Have you ever thought about how you can garden but are looking for a simpler way of keeping vegetables without canning, freezing or dehydrating? Check out Cygnet Brown’s new book: The Survival Garden Plant a Garden for food to last all winter that you won’t need to can, freeze or dehydrate.
If you’re wondering whether I caught Coronavirus and died, no, I am alive and well. Back in March, I finished a job that I was doing for the school and started a week off from working when I realized that if I was going to make my move to the country, it might as well be now or it might be never. I called my son Jeremy (whose place was just two doors down from where my house was going to be and asked if I could stay with them until I could get settled. He and his wife agreed and I packed up and was on my way.
The details about the house will be for a later blog, but let me show you around the homestead and show you what I have been doing for the past almost 3 months.
The Flowering Trees
The first thing I did was plant my flowering trees along the road. I had received Hawthorn, crabapple, crape myrtle, Dogwood, and Redbud from The Arbor Day Foundation back in December, but hadn’t been able to plant them until late March. Four survived. I am not sure which trees they are yet. I’ll let you know later.
This is my main garden. It doesn’t look like much right now, but it is currently ongoing. I’ve planted corn, beans, winter and summer squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, swiss chard, dill, spring lettuce mix, and eggplant.
This is my spring/perennial garden. The garlic I had planted back in December, and then I started planting potatoes, strawberries, asparagus (grown from seed), cabbages, and onions back in March. I also transplanted perennial herbs–oregano, lemon mint, and thyme–grown from seed and transplanted. Later I planted yellow wax beans and cantaloupe and this garden is doing exceptionally well. I am primarily using a no till method here. I dug holes just enough to get the seeds, plants, or potatoes in the ground. I started mulching by using old grass that I raked up from around the yard. Then I took leaves and piled them on and now I am piling grass clippings around the plants. As you can see, the plants are really thriving.
Here’s another view of the same garden.
Future Chicken Pen
This is the future home of my chickens. I ordered 50 chicks that will be arriving early in July. More about them later.
This is our pond on the far end of the property. I haven’t done anything with it yet.
These are the sweet potatoes I planted. I took a hole and filled it in with good topsoil and planted them. They are growing quite slowly, but should really start taking off now that the temperatures are finally going up!
Here is my mini meadow (with peonies in the foreground). Sometimes the best things to do is nothing. The grass there is growing amazingly well, but the ground is so rocky and rutted that I can’t safely get the lawnmower in that part of the yard. I am not sure what I will do with this grass yet. Eventually I hope to have a couple goats, but I’ll need good fencing first.
There you have it, the beginnings of what will be my permaculture learning center. Right now I mostly have annuals planted, a few perennials and have started on the house. I have so much more to show you!
Simply Vegetable Gardening
With threatened food shortages on the horizon, it’s time to get serious about growing our own gardens again. I wrote Simply Vegetable Garden with the novice in mind. Click the link below to get your copy today!
An Unseen Virus
Now we have the effects of Covid-19 which have been devastating to us humans. It has shut down all the things that modern society have until a few weeks ago took for granted as necessities in our lives. Our extracurricular activities are being put on hold. Even our education and our jobs are being curtailed as day by day the numbers increase.
“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”Bill Mollison
One of the principles in permaculture is that the problem is part of the solution, especially when you’re dealing with nature. The reason that nature does what it does is to create that balance that we talking about. The answer to the problem of being able to deal with Covid-19 is in understanding what nature is trying to tell us.
With major upheaval in our lives almost on a daily basis right now, it seems to me as though nature is unleashing her fury on humankind to bring herself back into balance.
The unprecedented floods and wild fires weren’t enough to get our attention. Current economic policies haven’t helped matters, in fact, in many ways they have made it worse. In the quest for the almighty dollar, regulations have been lessened allowing for land to be stripped of its trees to make way intensive farming practices that strip the soil from the earth. Air regulations have been lessened so that industries can reduce the cost of pollution containment. The effects on nature however, have been positive in that in places like China and Italy where air pollution has been noticeably diminished. This virus however serves as only a warning.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.”I Chronicles 7:14
Our answer is in reconnecting with our creator and his creation. We were created to tend the garden called Earth. We were made from the dust of the earth. In the cool of the evening, God would come and commune with Adam as he tended the garden. My suggestion to all of us is for us to take time of quarantine to reconnect with nature and God. If there’s any way for you to get outside, plant a garden and talk to God. If you’re not able to because of the quarantine, take the time to learn about how to naturally tend the earth, then start after quarantine is lifted. Go to a park. Go to a local farm. Do something to reconnect with what God gave us. And pray. Prayer is just talking with our creator.
