How to Get Started with Backyard Edible Gardening

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New Book Cover

Over two years ago I set out to write an edible gardening guide book that could get people started with edible gardening without overwhelming them. My overall mission was and still is to get people to reconnect with their foods by growing their own healthy, delicious produce.

Last month marked the launch of the 2nd Edition! New cover, added content and more tips! The book still contains my popular garden planning worksheets too. Early feedback has been excellent and press coverage has been flattering.

The book is available for purchase from the DIY Backyard Farm eStore for $14 + applicable taxes, shipping & handling. I hope you will check it out and tell everyone you know too!

Happy Gardening!

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Click Here to Purchase

Next Reality TV Show???

I lucked into this lady Daria on Twitter who shared the teaser for a new documentary that is coming out soon. Before I could watch it I was hooked.


Well, have you ever seen those giant pumpkins that people grow? As I am sure you would expect, pumpkins do not grow that way without a lot of help from a grower. I have always heard how obsessed these growers are with their pumpkins. Obsession combined with a harmless and fun hobby like growing pumpkins = some really interesting people!

Take a look at the trailer and you will see what I mean!

Don’t Do This For Better Peas

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Purchase The New Book For More Tips and Garden Planning Worksheets

That is right, a “don’t” recommendation at a time when many folks have planted their spring pea crop. Lots of people are talking about best ways to sow the seeds, optimal trellis methods and best times to harvest. Those are lots of “do” recommendations. However, I have not seen much talk about one particular “don’t” recommendation that I find a lot of folks ignore.

Ready for the payoff pitch? It is simple and will even save you money!

Don’t fertilize your peas. That is right, peas often do best in less fertile ground. In fact, peas that have been fertilized will often produce vigorous leaf growth, but produce far less pods than their less spoiled pea friends. What do you want more of, leaves or pods? I rest my case.

Here are some other DIY Backyard Farm tips on playing nice with your peas:

Tee-“pea” Trellis

Planting Peas With Kids (they usually love snap peas)

Tips For Starting Pea Seeds Indoors

Romaine Calm…Lettuce Rejoice In Spring (finally)

The first couple of weeks of spring on the DIY Backyard Farm have been cold, crusty and filled with frost and snow. However, as the photo below depicts, “real spring” seems to finally have arrived.

The birds are chirping, seeds are beginning to awaken and today I even got to leave my trademark flannel on the hook!

Looking at the national weather map I see spring is even starting to arrive to our North. Hey Boston, did all the snow melt yet? Hang in there and visualize nature’s bounty of fresh produce bursting from your gardens and lining the tables of local farm markets.

Ah…the sights, sounds, smells and wonders of things coming back to life !

romaine lettuce

Freshly Planted and Just a Few Weeks Away From Our Salad Bowl

How to Build a “Teepee” Trellis

OK, you’ve likely seen teepee style trellises all over Pinterest and other sites recently. Trellises are fun and creative structures that also play a vital role for many vegetable plants.

This time of year I have peas on the brain. Fresh peas and all the recipes that call for them signify springtime to me. In fact, I will eat peas of all sorts all spring long until they are gone. Then I won’t touch peas again until late summer/early fall (assuming I get a second crop to grow). Eat what’s fresh and local!

Peas come in all types of varieties, shapes and sizes. Some are edible, pod and all (think snap peas) and others hide so well inside their shells (think shelling peas). Some peas grow as a bush, but most like to push high and climb. Regardless of their height they all lack the might to thrive without some support. However, peas that grow tallest must enlist the help of some kind of trellis.

There are lots of fences, nets and trellises available. If you want to get extra creative you may want to try a pea teepee like I have built-in the video below. Follow along or go your own way. Just be sure the job is not all work and no play!

Do share your creations as I love to see what other edible gardeners are up to.

Spring Cleaning – Asparagus Beds

DIY Backyard Farmer:

The perfect time of year to “dig up” this great post on preparing the asparagus beds for a great growing season!

Originally posted on Backyard Edible Gardening:

asparagus An image of spring glory to motivate you to do some spring asparagus cleaning

This is a special edition post by our friend, Dawn Crescitelli of Small Wonder Farm in NJ.

Here at Small Wonder Farm we have three types of perennial fruit (blueberry and raspberry) and vegetable (asparagus) beds to prepare. Today, I will be focusing on how to clean up and prep your asparagus beds.

First, carefully rake out your bed of left over frond pieces, seeds, and leaf debris. Clear off the debris from your row covers (if you have them) with a broom and large dust pan. You can also remove the stumpy old stems of last year’s asparagus from the garden bed. Only take the ones that are loose, do not pull or force an old stem out because this might damage the plant’s crown.

Next, weed the beds completely of ALL competing plants. Asparagus…

View original 144 more words

Your Guide to Heirloom Seeds and Where to Buy Them

Just a few more days until spring. If you do not have your edible gardening seeds yet then it is time to get cracking.

Maybe you are still trying to figure out if buying heirloom seeds is the way to go?

Check out this cool infographic from Organic Lesson and then buy your heirloom seeds here

Heirloom Seeds Infographic

Heirloom Seeds Infographic

Companion Planting Ideas

March is a frustrating month for many of us. Sure St. Pat’s Day is fun, but March is still kind of frustrating. I guess March has one thing going for it…it is not February!

Edible gardeners are often perplexed by this much maligned month. To plant or not to plant is often the question. I say don’t plant until you are sure the conditions will be just right. Instead of planting spend your time planning.

More specifically, I find this to be a great time of year to think about and plan some companion planting. My style of companion planting embraces the unique characteristics of our family gardens. For example, we love growing lettuce because it tastes great when freshly picked and saves us a lot of money. The challenge comes during July and August when heat causes the lettuce to bolt, wilt or even disappear. Fortunately, we also love tomatoes and cucumbers. Over the years we learned to plant our lettuces and tomatoes in the shade of the sun-loving tomatoes and the succulent, crunchy cukes.

I also use the above technique with basil. However, basil typically prefers a bit more sun than most types of lettuce do. Basil is everywhere in our garden!

Another companion planting I find really useful comes from our friends, onions and garlic. I like to use these plants around the borders of our gardens. Onions and garlic are not a preferred target of many pests and critters. In fact, it is said these plants deter many bugs and even animals.

What types of companion planting do you do in your edible gardens?

Seed Starting Is a Family Affair

Started a tray of kale, swiss chard, beets and cilantro seeds tonight. We used one of the garden planning worksheets from my new book to map out our seed starting trays. No more unidentified plantlings because of lost plant markers or stakes!

Make this a family affair to teach life long skills like living sustainable, self-reliance and even math, geometry and spelling!