Blog

Tomatoes as a hard times garden crop?
I did not even sell tomato seeds at first. It is not that I don't grow and really love to eat them. Tomatoes do require starting indoors here in the North. That is not usually a project for beginning gardeners. They are very tricky because they are vulnerable to plant diseases, and need to have just the right amount of heat and water. Artificial light or a well heated greenhouse are needed too. When times are tough, providing these things will be much more difficult. If you master starting tomatoes... Read more →
Preventing starvation: what to grow, what to eat
We live in a time of plenty. Foods are brought to our local stores from far and wide. When times get tough, what foods will we NEED to eat? Now we often look to our garden or a produce department to provide vitamin rich fresh foods. Colorful salads look great, but we need foods which provide the energy to keep us going. Our bodies need protein to maintain them. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies won't matter much if we have already STARVED to death! Grains, starchy vegetables and fruit all... Read more →
Ode to the Humble Dandelion
When I was a young girl, Spring was ushered in with freshly caught rainbow trout and dandelion salad. My dad and I got up early on the first day of fishing season and caught our limit. Mom would have some tender young dandelions already picked over so she could put them together in a salad. Oh what a wonderful lunch that was! I still love the taste of fresh young dandelions. Picked early in the season, they are tender and mild and delicious in a salad or steamed. The flowers... Read more →
What about Carrots, Parsnips...?
Carrots and parsnips are both excellent served as boiled vegetables and cooked in soups and stews. They are hearty sources of carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals. This is very important to anyone who is actually hungry. We live in a time when diet foods are constantly promoted for having few calories. That is good for couch potato TV watchers, and those whose life's 'work' is behind a desk. When we need to be more active, we will need to eat more calories. Carrots are easy to grow, but... Read more →
What about Onions, Garlic...?
I love all the members of the onion family, and the tastes they bring to our table. Claims are made they improve our health, and help our bodies fight disease. So why aren't I selling them, you ask? Onion seed has one of the shortest lifespans of any garden seed. Germination rates fall by the second year, so it cannot be kept for long term storage, no matter what you do to preserve it. Bulbs or cloves cannot be stored reliably for more than one year either. Onions and garlic... Read more →
Canning Homemade Sauerkraut
I have a number of recipes and links about making kraut in the Simple Recipe Article. This Article is about canning the kraut for long term storage. Because of the high acid content, a pressure canner is not needed. Water bath canners are safe to use. Get your basic water bath canning methods and processing times from a source you trust, such as the USDA recommendations found in modern books. I like some of the older ideas in my collection of vintage cooking and canning books, but I double check... Read more →
Small Grains can be grown in your Garden Too!
Be sure to stop by our 'Videos' in green lettering on the homepage to find "Harvesting Flint Indian Corn at Seed for Security" Flint and Dent corn are truly the King of American grains. Where ever Corn can be grown, it yields more grain from less seed. It needs fertile soil, and a good amount of water throughout the growing season. It likes at least two months of hot weather. You may have a drier climate, or it may not get hot enough where you live. Then you will have... Read more →
Beans, Beans, Beans!
Beans are the most important single garden crop. Once fully mature, they provide protein. Peas and lentils are part of the same family too. I like both of those, but I'd much rather choose from the milder beans to eat every day. They are all Legumes, which means they can use Nitrogen from the air to make protein. Other vegetables or grains can't do that. Peanuts, clover and alfalfa are in the Legume family too. The plant residue after the final harvest should be cultivated in, to share the Nitrogen... Read more →
Winter Squash and Pumpkins
These are ideal crops to grow because they are so easy to keep in a cool dry place. For back room storage, select sound fruit, free of surface damage. Let it cure in a sunny but dry place, such as a porch or car port. Later, If your house is still too warm, a dry barn or shed is fine until colder weather. Then you can safely bring them inside. During this whole process, protect them from freezing. You should check them about once a week. If you find a... Read more →
Jerusalem Artichokes, Poor Man's Potatoes
The easiest to grow, starchy vegetable is the Jerusalem Artichoke. This vigorous relative of sunflower, tobacco, tomato, and potato is a member of the Nightshade family. It is raised to produce eatable roots. It is started from root cuttings, like potatoes, and forms tubers in the fall. Your first harvest can begin after the tops die back for winter. Dig in spots scattered throughout the bed. The tubers are sort of knobby and skinless, and you will recognize them as being like what you planted. They keep best right... Read more →