Tess Pennington – Ready Nutrition
While the weather outside is still on the chilly side, many are making use of their time indoors and get a headstart on the upcoming gardening season by starting seeds indoors. Doing so results in earlier and longer harvests. This economic gardening method doesn’t require special equipment – just some moist soil, comfortable temperatures, and some TLC!
Seeds need perfect growing conditions to grow healthy: water – allows the seed to swell up and the embryo to start growing, oxygen – so that energy can be released for germination, and warmth – germination improves as temperature rises.
Starting longer growing varieties like herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions can greatly benefit from indoor growing methods. This gives the gardener a headstart and helps to control the growing environment.
A Step-By-Step Guide for Starting Seeds Indoors
Home gardeners can start vegetable and flower seedlings indoors between 4 to12 weeks before the last average spring frost in their area, which means it’s time to get started! Above all, start with good seeds. At Ready Gardens, we prefer time-tested heirloom varieties. These plants have been shown to have outstanding flavor and good harvests. Heck, if these seeds were good enough for my grandparents, they’re good enough for me. As well, you want to ensure that your seed starting mix has nutrients to feed young plants when they start growing their true leaves. Adding perlite and vermiculite can do wonders for emerging seedlings.
- Fill a flat or other container with moist, sterile germination mix. Add enough mix to fill the container within an inch of the rim. Gently pat the soil down for even distribution.
- Plant seeds according to their growing instructions. Some seeds can be planted in rows or scattered onto the soil’s surface. Typically, seeds need to be planted at 1/2 inch below the soil surface and covered with soil.
- With a spray bottle filled with water, water lightly until the soil has proper moisture. Take precautions so that the soil is not waterlogged.
- Add a small layer of vermiculite to the top of the soil. This reduces moisture loss and cuts down on mold growth.
- Label the flat and cover your newly planted seeds with plastic wrap until the first sprouts emerge. This avoids drying out of the soil.
- Set seeds in a dark area that is not drafty. Seeds need a warm area to germinate.
- Once seeds have germinated and sprouts appear, transfer the containers to a sunny spot or place under grow lights. Make sure the seedlings get up to 16 hours of sunlight a day. If seeds do not get enough sunlight, they grow long and leggy and this will not produce the healthiest plants. Full spectrum grow lights can assist in giving plantlings adequate light needed for growth. Water as needed.
- When plants have grown to the proper size, you need to begin hardening them off and get them accustomed to outdoor living. Harden off gradually, so that seedlings become accustomed to strong sunlight, cool nights and less-frequent watering over a 7-10 day period. On a mild day, start with 2-3 hours of sun in a sheltered location. Be sure to protect seedlings from strong sun, wind, hard rain and cool temperatures.
- Once plants are hardened off, plant them in the garden according to the seed packets instructions.
Simply by providing seeds with comfortable temperatures, adequate soil moisture and time, your plants will establish strong root systems and, in time, grow big enough for replanting. Following these steps will ensure planting success.
By Kristen Duever – Off The Grid News
Growing your own vegetables is a great way to have fresh produce available at any time — and also to save money. Sometimes, though, even growing your own food can get too pricey.
Here are seven ways to make sure you’re getting the best value from your vegetable garden this year.
1. Save the seeds.
Initially when you were planning your garden for the first year, you might have had to purchase all of the seeds. But once you have a season or two under your belt, you should start saving the seeds for the next season.
2. Find a seed swap.
There likely are people in your community growing plants you aren’t currently growing – plants that you’d like to grow. And, of course, the vegetables you grow will have a ton of seeds in them — and you don’t need all of them. So share them around! If you can’t find a seed swap in your community, then put the word out there to start one; you might get more interest than you think.
Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 6 Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Vegetable Garden This Year
By Contributing Author – Modern Survival Online
One of the best ways to be prepared for the many uncertainties that life hurls at us is to grow our own food. Gardening can be a vital skill to learn ahead of time, before a disaster strikes. There can be a decent learning curve if you’ve never raised your own food before. You need to take the time now to learn how to grow your own food! Luckily, if your goal is to raise a survival garden that will keep you alive in an emergency there are a handful of easy to grow plants that can help sustain you during a disaster, and are easy to save seeds from to plant from year after year.
