Growing Basil Indoors


A true monarch of herbs, appropriately, since its name is derived from Basileus, the Greek word for King. Once you have cooked with it there is no escape, you become addicted and have to restrain yourself from adding it to every dish.

Sweet basil (Ocinum basilicum Labiatae)is a native of south-east Asia and has been cultivated in Europe for about two thousand years, cosseted as much for its medical and culinary qualities as for its supposed powers in witchcraft, superstitions and religious rites. Bush basil (Ocinum minimum) is a miniature variety, no higher than 6-12 inches, more shrubby with a thick mass of small leaves. Sweet basil is more productive and bush basil more adaptable for growing in pots in the house, on balconies or in window boxes.

A pot of basil in an open window or courtyard, growing or picked, will keep away flies and other disagreeable insects, counteract the effects of foods of suspicious “freshness’ and like so many other herbs, is an aid to digestion.

The whole plant has an exotic, spicy, almost disquieting aroma, released by the lightest touch, which you want to imprison in all manner of ways. The fresh, highly pungent leaves, chopped or shredded do for tomatoes, turtle soup and liver, what fresh truffles do for egg and meat dishes. Basil transforms simple dishes and adds subtle piquant undertones particularly to tomato and mushroom sauces and soups. It is an essential ingredient of many French, Italian and Greek dishes…a tantalizing element in stuffing’s, sausages, omelets, soufflés, sauces with fish and chicken and herb butters as well as in green salads. It is a hardship to leave basil out of anything.

Basil is distinctly a solo herb. Only a cooking spoil sport would use another fresh herb at the same time in a salad dish. The fresh leaves should not be cooked but sprinkled at the last moment onto either a cold or hot dish so that the rich, warm, slightly peppery clove fragrance flows straight to the taste buds at it fullest. Of the infinite ways in which it casts its spell, it is considered at its best on a tomato salad.

Cultivating Basil:
Though basil is a perennial in warm countries, it has to be pampered as a tender annual in temperate climates and rarely stretches to its possible 2-3 feet. The glossy pale green ovate leaves vary around 2 inches long. The flowers are white or purple tinged, insignificant and should not be allowed to develop, or the plants will be more interested in producing seed pods than succulent leaves. Nip out the centers of the young plants as they grow to encourage them into a bushy shape.

Sow basil seed in the open ground after all frosts or cold-snaps are over, in a sheltered sunny place with well-drained fertile soil. Keep them well watered in dry weather. As both types dislike being transplanted…root disturbance stunts them…it is best to sow a few seeds into individual pots and when they have germinated, pull out the weaklings and leave the rest to grow on in their pots on a windowsill. In this way you can have basil in the home all through the year.

The first breath of frost kills outdoor basil, but you can rescue as many as you have space for by potting them into richer soil than they enjoyed in the garden, cut them back to the first pair of leaves from the base, and bring them indoors to use as you need.

Preserving Basil
Dried Basil is better than no basil at all, though less pungent than fresh. Pick the leaves when they are young and fresh. Discard any brown or discolored ones. Hang the leaves in bunches in a warm, dry place, away from strong sunlight-an airing cupboard would be ideal. Leave until the leaves are quite dry—the length of time taken to dry them will depend on the temperature and atmosphere of the drying place. When quite dry, crumble into airtight jars and label.

Basil freezes well, wash, scissor or chop the leaves and pack tightly into an ice cube tray. Top with water and freeze. When frozen, turn out into plastic bags and store in the freezer. Take out cubes as required; defrost in a strainer and use as fresh.

More About Basil Here!

Successful Gardening ~
Kali S. Winters





Herb Garden in Pots


When considering the prospect of planting a container herb garden or a backyard herb garden, be aware that all herbs can be grown in containers, however, some herbs thrive much better then others. Indoor herb gardens require the same growing conditions that garden herbs require.

One advantage to growing container herbs is the ability to transport the pots to any desired location. Annual herbs can spend their entire time indoors. On the other hand, Perennial herbs thrive much better if they are placed outdoors during the summer growing season. With the exception of mint, chives and tarragon, all herbs should be brought indoors to avoid the loss of foliage before the first frost. Mint, chives and tarragon tend go into a “rest period” then they become firmer and provide a fresher growth after they are introduced to a light frost. It is important to research the specific type of herb you will be planting to ensure maximum growth.

