All Entries For gardening

Fun & Functional Gardening Gear for Spring

Gardening season is almost here. Whether you want to start your first herb garden or expand on the number of veggies you grow this year, now is the time to take stock of your tools and accessories and see what you need. And there's no reason why you have to settle for typical hardware store gear. It's easy these days to find cute gardening tools, hats, stools and more. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Posted 4/3/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 22 comments   27,864 views
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Poll: Do Front-Yard Vegetable Gardens Offend You?

A married couple in Montreal wanted to improve their health, so they planted a vegetable garden (picture at left is a stock photo, not their garden). By growing their own cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, beets, onions and Brussels sprouts (among other fare), homeowners Michel Beauchamp and Josee Landry lost 75 and 25 pounds, respectively, and have improved their diet and their health.
Now, according to CBC News (link includes photos of their garden), the couple is fighting to keep their garden, facing fines between $100 and $300 per day if they don't pull up their vegetables. Why?
Because their vegetable garden is in their front yard. Neighbors complained, and now the city is planning to outlaw the growing of vegetables in front yards.
This isn't the first story of its kind. Last year, the story of a woman in Michigan who faced 93 days in jail for planting vegetables on her front lawn garnered national attention.
This has led me to wonder: Would you be offended if vegetables replaced your neighbor's front lawn?
Posted 7/25/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 503 comments   32,883 views
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Getting Your Kids Excited About Healthy Foods

When I was little, I had no concept of where my food came from.  I just knew that my mom went to the store and came back with lots of things for my family to eat.  I never thought about the journey my food went through to make it into the store and eventually onto my plate. 
Over the past few years I got interested in starting a garden.  I like the idea of growing my own food, and I also like my kids being involved in the process of planting, taking care of, and eventually eating the fruits and vegetables from our own backyard.  I think that gives them a much greater appreciation for what food goes through to make it to our table.  Last year we started small with two container gardens.  This year we are expanding to a small raised bed in the backyard (and who knows where we might go from there!)  I let the kids help decide what we are going to plant and they help with watering, weeding, and picking the produce when it’s ripe.  They get so excited about the food we grow, and would much rather eat it than just about anything else.  It’s a great way to teach them something and develop healthy habits at the same time.
Studies show that children are more likely to eat the foods they grow, choose at the grocery store, and/or prepare. These activities often expand the variety of foods they enjoy and can mean a wider range of nutrients consumed. It is also a good tactic for children who are picky eaters.”
My kids love helping me cook.  That’s one area where I’m trying to develop more patience.  I spend a fair amount of time cooking, but I like to do everything myself so that it gets done as quickly as possible.  When the kids help, it slows down the process and speeds up the mess, but it’s worth it.  My kids are more likely to eat something they helped make because they feel pride in it, and also because they are sure of exactly what’s in it.   (“Mom can’t sneak in some mushrooms or zucchini if she knows I’m watching!”)
Whether your children learn about about food through gardening, meal preparation or just talking about healthy eating, parents are the best teachers and examples.  Establishing healthy habits early will help your kids develop habits to last a lifetime.  Check out Tips, Tricks and Treats to Teach Kids to Cook and A Parent’s Guide to Nutrition for Kids for more ideas. 
Do you agree that healthy eating habits begin at home?  How do you teach the young people in your life to develop an appreciation for healthy food?   
Posted 7/10/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 11 comments   11,997 views
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The No-More-Excuses Guide to Vegetable Gardening

Spring is here! These sunnier days and warmer temperatures are lifting my spirits and making my runs so much more enjoyable. But the thing that I get most excited about this time of year is my fruit and vegetable garden!

I started gardening for several reasons: to save money, to eat as locally as possible (it doesn't get more local than your own backyard), to have more control over how my food was raised, since I'm a big believer in chemical-free farming. But when I first started out, I was overwhelmed. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a lot of space. I was already busy and thought I didn't have the time to learn or maintain it all.

Despite my fears, this will be my fourth year growing fruits and vegetables in my little yard. While I'm no gardening expert, I have learned a few things. When I talk to others about growing my own food, many say that they wish they could do it, too, BUT [insert excuse here]. If that sounds like you, I'm about to bust the top 5 excuses to not start a garden.
Posted 4/23/2012  9:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 82 comments   19,779 views
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Gardening May Help Prevent Falls in the Elderly

For young people falling doesn't carry the same risks that it does for those twice, even three times the age of their younger counterparts. The risk of falling does increase with age. It has been reported that accidental falls are the leading cause of hospitalizations outside of illness in individuals over the age of 65.

According to a January 2003 report in the New Journal of Medicine "more than one-third of people over the age of 65 experienced at least one fall and in half such cases the falls are recurrent."

Falls carry a huge risk for the those who are older. Hip fractures, fractures of other bones and head injuries often lead to hospitalization and in some cases death. According to the National Council on Aging, falls result in over 2 million visits to the emergency room each year with 550,000 hospital admissions and sadly 18,000 deaths.