What I am Doing
I am not just suggesting something that I wouldn’t do. The area where I live hasn’t been impacted much yet so I am taking this narrow window that I still have to get out to my property in the country so that I can start my gardens. Today I am packing up and tomorrow actually moving to what will be The Jerjoboch Permaculture Learning Center.
Please, even if you can’t get out, take the time to read my gardening book.
AND PLEASE STAY SAFE
Have you been thinking about putting in a vegetable garden this year, but aren’t sure whether it is worth it to you? Here are ten good reasons to vegetable garden.
Better Tasting vegetables
If you have never grown tomatoes in your own garden and eaten one right after picking, you don’t know how good a tomato can taste. There’s nothing like eating a tomato fresh off the vine, unless it’s corn on the cob eaten at the peak of ripeness within fifteen minutes of picking. When my siblings and I were growing up, we all enjoyed vegetables and I think part of the reason for that was that our mom had a vegetable garden.
I have always grown my vegetables by improving the soil using organic methods. I’ll never forget the time when a few years back we were selling our place and I was showing a perspective buyer my garden. He couldn’t believe that my garden soil had been produced there on site using nothing more than homemade compost, sawdust from a local sawmill and leaves for mulch, and a little kelp thrown into the tomato planting holes. Healthier soils make for healthier plants which make for healthier vegetables which makes for a healthier you.
Less expensive for higher quality vegetables
Organic vegetables are great, but let’s face it, they cost more than “conventionally grown” vegetables. When you grow your own vegetables, especially if you work your garden by hand, you’ll discover that you can grow your own for a lot less. Take for instance, spinach. A package of spinach costs about $5 or more and may last about a week. However, if you were to grow your own, that same $5 could be spent on a package of spinach seed which could last you all summer. If you learn how to save seeds, a package of an heirloom squash or cucumber seeds (which is easy to save) can last indefinitely.
Fresh air and sunshine
Nothing beats getting out in the garden for providing fresh air and sunshine. Get out in the garden in the morning or in the evening rather than midday. You get the benefits of vitamin D without the skin damage.
Hand working your garden is better for your health than using mechanical devices. The bending and stretching of hand working your garden provides a workout that pays. Not only do you get a workout, but you get fresh vegetables in the process.
The gentle labors of working in my garden allow me to allow my mind to wander. I don’t feel pressed to stress over issues in live, but I can mull over my thoughts and discover solutions to problems that might not be as readily accessed when I am anxious about finding an answer.
As already stated, healthy soil creates healthy microbes and healthy microbes produce healthy plants which produce healthy animals and humans. Understanding what produces healthy soil promotes immunities in plants which is passed on to their animal consumers. Which, in turn, produce healthier wastes that promote healthy soil and the cycle continues improving immunity throughout the ecosystem.
Immunity can be found in the heat of compost just as it is in the fever of a human. Microbes are attracted to decomposing vegetation and manures and their consuming of those nutrients releases the calories which produce heat. The heat neutralizes disease causing microbes and even weed seeds and turns what was waste products into nutrition that eventually plants can utilize.
In humans the heat of a fever also kills off disease causing microbes from parasites to bacteria to viruses. Fortunately, under normal circumstances disease causing microbes are more susceptible to the heat than their human hosts.
In both processes helpful microbes feed off the disease causing ones and remain in the soil providing synergy with the host that strengths both the helpful microbes as well as human immunity.
I sense a spiritual connection with the ecosystem, the universe, and even the creator of the universe when I am gardening. The wonders of God’s creation are obvious to me as I go about the gardening chores. I am in awe of the natural processes that I wouldn’t see if I bought my vegetables at the grocery or even the farmer’s market. As I labor in the garden, I become part of the circle of life. I am one with nature and the creator of all.Social Connection
When gardening can become a joint effort among family members, it creates social bonds that are so often missing these days. What the cell phone takes away, learning to garden together can return to the family unit. Similar to the spiritual connection, it creates a social connection with those who participate in the gardening experience. It creates a sense of belonging, a sense of connection with one another.
