RAISED GARDEN BEDS

Garden beds are raised areas for planting and offers several advantages over row planting. They make excellent use of your available space, and are easy to plan and layout. They are also ideal for gardeners with mobility issues or who simply want to prevent wear and tear on their backs and joints.

Our Garden Commander product is designed to fit your raised bed garden perfectly. Always use them to protect your plants from deer and other critters that might want to eat your produce!

Raised beds are more productive than rows because the soil remains loose. You’re also able to correct soil imperfections such as poor drainage or the lack of certain nutrients. And since the plants are closer, the soil stays shaded and cool and weeds are less likely to develop. You can see why they are a popular choice for gardeners. There’s an initial investment of time and energy, but it pays off quickly.

Benefits of raised garden beds:

Provide better soil aeration. Can extend your growing season because the soil in a bed thaws faster than the soil in the ground.
They’re attractive and can be integrated into your existing landscaping.
They make it harder for pests to reach your plants.
You can make them portable by adding wire mesh to the bottom. Ideal for smaller beds with plants which require sunlight in varying degrees.
It’s easy to add a simple, drip irrigation system.

Here are just a few of the more popular types of garden beds:

Narrow Beds
Narrow garden beds are ideal because you can reach one half from either side. Four feet is a good width and you can make them as long as you like. This type of raised bed is the most common and the best for any gardener who has difficulty bending and reaching.

Broad beds
Broad garden beds are a bit like the traditional garden plot – a large square area which is planted with one or more types of vegetables. Donít make them too wide or it will be difficult to reach all the plants.

Vertical beds
Vertical garden beds have become increasingly popular because many people have limited space. They’re ideal for apartments or condominiums with patio or terrace areas. By gardening up, you’re able to maximize all your available space.

Should You Make or Buy Your Garden Beds?
It’s very simple to make a raised garden bed. Despite the fact that most garden beds have some sort of frame surrounding them, it is possible to create beds from mounds of dirt. However, a frame will allow you to build deeper beds, and prevents the soil from washing away. Framing it also creates a neater appearance which enhances the look of your garden.

Maintaining Your Raised Bed Garden
Work some organic matter, such as compost, into the beds each season. Use a shovel or fork or a rotary tiller if the bed is exceptionally large. If youíre practicing crop rotation, make sure to include your beds.
To prevent soil compaction, never walk on your beds.
Raised beds are space savers, and take less time to maintain. They also yield twice as many vegetables as traditional garden rows. Their convenience and ease of use make them the ideal choice for a backyard garden.

THE BEST CROPS TO GROW FOR FOOD STORAGE

One of the great pleasures in life is being able to produce your own food. Especially if you’re adopting a healthier lifestyle by making conscious decisions about what you eat. When you grow your own food, you know how it was grown and that’s its free of harmful chemicals and toxins.

Unfortunately, crops are seasonal so we can’t harvest most fruits and vegetables on a year-round basis. That’s why learning how to properly store certain foods will ensure that you have healthy, organic food available for you and your family, no matter what time of the year it is.
Here are some of the best crops to grow if you want to have enough to save for a rainy day:

Tomatoes

One of the most popular foods grown in North America, tomatoes are a staple in Italian, and Mexican cuisines, and is an ingredient in other popular dishes such as meatloaf, chili, and soups. There are several ways to preserve your tomatoes so that they will last. Canning is a popular method of preservation and tomatoes can be canned whole or turned into tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, or tomato paste. Properly canned tomatoes can keep for several years, although the flavor starts to decline after the first year.

Another popular option is to make sun-dried tomatoes. Simply cut your tomatoes into slices, place them on parchment paper in a tray, sprinkle salt over them, and pop the trays into an oven which as preheated at 150 degrees. Leave the oven door ajar, so the air can circulate. The tomatoes should be dry in 10-12 hours. Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or place in a jar of olive oil and store in the refrigerator up to a month.

Green Beans

Green beans are great addition to your garden because they can be used in a variety of ways. They are delicious in stir-fry dishes, casseroles, salads or steamed. There are an excellent source of vitamin C, A, and K.
Green beans will stay fresh for several months if you freeze them properly. Trim the green beans and boil them for 2 to 4 minutes. This will ensure that they stay crispy. Once you remove them from the boiling water, plunge them into a bowl of ice water and keep them there for the same amount of time as you boiled. Place them in a large resealable freezer bag. Label them and place them in the freezer.

Potatoes

Potatoes will keep for about 3 to 5 weeks in your pantry. If you have a root cellar or basement where the temperature is around 50 degrees, then your potatoes can last for as long as 3 months. Just make sure to check them regularly since just one rotten potato will ruin the rest.
Potatoes can also be frozen and canned.

Winter Squash

Gardeners love winter squash because it keeps so well. In fact, the name “winter squash” refers to the time that the vegetable is stored. After harvesting it in fall, it’s simple to prepare squash so that it will last through the winter. This will ensure that you’ll have enough squash to add to your soups, side dishes, and even desserts.

All you need to do is to store the squash in a warm place which gets plenty of air circulation for a period of 10-14 days. Once you do that, you can store them in a cool, dry place for 3 to 6 months.

Berries

Berries are versatile and easy to store. You can freeze them, dehydrate them, can them, or turn them into jellies and jams. A great source of vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll feel special when you serve berries to your family during the middle of winter.

Conclusion

Learn to how to properly store your garden’s harvest and you’ll be guaranteed to have plentiful food throughout the whole year. Not only well you reap the health benefits, you’ll save money too.

Don’t forget to use Garden Commanders to protect your valuable produce from Deer, Birds, and other critters who would love to eat it before you do!

