Garden Twinkle Lights

IMG_1364.jpeg
IMG_1491.JPG

We have had our garden for 2 years and we finally decided we wanted to ad some twinkle lights to the area. We felt this would make it not just a garden but also a gathering place. Somewhere we could do dinners and enjoy the garden even when the sun went down.

So we got twinkle lights and strung them around the outskirts of the garden and all of a sudden we are just loving the garden even more! Below is a short description of how to and the lights we got.

We first were going to use wooden posts but then decided metal pipes would do the trick and work just as well. so we decided on the materials below.

MATERIALS:

1.) Pipes- 10 foot 1/2 inch threaded metal pipes from Home Depot which we then spray painted matte black.

2.) Screw on t splitters to run the wire through the top of the pipes and corner connectors screwed on to run the wire around the corners.

3.) We decided to buy heavy duty wire to first string up and then hang the lights on that. This gave the everything more support.

This is the wire we bought on AMAZON- CLICK HERE

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 10.24.17 PM.png

5. Metal wire clamp to secure the wire.

6. Lights- CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

We bought these lights before for our patio and we love them. They are LED and have the filament type bulb which I prefer to regular string lights. They also have bulbs which are close together so the lights look more full vs some that are more spread apart. They are sold in different lengths.

10 FT, 25 FT , 50 FT, 100FT

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 10.34.22 PM.png


INSTRUCTIONS

1.) Jared used a drill bit and concrete mixer to dig into the ground. Then took a stake and used a sledge hammer to get the stake about 2 feet into the ground. Then you can place your pipe into the ground. The key is to get it about a foot or more into the ground so it is sturdy and level.

2.) Attach the t-splitters and corner connectors. Measure out wire and run all around the perimeter for where you want your lights.

3.) Run your wire through the tops of the pipes and secure. We did this fairly tight because although we wanted the lights to sag a tiny bit we didn’t want them to be super loose so we did the wire tight knowing it would loosen some after a few days.

4. ) Attach lights to the metal wire!

5.) Lastly we connected the lights to a clicker so we could turn them on and off easily .CLICK HERE, it’s only $!4!

IMG_1489.JPG
IMG_1490.JPG
IMG_1495.JPG

Hope this was helpful and inspires you to add some twinkle lights to your outdoor space no matter the size!

Print Friendly and PDF

Cut Flower Garden

Disclaimer! I am NO expert at flowers and I had some high hopes for lots and lots of blooms this year and I was just not able to! For a good reason of course as baby Ava was born right during planting time! I did however grow some and they are so beautiful! Here are a few of my thoughts and my secret seeds I’ve grown a few years in a row!

1.png
2.png
3.png
4.png
5.png
6.png
7.png
8.png


I hope this was helpful to you!! I have absolutely loved growing flowers and hope next year we can do it on an even larger scale!!

Below is an image of the seed tape I absolutely LOVE! It’s only around $4-6 dollars for a packet that gives you a whole bed of gorgeous flowers! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

burpee-flower-seeds-49991-64_1000.jpg

Elderberry Preserves

6DD3C55F-9B5D-41F6-8F7E-BAAF5D6AAA8A.jpg

Hey Friends!!

it’s that time of year where our elderberry bushes are ripe and it’s time to make something delicious and yet nutritious and very good for you! Elderberries are known for their medicinal properties. They are great to ward off a common cold and keep your immune system strong. I however never like to see how so much sugar is added to all elderberry recipes! Sugar can lower your immune system so no fun!

So I thought I’d make a recipe that contains just natural sugars and still makes the recipe sweet but without processed sugar. Yay! So I present to you a elderberry preserve. It’s like a jam and you can put this on toast or just eat its by the spoonfuls. Delicious!! I went ahead and canned it so it will be preserved and ready for us all winter long!

BD084FE3-EB30-4FCD-86C7-1DDC9E02462A.jpg
B75F7B20-03BC-4651-9BAF-EAC739C333E2.jpg

Elderberry Preserves

1/2 cup raw elderberries ( you may also use dried elderberries. If so, soak overnight prior to using) If you are gathering elderberries directly from a bush 1/2 equaled about 6 large heads of elderberry.

