The internet is full of some really great blogs, and I’m fortunate to be in a group that focuses on things my readers love: preparedness, homesteading, healthy living, family, and survival. With a new gardening season approaching, I asked some of these bloggers to share their #1 article on the topic of gardening — their best gardening advice. My own #1 article on the topic is, “27 Tips From a Master Gardener“, which has been read at least 200,000 times and shared on Pinterest so many times that I’ve lost track!
Enjoy this selection of top-rated articles for inspiration and motivation to make your next garden your best garden! If you’re new to gardening or are not sure what next steps you should take, then you need to take my quick Gardening Self-Assessment. This quiz will help you evaluate where you are in your gardening journey and show you the areas in which you need to grow (pun intended)!
The current food system in the US makes everyone want to grow their own food!
There are other motivating factors to growing your own food. Maybe you want to garden because want to pass this lost art down to your kids. Perhaps you want grow your own food because your garden would be a guaranteed source of food for you and your family. Possibly you just want food full of nutrients and free of chemicals. There are a ton of reasons why you should grow your own food.
And everyone says how easy and enjoyable gardening can be.
But a few nagging questions have been holding you back: Don’t I need a lot of land? Can I grow rhubarb and oranges in my area or will neither grow? Why is soil important? Do plants need more than sun and water to grow? How can I grow organically when my plants have bugs? Why are there 100 varieties of tomatoes in seed catalogs and only 3 at the grocery store? and How am I going to know when the plants need something; they can’t talk?
Gardening is one of the hardest “easy” things to do! CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE ARTICLE.
How to Start a Garden – 10 Steps to Gardening for Beginners from Common Sense Home
Want to learn how to start a garden, but not sure where to begin? In this post I’ll cover the basic steps of gardening, and provide links to more detailed information so you can garden with confidence and have fun doing it. Get ready to enjoy some of the best tasting fruits, vegetables and herbs you’ve even eaten.
How to Start a Garden – 10 Basic Steps
- Decide what you’d like to grow
- Choose a location
- Plan your garden beds
- Invest in basic garden tools
- Test your soil
- Prepare the soil
- Choose the right seeds or transplants
- Plant with care
- Nurture your garden
- Enjoy your harvest!
Grow Your Own Food in a Container Garden from Self Reliant School
Container gardening is one of my favorite ways to grow most herbs and even some vegetables. I like to keep them in little groups on the deck and outside every door. While I have space for a big garden, the convenience of containers keeps me coming back to this method. I started with a few pots, but now container gardening is part of my regular garden routine.
Not everyone has access to land and if you have a small yard, or you are an apartment gardener, this may be the only way you can grow healthy vegetables and help your budget intact. Container gardening gives you the ability to move plants around easily, grow specialty plants that need a bit of TLC, and even fill in gaps in your landscape beds. CONTINUE READING AT THIS LINK.
Start Planning and Prepping Your Garden Now For A Successful Garden This Summer (And Years After!) from Living Life in Rural Iowa
Gardening is a wondrous thing. You just go to the gardening center and buy whatever looks good. You put seeds in the ground and plant some plants. Voila! You have growing things and eventually some produce to eat. Gardening just seems that easy, doesn’t it?
Reality check! You spent all that money on seeds and plants. You watered. But your garden isn’t growing very well. Some of your plants have died. Whole rows of seeds didn’t come up. Rabbits ate your tomato plants. Your garden is starting to look like a disaster!
Most people have this idea that you can just stick some plants and seeds in the ground and you have a garden. I read about a lot of people who plan to garden after some disaster, but never have gardened before in their life. I read about how they used to garden with their grandma 30-40 years ago and they think they still remember how to do it. Most people do not understand that gardening is more than planting.
You need to start planning and prepping your garden now if you want a successful garden later on. You can do things now that will ensure success this summer and will yield a better producing garden for years to come.
How do you start planning and prepping your garden now? There is still snow on the ground and winter is still here! Trust me, there is a lot you can do now! CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.
How to Plan Your Best Garden & Harvest for a Years Worth of Food from Melissa K. Norris
I’m always excited about the new year, it’s when I take the time to step back and evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, and to make changes where they need to be.
This is the season when we begin to plan the crops for our homestead for the coming year. Because when you raise all of your own meat, most of your own fruit, and a whole lotta your veggies, ya gotta plan things out to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Step 1. The first step is to evaluate how much food you have left from last year’s growing season
If this is your first year growing your own food, you may not have an inventory of homegrown and preserved to go through, but you still need to do some evaluating. Look at your current pantry and see what foods are you using a lot of?
Don’t have a very well stocked pantry? Keep track of the meals and foods you’re eating on a regular basis. Do you have spaghetti, chili, or something with tomato sauce in it weekly or almost weekly?What frozen or canned vegetables are you using on a consistent basis?
Document this, write it all down and keep a notation of what you’d use in an average month and then multiply this out for a year. CONTINUE READING AT THIS LINK.
19 Things to Do Before You Plant Your Spring Garden from Homestead Survival Site
At this point in the winter, outdoor gardening can seem like a distant memory. However, there are many tasks you can and should start doing right now to gear up for a great spring garden.
Here’s our checklist of 19 things to do before you plant your spring garden.
1. Order Seeds – Check your favorite seed catalogs or garden stores for the seeds you need for your flowers and vegetables.
2. Start Some Seeds Indoors – Maximize your growing season by starting certain seeds indoors this winter. Use seed starting trays and plant lights to get your seeds going. Once they have germinated, you can place them near a south-facing window for the most amount of winter sunlight. Peppers and tomatoes are two garden staples that can benefit from this indoor head start.
3. Select Your Garden Site – Tour your property for garden locations that get lots of sun exposure. Most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Keep in mind that trees that are bare now will leaf out and provide shade later this year. Look for areas that offer good soil drainage and access to water, tools, and compost when choosing your garden site. If you will be using power for any of your tools, also think about your access to electricity. CONTINUE READING THE NEXT 16 STEPS HERE.
Growing a Garden from Home Love
In the 3 years we have lived in our home the backyard has transformed from an empty greenspace into one of favorite places to spend time. We learned that it really doesn’t take much to get started. We began in the first summer with a rototiller borrowed from the inlaws and carved out a basic plot.
We planted directly into the dirt and focussed on getting the greenhouse up. I broke down the construction of the greenhouse here.
Over the summer I kept my eyes and ears open for good deals on wood and ended up scoring a full flat of j-grade 2x4s that had fallen off a loader at a local mill as well as a full fence that had been torn down and was offered to me for free.
So I started using sunny afternoons to build garden boxes one by one and adding them to the plot, starting with the outer parameter boxes.
I kind of half-attempted a fence around the garden by screwing the boards into the sides of the outer boxes to keep the dog out. READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.
Vertical Gardening Tips to Help You Grow More from Just Plain Living
There is nothing quite like biting into a freshly picked tomatowhile it is still warm from the summer sun. Or creating a salad from just-picked greens. When you grow your own vegetable garden, you can experience this little piece of heaven all season long.
Extend the season with some simple techniques and you can enjoy it even longer.
However, growing an abundant supply of fresh vegetables year after year takes some practice. It’s really not as easy as it looks! For most people, becoming a consistently successful vegetable gardener comes after years of hands-on experience. I want to share some tips that let you much more quickly implement a bit of vertical gardening and grow more food in less space.
Few gardeners are blessed with an abundant supply of beautiful, rich topsoil. Depending on where you live, you may find yourself struggling with heavy clay, rocky, sandy or other less-than-ideal soil conditions.
Each of these soil types presents different challenges ranging from retaining too much water (or not enough) to being devoid of the essential nutrients plants need to survive and thrive. For example, if you have heavy clay soil and you just dig a hole in the ground and drop a plant into it, chances are very, very good that plant won’t make it. The heavy clay around your plant will act like a bathtub whenever it rains, which means your plant will be forced to sit in a pool of water with nowhere to drain.
Favorite Garden Seed Sources from Simply Preparing
If you are anything like me, you’ve already spent time dreaming about garden seeds for 2018’s bountiful harvest. Yes, my favorite garden seed sources just might have a few drool stains amongst their already well worn pages. I’d love to show your my favorite places to find garden seeds.
