Tag Archives: Garden

Your First Hydroponic Plant (Beginner’s Guide)

st5-300x225Start your very first miniature hydroponic plant! A recommended guide for beginners who both loves planting and technology. I’m going to show you how to make one in less than 15 minutes, out of household materials! Our tiny “Hydroponic System” kinda cost us $5-7.


Recommended Seeds/ Plants:
– Tomato Seeds/ Plant
– Mung Beans/ Plant (We used this one)
– Chili Pepper


Step 1: Gathering Your Tools And Materials

Parts & Materials: (Some links are just alternative, I bought mine for $5)

– Recycled Container (Free)
– Controlled Fertilizer ($1.00)
– DC Water Pump ($4.00)
– A Cheap Mini Funnel ($0.10)
– Aquarium Tubing ($0.40)
– Water Flow Valve ($0.20)
– T-Shaped Splitter ($0.10)
– Super Glue/ Epoxy ($1.00)

Recommended Pump Kit: DIY Water Pump Motor Water Pipe Power Supply Set ($12.90)

Tools & Equipment:
– Leatherman Multitool (Gift From: Instructables)
– Rotary Tool (Dremel/ Black & Decker)
– Permanent Marker
– Soldering Iron
– Hot Glue Gun
– 12inch Ruler

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Step 2: Installing The Water Distribution System In Your Funnel

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Our hydroponic setup uses a simple water drip system. Water needs to reach the plant, also needs to get distributed evenly.

1st.)  Drill a hole on your funnels side for the T-splitter.
2nd.) Measure the inner circumference of your funnel and cut a strip of tube [Formula: (2)(π)(r)]
3rd.)  Slit some hole on your tube using a knife, be sure to slit it on 5 even sides. Use a ruler!
4th.)  Connect your tube on the T-shapped splitter
5th.)  Apply a few drops of super glue to mount your assembled drip system (tube) on your funnel

Step 3: Glue The Assembled Funnel To The Cover

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This is a three step procedure, be careful in handling knives and hot-glue.

1st.)  Trace your funnel on top of your container’s cover
2nd.) Use your leatherman’s knife  to cut a hole cleanly
3rd.)  It’s now time to warm up your gluegun and mount the funnel to your container’s cover. Be sure to seal in the gaps!

Step 4: Installing Your Water Pump

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There are some factors to consider in buying water pumps, the AC (outlet type) consumes a lot electricity and isn’t compatible with solar panels, the DC (battery type) can be easily hooked to a solar panel w/battery, providing free electricity 24/7.

Okay lets get started! What I have here is a non-submersible water pump, which I found from my inventory. I had to drill a hole on the container in order to add a pinch valve (water flow valve). The pump is slightly elevated since it is not water proof.

Step 5: Finalizing The Setup

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I saw this pack of fertilizer lying around my our garden, it was my dad’s. It’s a typical complete & controlled fertilizer for general purpose. For my setup, I just dropped 2 table spoons of fertilizer. If your concerned for your plant’s nutrition, there are some fertilizers designed for hydroponic setups found in Amazon.com

Use smooth pebbles to hold your plant’s roots, make sure they are tucked in firmly.

Step 6: Soil Planting Vs. Hydroponics

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Here are our the results of our experimentation for our investigatory project in school. You can find a significant difference between the comparison of the soil planted plant and the hydroponic plant. The hydroponic plant started as the underdog, time passed it managed to surpass the growth of the soil planted plant.

Bottom Line: Plants planted on a hydroponic medium, grows faster = Hydroponic Wins!

By Ascas

This article can also be viewed here at Outlive The Outbreak

Gardening Catalogs Online

seed-cataloguesAre you searching for reading materials regarding gardening? What kind of gardening and plants do you prefer to read about? There is a wide selection of gardening catalogs available online. To facilitate your search for sources, here are a few online gardening catalogs and websites that offer gardening catalogs that they can easily ship to your place:

1.  Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed sends out free heirloom seed catalogs to those who request one. They sell heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. Fill out a short form to get a Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog sent to your mailbox.

2.  The Cook’s Garden Plant and Seed Catalog

The Cook’s Garden sells vegetable seeds and plants, herb seeds and plants, cottage flowers, and supplies. You’ll find all of these items packed into the free plant and seed catalog that they offer. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada you can fill out the form to request a free The Cook’s Garden plant and seed catalog.

3. Gardner’s Supply Company Catalog

You won’t find any seeds or plants here, but you will find a wide range of gardening supplies such as planters, pest control, tools, lights, and more. If you’re in the U.S., you can request a free Gardner’s Supply Company catalog to be sent to you door.

