Bleyhl Workshops, March – April 2022

Bleyhl co-op has several workshops coming up for the rest of March and early April.

Practical Self Reliance: 15 Ways to Use Borage

Ashley Adamant has a typically well-written article on 15 Ways to Use Borage. Borage grows pretty well in our area. It was one of the first herbs that I planted in our garden, and, as Ashley mentions, it has reseeded itself every year since then. We always have a few plants growing even though we’re not taking any particular care with nurturing them.

Borage is a beautiful annual flower that’s popular with gardeners, mostly for its abundant display of showy blue flowers.  It also happens to be both edible and medicinal, and it has a number of uses in the kitchen and around the house.

Borage Flowers in Hand

Borage is one of those underappreciated herbs from long-ago.  While lots of gardeners grow it, few people know it as a medicinal herb (or edible flower).  For the most part, it’s planted and simply enjoyed visually, which is a shame because there are so many ways to use borage.

It’s an old-fashioned plant that has a number of medicinal properties and culinary uses. Borage Flower Cluster

Borage growing in my Vermont garden

What is Borage?

Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb that grows quickly but self-seeds, so it continues to reappear year after year. When you pick a spot to grow borage, make sure it’s somewhere you want it to grow year after year. 

In the summer months, borage plants bloom with small, beautiful, blue flowers that attract pollinators and butterflies to your garden. The plants have hairy, rough leaves that measure four to six inches in length.

Don’t be surprised if your plant spreads out; one borage plant reaches 12-18 inches wide. It’s easy to see how they can overtake an area of your garden after a few years of vigorous self-seeding!

For new gardeners, borage is the perfect herb to grow. It grows well in average soil with organic matter, and you can directly sow the seeds into the garden after the last frost date. If you don’t mind reseeding, the plants will continue to show up each year, which means no work for you.

To prevent self-seeding, just be sure to harvest (and use) all the flowers, or try growing borage in containers.  It stays smaller that way, and it’s a lot easier to keep track of the seeds.

growing Borage in Containers

Borage Medicinal Properties

One look at the list of borage’s medicinal purposes, and you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t grow it in their herb garden. This herb is a cooling, cleansing herb with adaptogenic, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory properties. 

All parts of the borage plant contain medicinal properties. The flowers are the most commonly used part, but the leaves and oil from the seeds are useful if you want to create herbal remedies. 

Oil from the seeds is sold as a popular borage oil herbal supplement, and it’s a plant-based source of Omega fatty acids.

Herbalists use borage to treat a variety of ailments, such as:

  • Eczema
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Stress
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Fevers
  • Cough
  • Depression

Growing borage in your herb garden gives you a potent, versatile medicinal herb, but personally, I love it most as a culinary herb for its delicious flowers and leaves.

Borage Flowers

Ways to Use Borage

You’ll find many ways to use borage once it grows in your garden. Here are some medicinal and culinary uses for this lovely herb. 

Borage Tea

Borage tea has many uses. It helps treat nervous conditions, and tea made out of borage leaves stimulates lactation in breastfeeding mothers. Herbalists use borage tea to reduce fevers, relieve stress, and stop coughing. 

Borage tea is best made out of fresh leaves and flowers. You need around ¼ cup fresh borage leaves or flowers and one cup of hot, boiling water. Let the tea blend steep for 10-15 minutes, and use honey to sweeten to the taste you prefer. 

Borage Tea

Borage Tincture

Making a borage tincture is the same as making any other herbal tincture. Start by filling a glass jar with borage flowers, packing them tightly into the jar. Then, fill the jar with vodka or whatever alcohol that you prefer.

Seal the jar and keep it in a cool, dark, dry location for two to six weeks. When it’s time, take the jar out, and strain all of the flowers out of it.

Now, you have a homemade borage tincture, which is a shelf-stable medicinal extract that can be used year-round (even when borage is not in season). 

Borage Plant

Borage Infusion

Making an infusion with borage is so easy. 

All you need is a quarter of a cup of bruised, fresh borage leaves. Pour one cup of cool water over the top of the bruised leaves and let it soak in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight).

After steeping, strain it, and you have a simple infusion that’s cooling, and refreshing on hot summer days.

Borage Infusion

Borage Poultice

A crushed borage poultice helps with bug bites, bee stings, swelling, bruising, rashes, and boils. It’s a useful, versatile herbal remedy to have up your sleeve, especially in the summertime when bug bites happen frequently. 

I actually used this on my son, who was stung by a bee in the garden not too far from our patch of borage.

Start by gathering enough fresh borage leaves and stems to cover the area that you need to treat. Chop up the leaves and place them over the affected area; use cotton gauze to keep the poultice in place while it works.

