Monday March 31, 2014
Hello! My name is Angela England and I wanted to introduce myself as the new Organic Gardening Guide (Expert). I started just four days ago but hurried to put up some fun posts for you for the month of March so you'd have new ideas for fun garden designs and resources this spring.
A little about me:
I'm addicted to Dr. Pepper and/or coffee.
I'm the mother of five children (and yes - we know what causes that.)
I'm the author of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less).
I'm the Founder of Untrained Housewife - a website for recapturing the lost arts of intentional and self-sufficient living.
I'm the Founder of Homestead Bloggers Network - a training and support group for those who write about homesteading topics online.
I garden in zone 7b in Southern Oklahoma. The side of Oklahoma with trees, not prairies.
I am both thrilled and a little nervous to be here. I cannot wait to get to know you better and help you create the garden that you want in a way that respects the earth.
New Posts on Organic Gardening This Week
Understanding the Laws About Organic Gardening - A resource for the regulations and laws surrounding the organic gardening industry.
April Organic Gardening Tasks - A checklist of all the to-dos for organic gardeners to consider this month (my northern friends can bookmark this checklist for next month!)
How to Divide Summer and Fall Blooming Perennials - Part of this month's gardening to-do list is dividing perennials like Hostas, Lilies, and others.
Tips for Growing Edible Plants Organically - Basic tips and tricks to keep in mind with your edible landscaping.
Perennial Plants for Homegrown Organic Tea - These perennial plants have been used for homemade tea blends for eons. Plus they are gorgeous landscape plants. A win/win!
Edible Flowers for Beauty in the Victory Garden - A Victory Garden doesn't have to be a drab affair. Add color with these edible blooms.
Annuals and Biennials for the Cottage Garden - These powerhouse plants add amazing color over a short amount of time and are heirloom favorites in a mixed bed or cottage garden.
Perennials and Shrubs for the Cottage Garden - Long-lived shrubs and perennials add a reliable foundation to the whimsy of a cottage garden.
The Cut Flower Patch Book Review - See my in-depth review of a beautiful gardening book, The Cut Flower Patch and learn organic gardening techniques for a personal cut flower garden area.
Cool-Season Annuals for Cut Flower Gardens - Here are five of my favorite spring or fall blooming annuals for the cut flower garden.
Friday January 31, 2014
I've been busy the last few days trying to finalize the tomato seeds I want to order for this year's garden. I have plenty saved of tried and true favorites such as 'Brandywine,' 'Japanese Black Trifele,' and 'Yellow Pear,' but I try to make a point of trying a few new-to-me heirlooms every year.
I'm almost positive I'll be growing 'Jaune Flamme,' a small-fruited variety that has a reputation for being very flavorful. Cherries and other small-fruited tomatoes are always a big hit around here, especially with the kids. Most of those are eaten before we can even get them into the house. Other small fruited tomatoes I like are 'Yellow Pear,' 'Red Pear,' and 'Red Currant.'
Another variety I'll be trying this year is 'Pruden's Purple,' a beefsteak heirloom variety that is rumored to equal or surpass 'Brandywine' in flavor. We'll see about that -- 'Brandywine' is probably my all-time favorite tomato. I have a feeling I'll enjoy comparing and contrasting the two this summer.
Along with those two, I have several packets of seeds I've received from friends, and I can't wait to try them. I'm sure there will be at least one or two impulse tomato seed purchases during February and March. Sometimes, I just can't help myself.
Which heirloom tomatoes are you planning on growing this year?
Latest Articles on About Organic Gardening
Wednesday January 15, 2014
About Container Gardening guide Kerry Michaels has a useful (and fun) list of questions one should ask oneself before deciding to start plants from seed indoors. There are several things to consider before diving into the world of indoor seed starting. First, there's the equipment and space issue. Seed flats take up space, and often more than you think they will. If you don't have a really nice, bright window, you will have to rely on artificial light. This takes up even more space, and relies upon having a power source nearby.
But, as Kerry's list suggests, perhaps the biggest part of deciding whether to start seeds indoors is evaluating yourself. Are you gong to be attentive enough to see this through? You will have weeks ahead of you during which the tiny seedlings will be relying solely on you for light, water, and nourishment. You will be their only protection from pest and disease issues. Once they are planted outside, it gets easier.
But, I digress. It's a useful and lighthearted list. Stop by and check it out!
Monday December 30, 2013
This week's question:
"I've heard that growing sprouts indoors is easy, but then I read about E. coli in sprouts and I wasn't sure if it was safe to try. Can I grow my own sprouts? And how would I do it?"
Growing Sprouts Safely
Any food that you consume raw carries a risk for food-borne illness, and that includes fruits and vegetables. There have been about a few cases of outbreaks of illnesses due to raw sprouts. Most commonly, the problem is Salmonella or E.coli bacteria. I've been growing and eating raw sprouts for over ten years, and haven't had a single problem. There are many things you can do to help ensure a healthy batch of sprouts:
- Look for seeds specifically labeled as "sprouting seeds." These seeds are guaranteed to be pathogen-free.
- Keep everything clean, clean, clean. Start with a very clean jar, soak the seeds in fresh, clean water, and rinse with clean water. When they've finished sprouting, rinse and dry your sprouts and store them in a clean plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.
- During the soaking process, keep your sprouts in a cool, dark place.
- Don't soak your seeds too long. It should take one to three days, tops, for most sprouts. Soaking and rinsing longer than that will increase the likelihood of encountering harmful bacteria.
Sprouts are a tasty, nutritious addition to the diet. If you follow a few simple precautions, there's no need to worry about E. coli or other bacteria. It's very easy to do -- here are simple instructions for growing sprouts in a jar.
Latest Articles on About.com Organic Gardening: