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Gardening Tips


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.

Disclaimer

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


How does your garden grow?

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.

Food Security

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.

Food Safety

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.

Food Quality

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.

Food Connoisseur

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.


kaleLast 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.

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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

Available in Print: http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-brown/simply-vegetable-gardening-simple-organic-gardening-tips-for-the-beginning-gardener/paperback/product-21579298.html

 


 

4715759467_6c46d6a181This 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

DE Photo

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

Get Your Copy in digital format here

 


 

red swiss chard

This month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work. In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.

 

This week I want to talk about another way to protect and nurture your plants.  I want to discuss companion planting.

 

What is Companion Planting?

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac defines companion planting as:

 

“Time-honored gardening wisdom says that certain plants, when grown together, improve each other’s health and yields. For instance, some plants attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, while other plants (particularly herbs) act as repellents. Additionally, plants that require a lot of the same nutrients as their neighbors may struggle to get enough for themselves, producing lackluster crops.”

Companion planting certainly makes sense when you think about it. Have you ever noticed that nature doesn’t grow just one type of plant in an area, but likes to throw numerous varieties together? It is not natural to grow a monocrop and a lot of the reason for that the variety supports the natural balance of nutrients in the soil.

 

The Benefits of Companion Planting

 

The benefits of companion planting include

 

1.       Shade Regulation where the taller plant shades a shorter more sun sensitive plant.

 

2.       Natural Supports where sturdy, fast growing taller plants provide natural support for vining plants.

 

3.       Improved plant health-one plant provides nutritional support for another plant species.

 

4.       Healthy soil-some plants have deeper taproots that prevent soil compaction.

 

5.       Weed suppression-planting sprawling plants around upright plants to suppress weeds.

 

Three sisters Gardening is the best-known form of companion planting.

 

Three Sisters Gardening Style

 

https://hubpages.com/living/A-Three-Sisters-Garden-Bed

 

Here are some related articles about the individual types of plants grown in a three sister’s garden.

 

Growing All Varieties of Winter Squash

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-All-Types-of-Winter-Squash

 

Extend Green Bean Harvest Upward with Pole Beans

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Gardening-with-Pole-Beans

 

For the Best Sweet Corn, Grow It in Your Own Backyard

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Raising-Your-Own-Sweet-Corn

 

Three sisters isn’t the only way we can use companion planting. Here are a few other articles that explain how other plants can be part of companion planting. 

Growing Beets in the Home Garden

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Beets-in-a-Garden-Bed

 

Sweet Peppers Companion with Sweet Basil

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Plant-Sweet-Peppers-with-Basil

 

The Hottest Tips for Growing Hot Peppers at Home

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Hot-Peppers-in-the-Garden

 

Growing and Saving Seed from Heirloom Tomatoes

 

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-and-Saving-Seed-from-Heirloom-Tomatoes

 

 Simply Vegetable Gardening

 

These and many more tips can be seen in my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. Simply Vegetable gardening is available on Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JHV15G6

and in Print:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-brown/simply-vegetable-gardening-simple-organic-gardening-tips-for-the-beginning-gardener/paperback/product-21579298.html

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greenbeans_galoreThis month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work. In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
Today we are going to be talking about the early spring vegetable garden. First you have to prepare your vegetable garden for planting. For best results, much of this work should have been done at the end of the gardening season the previous year. For instance, you could have already cleared debris from the garden and added it to the compost pile, tilled the soil, and mulched it with leaves in the autumn. If this were the case, you can simply remove the mulch and plant. However, if you didn’t or if you are starting the garden this spring, you can do it now. However, make sure that the soil is not wet or the seeds that you plant will rot.

What Vegetables Can I Plant Early in the Season?

Some vegetables can be planted earlier in the growing season than others. With most heat loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, and squash, you’ll need to wait until all danger of frost has passed. However, here is a list of articles with vegetables that you can plant in the early gardening season.