It does not matter so much the type of container used as much as the fact that the conditions of the soil, sunlight and water are held into account. These are the 3 basic ingredients in order for a herb to grow properly.

The main key is sunlight whether grown indoors or out in a garden. Always place your indoor herbs in a southern or western exposed windowsill to maximize the best exposure to the sun. Different types of herbs have different light restrictions but, for the most part, all need sunshine to thrive. A supplemental light source can be used such as “grow lamps” or fluorescent lamps.

As far as the soil is concerned, herbs need a well-drained, semi-rich soil to grow. For best results with container herbs, add a 2 to1 mixture of sterilized potting soil with one part coarse sand or perlite for herbs that are grown in containers. Be sure to include an inch of gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure that the plant has good drainage. Adding one teaspoon of line to a 5-inch pot enhances the “sweetness” of the herb.

Herbs grown in pots also require additional water, more so than herbs grown in a garden. Pay close attention to the amount of water however; you do not want the roots of your container herb to become too drenched or become too soggy. This will rot the roots. To maintain the right humidity conditions, moisten the pebbles or mist the leaves to keep the herb from drying or developing brown leaves in the hot sun.

Pruning plants and an occasional harvest does encourage new growth and a healthier herb. You will then be able to use your herbs as much as you desire. Use them in your recipes or store, dry or can them or even give them away as gifts to friends and relatives.

The tips listed above will enable you to care for your herbs so they become healthy, thriving and stable. Remember to periodically give your herbs a light feeding and a yearly repotting for optimal growth. Also remember to replant annuals every year and move perennials outdoors when the time is right.



This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening.

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Kali S Winters

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Indoor Vegetable Gardening


Nothing beats the fresh wholesome taste of fresh vegetables picked right from your very own backyard vegetable garden. Vegetable garden planting can be a challenge if you don’t have a backyard, but you can still grow your own vegetables indoors. Just follow a few simple garden-smart guidelines.

Choose Appropriate Vegetables

Different plants have different requirements and with indoor vegetable gardening the major restrictions tend to be the available space and available light. If you want to grow fruit bearing plants, they will require a larger amount of sunlight. Salad greens like lettuce, miniature cabbages, swiss chard, and spinach are considered one of the more hardy indoor vegetables.

If you are considering container vegetable gardens, the size of your pots will also determine your choice of plants. Fruit plants go in larger containers whereas a herbs seed will thrive in a much smaller container. Choose containers that will adjust to the plants eventual growth. Small root crops such as radishes and onions are great choices for growing vegetable plants indoors. There are even small root carrots available as well. Growing herbs in pots are a popular choice because they are compacted and do not require too much space. Miniature varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can also thrive when growing indoor vegetables if they are given the proper care.

Find the Perfect Spot for Growing

Lighting is an important consideration when growing indoor vegetables. A bright south-facing window is your best bet, but any spot that gets a minimum of 5 hours of continuous light can be utilized. In addition to natural light, you can set up supplemental artificial lighting if you are really serious about growing vegetables indoors year round.

Traffic flow is also another important factor to think about. Vegetables in general bruise easily, so you want to choose fairly quiet spots to minimize accidental human contact. If you have small children or pets in your home, you may want to locate your garden well out of their reach. It is also important to think about the proximity to your gardening tools for easy clean-up if things get messy.

Optimize the Microclimate

Plants grow best in high humidity and moderate temperatures. Indoor vegetables usually suffer from low humidity and this needs to be addressed. Container vegetable gardens tend to dry out faster and will require more frequent watering. However, it is important not to let the plants get waterlogged as this may cause root rot. Make sure that there is plenty of drainage by creating raised vegetable garden beds with a pan of gravel underneath. Evaporation from the dishes also improves humidity so they do serve a dual purpose.

Another great way to optimize your microclimate is to group plants together. You can mix your vegetables with more decorative houseplants to create groupings that are not only beautiful but also functional. Remember to always consider companion vegetable plants. Temperature is actually easier to control inside the house since it is easier to provide more shade by simply drawing the curtains. Just make sure plants are protected from drafts such as cold air returns and AC units.

Get Good Potting Soil

Potting soil for indoor vegetables should drain well and contain the nutrients needed to support growth and development. You can purchase premixed potting soil that already incorporates the proper amount of fertilizer. If you prefer to go organic, you can get organic potting mixes from your local garden shop. Add nutrients with caution, as fertilizer buildup is quite common in containers.

Indoor vegetable gardening can be incredibly rewarding, so do not be afraid to give it a try. You may even end up growing enough produce to give away as gifts to delight your family and friends.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here! There you will find one of 12 free bonus books on Building a Backyard Vegetable Gardening….with instructions and pictures to help!



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Indoor Hydroponic Gardening


Many gardeners are beginning to switch to a hydroponics home garden for many different reasons. A hydroponics garden can be small, can easily be grown inside and are perfect for most vegetables, especially the red tomato. Additionally, hydroponic gardening supplies are relatively inexpensive and they are quite easy to manage.

Indoor hydroponic gardening is the growing of plants without soil, in other words, “dirtless gardening”. There are many methods of a hydroponics home garden, most of which work better than regular soil gardening because it is easier to give the plant exactly what it needs when it needs it. Plants will only receive what you give them; therefore you will be able to regulate the pH, nutrients, nutrient strength, water and light amount. This makes it imperative that you research the kind of plants you will be growing so you know what they need to survive.

Indoor Hydroponic gardening is only as difficult as you make it. It can get complicated if computers with sensors are used to control water cycles, nutrients, and light for the plants. However, it can also be as simple as a hand held watering bucket and a single plant. The normal hydroponics home garden system is usually made up of a few basic parts: a growing tray, light (natural or artificial), a reservoir, a water controlled pump for watering (or some type of watering equipment), and some form of air pump to give oxygen to the nutrients.

The growing medium used in a hydroponics home garden can be any number of things, such as Rockwool, perlite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand, vermiculite, or even air. You can get instructions from a gardening store or shop online. You can ever buy separate parts to build your own. There are also kits already assembled for sale in gardening supply stores.

There are certain micro-nutrients that are necessary for healthy plant growth including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, cobalt, boron, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. These nutrients are absolutely essential to plants. If they are missing it would cause the food to become unhealthy and in some cases even cause health problems for those who eat it. It is very important that you use a quality fertilizer when building hydroponic garden.

Another important aspect of a hydroponics home garden that must be closely regulated is the pH balance. When the pH balance varies the plants will lose the ability to absorb the nutrients that it needs. The ease with which the pH in Hydroponics gardening is tested and controlled give it a huge advantage over regular dirt gardening.

Even though there are hundreds of different variations, Wick, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, Drip, N.F.T., and Aeroponic are the six most basic types of Hydroponics gardening systems. Indoor hydroponics gardening is easy, affordable, and you can have fresh produce, flowers, herbs & spices all year long!

If you would like to learn more about the specifics of indoor hydroponic gardening, my good friend Narelle just came out with an awesome book and audio tapes here!

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Understanding Container Gardening


If you are a garden lover, but have no space for your gardening appetite, don’t worry, gardening is not necessarily out of your reach. In the available space of your house say your balcony, patio, deck, or sunny window, you can create a container garden, which will not only bring you joy but also vegetables. So, are you ready to start container gardening yourself?…

In the past, gardening is an exclusive realm of the landowner. Nowadays even the flat dweller can grow their dream garden without having any fuss. One’s dream can be fulfilled by container gardening, which means gardening in a special container. Container gardening gives the delights of landscaping without the weekly mowing. In a container, you can raise perennials, annuals, and even shrubs, herbs and small trees.

Don’t think container gardening can be achieved very easily. Container gardening also requires proper planning just like that of traditional gardening. Planning consists of finding your USDA zone. This will help you to identify the suitable plant variety of your zone, the amount of daylight you are receiving in your apartment and finally being able to choose your beloved plant variety.

It is always advisable to buy the plants from the nearest nursery unless you have the right conditions to go for indoor seedlings. You should not keep the tender plants of container gardening outside below 45° F or in soaring winds. Moreover you should not leave the new plants outside at night in fear of Jack Frost.

There is a false notion that any plant grown in the ground won’t grow in a gardening container. That’s not so. If you have any doubt, please do experiment with it. Moreover, any container with holes for drainage can be used for your container garden. Just make sure you place a saucer under the container to catch any drips!

