Lunch From The Garden.

This summer was beautiful.  I did my ministry in the morning, then went out to play  in my garden.  My garden provided most of my lunches through the summer. I did not want to cook.

I’d rather  play with my plants, so I would take a bowl and as I walk through my garden, I would pick tomatoes, cucumbers,  spinach, lettuce, peppers, scallions,  celery,… or whatever I felt like having in my salad.

Then I’d go into my kitchen and fill the bowl with water, add some salt to the water, (that was to allow any little critters who were having a feast on my salad to let go of my lunch). I would then wash it thoroughly.

Depending on what I felt like eating I’d open a can of tuna.  If there was chicken or fish from dinner the night before, I would add it… and voila!– lunch is served!

my garden salad

That’s why when you’re planting your kitchen salad garden , the plants you choose are very important.   Pick the plants you like to eat.  As for me, I love the peppery taste of arugula and  spinach. The coolness of cucumber, the crunchiness of the celery.  Tomatoes are peppers are a given, lettuce, kale, collards.

The list of plants for your kitchen garden salad could be endless.  Also, depending on how many people you will be cooking for that live in your home. So plan carefully and plant with love knowing that what you are planting will be going into your tummy.

Putting It On Paper

So now that the cold front has arrived, this is the best time to start planning what you are going to grow for the Spring, There are varieties of salad crops to consider.  So  plan your green garden on paper.

Spend a little time going through your selection of seeds from your favorite catalogs.  This way you can look forward to having delicious salad through the summer.

Don’t  just plant  lettuce.  Think of some of the other plant like cabbage or chard.  Make room for some escarole, mustard and radicchio.  They’ll spice up your salad for the summer!

Planning

Some tips,  Don’t forget to get some seed you can start indoors to give you an early harvest and also lessen the work load.

When transplanting your plant, don’t just plant and walk away. Plants are like babies. They need tender care when first planted.

They also need food.  that means fertilizing each month.  compost is good.  Just remember what you are feeding your plants you will be feeding yourself! So feed you plant with good, natural, organic compost, natural soil amendment like sea weed extract, leaf compost, or organic tea.

I hope your kitchen salad garden goes well!  If you run into any problems, you can reach out to me. If you need a little help in fertilizing,  knowing how to prune, or when when to harvest– feel free to join our Garden club.

Raised beds are they better?

Maximize your food in a raised bed

I have been  gardening for the most part right in the ground.  Even though I have good soil, I realize that to maximize my growing space, a raised bed is the way to go.

Mind you, there is no right or wrong way to garden. You can maximize the quantity of food you produce in a raised bed.

Depth is important

The depth of the raised bed  helps.  Instead of spreading outward close to the surface, where they  will be affected by the sun and get dry faster, they will grow down deep into the ground where they will have more room to root below and in need of less water.

Plants like carrots, beets, ginger, potatoes and turnips need to have room to grow down in order to give you a better yield .  You can also plant things closer together giving you more space to plant. In this way, you can have a bigger harvest.

Using Trellises

 

Another way to maximize  is by adding trellises to your garden. Plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, squash and melons will help in maximizing the yield.

Soil and protection

You also can control the soil and make your own mix with better drainage than we would get in the ground.  Also drip irrigation is very useful in raised beds because the plant takes in the amount of water they need with a consistent water system.

Because the soil in a raised bed warms faster than in the ground, you can add cover to your raised beds to extend the growing  season, and by the use of raised beds, we can also protect our plants from  the little “critters” that like to nibble on our plants.

Comfort of a raised bed

With a raised bed I don’t have to wonder if I will be able to get up.  If you want it to be part of your lifestyle it should be comfortable.  You should  not have to bend or get on your knees too often.

There are many things that need to be done in your garden beside harvesting. There is weeding, pruning , checking to see if there are any critters enjoying your garden more than you, and just talking to your plants, enjoying  the beauty they provide.  So, it’s comforting to be able to harvest  anytime I want to and I don’t have to worry to much about discomfort.

The Beauty  of a raised Bed.

For me my garden is a place of tranquility. Time eludes me when I’m out there  enjoying the beauty that my creator has bless me with and the comments from my neighbors and passers-by bring me great joy!  It’s just great therapy .

So having a raised bed is an asset.  It helps when I’m enjoying the different flowers, birds and butterflies that visit. Spending the time tending to my garden is a time of peace.

A raised bed is also an asset to your home.  You can consider it as part as your home décor.  If you are wondering  what a raised bed kitchen salad garden would look like in your space, click the button below to book a consultation with me or send me a note and we can talk .

Growing an outdoor salad garden in the Winter

Grow a salad garden in the Winter?

Wouldn’t it be great to grow vegetables outdoors even in the winter season?  If you could, you’d be able to enjoy garden fresh flavors in your food throughout the winter.  The great news is you can grow a salad garden during the winter!  You just need to know how.  But you especially need to know these two things that we will discuss:

  • Which vegetables you can grow in the winter
  • How to protect them through the winter

Determining which vegetables to grow

First of all, which vegetables can you grow in the winter outdoors? No matter where you live, the important thing is to know which plants can survive during the cold. You can determine which vegetables by first knowing your USDA Hardiness Zone location.  

