Category Archives: Organic Gardening and Farming

Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 3. Getting Started: Bed Preparation

So once you have read the first posts in this series, about Site Selection, and asked yourself the questions and evaluated your yard, you are ready to start building your garden! If space is limited you can use pots for container gardening!

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Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 2. Getting Started: Site Selection

garden

Afternoon shadows will help on hot summer days!

 

So my last Blog post,  Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?, may have led you here. Or you just got lucky and found this on your own! Either way we are glad you have joined us. So you are ready to start a vegetable garden. I am going to walk you through step by step and make it real easy! Feel free to ask any questions along the way.

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Organic Vegetable Gardening Made Easy: 1. Why start a vegetable garden?

10406359_10201967407572940_1866439833946748287_nWhy?

You may be asking yourself, “Why would I start a vegetable garden?”
With all the grocery stores available to you these days, what is the point of growing your own food? Is it worth the effort of getting dirty and sweaty? You may be asking yourself, will I even succeed at growing anything? Some of my reasons are below. Yes, it is worth it and yes you will succeed, with me helping you along the way!

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Selecting Vegetable Garden Seed: Narrowing Down the List

seeds

Some of our seeds…

“Now that you have all the specifics of where and how to choose seed comes the fun part! What does your family love to eat? What do you buy from the farmers market and grocery store the most? What do you use daily, weekly? What do you have the room for? What is too hard to grow in your region? Do you have the ability to start seed properly? Is it better to purchase certain plants as starts instead? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and narrow down your list of what you will grow this year. Really these questions could be a whole other blog post… Remember there is always next year to try something else!”
See more at: http://wholesomeroots.org/seeds-so-many-choices-how-to-choose-the-right-seed-for-your-garden/#sthash.lpYViPNS.dpuf

Time for that other blog post!
So spring is right around the corner and everyone is reading, dreaming and talking about seed choices! What vegetables are you growing this year!?

Choosing what your family loves to eat is your first step. Interview your family members, from parents to toddlers. Getting everyone on board with choices gives you better chance of them helping you with the weeding, watering, and harvesting. It will also help you realize what you need more or less of. My family eats more tomato and okra so I need those on my list but they don’t really eat much arugula so it might not make my list. Make sure you save this list to review next year and see how desires change. So with this list in hand you can now narrow down based on other factors.

Space:
Do you have room for everything or for things that take up a lot of space? Some plants produce low yields or sprawl all over, like squash. If your space is limited it would make more sense to grow other things and buy these items from local farmers. You can grow a lot of greens in a very small space but tomatoes require some room. Research your plant choices and see how much room they require, how big they get, and row spacing. If you have room for them move on to next step. Remember local farmers and farmers markets need your support so buy from them before heading to grocery store for things you don’t have room for.

Ability:
Some seeds can be direct sown into the garden like peas and lettuce but other vegetables should be planted as plant starts, like tomatoes and peppers. Research which vegetables on your list are recommended to be direct-sown or from starts and see how many need to be started from seed before planting. Seeds easily sown in ground are usually fast growers like leafy greens and root crops like carrots and radish. If something on your list is better off planted as a seedling then you need to decide if you can practically start the seed yourself? Do you have the space, heat source, light source, and time to care for seedlings for 6-8 weeks? Sometimes it is easier to buy the plants depending on your circumstances.

Regional Preference:
Look around locally and find out what varieties and cultivars seem to do well in your area. Check with local extension office, farm stores, and garden centers. Ask your neighbors and friends that garden for variety recommendations of what you have chosen to grow. Don’t be afraid to try something others say they can’t grow but know what reasons before you try a new adventure. I had people tell me they couldn’t grow many things at the garden I used to manage, I tried anyway and succeeded! Local knowledge is usually your best bet still! Especially if you find seed that someone locally grew and saved!

So get that list going! Narrow your choices and begin shopping! Picking out varieties of each choice is the fun and easy part so enjoy looking through catalogs and online, don’t forget to check your local feed and seed store!

Tune in for our next post to help you along! Subscribe for email updates so you don’t miss anything!

A Year in Review: Our Journey Continues!

I started this blog a year ago today… I wasn’t sure where it would lead or how I would use it I just knew I wanted to share our journey with others. I have this deep need to teach others what it takes to start a homestead and live a cleaner more sustainable life. The number of post’s I’ve made are much less than I thought I would have but my life has been very full!

poults and chicks

The spring brought a litter of kittens, a brood of chicks, a dozen ducklings, and two turkey tgvng2015016.jpgpoults! Then on April 14, the day before my birthday, our precious Liam finally arrived a week and a day late! My fourth child arrived fast and furious, 29 minutes after I entered the hospital! He has been a perfect happy baby and all of us have adjusted well over the last eight months!

 

family

We planted an orchard and a perennial food plot at the beginning of the year and after Liam was born we planted our vegetable garden after adding a truckload of compost to the new ground. We had 325 tomato plants with over 40 heirloom varieties as our main crop! And then summer arrived in Georgia! Oh what a summer it was! It was so hot all summer that nothing could grow… We got enough tomatoes to eat fresh (our family can consume 6-12 fresh tomatoes a day in summer months), cook with (tomato pie is amazing!), share with close friends and freeze some for later canning in cooler weather! Not enough to sell though as we had hoped…IMG_20150809_191734_773 This winter I have traded seed with many heirloom experts and have over 100 heirloom varieties to try in the spring! Tomatoes are my obsession! Peppers waited till fall and then went nuts! We bartered and sold them well! Cucumbers, beans, okra and eggplant were good but need to plant more for next year!

dsc_0149.jpg Ryan, my better half, made a big career change in June! He left the organic garden we had cared for for four years and took a job at a sustainable pastured sheep dairy! They have the best sheep milk cheese in the country! He milks, does farm chores, and cares for the sheep, pigs, and chickens. He’s learned so much about rotational grazing and even got to spend a day in the cheese house making cheese! His new job is really a perfect fit for him! We are excited to apply the new skills to our own goat milk herd we plan to have in the near future!

At the end of the year a friend reached out to us in need! She had a registered Hereford hog that was in desperate need of a new home! She and her kids had grown too attached to her to slaughter so she will be a breeding sow. They came over and fenced the old riding arena and got it ready for Petunia. She will be bred and have piglets in the spring! We won’t get attached to piglets, I promise! They will be sold or raised for meat. But Petunia is going to continue to be one spoiled girl, belly rubs and all!

petunia

Wont you continue on with us? Follow us as our journey continues! Subscribe for email updates now! I can’t wait to share all we hope for in the new year! We have so much more to teach you about gardening, raising animals and kids, and eating healthy food!

Happy New Year!

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