Positive Effect on Environment
When growing your own garden, you have a way of recycling items that you use on site. You can use containers for growing plants that might otherwise end up in a landfill. You can use cardboard, yard wastes, woodchips, and shredded paper as mulch.
You can use your vegetable plants as ground cover which protects the soil, nourishes soil life and conserves water.
You can recycle manures, household food scraps and yard wastes not used as mulch by making compost. You can either make compost using the hot compost method or by creating worm compost.
Your food isn’t traveling across continents to get to your home. Therefore, you’re reducing your contribution to the extensive use of fossil fuels.
Various items can be used as trash to treasure all you need to do is use your imagination.
Okay, so there’s my list of ten things that vegetable gardening does for me. Can you think of more? If so, share your ideas below.
Recently, I have seen a growing debate among people on the internet concerning the cause of climate change. Here are a few of the ideas that I have discovered.
The Ostrich Approach
First, there is the Ostrich approach. In this case, people are saying that nothing is really changing, that this is all media hype designed to enslave us to a political system that controls our every move. They are saying that these weather cycles come all the time. They believe that if weather conditions negatively affect our climate this year, not to worry. Things will be better next year.
Grand Solar Minimum
Grand solar minimum is a scientific cyclic phenomenon in which sunspot activity slows down to almost negative.
Two types of solar minimum exist. This type of solar minimum phase occurs approximately every eleven years and the sun’s activity is reduced to its lowest level and there are very few sunspots.
The second type is the Grand Solar Minimum in which the sun’s energy production decreases by about 7%. Scientists believe that the one occurred between 1645 and 1715. They also said that a grand solar minimum coincided with the mini-ice age that sparked the black plague and drove the Vikings out of Greenland.
According to Valentina Zharkova, Professor of Mathematics at Northumbia University in the UK, we could be at the beginning of a grand solar minimum that could bring on a mini ice age that would last approximately 3 sun cycles or 33 years and which would be at its peak around 2030. During this time we would likely to see shorter growing seasons and colder, more brutal winters and would be damaging to the world economy. They point to the world-wide decrease in crop production because of this decrease in sun energy production as the reason for the current weather patterns and devastating crop losses that occurred around the world in 2019.
As I have been reading about this event, I have found that this reason for the current agricultural difficulties is a favorite among the proponents of chemical agriculture. They believe that the reason for the crop losses is not the fault of the current agricultural system but the sun is completely responsible for what’s going on and there is not much we can do about it. It’s not your fault, farmer! Here, buy some of our GMO seed that we have designed for you!
Magnetic Pole Changes
There is evidence that the magnetic poles are shifting. Some people fear that it will lead to the polar ice caps melting and earthquakes. However, this is a magnetic pole shift, not a geographical one. All this means is that your compass will face south instead of north.
The main risk that would likely occur is that GPS satellites could glitch for hours, recovering once it is over – and of power cuts. We used to think that the power cuts could be severe and cost getting on for a trillion dollars and risk power cut for months or longer. Current estimates, however, place the damage costs to be in the range of the cost of damages of a major hurricane. It may also make it necessary for you to use more sunscreen during the time of the shift.
The big problem that is occurring involves the weakening of the earth’s magnetic field and the increased susceptibility to cosmic storms invading the earth’s atmosphere. However, this weakening is occurring slowly and gives the inhabitants of planet earth the chance to adapt and survive.
Since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth documentary came out, carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere has been said to be the cause of climate change. According to NASA’s Global Climate Change, Vital Signs of a Planet, carbon emissions from the earth remained relatively constant with generally balanced climatic fluctuations for 400 thousand years prior to the industrial revolution. However, since the industrial revolution and especially since 1950, carbon has been emitting into the atmosphere at an exponential rate. Just since January 16, 2005, carbon in the atmosphere has risen from 378.21 ppm to 412.43 ppm on December 16, 2019 with no indications of any real decrease during that time.
According to NASA:
Carbon dioxide is released through natural processes such as respiration and volcano eruptions and through human activities such as deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels. Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began. This is the most important long-lived “forcing” of climate change.
Can All of it be True?
Yes, it can all be true, and I am sure that it all probably is.
