Category Archives: Garden Management

Organic Vegetable Gardening

Gardening Books

Organic vegetable gardening is not some magical, mystical process attainable by only a select few gardening guru’s or former hippies living in mud huts. Organic produce can be grown in the smallest spaces, and by common people, no matter what their demographic. Organic food offers many health advantages, and growing your own organic vegetables can save a bundle of green at the market.

Gardening can be a great way to promote family unity, family wealth, and family health. Especially if done organically. It can provide education and opportunities for the growth the children as well as the vegetables. Organic gardening can save you some money by supplementing the families groceries with a fresh supply, straight from the backyard, and can even provide extra cash and a lesson in capitalism if you want to set up a temporary curbside vegetable stand for your extras, or create better neighborhood relations if you give it away to the folks down the block. Good nutrition, education, self reliance, and financial well being, all from a little plot in your backyard, and some therapeutic labor. What’s not to like about that?

Organic gardening is good for you and your family because it involves connecting with your food, eating healthy food, and healthful family activity, not to mention the benefits to your pocketbook. There are a few things that you should consider before you get started:

Things to consider before you start:

  1. Find out what will grow in your area. You may want to grow citrus fruit and bananas, but if you live too far above the equator, you will find it difficult to succeed without some serious alterations. Plan your organic garden realistically with plants that grow well in your area. Find your region, and check your plants and seed to be certain that they will grow well where you live.
  2. Determine the amount of light available for growing. If your garden space is walled in by high buildings, or tall trees, you may need to consider plants that love shade, or need only a few hours of sunlight per day to thrive. Attempting to grow sun-loving plants in the shade can be frustrating.
  3. Decide how much space you will need for growing your organic garden, and how much space you actually have. Unless you have several acres available, growing a significant amount of most cereal grains will be out of the question. If grains are a must, consider corn grown in small blocks of space and shade loving crops between rows. There are ways to win the space war using containers and vertical gardening, So don’t let lack of space keep you from starting your garden.

Consider these ideas before you begin, draw up a plan including what plants you will use in what positions in your garden, get the supplies you need, and get started. There are very few problems you can’t overcome with the proper information and a little creativity.

Finding organic vegetable garden space

One of the biggest problems for most organic gardeners is finding space. You may have the knowledge, you may have the experience, you may have the tools and materials for a fantastic organic garden, but if you can’t find the space to get your plants in the ground or containers, your garden is just a dream. Don’t let the dream fade! There are many ways to find the space for your vegetables even if your space seems limited. You just have to think outside the box, and in more than one dimension.

Get rid of your lawn

If you have a lawn, get rid of it, or at least enough of it to grow your garden. Lawns are resource hogs, so why not make that space work for you and turn part of yours into a garden.

Well maintained lawns were once the domain of the wealthy, but at some point in the last half of the last century home lawns for middle class Americans became the standard. It is safe to say that Americans spend more on lawn care annually than on any other aspect of home maintenance.

Lawns require a lot of resources. These resources are in the form of water, fertilizer, pesticides, equipment and labor and the cost can be enormous. The average lawn size, front and back, is about a quarter acre. The average monthly cost for lawn care is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 per year. The average first time home buyer never considers this cost until the mowing starts.

Typically, 30 to 60 pounds each of nitrogen and phosphorous are applied to the home lawn in a year, along with an unmeasurable quantity of herbicide and insecticide, and irrigation amounts are somewhere around 60 inches per season, and labor time comes in at 10 hours or more per month during the growing season. All of this to have a pretty, green showplace for your neighbors to admire.

There is a way you can avoid some of these expenses, and even get a pay off. Yes, a pay off!

Simply get rid of that resource draining lawn and raise a garden in it’s place! Instead of spending all that time and money on growing grass, grow something that will save you money at the supermarket. It is good for the environment, good for your health, and good for your pocketbook.

You don’t even have to do it all at once. If you are afraid of suffering lawn withdrawal you can get rid of a section at a time. Once you get started, you will probably not stop until your lawn is all gone and your pantry all full!

Replace your landscape

Use the space that your landscape plants now occupy. Remove those old non productive shrub hedges and plant attractive peppers, cabbages, kale, squash, sweet potatoes or other plants in their place. In some parts of the country, there are native dwarf fruit trees that might be suitable replacements for standard landscape bed plants, and fruiting vines that could be trained on a trellis to add variety if you want to use perennials.

Use fruit and nut trees

Replace small to medium decorative trees with fruit trees. Fruit trees are attractive additions to home landscapes. If you are just starting to landscape a new place, instead of using the standard dooryard or shade trees, use a nut tree native to the area. The magnificent pecan tree makes both a great and attractive shade tree, and is the source of a delicious high oil, high protein nut perfect for human consumption. There are dozens of other choices, and one is just right for your area.

