, we’ll talk more in detail about this optional step.

8. Use your rake to even out the soil and make it very smooth. Be sure it’s raised enough that you can easily plant seeds in this garden and you won’t have to dig down any further to find a good place to plant.

9. All that’s left from this step forward is to actually plant your garden!

How to Improve Your Soil Quality

While the section above may give you all the information you need to get started if your soil quality is already good, what happens if you have a poor quality soil in your backyard? Unfortunately, many people live in places where the soil is far too sandy or too full of clay to support the healthy growth of plants. But even so, these people often make backyard gardens work beautifully by incorporating soil amendments into their garden space. In this section, we’ll give you a few tips on how to choose the best soil addition and how to add it to your garden before you plant your first seed.

best soil for a vegetable garden
  • First and foremost, never remove the native soil altogether. Even if your soil is low in quality, it still has beneficial native nutrients that you don’t want to remove completely. You’re not trying to get rid of it, but just to add ingredients to it to make it better for your plants.
  • Peat moss is usually not a great option for garden beds. While there is a place for peat moss, it usually belongs in potted plants that specifically require that type of soil to thrive. For the most part, when planting your backyard, it’s best to stay away from this soil.
  • Compost, sugar amendments and mulch are all very beneficial ways to improve the quality of your soil.
  • Compost is a great way to fertilize your vegetables. Make it yourself at home, or you can purchase a good-quality premade compost from most garden stores. If there are farms in your area, they may be willing to sell you some composting and fertilizer materials at a discount.
  • Mineral additives, such as a product called azomite, can help improve your soil as well. These premade mixtures contain a combination of many different minerals and nutrients that can benefit your plants and, later on down the line, may even benefit you when you eat the vegetables they produce.
  • Some gardeners use terra cane, which is a sugary substance that adds a great deal of carbon to the soil. This is good for two reasons: it increases the presence of good living organisms in your soil and chases away pests such as fire ants. Since sandy soil and fire ants often go hand in hand, this can be crucial to your garden’s health.
  • Finally, a high-quality fertilizer can be an important addition to your garden as well. Although it won’t change the texture of your soil, it will improve the nutrients present in any soil that’s lacking significantly. You should only need to fertilize once or twice a year in most instances. Remember that too much fertilizer will be bad for your soil and your plants.
  • When using the other amendments listed here, take care to stick to the directions listed on the packages. Each brand has its own specific requirements for the amount of soil additive per area.
  • When you’ve spread out soil amendments, be sure to use your shovel to mix them well into your soil. Don’t leave them just sitting on top of the soil, or they’ll quickly be blown away by the wind or washed away by the rain.

Is the Raised Bed Process Different?

Raised vegetable garden soil preparation may differ somewhat from the preparation process of planting directly in the earth, but for the most part, the steps should remain the same. In this section, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the similarities and differences between the two processes. Just remember that, no matter which option you choose to go with, you’ll need to keep the texture of your soil in mind at all times and consider amendments that can improve the overall quality of your soil as well.

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  • Just like with backyard ground gardening, you’ll want to use at least some of your native soil in the raised garden bed process. The amount you use will depend on how much space you need to fill with dirt and how readily available this soil may be. Remember, however, that native soil is always beneficial when you’re growing plants in your own climate, so it pays to use it when possible.
  • Once again, as with in-the-ground gardening, you’ll want to add amendments to your soil to improve the quality. Use compost and fertilizer in a raised garden bed the same way you would use these products on the ground. Twice a year should do it in most situations.
  • If you’re using a special blend of gardening soil for part of your planting material, the other amendments you need to add may differ from those you’ll want to consider for ground gardening. While a little compost may go a long way, grass clippings, cornmeal, lava sand, and straw are all popular additions to the raised garden bed as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to test the texture of your raised garden bed soil before you get started if you’re concerned about it. Just because your garden is in a box doesn’t mean it won’t have many of the same requirements as it would in the ground!
  • In some instances, you may need to consider adding living organisms to your soil or even introducing a small amount of natural pest life, depending on the type of soil you choose for your raised garden bed. If you’re using at least some native soil, however, this likely won’t be a problem.
  • Compost and mulch your raised garden bed soil for the winter. Not only will this keep your plants’ roots warmer during the colder part of the year, but also it will give your soil something to nourish it throughout the season, too. This way, by the time spring planting rolls around, your raised garden bed will be ready and waiting for a new crop of healthy, fresh veggies!

