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?
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.”
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?
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!
No, this is not the title of some kind of crazy sci-fi flick about killer berries from outer space. Actually, sometimes our raspberry and blackberry canes attack us as if they were trying to cause harm. Those thorns can be sharp!
I just built this simple trellis system to help keep those wild and crazy berry plant canes from invading our path. Plus, the trellises offer a great structure to drape bird netting over. Double duty!
A picture is worth a thousand words. So, I do not believe instructions are required. Just be sure to only use wood that is untreated. I used natural cedar wood. Cedar is durable, resists rot fairly well and weathers nicely.
Taming Our Wild Berries
lettuce started from seed needs thinning
Ever feel remorse and near sadness for snipping bunched up seedlings like these? Many experts recommend thinning in that way. You simply select a strong seedling and snip off the neighboring plants to allow the strongest plant to grow.
Here on the DIY Backyard Farm we have a “no snipping policy”! Instead, we invest a bit more time and a lot more care to gently uproot crowed seedlings and transplant them so they grow at desired spacings.
lettuce seedlings in their new home
Our method requires a soft touch. In fact, tweezers come in handy for this job. Just be sure not to pick young plants up by their stems. We grab by the root tips instead.
Transplanting crowded seedlings gives you a ton of bang for your buck!
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 had heard. Check it our for yourselves in the video below.
Of course, I plan to report our results on this blog. However, we really have no idea if this experiment will be a success. That is part of the fun! Never expect too much. Just enjoy the gardening journey!
Week 3 of “Buckets of Potatoes” Experiment
If you have never tasted the crisp, fresh flavor of a home-grown onion than you are just not living the good life yet. Fear not, for much of the USA this is a great time of year to plant onions. I prefer to plant onions from “sets” and show you how to do it in this short, informative video.
Do you need more convincing? I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that onions and garlic keep away unwanted pests. I believe this trick works too and have lined the perimeter of some of my gardens with them!
What types of onions do you prefer?