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups apple juice

3 tsp sugar-free pectin

1/2 cup date paste ( soak 1 cup of dates in 1 cup of water overnight. Then blend well in food processor)

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

Bring berries, water, and juice to a boil.

Remove one cup of jam mixture from heat, add pectin, date paste, and lemon, blend until smooth.

Return blended ingredients to pot and bring to a boil once again. Reduce heat slightly and keep stirring for5 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and pour jam into canning jars. The sugar-free pectin will harden the jam as it cools.

2D1C05DD-66F8-4DED-935C-47B1B3FCE2F5.jpg
497FCA9B-8418-4C13-B6E5-BA9AE51F9EBC.jpg
74CEB5F1-5F42-461B-A94B-2B830B7D8F5E.jpg

Canning

To can the preserves simply boil your canning lids and jars. Once sterilized pour mixture into jars through funnel as pictures. leave space at the top. ensure there are not air bubbles. Wipe jar opening clean. Then place lids on, tighten lid, and place in canning pot for 10 minutes. Once time is up place on counter to cool. You will begin to hear a pop as the lids are sealing onto the jars.

6BB35383-3C4C-4619-B0D1-B2B5523D3342.jpg
DF7D276C-2C38-4DEF-B118-04675CC9DE5D.jpg
932AEE1C-E877-4B4B-9702-BA372CEE97B0.jpg

Gift Idea!!

Get a piece of linen and cut into a small square. Remove ring from top of jar. place fabric on top of sealed lid and then tighten ring around it. Trim the square smaller but still maintain the square shape.

E49EDCE6-6A1D-43A8-B346-759C78A2639D.jpg
You can even add a stamp or letter to the top of the jar directly onto the fabric. What a fun gift this would be!!

You can even add a stamp or letter to the top of the jar directly onto the fabric. What a fun gift this would be!!

009B2305-A420-476E-B68E-ABDB3401524A.jpg
6DD3C55F-9B5D-41F6-8F7E-BAAF5D6AAA8A.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

How to freeze peppers

Cuban Style Garbanzo Beans.png
Print Friendly and PDF

Zinnia Floral headband DIY

IMG_4237.JPG

Our garden is booming with flowers and I thought this would be a fun and easy summer tutorial to share with you all! It’s a perfect activity to do with the kids, family, and friends!! Just follow the easy steps below!

IMG_3548.JPG

STEP 1- Gather flowers. You will need approximately 15 to make a 1/2 crown or headband. If making a whole crown double the amount of flowers.

IMG_3549.JPG

STEP 2- Cut flowers to an even length. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a leave a fairly long length two work with. Remove all leaves form the stems.

IMG_3550.JPG

STEP 3- begin with 2 flowers and cross them as shown in the picture above.

IMG_3551.JPG

Step 4- Wrap the stem on top under the other stem.

IMG_3553.JPG

Step 5- Bring the stem back around and in front of the other. Basically bending it to the right. It will then hold the flower in place. Slide it close to the first flower. Then start again

IMG_3554.JPG

Repeat steps 2-5 until you have reached the desired length.

IMG_3555.JPG
IMG_3556.JPG

Once you’ve reached the desired length tie ribbon to both ends. Tie at the base of head if doing a headband ( as pictured) or tie into a circle and place crown on head!

IMG_3607.JPG
IMG_3611.JPG

Now proceed to do house chores , cook dinner, feed the animals with it on. That what I did. Trust me, you’ll feel way more glamorous :)

Hope you have enjoyed this DIY! Let me know if you make a floral crown! Tag me @azurefarm

xoxo: Annette

Print Friendly and PDF

Jared's Soil Recipe

11220A42-E67B-4265-98B0-22F030CB1D29.jpg

Jared's Message Below

The recipe below was created to see if we could have a concoction that allowed for maximum germination of seedlings. So typically when you plant say 10 seeds in some potting soil, you may only see 7 plants pop up. But there are ways to increase that ‘germination rate’. One of those is amending the soil. About 10 years ago, I decided to eat a diet of mostly plants because I saw that the strongest animals have diets of mostly plants, that the longest living Americans have a diet of mostly plants and that eating lots of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts etc results in a healthy gut bacteria and finally and most importantly - healthy blood. What we eat turns into blood which gives us life. We are now seeing that what we eat effects our mind and outlook. 