4. Gurneys

You can get your Gurney’s plant and seed catalog filled with vegetable seeds and plants, fruit and nut trees, perennials and roses, bulbs, shrubs, flower and grass seeds, and much more completely for free. They offer great deals like when one orders one kind of plant, it may mean that one order means two plants. Gurney’s also offer a no-risk guarantee and a scheduled shipping of orders according to categories of plants, i.e., roses, herbs, shrubs, and trees, tender annuals, and all other plants and bulbs. It even offers a zip code driven growing zone locator.

5.  Annie’s Heirloom Seeds Catalog

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds sells a wide variety of heirloom organic and bulk seeds for all kinds of vegetables. You can request a free seed catalog or view one online.

6. Jackson & Perkins

Jackson and Perkins are known to be one of the best American gardening experts. They are reaching out to other gardening aficionados through their website offering gardening products that could easily be browsed through their catalog. Their product line includes a wide range of plants – new award-winning roses, easy to grow perennials to special outdoor decor. Flowering gifts may also be delivered to worthy recipients just by ordering from their site.

7. The Garden Window

This site offers an online catalog that specializes in imported Chinese tree peonies (from Mainland, China).

8.  Annie’s Annuals & Perennials Plant Catalog

Annie’s Annuals and Perennials offers a free plant catalog that highlights the rare annual and perennial plants that they sell. Those in the U.S. can request a free Annie’s Annuals & Perennials plant catalog.

Comstock Garden Seeds has specialized in heirloom seeds for 200 years now. You can request a free Comstock Garden Seeds catalog if you live in the U.S.

10.  Henry Field’s Seed Catalog

Henry Field’s seed catalog is packed with vegetable seeds, flower bulbs, tomato seeds, fruit trees, shrubs, and more. Those in the U.S. can request that a free Henry Field’s seed catalog be mailed to them.

You’ll want a High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog if you’re looking for certified organic vegetable, herb, flower, and cover crop seeds. They also have a large selection of heriloom seeds. You can request a free High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog if you live in the U.S. or Canada.

Botanical Interests has a virtual and printed seed catalog that lists all the seeds they sell including flower, vegetable, herbs, and organic seeds. Those who live in the U.S. and Canada can request a free Botanical Interests seed catalog.

13. Burpee Seed Catalog

Burpee makes it easy to request a free seed catalog. Each year they publish a new seed catalog that includes all of their vegetables, flowers, perennials, herbs, and heirloom seeds, and plants. Those in the U.S. can request a free Burpee seed catalog to be mailed straight to their home.

14.  Johnny’s Selected Seeds Catalog

In the Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog, you’ll find vegetable seeds, fruit plants, flower seeds, herbs, farm seeds, and supplies. You can request a free seed catalog from Johnny’s Selected Seeds if you live the U.S., Canada, or Mexico and see just what they have to offer.

15.  Park Seed Co. Seed Catalog

Park Seed Co. sells annual seeds along with bulbs, container plants, flowers, fruits, herbs, decor, and more in their newest seed catalog. You can get a free seed catalog by filling out the form to request one. It’s available to the U.S. and Canada.

Peaceful Valley Grow Organic offers an organic seed catalog that includes seeds, fertilizer, pet control products, fruit trees, nut trees, berry plants, grape vines, wildflowers, and flower bulbs. All of the Peaceful Valley Organic seed catalogs are available for download or you can scroll down the page to request the seed catalogs to be mailed to you.

17.   Penny’s Tomatoes Seed Catalog

In this seed catalog from Penny’s Tomatoes you’ll find tomato seeds for hot weather, cold weather, dwarf, heirloom, and exotic tomato plants. You can request a free seed catalog from Penny’s Tomatoes if you live in the U.S.

Pepper Joe’s sells exotic peppers such as Habenero, Chili, Jalepeno, Peter, and Ghost pepper seeds. If you’re in the United States you can request a free Pepper Joe’s seed catalog.

19.  Potato Garden Seed Catalog

Through the Potato Garden catalog you can order certified seed potatoes as well as garlic, artichokes, onions, shallots, and real salt. Request a free seed catalog to be mailed to you.

20.  Sand Hill Preservation Center’s Free Seed Catalog

The Sand Hill Preservation Center specializes in heirloom seeds and poultry. You can order a free printed seed catalog from them if you’d like more information.

seed catalogues1 Gardening Catalogs Online

A few more….

Free online catalogs may be good source of gardening supply information. One just has to be fine with the light promotion of events and other products that may be sent to his email inbox every now and then.

This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.


Growing Herbs Indoors

Grow Herbs Indoors / The DayOne Gear BlogHerb gardening is a great hobby to have even if you’re not into the whole “tilling up the land” kind of gardening. Gardening is therapeutic, and if you’re growing herbs, you can do some amazing things with them.

From seasoning your food to making a sensational smelling potpourri, this cheap hobby will actually save you money at the grocery store! If you’re not sure what herbs to start with, check out my article on The 5 Easiest Herbs to Grow. Just realize, there are tons more herbs to be grown!

