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Stop Spider Mites

Tomato and garlic companion planting infographic.

Tomato and garlic companion planting infographic.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

So after getting back to east asia after a trip to Australia. I found I had massive Spider mite infestation. I went online trying to work out the best way to remove them. Some suggested it was too late and you need to remove all the plants. However I didn't want to give up. 
Some suggestions where to use garlic water, a natural pesticide. So I blended up a bunch of garlic that I bought from my local wet market.  Then I got spraying. However reading online, you need to spray them regularly and in particular under all the leaves.  However I'm a lazy gardener, so I didn't remember to this again. Of course because of this it didn't work. 

My ruined tomato plants. 

My ruined tomato plants. 

Having looked into companion planting before. I decided to plant all the garlic around the bases of the plants.  However I was too late for most of them. There was one small tomato plant that I had. Thankfully the garlic sproated and low and behold, it protected it! There were still infested tomato plants around, as the garlic hadn't yet grown next to them. So I removed this older plants and this one that was protected is growing very healthy, strong and fast.

My tomato plant with garlic protection. It lives!

My tomato plant with garlic protection. It lives!

So if you're looking for an easy way to protect your tomato plants, plant some garlic cloves.

 

Have you tried companion planting? Let me know your experience in the comments below.

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How to grow an avocado tree from seed in 4 easy steps

You might have across my other popular blog post on growing an avocado tree from seed. 
Just follow these simple steps to get started.

Step 1

  • Remove the seed from the avocado and peal off the outer skin.

Step 2

  • Place the seed facing up in a jar filled with water and keep the bottom of the avocado seed always submerged.

Step 3

  • Wait until your avocado seed sprouts, be patient this can take awhile.

Step 4

  • When it reaches around 8 inches in height, it’s time to pot your tree.

 

Infographic on how to grow an avocado tree from seed in 4 easy steps.

Infographic on how to grow an avocado tree from seed in 4 easy steps.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

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Raised Bed Gardening Guide

Use this guide to help you build the perfect raised bed garden for your home. Raised bed gardening makes it easier to control weeds, pest control, planting and harvesting. It's important to choose the best materials for your budget. Raised beds also make it easier on your back. Using a quality soil mix as outlined below will help you increase yeilds and quality of your harvest.

Raised Bed Gardening Guide Infographic

Raised Bed Gardening Guide Infographic

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

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10 Tomato Growing Tips

Follow all these tips to make growing healthy and fruitful tomato plants easy.


1. Plant your tomato plant in a place with 10 hours of direct sunlight.

2. Have enough space between plants for air flow.

3. Soak the base of your tomato plants once a week or more during those hot summer days.

4. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches.

5. Use a tomato cage to support your plants.

6. When your tomato plant reaches 3 ft. tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1 ft. of the plant.

7. When your tomatoes start to ripen it’s time to scratch around the bottom and add some compost.

8. Pinching off the tops of the main stems of intermediate varieties in early summer to encourage more energy going into flowering.

9. Remember to check for tomato hornworms (large, green & white striped caterpillars). Pick those critters up and destroy them.

10. Pick your tomatoes when they are full size and ripe, but still firm.


Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Here's a little infographic to help you work out the best location for your vegetable garden, taking into account the movement of the sun during the year.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co


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Square Foot Gardening Guide

Square Foot Gardening

 

What is it?

Square foot gardening is a really cool technique which allows you to maximize the space you are using to grow plants, and makes it easier for you to get the utmost out of each area of growth. In simpler terms, think of it like this.

When you are gardening and want a large amount of produce, most people tend to use a technique called row gardening. This is when you plant one kind of seed, for example cabbage, in a row. You plant as many as you can, while also leaving enough space for you to manoeuvre yourself through the row and water the plants, thin down the seedlings, and generally tend to the plants until it is time for harvest. You repeat this with your other types of seeds, until you have row after row of different seeds sprouting from your garden floor.

This isn’t necessarily a bad technique, and while it does have its uses, it does tend to use up quite a bit of space. Not only is there quite a bit of space wasted due to the inefficiency of the system, but there is also quite a bit of water wasted since the layout is not one which allows you to optimize the amount of water used. It also takes quite a bit of energy to make your way around the rows during the time you spend tending to the plants.