Conclusion

Okay, so you’ve learned a lot about how to take care of the soil in your garden. You know how to understand soil texture and even how to get a pretty accurate measurement of yours without ever having to send off a soil sample to a laboratory. You even know what the results of that sample mean and how they can affect your planting.

Not to mention, you’ve learned a little bit about preparing your backyard for planting and using soil amendments to improve the quality of your soil, whether you’re planting in the ground or using a raised garden bed. All in all, you’ve learned a great deal about garden soil, especially in relation to growing vegetables in your backyard.

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But why would you want to go to all this trouble? Now that you’ve read through this, doesn’t it seem like it all might be a lot more effort than it’s really worth?

Absolutely not! There are plenty of good reasons why you should be concerned with the quality of your soil from day one, as soon as you decide it’s time to plant a vegetable garden. Choosing the right soil will mean your plants grow more quickly, which in turn means you’ll be able to harvest more vegetables from them throughout the year.

The right soil choices will also make your vegetables grow larger, healthier, and more flavorful, too. Your plants will be more durable and able to withstand inclement weather that may come your way, and all in all, you’ll save money not having to replace your vegetable crops when they die off too quickly or become easily damaged.

Although it may cost a little more money up front to prepare your garden soil to these specifications, in the long run, you simply can’t afford not to. So grab a shovel and some compost and get ready to put together the perfect backyard garden from the soil up!

BONUS VIDEO:

Your Quick Start Guide For Growing Herbs For Profit

Have you ever wished there could be some way for you to make money growing the plants you love in your own home?

Do you live in a small space or in a city where having a large garden or even a farm are out of the question?

Are you looking for a way to combine your love of gardening with a desire to make a small profit at the same time?

If so, growing herbs for profit may be the perfect opportunity for you!

While some of the most successful herb gardeners have a lot of space to devote to the task, it’s still very possible for a home grower to see a good return when growing herbs to sell. There are a lot of things to keep in mind if you’re going to try this, however, and in this article, we’ll introduce you to all the best beginner information you need to learn how and get started on the path to growing herbs as a crop.

If you only have indoor space to devote to growing your herb plant options, don’t worry! We’ve got plenty of information here to help you learn all about this fun and exciting journey, no matter what amount of space you might have to work with.

Now, let’s get started!

Is it Possible to Grow Herbs for Profit?

The short answer to this question is yes! However, there’s a lot you need to keep in mind when you’re thinking about growing herbs for profit. In this section, you’ll learn about the general idea of selling the herbs you grow yourself, and you’ll find out about some of the issues you may encounter when you try to do this on a larger scale. Read through our tips and you’re sure to see how easy this can really be as long as you’re willing to put forth some effort!

selling the herbs
  • Growing healthy herbs that have a good flavor and high production rates should be your number one concern. It’s important to learn all the individual requirements of the types of herbs you plan to grow and to adapt those requirements to your own yard, home, or garden.
  • If you have space, you may want to consider growing herb plants to sell as well to harvest from. Many local home gardeners and growers are likely to want to purchase their own started plants to grow, and if your plants are high-quality, they’ll be likely to buy them from you.
  • Marketing is important and should always go hand-in-hand with education. You can sell your plants in a lot of different places (which we will discuss further on in this article), but no matter where you plan to sell, make sure you have all the information your customers might want ready to give to them. Make cards with growing tips or give out free recipes that can showcase the tastes of your herbs. These are both great ways to keep customers coming back again and again.
  • Combining good growing practices with a varied product list, informative help for your customers, and solid marketing is the best strategy for selling your herbs at a profit.

10 Best Herbs for a Growing Business

While you can certainly try your hand at growing and selling just about any type of herb, there are a few that are sure to do even better when it comes time to find a market for them. In this section, we’ll list the top 10 best herbs for an herb-growing business, especially for a beginner. You’ll be able to choose the ones you want to focus on and decide which options might be best for your target audience.

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1. Lavender

This is a popular herb that smells amazing. People like to use it in cooking, in making their own tea blends, and even just in decorating. Consider making small sachets of lavender for use as a potpourri.

