Tag Archive for faylee james

Seed Saving For The Future

Seed saving for your future gardens is a great way of guaranteeing you will have the beginning of a beautiful garden.

I love the idea of saving seeds from this year’s crop, for next year’s planting.  I choose several of the best looking tomatoes, peppers and okra to be set aside for this purpose.  As I plant several varieties of these, I have to be careful not to mix them up, so planning ahead for storage of my seeds is important.

I found an excellent blog post on this subject that I thought I would pass along to you.

Harvesting Pepper Seeds: Information About Saving Seeds From Peppers

When vegetable gardening year after year, you will learn different ways to do seed saving.  I can remember my grandmother Laura, using a large sewing needle to string beans in their hulls, then hanging them at one end of the kitchen porch to dry.  When they were dried, she would then take them to the basement to spend the winter, until it was time to plant them in the spring.  I don’t have that basement, so most of my seed saving is done with small jars or envelopes.

seed saving

 

Keeping your seeds in a dry contain, then storing them in a cool basement or other storage area out of direct sun will help ensure their ability to sprout and grow into food producing plants.

Turning seed saving into an art will be a big factor in your becoming a master at providing organic food for you, your family and friends.

3 Laws of Gardening For New Gardeners

You have decided to give gardening a try, so like most new gardeners, you have been reading gardening magazines and dreaming of building a garden that will make you the envy of all your neighbors.

3 laws of gardening for new gardeners

All of that is great practice for any new gardener, but let me warn you that before you start, soon you will think, the forces of nature are your true enemies, regardless of how you carefully build your flower or vegetable beds. As much as you care about your seedlings and baby plants, you will soon start to believe an evil force is plotting against you and your gardens.

New Gardeners Law #1… No matter what you do, and how well you do it, it can still all go wrong!

It’s not your fault though after all how were you to know it would snow in May? Or that a drought would cover the land the summer your sprinkler system decided to take a nose dive? Gardening is about a lot of dreams and woulda, coulda, shoulda…with 20 20 hindsight.

New Gardeners Law #2… Planting your seeds in early spring.

You have cultivated, raked and sowed your seeds, only to see them being washed three houses down the street when a rain storm pours 2 inches of rain on your garden, within an hour. It was the worse downpour in your area in the last 10 years. So after cleaning up your garden you try it again, same results. Oh well, maybe the third time is a charm…. Maybe.

New Gardeners Law #3…

You plant your corn and other vegetables, inside a fenced area to keep the deer from eating it faster than you can pick it. Only to realize, no one ever told you that, yes, deer can and do jump fences, to eat anything and everything in your garden, without as much as a thank you.

Don’t despair new gardeners, if you use a little humor, ok, a lot of humor, all will be well in the end.

You will get the hang of gardening, you will produce something for your family to eat and you will become the envy of all your neighbors. As with most things in life, it takes time, practice and effort to go from being a new gardener to become the expert all new gardeners come to for advice. Keep smiling!

Winterize Your Vegetable Garden

With winter just around the corner, it’s time to winterize your vegetable garden. Here in the foothills of the Appalachians, we have had freezing temperatures, cold rain mixed with sleet, and even a couple of inches of snow. While we hope there will still be a few warm days left in this year, it’s time to winterize your vegetable garden before it’s to late.

After working so hard to get a good harvest you do not want to loose what you have gained by neglecting your soil now. By not putting your garden to sleep, correctly, you would be inviting pests and diseases into your garden.

By doing just a few things now, will make a huge difference in your spring garden.

Tips To Winterize Your Vegetable Garden

[1] Start by cleaning your gardening. Remove all dead plants and debris. Use your garden rake to do a final run through the dirt to make sure you got all plant matter up and out.

[2] Add animal or another organic fertilizer to the soil, making sure you break it down into small parts so it will scatter in the soil.

