Category Archives: Harvest

PLANTING and PLANNING What goes Where??

Now that we have so many diseases and pests in the garden we have to have a planned rotation to prevent damage to the crops and the garden that is the result of a carryover from the previous season.

Some diseases and some “visitors” may remain in the garden over the winter and be prepared when spring returns BUT if the new plants are different and from different species and families the bugs and “bugs” may not be able to bother us.

I keep a schematic from yer to year to facilitate movement planning but this post will address what plants to have close to one another ( to maximize space and create  symbiotic environment  in the garden) because the work well together. .

Many plants thrive when close to each other and other combinations should not be created.

My favorite combos include:

1. I love cabbage (and broccoli,cauliflower,brussels sprouts,kale) so ONIONS, BEETS ,CUCUMBER, and some herbs fill the partner role.

2. I also love squash so partners include:  NASTURTIUM,ONIONS,OREGANO. If planting on hills or mounds- melons are a great teammate.

3.  and of course for Tomatoes: I am partial to ONIONS/GARLIC, BASIL AND OREGANO . Especially when harvested they can be used for many dishes.  Other useful partners include borage, peppers, parsley and bee balm.

These plants are good companions because they share soil nutrients, repel invaders from one another, and in many cases they fill all available surface preventing weeds.

I rarely plant something by itself( other than roses- which are quite selfish in the soil).. I like the idea of biointensive planting and harvesting as much as possible from each available foot in the garden.  Many of these plants also host useful/helpful insects.

What do you like to grow?  Why?

What partners does your favorite have?

Recently found a chart with a nice summary- not much explanation but a good listing.



Summer Garden- Cabbage Medicine salad


I also love turmeric- and loving it more every day.

It tastes great and adds a nice flavor to many dishes…..PLUS it is a TREMENDOUS NATURAL ANIT-INFLAMMATORY.


This recipe ( and many variations) allows me to enjoy the brassicas I love so much and eat anti-inflammatory food and herbs throughout the day.

In it’s most simple form this salad is :

CABBAGE –  ONIONS  – GARLIC  + Raw Apple Cider vinegar

Ad some balck pepper, organic mustard, sea salt……

Add some turmeric powder (or ground fresh) and it become even more medicinal

Add fresh ginger……The crooks at the F& DA might want to label and control it.



1 head of Cabbage- shredded to your taste

1 bunch red onions (I like the color) [Yellow- ok too]

1/2 cup Raw apple cider vinegar ( I use BRAGGS)


1/2 tbs fresh ground pepper

2-4 tbs mustard ( to taste- and choose a fun /favorite mustard)

2 tbs  Olive oil (EVOO)

1-3 tbs Turmeric ( use less if fresh root) This is to taste

Mix in a bottle and shake vigourously or blend to emulsify- pour over the veggiues and set in fridge for 4 or more hours.


raw garlic, beets, young turnips, 2 kinds of cabbage or kale or greens

-lemon juice, snap peas, or fresh beans, ???????


Serve over rice, or as a side to a spicy chili.

There are as many variations as there are mouths and tongues and Veggies at the Farmers Market.

Late Start in a New Garden – Late Spring Early Summer

This post is for gardening fans that move to new quarters in late spring or early summer but want to have some GARDEN FUN this year. If you move into a place where the previous tenant had a garden then…..  BUT if you move to a place with a virgin lawn what are your options?

  You are in luck if you live in a region with a nearby farmers market and/or a number of local CSA’s ( Community Supported Agriculture) to purchase a supply of seedlings for the garden late in the season. And have access to some expertise to ask a few questions as the season goes on.

If you do get a late start what ar your food options? The most popular summer plants are: tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplants. These are all great options for a new soil planting or straw bale gardens that are started in May or June.

What are these options:


  1. Purchase Top Soil/Garden Soil- 40# bags at garden center
  2. Place several sheets of newspaper/or a sheet of cardboard on grass and wet thoroughly
  3. Cut an x in back of bag place on paper/board
  4. Cut large hole or several smaller hole on the top side of soil bag and plant 

    Veggies planted directly in Soil bag

  5. END OF SEASON- Prep for next year
  6. Lift bag and leave soil in place and add compost, manure, leaves cut grass to season in the winter for use next spring

HINTS/TIPS-        Some plants may need deeper roots – so using a box cutter or spade to puncture the paper or cardboard may be necessary.



  1. Purchase several bales of straw and a few bags of garden soil or composted manure.
  2. Place in garden area on side(with open straw-string is usually along the other edges)
  3.  For 3 days wet the bales thoroughly
  4. Days 4-10 add a mixture of water/liquid organic fertilizer(High Nitrogen)
  5. Days 11-14 add water and finally soil/manure     

    Straw bales seasoned with water/fert- and soil READY to PLANT

  6. Make holes and plant seedlings with appropriate spacing [i.e. a standard bale  could support 4- 6 tomatoes/peppers….etc..  

    Just Planted Straw Bales


This can be with commercially available planting sacks or “socks” or burlap bags commonly available from coffee roasters and other food processors.   


Burlap bags filled with growing medium and providing a bountiful harvest

Natural material bags are filed with planting medium – soil/compost/manure and are placed in garden area- wet thoroughly and plant. The prevent weeds and are easy to water and maintain.  