Why do I bore you with all of those details? :) Because with healthy blood, we can be more likely to be free from sickness and disease. You’ve heard the expression ‘catching a cold’ - well plants also can ‘catch’ diseases and be overcome by a ‘bug’ that eats its leaves and consumes our dinner. We don’t want that. 

So what I learned along the journey was if we want the body to be healthy, we give it the best most nourishing food. If we want our garden to be healthy, we give the soil the best most nourishing food. Think of the soil as your garden’s ‘blood supply’. If it is healthy, all will be well. 

The key is to keep giving back to the soil so that it will keep giving back to you. 

Some of you may be growing in a pot or two. Others may have a whole garden. Either way it is all the same, give back and the soil will give back to you. I believe what we learn in the garden is the great principle of life ‘don’t be selfish’. If we build up the soil and keep nourishing it, we will get a huge blessing far greater in return. 

Ok so this recipe we mentioned in the podcast that was tested and retested at various labs and was found to have a very high ‘brix’ ratio. What that means is basically all the ingredients worked optimally together and the soil was amazing. This equates into higher germination and lower pest problems and higher disease resistance.

I ended up giving this recipe to many schools around the world where they teach kids how to grow their own food especially some where the students rely on the sale of produce to pay for school. I continue to be excited about the testimonies I see of results with this recipe. 

I will say they aren’t the easiest ingredients to find but as many as you can find makes all the difference. If you have a larger garden or farm then you can likely get most of these at farm supply store and a few shipped in. 

We have added these to our garden beds and the best part - the produce grown in soil with amendments like these is delicious. Tomatoes taste like they’ve already been salted :) 



Here it is: 

6 Qt. Peat Moss 

18 Qt. Worm Compost

1/2  Qt. Gypsum

1/4 Qt. Molasses

2 Qt. Alfalfa

1/4 Qt. Kelp

1 TBSP. SEA-90

1/2  Qt. BioChar



Let me try to explain it in easier terms: 

Peat Moss is ground up trees, you can buy it at most Home Depots. It helps hold water and makes up the bulk of your soil mixture. We first used this using worm manure basically but now we are using our alpaca and donkey manure. They say worm compost has some benefits but its a little pricey. The key is to use a manure that isn’t from animals that are being given antibiotics or hormones. The gypsum is easy to find. Molasses and Alfalfa can be found at an animal feed store. The bio char is basically ashes from a fire to keep it simple. The Kelp is actually from the ocean, you can find this online and it provides all the nutrients from the ocean, pretty much all that we need to be healthy. The SEA-90 is something you need to be VERY careful with. This is basically sea salt. What you want to do is put a tablespoon of this into a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with water. Then water your plants with this mixture maybe 2-3 times during the growth of the plant and only when it is in the garden or pot, not for seedlings. To be honest, I know this is a key component but I have messed up and even ruined some plots in my garden in the past because of adding too much ’salt’ into the soil. So you may want to have a plant or two in pots that you experiment with this. 

This is enough to fill a small wheelbarrow or a few 5 gallon buckets just to give you an idea of how much soil you will have. You can use this to start your seeds in little seed trays or add some under each plant that you put into the ground. Think of it like superfood for your seeds and plants. I would guess that you might spend $100-$200 if you were to buy everything but that would be enough to make ALOT of this mixture. Probably enough to last you for a while or for a very large garden. When I make it lately, I just sprinkle it down the rows in our garden that we want to plant in or add some into each hole I dig. 



Thank you so much for your passion to grow :) I’d love to hear you

Happy Planting, Jared

Untitled design.png




Print Friendly and PDF

Tree Planting Like A Boss

IMG_0296.JPG

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. 

-Martin Luther

If ever there was something that required patience it would be planting a fruit tree. You put in all this hard work only to wait a few years to see it pay off. But I can say that planting fruit trees has taught me a lot about some jargon we hear in the business world that sometimes doesn’t make sense. 