Patio gardening

Consider building a raised bed on part of your patio, or using your patio as a container garden. You can even build shelves or racks to increase available space. This is a great spot for a raised bed, or a cold frame which can also be a hot bed for extending your growing season at both ends of the calender. A pergola over the top can serve as a great arbor for fruit and vegetable vines, which brings me to my next suggestion:

Take your garden to new heights

Get out of the box, and start thinking of gardening on a different plane. Go vertical instead of just horizontal. Grow vine plants on a trellis, wire, arbor, or your fence. You can even line your wooden fence with racks and shelves for container plants. Think vertical, and grow your garden to new heights!

Find more vegetable garden information here!

I am sure you can think of other unusual ways of finding space, creating space, or making better use of available space for your gardening project, just don’t let conventionality get in the way of your healthy organic vegetable garden, and be sure to share your thoughts, ideas, tips, and suggestions on gardening in our comment section.

Home Gardening: Ways To Find Space

One big problem for many home gardeners or small space farmers is finding enough space. You may have the knowledge, you may have the experience, you may have the tools and materials for a fantastic home garden, but if you can’t find the space to get your plants planted, your garden is just a dream.

Don’t let the dream disappear! There are many ways to find the space for your vegetables even if your space seems limited. You just have to think outside the box, and on more than one plane.

  1. If you have a lawn, plow it under, or at least enough of it to grow your garden. Lawns use a lot of resources, so why not make that space work for you and turn part of yours into a small farm.
  2. Use the space that your landscape plants now occupy. Remove those old shrubs and plant peppers, cabbages, kale, squash, sweet potatoes or other naturally decorative plants in their place.
  3. Replace decorative trees with fruit trees. Fruit trees are attractive additions to home landscapes, and offer many other advantages, particularly, the fruit!
  4. Build a raised bed on your patio area, or use your patio as a platform for a container garden. You can even build shelving or racks to increase available space.
  5. Grow vine plants on a trellis, wire, arbor, or your fence. You can even line your wooden fence with racks and shelves for container plants. Think vertical, and grow your garden to new heights on new planes!

I am sure you can think of other unusual ways of finding space, creating space, or making better use of available space for your gardening project, just don’t let traditional thinking of what a home garden or even a landscape should look like get in the way of your gardening venture.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes

Plowing, planting, and growing and digging sweet potatoes can be a pretty big job, especially when done on a large scale for the market. It can be daunting for a kid when he looks down the row in both directions, and can’t see either end! Of course, they, along with all the other crops we grew paid the bills, and there were always plenty to eat.

In fact, there is one way to eat sweet potatoes which almost made the whole process worthwhile by itself. Baked sweet potatoes, with lots of butter.

You can have all the sweet potato pies, and sweet potato fries, and candied yams, just give me mine baked, hot out of the oven with a pat of butter!

I can remember walking up the long hill after school, with the fragrance of baked sweet potatoes floating in the cool autumn breeze. It was a calming influence, and meant that the crops were in, the summer heat was over, and Thanksgiving and Christmas were on the way.

How do you prepare such a delicacy? All it takes is sweet potatoes, preferably about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, foil, an oven, and patience.

This is how it’s done:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes.
  3. Slice off a small part of the ends of each.
  4. Wrap the sweet potatoes in the foil.
  5. Place the foil wrapped sweet potatoes in a baking pan.
  6. Place the pan in the heated oven.
  7. Cook for from 30 to 70 minutes determined by size and maturity.
  8. The skin will be a dark brown on the outside and blackened on the inside and the potato will be soft when done.

Some juices will probably leak out during the process. This is normal.

  • Allow them to cool a little while to make working with them easy.
  • Unwrap the foil, and remove the potato.
  • Place it on a plate.
  • Slice lengthwise.
  • Add butter
  • Eat

Notice that there is no spice added. Why ruin a perfectly flavored dish?

Learn to grow, cure and store sweet potatoes:

Growing Sweet Potato Slips

Curing And Storing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes The Curing Process

For even more information on the subject of sweet potatoes see:

Sweet Potato Culture for Profit. a Full Account of the Origin, History and Botanical Characteristics of the Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato: An Untapped Food Resource

The Sweet Potato: A Handbook for the Practical Grower [ 1921 ]

Sweet Potato: Post Harvest Aspects in Food, Feed and Industry (Food Science and Technology)

Sweet potato culture. Giving full instructions from starting the plants to harvesting and storing the crop