The Best Thing To Do In Your Edible Garden Is…

Veggie Girl

Veggie Girl

Letting a child grow up in and around an edible garden is the best thing I have ever done. Both of my kids have had the pleasure of having and tending to their own little gardens within our family garden. They truly enjoy the whole process of growing their own produce.

Proof is in the pictures! Check out these veggie character creations they sketched. I did not commission these pieces of art or even “plant” the idea in their heads. They just decided to sketch out some characters after spending a few minutes picking and tending to the gardens.

Get in the garden today and bring along your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews. Grow your own!

Veggie Man

Veggie Man

Monthly Garden Experiment – Fishnure (June)

In February while seeking a break from the snow and ice I came across Fishnure Fertilizer. Some guy on Twitter was posting pictures of side by side plant comparisons with and without the use of Fishnure. That guy was Jim and he’s the main person behind the Fishnure line of products.

I did not know Jim, so naturally I was skeptical and asked him to send me a sample so I could try my own comparisons.

A week later some Fishnure arrived in the mail! Good to see he was confident enough in his product to take up the challenge.

Waiting to try Fishnure was difficult because I had planned on using it for a tomato comparison. That meant I had to wait until May!

Fast forward a few months and there I was with my son, “The Tomato Shark”. Together we began the Fishnure Tomato Experiment. If you missed last month’s experiment on growing bucket loads of potatoes click here–>Potato Experiment.

We chose Supersweet 100’s tomatoes for the Fishnure experiment. The 2 plants were purchased from the store as starts and came from the exact same package. Our plan was to have two potted tomato plants. Potting them allows more control over soil, water, sunlight and nutrient differences. Both pots got identical garden soil right from the DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Beds. The only difference was that I mixed Fishnure into the soil of one of the plants.

The picture below shows the plants at the 2.5 week mark. The plant on the right is the one growing with Fishnure. We certainly noticed more foliage on the Fishnure treated plant at this point in the experiment. However, as I write this post we are almost into week 4 and the control plant seems to have caught up.

Plants at the 2 week mark in the experiment

Plants at the 2.5 week mark in the experiment

At this time we decided to add a top dressing of Fishnure. The product labeling recommends 2x a year feeding with Fishnure. This feeding will be the only additional application of the product we use this season.

Using Fishnure is fairly easy and not too messy. Ours came in a resealable bag. The product we tested had a tendency to clump and we had to break it up a bit before using. I was surprised by how little smell there was. I was expecting something that smelled like old fish tank or maybe fish oil capsules.

The plan is to update this post as the season progresses. My son and I are excited to see the final results of this experiment and will be sure to share them on the DIY Backyard Farm blog. Will the Fishnure treated plant produce more tomatoes? Will the tomatoes taste better or different from the tomatoes on our control plant? Only time will tell! Stay tuned…

Tips For Tasty Tomatoes

DIY Backyard Farmer:

This post deserves a reblog because…it is tomato time again! Woo-hoo!

Originally posted on Backyard Edible Gardening:

Many people ask us how we grow such great tomatoes year in and year out. First, we are not perfect and we do have an off year from time to time. However, even in a bad year we manage to grow enough quality tomatoes  to satisfy our needs along with the needs of many friends and family.

Since our first 2 tomato posts of the season were so popular we decided to make a series out of them, In the first video we covered planting tomatoes. In tomato video #2 we offered tips on caring for newly planted tomatoes. In the video below we offer some simple tips that have resulted in great tomatoes for us over the years.

The only thing we forgot to mention in he video is a reminder to take notes. You will want to remember what works and what does so you can…

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Have You Seen This Cool Plant?

tomato, plant

“Ketchup n’ Fries” Grafted Tomato/Potato Plant

We have and we will be planting a rather large one in the DIY Backyard Farm edible garden tomorrow. Stay tuned for more details and growing results. Thank you to Roshler’s Allendale Nursery for introducing us to this interesting, grafted tomato/potato plant.

Lingering With My Lettuce

lettuce

Beautiful Lettuce Plants Almost Ready to Become Salad

Have you ever had a gardening day when you felt like you used up every last-minute tending to your plants without being tired or feeling like it was work? Today was one of those days for me. After work I pulled weeds with my son, started to set up a cat’s-cradle trellis system for our tomatoes and even harvest (with a headlamp) kale, radishes, swiss chard, beet greens and lettuce. Then I brought it all in to be washed while I talked over the day with my wife.

Nearly five hours of garden related activities after a full day at main job! I actually felt somewhat refreshed as I opened my laptop to write this post.

