4 Things You Can Do Now For a Great Edible Garden in 2017

It’s the time of year for lists. In the last 7 days I have seen lists about:

  • top ways to lose weight
  • saving money
  • getting organized
  • etc.

Seeing such lists got me thinking about the top things an edible gardener can do today to prepare for their best vegetable, fruit and herb gardening season. Come to think of it, if you have a productive edible garden then you will eat healthier, probably lose weight, surely save money and maybe even learn some new recipes. Talk about a life hack!

OK, without further delay, here you go:

  1. Review your notes from the previous season(s). What would you improve upon? What went right in the past? Did you jot down any ideas for new plantings in upcoming seasons? That brings me to #2…
  2. Get inspired. Start browsing those seed catalogs and find some new and exciting plants to grow this season. Before you know it the time will be right to begin starting indoor seeds.
  3. Do an inventory of your seeds and other supplies. It helps to do this before ordering any seeds because we gardeners tend to forget about that end of season discount purchase of seeds and potting mix.
  4. Start sketching out your garden plans.Have some fun here and don’t be too rigid. Your first sketch likely will not be the final one. It helps to see your mental garden plan on paper to ensure it makes sense for your space. I have included garden planning worksheets in the back of my latest book on getting started in edible gardening. I hope you will check it out and maybe purchase it too.

Before starting these activities be sure to include anyone who will be a part of your gardening endeavors. Your group will be more engaged if they had a hand in the planning of the garden.

garden plot sketch

Grandma’s garden sketch

 

 

Do This to Grow Better Produce Next Season

How has your growing season been going? Did you learn anything new, discover a new vegetable, fruit or herb that you want to grow again or find a new technique to trellis that you do not want to forget?

Each growing season offers new lessons. That is what makes edible gardening so darn fun (and addicting).

Things are beginning to slow down in the DIY Backyard Farm. As the days get shorter the plants grow slower. The weeds go slower too! That means there is less to do and more time to enjoy the amazing harvest. We still have tomatoes, peppers and some other all-star summer vegetables. There are even some golden raspberries showing up for a curtain call. It is like we have worked hard all spring and summer cycling to the top of a steep mountain. Now it is time to coast down the other side.

The extra time allows for reflection and some preliminary planning. The image below is of a real garden notes sheet for one of our tomato gardens. I included it here as an example of how we catalog our experiences and ideas. These notes will be a huge help once we begin planning for the next season’s crops.

If you take notes like these you will be a better backyard farmer and grow superior produce year after year. My book contains garden planning worksheets and garden notes pages like the one below. I hope you will buy a copy today.

Garden Notes

Garden Notes 

Get a Discount to Celebrate Fall Edible Gardening

We are offering our biggest discount ever to help get folks into fall edible gardening. That’s right, many of the veggies and herbs you grow in spring and summer can also carry over or be grown again in the fall.

Act soon because most zones need to begin planning (and even planting) now! You will love having an extended growing season and probably save some money on produce too.

We want to help get you started by offering $4 off the $14 price of our edible garden planning guide book. You can only get this discount by buying direct from our eStore. Enter code W84YWAVZ to get the $4 discount. Offer expires 08/31/2016.

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Plan Your Garden, Garden Your Plan!!!!!

Happy shopping and great growing!

The Best Way To Improve at Edible Gardening

Even experienced farmers and edible gardeners need to take notes. Growing seasons can be long and the observations a gardener or farmer makes or the tips and tricks one learns can easily be forgotten.
I was reminded of this tip yet again as I reminisced on our 2015 cilantro season. Tomorrow is Taco Tuesday and there is no cilantro to be found! As a result, I headed to the local farmers market yesterday to pick some up. $3 a bunch! Ouch!

At that price I had to get some extra value out of my trip. I asked the local farmer for some tips on growing cilantro. He seemed to enjoy sharing his wealth of knowledge with me and spent a few minutes away from his busy market table explaining some of his best cilantro growing practices.

First, the wise farmer told me to harvest the whole plant instead of just picking off the sprigs the way I was doing it. Apparently, Cilantro is best harvested all at once for best results. I was doing it sprig by sprig and always wondered why the stubborn plants would still bolt!

Next, he explained that I need to be planting all season long on a weekly basis. I already knew this tip, but a few weeks into the spring I started to miss a week here and there.

Lastly, the farmer told me to make sure the plant is not getting too much heat in the summer months. Cilantro will bolt early and taste better if the soil gets too hot.

I have also heard that it sometimes helps germination if you split the seed husks and then soak them in water for a day before planting. I will be trying out that tip in 2016.
My edible garden planning guide is a great book for beginner and intermediate edible gardeners. The included notes pages are very valuable for even the most experienced edible gardeners!

garden planning, cilantro

2016 will be the best cilantro season ever!

 

Book Review – Henrietta’s Guide to Caring For Chickens

IMG_2481

An interesting children’s book on chicken keeping that covers the basics in a fun, engaging way. Both of my children read it and retained some of the basics. I would recommend this book to parents and grandparents to give to kids who are interested in chickens or who will be keeping chickens at home.

We were planning on keeping a small flock of chickens and this book helped to engage and educate the kids. Just like edible gardening, with chicken keeping it is important for the kids to be part of the activity.

Both of my kids did their own book reviews as well. Read on for their take.

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My daughter was inspired to draw this after reading the book.

What did you like about this book?

The pictures were my favorite part because they were very funny and made me smile and laugh.

What did you learn from this book?

I learned that keeping chickens as pets or for food can be hard work, but also fun too.

Would you recommend this book to other kids?

Yes I would if the kids were also interested in chickens or learning to keep chickens.

