Thursday, May 14, 2009

Growing Your Own Storage!

It is a great time to plant a garden! You can add all of your produce for your short and long term storage either by canning or drying. Even with this crazy Utah weather I think we may be officially done with the snow:) Even if you don't have much space, you can still plant a little.

Find a small spot and till it up and add some compost. We are still working on getting our soil good, but this clay and rocks never seem to go away. I hear that square foot gardening works well for some, but I have never tried it personally. We have a seperate area for our garden that we till and add to each year.

Start with something you eat regularly. We like pasta, salsa, and pickles, so this year I wanted
to plant a lot of tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. It is tons of fun for the kids because they get to pick what they want to plant each year as well. It is so much fun to go out in the summer and bring in your own cantaloupe, eat fresh peas from the garden, or carve the pumpkin you grew yourself. Each year we like to try something new as well. This year we are trying asparagus and potatoes.

It is all about trial and error. Sometimes we have a great garden, but there is usually something that struggles. I have yet to grow successful cucumbers. Maybe this will be the year.

1st- find a spot for your garden
2nd-figure out what you want to grow this year.

3rd-Look at directions that come with most plants to see how far they need to be spaced, to see if you have enough room for everything you want.

4th-plant according to directions
5th-water and watch grow! -This year my husband has rigged a sprinkler system to water each plant indivivually to it's needs.

We tried these poles for our tomatoes this year to conserve space. The plant needs to be wound up as it grows. They are $5 at IFA.
If you don't know what to do with them once they are grown we will have a canning post during that time:) Tomatoes are really easy to can. I canned 35 jars last year and have set my goal higher this year since it only lasted about 9 mths.

I am planting tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, carrots, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin and radishes. I don't eat the radishes but plant them in between plants to keep bugs away. The bugs devour the radish leaves and leave my other plants alone:)
I use this area for my melons and pumpkins since they usually grow so big. In a couple of months the big vines will be covering my window wells and covering most of the dirt as well.

If anything, plant some peas--they are easy and fast to grow and the kids love to go out and pick them for a snack. I can't eat them to eat any other peas, but straight from the garden. It is a great way for the family to work together and see what they can do from a simple seed or small plant!


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