With the large number of hospital visits each year due to falling, it would seem like falling is a natural consequence to aging, but it isn't. Poor eyesight and hearing, along with poor balance and lack of physical activity as well as taking certain medications have been associated with the increase risk of falling. Factor in environmental issues, such as throw rugs and electrical cords and it is just a matter of time before one ends up in the emergency room.
Posted 1/31/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 22 comments   9,836 views
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Chef Meg's 4-Pack of Pickled Vegetable Recipes

Pickling is a great way to extend the season and use up extra produce.
If heat or pressure canning is a bit intimidating to you, consider refrigerator pickles instead. You can preserve just about any fruit or vegetable in a salt and vinegar brine, then add flavor with herbs and spices.
Note: These recipes are high in salt, but they pack plenty of flavor! If you want to remove some of the salt, rinse your pickles before eating them.
With these four recipes, we went beyond basic cucumbers!

To start, I used a basic pickling mix, which you could use for a variety of vegetables.
Basic Pickling Mix
8 ounces white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, washed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

I varied the recipe slightly to create four sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy pickles!
Posted 8/22/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 20 comments   19,568 views
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My Foray into Vegetable Gardening

I've been saying for years that I want to start my own garden.  I love this time of year when farmer's markets open, and each week, and vendors have new things to try.  I always go and think "I'm sure it couldn't be that hard to grow my own tomatoes.  I need to do that next year."   I have co-workers who have encouraged me to try it for a long time.  But I think I was intimidated, worrying that I'd put a bunch of time and effort into something that all of the animals in my backyard would end up eating instead of me.    Or what if the things I tried to grow just didn't work at all?
Posted 6/28/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 103 comments   14,675 views
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Tips for Washing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

My aunt and uncle have a farm with a garden, and many fruit trees and bushes. They enjoy vegetables as well as fresh picked apples or pears and berries right off the bush. While it takes work, they enjoy their nutrient-rich bounty throughout the year.

Even with so many fresh, organically grown choices, they still purchase items from the dirty dozen list from time to time. Since it is important to wash all fresh produce whether conventionally or organically grown regardless if it comes from the "dirty" list or the Clean 15, it is important to know the most effective way.

Posted 6/20/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 37 comments   35,220 views
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When They Grow It, They Eat It

Since moving into our house 18 months ago, Iíve been talking about starting a garden. Iíve come up with lots of excuses why I havenít done it yet: no time, not sure if thereís a good spot in the yard to do it, too many animals around, not sure what to plant and when, etc. My daughter is very interested in helping, which is why I need to stop making excuses and just do it. She loves to help me cook and even seems more interested in eating the food when we prepare it together. So I know sheíd be very excited to be involved in the whole process- from planting the seeds to putting the food on the plate.
Posted 10/19/2010  1:33:25 PM By: Jen Mueller : 43 comments   13,544 views
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Poll: Do You Grow Any of Your Own Food?

Like most of you, I love spring—and not just because it allows me to enjoy the outdoors. I am also excited because it marks the start of gardening season! With all the environmental and economic troubles we're facing, gardening is on the rise. Growing your own food on your own land is local food at its best. And it's inexpensive to boot! While healthy food does cost more at the store, growing your own fruits and vegetables can save you tons of money over the course of one season. All you need are some seeds, some dirt and a little water and you can grow your own food!

I am just beginning to plan my new garden and I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt. I've been daydreaming about my garden plans and all the fresh, delicious bounty my little plot will yield in the coming months.

This has led me to wonder: Do you grow any of your own food?
Posted 4/16/2010  7:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 366 comments   23,257 views
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Should You Be Planning a Victory Garden?

Victory Gardens were a popular thing back in the early 1940s. Some referred to them as 'war gardens' while others called them 'food gardens for defense'. In 1943 due to the rationing of canned goods for families, these gardens produced up to 41 percent of all the vegetable produce consumed across the nation.

Several years ago, churches in my area started victory-type gardens to provide fresh produce to food pantries. Not only did this provide a healthier option for folks that were in need of food compared to high sodium canned vegetables, it also renewed an interest in backyard gardening in our suburban area.

Today victory-type gardens are becoming popular once again but with a different goal. Today, self-reliance has become a motivating factor behind home gardening. When you grow your own food you increase the ability to control how it is grown, what you pay and how much will be available. With the hint of spring in the air, now is the time to begin garden planning, planting designs and preparation. Here are some simple ideas to help you plan a victory-type garden for your family.

Posted 3/1/2010  1:32:37 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 171 comments   18,470 views
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3 Creative Ways to Use Your Garden Surplus

There are many benefits to growing your own food in a backyard garden. Early in the summer, many of us are able to keep up with what our gardens produce as we take our precious products from the garden directly to our tables. As the summer goes on, keeping up can become a challenge. We check the garden before heading out of town on vacation and realize there are many things that are ripe and ready for use but we don't have time to do anything with them. Or, perhaps our green thumbs have produced more than we can keep up with at the table and our storage space is already filled to capacity. What are we to do?

Here are 3 creative ideas to help you put your extra garden produce to good use.
Posted 7/2/2009  10:03:43 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 54 comments   12,180 views
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