So what is Square Foot Gardening?

With square foot gardening, the process is slightly different. Instead of long rows you plant your seeds as close as you can together, only leaving enough space for them to grow properly. Aside from that, you go as close as you can to preserve as much space as possible. You divide your garden beds into 1 foot by 1 foot squares, and plant one type of each seed into these squares. This is why it is referred to as square foot gardening. By doing this, you leave a much more efficient planted pattern, allowing you to make sure you get optimum growth both in quality and in quantity, and also that none of your resources go to waste.

One thing you definitely need to keep in mind however, is the space needed for each plant to grow effectively. When you purchase a pack of seeds, you can see on the back that it usually says “space after thinning”, or something similar. This refers to how much space the plant needs to grow in a health manner. Make sure you take care of that and leave enough space between the seeds so that they can all grow prosperously. An example is lettuce seeds, which need a space of 6 inches between seeds for them to grow properly, while tomato seeds only need 1 inch of space. Adjust your spacing accordingly.

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening

The main benefit of this type of gardening if the fact that you will be able to grow a large number of plants and produce a much higher amount of produce than you would with other types of gardening, due to the efficiency of how you are utilising the space available on the garden bed.

For vegetables, square foot gardening is very effective. For smaller plants like beans, peppers, onions, cabbages and other similar plants, this style of gardening is especially effective as it allows you to really maximize the amount you can grow in limited spaces.

 

Also, this system really does appeal to a lot of new gardeners, simply because it is so easy to understand and to get started. Anyone who has any interest in consistently producing plants and crops should strongly consider this method, as it is an efficient method that can be used for almost any purpose. But is also very easy to understand which is an important aspect for many people.

If you are just getting started and are interested in gardening, you may not be able to start food forests, seed saving, intercropping, green maturing, or any other more advanced techniques simply because you are not in a position of experience and it takes quite a bit of know how to make those systems work.

But square foot gardening, as effective as it is, can be picked up and learned very quickly by even the most inexperienced of novices. It is a great gateway into introducing yourself to home food production, and is the expert’s choice as the best place to start.

Tips

 

Make sure to position your grids properly, as if you position them too close to each other or other features in the garden (fences, display structures, etc;) it may interfere with the plants and the ability you have to tend to them. Layout the grids in an effective manner that will allow the plants to grow freely, and will also allow you to manoeuvre yourself around the garden in an easy manner while you tend to the produce. Poor positioning is hard to undo as it will require you to tear up your growing plants down the line, so make sure you have everything properly lined up before you commit to starting your gardening.

Also, make sure you use good materials. It can be tempting to use just any wood you find to create the sides of the grid, but over time weaker materials will decay and leave your plants at risk. Make sure to use higher quality materials, they may cost a little more but they will be a life saver down the line (in your plants case, literally!).

And lastly, remember that each garden is different and we will all encounter different challenges along the way. There is no one fits all method to grow a successful garden bed using square foot gardening. Study about this method of gardening, and use your common sense to adjust on the fly whenever you may need to.

 

Layout

How should I lay out the grid?

If you are planting multiple types of seed, it is best to make sure similar types of plant are located adjacent to each other. By doing this, it allows you to better structure your garden and tend to each individual grid better as the ones that require similar needs will be located right next to each other, making it easier for you.

How much space is needed for each seed?

Again, the space needed differs and can really vary. It is recommended that you read through any packs or information you may have gotten when you purchased the seed, and that you adhere to their needs. If the seeds are too far apart, then you are wasting space, which is the opposite intention of a square foot garden. However if they are too close together, you will find that each seed struggles to grow properly as it fights for space and resources. You want to avoid this potential catastrophe and make sure the seed has ample space to do its thing.

 

Where is the best place to locate your garden?

The garden needs sunlight to survive and thrive, so the best location would be one where it can get the maximum amount of sunlight possible. A poor location would be one where there is shade for the majority of the day, and this can lead to your garden being deprived of the necessary sunlight it needs to properly grow.