2. Peppermint

This is a very popular fresh herb as well, especially when it gets closer to the holidays. Peppermint is great when crushed in tea or water, but it also tastes nice when used fresh in a lot of desserts. You can also include it in any fragrant sachets you might make as well.

3. Lemongrass

This herb may not grow well in every climate, but if you live somewhere that lemongrass can thrive, it’s becoming a very good option for selling at farmer’s markets. It’s considered a more exotic herb, so many people are excited to try cooking with it for the first time, while others who are used to cooking with it enjoy finding it freshly grown.

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4. Rosemary

Rosemary remains widely used in a lot of different recipes. It smells very fragrant and can be a great addition to sachets, too. This is a popular herb to sell as a started plant for other home growers.

5. Chamomile

Those who make their own tea blends are quite fond of chamomile, but there’s also a good market for this herb for those who may be looking for home stomachache remedies. Chamomile is very calming and soothing, so selling it as an herbal remedy is a good option.

6. Catnip

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Pet lovers are usually very happy to buy small treats for their furry friends at the farmer’s market. Growing your own catnip is very easy and can be a surprisingly profitable part of selling herbs you’ve grown yourself. Make sure to market it in bags that appeal to pet lovers, too—and never sell it along with other herbs in the same bag (to prevent potential toxicity for pets).

7. Parsley

Lots of home cooks and restaurant chefs alike cook often with parsley. Offering both dried and fresh parsley is a great way to reach out to a large market very quickly.

8. Basil

Basil is largely considered the most popular herb for cooking with. It remains the best-selling herb at farmer’s markets, and many restaurant chefs are interested in buying this herb in bulk as well. You can sell it both dried and fresh for the best possible results.

9. Chives

If you grow your own chives, you’ll probably want to use them in your own cooking, too! Chives have a lovely smell and taste great in a lot of culinary situations. They are very easy to grow, hardy, and popular among potential customers around the country. They are also good options to sell as started plants, too.

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10. Cilantro

Last but not least, the very fragrant and tasty cilantro is another good herb to try selling. While dried cilantro isn’t really a good culinary ingredient, fresh cilantro tastes great in all sorts of recipes as well as on top of garden salads. Make sure to let your customers know this when they’re interested in buying!

Materials Needed to Get Started

You’ll need to make sure you’ve got all the right materials to get started growing your herbs before you ever begin the process. If you try to start without everything ready to go, you may feel like the challenge is impossible to overcome—and it might very well be! Ensuring that you have all the possible items you might need on hand before you begin is a great way to set yourself on the path to success with growing your herbs.

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  • Space to grow: Whether your space is indoors, outside, or on a patio or lanai, you’ll need room to grow your herbs. Make sure you have a dedicated spot for them where they can get a good amount of light and are safe from pets or children who might want to bother them inside.
  • The right containers: Growing herbs in containers requires containers that can drain efficiently. If you put your plants in a non-draining container, the roots will rot quickly.
  • A note about organics: If you want to sell your crop as an organic product, in some states, it must be grown on certified organic farmland only. It may be better for a home gardener to refrain from using the word “organic” in marketing.
  • Growing medium: Herbs do better in a growing medium blend instead of in plain soil. Choose one that has peat moss in the mix for best results.
  • pH testing your soil: If you’re growing in the ground, pick up a soil testing kit and check the pH of your dirt. You’re looking for a pH of around 7.0, give or take a bit. If your soil isn’t close to this, consider building a raised garden bed instead.
  • Watering can or garden hose: A must-have for any plant growing!
  • Shade: Your plants need about 6 hours of direct sunlight but require much more indirect light to thrive. Purchasing a shade for outdoor growing plants can be a great way to help them get just what they need.
  • Seeds: Of course you’ll need seeds! Purchase several of your favorite herbs to get started.
  • Previously started plants: For selling purposes, it’s always best to start with seeds and grow plants yourself rather than beginning from a cutting.
  • Spade and shovel: More must-haves for plant growing!
  • Organic liquid fertilizer: Take care not to over-fertilize your herbs. However, a small amount of liquid fertilizer can work wonders for them.
  • Mulch: In the winter, if you’re growing herbs outside, you’ll want to spread a few inches of mulch to protect the roots from frost.
  • Herb scissors: You’ll need these to cut from your herb plants.
  • Twine: If you want to tie your herbs together for drying, you’ll need twine.
  • Space to dry: Herbs must be tied together and hung upside-down in the midmorning to dry in the sun. They need to be in a partially shaded place that won’t reach temperatures of over 70 degrees.
  • Airtight containers for dried herbs: Once herbs have dried, they must be stored until they are used or sold.

