1.) Feed what feeds you
Instead of spraying harmful chemicals try feeding your plants and soil with worm casings. Truly, they work like magic. You should see how big my plants, both flowers and veggies are this year. Give other organic amendments a whirl. Yes, even fish heads. Make your own compost. But please don't use chemicals because you are eating those chemicals Feed what feeds you with natural and organic amendments.
2.) Start small
3.) Weed the garden
4.) Don't try to be a grocery store - grow what you love to eat!
5.) Know where your food comes from
We'd do well to know where our food comes from and be educated. You need to know whether your food has been sprayed with pesticides and what country of origin it came from. Did it grow locally or travel from halfway around the world? It makes a difference.
6.) Grow when you can
You don't have to be perfect. Just try your best at getting your hands on the best food possible. Case in point. Taste a grocery store cherry tomato and compare it to a fresh cherry tomato from your garden. The first tastes like bland water with a hint of tomato. The second.....candy from nectar. Aside from taste, just imagine the difference in nutritional value!
7.) Ask if it's organic. Ask where it was grown.
When I worked on a small, local farm I remember spraying the plants with chemicals as part of the morning routine. The farmer told me that just one drop of the stuff would wipe out a whole village! Great. And one day while buying produce at a local stand in the country, I asked where the tomatoes came from. Answer: California. Not what I thought I was buying.
8.) Dry your excess herbs
9.) Freeze and can any surplus
And this might surprise you, but celery freezes well. I grow as much as I can, use some fresh and chop up the rest for later. Then I freeze it in Ziploc bags for the off-season to use in chicken noodle soup and chili. It comes out great! Same for my homemade tomato sauce. It's superb. I also chop up tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic and freeze bags of it for wintertime.
10.) Why not create an edible landscape?
And why not? Blueberry bushes are gorgeous year-round. More appealing to the eye than a boxwood which smells like urine. Besides, you can't eat a boxwood. Blueberries bushes will be novel but why not? The curb appeal is still there. And instead of planting ornamental grasses, why not plant millet or barley which look just as nice and you can harvest and eat?
11.) If it kills the bugs....it also kills you
Then I've read to dump this green-tinged water back on the plants to ward away future Japanese beetles. Apparently, the Japanese beetles don't like the smell of their own kind dead on the plants and stay away. Go figure. You can also try my homemade eggshell bug repellent or just use beneficial insects to drive away the bad ones!
12.) Do a soil test
13.) Gardening teaches patience & perseverance
14.) Compost to minimize waste
And guilty is charged. I just started getting serious about composting the last few years and have been reaping abundant benefits ever since. For one, it feeds our worms in our worm tubes. Secondly, when it breaks down in our composter it creates the most nutrient-dense compost material that is dumped right back into the soil. And yes, we used to purchase compost so this practice is saving us money.
15.) Grow to save money
Ever buy organic salad? Right. Pretty much a mortgage payment. But salad is heavily sprayed and you want organic. Growing our own saves us $35 a week from June to September. Not a bad investment. And that's just one crop!
16.) When all else fails...join a CSA or find a community garden
17.) Food connects you to the Creator
So when I'm working in my garden, I have time to contemplate, time to pray....not to mention time to think about my blog! So fill your soul while stuffing yourself full of cherry tomatoes.