You could conceivably leave it in a place where the sunlight would be more sporadic, although this is not recommended. If possible, try to make sure it remains in a position where the sunlight can easily get to it and it will have plenty of sun rays to guide it through its period of growth.

Square foot gardening infographic

Square foot gardening infographic

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

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The Garden Sunlight Guide

Use this simple guide, to work out how much sunlight your plants need.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page   www.desima.co

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co


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Healing Herbs For Your Garden

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Garden Calendar

Time to get organised and plan your year of gardening, use this handy guide to help you throughout the year. Turn that thumb of brown death into green life.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Use this calendar so you can know the best time to start growing your garden, be sure to look up when the last frost is in your area. These dates aren't exact and there will be a bit of variation depending on your location. Both these infographics are for the northern hemisphere.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co


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Mistakes Made By Aquaponics Growers

Learn from these 6 common mistakes in aquaponics so that your system can thrive.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co


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Identifying Plant Nutrient Deficiencies

Not all plant problems are caused by insects or diseases. Sometimes an unhealthy plant is suffering from a nutrient deficiency or even too much of any one nutrient. Plant nutrient deficiencies often manifest as foliage discoloration or distortion. The following chart outlines some possible problems. Unfortunately many problems have similar symptoms and sometimes it is a combination of problems.

Be sure you eliminate the obvious before you kill your plants with kindness.

  • Check first for signs of insects or disease.
  • Foliage discoloration and stunted plants can easily be caused by soil that is too wet and drains poorly or soil that is too compacted for good root growth.
  • Extreme cold or heat will slow plant growth and effect flowering and fruit set.
  • Too much fertilizer can result in salt injury. Your plants may look scorched or they may wilt, even when the soil is wet.

Plants require a mix of nutrients to remain healthy. Nutrients that are needed in relatively large amounts are called the macronutrients. Plant macronutrients include: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur and magnesium.

There are a handful of additional nutrients that are required for plant growth, but in much smaller quantities. These micronutrients include: boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.

All of these nutrients are taken in through the roots. Water transfers the nutrients from the soil to the plant roots. So one requirement of sufficient plant nutrition is water. A second requirement is the appropriate soil pH for the plant being grown. Each plant prefers a specific pH range to be able to access the nutrients in the soil. Some plants are fussier than others, but if the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, the plant will not be able to take in nutrients no matter how rich your soil may be.

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms

Macronutrients

Calcium (Ca)

  • Symptoms: New leaves are distorted or hook shaped. The growing tip may die. Contributes to blossom end rot in tomatoes, tip burn of cabbage and brown/black heart of escarole & celery.
  • Sources: Any compound containing the word ‘calcium’. Also gypsum.
  • Notes: Not often a deficiency problem and too much will inhibit other nutrients.

Nitrogen (N)

  • Symptoms: Older leaves, generally at the bottom of the plant, will yellow. Remaining foliage is often light green. Stems may also yellow and may become spindly. Growth slows.
  • Sources: Any compound containing the words: ‘nitrate’, ‘ammonium’ or ‘urea’. Also manure.
  • Notes: Many forms of nitrogen are water soluble and wash away.

Magnesium (Mg)

  • Symptoms: Slow growth and leaves turn pale yellow, sometimes just on the outer edges. New growth may be yellow with dark spots.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘magnesium’, such as Epson Salts.

Phosphorus (P)

  • Symptoms: Small leaves that may take on a reddish-purple tint. Leaf tips can look burnt and older leaves become almost black. Reduced fruit or seed production.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘phosphate’ or ‘bone’. Also greensand.
  • Notes: Very dependent on pH range.

Potassium (K)

  • Symptoms: Older leaves may look scorched around the edges and/or wilted. Interveinal chlorosis (yellowing between the leaf veins) develops.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘potassium’ or ‘potash’.

Sulfur (S)

  • Symptoms: New growth turns pale yellow, older growth stays green. Stunts growth.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘sulfate’.
  • Notes: More prevalent in dry weather.

 

Micronutrients

Boron (B)

  • Symptoms: Poor stem and root growth. Terminal (end) buds may die. Witches brooms sometimes form.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘borax’ or ‘borate’.