As you can see, there are a number of things that we can’t do anything about. We can’t change the sun or the earth’s magnetism, but we can change our part in the creation of carbon emissions. However, even decreasing the carbon in the atmosphere is difficult. Did you know that if every individual home did everything, they could to eliminate their contributions of carbon in the atmosphere that we would only decrease the increase the additions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 22%? The rest of the carbon issue is related to agriculture and industry.
What Can We Do About it?
So, what can we do? As a permaculture student and designer, I like to look at the big picture, the whole picture. I can cooperate with nature, the systems of the earth, and adapt to the climate changes. I see the value in heirloom seeds that I can save. These seeds offer diverse genetics that adapt to the current climate in my current location. I see the value of adapting to climate by realizing that I might not be able to grow the same crops on my land that grew on my land a few years ago.
Compost helps feed diverse micro-organisms that adapt more readily to changes. Bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and the like adapt to changes readily and help the neighboring plants adapt. Unlike pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics, compost teas, vermiculture teas, insect frask, and other natural measures can be used to prevent or solve problems related to insect or disease infestations in a way that decreases the chances of reoccurrence.
As I get to understand my own land better, I can develop my own microclimate. If rain comes in buckets in just a few hours and then doesn’t come again for months, I can conserve my water through rain catchment, and spreading, and storing, and sinking water on my property. I can see where some technology can benefit the situation too. I can use greenhouses, row covers, indoor lighting, or shade cloths to capture or filter the sun depending on sun intensity.
I see the value of smaller localized farms that serve the communities in which they are located. I foresee the demise of giant agribusiness farms. We should consider that gone are the days where we get all of our fruits and vegetables from California, Texas, and Florida. We should realize that the Great Plains are better suited to range grasslands than corn and CAFOs. It’s time we started realizing that some crops should be grown and eaten in season whenever possible. We can grow fruits, berries, vegetables, and even livestock in our own backyards and produce a product that is healthier and more sustainable.
No matter what the reason for the extreme weather we are facing, we can change and adapt by working with nature rather than against it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the sun and the Grand Solar Minimum or changes in the earth’s magnetism, or carbon emissions, nature always has an answer if we are willing to listen what nature has to tell us.
As many of you know, I am moving out into the country to my homestead this spring. I talked to my son Jeremy the other day. We discussed moving my trailer onto my land. Unfortunately, the ground there is still too wet to move the building, but it is not too wet for me to start planting garden transplants indoors here in Springfield.
I actually started the weekend after Thanksgiving when I planted a single sweet potato in a container in my kitchen. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure that it would grow because the sweet potato had been scrubbed so much that some of the outer skin had been scrubbed off. However, the sweet potatoes did grow. It grew so well that last week I separated some of the first of the slips (the green leaves, stems and attached roots) from the sweet potato tuber and planted them in soil. Some gardeners place slips in water, but I believe that the slips will transplant into the garden better if they are planted in soil rather than allowed to root in water. I left one green leaf on the tuber so that more slips can grow from the tuber.
Onions– This year I have two kinds of onions that I am starting from seed. One is yellow Spanish sweet onion and the other is a Red Florence which is an heirloom variety. I planted about four seeds in each cell. The reason I did this is so that when the time comes to plant the cell, I’ll simply pop the cell in the ground and I’ll have four onion plants to work with rather than one. This means that I will be able to plant much more quickly and I won’t have to deal with one single skinny little plant.
Chives– I only had a few chive seeds left so I planted them in a couple little cells. When the chives reach size, I will either transplant them into a larger pot or directly into the garden.
Asparagus-Though not usually as successful at starting from seeds as they are from crowns, I have started some plants from seed. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that once established in three years should give me at least 20 years of production. I’ll probably be picking up a couple of crowns too. This way I’ll be able to get harvest a year earlier than I would with just the seeds.
Lavender-Lavender is another plant that is easier to grow from a plant than it is from seed, but again I am going to give it a try. If it doesn’t get started by the time spring comes, I’ll pick up a plant or two from the plant nursery.
Parsley is also an herb that I am growing that can be difficult at times to get started. To assist me at getting this plant started, I put the seed packet into the freezer and then stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to plant. From what I understand, deep chilling the parsley before planting encourages the plant to sprout.
Basil-This is sweet basil that is specifically designed to grow in a container. I planted a few plants now, but I think I might plant more when I plant my tomato seeds for transplants. This herb is considered annual in temperate climates is actually a tropical perennial. If I can grow a couple plants of this herb in a container, I may be able to maintain this herb fresh all winter.
