First 2016 Bucket of Potatoes Harvest

It may have been a bit early, but our bucket of Red Norland potatoes was ready to harvest. Red Norland are an early maturing potato variety anyway, but this bucket was even earlier because of the type of pot or “bucket” that we used.

To make a long story short, we gave our last white potato bucket to a friend who wanted to grow his own bucket of potato goodness. As is usually the case when you give something away, we wound up needing it!

Some extra Red Norland seed potatoes needed a home and we were without the usual white bucket. Instead, we dropped them into a large black pot filled with our fabulous DIY Backyard Farm soil.

At first everything was going great. The spring did not bring hot temps at all and there was plenty of rain. Then Mother Nature turned up the heat. The days got longer and the sun got hotter. What do you think we learned???

Yes, the early days of science class came blasting back into our minds. Black colors absorb sun, white colors reflect it. Our black pot was turning our potatoes into french fries!!!

We moved the pot into a part sun area and watered it twice a day to help revive the greens. The plants started to turn around and then they suddenly browned out and went flat. Was all lost???

Watch the video below to find out!

Learn to Harvest Garlic

A few minutes time watching this video will help teach you the proper timeing and technique for harvesting your garlic. Didn’t grow garlic?

Watch it anyway to get inspired. We plant ours every October. Will you be planting some in 2016?

Companion Planting For Longer Lettuce Season

image It’s July and nearly 100° here on the DIY Backyard Farm. Lots of people who stop by ask how we still have lettuce, arugula, spinach  and other heat sensitive greens.

Our secret is all about choosing the right neighbors.  True, we do have great neighbors living near our DIY Backyard Farm, but in this case I am talking about plant neighbors!

As you can see in the picture above, we have our own living adjustable umbrella shading a new crop of lettuce.  The large kale plant is acting as a sun shade for the very heat sensitive lettuce below it.  The really cool part (no pun intended) is you can pick off some of the kale leaves in case there is not enough sun. Conversely, if you need more shade the kale plant grows so fast it won’t be long before the umbrella opens up wider.

This is not exactly an example of companion planting in the more traditional sense that you might read about in gardening books. However, it works for us!

 

 

The Trick to Growing Better Peas & Beans

Check out the video below for a can’t miss tip that will work for peas, beans, cucumbers and other “climbers”.

No pea left behind…everyone of them can now climb!

 

How and When to Pick Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are an amazingly tasty gift from the garlic gods who deemed the waiting period for garlic bulbs to be too long. Enough with the edible gardening mythology. Let’s move on to the tips.

The video below offers up the basics on how and when to harvest garlic scapes.

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Parting Shot…Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

 

A Tip For My Container Gardening Friends

fishnure tomato experiment

Give your container garden soil a refreshing “mix”

Someone asked me a great question at a recent edible gardening seminar I was speaking at. She was a container gardener who asked what she should be doing with her soil at the beginning of the season. The woman was referring to how to prep the soil before planting the new season’s crop.

Containers do not benefit from the same natural changes our garden soils go through. For example, contaners will have less or even no earth worms patroling the soil on “doody” Containers certainly don’t cooperate when you’re trying to turn their soil over either.

Wait, maybe there is a better way to prep container garden soil…

When I prepare my container gardens I usually group them all together and dump them into a large wheelbarrow or onto a tarp. My goal is to break up the soil, remove the larger roots that are left over from previous crops and amend the soil. I will usually add some soil blend, compost and/or organic vegetable garden fertilizer.

If you are adding any soils or fertilizers be sure you are using ones designed specifically for edible gardening. Lastly, more DOES NOT equal better when it comes to fertilizer. Follow product instructions.

After I get the soil pile nice and mixed and free of clumps I add it all back into the containers. I usually have some left over because the soil gets nice and airated from breaking up the clumps and gentle mixing in of the aforementioned ammendments. A nice excuse to start a new container!

 

Healthy Inspiration

Today I received a daily writing prompt that challenged me to write a post based on a single word. The word for today is, “healthy”.

I was immediately reminded of this post I wrote about a year ago. Getting a new generation of eaters on the health train is one of the most rewarding things I can think of. It is a big reason I smile widely when I see kids enjoying their home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Enjoy!
Healthy

Avoid A Common Edible Gardening Mistake

Have you been to a local garden center yet this spring? If so you’ve likely seen the amazing spreads of vegetables and herbs lined up in flat after flat just waiting to come home with you. Maybe the rows of fruit trees and berry shrubs caught your attention too!

vegetable, plants

Exciting and Overwhelming Simultaneously

Getting excited about edible gardening is great. Buying more plants than you could possibly use is not! However, that is exactly what happens to edible gardeners who fail to plan. One of the most common mistakes I see is the failure to plan out an edible garden before actually going to the store to buy plants and seeds. If you do not have a plan you could be setting yourself up for difficulty or even gardening failure. You will likely waste a lot of money on unused plants too!

So before you go out to buy plants and seeds you should…

Plan Your Garden and then Garden Your Plan!

Writing Neatly

So Easy A Kid Can Do It

My edible garden planning guidebook is a great for learning the basics of edible gardening. It even contains edible garden planning worksheets to help you design a successful edible garden. I hope you will check it out. Then you can have a garden like this (see below)

garden, well planned

Well-Planned Edible Gardens

Keep Birds Away From Your Seeds and Seedlings

Scarecrows have been used for years to deter birds and other animals from eating farm crops. Here on the DIY Backyard Farm, hungry robins are particularly damaging hunters of freshly planted seeds and young seedlings.

This season we upcycled some broken garden hose into our own version of a scarecrow. Actually, we made many versions! As you can see in the picture below, a broken garden hose can quickly be made to look like a snake. My kids loved decorating these and I have loved the results.

I am even using these around the lawn to keep the birds on their toes and away from the grass seed I just planted.

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