Our 9 year-old son was inspired to draw this

Our 9 year-old son was inspired to draw this

What did you like about this book?

I liked learning about how fun chicken keeping could be. I also liked to image all the things the chickens would do in my yard.

What did you learn from this book?

I learned foxes like to eat chickens so a person should be careful to protect their chickens. I also learned some fun facts:

  1. Chickens are related to dinosaurs!
  2. Chickens really like to eat worms.
  3. Chickens like to take baths in the dirt.

Would you recommend this book to other kids?

Yes I would!

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.”

How to Get Started with Backyard Edible Gardening

book cover image

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

Two Avoidable Reasons Some Edible Gardeners Fail

book cover image

New Book Cover

The DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide was written to help people get started growing their own healthy, delicious produce. Basically, I was getting too many request to help family, friends and acquaintances set up edible gardens. I wanted to help everyone, but I did not have the time! Writing a book outlining my methods for edible gardening seemed like a natural solution to my situation.

Below is an excerpt from the book to give you a flavor for what it is about. I hope you will get a copy for yourself and tell others to check it out too.

Copies can be purchased here.

From The DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide, 2nd Edition:

“Now back to that original question. What have I done right and where do some edible gardeners go wrong?

The answers: planning and keeping edible gardening as simple as possible!

Yes, not keeping it simple and failing to plan are major reasons so many aspiring edible gardeners fail to grow great crops. In this book I will show you how I learned to grow delicious, healthy edible plants by following a simple planning and gardening method that lasts all growing season. I call it “plan your garden and garden your plan.”

As you will read, my edible gardening methods are based on keeping things as simple as possible, working with nature instead of trying to control her too much, taking notes on garden observations, and having a clear, manageable garden plan. If you let them, edible gardening and/or farming can become very complex endeavors. Most of that potential complexity comes from the pure human desire to control everything we encounter. Throughout this book I will frequently remind you to enjoy the “natural” aspects of working with Mother Nature. Losing the desire for a perfect garden is an important first step in that process.”

How to Save A Ton of Money and Have Fun Too

tomato,huge

This organic, heirloom beauty was nearly 1.3 pounds. At $5-$6 a pound in the store…

My family and I have long grown our own healthy, delicious produce. We do so for the health benefits, to know where our foods come from and because we love the feeling of taking care of ourselves (self-reliance). In recent years I have become more aware of another great benefit of growing our own produce–saving money!

Food costs continue to rise dramatically around the world. It is simple economics. More people = more food demand. Less farmers and a finite amount of land = lower supply. Low supply + high demand = higher prices!

OK, that is enough of Economics 101. Here is a step by step way to save money on produce.

First, identify all the fruits, vegetables and herbs favored by your household.

Second, see which ones will grow well in your climate and available growing space. For example, you may love grapefruit, but unless you live in a place with year-round warmth you will not be able to grow them well.

Third, decide if you are going to buy seeds or plants. Either way try to grow from nonGMO, heirloom seeds or buy plants from a grower that does.

Fourth, plan your garden. In my book I write a lot about a need to “plan your garden, then garden your plan. Planning is an essential process, but it does not have to be difficult or too time consuming. In fact, my book was carefully designed to get the reader started in edible gardening without overwhelming them with to much information. Edible gardening can be complicated, but it does not have to be. Get started with a simple approach and add to your knowledge base as time and interest levels allow.

Fifth, track you “profits”. How much money did your edible garden save you? I started doing this in earnest during the 2014 growing season. We tracked golden raspberries, tomatoes and kale production. Those 3 organically grown crops alone more than paid for all our seeds, supplies, time and efforts! This season I plan to keep a closer watch over just how much money we save across the entire harvest from our backyard edible gardens.

Lastly, HAVE FUN!!!!!

I will do my best to post updates on this topic. Please share your experiences with saving money by growing your own produce too!

broccoli,broccolini,vegetable

grab some greens and save some greenbacks!

Special Announcement!!!!!

Hello DIY Backyard Farm Fans! You are among the first to hear about the exciting release of the 2nd edition of the DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide. Now is the perfect time to plan your 2015 edible gardens and the new book can surely help. In fact, I hope I can lots of messages telling me it was the best $14 (+ tax) that you spent all season long!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2015

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New Book Cover

What’s the Simple Secret to a Thriving Edible Garden?

Reading The DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide!

Last year, Greg Carbone of Backyard Enterprises LLC authored a book to help novice gardeners plan and start their own thriving edible gardens. Now his book is being released as a 2nd Edition. The new edition has a gorgeous cover photo taken in his very own edible gardens. The latest edition also contains additional content and even more useful garden planning worksheets.

The DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide provides the guidance and tools needed to simply, easily and effectively plan and track edible gardens. The book provides information and tips to guide “budding” gardeners without overwhelming them. The worksheets included in the book are critical tools to help people avoid one of the biggest mistakes many edible gardeners make–failing to plan.

Greg is the “Head Farmer” and Managing Partner of Backyard Enterprises LLC. The company runs the website www.diybackyardfarm.com, which is dedicated to providing simple and easy tips to help regular folks grow their own healthy, delicious produce. Greg is on a personal mission to reconnect people (especially kids) with their foods. He believes edible gardening is one of the best ways to do it!

People have expressed a lot of initial excitement for the website and book. One might say, “the topic of edible gardening is really growing!”

Greg will be speaking and signing books at local New Jersey garden centers and libraries throughout the spring and summer growing seasons. Check out the website or the DIY Backyard Farm Facebook page for details. The book can also be purchased on Amazon.com or through the DIY Backyard Farm website (www.diybackyardfarm.com).