Use some of those herbs you grew this summer for every day use in the winter,
Believe it or not, it is quite simple to do, and doesn’t even require that much planning. It does help to be able to plan ahead enough to have your plants ¾ grown before the shorter cooler days of fall slow down the growth rate of your veggies. But even if you miss getting them planted in time for this, either because you didn’t know, or because, like me, you are always busy and time gets away on you, there are simple ways of dealing with the daylight hours, or lack of, that can still provide you with a great little indoor garden.
For those of us that have garden space for a good part of the year, thinking of container gardening is not such a big consideration. But what about those living in an apartment or condo with no such possibilities as a garden? Or those of us without a greenhouse who would like to keep growing our own salads and herbs through most of the year?
How to grow extra food without increasing your growing space
I want to introduce to you the topic of 'Over-planting" certain crops. You can...
Household money savers.
Today's tip came to me as I was cleaning out the fridge, and I thought that a few of you might appreciate this.
Fried Rice Uses Leftovers
The first secret to good fried rice is to have rice...
Easy Vegetable Seeds to Start Your Garden. Vegetable Gardening 101
Vegetable Gardening 101. Get started with some quick growing and low care vegetable seeds, for kids and adults.
There is a lot of emotional investment in watching your first seeds grow, and smaller quicker successes lead to bigger, and more time-consuming ones, as you gain the skills to manage them all.
These seeds I've listed require average, well-drained soil, grow quickly, (you're looking at an average of 25-35 days to be able to start eating them), and they don't have special fertilizing needs or soil pH to thrive. These will grow in potting soil, or in the average garden.
They like cooler weather in spring and fall if they are outside, so most are ok with damp weather and not a lot of sunlight, although they do require bright light to at least get started.
When you're not sure how to cook kale.
First of all, Kale does have a stronger flavor, especially the heirloom, winter hardy types. If you get some of the newer hybrids that do well in summer, a more mellow flavor and texture might make you happier.
The following tips and recipes can, however, be tried with all types of kale.
The Uses of Kale
However, since most of us are not rationing frozen greens for food, and simply want a winter-reliable, dark green leafy vegetable to put in our meals, a few more ideas can be helpful when preparing our lunches.
Suggestion 1. Always slice kale thinly, this way the tougher leaves are broken down to more tender portions. It also allows the kale to blend into other flavors better, instead of having big chunks of it.
Suggestion 2. If you are introducing this green to your family's diet, is to add small portions to things. Add a handful only, thinly sliced of course, to recipe, blending the flavors in.
The basics of healthy soil, and the number one secret you may be missing for a better garden and healthy plants.
But have you ever experienced, or run into someone who, no matter what they do, can't seem to get their garden to produce, no matter what? The plain and simple fact is that you can dig in compost, use compost tea, rotate crops, companion plant, raise earthworms, and all those things are excellent, and still miss this one thing, and have a terrible garden.
Once that is all done, though, he waters a little, pulls the odd weed that grows here and there, and watches his plants grow. He has put the long-time effort of having healthy soil, and reaps the benefits, every year.
The Secret You May be Missing in Your Garden
40+ vegetables and herbs that either like cool weather conditions, can over-winter and be harvested in the spring, or are perennials and will come back year after year.
Now before I start listing all the fantastic things you can grow in cold weather, I need to make a couple of things clear.
- Even though these wonderful foods will survive some pretty gruesome weather, they still need a certain number of hours of daylight to sprout, start growing, and produce into the late fall and early winter. Just because your swiss chard is a cold-hardy variety, does not mean it will sprout and grow if you plant it in November. It may, depending on your growing zone, survive as seed in the soil over the winter and start growing in early spring when daylight and conditions permit. But if you are expecting to throw seeds in the soil, very few will sprout, let alone flourish in these conditions. The exceptions of course are if you are in places with warm winters.
- Many of these, if started in late summer/early fall in a cold frame will get a good start, and slow down on growth for small pickings into winter, provided it doesn't freeze too hard.