What Type of Seeds Should You Buy
While I believe that open pollinated seeds are the best idea (you can save your seeds from year to year) there is a place for hybrids too. If I want a tomato before the end August, I need to have a couple early hybrids planted somewhere.
ProTip: Confused about open pollinated, heirloom, and hybird seeds? Learn more from this excellent post on Seeds Savers Exchange.
I choose organic seed whenever available, but I do have seed that has been harvested from plants grown organically, but the actual seed that grew the plant wasn’t organic.
The garden seed sources below will provide you with everything from organic, to heirloom, to rare, to ……well you name it! CONTINUE READING HERE.
Why We Choose to Grow an Heirloom Garden from The Flip Flop Barnyard
Choosing seeds to plant in the garden seems like an easy task. It has gotten more difficult because nowadays, if we want to be conscious of how our food is grown, the choice is much more involved. We have settled on growing an heirloom garden for our family.
Choices, choices, choices. We can choose to buy seeds for an heirloom garden, hybrids, or GMO seeds (no thanks!). What’s the difference anyways? Shouldn’t this whole seed choosing things be simple and straight forward? Like most things in life, it just isn’t so anymore.
1. GMO seeds are created in a lab where the DNA of 2 different species is crossed. This is not something that could ever happen in nature. God did not create plants to procreate in this manner. Corn, specifically is crossed with the bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). This kills the pests that plague corn by perforating their gut lining. This bacteria does the same thing in anything or anyone who ingests it. Doesn’t sound like something I want to eat or feed to my family.
The second thing that the GMO crops are manipulated to withstand large quantities of glysophate (Round-up ready crops). Glyphosate is a poison and has been found in the water supplies of the countries that use it. It is also found in the bloodstream, urine, and breastmilk of humans all over the world. Mind you, glyphosate is now also listed as a carcinogen despite years of it being claimed as safe for humans. If you have to wear a HAZMAT suit to spray it on the crops, I’d rather avoid those crops altogether.
If all of that is not enough to deter you, GMO’s are completely unsustainable. Since they are developed in a lab in a manner that cannot be replicated in nature, you cannot save the seeds for replanting, they are sterile. Large corporations control these seeds and have created an unsustainable and dependent upon them farming method as well. This is also a hugely expensive agricultural practice.
GMOs are a far cry from the heirloom garden seeds of the past. CONTINUE READING HERE.
What We Would Do Different with Gardening — and what we did right from The Merrill Projec
Extend our gardening box to 12 inches. This year, we built gardening boxes 6 inches deep, per Mel’s Square Foot Gardening. We felt that the 6 inch deep soil, didn’t allow our roots to grow deep. Our carrots, weren’t more than 3 inches tall either. The roots did grow, and we grew plenty of produce, but I feel we would have saved more money by going 12 in deep, and doing this next step.
We would not use Mel’s Mix Soil (1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost). This soil was very expensive and was frustrating running around to many places to get what we needed. We spent over $80 on just the soil for 2 4 x 4 foot square gardens. Next year with the deeper 12 inch boxes, we want to try the basic potting soil mix, and put some peat moss and compost into it. We feel this will still allow us to have a garden with limited weeds, but still allow depth for growth and good water retention in the soil. The compost will also keep fertilizing the soil.
When planting cilantro, we are going to plant one plant every 2 weeks or so. This will allow us to continue harvesting throughout the season.
We are NOT going to be planting bell peppers. We’ve planted 6 different plants in 2 years, and all 5 plants have only produced 2 small 2 inch bell peppers. The other 2 bell peppers we had growing molded right on the plant! (If you know a trick to growing bell peppers, comment and let us know) This year, out of 3 plants we have gotten zero! In our opinion, it is definitely not worth the soil, space, and frustrations. READ MORE ABOUT WHAT SHE WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY HERE.
Do you have a favorite gardening blog? Feel free to leave the link here in comments. And don’t leave without taking my Gardening Self-Assessment! I can guarantee this super-quick evaluation will help you take the next steps forward in your gardening journey.
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