You too can make your vegetable and herb gardening seasons longer

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!

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?

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.

Tips For Tasty Tomatoes

This post deserves a reblog because…it is tomato time again! Woo-hoo!

Backyard Edible Gardening

Many people ask us how we grow such great tomatoes year in and year out. First, we are not perfect and we do have an off year from time to time. However, even in a bad year we manage to grow enough quality tomatoes  to satisfy our needs along with the needs of many friends and family.

Since our first 2 tomato posts of the season were so popular we decided to make a series out of them, In the first video we covered planting tomatoes. In tomato video #2 we offered tips on caring for newly planted tomatoes. In the video below we offer some simple tips that have resulted in great tomatoes for us over the years.

The only thing we forgot to mention in he video is a reminder to take notes. You will want to remember what works and what does so you can…

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How to Plant Onions

If you have never tasted the crisp, fresh flavor of a home-grown onion than you are just not living the good life yet. Fear not, for much of the USA this is a great time of year to plant onions. I prefer to plant onions from “sets” and show you how to do it in this short, informative video.

Do you need more convincing? I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that onions and garlic keep away unwanted pests. I believe this trick works too and have lined the perimeter of some of my gardens with them!

What types of onions do you prefer?

How to Build a “Teepee” Trellis

OK, you’ve likely seen teepee style trellises all over Pinterest and other sites recently. Trellises are fun and creative structures that also play a vital role for many vegetable plants.

This time of year I have peas on the brain. Fresh peas and all the recipes that call for them signify springtime to me. In fact, I will eat peas of all sorts all spring long until they are gone. Then I won’t touch peas again until late summer/early fall (assuming I get a second crop to grow). Eat what’s fresh and local!

Peas come in all types of varieties, shapes and sizes. Some are edible, pod and all (think snap peas) and others hide so well inside their shells (think shelling peas). Some peas grow as a bush, but most like to push high and climb. Regardless of their height they all lack the might to thrive without some support. However, peas that grow tallest must enlist the help of some kind of trellis.

There are lots of fences, nets and trellises available. If you want to get extra creative you may want to try a pea teepee like I have built-in the video below. Follow along or go your own way. Just be sure the job is not all work and no play!

Do share your creations as I love to see what other edible gardeners are up to.

Can you “beet” this?

I often write about ways to engage children with healthy, fresh foods. More specifically, I like to help parents get their kids to eat their veggies!

Here on the DIY Backyard Farm we believe in hands on learning. Plus, not all of our gardening “chores” are a bore. Remember, it may be zen-like for adults to weed or water. However, kids need shorter term and immediately rewarding tasks to keep them interested.

Interested in seeing what I am talking about? Grab your flashlights and come along for a two-minute video starring our youngest backyard farmer and I. We will take you night hunting for fall beets. After all, they are the “Candy of the Garden”!

Getting More From Your Edible Garden

Edible gardening does not have to be a 2-season endeavor. Sure, spring and summer are the traditional seasons most people thing of when they decide to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs. However, the fall is a great time to extend the usefulness of your edible gardens.

Unfortunately, most gardeners I speak with close up shop after the last tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are picked. Here in NJ that is late September to early October. In fact, when I show people my fall gardens they look at me like I am the all mighty and powerful Magic Plant Whisperer or someone like that. I often hear things like, “How do you do it? or “That is amazing!”

Growing your own produce is easy to do if you plan ahead and choose plants that grow well in your zone during the fall months (early winter too). I agree growing your own in the “off months” is amazing, but for different reasons. Fall & even early winter home-grown produce is amazingly delicious, amazingly healthy, amazingly cost-effective and amazingly beautiful.

Enough words! Check out the DIY Backyard Farm Fall Garden Tour Video below. In a few minutes you will be intrigued enough to start planning next years gardens today! Plan your gardens and garden your plan!