This lets you know how low temperatures normally drop in your area.  You can then determine which vegetables would do well in the low temperatures. 

  • First, Check the map to find out what zone you’re in.  
  • Second, Google which plants will grow during the winter in your zone.

For example, my area is zone 7.  This means I can grow beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, turnips, kale and collards in the winter.

Hardness Zone Map

Timing when to plant

The timing is also very important.  You have to plant while you have a window of opportunity.  You must wait until the weather is no longer hot and starts to cool.  

But you don’t want to wait too long, as the days will get colder, shorter and darker by mid Winter.  You want your plants to get established before the first frost.  This puts your planting time window somewhere between late August through early October.

Preparing the soil

Microorganisms are not as they are in warmer weather.  They play a key part in the plant’s ability to get the nutrition it needs from the soil.  So, give attention to the soil by preparing beforehand.  Make sure you add organic matter or fertilizer to the soil before planting.

Maintaining your Winter garden

Once your garden is established.  The maintenance of your salad garden gets much easier during the Winter.  The cooler weather gets rid of many warm weather pests.  

The cool weather pests such as slugs and aphids are much easier to handle.  And the growth in the winter is a lot slower.

While we’re on the subject of slower growth,– your plants won’t need as much water during the winter because of their slower growth.

Watering during the winter

In considering the watering during the winter. You may want to consider where you plant.  Since you may not be able to run a hose during these cold temperatures, you may be watering by hand.  So you may want to consider planting closer by so that you don’t have to lug water too far a distance.

Protecting your plants from the frost

You’ll need to protect your plants during the cold frosty weather.  You can use frost blankets, bed sheets, a plastic-covered tunnel or cold frame. 

Yes, it’s a bit of work.  Especially in the beginning.  But imagine the benefits of enjoying fresh organic salad all year long.  Even in the Winter!

Herbs in Your Salad Garden.

I’m writing from my point of view because I know the Herbs I like to cook with on a daily basis,. When we get together we can talk about your preference and what herbs you use daily.

Scallions

Scallians
Photo by Christopher Previte on Unsplash

For example I love scallions.   I could use it in practically every meal,… even with my eggs.  Scallions are part of the onion family.   They can be planted about 1/4” deep.  They are considered perennial.  They love sun.

If you grow them indoors, they can be planted 4 weeks before being transplanted outdoors.  Or they can be directly seeded in the ground.  Scallions also provide vitamin c, iron, calcium, vitamin b6 and magnesium.

Garlic

Garlic
Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

Garlic loves well drained soil.  It’s  best to plant one clove instead of the whole blub.  Be sure to space them about 6″ apart.  It’s best to plant in the fall  around October for harvesting the next year.  They are perennials so they’ll  come back next year.

Garlic works great as a natural antibiotic.  Garlic also works well as a pest control.  That is one reason I like to plant then  in my  Kitchen Salad Garden. They keep most pests from nibbling my salads.  There are  a variety of types of Garlic, so check with local gardener to find the ones that grows best in your area.  You can dig the blubs after the top has dried off and place them in single layers to dry.

Ginger

Ginger
Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

I love Ginger!, Ginger is also considered a natural antibiotic.  It’s  good for the cold or flu and great in a brown stew!   

It doesn’t like full blown sun.  Partial shade will work fine.  I’ve found  they grow better in pots.  That’s why they do well in a garden container.  Place your harvested Ginger in paper towel sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator it will last about 1 month.

Thyme

Thyme
Photo by Rudy Issa on Unsplash

Thyme is an all round favorite!  It gives great flavor to your meals and a creates a pleasant aroma in your garden.  It prefers well drained soil.  You need to plant Thyme outdoors in the spring, about 1 foot  apart. This plant is also a perennial.  So, it will come back every year for about 3 years– then it’s best to replace them.

If you plant Thyme in your raised bed with tomatoes and potatoes, it will help repel  certain bugs like cabbageworm and whiteflies.  Thyme prefers full sun over partial shade.

So, these are a few of my favorite herbs to grow.  I will introduce more as time goes by.

Tips On Feeding Plants.

Just like we need different things to grow , or different vitamins so do the different plants.  In my search, I will be sharing different tips that I come across.  I hope you will find some of the tips as useful as  I did,    “Enjoy!”

Planting Succulents Indoors

The word Succulent comes from the Latin word suros meaning juice or sap. They store water in their leaves or stem and roots. That is why their leaves are thick and engorged. Because of their beautiful and unusual appearance, they are often grown as ornamental plants.

They have the ability to thrive with minimal care– with just mist or dew. That is why their habitat is in areas that often have high temperatures and low rain fall.  For example the desert.

 Not all succulents like direct sunlight…

They are built to withstand drought, and so they should only to be watered once the soil is dry or once a week. They are drought resistant plants. in which the leaves stem or roots have are more than unusually fleshy and able to store a larger quantity of water.

Since they have shallow roots, they are especially suited for small containers. But if you are creating a garden or using a larger container, then use more plants but use some fillers like rocks or small pieces of pine bark. Or crush granite. Because the more soil in the container, the longer it will take to dry out.