One term that gets thrown around a lot is - Seed Capital – This is the amount of investment you need to just get started. Sure it’s risky but it could pay off huge dividends. When you think of planting something by seed especially a fruit tree, you can imagine the hope and anticipation of one day seeing that one seed turn into thousands and thousands of peaches or apples or cherries. 

I remember a saying that went something like “it’s easy to count the seeds in an apple, but how about counting the apples in a seed”.

I have personally used the below method and I’ve seen others apply the same method and see amazing results. Bottom line, by following this method you will grow trees many times faster than others. This includes height, breadth, foliage and fruit yield. 

Below is an image of the idea. 

tcboc_02.jpg

The story goes like this. An American, named Ellen White, moved to Australia to help start a school in the 1800s. The students needed to earn money for tuition and to eat. They tried all different types of planting methods to increase yield. This one worked and it worked in an amazing way. 

You want to dig a huge hole, much bigger than you would think necessary. This loosens up all the soil so that the roots can easily inch their way left and right and down to find more nutrients to keep growing. 

I dug a 3’ by 3’ hole. Put all the dirt in a pile and then you want to add in your amendments one layer at a time. You will see some instructions in the picture above but I think I can make this a little easier on you. 

There are a couple schools of thought on the pipe in the hole. The image says Tin Can, but I used 4” PVC pieces of pipe from a Hardware store. The reason for this is to trap oxygen in the bottom of the hole. The oxygen feeds the microorganisms and causes a flourishing of growth. 

The key to growth of a tree is that the roots are getting all the proper nutrients that they need. I think of them like the immune system of a human. If the immune system is good, all will be well. Or more specifically you could say the gut bacteria. If the gut is good and the microbiome is good then all is well. 

So if you have healthy soil you are much more likely to have a healthy tree that does not need any sprays or chemicals to keep bugs and disease away. I’m a big believer that with plants and humans, if we take care of them as they were designed, they will do great without needing chemicals etc to survive. 

Here are your steps: 

STEP 1 – Put some very rich compost and topsoil mix into the bottom of your hole. You want your roots to reach down and find all the good stuff deep in this hole. I would even recommend mixing up a batch of a mixture of top soil, compost (manure) from organically raised animals, and if possible mixing in a little peat moss, ground up kelp, bio char, organic alfalfa hay and ground molasses. Many of those you can get at a feed store. Don’t stress if you can’t find them all, use as many as you can. Use this at the bottom of the hole and as you add new layers of it. 

STEP 2 – Put a layer of gravel on top this mixture you just put in the bottom of the hole. This as I’m told does something to the electrical current in the ground and channels it into the tree. Just a thin layer of some type of rocks. 

STEP 3 – Now put a 4” PVC pipe with large rocks stuffed into the ends so that for the most part the pipe will trap air in the middle of your hole and not fill with dirt. 

STEP 4 – Gently put some more of your mixture of soil and amendments around the pipe and on top your rock layer and fill it up 2/3 of the hole. Think of the hole in thirds. 

STEP 5 – Put a big rock on top your mixture and now you’re going to put a little layer of your soil mixture on top that rock and then set your tree (or in one experiment I tried – my tomato plant) on top this rock. Then fill in the rest of the hole and around your tree with your super soil mixture.

STEP 6 – put some type of mulch i.e. hay or straw on top of your hole

STEP 7 - Water that tree for 10-15 minutes. (Keep watering every other day and watch it grow.) 

*** If you want maximum growth, I would do something that sounds crazy. This is an old testament gardening trick but I can say it works. For the first 1-3 years of your tree, pluck the fruit off right after the buds come in each spring. This allows for all the energy of the tree to go into the roots. Then your tree will produce so much more and be so much stronger as the years go by to drought and disease etc. 

For many places you may need to spray your tree to keep the birds and bugs away depending on humidity etc. I would recommend something organic.

The reason organic vs. traditional is so interesting to me is that the real point of interest is that the chemicals get into the soil and kill the bacteria. They are the technology of the tree that allow it to absorb vitamins and nutrients. Sure you can still get fruit but will it taste as good as it could have or does it have the nutrient content? 