In my case, I just quickly chewed the leaves in the garden and placed them directly on the sting.

A borage poultice works fast. You’ll quickly feel the soothing effects that help reduce skin inflammation, just be sure to get the stinger out first if it’s still in the skin.

Borage Infused Oil

The most popular type of borage oil is borage seed oil, but you can make a herbal infused oil out of the flowers. The same process that you might use for other herbs works for borage a well.

Start by picking enough borage flowers to fill a glass jar, and spread them over a baking sheet or screen. Let the flowers dry for several days, and then put them back into the glass jar. It’s important to let them dry beforehand to reduce the risk of spoiling or mold developing.

Fill the jar with olive oil, and let it sit for four to six weeks. Remember to shake it up every few days. After the time is up, strain out the flowers, and you have DIY borage-infused oil. 

You may use this oil on your skin for irritation and rashes, or you can use it to create homemade herbal salves and ointments. 

Borage Infused Oil

Borage Salve with Calendula and Lavender

This recipe combines three potent, healing herbs to create the perfect salve for skin problems. You can use hemp or olive oil for your calendula, lavender, and borage salve. This method creates an infused oil much faster than the traditional method, but the quality stays the same.

Use beeswax pastilles to make a salve after the infused oil is ready. Borage and Calendula Drying for Homemade Salve

Borage and Calendula Drying for Homemade Salve

Cucumber Borage Soap

I love cucumber soaps; the smell is so refreshing and makes your skin feel better. The mixture of cucumber and borage is perfect for those suffering from skin irritation, bug bites, inflamed skin, or eczema.

Take a look at this easy cucumber borage soap recipe

Borage Recipes

Beyond borage’s medicinal and cosmetic uses, it’s also just a tasty edible herb.  The leaves can be eaten like spinach, and it makes delightful soup.

Though it’s eaten like a cooking green (or salad green), the leaves actually taste more like cucumber than lettuce or spinach.

The flowers have a milder flavor and are best fresh.  The leave can be eaten fresh or cooked, and the stems are best cooked in my opinion.

Borage leaves and stems

Borage Cucumber Jelly

This jelly recipe is showstopping and delicious. To make borage cucumber jelly, you need six cups of borage leaves and flowers and one cucumber juiced. The recipe is easy enough that those who are new to canning will be able to make it…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: Ten Ways to Sow Revolution in Your Back Yard

Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper talks about the increasing government control of seeds and food, why gardening may become a revolutionary act, and why you must go to battle in Garden Rebels: 10 Ways to Sow Revolution in Your Back Yard.

Perhaps the next Revolutionary War will take place in a vegetable garden.

Instead of bullets, there will be seeds.  Instead of chemical warfare, there will be rainwater, carefully collected from the gutters of the house. Instead of soldiers in body armor and helmets, there will be back yard rebels, with bare feet, cut-off jean shorts, and wide-brimmed hats.  Instead of death, there will be life, sustained by a harvest of home-grown produce.  Children will be witness to these battles, but instead of being traumatized, they will be happy, grimy, and healthy, as they learn about the miracles that take place in a little plot of land or pot of dirt.

Every day, the big industries that run our nation take steps towards food totalitarianism.  They do so flying a standard of “sustainability” but what they are actually trying to sustain is NOT our natural resources, but their control.

One of the most inspiring, beautifully written articles that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time is by  Julian Rose, a farmer, actor, activist, and writer. He wrote an article called Civil Disobedience or Death by Design and it is a “must-read” for anyone who believes in the importance of natural food sources:

“From now on, unless we cut free of obeisance to the centralised, totalitarian regimes whose takeover of our planet is almost complete, we will have only ourselves to blame. For we are complicit in allowing ourselves to become slaves of the Corporate State and its cyborg enforcement army. That is, if we continue to remain hypnotized by their antics instead of taking our destinies into our own hands and blocking or refusing to comply with their death warrants. This ‘refusal’ is possible. But it will only have the desired effect when, and if, it is contemporaneous with the birthing of the Divine warrior who sleeps in us all. The warrior who sleeps-on, like the besotted Rip Van Winkle in the Catskill mountains.” (source)

And it isn’t just industrialism that’s causing our issues. A supply chain disruption has been apparent in the US since people first cleared the shelves a year ago and while some things came back in stock, supplies are limited to this day.

Sustained into starvation

Does it sound dramatic to state that if things continue on their current path of “sustainability” that we are all going to die?  If you think I’m overstating this, read on.  It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to think that we are going to soon be “sustained” right into starvation via Agenda 21.

