Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The other edible parts of plants.

Did you know that the leaves of most cabbage family plants are also edible? Make those broccoli plants do double duty and use the buds and the leaves.

The leaves of beans and peas are also edible.

I would imagine that you would want to use the tender new growth at the tips instead of older leaves.

For more about the other edible parts of plants, here's a more complete list.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

How much food can you grow at home?

Here's a video of what one woman did to answer the question, "How Much Food Can I Grow Around My House?"


Monday, December 1, 2008

Compost Gold

Organic matter, such as yard and food wastes make up 23% of the waste generated in the United States. Composting is an effective, inexpensive, and natural way to handle this organic waste. Organic materials decompose in nature to feed soil and make it healthy. You can imitate nature in your own yard by composting your yard waste and kitchen waste.

Compost is a natural way of returning necessary nutrients to the soil. It's easy to start your own compost pile at home. Compost is an extremely versatile product. It has the ability to improve soil properties physically, chemically, and biologically.

Gardener's experiences with compost have shown healthier, faster, and heartier vegetation and plant growth. It works even when growing conditions are less than ideal.

Compost is produced through the activity of tiny organisms and fungi known as decomposers. When the pile is cool enough, worms, insects, and their relatives will help out the microbes. Given a favorable environment, they will break down your yard wastes and kitchen scraps into a humus-like material that can serve as an excellent soil amendment for your yard and garden.

Materials in the compost pile should always remain as damp as a squeezed sponge. A depression created at the top center of the pile will collect precipitation. Materials such as grass clippings tend to layer themselves, so create thin layers with other materials, such as leaves. Leaves and kitchen scraps are a good source of carbon, and grass clippings are the best source of nitrogen.

If you experience slow composting, adding more nitrogen can speed things up. Mix three parts leaves to one part grass, other green materials, or kitchen waste for best results. Remember you compost will only be as good as the materials you add. Make sure that you provide for a wide range of materials to have the best compost.

Compost is finished when it's a dark, rich color, crumbles easily, and you can't pick out any of the original ingredients. It should have a sweet, earthy smell.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tomato Varieties for 2009

I have settled on next seasons tomato varieties to try.

Tangerine Tomato - Seems the lycopene in this variety is better absorbed. Click the link to read the Science Daily article.

Tommy Toe - This is a cherry tomato. I'll be replacing the Chadwick Cherries with this variety this year. I just renewed my Chadwick Cherry seed supply last season so I can skip a season or two and still have viable seed.

San Marzano - This will be the sauce variety next season. I had some Romas and Amish Paste last season. I really didn't like the growth habits of the Amish Paste tomatoes, too weedy. It was a bad year for tomatoes here. Too much heat early then too cool. The flavor never developed.

Early Girls and Fouth of July will again be the early varieties.

And by April I'll usually find a few more tomato varieties to try. Then there's the extra plants donated by fellow gardeners.

Here's the link to Cornell's Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners resource too. You'll find rating on many garden vegetable and sources for seeds on the site. Very useful!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Positive Benefits of Tending Your Garden.

More people are thinking about about growing their own food. Our cultural climate has shifted. Emphasis on food quality and ethical growing practices are increasing. More people want to buy locally grown food. They see the benefits that gardens, especially food-growing gardens, can bring. But you don't necessarily have to eat good food to receive its healing benefits.

Consider one benefit of gardening that is rarely considered.


Gardeners tend to take the physical therapeutic aspects and benefits of gardening for granted. In addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked.

As you probably know, health professionals say you should perform some form of aerobic activity on a daily basis. As a healthy lifestyle activity, gardening can offer significant health benefits to people of all ages. So start to take advantage of the positive benefits of gardening.

It's time to get yourself outside in the garden and get started. Start planning now!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hey Gardening Ain't Easy

It's time to explain the title of this blog, Easy Home Gardens. Many people who have or had a garden will try to tell you, "It's not so easy!"

Ive come to believe it's as hard as you make it. It's true there is work involved. But if you enjoy what you are doing, its fun, satisfying, pleasant, invigorating, or any positive word you choose to describe your gardening activity.

As the seasons pass and you improve the soil, it does get "easier". As you learn to work with nature and stop resisting, it does get easier.

Some folks with a more agressive mindset will lead you to believe "It's a war out there". You must arm yourself with expensive, smelly, noisy power euipment. Insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides are your weapons of choice.

You can believe that or decide to garden by co-operating with natural processes. Simple hand tools, mulch, compost, and the ability to observe how the natural world works, are the only tools a peaceful gardener needs.

So keep you gardening simple and natural and you will find out gardening is easy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

These Gardeners Don't Need A Government Bailout.

As you watch this urban farming video notice that no government bailout was necessary. Just a whole bunch of caring people working together to do something good.
This is a demonstration of community building as it should be.