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
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:
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Grandma’s garden sketch
For many years, we have successfully extended our growing seasons for vegetables and herbs. We do not have a greenhouse and we do not spend much time or money creating effective cold weather protection.
Need some inspiration (and proof) that you can grow edibles well into December? Check out this video to see what we have growing right now. Notice the real snow on the ground!
I was inspired to write this post after seeing my Word Press Daily Prompt email today. The one word prompt was, “artificial”. The minute my brain sorted out those 10 letters it clicked! One of the reasons my family and I stay so healthy is because we have nearly eliminated artificial ingredients from our diets.
So how can this tidbit of information help you get healthier instantly?
Right now at this very minute you can make the decision to limit or eliminate artificial ingredients from your diets. While you are at it, keep the ingredient lists short for any meals or snacks you are planning.
How many ingredients can you see in the picture below?
What did you guess? If you guessed one you are wrong. The answer is actually two. Two fresh, delisious and organic goldren raspberries grown right in our backyard.
It might not be raspberry season for much of the world, but most people can grow their own food for many months of the year. When you have a farmer’s market outside your door it is easy to eat natural and keep ingredient lists to a minimum. Check out some scenes from our DIY Backyard Farm.
Winter, spring summer and fall. In our garden we have something for all!
Even if you live in an apartment on the 44th floor you can still keep artificial ingredients to a minimum. Shop carefully, buy fresh, local produce whenever possible and order simply prepared foods when eating out. Are you going to start being healthier in this very instant? Are you inspired to plan a bountiful, edible garden of your own?
Nothing artificial, keep it real and get healthier today!
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.
DO let this information “leek” out. Leeks are an amazing vegetable to grow yourself and super easy to care for too.
I know local prices vary, but I live in one of the most expensive markets in the USA. So, chances are you’ll pay less than the $4 I paid for two small packs of baby leek plants. I wound up getting about 30 full-grown and amazing leeks.
What’s the secret you ask???
I wish there was more to it, but these babies are simple as can be to grow. Actually, I am so happy there is not more to it. Simple is perfection!
The main thing that I did to get such healthy-sized leeks is water frequently. This was especially important during the hot, dry summer that we experienced this year in my neck of the woods.
Some days that extra watering was a pain in the overalls. However, now we have the bounty of the harvest to remind us how much the effort is worth it.
Lastly, I noticed that my home-grown leeks are so much cleaner than the ones I buy in the store. Washing them is a snap compared to their store bought friends. I credit this to the less sandy soil that we have here on the DIY backyard farm.
Traditionally, leeks are grown on very sandy soil which makes cleaning them difficult and time-consuming. As you can see from the top photo, we did not experience any difference in quality. I believe this is because our soil is so loose and drains well.
Leeks have made it to our list of must have vegetables for the 2017 growing season. Do you grow leeks? If not, are you planning on growing them now that you have read this post?
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.
Plan Your Garden, Garden Your Plan!!!!!
Happy shopping and great growing!
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!
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?
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!
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!