Perfect Garden or Productive Garden???

radish picker

imperfect rows of baby radishes ready for salad!

There’s a saying entrepreneurs use that goes a little something like this, “perfect is the enemy of done”. They are referring to the relationship between trying to craft the perfect product or solution and actually getting that product or solution to market. Don’t fret about perfect!

Edible gardeners would be wise to follow the same advice. Forgot about magazine perfect gardens, don’t fantasize over idealistic visions of vegetable rows lined up like soldiers ready for a salad bowl battle.

In my experience, things will go wrong in the garden. Seeds will get washed away or will fail to germinate. Animals and other pests will eat crops. Mother nature will do her best to both support your efforts and frustrate you into near submission. However, the wise and persistent edible gardener will always persevere if they don’t worry about being perfect.

Relax, keep expectations in check, enjoy the imperfect beauty of nature and just get gardening. Seeds will sprout, plants will grow (mostly) and you will have food to enjoy. Takes notes along the way and get better and better at the process each season.

Enjoy that imperfect garden!

Do this now to be healthier instantly

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?

 

image

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!

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!

 

Garden Therapy

We can’t believe the amazing, spring-like weather we are enjoying here in New Jersey. We are working our soils and nourishing our garden loving souls far sooner than expected.


One of the many wonderful things about gardening is how there’s only a few tasks you must complete to be successful, but so many more you could complete just for the heck of it. Did we really need to build our own pea trellis this evening?


Of course we could have just bought one, but my daughter and I felt like doing something creative. We needed time together to just chill and create. That is garden therapy! That is living!

It took us 30 minutes to turn her soil over and design and build the little trellis. It took me about 3 minutes to forget about my troubles from the day.

How do you unwind in the garden??? Do you want to learn to grow you own healthy, delicious produce just like we do? Check out my book and learn how!

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!

 

Help Edible Gardens Survive Short Blasts of Frost

Backyard farmers don’t need pop-up greenhouses, expensive row covers (though they can be nice) or other costly crop protection. 

We are facing two early frosts and then a batch of more seasonal, above freezing weather. This situation calls for our “ghetto” style  frost protection. 

Simple to set up, inexpensive and effective for light frosts. You won’t save your tomatoes and peppers, but cold weather veggies will thrive on!

 

adding the sheets to our quick setup crop protection

  

next day…safe and sound easy to set up too

 

How We Grow Better Zucchini

In years past we lost many zucchini plants to various types of rot. I believe the rot was often caused by wilting and rotting leaves that created an environment of wet, mushy mess. Wet, mushy mess is a breeding ground for plant ailments. A couple of years ago I began to carefully experiment with trimming off single leaves and their stems from the main stem of the plant. This can be a risky move because pruning a zucchini plant leaves the plant vulnerable at the spot where you made a cut.

In my experience the risk was worth taking. The video below shows how I prune my zucchini and what they look like in late September.

You Really Can Grow Buckets of Potatoes

Back in April we began an experiment to see if growing potatoes in buckets was as easy and foolproof as so many Pinterest pins and blog posts have made it sound.

The suspense was killing us all here on the DIY Backyard Farm!

After just 3 weeks the plants were looking green and vibrant. Every couple of weeks we added a few inches of soil to cover up more of the plants. In no time at all the bucket was filled to the top with soil and green plants were spilling out over the top.

Then it got boring. Yes boring! Plant growth slowed and we wondered when we would get to dump the bucket and see the results. Most articles I read said to wait until the plants turned yellow before picking the potatoes. Our plants did not begin to yellow until late July. They also did not yellow evenly.

By the second week of August the kids were bugging me to, “DUMP THE BUCKET!”. So we did!

The video below is proof that growing your own potatoes in a bucket is not only possible, but positively potato pleasing too! If we had waited a bit longer I am betting some of those “small fries” would have gotten much larger. No worries, we still have two pots full of our “ketchup and fries” potatoes to go!

I apologize for the shaky video work. My 9 year-old videographer was feeling a bit too energetic with all the anticipation of mini red potatoes slathered in homemade chive butter.

Making Art In The Your Edible Garden

Grandma's garden sketch

My Grandma’s garden sketch

One of the beautiful aspects of edible gardening is the chance to be artful in one’s approach to growing their own food. Edible gardening allows a certain style and grace to be portrayed through plant selection, planting locations and garden design.

My son has a love for tomatoes. He likes other types of produce, but his love for tomatoes is unmatched. As a result he devotes his entire personal garden space to growing tomatoes.

My Son's Garden Art of Choice

My Son’s Garden Art of Choice

My 7 year-old daughter has a more well-rounded approach to edible gardening. She has a variety of produce growing in a very intense method. Chioggia beets intermingle with purple dragon carrots. Swiss chard plays nice with broccolini and snap peas.

This Little Girl Spreads Around The Love

This Little Girl Spreads Around The Love

The ways to make art in edible gardens are endless. One last example for this post is below. My son created this stepping stone to honor my Great-Aunt Georgette. She was the original “Backyard Farmer” and taught me much of what I know about gardening and nature.

Does edible gardening inspire you to make art? Yes you say…how so?

Kids Turned Our Garden Stepping Stones Into Memory Makers

Kids Turned Our Garden Stepping Stones Into Memory Makers