Think about someone who may look great on the outside but inside they have heart disease and are on the verge of a heart attack. Same idea with organic vs traditional. Both can look fine on the outside but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. 

If you have questions feel free to reach out to me on IG - @jaredthurmon or via @azurefarm 

Happy Planting 

Jared 

 

 

 

How to Love your Soil and Make Fertilizer

2F906F90-3E66-4415-9488-0A35E253FBFA.jpg

Whether you do a soil test or just assume your soil needs some TLC, you are now going to be able to help it. The soils around the world are being depleted for many reasons.  Whether it is from lack of crop rotation, pesticides, or just no TLC, the soil needs to be assisted in maintaining its health.

Giving is a secret law embedded in nature but we must realize we are a part of that system and we need to be involved in helping the soil just like it helps us.

The soil is unable to give us nourishment if we do not in turn take care of it. 

Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy World

Here’s how to help get your soil back to where it needs to be, full of nutrients and structurally sound.

Soil Structure

To help ensure that your soil is healthy, you need it to drain well and be an ideal environment for nutrients to easily get to the plant and then to the fruit and then to you. To do this you need to help it by creating compost.

Compost is nature’s fertilizing power house. Many in India right now are finding the harm of years of repeated over-doses of synthetic fertilizer. In the beginning the plants grew at an incredible rate. Eventually though, the soil just wore out like someone on steroids. Then it was nearly impossible to get the soil to do what it did without the juice. You have to apply more and more and more until you can barely grow anything.

Plants can grow and look healthy. Compost is a great way to encourage nutrient presence.  The key ingredients are Air, Water, (N) Nitrogen, (P) Phosphorous and (K) Potassium. 

You want to integrate your compost with these nutrients as you plant and periodically throughout the growing season:

• Nitrogen helps promote green foliage

• Phosphorous helps promote root and flower growth

• Potassium helps with the plants immunity to disease and overall plant health

To make your own compost all you have to do is find a nice shady area or bin. 

To make good compost you need a combination of “green” high-nitrogen materials like fruits and veggies, grass clippings, or weeds. You will add these to your “brown” ingredients 

like leaves, newspaper, or wood (twigs/smaller pieces). 

Mix these in layers evenly one layer on top of the next. 

Things not to use in your compost are:

Meat scraps, bones, fat, oils, breads, glossy magazines, diseased plants, feces from cats 

and dogs. 

It is interesting how a number of these above are now being shown to be harmful to our health in our regular diets. 

The pile should remain damp but not wet. The bigger the pile, the faster it will break down and be able to be used. You can assist the process by turning the pile every few weeks. 

When your compost pile basically looks like soil, then sprinkle it around your plants and mix it into the first few inches of the soil around each plant.

Soil Fertility and Nutrients

Your soil is tired and warn out. Its been giving and giving all these years and it needs some TLC in order to bring it back to what it needs to be.  Just like your body needs Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium etc to function properly, so does the soil to help grow healthy plants.

Kelp and ocean salts have been shown to help in a number of areas including:

• stimulate soil bacteria which increases fertility of the soil through humus formation.

• helps aeration

• helps moisture retention

• increases resistance to disease and pests

• allows for easy nutrient absorption into the plant

• seed germination

• increase in food production per plant

Think about it, by helping your soil you are really helping yourself! You will have more nutrients in your food and have more disease resistant plants which in turn will lead to healthier and more delicious food. 

Secret Sauce

Find manure, or cricket castings, or worm poop free from any antibiotics or hormones and start adding a little of this to your soil ever few weeks. 

How to Save Seeds

IMG_2792.jpg

For thousands of years farmers saved their seeds each year so that they could plant again the following year. 

Think about this:  There is a story of a school out in the western United States that would give the students a cob of corn to go out and start a new life. They would take that cob and use all the kernels to plant corn the next season. 

Those 200 kernels turned into 200 plants that each had 4 cobs of corn. Now that one corn cob had turned into 160,000 kernels of corn in just one year! Imagine the increase year after year by saving just a small portion of kernels for seed.

By saving seed that is open pollinated you will find that the crop will adapt and grow better and better in your climate and region. After all, who wants to be a slave to a system of going to the store to buy seed as the only way to grow food?