Container gardening requires a very little budget in the initial stage. It also requires very little maintenance but with great satisfaction. Container gardening requires small amounts of fertilizer and water depending upon the specific needs of the plants.

There are numerous pot growing vegetable varieties for container gardening. With this type, the vegetable plant requires only sunlight and water. Providing these two things can easily help you get fresh vegetables for your ratatouille or salad. You can get more satisfaction by serving these varieties nurtured by your own hands to your beloved pals.

Don’t despair-if you don’t have a balcony or deck? Get the O.K. from your landlord for window boxes, to establish a long standing tradition of container gardening. It is highly possible to grow many annuals year-round and and also indoor vegetables in your sunny window sill garden. There is another type of garden called community gardens, which will satisfy the city dwellers.

There is no need to end your container gardening once you have entered the autumn season. You can continue your container gardening by selecting the plants that can withstand the frost. The common plant varieties that stand up to the frost are Eulalia grasses, Mexican feather grass, Cornflowers, Lavender cottons, Jasmine, Million bells, Stonecrops, etc.,

In order to extend the life of your garden from early spring to fall, you can replant in order to match the climatic conditions. You can even contact some of America’s best gardeners online to get designs for your container gardening needs. They offer suggestions such as caring and choosing your pots, growing tips for succulents, roses, and bulbs, in containers.

Kali Winters is a Herb Gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain amazing Herb Gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Indoor Garden Design


A lot of people stick a fake tree in a corner, dust the leaves off every week, and call it indoors gardening. There are also people that think plants belong and should always remain outside. But indoor garden design has grown into much more than that lately. There are many reasons for indoor plant growing. For instance, plants don’t only remove carbon dioxide from the air, they also remove many poisonous toxins and pollutants as well. Indoors gardening will provide beautiful decorations in your home as well as providing cleaner air.

When picking out an indoor house plant, make sure they are hearty indoor plants and they are adaptable. They must be able to thrive in the conditions and settings of your home. Consider how much time you will be able to spend caring for the plants, how much light your house offers, and also how much money you want to spend on your indoor house plant. If you are on a low budget, start with seeds or cuttings. If you have a little more money to dish out you can buy a plant that is already grown. Another thing to consider is if you want an indoor house plant that can be displayed all year or just for a short season.

Indoor herb gardening is another great example for an indoor house plant; they are both attractive and edible. They will grow pretty quick and you won’t have to wait a long time to see results. Some popular culinary herbs for cooking, are chives, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano.

When indoor plant growing, consider the amount of experience you have before choosing a plant. There are some plants that are stronger and harder to kill and therefore better for a novice gardener. Examples of hearty indoor plants are Fatsia, Cyperus, Scandens, Popular Succulents, Coleus, and Bromeliads.

The basic rules of maintaining plants are a bit different with indoor plant growing than they are in a regular outdoor setting. Since plants won’t get the sunlight they do outdoors, lighting is essential. You need to know exactly how much light your plants require. Pick an indoor house plant that only needs medium to low light, such as ferns or Philodendrons, unless you plan to supply artificial lighting. If you purchased a plant that was already grown, it might have received better lighting than your home provides. You will therefore have to “condition” your plant and gradually reduce the light it receives. Once you get the plant inside, make sure to rotate the plant to encourage upward growth.

Just because you are indoor plant growing, don’t think the plants don’t have to have water; they still do. How often you water, once again, depends on what type of plant you have. Make sure the water can drain out of the bottom of the pot and try to use water that is about the same as the temperature of the room. Also pay attention to the temperatures in your house in order to ensure a healthy plant. A 10-15 degree fluctuation won’t hurt any plant, but rapid changes could cause damage.

Indoor garden design is not at all that difficult; in fact, it is pretty much the same as outdoor gardening. There are even some advantages to indoor gardening. For example, you won’t have to worry as much about bugs and insects bothering your plants. You also won’t have to worry about wind or frost reeking havoc on your garden.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Indoor House Plant Care


Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about indoor house plant care, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Overwatering House Plants
Overwatering kills most indoor house plants. Looks can be deceiving. To check if your plants soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don’t water it.

2. Feeding
Foliage house plants usually have high nitrogen requirements, while flowering house plants, K2O is needed. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed in your compost bucket. However, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Fertilizer house plants need feeding during their most active growth period.