Three Tips For A Perfect Organic Garden

Three Tips For A Perfect Organic Garden If you’re concerned about the safety of the foods you eat, then you may have considered starting your own garden. Enjoying fresh produce from your own backyard will make an enormous difference in your health and the money you’ll be saving from growing it and not buying it … Read more

Early Spring Challenges For The Gardener

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Early Spring normally excites most gardeners with the prospects of growing the many favorites from the vegetable garden and the flower garden. Planting sets, which are young plants started in greenhouses, and seeds for the garden can require a fair amount of time depending on the size of the garden. Another element that always need to be factored in is the initial cost of everything that is to be planted. As your time and your money are valuable, there is always some element of risk when growing a garden. Examples are: damage from wildlife, a late freeze or frost, and insects. These are all very manageable problems. Protecting your investment has never been easier!
 Let’s first discuss the risk of damage from wildlife. In most cases today, gardeners are defending against wildlife with 8′ tall fencing or the periodic application of toxic chemicals. The benefits are that in most cases these methods do work. However, the downsides are that 8′ tall fencing is expensive to purchase and install. It is usually considered permanent, thus becoming a maintenance issue and usually not attractive in an otherwise beautiful garden setting. I recently spoke with a gardener that just had one of these fences installed. He mentioned that it cost him over $1,500 to protect a 12′ x 20′ area. The access gate alone had a cost $250. It also can become an eyesore and a questionable expense when working with raised beds. I don’t know of any gardener that would want an 8′ fence around their 4′ x 8′ raised bed. The periodic application of toxic chemicals is an alternative. However, it’s certainly not a “GREEN” approach and can be costly. BTW, these applications are normally on a regular basis throughout the entire growing season.
  Thankfully, Gardeners now have a “GREEN”, affordable, “easy to use” alternative that requires no fencing or toxic chemicals. Yes, it sounds too good to be true.
  Allow me to introduce GARDEN COMMANDER garden products. GARDEN COMMANDER
 is a small company based in Northern Virginia that is helping gardeners all over the country by offering an exclusive and unique product line allowing gardeners the ease of protecting their gardens without fencing or chemicals. BTW, GARDEN COMMANDER is a “GREEN” product!
  The GARDEN COMMANDER system has many benefits that go beyond wildlife protection, by also offering a means of protection from the other 2 risk factors mentioned earlier. The 4′ sections or “frames” that make up the GARDEN COMMANDER system also act as structural supports for a frost cloth to be applied when low temperatures threaten. These sections can also be covered with clear 4 mil. plastic sheathing to create the perfect “mini” greenhouse if temperatures dip below 32 degrees. When insects become a threat, again the sections offer as a support for a netting or mesh or be applied. The size of the openings of the netting or mesh will depend on the size of the insect that is threatening.
  Your investment of time and money can now be EASILY protected from the time you plant your sets, and the seedlings begin to emerge from the Earth.
  Gardening just got a lot easier!!
  Please visit us at: www.gardencommander.com for a full and informative explanation.

EARLY SPRING VEGETABLES

  EARLY SPRING VEGETABLES
Protecting garden plants from an early frost
Garden Commander row covers being used in early spring to protect young vulnerable plants during a cold spell last year.
  Normally by March, many gardeners are beginning to plan for the planting season.
Though technically it’s still Winter, there are a number of vegetables that can be started in March and can withstand an overnight light freeze or frost.
  Onions are usually a favorite in many gardens and one of the most resilient vegetables when it comes to surviving any late Winter weather. Onion bulbs can be planted as soon as the soil has been prepared and in a “seedbed” state. When planting, I suggest placing the bulbs about 4″ apart, as they will need this room for expansion as they grow. Though they do well in cold weather, they thrive on the hot Summer days ahead and should be harvested no later than August 1st.
  Potatoes are another garden favorite that can be planted early and withstand a light freeze or frost.They are best to be planted as cuts from “Seed Potatoes.” Seed Potatoes are potatoes that have been stored over the Winter specifically for the purpose of planting. It is at this time, that they are typically found to have reached the point of beginning to form “eyes,” or small voluntary shoots growing from the potato. Before planting, these potatoes should be cut into 2 -3 pieces, each piece having one or two “eyes.” It is these pieces, with the eyes, that are to be planted. I recommend planting the pieces about 12″-15″ apart. This will allow for ample growing room, as each piece planted should produce an average of 6-8 potatoes.
  Broccoli and Cabbage are also early Spring favorites. Normally, these varieties are started from seed in greenhouses and offered in individual pots making their success rate of survival much higher. Gardeners refer to these as “sets.” Sets, as described above, are found at most garden centers and seed supply stores in early Spring. When planting these sets, I recommend spacing of 12″ – 18″ for the Broccoli and 18″ – 24″ for the Cabbage, as the plants will require this much area to reach full maturity.
  Early vegetables that can be planted from seed are: Kale, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, and Peas. All are resilient to frost, however, I do suggest covering these particular varieties when a freeze is predicted, with the exception of Kale. Kale is exceptionally hearty and normally withstands freezing temperatures.
  Once the freeze and frost season has passed, gardeners are usually quick to plant the rest of the garden to take advantage of a full growing season. Though it may be rare, there are times when an unexpected late frost or freeze can threaten the garden. Times like these require the additional effort of covering the small plants overnight for protection. It is important to remember that when covering the vulnerable plants, that the material used does not touch the plants if possible. This can make the process a little more challenging, however, using row covers make the task much easier and cuts the time spent in half.
  The most practical and cost effective row covers on the market today are offered by Garden Commander garden products. These row covers also serve many other purposes, most importantly, protection from destructive wildlife, especially deer. Garden Commander products are offered online, and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.A.
   Please take a look. We can help!!
   HAPPY GARDENING!