Most plants if left to continue to grow through the harvest and into the fall will develop seed coats where the seeds are safely stored. The majority of seeds need to be harvested and dried to germinate properly the following season. Ideally you will be plucking dried seeds from the plants when they are ready.

The seed packets are important because often the seed hardens and will drop to the ground. You need to be constantly watching for the optimal time and then harvest the seed. 

Store your seeds in paper bags. This will allow them to continue to dry. Store your seeds in these bags or sealed containers free from moisture, heat and sun exposure. Ideally store seed in a very cool, dark, and dry environment. To get seeds from fruit or veggies where the inside is where the seed is stored like a tomato, you want to scoop out the seed and spread them on a towel, cloth or coffee filter paper but not regular paper towel due to them sticking. Leave them here for a while and let them dry.

You can use our free printable below and make your own seed packets!

seedpackets first one 2 per page copy.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

Planting 101

8A707F00-0057-4A85-8B02-971C4B236C18.jpg

Ok now you’ve got some seedlings and you’re ready to take them out of daycare and into the world ☺ 

Putting your baby plants to bed

There are some simple points to consider when planting. Before planting you should think about laying out your garden.

After drawing out the layout of your garden, one of the first things you want to do is create raised beds. Raised beds are basically mounds that you plant in. I’m a fan of raised beds here in the south because they create nice drainage and can make for easier weeding.

The benefits of raised beds are:

1 - The soil drains better

2 - The ground warms faster

3 - The soil allows for more oxygen to the roots


Something to remember is to make your garden beautiful. If you are going to be coming and spending quite a bit of time in this paradise, make it attractive.

Ideas to make your garden more attractive:

Make smaller beds so that you can walk around easier

Make your beds/rows about 4 feet wide and leave at least 18-24” between each row for walking. Also this will allow for you to kneel down and reach half way across the row without stepping on your beds. Stepping on your beds compacts the soil and prevents the oxygen and water from easily permeating the root structure of your plants.

If possible, align your rows from north to south. This allows for your plants to get maximum east to west sun exposure each day. 

Dig deeper and wider holes than seems needed. There is an ancient little known method that states, for optimal growth of a tomato plant, you want to dig a hole 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep and layer it with compost and other materials. This method sounds intense but what it does is break up the soil for perfect transfer of energy from the sun and water to the root structure of the plant. It also allows for your plant’s roots to grow easily through soft highly oxygenated soil. For the typical hole, dig it at least 6 inches by 6 inches and then place the plant where the first leaves or branches are just above the surface when you fill in the hole with all the loose dirt. 

Crop Rotation: 

Because different plants use more of some elements than others, it is wise to change the location of where you plant your plants each season and each year. In other words don’t plant the tomatoes in the same place year after year. 


Covering: Don’t leave the ground Naked

Walk in the woods sometime and notice how the trees and bushes are growing just fine. Who is taking care of these guys? Notice that the leaves from the trees fall on the ground and create a covering of twigs and leaves and branches. These in turn decompose and create a nice blanket for the forest. This blanket helps maintain proper soil structure and fertility by allowing nature to do what it does. So what do we learn from this? We replicate this in the garden.Cover your plants and rows with a layer of mulch or compost. This will prevent rampant weed growth (some may still come through but they are much easier to pull and manage). You can use leaves, mulch from trees or any other type of mulch that will easily break down into soil. Apply 3-6” of thickness for maximum benefit. This will also prevent soil compaction and allow for minimal watering needs.

Heaven or Hell?

There is also another benefit to applying a layer of mulch onto the surface of your garden:  Weed Control. 

Weeds are perhaps the greatest evidence in the world for evil. Once you have a garden, you will understand. They come out of nowhere, there is no reason for their existence. The way in which to best deal with weeds is to pluck them out when they are young and throw them outside of your garden. Like any bad habit, if you just leave it around the thing will take root again and grow back stronger than before. 

By applying a layer of mulch you will help keep your garden looking like heaven and not the other place!

I hope these tips help you as you plant your garden ! Let us know if you have any questions!!