- Some of these can be started in late summer/early fall, and allowed to over-winter, under the snow and all, and will start growing again in early spring for a spring harvest.
Now granted, I don't like having them in my salad either, and pick them out quickly. But I don't dump
How to Mulch Your Garden to Save You Water, Time, Money, & Grow Better Food.
Honestly, this has saved me so much time weeding, watering, and on water, you cannot even imagine. You need to try this for yourself.
How to Grow Onions, and Find the Right Kind for You.
How to Grow Onions and Care for Them
Onions, like many root vegetables, like sandy, but well-amended soil, meaning they like a goodly amount of nutrients dug in, in the form of compost and/or composted manure. This applies to all types of onions. Having good, healthy soil is essential to growing any crop.
It certainly is nice to have your own onions through the winter to put into stews and casseroles, and there is nothing like slicing up a big Wala Wala Sweet Onion for sandwiches and burgers.
If you are bound and determined to grow onions, in a small space, no matter what, my suggestion is to look into a form of vertical gardening. There are a lot of plans and ideas out there, and I'm sure one can be adapted for the space it takes for onions bulbs to develop.
Onions like quite sandy soil with compost. While some moisture is necessary...
See how easy it is to scent your home naturally and cheaply!
What You Will Need to Make Your Own Air Fresheners
You Will Need:
- A couple of small, pretty glass vases. (Keep your eyes open at garage sales too. My daughter found me the glass and bamboo sticks, on the right, for 25 cents).
- One pack of bamboo sticks.
- A cup of light oil. Anything like sunflower or almond oil will do.
- 1-2 of your favorite essential oils. If your not sure, start with a common one, like lemon, or orange. Citrus oils are universal, nothing too strange to start with, and cost around $6-$8 a bottle. I find the citrus scents are the most inexpensive to get, and therefore the easiest for household use.
We live on the coast. When one plants, it's usually between storms. At the time of this photo, we had just had about three weeks of heavy rain. My poor swiss chard and carrots are a little over-whelmed here.
Pig weed has taken over everything. While edible and good for you, it certainly isn't all I want to grow!
But, you may say, I live where it is dry! We are in the middle of a four year drought. I don't have your problem, my soil is blowing away. I can't grow anything :(
My Top 5 Reasons for Mulching
#1. It saves a lot of time weeding. Our time is important and valuable. Mulching is one of those things that gardeners learn, over time, that saves a lot of work, in a variety of areas. I like spending time in my garden. I like to cut down my weeding time as much as possible. There will always be the odd weed that gets away, but over-all your energy output should be reduced drastically.
#2. Reason #1 also saves on a sore back and stiff knees. While I can't promise you will be completely free from these ailments induced by the garden, it can cut down on that time needed at the massage therapist or chiropractor after a marathon weekend of weeding. I don't know about you, but my back and knees don't handle the garden like they did even ten years ago.
#3. While it is smothering weeds, it is slowly adding...
The how-to's of growing great broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages.
Grow Purple Cone Flowers and Have Echinacea!
Doing this will save you on water consumption, time, and weeding.
Traditionally, rows of seeds were planted with a good foot of pathway between each row, more if you were planting potatoes or corn that required hilling. There were some good reasons for this. When the family garden was three or four acres big, to produce enough food for the year, a work horse was often hooked up to a single furrow hand plow to do quick weeding/digging between the rows. There had to be enough space for the work horse and single plow to get between the rows without trampling the vegetables.
However, I am going to share some of my small space secrets. This works in containers and other types of gardening too.
Double and Triple Your Rows
If you are planting in raised beds or right into tilled soil, you can do this. This also works in long, rectangular containers.
I also do this with radishes and summer turnips, which grow about the size of radishes, and even carrots. I thin regularly after the first few days, as the bulbs won't develop if left growing thickly, but the regular thinning of the radish and turnip rows provides nice fresh additions to sandwiches, salads, stir-fries, and soups very quickly.