How to Plant and Harvest Herbs

Learning how to plant and harvest your herbs is one of the most important steps in the herb selling process. Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide for how to plant and harvest your herbs for maximum success.

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  • Choose your containers before you get started. Even if you’ll be growing your herbs outside, you need to start your seeds in containers indoors to be sure they’re growing healthy and strong before you transplant them.
  • Seed trays and peat moss pots are the best options for starting herbs indoors. You can move them to different containers when they get a little bigger.
  • Fill each container with a quality growing mix and moisten with water.
  • Place seeds on top of the growing mix and move just a small amount of potting mix over the top. Do not push the seeds down into the soil. They don’t need to be deeply buried.
  • Put your containers in a window that gets a good amount of sunlight and stays around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees.
  • In one to two months, you can transplant seeds outside or to larger pots. For larger pots, simply fill with potting mix and move the plant into the new container.
  • To transplant outside, first be sure to wait until the frost has finished for the year. Water plants 2 hours before you will be moving them.
  • Wait until evening to transplant herbs so they will not be burned by the sunlight. Spend the day preparing your garden beds for their new residents.
  • Gently loosen the herbs from their growing containers and place them in small holes dug in the growing beds with a spade.
  • Use the spade to lightly pack down the soil around the plants. Water them again.
  • Keep your plants fertilized and watered until time to harvest.
  • Different types of plants have different harvesting requirements.
  • If you are harvesting herb leaves, snip them with scissors in the morning and cut them off before the plant has a chance to flower.
  • If you are harvesting herb flowers, snip them with scissors before the flower opens.
  • If you are harvesting herb seed pods, wait for the seed pods to change color, then remove them with scissors.
  • Dig up root herbs at the beginning of fall.
  • Stop harvesting your herbs by mid-autumn so they will be able to prepare for winter.

Pricing Herbs

It’s impossible to give one hard and fast rule for pricing herbs (or any crop) to sell because there are a lot of different factors that may make a difference in your asking price. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about the price you’ll ask for your herbs.

  • Don’t sell yourself short. Always keep a good record of how much money you’ve spent on supplies, seeds, packaging, and even your water bill increase for watering your crops. Also, if you’re really trying to make a profit, don’t forget to factor in the cost of your own labor plus a little extra.
  • Don’t be afraid to look around and see what herbs are selling for in your area. Check out the local grocery stores and plan to sell for a little less than those if possible. If there are competitor small herb farmers in your area, try to keep your prices around theirs—otherwise, you’ll risk making enemies unnecessarily!
  • Sell by the ounce or by two-ounce bundles or bags to get started. If you have customers who are willing to buy in bulk, don’t be afraid to cut them a deal. However, most individual buyers will want to buy in smaller bundles so they can use their herbs before they go bad, so always try to cater to these customers.

Where to Sell Herbs

Learning how to market your herbs is important, but understanding where you can and should try to sell them is equally so. Different herb gardeners have better results in some places than others, and it pays to try several different options to figure out which area is best for you and your herbs. Below is a list of some of the most popular routes herb growers tend to try when figuring out where to sell their products.

market your herbs

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Farmer’s Markets

This is probably one of the best places for most growers to sell their herbs. Farmer’s markets are available in many places, and even smaller towns have started having them as well as larger cities. If you’ll be selling herbs at a farmer’s market, consider the cost of setting up a booth and don’t forget to think about the amount of time it will take to sell once a week.

  • Sell herbs for cooking as well as for natural remedies for colds, sore throats and more. This way, you’ll be able to reach a wider market with the same types of products.
  • Don’t forget to set up an attractive booth! Don’t set up at a farmer’s market until you have enough product to keep your table from looking empty.