What I didn’t cover in that article is that you can actually grow herbs indoors! That’s right! You can have a thriving herb garden right in your own kitchen… or sun room… or living room… heck, put it anywhere you like. If you don’t have the room outside, or just want to spruce up the inside of your home a little, herb gardening is a wonderful idea! You also won’t have to worry about deer, rabbits or squirrels eating your herbs, either. Growing herbs indoors works well for many reasons:

Continue reading and view the article here.

This article was written by Patrick from Survival At Home






Saving Seeds Part 2: Techniques, storage, and just get started already

Ok, so you planted your seeds, tended to your plants carefully, and with luck had a bountiful harvest. So how can you perpetuate that success? Well, you will need some discipline at the very least. Why? Because a couple those beautiful big ripe tomatoes might provide even better ones next year. Saving seeds is also about being selective. You’ll want to save seeds from the best characteristics you prefer. Be choosy, it’s ok. So go around, identify a few plants that you want to save from, and just let them continue their natural course until you are ready.


This could be several weeks beyond typical harvest after the plant bolts or the fruit looks a bit different. That’s ok. Remember you selected for their look at harvest time, not seed saving time, the genetics are still there.
Last time in Part 1, we left off with dry seeds and wet seeds. Recall that dry seeds are seed exposed to the elements of wind, water, and sun, which can be dropped in place, blown away, or carried away by the rains. For example, like grains of wheat, barley, and corn, etc. Wet seeds are in the fruit or vegetable itself, for example tomato, squash, or cucumber. This makes two major distinctions in the technique you will use to collect seeds. However there can be a few more.

Dry Seeds: Some dry seeds can be collected simply using a fan, a screen, and a large plastic tote. Set the tote on the ground, the fan on a table. Shake or rub the dry part of the plant containing the seed in front of the fan (adjust speed according to the size of seed and chaff). The premise is the lighter parts will blow further than the tote and with luck, the seeds will fall into the tote. You might have to repeat this a few times or use screen mesh, but you get the idea. Fine seeds like lettuce might not need a fan, just a screen.

Other dry seeds, such as those in a pod, could be done by hand. Think about beans and peas. Select as desired, and let them age and dry out a bit, and then simply remove the large chaff bits by hand. Jalapeno peppers could also be cut and left to dry out and you could acquire the seeds by pulling the pepper apart and gathering the seeds with a fork.

Wet Seeds: The typical types are the cucs, toms, squash, eggplants, etc. Think about any fruit or veggie (not going to get technical here) that has a wet, fleshy outside with seeds inside. These seeds are naturally packaged with a protective coating in order to survive inside the plant and until the next season. Once again, let the desired veggie go beyond harvest. The veg might look a lot different, but just remember you selected for its quality at harvest, not seed saving appearance. I’d say collect the veggies before they get rotten, or turn brown, and before temps get too cool. You will want a few days of weather between 60-75f, so don’t wait too long.

Scoop out the seeds and put them in container with water (water amount and container size depends on how many seeds you’re collecting). You need to help nature remove that protective coating by a process called fermentation. Fermentation also allows the good microbes to eliminate any bad ones. Let nature takes its course for a few days and the good, nutrient and genetically dense seeds will sink to the bottom of your container, and the less desirable ones will float. Drain off the nasty bits and fluids; being careful not to dump out the good seeds which should be on the bottom and nearly last to come out. Give them a rinse then spread the seeds on a screen and let them dry out someplace with good ventilation to relieve the excess moisture.
There are many tutorials on the web that show the wet and dry processes to saving seeds. I encourage you to view several to get the idea. Remember you don’t want to save the F1 hybrids unless you really like unpredictable and potentially unproductive crops.

Lastly, storing your seeds after all your hard work is important. One year I completely overlooked the fact that my freezer Ziploc bags were no match for hungry mice who ate every seed I had. Seeds that have been cleaned, dried, and identified, need a home until the next season. Paper envelops with their names in sharpie work well as individual packaging. Then a glass jar with lid will do, or an ammo box (just because I have an extra one) works great to keep the critters out. Start collecting those silica gel packs (from shoe boxes, packing material, etc., the packets that say ‘Silica Gel – Do Not Eat’). Ask your friends to save them as well. They will help manage the moisture in the seed storage container. Keep your seed container in a cool dry place until the following year and you are all set.

007 1 Saving Seeds Part 2:  Techniques, storage, and just get started already.
Farmer Mike

Hi, my name is Farmer Mike from Awosting Farms and I am trying to use what resources we have as a learning experience towards sustainability. Some people talk of being green, being eco-this or sustainable-that, but I am attempting to take a more practical approach in my learning by actually doing what I can, where I am, with the patience and support of my family and friends. So far the journey is rewarding, educational, and entertaining.

