Choosing The Right Seeds

IMG_0582If you are into growing your own produce than this time of year your mailbox is probably flooded with seed catalogs. If you’re really into edible gardening you might be sneaking some peaks at online seed catalogs while you are at work. Excitement is building for the edible gardening season to come. You almost smell the tomatoes!

Speaking of tomatoes…

I find descriptions of tomato seeds and plants to be packed with exciting descriptives and amazing amounts of hyperbole. Yesterday a gardening friend and self-confessed tomato addict gave me a description for a unique “chocolate” style hybrid. After reading the description I was ready to sell all my Hershey stock and race to the store to buy every Ghiradelli bar I could find. I was certain no one would eat chocolate again. Why would anyone eat chocolate when they can grow their own?

Now back to reality, at least for a minute. I have grown some of these chocolate varieties of tomatoes. Some are tasty with great texture and unique flavor profiles. Others are rather boring and do not come close to their seed catalog descriptions. In any case, none have ever made me think I was tasting chocolate.

The moral to this story is to mostly grow what you like and are familiar with. Pick fruits, vegetables and herbs you enjoy and would normally buy in the store. Of course you should make sure they will grow in your zone and specific garden conditions. Then, each season you can throw in one or two exciting new edibles to see if they appeal to you. Just do not get carried away. I have seen many edible gardens suffer from overcrowding created by an overzealous, but good intentioned gardener.

What new fruit, vegetable or herb are you going to try growing this year?

edible garden collage

Some of our recent favorites

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!


February 23, 2015

book cover image

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, 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 or through the DIY Backyard Farm website (

Shortcut Your Way to Gardening Greatness

Those of you who read this blog or have read my book know I constantly pound the drum to plan your garden and keep things simple. Those two rules are the main keys to my edible gardening success. As such, I am a huge fan of shortcuts that save time without sacrificing results. In an effort to create and/or share valuable information for my readers, I had been thinking about coming up with a list of gardening shortcuts to post on this site. Magically such a list popped into my email inbox last night!

A greater gardening mind than mine was thinking the very same thing. Dave Ledoux from Back To My Garden sent me a link to his 99 Remarkably Clever Gardening Shortcuts. What timing!

Dave’s list is the product of 30 hours of research and writing. Nice work Dave!

We get to enjoy the “fruits” of Dave’s labor with little more than some time invested reading. I suggest bookmarking his list for future reference. Not all of the tips are edible gardening related. However, there are enough interesting ideas to satisfy many types of gardeners.

I already plan to use shortcut #88 because we have a root bound citrus tree of our own that needs a new home to lay down some roots. Shortcut #1 will be critical to my edible garden planning right now. We are growing potatoes in 2015, but I refuse to give up too much space to them. #1 may be the answer to my potato space-saving challenge!

Why are you still reading my post? Get clicking over to Dave’s 99 Remarkably Clever Gardening Shortcuts! Share it with your gardening friends too!

Plan your garden, garden your plan…

Edible Gardeners Take “Note”

The title of this post says it all. Taking notes throughout the year is a great way to make sure you are learning from your edible gardening experiences. In fact, garden note pages are a key component of my book, “The DIY Backyard Farm Edible Garden Planning Guide“.

garden notes photo

Example of my 2014 edible garden notes

As you can see in the picture, I practice what I preach! Plus, taking notes is a great way to engage my kids even further with their foods. We take turns noting garden observations and writing reminders on what to grow next year.

We use the notes when planning future gardens, deciding on seeds/plants to order and for troubleshooting.

How has your edible garden done this year? Have you been taking notes?