[3] Either plant a ground covering, such as rye or clover to be tilled in next spring. If you are using raised beds, you can use a ground cloth covering instead of the live seeds. You can find them in most garden centers.

winterize your garden[4] Clean all your gardening tools and put them away in a dry place, so they will be ready for you to use in the spring.

[5] Now is the time to make plans for the layout of your spring garden. Base your plans on how well the plants did in your garden this year. Remember to rotate your plants in the next layout. Rotating your plants will help keep your garden healthy and growing.

Now that you have the tips to winterize your vegetable garden, it time to get it done and move on to having some winter fun.

How To Harvest, Preserve & Store Your Fresh Herbs

How To Harvest, Preserve & Store Your Fresh Herbs

Autumn has come and it’s time to get your garden ready for its’ winter nap. Also, it’s the time to harvest, preserve and store your fresh herbs. It’s hard to put away something you have been enjoying all summer but for the most part, herbs do not survive the winter cold months.

How To Harvest, Preserve and Store Your Fresh Herbs

How To Harvest, Preserve and Store Your Fresh Herbs

When choosing a time to harvest your herbs, look for the appearance of blossoms on the plant. They determine the peak time for harvesting. When blossoms start to open, take your cuttings during the sunny morning hours, when the plant’s oils are at their peak. Clean by rinsing under cool water to remove any dirt or insects then pick off the damaged leaves.

Preserving Your Herbs

Drying

To prepare herbs for long-term storage, choose a drying area that is dark, well ventilated and out of direct sunlight. Spread out the cut herbs on cheesecloth or maybe an old screen that has been cleaned, but really, anything that allows for air circulation will work.

Once the leaves appear crisp, usually 3-5 days, strip them from the stems and place them in airtight containers. To help preserve their color and flavor, store the containers in a dark cupboard or pantry shelf away from heat, until you’re ready to use them. Or once they have dried, you can make small bunches and hang them upside down in your kitchen. They will give off a pleasing aroma and add charm to your décor but with time they will become unusable for cooking as their oils and flavors will disappear.

Freezing

My favorite way of preserving fresh herbs is freezing in water. I use several old plastic ice cube makers that I bought at a resale store for 10 cents each. After rinsing and picking off the bad leaves, I place about 1 teaspoon of the herb into each of the cube holes and add water to cover. When I have the container filled, I place it in my freezer for about 24 hours, then I remove the herb filled cubes and put them in a zipped freezer bag for storing back in the freezer.

When I am ready to cook, using the herbs, I either thaw the cube or just drop it into the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

Learning how to harvest, preserve and store your fresh herbs will allow the goodness of your home garden to go on into the winter, at your dinner table.

Worms, Your Garden’s Best Friend

Worms, beautiful worms, are your garden’s best friend.  You should take good care of the worms in your garden.  Don’t poison them with chemicals or allow birds to fly over and eat them.

You can do many things to your garden to enhance the soil but nothing will compare to having healthy earth worms living in it.  They airate the soil, their dropping will fertilize it, in a way, other things can not.  The soil will become better at growing what you plant, thus giving you more and better food.

Earth Worms: The hardest worker in the garden

Earth Worms: The hardest worker in the garden. 

Invite them in by feeding them your table and cooking scrapes.  I keep a container on my counter to fill with peelings or other discarded bits and pieces of food items, as I am cooking.  They can eat most anything except bones or something that has oil, fats or butter on them.

When I go to my garden [2-3 times a week] I take along this container and feed my worms.  As I garden in raised beds, I place the food along the edges and till it under with a hand tool.  Before I plant my ground cover and shut down my garden for the winter, I plan to add more food for my friends, the worms.

If you are planting a new bed, make sure you add some worms by looking under rocks or other debris, shortly after a rain.  You should have no trouble finding them but just in case you do not, find a fish and tackle store and buy live worms.  Put them into your soil as soon as possible.  One worm will produce more worms, 7 times in a year..[poor momma].  Within a few months, your garden will be a thriving worm home and your garden will be thanking you for it.