Xerophytes

“Xerophytes” is the name given to plants such as these Succulents because they can adapt to different climates. They also are able to make their leaves smaller, so they use less water.

Succulents can be a great addition to any garden, and can make excellent houseplants. Once you adhere to the routine, they are really easy to take care of.

A FEW TIPS FOR THAKING CARE OF YOUR SUCCULENT.

  • Plant in containers with good drainage to avoid rot.
  •  Take extra care if you are planting in an unusual container like tea pot, watering can or birdcage. You may have to make adjustments when watering.
  •  The fact that they absorb water from the surrounding air and not through direct contact, is why sitting in wet soil causes their roots to rot and their leaves to fall apart and causes the plant to die.

ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT SOIL.

Though, watering is a major cause of death with succulents, the correct soil is a much bigger factor.

Make sure your plant soil is completely dry before you water.  When you do, try to water thoroughly. Because they ideally spend life outside, we should give them as much sunlight as possible.  Preferably. inside by the window– facing the south.

Remember, most garden soil holds moisture.  So, to avoid your plant from rotting, use a well draining soil blend of your own. There are soils specificly for succulents. The cactus soil can be used because it does not hold moisture.

Because of their shallow roots they grow slowly, so feel free to pack them tightly.

While most Succulents prefer lots of sunlight, some prefer the opposite. So research your specific plant.

Treat them like houseplants, watering them sparingly and when it is time for watering water deeply.

The succulent family is enormous, they grow in different shapes and sizes, with the most popular being “Hen and Chicks”.

This may seam like lots of information! But just remember:

  • Let the soil dry out completely before watering.
  • Lots of sun.
  • Proper drainage.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Treat your succulent like houseplants
  • Use specific cactus soil or make your own.

 

Amazon Associates disclosure

As a member of the Amazon Associate program. Some post may contain affiliate links I may earn a small commission for my endorsement recommendation, testimonial and links to any product or services from this website.

Your purchase helps support my work but does not affect the price you pay.

GIFT IDEAS

Looking for cute Succulent gift for you or for someone special.

Shop the Succulent Essentials!

Find them Here!

 

It Takes a Village to Raise a “TREE”

As humans. We tend to look at the world around us with eyes that see only what appears immediate.  We do the same with trees. When we look at a tree, we see it as a still, stable object.  But is it?

The same applies to the forests and the trees that make up the forests.  The life we humans live now is 70, 80 or 90 years.  Compare that with is a Spruce tree in Sweden that is known to be over 9,500 years old.

Trees Communicate

When you contemplate the incredible difference in life span between us and trees, you can begin to understand the difference in time scale.  To us, a tree seems still, never moving, but in it’s reality, it is extremely active and communicative.

The electrical impulses which is one of the ways trees communicate, travel through their roots at 1/3 of an inch per second.  So, when one tree sends a communication to another through its roots and fungi in the soil, in our human

understanding, it seems like nothing is happening—as if there is no communication.

But in reality it is communicating.  Just very slowly in relation to our human world.

Trees are a Community

On this matter of different worlds, I might add the misconception we have  when we think we are helping the forest by not allowing it to become “too dense”.  We think that by clearing away some the older trees, we are allowing the newer generation of trees to grow and thrive, as now they have more direct sun.

Sadly, we’ve forgotten that there is a design in all living things.  Societies that are not so technically absorbed have known this for generations.  Our great grandparent’s great grandparents knew all about this as well.

Because we tend to look at trees as just suppliers of wood, we may overlook the fact that trees in a natural forest environment are a community of families and also raise their young.

Trees Raise Their Young

You may be thinking, “Now that’s going too far! How can a tree raise another tree?”.  We’ll, before you dismiss the idea, think about how younger trees grow in the midst of the older trees.

In particular. Lets consider a forest of beech trees.

The older trees shield the younger from the direct sun.  The natural forest is able to keep a balanced microclimate with high humidity and dim light.

The mother tree as well as the other mature trees of the community shade the little ones with their enormous crowns.  The crowns close up, creating such a dense covering. Only about 3 percent of the sunlight filters through to the forest floor.

 Trees Discipline Their Young

This allows the little ones just enough light to photosynthesize.  That is, just enough to keep living.  Not very much left over for growth.  These young trees are actually being deprived of sunlight. But, there is a purpose behind this.  It’s for their protection.

Slow growth during the youth of a tree is important for its future survival and longevity. Normally a tree on its own  at about 80 years of age, would be considered by us humans as mature and would have plenty of wood to supply.

But in the forest, a 120 year old tree is still a youngster.  It typically will have a trunk as thin as a pencil.  It will be no taller than you or I.  The deprivation of light actually slows the growth, which makes it denser, tougher and much more resistant to breakage.  It’s able is able to resist fungi and heal quickly if anything causes it damage.

While these younger trees have to wait, the parent trees are actually passing sugar and other nutrients to them through their roots.  The parents in their own way, nurse them and sustain them until the parents pass off the scene, leaving a gap of sunlight for the youngster to grow wide and large and take its place in the community.