As the days grow longer we will all have more opportunities to linger with our lettuce. Do you find gardening to be as joyful as I do?

Monthly Experiment (April 2015) – Growing Bucket Loads of Potatoes

DIY Backyard Farmer:

3 weeks ago we began our “buckets of potatoes” experiment. The first 2 weeks had us a bit worried and even a bit bored. Then out of the blue we saw some vegetative action!
Check out the updated photos I added to the original post.

Originally posted on Backyard Edible Gardening:

Each season we focus on 1 or 2 new edible plants to grow. Last season tomatillos got our vote. We sure did get our fill of tomatillo salsa, chimichurri, and other tomatillo creations. In fact our neighbors did too!

What new plant would we grow this year? First a wee bit of DIY Backyard Farm history.

For years I have wondered if I could grow the bucket loads of potatoes that so many online videos and blogs talked about. I almost tried last year, but decided to wait a bit longer so the kids could be old enough to help with this experiment. Kids love to experiment with stuff!

So, back in February we finalized our garden planning worksheets and made it official. 2015 will be the season of the potato (in buckets). I hope the results are as promising as they sound. The set-up sure was as easy as I…

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A Top Tip For Edible Gardening Success

book cover image

I love free stuff as much as the next person. Here on the DIY Backyard Farm we often joke, “if it is free it is for me!”

With this post I am offering a free peek inside our book, “DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide, 2nd Edition“.

Below is an excerpt taken right from the book. It contains a top tip that I have found is  key to edible gardening success. If you like what you read you can buy the book here.

Taken from chapter 2 of the book:

“Start small, but leave room to expand later. When it comes to edible garden planning the urge will probably be there to GO BIG or go home. Resist this urge young grasshopper! Edible gardens require more work as plants mature.

My family and I made the mistake of going too big more than once. It is just so easy to either plan too large of a space or over plant a once manageably sized edible garden space. In fact, we have had seasons when even the usually fun and pleasing task of harvesting became a dreaded chore.

In addition, you will likely learn more from a manageable garden because you’ll have more time to properly observe the garden. During this “downtime” you can take notes on what is working, what you would change, and how you feel about the endeavor overall. In our gardens, such observations happen during leisurely strolls around the paths. Instead of stopping to “smell the roses”, we stop to taste the tomatoes or the first delicious snap peas of the year. Pure enjoyment!

So start small, leave room to expand and eventually you will find the perfectly sized plot of land to satisfy your edible gardening needs and desires.”

The Proper Way to Plant Tomatoes

My 9 year-old son, locally known as “The Tomato Shark” shows us how to plant tomatoes the right way. Yes, there is a wrong way to plant tomato plants.

Don’t be afraid to bury them in fairly deep like you see in the video. The tomato plant will develop a better root system. Better roots usually means better plant too!

Here is a more detailed tomato planting video we put out last year for the folks who want a bit more information.

What types of tomatoes are you growing this season?

How to Find Buried Treasure in Your Yard

I have yet to own a piece of property that does not hold some kind of buried treasure. Of course, the definition of treasure is in the eye of the beholder.

Sometimes treasure comes in the form of some really cool vintage glass marbles. I am amazed that marbles are such a common yard find, but then again kids once played marbles all the time.

Action figures are another fun find. Sometimes they are entangled in pachysandra and other times they are buried a few inches into the dirt. Make believe warriors battling mother nature and all she can throw at them. When I find an action figure I often think of the stories it could tell. If only it could talk!

Finally, we get down to the really cool and sometimes amazingly valuable stuff. Ever hear the story about the Honus Wagner card inside of a metal case? Some lucky person unearthed that find in their yard (reportedly). Sadly I have never found one of these!

Yesterday while planting a beautiful new tree I did find this amazing blue glass Milk of Magensia bottle. Surely the monetary value of this bottle will not rival the Honus Wagner card.  Though I must say I did get quite a bit of value stopping to ponder the story behind this recent find.

My Most Recent Find

How did it get here? Were some work men building the house sick to their stomachs? Maybe it was being used as a flask to hold some whiskey? What year did this bottle come from?

I will be researching this cool fine over the weekend to see if I can figure out some more background or at least get an idea of how old it is. Who knows, maybe it is even be worth a couple hundred bucks.

What treasures have you found buried in your yard? The only way to find out is to start exploring. Building your own edible garden is one way to see what might be buried just beneath the surface. Our new book can show you how to get started in backyard edible gardening today!