Oregano-Oregano is a very common herb used in Italian cooking. It is not just a common herb, but it is also perennial.
Winter Thyme– This plant is also a common perennial herb that grows like a low growing ground cover. It can be grown between rocks in a walkway or patio and will give off a pleasant scent if stepped on.
Lemon Mint-This lemony member of the mint family is often grown for drying to make a tea. It also is a perennial.
Cayenne Peppers-I’ll probably get a few other hot pepper plants as plants, but I am going to try to grow cayenne from seed this year. I will be able to dry the seeds and dry the flesh separately. The flesh I’ll dry and grind for cayenne powder. The seeds I’ll dry and use whenever I want to add a little more heat when I’m cooking and to save for seed to keep the variety going every year in my garden.
Sweet Peppers-I’m starting my peppers a little earlier than my tomatoes this year so that perhaps I may be able to get peppers and tomatoes ripening at the same time. Sweet peppers are one of the key components (along with tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, thyme, and basil) in my home canned tomato sauce. They are also a key ingredient in pickle relish and my homemade salsa. I’ll also enjoy eating them fresh and freezing them in various forms in the freezer to enjoy next winter.
Copenhagen Market Cabbage-Since I will be able to put out cabbage about the same time that I put out the onions, I planted a few cells of cabbage. I have other members of the cabbage family that I will put out as the season progresses, but I thought that a few cabbages grown early would be a nice to have in the garden.
I have a few small potatoes that I have been over wintering in my refrigerator with the sole intention of saving as seed potatoes that I will be planting this coming spring. They are of red, white and blue varieties. Back in the fall I wrapped each individual potato in brown paper and put them into a paper sack in the refrigerator. I pulled them out and looked at them a few days ago and not one of them was rotten. About two weeks before I intend to plant them, I will be taking them out and sprouting out the cherts at room temperature.
There you have it. The start to my garden, especially my herb garden. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be starting other plants for transplanting including my tomato plants. More on those and my garden’s progress later.
Are you thinking about starting a garden this year? My book Simply Vegetable Gardening is full of tips to help you have the best one possible!
(Makes a Great Gift for any gardener in your life too!)
Kelp for Gardening
A number of years ago I was reading about gardening and I learned about using kelp in the garden. The article that I read said that kelp offered all the nutrients available in seawater and all of the nutrients needed for life and in a form that is readily available.
I started sprinkling kelp around the garden. One thing I discovered right away was that when I sprinkled the kelp at the bottom of my tomato planting holes, I had no problems with blossom end rot that year. In the years that I didn’t use the kelp, my tomatoes did suffer from the ailment.
Kelp for Livestock
I decided to do some research about kelp and learned that kelp wasn’t just good for my garden, but also for my animals. I learned that a number of farmers are free choice feeding their livestock and chickens dried kelp with good results.
Here in southern Missouri much of the health of the soil is locked and unavailable to animals. When kelp is offered to the animals, it contributes to animal health.
Kelp for Me
I learned that taking kelp myself helped me get those same nutrients. Kelp is one of the main ingredients in sushi. Even if I didn’t like the taste of kelp or suchi, I could still use kelp as a supplement. I just put some into a gel capsule and washed the capsule down with water. Then I learned I could buy kelp in tablet form or add the kelp to some water, swallow the mixture then chase it with the apple or orange juice that I am having for breakfast.
I noticed that when I used kelp, I had fewer aches and pains. Arthritis diminished. I had more strength and energy.
Now I am not a doctor nor am I a veterinarian. I am telling you what I have learned from my personal experience. Kelp improves my life and the life around me.
Help from Kelp
For more information about how using kelp improves health, read my book: Help from Kelp. Get Your Copy Today
I think that I would grow vegetables even if there weren’t good reasons for growing them. I love gardening.
The only thing that I like better than writing about vegetable gardening is the act of gardening itself. I absolutely love gardening! I love the faith that I have that when I put the seeds in the ground. I love the excitement of seeing those green first leaves as they push through the soil. I love watching that first flush of growth as the little plants sprint to see which one will grow the fastest. I love watching blossoms appear and am even more excited when the first fruits start to form. Those first fruits seem to take the longest to ripen, but then every ounce of energy goes into the fruits and what seemed to take weeks for the first fruit takes a matter of hours for fruit that comes on later. Finally the day comes when I can pick what’s ripened. I love it when I can use what I pick for that evening’s meal, or I can put it up in freezer or with the canner.