Happy Planting,

Jared

DIY Natural Organic Pesticide

055EF20E-1775-449E-AEDF-B481548316CE.jpg

With increasing awareness of the benefits of organic food, and the quickly growing alarms around spraying toxins on foods, innovative techniques for pest and disease control are becoming hot topics for gardeners and small farm owners alike.

To compete in the modern, industrialized food system, farmers must use the cheapest and most readily available solutions available. They often don't have the luxury to take chances on a new product when their current methods are working for them and their competitors. This competitive atmosphere can make it so that one mistake can destroy their whole business. 

The products that today's organic farmers use for pest and disease control are arguably safer than conventional farm sprays, but they can be dangerous to consumers. Copper sulfate, for example, a fungicide widely used by traditional and organic farmers, damages good bacteria in the soil, where it also can accumulate in harmful concentrations. While organic farmers use far less pesticide than conventional farms, there are much better options available that haven't yet reached the attention of the farming community.

It may surprise you to learn that many everyday staples in the kitchen can serve as natural pesticides and for disease control. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies garlic and spicy pepper concentrates as biochemical pesticides, which means they do not harm the environment. 

A good organic garden spray is easy to make. Here’s how: 

105e809b4e31768c43854c204c2a00f9.jpg

Some other examples of natural pesticides are acidic solutions made with vinegar or citric acid, herbicidal soaps, and salt-based solutions. 

Neem oil is a favorite among home gardeners. Made from an evergreen tree native to India, it is a natural oil that can get sprayed onto crops and trees to eliminate pests, fungi, and bacterial disease. Neem works by stunting larvae growth, decreasing insect mating, and stopping insects from feeding. It can also kill many kinds of harmful fungus on plants. Unlike copper sulfate and conventional pesticides like glyphosate, neem oil is entirely safe to breathe in, get on the skin, and even to ingest. The best part is that neem oil does not harm beneficial insects when applied correctly. 


It is common knowledge that manure is an excellent fertilizer for the garden once it breaks down, but green manure is an easy and time-tested way not only to fertilize but also significantly reduce plant diseases. The latest research suggests that plants from the brassica species, especially pungent varieties like mustard, radish, and horseradish, can help reduce pathogens and pests in the soil. According to John Kirkegaard, brassicas used as green manure can increase yields of solanaceous species by up to 40 percent. To employ the chop-and-drop technique for using green manure, which is as simple as it sounds, you spread the plant materials as mulch on top of the soil, or if you prefer, you can slightly bury it. 

Especially for home gardeners, the natural weed- and pest-control methods above can be preferable to risking long-term damage to the soil. Since natural solutions are safe for human consumption, you get added peace of mind when feeding your family or selling your produce. 

Happy Planting, Jared

4 Ingredients to Healthy Plants in your Garden

As you’re planning your garden, there are some key ingredients you want to consider. Just like baking some bread or a cake, without these you’re not going to find the success you’re looking for.

You will hear me say this over and over, but we can’t take from the garden without giving back. I would even go so far as to say we can’t take from the garden without giving ahead of time. Build up the bank account of the soil and it will pay you dividends for a long time. The goal is to get the microbial activity in the soil working so that your plants are absorbing the maximum amount of nutrients. When this happens they will have a healthier immune system and will more easily ward of disease, pests and will increase taste and yield.

Here are four things to remember:

Soil - Help your soil become healthy by adding compost and soil conditioners

Air - Make raised beds and don’t compact the soil to ensure for plenty of oxygen to get to the roots

Water - Water your plants deep so that the roots are reach-ing deep for water.  Don’t water too much or in the eve-nings when mold can grow.  Water in the mornings. 

Sunshine - Plant your plants where they can get plenty of sunlight for at least 6 or more hours each day.

Below is a downloadable file you can print and keep handy.

png.png

How to Make Nutrient Rich Soil

11220A42-E67B-4265-98B0-22F030CB1D29.jpg

This is perhaps the most important yet most over-looked element of growing delicious nutrient rich food. 