Tip: Don't eat the carrot tops, they are somewhat toxic and can make you feel quite ill.
You can plant double rows with other vegetables too, like cabbages and broccoli, but be sure to stagger the plants with proper spacing between, as they don't do well being crowded, like your leafy greens.
Watering is a 2-for-1 Deal
A lovely bonus to planting like this, is being able to water two rows in one shot. As you can see, I make a shallow furrow between each row, and apply the water directly to the roots. As the plants get bigger, they shade the furrow, helping prevent further water evaporation.
A Top-Notch Secret Gardening Tip
Do you want to really step up your garden productivity? Of course you do! Who wouldn't!
Are you ready?
Pssssst-compost tea. I'm not kidding. If you have not yet started compost tea, you need to do this now! Within a couple of weeks, you will notice a huge difference in your plants and their health.
They are not harmful to humans or your house and property, in any way, although they are toxic to certain birds.
There are many different kinds of lady bugs, and while there are a few kinds, like the Mexican ladybug that actually eats plants, 99% of ladybugs are not pests, nor would your garden centre sell you ones that are.
For your ladybugs to stick around, they need food. If you have an ongoing infestation of aphids or some such horrer, you have no worries about a food supply. If, however, you are using them as a preventative measure, you need to do a little research and have some food and housing available to keep them in the area. Otherwise they will just take off looking for nourishment.
Another way to encourage them to stick around, is to provide them with a ladybug house. Nope, not kidding. Ladybug houses provide them with winter shelter, and a summer hide-out as well, and can help keep them in your garden for years.
I enourage you to find out if your local garden centre gets ladybugs in for their customers, and if they don't, see if they might start carrying them, or bring them in special order.
You can also purchase them online and have them shipped for minimal cost.
Encouraging local suppliers to be proactive about supplying non-chemical alternatives for your garden.
Remember, voting with your dollars is a powerful way to support the local economy and non-invasive gardening techniques.
How to Attract Frogs & Toads to Your Garden for Natural Pest Control
But what not so many people realize is that they also enjoy eating slugs, worms, and other creepy crawlies as well.
Don't forget, frogs and toads are food for a lot of other animals too, from hawks, owls, coyotes, snakes, lizards, cats, dogs, chickens, and marauding kids. Not that the kids eat them of course, (we hope), but they can still make life difficult for your little garden friends.
Frogs usually require a moister habitat, so if you have a little backyard pond, or a marshy area, a frog or two should thrive back there.
You can make your own froggitat by taking an old plant container, ceramic or plastic, and half burying it in the soil, in a protected area, under some plants or in your berry bushes.
Your frogs and toads will thank you, and you will have a lot more help on the insect battle.
Slugs are an ugly kind of garden pest, and particularly annoying as they like to hide in the soil and plants, and can survive a long time without giving themselves away.
So even if you invest in floating row covers, it very well might not protect you against slugs.
If you have never experienced these shell-ess bits of slime, they can easily wreck a large patch of tender leafy greens in just a few nights.
So where, do you ask, do the ducks come in? We'll get to that, I promise.
Slug traps are one of the easiest traps you will ever make. A lid or plate, filled with beer, and set out where they are, and they will flock...errr....glide to it, drink themselves drunk, and then drown in it. A good waste of beer? Well not if it rids you of a problem.
I prefer getting actual slug traps as they have attractive lids that keep out the dog, and lets me avoid the view of drowned slugs till I'm ready to deal with them after my morning coffee.
Some of the natural enemies of slugs include birds, frogs, toads, and chickens. Here is yet another reason to encourage a toad or frog to take up residence in your garden. They can keep ahead of the slugs as they come into the yard.
You can consider it their escargot.
The most voracious eaters of slugs I have ever seen, is ducks. If you don't have room, space, or inclination for ducks, this isn't a great options for you, but for those of you who do, let me tell you about ducks and slugs.