However, not only do I love the process of gardening, but I love the fact that there are some very practical reasons for growing a garden. Here’s a few reasons you might consider.
By learning to do food gardening, you become less dependent on the grocery store. The next economic downturn could mean a loss of your job. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your food system is more secure because you have a garden that you can fresh vegetables? A long-term crisis could take 10 years or more to recover. You need to eat during this time. When you grow your own food with your health in mind, use water catchment, recycle home and yard wastes by composting, and save your own seed, you develop a sustainable food source that can get you through that rough patch.
Aquaponics systems are interesting, but not always practical and can be quite expensive and require special skills to set up. Starting a traditional vegetable garden just requires a few hand tools. A shovel, a rake, a hoe, a watering can and a place to start a compost pile is all you need to convert a small spot in your yard into food production.
In addition, aquaponics systems need electricity in order to function. In case of an EMP or even a short-term blackout caused from grid overload or ice damage to the electrical system, all your plants and fish will die. Unless you have a home electrical plant such as solar or a gas generator, this system is not sustainable.
A food stockpile can be expensive and hard to rotate and maintain as it grows. It isn’t a bad idea to have some food storage stockpiled, but space is limited and once it is gone, it’s gone. You never store as much as you think you have. What seems like a lot of food during times of plenty ends up being far less when you need to use it.
By raising your own garden, you know more about where your food came from and how it was handled. There have been numerous recalls on fruits, vegetables, meats, and processed foods where salmonella and e-coli have been blamed for illnesses and deaths from consuming those foods. Most of the time, these illnesses are caused either by animal waste from CAFOs (a potential subject for another future article) or from workers who didn’t properly keep their hands washed. When you raise your own garden, you have control over the sanitary conditions upon which they are raised.
In addition, many crops are grown using GMOs in which the primary reason for creating the GMO is for allowing the use of the herbicide glyphosate (brand name-Roundup) in the fields where the crops are grown. Recently 2 billion dollars has been set aside for individuals who have contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because there is a strong probability that glyphosate causes this type of cancer. In addition, this chemical kills earthworms, and other healthful flora and fauna in fields. These organisms help create the symbiosis required for the plants to absorb the nutrients into the plants that we eat.
The nutrient density of food has decreased anywhere from 15 to 65 percent in the past 65 years. The reasons for this have a lot to do with the way that our food is grown. In many cases the same crop has been grown on the same land for years. The farmers add nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to the soil and the plants will grow and produce a crop, but since the farmers are not adding micronutrients, the plants lack the nutritional value. When you grow your own food using homemade compost created from household and yard wastes and adding other organic amendments, you’re not just feeding the plants, but you’re feeding the soil as well.
Even plowing itself has been linked to the decrease in food quality. When a field is plowed and it rains, nutrients are washed downstream. Exposed soil is also subject to other aspects of weather. Exposed soil is subject to rapid change in the weather. Plants planted in exposed soil are more likely to succumb to frost and heat alike. When growing your own garden, you can avoid these pitfalls when you mulch your garden or even use gardening methods like the Ruth Stout method, Lasagna Gardening, and Back to Eden Gardening to name a few of the most common.
Food for Thought
When you grow your own food organically, you can become part of the ecosystem rather than an enemy of it. You start recycling yard wastes and household food wastes back into your garden through composting. You learn that it’s not about feeding plants, but about feeding the soil.
The more you learn about growing your own food in a responsible way, the more you’ll learn about how what you do affects the world around you. You’ll lower your carbon footprint because tankers and trucks won’t need to haul food from where it’s grown to where you live. You’ll feel a connection to nature. You’ll see yourself as doing something positive for the environment.
You’ll learn that home grown food really does taste better. When was the last time you ate a fresh ripe tomato right off the vine or sweet corn picked at the peak of sweetness and cooked within minutes of picking? It is an experience no human being should miss.
Where Do You Start?
