If your soil is REALLY bad, or if you have definite drainage issues, you might want to consider hugelkultur. It is a raised bed on steroids! The bed is made of soil, of course, but it is built atop logs or other wood that will ultimately decay and improve the soil. It’s a long-term solution (and your neighbors might wonder who you have buried in that mound of soil) so it’s not for everyone. Thanks to Linda and Ray L. for the heads-up on this idea. (And for the wonderful home-baked cookies.)
If you haven’t grown vegetables in the past, do yourself a favor. At the very least, grow lettuce. You can’t beat the freshness of just-picked, washed, spun-dried and chilled-to-crisp lettuce of any variety you like.
You can grow lettuce in full sun or partial shade (one of the few veggie categories that will thrive with very little sun) in the ground, in a raised bed or in a large pot or planter. You can start it indoors for a head start, but it will do just fine seeded directly in the ground as soon as the frost is out of the soil.
Pick it at tender young stages and leave some to get a little bigger. Most varieties are a cut-and-come-again crop.
Plant just a short row each time– you’ll be amazed at how much lettuce you’ll be able to harvest from just a 24-inch row. Plant at two week intervals until the summer gets hot to have a continual supply. Then plant again in the fall for more fresh goodness.
Here is a link to some information about easy-to-grow vegetables. http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/easiest-vegetables/ Do you think we’re trying to get you to try growing some of your own food this year? We are. You CAN do it. Start with easy stuff and build on your success. With all the positive information about the health benefits of eating more fresh, organic, locally-grown vegetables, and all the negative information about the dangers of processed and commercially-grown stuff, it’s even more important to get the good stuff where you can, and there is nothing better/healthier/fresher than growing your own.
Would you like to start growing some of your own vegetables this year, but don’t know if you would have the patience to wait for the results? Here, from our friends at Organic Gardening Magazine, are some vegetables that are quick to produce. Start with them, and your success will encourage you to try some others that require a little more patience.
Even though winter has settled in, big time, Spring will come again. In only 53 days! (Did I just say “only 53 days”?) We hope you all are staying warm and safe and dreaming about all the flowers that will be blooming soon. Have you thought about what vegetables and herbs you’ll be planting this year? Sometimes dreaming about warmer times, the sun on our backs and our hands in the dirt is all that keeps us going.
If you are thinking about starting some of your own seeds for a back-yard or container vegetable garden this year. it’s almost time to begin gathering supplies and ordering or shopping for seeds. Check out your locally-owned independent garden center first, but if you can’t find the varieties of seeds or the type of equipment you need there, then consider ordering online.
Our friends at Organic Gardening Magazine have a printable Seed-Starting Plan for scheduling your planting. You can download it here.
If you have purchased a cut tree for use this Christmas season, congratulations! Ignore the naysayers who will tell you that a cut tree is a waste of resources. They are actually grown for this purpose, usually on poor ground not suitable for other crops. In the 7-10 years that they are growing, they stabilize the soil, produce oxygen, reduce greenhouse gasses by absorbing carbon dioxide, and provide habitat for birds and animals.
Choose a tree with fresh, flexible branches and needles. If you buy the tree ahead of the day you are putting it up, store the tree in a cool area like an unheated garage, with its base in a bucket of water.
Choose a stand large enough for the tree and plenty of water. Make a fresh cut an inch or so above the existing cut of the trunk, flat rather than at an angle, and place in the stand. Tighten the base around the trunk. Fill the stand immediately with water, before the fresh cut has a chance to seal itself off. Watch the level of the water closely, as the tree may take up a quart of water or more in a day.
Choose a place for the tree away from heat sources. Use miniature, low wattage lights that give off less heat than larger lights. Check the tree for dryness regularly. Discard the tree (chip or otherwise recycle it if you can) as soon as it begins to feel dry.