3. Indoor Plant Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra are shade loving indoor plants that require no sun. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Check the label to see what your plant needs.

4. Indoor Plant Temperature
An indoor house plant can survive in cool or warm temperatures, but drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them. One thing that most indoor house plants cannot survive is gas heating. If you have an indoor house plant that likes warm conditions, don’t put it near an air conditioner in the summer.

5. House Plant Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. Grouping indoor container plants together often creates a microclimate that they will benefit from. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending upon the temperature.

6. Transplanting House Plants
Repotting indoor plants for optimum growth is sometimes required however, sometimes your indoor house plant may resent having their roots disturbed. Their root system may be too small that they do not require re-potting. One way to check if your indoor house plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all that you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or transplant.

You just need to have a little care for your indoor house plants and in turn, you’ll reap the benefits. Indoor house plants not only add to the beauty of your décor, but they also give much pleasure to the indoor gardener.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today! I’ve also included 12 free bonus books as well.



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Kali Winters

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Indoor Plant Growing


Aside from the aesthetic value an indoor house plant provides your home with, there are also health benefits – grade school science class tells us that indoor plant growing cleanse’s the air through utilizing the carbon dioxide and producing more oxygen. The following contains some important information on how to care for your indoor house plant to gain the optimum health and aesthetic benefits.

Indoor Plant Lighting

Most indoor garden plans require ample lighting. This can be provided through natural lighting in the room of your choice or there must be an electrical source for lighting. An indoor house plant requires at least 6 hours of light per day. Darker leaved plants usually don’t need as much light as others.

The following are some of the varieties of plants (usually those that only require medium to low light) that are best known to be well suited for indoor plant growing:

a. Philodendrons
b. Boston ferns
c. African violets
d. Cyclamens
e. Creeping Fig

Watering

A common mistake most people make with indoors gardening is that they tend to over-water the plants, which may lead to root decay…in other words rotten roots. Make sure to research the type of indoor house plant you have, because each type of plant varies on their watering needs.

Indoor Containers

Choose good quality and attractive indoor containers for your plants. Make sure that the indoor container is clean before placing your new plant into it to prevent infection and to encourage healthy growth.

Humidity

With indoors gardening, humidity is a big issue. The amount of moisture in the air has an large effect on the growth of your plants. Spray your indoor house plants with water during the morning hours for their much-needed moisture. Make sure the leaves don’t get covered in dust.

Fertilization

Just like watering, fertilizing depends on the type of plant. If you have managed to supply your indoor house plant with the right amount of light, water and humidity, fertilization may not need much attention. A good indoor fertilizer can be bought from most home depot or hardware stores. Orchids however, require a special fertilizer that’s only available for their type of indoor house plant.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to pick up your copy today! I’ve also included 12 free bonus books as well.

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Kali S Winters




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Container Gardening Ideas


Planting garden pots can create a natural sanctuary on a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colorful gardening pots of annuals, or create windowsill gardens with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials. Whether you arrange your gardening pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Gardening pots enables you to easily vary your color scheme, and after each plant flowers, it can be replaced with another. Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is a variety in the height of each plant. Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.

Experiment with creative plant containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make homemade plant containers with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful, but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores.

Cheap plant containers such as plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for a good effect. When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors from getting stained, or timber floors from rotting.

Always use a good quality potting mix in your gardening pots. This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.

If you have steps leading up to your front door, attractive gardening pots on each one will delight your visitors. An indoor container of plants or flowers helps to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere.

Decide ahead of time where you want your gardening pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation. There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, for they will not do well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best kept for large outdoor plant containers or for the open garden itself.

If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of unique plant containers off to one side will be more visually appealing than two similar plants placed one on each side. Unless they are spectacular, they will look rather boring.

Group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type. To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also looks affective.

With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of friends and strangers alike.

Even though there is a lot of information you need to absorb and understand about container gardening plants, the rewards are worthwhile. Container gardening ideas at home is easy but only with a bit of knowledge and patience. I hope this article has given you a bit of inspiration in your pursuit for knowledge on you own container gardening ideas. Be sure to read the rest of the articles indicated to the right…. for further knowledge…order my book…Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening

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Kali S Winters




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