Mary's Gardening Tips {Guest Post}


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Hello, world.  I'm so excited to have Mary to guest post for me today.  I always enjoy reading her blogs, Back to the Basics and Mary's Kitchen to learn more about gardening, growing produce from seeds, and her delicious recipes.  I hope you enjoy this post.  Thank you so much, Mary for your expertise.



HiMy name is Mary and I blog over at Back to the Basics and Mary’s Kitchen.  I also run an online heirloom seed company called Mary’s Heirloom Seeds.

We try to live as sustainably and frugally as possible.  Growing our own organic produce and helping other grow their own is the simplest way to save money and live “green.”   Have you ever grown your own kitchen garden?  It can be as simple as a few herbs in a container or as elaborate as turning your backyard into a food production machine.  I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to dig up your lawn or spend hours planting and pulling weeds to reap the benefits of your own kitchen garden.

Mary’s Heirloom
Seeds

Heirloom Seed varieties are a must for any garden.  An heirloom seed has been saved and passed down from generation to generation. These seeds have been carefully cultivated and are considered a great value to the recipient. Some say an heirloom variety is 50 years old or more.  Some heirloom varieties have been passed down for over 100 years and others for over 400 years.

Hybrids and gmo varieties are not heirlooms.  These have been genetically "tweaked."  We call gmo varieties “franken-seeds” and they are not welcome in our house OR our garden.  I have written about GMOs many times.

Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom varieties are often called rare because they aren't "mainstream" and if you do find them in the store (as produce) they're expensive! 

Heirloom seeds are not necessarily organic but most companies, like Mary's Heirloom Seeds, state that their seeds are organic and un-treated.  Why untreated?  Some companies use a chemical anti-bacterial to keep their seeds from growing mold. Personally, I stay away from treated seeds. I don't need added chemicals thank you very much! 

My top 5 favorite veggies to grow are Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce, Cucumbers and Eggplant.

Mary’s Heirloom
Seeds 

That’s not to say that these are the easiest to grow but they’re my favorite.  In my opinion, the easiestplants to grow in a kitchen garden are greens: Extra Dwarf Pak Choy Cabbage, Pak Choy Cabbage, Little Gem and Tom Thumb Lettuce.

Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

Peppers are a must for a kitchen garden. Think about how much the grocery store sells certain produce. My local store charges $3.99 for peppers. That’s CRAZY! For $4 you can get a packet of pepper seeds and grow hundreds of pepper plants by saving seeds from each harvest. 


Tomatoes may not be the easiest garden item to grow but if you use the companion planting method you should have a healthier, more abundant harvest. Companion Planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another. For example, planting Marigolds, Basil and Borage around Tomatoes will help deter tomato hornworms, repel flies and mosquitoes, and will attract bees and butterflies. 

Depending on your tastes, Radishes are a great addition as they are ready in as little as 23 days. The easiest herb to grow is I have grown Fine Verde, Genovese Basil and Dark Purple Opal Basil in the garden and the recipes I have made are spectacular!

Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

New Arrivals include 2 more varieties of Swiss Chard: Fordhook Giant and Vulcan.  These are a must in our kitchen garden since we can snip off a few outer leaves as needed and the plant continues to grow.  I make a tasty Garden Veggie Egg Bake with homegrown ingredients and Chard is perfect for this creation.

Additional links for getting started:

If you have additional questions on how to get started or which varieties to choose please feel free to stop by and leave me a message.  I'm always happy to help!

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The Fair Maiden and Her Speckled Friends - a Real Life Garden Story


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Once upon a time in a land not that far away, lived a fair maiden.  This fair maiden dreamed of growing her own fruits and veggies in the countryside and so one day she scoured this new fangled thing called the "internet" to find out just how to do so.  With pinned images in hand and loads of information on the brain, she rounded up a fair friend with a truck and set out for the adventure of a lifetime to a store called Lowes.


At Lowes she spoke kindly to the red-vested men who lifted all the necessary materials into the truck so that this fair maiden would have all she needed to make her dreams come true.  The fair maiden and her fair friend worked hard building cemented beds and filling them with all sorts of delicious organic matter.  Once the fair maiden rested and a new day began, she planted hills of lemon cucumber seeds and set out some newly sprouted cantaloupe plants.


All was going to plan.  The lemon cucumber seeds sprouted and as they began to chat among themselves, they began to grow and play so furiously that they had to be staked on trellises.  That didn't stop these gorgeous plants.  Just like children they had fun racing to the top and the fair maiden enjoyed watching them grow and play.


Then one day, the fair maiden noticed something was wrong with her green fuzzy friends.  They were developing a rash of sorts.  What is plant pox?  A plant acne?  Or a plant leprosy of sorts?  All this fair maiden knew was that her once beautiful, blooming friends with skin so green and fair had now become scarred beyond recognition.


In a fury, the fair maiden scoured the internet looking for an antidote to save her friends.  She searched high and low.  She read that there could be some sort of worm.  She read that the soil could need a nutrient.  She read about Epsom salts.  She read about cinnamon.  She tried to save her friends, but each hour within the next two days it seemed as though her efforts were in vain.


How is it, she pondered, that the most beautiful bed of all, with the most beautiful plants could turn out this way?  Was it something she did?  Was it something she didn't do?  Was she destined not to have a cantaloupe despite all the beautiful blooms?  Was her first experience of lemon cucumbers never to come into fruition?

Determined not to be defeated, this fair maiden scribbled out her problems on electronic paper and sent them all over villages both near and far in hopes that someone would save her dear friends from impending doom or help the fair maiden fix her bed for her new set of fall friends.

To be continued...

The fair maiden,


I may be linked up to the following parties:
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