Did You Know?

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Did you know that you can start your garden even if you are on food stamps?

Yes, any seeds or plants that are edible can be purchased with your EBT card. You can use containers and such you have to start your seeds. Compost and newsprint to start your no-till garden.

What seeds to buy to start

Some things are easier to grow from seeds than others. For the beginner I recommend peas, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, squash and melons from seed. They will grow in anything. And are great for direct sowing.

I recommend bush varieties so that they are easier to care for and take up less space. A few well tended plants will provide enough for your family.

Herbs that grow well from seed are basil, parsley, dill, and coriander. If you are feeling adventurous you can pot a few peppercorns to grow indoors. This is one of my experiments this year. We will see how it goes. My family just loves fresh ground pepper.

What plants to buy

Tomatoes, peppers, brassicas, and cabbages all do best for beginners if purchased as started plants. They will give you a bit of a headstart on your summer garden.

Many grocers offer a limited selection of plants. Go with what you can find. It is money well spent since vegetables are so expensive in the grocery store and there have been so many recalls recently. Another option is to use some vegetables that are in the store already.

Many times you can save the roots from bunching onions, celery, lettuce, tops of pineapples, etc. Place them in water to get the roots started again and you can then place them in pots.

Starting plants from seed

If you cannot find started plants then you will need to start from seeds. I have been lucky enough to have a small greenhouse. If this is not in your budget you can either purchase the seed starting kits or make your own.

The key is to find a sunny spot that you can leave the seeds in to grow. You also need to make sure that the growing medium stays moist. Too much water and mold will grow. Too little water and the seeds will dry out and no longer be viable. I love the self watering cells that come with starter pellets. They make it very easy and do come in window sill sizes as well.

A quick note on soil

Plants need healthy well drained soil to grow. A quick easy way to do this is to use newspaper and/or cardboard and compost. I like to layer with cardboard in the fall to kill weeds. I lay the cardboard down and cover with compost.

Spring I will use newspaper and compost. I can plant directly and weeds will be controlled at the same time. I do like to add straw over top when possible to help maintain moisture.

One tool that I have found invaluable when I am doing a no-till garden is a cultivator. It will help keep the soil loose and aerated throughout the growing season. It is a pricey investment but has saved my back, knees and hands in countless situations.

 

5 Tips for Garden Planning

 

 

Battle Cat says that he is ready for spring too! He has cat business to attend to and you just can’t do that when it is cold and wet out. If I haven’t introduced him yet to you all he is 1/3 of the Salt & Pepper Gang. The other two members are Koda and Blizzard.  I know such a mean looking gang aren’t they? The hole was the dogs’ contribution today to working around the house. They dug up freshly turned soil and layed down in it. But I digress, I did say 5 tips for garden planning didn’t I? Of course I did. Gardens are best planned out to offer the most success. Dream big when thinking about what you want to grow. You can narrow it down and then plan on expanding as time goes on.

Tip #1

Find the perfect spot. You want some where that gets 8 to 10 hours of sun per day. You will also it to have good natural drainage so that water doesn’t pool in any one area.

Tip #2

Test your soil! I cannot stress this one enough. You will need to take samples from the whole spot. It is a good idea to go through your local co-op extension office. They will test the sample for free and give you a good break down of what is needed in your soil. Often they have what you need to collect the samples. You can also purchases all kinds of soil testers in garden centers and on amazon.com.

Tip #3

Check your growing zone. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone will help you get a general idea of what your growing season looks like. There is even a function now that let’s you put in your zip code so you can get very specific.

Tip #4

Write a list of every vegetable you want to ever grow. Then narrow it down to what you think you can handle for the season. This may mean the basics such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, etc. But don’t toss that list, you will get to it eventually.

Tip #5

Start amending your soil before you even think about doing anything. Based upon the

results of your soil testing of course. Some basic things to use that will help all gardens are compost, manure, lime, and potash (not grill left overs unless you are using wood, charcoal is a no go for the garden).

 

 

 

Light, Love, and Peace
~Tammy~SSM

What is Your Favorite Seed Company?

Time to plan next year’s garden!

It is that time of year for me, I am going through my left over and saved seeds (not many this year) so I can plan my garden next year. I have a ton of heirloom and old fashioned plants to grow for next year but I can’t help myself. I have started making a wish list for next year already. I tend to order from a variety of places. A few of my favorite companies are:

I am also very big on getting together with friends and neighbors to trade seeds. I think I might be able to start a small seed exchange program for this spring, I need to assess what I have and what I can purchase.
What are your favorite seed companies?
Light, Love and Peace!