The Story of Ducks & Slugs
Being down in the Frazer Valley of British Columbia, there was, of course, a lot of rainfall, and a horrendous infestation of slugs. When it rained, two acres of lawn were almost black with slugs.
You couldn't take a step without squishing one. Torn between horror, and goulish delight, my brother and I took to squishing slugs with the resulting mess on our rubber boots, or walking around with a box of salt in the rain (never a good idea) and erradicating as many as we could.
My mother realized, however, that we would never be able to make any serious inroads into this slug population. It was too vast. As an organic gardener, the thought of spreading that much slug poison around was daunting, not only financially, but environmentally as well, and we had other animals we didn't want getting into it.
So after a little research, she got a couple of ducks, along with some geese, to live in the creek and eat slugs. (In case you're wondering, geese don't eat slugs, they eat grass and your nice green garden veggies if they can get them!)
Well, it didn't take those ducks long to realize that every morning they had a gourmet feast laid out on that two acres of lawn.They would waddle, accompanied by the guard-geese, around the property, gorging on slugs, to the point they had ropes of slug goober hanging of their bills to the ground. It was revolting to see, but effective. Then they would go back to the creek to nap for the day, and repeat the next morning.
Within a season, slugs were a thing of the past in that yard.
I still get the gag reflex happening whenever I think of those ropes of goober, though.
Learn a Little About Preventive and Organic Pest Control
If you have ever had a lovely infestation of cabbage worms in your cole crops, or your greenhouse has been over-run with aphids, this is true. Playing catch-up is no fun, especially if your plants are half dead at the end of June. Trying to get control of the infestation, and deal with plant shock usually ends up being traumatic for the gardener too, not just the plants. And often at this stage, there are probably only a couple options left: consigning the plants to the fire pit, or spraying everything with chemicals or dish soap to try and control the little suckers, and these options are not always successful or desirable.
Even for more experienced gardeners, I would guess that one or two of these options are ones you haven’t thought of!
The next few blog posts will give you a list of beneficial garden friends you should think about attracting to your yard to help prevent these problems. Please remember that although some things require a small investment to start, these products should last for years and keep your friends around.
Preventative Pest Control Measures
A bit of prevention goes a long way, as our grandmothers used to say.
This is particularly true in gardening. It is true that healthy plants and soil ward off illnesses much better than unhealthy ones, the same as humans.
However, this is combined with weather, temperature, and a host of environmental factors that can affect even healthy plants. They can be attacked any time by armies of slugs, aphids, ants, or other pests.
Pest control, in the form of floating row covers, are best planned ahead. As they usually have to be ordered on-line, you want to allow for shipping and delivery before you need them.
My personal opinion on floating row covers: Best. Invention. Ever.
Inexpensive to buy, and long-lasting, I get the light weight material, cut it to length for the garden beds, and put it on as soon as I have planted. If you combine it with mulching, it is one of the biggest work-savers ever.
You can get heavier material that actually gives your plants extra protection, increasing the temperature of the soil while still allowing sun and moisture through. However, you will need to get proper hoops for support as it will be too heavy for most plants to just leave.
With the light-weight stuff, which you can buy here, you tuck it in around the outer edges of your veggies, at least two inches deep, and walk away. Cabbage moths, squash borers, aphids, and the like, can't get in.
Now this is not a lot of help for pests that like to hide in the soil, like cutworms and slugs, but it does help keep out most of the air-borne nuisances, or slugs that are trying to get in.
Cathy Hague is a mom, wife, gardener, book worm, occasional wine drinker, and is continually looking for new gardening, and permaculture ideas. And any information to reduce the amount of weeding in her garden.
Bugs In Your Salad
Cold Weather Herbs
Cold Weather Vegetables
Diy Spa Products
How To Cook Kale
How To Grow Onions
How To Grow Organic Vegetables
How To Use Kale
Natural Air Freshener
Natural Pest Control
Quick Growing Vegetables
Vegetable Gardening 101
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