Here are 5 Easy to Grow Plants For a Survival Garden
For all of these plants, make sure when you purchase your initial seed stock that you pick open pollinated types. This means that you can save your seeds every year, and even build up a stock of seeds in your freezer in case of a crop failure, all with just one, single time purchase. Hybrid or F1 varieties of seeds will produce seeds, but when you plant them, you will not necessarily get the same variety that you had the first year. Another advantage of saving your own open pollinated seeds is that the plants will adapt over time and become more resilient to your particular climate.
Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t always succeed. Try again the next year, and the next, until you’ve mastered a few essential crops. Some people seem to have a natural green thumb, but there are others of us who need to learn through trial and error. If you’re new to gardening in general, and not sure where to start, check out Easy Ways To Get Started On A Spring Garden for ideas on how to prepare now, even if it’s too chilly to start planting.
Continue reading at Modern Survival Online: 5 Easy To Grow Plants For A Survival Garden
Image Source: Pixaby.com
By Angela Counter – Off The Grid News
Are you ready to feed your family? If you want to reduce your dependency on the commercial food supply, you better start now. Establishing crops, building infrastructure, raising animals, and working out the kinks takes time, and you may have a few less successful years before you can really eat off the grid.
Assuming you have a house on cleared land, with at least one usable outbuilding already constructed, you will be able to focus on growing food. With long working days, attention to seasonal change and weather, efficient work practices, and regular routines, two adults can work the land for food within a few years.
Here’s nine foods that can make you 100 percent self-sufficient. Keep in mind that crops like lettuce – which is easy to grow and doesn’t store very long – aren’t on the list.
Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 9 Food Projects That Could Make You 100 Percent Self-Sufficient
By Kristen Duever – Off The Grid News
As we enjoy the changing seasons and the vibrant colors that come with autumn, we prepare ourselves for cooler temperatures and the raking and gathering of fallen leaves. For gardeners, this doesn’t mean an added chore, but actually a beneficial moment for improving and preparing our gardens for winter. There are many uses for those discarded leaves, and below are a few common ones.
- Compost: Mow the leaves and place in the compost pile. It is easy to shred the leaves with a mower.
- Leaf mold: This is a pile of leaves and soil that sits for about a year, and then is added to the compost. It helps with nutrients and soil-building.
- Storing: This is a method of keeping all the leaves in a pile and using them to add to the compost when brown material is needed.
- Mulch: Mulch retains moisture, controls temperature of soil and limits weed growth. Leaves also add nutrients and brown material as time goes on.
Let’s take a look at using autumn leaves. Mulching is one of the easiest and most beneficial methods of using autumn leaves.
Continue reading ay Off The Gris News: Autumn Leaves: ‘Miracle Mulch’ For Your Spring Garden
By Theresa Crouse – SurvivoPedia
If you’re like me, if you see something you like, you wonder how to make them instead of just buying it from somebody else. This is how many of my friends have gotten into home canning – they’ve tasted something that I’ve made (I regularly give away my jellies, jams, and salsas as gifts) and then they want to learn how to make it.
When I tell them, I also teach them how to avoid several common home canning mistakes, and now I’d like to share them with you.
Whether you’re making peach preserves or entire meals in a jar, don’t make the following mistakes!
Not Wiping the Rims
This is one of those rookie mistakes that a person only makes large-scale once. It’s common even for an experienced canner to have a jar or two not seal, especially when canning greasy foods like meat or sauces.
Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: When Canning Goes Bad: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid
When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases. Adding a pursuit that could really be its own full-time job only makes things harder. The self-sufficiency arm alone could occupy a full work week, and for some, the future looms as a period when we may have to increase our physical vigilance on top of producing our own food, medicine, and supplies.
There are methods we can use to make gardens maintenance friendly, and plant selections can ease it further. In some cases, there are plants that grow with few inputs and are specific to our regions. In other cases, we can also decrease our labors in a work-heavy and typically strength-sapping hot season by making selections that ease the other side of growing and harvesting.
Processing & Storage
Whether it’s annuals, an annual veggie garden, or perennials, whatever methods for production we choose takes time away from our daily lives. Then our produce needs to be processed, one way or another.
Even now when most lives are relatively easy due to power tools, refrigeration, and transportation, we tend to be pretty busy. I think most of us expect that even without the tug of paying jobs and some of the extracurricular activities that suck up our time, a life “after” will be just as busy and in some or many cases, even more labor intensive.
Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Storage-Friendly Survival Gardening