Technically, worm farming is called as vermiculture or vermicomposting. It is a tremendous way to minimize food waste generated in your kitchen. This kitchen waste, which is organic in nature, is the source of food for the worms present in the soil. The organic waste is used by the worms as food. They decompose it into nutrient rich material. As this decomposing is carried out in the soil, the nutritious material made by the worms is readily available for the plant growth in your vegetable garden.
How Worm Farming is Beneficial?
Worm farming or Vermicompost plays a vital role in improving soil texture, structure and aeration. It also adds strength to the soil in terms of increasing water-holding capacity of the soil. The vegetables you grow will develop a deep and strong root system that is beneficial to fight diseases and sustain under harsh conditions.
The output of worms which is also called as wormpoop or worm castings is perfect to generate top soil in vegetable gardening. On the other hand, the fluid produced in the process of vermicomposting is used as fertilizer. The excess fluid can be stored in a bottle for later use. Similarly, vermicomposting also adds valuable microorganisms to the soil. The advantage of these microorganisms is that they, along with the soil fauna, aid in breaking organic materials and convert nutrients into a more readily available food form for the plants
Another benefit of worm farming is that, you can use your organic kitchen waste in vermiculture instead of going to throw or landfill it.
Sorry for a long gap. I was busy in cleaning up my vegetable garden and preparing it for winters. My preference for winter is to cultivate underground veggies like Turnip, Radish, Garlic, Sugar Beet and Beet Root. I have prepared the raised beds now with added compost. However, keeping in view the vegetable gardening calendar, there is plenty of time left in winters for my Cucumbers to give me some more organic and fresh fruits. I have been growing Cucumber for the last 7 years and believe me they are so easy to grow and require less care. So today, I am going to write on how to grow Cucumbers in your vegetable garden?
Without Cucumber, I feel my kitchen garden empty. Usually, I use my own seeds, saved from last year harvest. An advantage of having Cucumber in vegetable garden is that, they occupy less ground and vines can be propagated in any way you want. Vegetable garden looks greenish and soothing to eyes and its fruit gives you a fine style of health and happiness with a condition that you are using compost not the synthetic fertilizer. A Cucumber plant adds yellow flowers and curling tendrils to your vegetable garden.
Climatic and Soil Condition Required for Cucumbers
There are two types of Cucumber; the Bush Cucumbers and Vining Cucumber. I prefer Vining ones for vegetable gardens because of the foliage and less ground occupation plus the growth is fast and fruits are abundant than Bush variety.
Cucumber is usually warm season vegetable and thrives well when ground temperature is around 60 to 70 F. The soil pH should be around 7. A fertile soil is the chief demand by a Cucumber plant. Use compost for adding desired nutrients. You may also use aged manure for this purpose.
Sowing the Cucumber
For vegetable garden sowing, plant the seeds 1 inch deep in soil. The distance for Bush variety should be 30-60 inches and at least 1 foot distance should be maintained in case of Vine Cucumbers. For transplants, they should be sown 2 inches deep while distance should be same as mentioned earlier
The soil requirement is moist and well drainage should be characteristic of the soil. Soggy soil is the enemy of your Cucumber plant. A soil, mixed with compost results in healthy and fast growth in vegetable garden.
Managing the Vines
A trellis is the best option for allowing the vines to climb especially when the space is an issue. Trellising is preferred to safeguard the fruit from damage from lying on the damp ground.
In many countries of the world especially that are in Northern Hemisphere, the autumn season hits the ground as you turned your calendar to September 1st. The countries like United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, and Pakistan for example start witnessing autumn in September.The daylight gets shorter and night is cooler. Now for me, it is the time to start preparing kitchen garden for winters. In fact, it is the time for every dirt lover involved in urban gardening to start preparing garden for winters.
You are now aware that today’s article will be highlighting some tips to safeguard your kitchen garden from freezing winters to have a healthy and fresh soil for spring cultivation. Preparing kitchen garden for winters is necessary because, you may postpone or challenge winter for a while by covering the vegetables or herbs in urban garden with a sheet, but you cannot force your plants from going into hibernation or halt due to chilling temperature and declining light. Plus, it is a good time to start collecting the ripened veggies or fruits and start cleaning the soil of your kitchen garden.
If you have sown carrots, turnip, sugar beet, beet root, reddish, garlic or leeks, leave them inside the soil to harvest in early winters. But make sure of putting mark for identification and mulch on them to protect ground from thawing so that you can pull them out in snow.
Here are five tips that you should follow in urban gardening while preparing garden for winters.
1. Cleaning the Garden Beds
Cleaning should be prioritized at first while preparing kitchen garden for winters. A messy garden is common by the end of the growing season. Do not panic. Just divide your time by selecting one bed or a particular patch in kitchen garden daily. Make sure there are no rotting fruits or veggies left in the garden as several pests and light blight can overwinter on them. It is wise to put any leftover fruits or veggies in your composting bin. After cleaning, put an inch or 2 inch layer of compost and mulch on the soil beds. This will help soil from freezing completely.
2.Testing Your Soil
By the end of the current season, your urban garden has feed you enough. Now it is time to check the health of soil. A good idea about soil health can be deduced by test of soil. Level of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur and magnesium can be estimated. Organic matter content and soil pH is also checked through a soil test. This test will also aid you in deciding about the amount of lime and fertilizer needed for your soil. Adding lime is always beneficial especially in winters, where it has sufficient time to mix with the soil and adjust soil pH.
3.Kitchen Garden Expansion
This is my top advice to every dirt lover. Winter is the best time to expand your kitchen garden. You can do this in many ways. One of these is adding few new raised beds or even following the modern day urban gardening technique of adding square foot gardens above the grass. That is why, many online stores, nurseries and plant stores sell packed organic garden soil during the fall. You should add compost as you prepare your new patch of kitchen garden. In this manner, not only your goal of preparing kitchen garden for winters fulfill but you will also have access to healthy, fresh and expanded space for gardening in early spring.
4. Collect Leaves
Winter season is truly a gold mine for kitchen gardeners and those who prepare their own compost. Collect leaves as much as you can. Put them in your composting bin. The fall brown leaves are rich in carbon thus are important in maintaining a good ratio of carbon-nitrogen in your compost bin. It is always best to hold these leaves with you if you are composting so that these can be added timely whenever nitrogen content of compost bin start accelerating. Another use of these leaves is to shred them and putting a layer of leaf mulch over the soil during winters. This will help in subdue weed growth, retaining of moisture and added nutrients as it decomposes in soil.
Tillage of kitchen garden soil is the last step in preparing kitchen garden for winters. Why? The reason is simple. There are many pests and harmful insects preparing themselves to hibernate in your urban garden soil to overwinter. Till of soil exposes them and reduce their population. This allows you to have a peaceful farming during upcoming spring and summer season.
As the world is witnessing increased urbanization, urban gardening is also getting common, new issues are arising daily related to kitchen or urban gardening, and people want solutions. This is because, kitchen gardening is different from open field practices. In open fields, the behavior of weather parameters is different and they impact the crops differently as compare to backyard gardens or urban garden systems.
Today I am going to write on a common question I am asked on my Facebook page (Arid Agriculture and Kitchen Gardening), through email and queries on my website that how to increase seed germination in kitchen garden? Germination of seed is a complex process. Even if you have top notch and branded store seeds, there are various other factors that hinder optimal germination. This includes the soil health (soil type, fertility, organic matter, pH, drainage etc.), the environmental conditions in your area, the farming practices you are following etc. These issues require a separate article to discuss in depth. The agenda of this article is to guide urban gardening lovers and amateurs with three simple and easy ways that will surely help them in achieving increased seed germination in kitchen garden.
First step in how to increase seed germination is the soaking the seeds before sowing. You can’t believe how a small duration of soaking the seeds in water can increase the germination rate of seeds. Soaking helps in softening the outer coating of the seed thus allowing easy germination. The water enters inside the seed, and elevates the process of germination after it is sown in the soil. Usually when you buy seeds, the information on it suggests soaking them in water. But how many of us follow that instruction? Even if it is not mentioned on the seed pack, water soaking is always beneficial. During winter season, soaked seeds harness more benefits. This is because, soaking seeds in water at room temperature (25oC-30oC) not only soften the coating but optimum temperature treatment is absorbed by the seed. So when you plant it in the soil even in the cold season, the germination rate improves. As far as soaking time is concerned, I recommend at-least two hours of soaking. However, an overnight soaking treatment will definitely increase seed germination in your kitchen garden.
Next step in how to increase seed germination is scarification. When I am in a hurry to sow seeds in my kitchen garden, I use the process of scarification. It is a process to damage the outer coat of the seed so that the entry of water get easier that will eventually aid in increase seed germination. For scarification purpose, I use various tools including nail file, sand paper, a triangular file and nail clippers. There are few experts that support using hot water treatment or even acid treatment to the seeds but I am against these. Hot water treatment can cause permanent damage to the germinal hormones of the seeds while acid treatment is harmful for your skin. So my recommendation, do not use these.
Now coming back to the tools I mentioned, they are pretty easy to use. For example, in case of sand paper, take two sand papers, and place the seeds between them. Rub the two sheets and your work is done. If there is large size seed, I use triangular file. For this, hold the file in one hand, and rub the seed on one edge. That’s it. Urban gardening is all about experimenting with new things, so you can use knife on your seeds especially the seeds that are of medium size.
Manure or Compost Application
Being a big proponent of organic farming especially in kitchen gardens, I give a delight of farmyard manure or compost to my vegetable seeds at the time of sowing. If you are sowing in containers, pots or even in a plot of your kitchen garden, mixing manure or compost in the soil increase the germination rate of seeds. What I generally practice is, if I am sowing my vegetables in an open plot of my kitchen garden, I use trowel for plowing the plot and soften the soil. Then I mix the farmyard manure or compost in the soil and sow the vegetable seeds. The reason is that adding manure or compost increases the moisture carrying capacity of soil and makes it easier for the seeds to break their coat. As the coat breaks, they have ready-made nutrients available that help in speeding the germination process. Even the weak ones can show good germination due to nutrients availability.
There are many other methods of increasing the seed germination in urban gardening system. However the above three are easy to understand and application is swift. An integrated approach of using all three or any two above methods will bring great results. Hope this article has solved the problem of how to increase seed germination in your kitchen garden. If you have another query, write in comments below. Don’t forget to share this article for betterment of everyone.
Happy growing and Cheers 🙂
Cite this Article in APA Style as:
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Rahman, M. A. (2017, August 23). How to Increase Seed Germination in your Kitchen Garden?[Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://aridagriculture.com/2017/08/23/how-to-increase-seed-germination-in-your-kitchen-garden/[/box]