  • The European Union is in the process of criminalizing all seeds that are not “registered”.  This means that the centuries-old practice of saving seeds from one year to the next may soon be illegal.
  • Collecting rainwater is illegal in many states, and regulated in other states.  The United Nations, waving their overworked banner of “sustainability” is scheming to take over control of every drop of water on the globe.  In some countries, people who own wells are now being taxed and billed on the water coming from those sources.  Nestle has admitted that they believe all water should be privatized so that everyone has to pay for the life-giving liquid.
  •  Codex Alimentarius (Latin for “food code”) is a global set of standards created by the CA Commission, a body established by a branch or the United Nations back in 1963. As with all globally stated agendas, however, CA’s darker purpose is shielded by the feel-good words.  As the US begins to fall in line with the “standards” laid out by CA, healthful, nutritious food will be something that can only be purchased via some kind of black market of organically produced food.
  • Regulations abound in the 1200 page Food Safety Modernization Act that has put many small farmers out of business, while leaving us reliant on irradiated, chemically treated, genetically-modified “food”.

In the face of this attack on the agrarian way of life, the single, most meaningful act of resistance that any individual can perform is to use the old methods and grow his or her own food. Big banks are betting AGAINST the consumer and investing large sums of money in Big Agri before predicted shortages raise prices even more dramatically.

It’s time to become a producer instead of a consumer.

I often write about producing instead of merely consuming and in no subject is that more important than food. Growing your own food wields many weapons.

  • You are preserving your intelligence by refusing to ingest food doused in chemicals.  The pesticides that are liberally sprayed on food crops have been proven to lop off IQ points.
  • You are nourishing your body by feeding yourself real food.  Real food, unpasteurized, un-irradiated, with all of the nutrients intact, will provide you with a strong immune system and lower your risk of many chronic diseases.  As well, you won’t be eating the toxic additives that affect your body detrimentally.
  • You are not participating in funding Big Food, Big Agri, and Big Pharma when you grow your own food. Every bite of food that is NOT purchased via the grocery store is representative of money that does NOT go into the pockets of these companies who are interested only in their bottom lines. Those industries would be delighted if everyone was completely reliant on them.
  • You are not susceptible to control mechanisms and threats.  If you are able to provide for yourself, you need to give no quarter to those who would hold the specter of hunger over your head.  You don’t have to rely on anyone else to feed your family.

The ultimate act of rebellion is to feed yourself.

Consider every bite of food that you grow for your family to be an act of rebellion.

  1. If you live in the suburbs, plant every square inch of your yard.  Grow things vertically.  Use square foot gardening methods.  Make lovely beds of vegetables in the front yard.  Extend your growing seasons by using greenhouses and cold frames.  This way you can grow more than one crop per year in a limited amount of space.   Use raised bed gardening techniques like lasagna gardening to create rich soil.  If you have problems with your local government or HOA, go to the alternative media and plead your case in front of millions of readers.  We’ve got your back! Here are some tips for stealth gardening.
  2. If you live in the city or in an apartment, look into ways to adapt to your situation.  Grow a container garden on a sunny balcony, and don’t forget hanging baskets.  Grow herbs and lettuce in a bright window.  Set up a hydroponics system in a spare room (but look out for the SWAT team – they like to come after indoor tomato growers!)  Go even further and look into aquaponics. Create a little greenhouse with a grow light for year-round veggies.  Sprout seeds and legumes for a healthy addition to salads. Don’t forget community gardens either – they’re a great way to grow food and meet others with your interests. Here are some other tips for gardening without a yard.
  3. If you live in the country, go crazy.  Don’t just plant a garden – plant fields!  Grow vegetables and grains. Grow herbs, both culinary and medicinal.  Learn to forage if you have forests nearby.  Learn to use old-fashioned methods of composting, cover crops and natural amendments to create a thriving system.
  4. Raise micro-livestock.  The micro-livestock option may not work for everyone, but if you can, provide for some of your protein needs this way.  Raise chickens, small goats, and rabbits, for meat, eggs, and dairy.  If you are not a vegetarian, this is one of the most humane and ethical ways to provide these things for your family.  Be sure to care well for your animals and allow them freedom and natural food sources – this is far better than the horrible, nightmare-inducing lives that they live on factory farms.
  5. Use only heirloom seeds. We get all our seeds here. With heirloom seeds, you can save your seeds.  Learn the art of saving seeds from one season to the next.  Different seeds have different harvesting and storage requirements.
  6. Go organic.  Learn to use natural soil enhancers and non-toxic methods of getting rid of pests.  Plan it so that your garden is inviting to natural pollinators like bees and butterflies.  If you wouldn’t apply poison to your food while cooking it, don’t apply it to your food while growing it.
  7. Be prepared for some backlash.  The day may come when you face some issues from your municipal government.  Be prepared for this by understanding your local laws and doing your best to work within that framework. If you cannot work within the framework, know what your rights are and refuse to be bullied.  Call upon those in the alternative media who will sound the alarm.  Every single garden that comes under siege is worth defending. A Florida family finally won the right to garden in their front yard after years of harassment.
  8. Learn about permaculture.  Instead of buying pretty flowering plants for your yard, landscape with fruit trees (espaliering is a technique that works well in small spaces), berry bushes, and nut trees.  Permaculture can provide long-term food sources for your family.
  9. For the things you can’t grow yourself, buy local.  Especially if space is limited, you may not be able to grow every bite you eat by yourself.  For everything you can, buy local!  Buy shares in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Visit your farmer’s market.  Shop at roadside stands.  Join a farming co-op.  Support agriculture in your region to help keep local farms in business.  (One note about farmer’s markets:  Some farmers markets allow people to sell produce that originates at the same wholesalers from which the grocery stores buy their produce.  I always try to develop a relationship with the farmers from whom I buy, and I like to know that what I’m buying actually came from their fields and not a warehouse.)
  10. Learn to preserve your food.  Again, go back to the old ways and learn to save your harvest for the winter.  Water bath canningpressure canning, dehydrating, and root cellaring are all low-tech methods of feeding your family year-round. Not only can you preserve your own harvest, but you can buy bushels of produce at the farmer’s market for a reduced price and preserve that too. Learn how to cook and preserve your fresh in-season produce here.  Learn all about food preservation in this 4-books-in-one guide. (My canning book is included.)