Start where you are right now, doing what you know how to do and then research what you know you don’t know. I am writing this in the middle of the summer, but It doesn’t matter what time of year you are reading this. You can start your garden at any time and in any place. Matter of fact, right now I have the seeds that I will use for my fall garden that I am currently growing on my patio. I have had gardens all my life and I have learned that even if I don’t have a yard, I can start growing plants in an apartment or on a balcony.
Make a list of what you know about growing your own food and then start researching what you still need to know. One resource I suggest is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. To learn more about this book, Click Here.
Last week’s post was about how we can control garden pests. Once we get our garden plants to the point where we are starting to harvest, it’s time to figure out what to do with all of the excess.
First, we’ll start out with a little riddle: What do you call a person who buys zucchini from the grocery store in July? For the answer to this and some answers about using zucchini, look at this article.
What should you do with all that Zucchini? https://hubpages.com/living/What-To-Do-With-All-That-Extra-Zucchini
There’s nothing like a vegetable garden where you can pick fresh food right from your own back yard. However, those don’t do you any good if you don’t pick the vegetables and use them. Here are some of my favorite tips for using the vegetables you pick even if you don’t have a lot all at one time.
Using Every Vegetable in my Summer Vegetable Garden https://hubpages.com/living/Making-Full-Use-of-the-Vegetable-Garden
Back several years ago, I had an incident that convinced me that:
Using a Deep Freezer Shouldn’t Be the Only Home Preserving Method https://hubpages.com/food/What-I-did-When-My-Freezer-Failed
If you’re not sure what home preservation method to use for all that excess in the garden, check out these two articles about this subject:
Home Preservation Methods—Advantages and Disadvantages https://delishably.com/food-industry/Home-Preservation-Methods-The-Advantages-and-Disadvantages
Home Preservation Methods—Advantages and Disadvantages Part II https://delishably.com/food-industry/homepreservationadvantagesanddisadvantagespt2
Of course, there won’t always be excess vegetables in your garden. Because of this, I am including an article about how to save space in the garden. Often I like to plant seeds around the mature plants in the garden so that I can grow additional crops from the same area to save space. For more information about how to save space and time in the garden check out:
Tips for Saving Space and Time in the Vegetable Garden https://hubpages.com/living/Dos-and-Donts-for-Saving-Space-and-Time-in-the-Vegetable-Garden
Yes, it is still summer, but in many parts of the county, it won’t be long before summer will be over and autumn will be here. Here are 20 tips to do this fall that will make your garden next year even better!
20 Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips For Better Results in the Spring https://hubpages.com/living/20-Gardening-Tips-This-Fall-To-Give-yourself-A-Head-Start-In-The-Spring
Get these tips and more when you purchase Cygnet Brown’s book Simply Vegetable Gardening
Available on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JHV15G6
This time of year, our gardens are planted, and we’re weeding, cultivating and mulching our crops to get the most from them. As we’re starting to harvest many of our summer garden vegetables, we discover yellow eggs on the underside of our green beans and a few days later we find that something is eating the green bean leaves. If you know anything about insects, you probably know that the bean beetle left his calling card. More than likely, we’re probably also fighting battles against all kinds of crawling and winged creatures which are trying harvest our plants before we can.
One solution could be to get out a sprayer and spray your plants with pesticides. Personally, this would not be my choice. I like to use natural ways of controlling pests.
Top The Garden Insect Pests and How to Control Them https://hubpages.com/living/Top-Ten-Garden-Insect-Pests-and-How-to-Control-Them
Natural Garden Pest Management https://hubpages.com/living/Controlling-Bugs-in-my-Garden
Just because you see a bug on your plants, doesn’t mean that bug is harming your plants. Some are actually helping you keep the bad ones at bay.
Read Not All Bugs are Bad https://hubpages.com/living/Not-All-Insects-in-the-Garden-are-Bad
If you’re still having problems with bugs, try diatomaceous earth before pulling out the chemical spray can. Why I use Diatomaceous Earth in My Home and Garden https://hubpages.com/living/DEinhomeandgarden
When looking to decrease caustic chemicals around house and yard, very few substances aid in this process better than diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous Earth (also known as DE) is fossilized remains of tiny aquatic hard-shelled algae called diatoms in powdered form. This substance can be used in numerous ways around the house and yard as a relatively safe substitute for caustic chemicals. Discover how others have used diatomaceous earth in many ways including as an insect barrier around your home, an insecticide against biting insects, a moisture control agent, a polishing agent, and in detoxing the body