One thing this pandemic has taught us is that we rely too heavily on modern supply chains for food. What happens if grocery stores run out of food? The solution is simple; grow your own. In a not too distant future, growing vegetables and fruits in containers could be a necessity. And you don’t have to live in the country. Today, urban and rural gardeners alike rely on patios, balconies, rooftops, alleyways, or whatever space is available to grow their produce. Here’s a list of some of the best fruits and veggies you can grow in containers.
Food preservation is an ancient technique that allows you to stockpile a large amount of food for a rainy day, or even a global health or economic crisis. Dehydration is easy once you get the hang of it and the food you preserve goes a long way! Read on to find out how you can get started saving food today.
When you think of food preservation, the first thing that probably comes to mind is canning. What you might not know is that there are numerous ways, some old, some new, to store your fresh garden harvest and other foods through the winter and beyond. Knowing which preservation methods work best for certain foods will help ensure the best and freshest flavor.
It’s always a sad day when that temperamental wind races through your garden and dislodges unripe tomatoes from the vine. Not to worry! You can turn those tomatoes into yummy pickles with just a few simple steps. Here are our favorite ways to enjoy green tomatoes and give you a delightful snack throughout the winter months.
Once you have a dehydrator, there’s a whole new world of delicious and nutritious recipes for you to enjoy. This method of drying your food preserves most of the nutritional content and is a great way to keep your bountiful harvest from going to waste. Read on for some of our favorite ways to use a dehydrator.
Ah honey, that sweet and delicious gift from the bees that we all love so much. Not only does it tempt our senses but honey is also highly desirable for its long-standing and scientifically proven health benefits. Pure, raw honey has a host of therapeutic uses stemming from its antibacterial and antifungal properties and antioxidant power. Honey is a wound healer, immunity booster, a gut soother and can ease a sore throat, to name just a few of its many benefits. If you have access to raw, local honey, it is easy to make your own infused honey that is beautiful, delicious, and highly nutritious.
Starting out with hydroponics can be a little confusing, but one of the first things you’ll need to understand if you want to try this sustainable and innovative water-agriculture is the idea of growing mediums. Hydroponics doesn’t use typical soil; however, it does utilize the power of water and specially mixed soilless growing mediums to encourage hearty, productive plants. Soilless mediums are used in place of traditional soil to support the root systems of your plants and retain nutrients in this type of gardening. Here are a few of our favorites to use for your next hydroponics project.
You’ve finally developed the perfect outdoor living space. You have comfy chairs, cooling fans, and lighting strung in the trees to set the mood. What better way to welcome summer than by throwing a vibrant garden party with your closest friends on your newly revamped porch or patio? Of course, you need fabulous potted plants and vines to complete the look, but no party is complete without these healthy and refreshing summer teas. Check out our favorites below!
It is easy to look at gardeners in other gardening zones and wish that you had the ease of a tropical climate or the long growing season of southern gardens. However, there are ways that you can extend the growing season and increase your vegtable harvest with the following tips and tricks.
Control the microclimate of your garden
You might have noticed that some areas of your garden sustain plants much longer than others. For example, a windswept area is more susceptible to the ravages of nature than a sheltered spot.
Apart from the lay of the land, man-made structures such as houses, brick walls, sheds, and barns also affect the microclimate of various areas of your backyard. Plan the garden on a downward slope from the house and orient it southward for maximum warmth and light.
Plant a living fence
The most organic way to create a barrier to frosty winds is to surround your garden with living fences. They gently regulate the movement of air, water, and soil within your piece of land, by filtering, blocking or diverting these elements. They also filter away weed seeds, and insect pests carried on the winds.
Conifer hedging (such as Leylandii cypress) is ideal in cooler regions, as it grows quickly and remains green through winter when the barrier is most needed. It is also wind and drought tolerant.
If you already have a wooden, PVC, or chain link fence around your property, upgrade them with climbers such as passion fruit, cucumbers, melons, grapevine, potato bean vine (Hopniss), scarlet beans, hops, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, etc. This will fortify the barrier and encourage a protected microclimate.
Several rows of corn planted along the periphery of the garden can also provide a hardworking living fence.
Warm up the soil plastic sheet mulch
We know that black material is excellent for absorbing and radiating heat. You can use black plastic sheet mulch in your garden to absorb the sun’s heat and help the soil underneath thaw faster. Plus it is an excellent way to prevent excessive weed growth and suppress unwanted greenery. It also radiates heat to the surroundings, creating an overall warmer atmosphere.
Start gardening early
Be ready to jumpstart your spring planting with seedlings and rooted cuttings grown indoors. Check the last frost date in your region and sow seeds in trays six to eight weeks early. Even though your local nurseries may carry flats of seedlings, which may even work out to be cheaper, it’s always better to have the first batch ready to go into the garden as soon as possible.
Some crops like onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, and broad beans have overwintering varieties that can be directly sown in the garden late in the fall. The young sprouts remaining dormant under the layer of mulch will be naturally hardened to withstand any unexpected cold snaps later in the season.
Grow veggies in planter boxes or raised beds
Even half a foot above the ground makes a big difference to the vegetable patch when the ground is frozen. It also makes it easier when you want to enclose the patch in a hoop house later in the season.
Toughen up the plants
Tough plants manage to survive cold and drought better. Once the seedlings are well established, reduce the frequency of watering to toughen them up. Too much water stress is counterproductive, of course, but slight desiccation of tissues actually makes them stronger.
Choose early maturing and cold hardy varieties
There are radishes that get ready for harvest in less than 25 days and cauliflowers that take only 45 days. Ideally, you should plant a mix of early and late varieties, but the early maturing ones can be planted over and over again to increase your total yield. Also, consider the cold hardiness of the varieties, especially for the last batch of planting.
Build a pond in the garden
The sun heats up the water during the day which acts as a reservoir of heat. When the air temperature goes down, it releases the heat slowly and steadily, warming up the surrounding air.
Harvest to the end of the season and beyond
Towards the end of growing season, plants start declining. Protecting them against cold with cloches or cold frames will allow the last harvest to mature on the plant. If the plant is too big, make a tepee around it with clear plastic. Keeping a tub of water inside the tepee also might help maintain moisture and encourage heat.
Proposed by Mel Bartholomew in 1980s, Square Foot Gardening is a high yield formula for growing the maximum amount of vegetables in a limited space. Simple to design and execute, it quickly became popular with small scale home gardeners all over the world, and came to be known as SFG. Many newbie food growers first tasted success with this method and were emboldened to attempt larger projects.