Organic Gardening ~ Early Indoor Seed Starting Tips

With cold winter days almost behind us, it's that time of the year again to get an early start on your garden. This year I decided to plant 100% organic garden seeds and I was excited to see all the early green seedlings

Quick Garden Update

An unusual soggy summer has taken its toll on my garden. We've had more rain during the months of June and July then all of 2012 combined; however, my bush beans, bell peppers, and tomatoes are doing fairly well even with the record high rains.

Fruit trees/bushes seem to like the heavy rains so far this season.
Pictured above is my new baby blueberry bush.  

Raised bed garden update 06-29-13: This year is my first year of doing raised bed gardening and I think I'll be doing a lot more of raised beds in the future. I've had to plant a few sections over, due to the rains, but for the most part I'm happy with my newest garden project of raised beds. Here are a few pictures taken since my last post.

Raised bed garden update 07-26-13:
Finally emerging are collards, green leaf lettuce, cabbage and spinach.
The far left raised bed are pumpkins and melons.


Basic Gardening Essentials

Thinking about starting a small vegetable or flower garden this summer? Here are a few basic gardening essentials that may help to ensure your success. Before you get started grab a notebook and pen. Go outside and take a walk around your yard. You may need to grab a chair and sit for a moment and imagine what you would like your garden to look like or basically what your favorite vegetables and/or flowers are.

The size of a garden really has no limits. Gardening can be done in pots or plots or even indoors as long as there is plenty of light, rich soil and water. With light, rich soil and water you'll have all the basics you need to become a thriving gardening. Of course you'll need seeds too.

When shopping for garden seeds you may first want to print out a vegetable planting chart for the region you live in to make sure you are planting the proper seeds at the appropriate time and before a freeze date for your region. You can just google your state for a planting chart. This is a before picture of  my vegetable garden. 

Below are a few pictures of my garden growth progress. Pictured are my bell peppers and bush beans. This year I decided to plant an organic garden using organic seeds, plants and organic fertilizer. 

Flowers Attract Pollinators - Bees!
They are also simply beautiful to look at.

Adding flowers to the garden is sexy!

I was so excited to be able to pick my first green bean harvest this year.
Green beans slowly steamed with fresh sweet onions are one of my favorite dishes.

I also planted a few more garden favorites. Tomatoes are just about the easiest to grow and can be grown in pots right on your front or back porch. I grow my tomatoes in my garden, but I also grow in pots. There are so many different types of tomatoes. Last year I made a mistake of planting purple tomatoes which weren't very tasty. This year I stuck with my favorite grape tomatoes for salads and big beefy tomatoes for sandwiches.

My next garden update, will be on raised gardening. After my first failed attempt this summer for planting lettuce, spinach, and cabbage,  I decided to do raised bed gardening for these vegetables. Some vegetables thrive in almost any type of soil, like tomatoes. There are other vegetables like lettuce that prefer a more rich, loamy soil that contains plenty of organic matter.  Below is a picture of my current garden project, my raised garden beds. I'm still in the process of planting a few more. As you can see my seedlings are already bursting through after just 5-6 days of planting. I'll be posting an update soon, so be sure to check back and happy gardening!

Growing Potatoes

Don't throw away your budding potatoes! If you have potatoes that have started to grow buds like the ones pictured at left, slice them up and watch them grow. Plant them in a garden container/planter or even an unused trash can. The great thing about potatoes is that they can grow year round either indoors or outdoors when the weather is warmer.

I decided to use planters for easier harvesting. You just dump out the container at harvest time. Growing potatoes in the ground is great, but requires a little more work. At harvest time, you take a chance of cutting the potatoes when digging them out of the ground. Since this was my first time growing potatoes, I took the easy road.

You should use a container that can hold at least 10 gallons or larger is better. If using a trash can, be sure you poke holes at the bottom for drainage. Next place about 4 inches of soil in the bottom of the container. Put your potatoes pieces, budding side up on top of soil. Place about 5 potatoes pieces spread out evenly in container depending on size of container, you can place more for larger containers. Cover with about 3 more inches of soil. Do not fill the container with soil.

I hired my little man to help with the potato planting. He had a million and one questions. This is a perfect time to bond with your children and grandchildren. They will think you are the greatest and coolest person in the world for getting them involved. Harvest time will be one of their greatest highlights that will create a lifetime of memories.

As the green leaves start to emerge add additional soil every 5 to 6 inches of new growth.

Current growth as of May 5th, 2012

   Added more dirt ~ growth as of May 28th, 2012


Couples That Get Dirty Together Stay Together

I absolutely love gardening. It wasn't until I invited my husband to play in the dirt and get dirty with me that gardening became a way for us to spend more time together. Now there are a lot of benefits from starting a garden. I have never been able to draw or paint a masterpiece on paper, gardening is a different form of art. It's a living masterpiece with beautiful landscapes of edible colors and textures.

It's a way to contribute to a disposable society and give back by growing beautiful flowers and vegetables. Gardening is also relaxing and therapeutic. Together you and your partner can simultaneously nurture your garden and relationship.

Finding time to spend together in today's society can often be difficult. Gardening is a great way to bridge that gap. If your partner doesn't like gardening, there are still other ways they can contribute to your garden masterpiece. Now my husband initially was not thrilled about gardening, yet he loves to look at beautiful landscapes. He also loves to shop for power tools.

Shopping at your local garden store can be a time where you both can come together for a common purpose and goal. Don't forget to sit down and grab a cup of coffee together after your trip to the garden store, which is a perfect time to discuss your garden plans.

My Simple Gardening Tips:
  • When you plan your garden together, you may want to first sketch a simple blueprint. 
  • Discuss what type of flowers and vegetables you both like.
  • Plan a romantic corner to include a bench, shade trees or bushes, wind chimes, and a small water feature where the two of you can spend time together.
  • For the non-gardening partner, make sure a small section is devoted entirely to him/her and include their favorite vegetables or flowers. This may help them to take ownership and become more interested in the project.
  • Just like any relationship you must cultivate your garden at least once or twice a week which will keep out weeds and promote healthy growth.

Planting a garden together has so many rewards and strengthens the relationship. Eating the fresh vegetables and fruit that you harvested together will also help to improve your nutritional dietary needs and save money. One of the best benefits of gardening is that you get to start fresh year after year.You get a chance to paint and add different colors and textures to your garden masterpiece again and again with the coming of each new spring and summer season. Each year as your garden and relationship grows, you will begin to cultivate, shape, and mold a unique masterpiece. You will create memories that will last a lifetime and perhaps be able to pass it on to the next generation.   

Pictured at left is the entrance to my vegetable garden. Once a pile of old trash and dirt is now our romantic get-a-way spot.   

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