Gardening Tips

Our DIY gardening section covers everything from building your own backyard greenhouse to using your own nutrient rich compost soil to grow the best organic fruits and vegetables. We have information about testing your soil, fertilizers, integrated pest management, keeping grazing critters out, how to build raised garden beds, container gardening for those who don't have the space, crop rotation, garden tools, starting plants indoors from seed for transplanting later when the weather warms, irrigation and more.

How to Grow Potatoes in Straw or Soil from Seed or Sprouted Potatoes

potato plants in flower

When flowers appear on the potato plants, start looking for new potatoes.

We have been growing potatoes very successfully for several years and for us, potatoes have become one of the few special vegetables that we plant every year in our [Read more…]

How To Grow Potatoes By Container Gardening – Don’t Throw Those Sprouted Taters Out!

Wondering how to grow potatoes in a container garden?

Last year I experimented by planting a single seed potato in a 10 gallon (40 quart) tub. We had used the tub several years earlier as part of  a container gardening when our [Read more…]

Wall O’ Water Increased Growing Degree Days for Tomatoes & More

We use Wall O Water (see detailed review) and have several small greenhouses to grow the vegetables we want in our short growing season.

Last year, I used a min-max thermometer to show how the greenhouses increased the total Growing Degree Days (GDD).

wall of water plant protector

We use rebar to keep the walls from collapsing in on the plants. You can read more about our tips here.

This season, I have done the same to measure any GDD advantage offered by the [Read more…]

Tips for Using and Repairing Wall of Water Plant Protectors

We have been successfully using Wall O’ Water plant protectors (here’s our extensive review) to increase our vegetable harvest in our cold climate and our extremely short growing season.

Over the years, we have discovered some simple tips to [Read more…]

Wall O’ Water Plant Protectors/Season Extenders – Do They Really Work?

walls of water for frost protectionDo the Wall O’ Water plant protectors really work? We live at about 5,700 ft elevation in the Inter-mountain West.

Minimum temperatures here average 40.9°F in June, 47.1°F in July and 45.8°F in August.

We’ve had at least 3 inches of snow after June 10th in two of the eight years we have [Read more…]

Greenhouse Purpose and Automated Systems

plastic greenhouse designThe purpose of a greenhouse is to control the growing environment. Plants require a limited range of temperature, soil moisture, light, humidity, air (Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen), and nutrients to grow. Plants also require some type of physical support for roots and shoots.  Plants also depend upon symbiotic relationships with fungi and insects to grow and reproduce. The greenhouse covering helps control many of these factors to help increase plant growth and [Read more…]

Building Our Small, Cheap Greenhouse – Simple PVC A-Frame with Polyethylene Plastic Cover

When we decided we needed a greenhouse to grow warm-weather vegetables in our cold vegetable climate, we started doing the research about what kinds of greenhouses were available for purchase and what kinds of greenhouses we could build ourselves.

small pvc plastic greenhouse

A Small, Easy and Cheap Greenhouse Design

While doing the same internet search you are doing now, we quickly discovered there are dozens of very nice looking greenhouse kits available for sale.

Yes, they are nice, but [Read more…]

Greenhouse Covering Materials Comparison – Glass, Polycarbonate, Polyethylene, Fiberglass, Acrylic and Vinyl

There are a variety of materials that can be used to cover a greenhouse today.

With the current explosion of interest from both commercial farmers and backyard gardeners, the options for materials are constantly expanding. Greenhouse covering material includes:

polyethylene greenhouse covering

2-Layer Polyethylene Covering Later Patched w/ UV-Resistant Greenhouse Tape – You Never Know What May Damage Your Covering! Photo Courtesy: Photofarmer @Flickr

  • Glass
  • Polycarbonate (rigid panels or flexible rolls)
  • Polyethylene Plastic film
  • Polyethylene Panels (semi rigid panels or flexible rolls)
  • Fiberglass (rigid panels or flexible rolls)
  • Acrylic (rigid panels)
  • Vinyl

Since we had already decided on using PVC pipe for constructing our greenhouse, we would not be using any solid panel type material to cover the [Read more…]

Greenhouse Building Materials Pros and Cons of Using Wood, PVC and/or Rebar

For a DIY greenhouse, the most common building materials would be wood, steel reinforcement bar (rebar) or PVC pipe, especially for a small backyard hoop house type greenhouse.

Sure, there are other options for building materials like galvanized pipe or steel and aluminum framing, but most people don’t [Read more…]

Greenhouse Designs, Descriptions and Relative Costs

One thing we quickly discovered, is that there are several types of greenhouses or greenhouse designs and much of the terminology seems to be confused or interchangeable. A Hoop House or Low Tunnel described at one place looks an awful lot like a Cold Frame being sold at another place. Below we have listed the different types of greenhouses you can build, approximate costs and [Read more…]