Local restaurants

Talk to local restaurant owners and see if they’re interested in purchasing fresh herbs in bulk for cooking. Depending on where you live, they might never have been approached by an herb gardener in the area before. If you live in a large city with a lot of home growers, however, it may be a little more competitive to go this route, so be ready with attractive marketing and with good prices, too.

  • Some chefs may be interested in growing herbs themselves, so don’t forget to offer to sell started plants in this situation.

Pet stores

Catnip is very easy to grow, and many pet owners will be happy to purchase it from you. Talk to locally-owned pet stores about selling sachets of your highest-quality catnip to their loyal customers. And don’t forget about this at your farmer’s market booth, too!

Online

While selling online is certainly an option, when it comes to herb growing, it should not be the first one you try. This type of selling and marketing can bring its own set of challenges and costs, and you may want to have an established local clientele before you ever try selling online.

  • If you will be selling online, you might want to look for forums or other sites dedicated to selling home-grown produce before you make your own website.
  • If you want to sell from your own website, you’ll need to research marketing to ensure that it goes well.

7 Tips for Herb Care

Learning what works well for your own herbs can be a lot of trial and error, but there are a few good tips to keep in mind no matter what. Whether you’re growing outdoors in the ground, in raised garden beds, on a patio or inside the house, these tips are a great way to be sure your herbs are getting all the right care to keep them thriving and growing well for many years to come.

1. Watering depends on a lot of factors.

the right amount of water

You’ll need to think about the type of plant you’re growing, the type of soil you’re using, and even the material of the container you may be growing your plants in to determine the right amount of water. Herbs do best when their soil is saturated with water, but be sure not to water them until they’re soggy or sitting for too long in pooling water, either.

2. Don’t use manure without first composting it.

Manure is a great fertilizer, but should always be composted first. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading disease and bacteria to your herbs, which could then spread to the food they are used to cook. This could be very bad for you and your customers both.

3. Prune your herb plants frequently.

pinch off flowers

Herbs will grow more fully if they are pruned regularly. Make sure to cut off any pieces that look as though they’ve gotten too out of hand, and cut off any flowers that have opened as well. Try to prune about once a week.

4. Pinch off flowers if you want more leaves.

Herbs will grow leaves before they grow flowers, so if you’re interested in the leaves, pinch off flowers as soon as they start to form. This will encourage more leaf growth overall.

5. Dig up and divide herbs in the early part of spring.

This is a great way to propagate your plants and grow more herbs in the coming years, and it’s also a good way to get plant starts to sell to your potential customers, too. Herbs are very easy to divide as long as you take care not to break the roots and stems.

6. Mulch herbs grown outdoors about 4 inches deep to prepare for winter.

covering your plants

Herb roots are very susceptible to frost, so making sure they’re well buried under a lot of mulch is a good way to keep them from freezing.

7. If it gets below freezing for a long time, plan to bring herbs indoors for the winter.

Even a lot of mulch and covering your plants won’t keep them from freezing eventually if you live in a very cold climate. If this is the case, you’ll need to bring your plants indoors or at least onto a covered patio during the coldest part of the year. If you do this, take care to carefully dig up and pot your herbs for indoor growth.

Conclusion

As you’ve probably figured out, there’s a lot of information to keep in mind when you want to start growing herbs for profit. This is a task that might not be for everyone, and if you don’t have the right setting for your herb growing venture or don’t have the time it might take to devote to improving your crop, there’s always a chance this won’t work out for you. However, many home gardeners have seen a lot of great results from growing and selling their own crops for profit, and with the right amount of work, you’ll be able to as well!

Keep in mind that your individual setup and space will affect the amount of return you’ll be able to see from your herb growing venture. Obviously, if you have a large yard to devote to your herb crops, you’ll be able to see a larger return. However, if you’re willing to do the marketing it takes to get your name out there, you’ll be able to make a profit no matter how big or small your herb garden might be.

When you feel like you’ve got a well-established local clientele, you might want to think about expanding the reach of your herb crops, as well. However, if you prefer to keep things to local sales only, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a good amount of success from selling to your general area.

While a lot of the herb gardening process has to do with your own personal preferences and abilities, the information above should be more than enough to help you get started. Good luck, and happy herb growing!

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