Copper (Cu)

  • Symptoms: Stunted growth. Leaves can become limp, curl, or drop. Seed stalks also become limp and bend over.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘copper’, ‘cupric’ or ‘cuprous’.

Manganese (Mn)

  • Symptoms: Growth slows. Younger leaves turn pale yellow, often starting between veins. May develop dark or dead spots. Leaves, shoots and fruit diminished in size. Failure to bloom.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘manganese’ or ‘manganous’

Molybdenum (Mo)

  • Symptoms: Older leaves yellow, remaining foliage turns light green. Leaves can become narrow and distorted.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘molybdate’ or ‘molybdic’.
  • Notes: Sometimes confused with nitrogen deficiency.

Zinc (Zn)

  • Symptoms: Yellowing between veins of new growth. Terminal (end) leaves may form a rosette.
  • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘zinc’.
  • Notes: Can become limited in higher pH.

Originally posted on growrealfood.com


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The best fish for aquaponics

1. Environmental Conditions
First consider your your environment, is it hot, cold or tropical? Choose a fish that suits your environmental conditions.

2. Feed Sources
What food to you have access to feed your fish? Will you grow duckweed? Will you breed black soldier fly larvae?

3. Purpose
Are you wanting fish to eat or just for producing waste to feed your plants?

4. Size
How big will your fish tank be and how many fish will you stock? Is it a small desktop system, that is great for a siamese fighting fish(betta) or a big system, that would be great for delecious murray cod.

5. Is it legal?
The fish you want, could be classified as an invasive species. So remember to check with the local fishery department.


Use the infographic below to help you choose the best fish for your aquaponic system.

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Different types of aquaponic systems

There are many different type of aquaponics systems. These include media based, NFT(nutrient flow techinque) and DWC (deep water culture). Use this infographic to help choose the right system for you.

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Companion Planting Guide

Companion planting guide infographic

Companion planting guide infographic

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

Use this handy guide to layout your plants in the most efficient way.

Use this handy guide to layout your plants in the most efficient way.

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co


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IBC Tote Aquaponics Construction

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IBC Tote Aquaponics Construction

Follow these simple to follow instructions to build your very own IBC Tote aquqponics. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get started on the journey to healthy, organic food for your family.

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10 Plants to repel bugs in your garden

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10 Plants to repel bugs in your garden

Use these 10 plants in your backyard to help prevent unwanted insects. Sign up to our newsletter and I will let you know when this article has been updated with much more handy tips. Cheers!

Remember if you use this infographic on your website, you must have a link back to this page and our home page www.desima.co

 

References
http://grow-vegetable.com/10-bug-repelling-plants-your-backyard-needs/

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2014/05/08/will-catnip-repel-mosquitoes-house-flies-and-other-nasty-insects/

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pest-repelling_plants


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Mason Jar DIY Herb Garden

This one is really simple, if you are wanting to make a simple little herb garden at home. Just follow the instruction below in the infographic.

Mason Jar DIY Herb Garden

Mason Jar DIY Herb Garden


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Alternatives to fish for aquaponics

 

There are many alternatives to fish for aqauponics, but many are still at the experimental stage. What other alternatives would you love to try out? Are their any I missed?

Alternatives to fish for aquaponics

Here's an example of Quakuponics by reddit user aquaponics_in_paradi Going through his post, it seem one of the main issue for ducks is the amount of sludge they produce and how to filter this for the plants. Not mention the stronger pump that you would need.


Here's an example of shrimp being added to an aquaponics system.


Check out this turtleponics system below.


To learn more about vermiponics check out http://www.vermiponicsonline.com/why-grow-with-vermiponics.html


Watch the video below to see yabbies added to an aquaponics system. Make sure to give the little guys somewhere to hide.


Here's one more alternative I found online, but I do not recommend it at all.


For those into survival skills, check out http://www.realitysurvival.com/


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Aquaponics Nitrogen Cycle

 
Aquaponics Nitrogen Cycle

Aquponics is easy, don't be put of by this complex infographic.


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