There are two key ingredients to good soil:

1. Fertility - The amount of nutrients it currently contains and can contain􀀁

2. Structure - The layers and particles that make up the soil itself􀀁

Ideally you want to test your soil to determine it’s pH levels.You can buy a kit at your local hardware store or contact your local county extension office to find out more. The reality is that most soil is depleted of both fertility and good structure so we are going to help both.

It is amazing to see the similarities between soil and our blood.􀀁 Like our bodies, plants also like a neutral pH around 7, they need nutrients to thrive, and they work best in an optimal environment. In this case, the soil should drain well and not be too sandy but at the same time be able to crumble in your hand and so that the roots can easily absorb proper water and nutrient levels.  

In order to help your soil thrive, you will want to regularly add nutrients and materials that turn into humus that then help it drain easier (more crumbly) as well as add compost.


By following the above steps you will help create the optimal conditions for your plants to thrive and in turn pass along the nutrients from the soil to your body. The plants are conduits to take nutrients from the soil and deliver them in a delicious way through your favorite foods􀀁 


Did you know?

The human body is made up of minerals and nutrients and works optimally when replenished with fresh supplies of these on a regular basis. A Reader’s Digest article years ago stated how “researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center confirmed the ancient account in the Torah that every element found in the human body can also be found in the soil.”

AMAZING!

Happy Planting, Jared

Print Friendly and PDF

Seed Starting 101

E93F58FA-BE54-4924-BA27-3A6B642469F7.jpg

So the reality is that not all of us live in paradise where we can grow food 365 days a year. Don’t worry, you will see how you can make the most of your growing season(s) wherever you live by starting your seeds indoors.

First thing you want to learn is the date of your last frost. You can find this online or from your local County Extension office. What you want to do is plant the seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before that date. After that date, we will be taking our plants outdoors into the open air. For us here in the south we shoot for just after Easter weekend each year or around the 3rd weekend in April as our planting date.


Seed Starting Directions: 

  1. Find a small tray with good drainage that can be used to plant your seeds. You can find one of these at your local hardware store. Take care of it so that you can reuse it over and over again. 

  2. Buy a bag of potting soil. This is a little different than regular soil in that it drains really easily, holds the perfect amount of moisture for the seeds and makes for a more oxygenated environment for your seed to spring to life. Don’t pack the soil too tightly, leave it pretty loose. The water will eventually compact it some. 

  3. Insert your ‘Heirloom’ seeds (more on this in other posts) into the soil per their planting instructions on the packet. You may want to add extra in case some don’t germinate and grow. 

  4. Lightly sprinkly water over the seeds and soil and make sure the soil is not compacted. 

  5. Cover the tray with a thick layer of plastic to keep the plants warm and move it to a warm location (65-75 de-grees) with good circulation and where it gets indirect light. Check it and water daily as needed.

  6. As soon as you see sprouts coming through, remove the plastic covering and give them more light. 

  7. Each plant should be growing without interference from other plants, if you have more than one plant in a spot, remove the extra and plant it somewhere else. This is called “pricking out”. 

  8. When the weather gets warm, you want to take your plants outside and let them harden off􀀁 To do this you want to set your tray in the shade for a few days. Then for a few hours a day in the sunshine. 

  9. After you do this for a few days, your plants will be ready for the great outdoors!

Plant your plants in healthy soil enriched with compost and minerals􀀁 If you are using pots make sure they pro-vide plenty of room to grow􀀁 If in a garden, make sure the soil is loose and drains well.

Happy Planting,

Jared


Garden Printables

j.jpg

HI Friends! Below are 9 pages for you to get your garden plans organized and ready for the year. I will be filling one out and posting it on Monday for you to see how to use it. But for now I thought it would be fun to at least make it available to you!!!

Just drag each page off the screen and print! Some pages you will end up wanting to print more than one of. There is even a printable for you to make your own seed packet to store your seeds in!

Can’t wait for you guys to use this guide. I really hope it is beneficial to you! ! Let me know if you use it and stay tuned for our Grow Easy Garden guide which will be available before the end of the month!

Warmly,

Annette

Garden Printables-1.jpg
Garden Printables-2.jpg
Garden Printables-3.jpg
Garden Printables-4.jpg
Comment
Print Friendly and PDF