Planting Lettuce for a Sustainable Harvest

https://hubpages.com/living/Get-an-Ample-Supply-of-Lettuce-from-Your-Garden-this-Season

Growing Mixed Greens in Your Garden

https://hubpages.com/living/What-is-Musclun-and-How-Do-I-Grow-it

Growing Onions from Seeds, Plants, or Sets

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Onions-by-using-Seeds-Plants-or-Sets

Harvest Broccoli from Your Own Garden This Year

https://hubpages.com/living/Growing-Broccoli-A-Garden-Favorite

Harvesting Carrots from Your Own Backyard

https://hubpages.com/living/Sweet-Homegrown-Carrots

Simply Vegetable Gardening

 

These and many more tips can be seen in my book Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Simply Vegetable gardening is available on Kindle

and in Print

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http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-brown/simply-vegetable-gardening-simple-organic-gardening-tips-for-the-beginning-gardener/paperback/product-21579298.html

 


greenbeans_galoreThis month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work.

 

 

In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
I have been a fan of organic gardening since reading my first issue of Organic Gardening Magazine when I was twelve years old. The principles of organic gardening always made sense to me. The ideas put forth by organic gardening principles offer solutions to many problems of modern life.

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This week I am offering a 25% discount on digital copies of my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. From today through March 10, 2018 instead of the digital book being $2.99, it will be just $2.24 for a copy! Get Yours today before the promotion expires! Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/517230 to download your copy today!

Coupon Code  LY88C

Autumn Leaves are a Wonderful Resource You Should Never Burn

We often face problems in the autumn with the leaves that fall from the trees. In our hectic busy lives, we often don’t have time to deal with them until spring. When spring comes, we often pile them up and set a fire to them. This is a mistake. Here’s an article that I wrote on Hubpages.

Stop Environmental Pollution of Burning Autumn Leaves-Use Them Instead

https://hubpages.com/living/Autumn-Leaves-Dont-Burn-Them-Dont-Bag-Them-Use-Them

Compost

It is easy to make compost. Basically you need green materials (fresh green grass, manure, chopped kitchen garbage) brown material (leaves, shredded paper, chipped wood), soil, and water. In an area of your yard that is convenient to both the kitchen and the garden, layer a couple inches of each type of item listed above and let set several months, and turn the pile every couple of weeks. If you get more than an inch of rain every week, you won’t have to water the pile, but if you do, be sure to soak the pile well one time per week.

Kelp

I often question whether I have enough of the right trace minerals in my compost, so I often add kelp powder to the pile along with the other ingredients.
Kelp can be used in other ways in the garden as well. I like to use it directly as a planting nutrient. I simply sprinkle kelp to the bottom of the planting hole when planting both seeds and plants.
I also add kelp to goat and chicken feed for two reasons. The first one is to guarantee that the animals get the nutrients that they need. Many illnesses that animals get are related to nutritional deficiencies. The second reason is that the kelp in the animal manure will be passed on to plants.

help from kelp photo

Kelp is beneficial in other ways too and I have written about it in my book Help from Kelp. It is available

on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0QNN1O

and in print

http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/help-from-kelp/paperback/product-22518936.html

Wood Ashes

When we had a woodstove for heating, we put all our wood ashes in the garden. In addition to working the wood ashes into the soil to add the nutrients, if certain vegetables are attacked by plant eating insects, wood ashes can be sprinkled on the leaves. The wood ashes don’t taste good to the insects, so they avoid the leaves treated with the ashes. For some reason, one application is enough, but it can be reapplied after a rain.

Diatomaceous Earth

In the absence of wood ashes, DE can be used in the garden as an insect repellent. Just dust it on the plants. For more information on how to use diatomaceous earth, check out another article in Hubpages:

Why I use Diatomaceous Earth in My Home and Garden

https://hubpages.com/living/DEinhomeandgarden
Although wood ashes and diatomaceous earth do keep insects off your plants, you can over do it and as I wrote in my article, not all insects in the garden are bad, good insects do exist.

Not All Insects in the Garden are Bad

https://hubpages.com/living/Not-All-Insects-in-the-Garden-are-Bad

DE Photo

 

In addition to Help from Kelp I have another book Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard You can get this book for free in a digital format at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/617019

Or if you prefer a book in print go to http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/using-diatomaceous-earth-around-the-house-and-yard/paperback/product-22638910.html

 

 

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