####                        LONG TERM CONCERNS and PLANS  ( next year and after)

*** Testing the soil, Drainage, Tilth, Smell, Soil Life

  1. Soil Test- Can buy a kit or submit to local extension agent
  2. Drainage- dig a 1’ x1’ hole- Fill with water and time the drainage time  .4-6 hours is too slow and needs organic matter to speed  up and make it softer and ,2 hours it is too thin and needs more organic matter.
  3. Tilth – how firm is the soil- will it hold in a ball when wet, but break apart easily, or crumble with no resistance?
  4. Smell- Is your soil fresh, earthy or rotten and putrid?  ( may need to learn THIS ONE)
  5. Soil Life- Shovel full of soil-  How many worms and other visible organisms?


Hugelkultur -Raised beds for True Permaculture and Long term Production.

I love the idea of hugelkultur and have tried it a few times with some success- I expect it to increase with time as the underlying logs break down.
Hugelkultur –

logs and scraps for base of Hugelkutur bed

logs and scraps for base of Hugelkutur bed

Fallen trees and branches and logs used as base for raised beds that will ultimately be fertile and require less water than traditional beds- especially after 2-3-4 years.
Logs and branches and leaves topped with soil/compost to grow..

Logs and branches and leaves topped with soil/compost to grow..

Huglekulture Inside

The next hill I hope to make is when I help some friends build at least one good sized herb hill or herb spiral. The hope is to make a medicine and tea garden as well as supply the the neighborhood bees with food.
May do a basic circle or spiral but I am thinking that a keyhole setup will allow for easier planting, weeding and harvesting.

Keyhole setup for hugelkultur and Composting.

Keyhole setup for hugelkultur and Composting.

U shaped Hugel - raised bed. Utilize a lot of wood and produce a lot of herbs and greens.

U shaped Hugel – raised bed. Utilize a lot of wood and produce a lot of herbs and greens.

Found these great images online and will add more as the real hills get assembled and used.
**Planting and then long term as the wood breaks down and feeds the soil for years.


Plan and Plant Your Garden for Non-Stop Veggies- Like a Tasty Buffet

Plan and Plant Your Garden for Non-Stop Veggies- Like a Tasty Buffet

I have been gardening for a number of years and have been reading about it, watching TV / now online videos about it. It is a lot of fun and interesting AND OF COURSE DELICIOUS- but I am learning to make the most of all my efforts and fill the fridge and {now learning to make fermented veggies- KIMCHi/ kraut etc}

I recently read an article about SUCCESSION PLANTING  and was intrigued- I  realized i read about it before but never “caught” it before. Now I am making a plan to try it this year and season.  

Onions, greens, cabbage family plants will be my first trial partners.

* I like this article about Doubling the harvest. I am also adding some of the books mentioned( that I don;t have now),default,pg.html 

** I have been experimenting with Square Foot gardening and some of the ideas in Mel Bartholomew books and website, but not the succession planting ideas( I reread a few pages just a few minutes ago.

^***And one more i found that has a lot of great info- i will download and use for my plans and hopefully for my kitchen ( even share/barter with friends)



Flooding June 7 2013 B

Potato Tower- A lot of Spuds in a small space.

Potatoes are delicious and fun to grow in the backyard garden. They also have a hadful of enenmies and fighting those foes will be easier in s tighter space. Image

This is where potato towers will come in. The towers can be wire cages, burlap bags, plastic barrels or wooden crates or boxes. 

The ideal , in the literature, seems to be about 4′ tall.  Image

The tower consist of soil/compost layer at the bottom with he seed potatoes set/spread properly and then covered with a soft, rich soil/manure/compost blend. 

Water regularly but don’t “drown” the plants.

After 3-4 weeks the plants should be 2-4 inches tall – At this stage watch the plants and when they are 5-6 tall- add more compost/soil( a pretty soft mixture and maintain the watering and “eyeball” maintenance until the plants have grown 3-4 more inches and again you will add a soft mixture of soil/compost/manure and straw. 


This process can be repeated until the top of the tower which a final layer of mulch( pine needles are great here)-  is added.

Now the plants have grown to be 3 feet or more and are thriving in the tower and surrounded/protected by the compost and soil mixture. This rich combination will also provide a complete feed to the growing plants and tubers and the potential of as many as 20-35 pounds of potatoes.

Now in this phase the plants can be watched for insects/beetles that might LIKE some spuds as well as any disease that can fight potatoes. This tower makes it easier to control and monitor.

At the end of the growing season the tower can be disassembled and the potatoes harvested, If using the straw as shown in the picture – The cage and straw is removed and then the soil spread and the potatoes harvested. If using aburlap sacks- they can be turned on the side and emptied or cut open with knife/shears( be careful)

If a barrel of wooden tower is used open or turn over as appropriate.

Allow all freshly harvested potatoes to dry in the sun (or inside) for a little while so they will develop a little it of shelf life. If planning on storing look into preparation for storage as well as storage methods.

WARNING/REMINDER-   The soil that was used for this process should not be used for nightshade plants NEXT season (peppers/eggplants/tomatoes/potatoes). It may contain remnants of blight and other enemies of similar plants. Use it for squash or peas or onions…..Image


Recycle / Reuse Free Buckets for Grow Containers

Recycle / Reuse Free Buckets for Grow Containers

     I live in an apartment and have a rented garden space in the city gardens and a small deck/patio. I saw some cool grow towers at local garden store and began thinking of how to do the same thing BUT for FREE!!!

    I have been reading about several different ways to use old containers as garden “plots”. Now that there are several commercially available self-watering containers that provide some great guidance for  creating the same for free or next to nothing. This video shows the standard method of using old containers to grow new food.

    I am getting buckets this week from a friend who goes through buckets pretty quickly so I hope to have greens and some herbs by Christmas dinner.

– Cabbage, kale, collards, dandelion, thyme, mint and a few others for the new Farm