This article can also be viewed here at Modern Homesteaders.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!

Apples and Pears, Oh My!

Tis the season for Apples and Pears and I have got a hankering for all things Apple, can you say Apple Harvest Blondies?! Well yes, yes I can!  And I would just love to curl up with some Butternut Pear Soup.  Especially now that the nights are cooling down.

Before we get to the recipes…let’s check in with our friends the Apple and Pear!



apples in a bowl Apples & Pears, Oh My!

A is for Apple!

Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit with a red, yellow or green skin. The apple is actually a member of the Rose family, which may seem strange until we remember that roses make rose hips, which are fruits similar to the apple.

Apples have a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor and a tartness that is present to greater or lesser degree depending on the variety. For example, Golden and Red Delicious apples are mild and sweet, while Pippins and Granny Smith apples are notably brisk and tart. Tart apples, which best retain their texture during cooking, are often preferred for cooked desserts like apple pie, while Delicious apples and other sweeter varieties like Braeburn and Fuji apples are usually eaten raw.

The apple tree, which originally came from Eastern Europe and southwestern Asia, has spread to most temperate regions of the world. Over the centuries, many hybrids and cultivars have been developed, giving us the 7,000 varieties in the market today.

Apples have long been associated with the biblical story of Adam and Eve, although there is actually no mention that, in fact, the fruit in question was actually an apple. In Norse mythology, apples were given a more positive persona: a magic apple was said to keep people young forever. Apples’ most recent appearance in history occurred in the 1800s in the U.S., when Johnny Appleseed—a real person named John Chapman—walked barefoot across an area of 100,000 square miles, planting apple trees that provided food and a livelihood for generations of settlers.

Look for firm fruits with rich coloring. Yellow and green apples with a slight blush are best. Your preference for a sweeter or more tart fruit and whether you plan to enjoy your apples raw or cooked will guide your choice of variety. Just remember that Red and Golden Delicious are among the sweetest apples. Braeburn and Fuji apples are slightly tart, and Gravenstein, Pippin, and Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture best during cooking.



pears Apples & Pears, Oh My!

A variety of pears, how many can you name?

Pears are a member of the rose family of plants (Rosaceae), which, in addition to roses, contains a long list of fruits including apples, apricots, cherries, chokeberry, crabapples, loquats, peaches, plums, quinces, raspberries,  and strawberries as well as the tree nut, almonds. The many different varieties of pears commonly found in U.S. groceries all belong to the same category known as European Pear. These pears typically have a rounded body that tapers into a neck of various lengths.

Pears are found in a variety of colors, including many different shades of green, red, yellow/gold, and brown. Many varieties fail to change color as they ripen, making it more difficult to determine ripeness.

Beginning in the 1500′s, Eurpoean colonists began to bring pears to North America, where they apparently were not native or enjoyed before that time. While pears were cultivated there during those years, the colonists continued to import most of the pears they consumed from Europe, and especially from France. Today, pears grown in Europe have become a very small part of the U.S. diet. While the U.S. continues to import over 75,000 metric tons of pears each year, the vast majority now come from Argentina, Chile, China, South Korea and New Zealand.

Since pears are very perishable once they are ripe, the pears you find at the market will generally be unripe and will require a few days of maturing. Look for pears that are firm, but not too hard. They should have a smooth skin that is free of bruises or mold. The color of good quality pears may not be uniform as some may feature russetting where there are brown-speckled patches on the skin; this is an acceptable characteristic and oftentimes reflects a more intense flavor. Avoid pears that are punctured or have dark soft spots.


The Recipes

Apple Harvest Blondies


  • 2/3 c butter
  • 2 1/4 c brown sugar,divided
  • 3 ea eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 medium/large red apples,peeled, cored & chopped
  • 1 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 oz pecans,chopped
  • 1 t cinnamon


  1. Place cream cheese in freezer for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Remove from burner and stir in 2 cups brown sugar and stir thoroughly.
  5. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and stir until well blended.
  6. Fold in chopped apple and place the mixture in an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
  7. Chop the cream cheese into small pieces (much easier when has been frozen and mix with the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon.
  8. Sprinkle mixture on the batter and bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  10. Refrigerate leftovers.


Butternut Squash Pear Soup


  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Med. diced yellow onion
  • 1 Small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 Pears, peeled and diced large
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 C plain greek yogurt
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish


  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook till translucent, add squash, pears and 4 C Water, season with Salt and Pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a rapid simmer and cook till squash is soft, 20-25 min.
  4. In batches, fill blender halfway with soup and puree with yogurt until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a clean pot, season with Salt and Pepper.
  6. Serve with chives and drizzle of olive oil.

This article can be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!


Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Apples & Pears, Oh My!