There is a food revolution brewing.

People who are educating themselves about Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA are disgusted by what is going on. They are refusing to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles.

Firing a volley in this war doesn’t have to be bloody.  Resistance can begin as easily a planting one seed in a pot. It’s time to go to battle and declare your independence with a spade in one hand and some seeds in the other.

Upcoming Homestead Classes with Julie Michener, Feb. – Mar. 2021

Upcoming Homestead Classes with Julie Michener
3674 N. County Line Road. Grandview.
Classes are free but RSVP via text (509-830-5431) is required as class space is limited.

Canning Class

THIS SATURDAY…Feb 6. 1-3pm
Pressure can a load of dry beans and meat with me and ask any questions you have!
Save the date…

Food Storage Class

Saturday, Feb 20th, 1pm to 3pm
What to store, how much to store, how to store it, and how to use it all to feed your household.
Coming in March…

Hands on Gardening Class

Saturday, March 13th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Composting, building seed beds, planting, transplanting, irrigation, raised beds, trellis, high tunnels and cold frames.

AYWtGS: 5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During Winter

A Year without the Grocery Store writes 5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During Winter. Mint is basically ground cover in our garden, so we don’t need any more in the house, but we do usually have some green onion growing on a window sill.

Especially in northern climates, the winter months can not only mean a dearth of as much outdoor activity as we’d like. Maybe I’m the only one that the cold keeps bottled up, but I’m guessing I’m not alone. This time of year with its cold temperatures and short times of sunlight also put a damper on gardening and provides little opportunity to grow food whether that’s fruits or vegetables.

***There are links in this post.  The FCC wants me to tell you that some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in covering the cost of running this website.*** 

While that’s not AS MUCH of an issue at this moment, in hard times, it will be much more of an issue.  We need to know how to grow food indoors in winter so that we can feed our family during much of the year.   While there are ways to grow food outside by using cold frames or greenhouses those take some time, money, and effort to set up.  Growing food indoors is much easier at the outset and can provide you with some foods in as little time as a few days? Don’t believe me?  Read on.

5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During WinterSprouts

Also known as Microgreens.  These are not only so simple to grow, but they are a nutritional powerhouse!  Sprouts are estimated to contain more than 100 TIMES more beneficial enzymes that your body needs compared to raw vegetables.  Some sprouts also protect against cancer.

Once seeds are sprouted, they also contain 10-100 times more of an enzyme inducer.  Our bodies need enzymes on a daily basis and can become depleted if we are not replacing them.  Sprouts are an amazing way to replace enzymes.

Sprouts are also rich in vitamin C.  Many sprouts also contain a good deal of protein.  If a disaster struck during the winter and it was too cold to grow a garden, you could subsist on sprouts – though it would be much less than tasty to eat them 100% of the time.

The biggest upside of sprouts is that you can have them in as little as 3 days.

Lettuce  5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During Winter

Lettuce is a fairly easy food to grow inside during the winter.  The question isn’t could you grow it inside, though. Because the best types of lettuce to grow indoors are loose-leaf lettuce, there are some varieties that are better than others for growing indoors.  Some of the best varieties to grow include black seeded Simpson, tom thumb, and mesclun mix, The question should be why should you grow it inside? If your indoor gardening resources are in short supply…

Why grow lettuce?

  • It grows quickly!  Loose-leaf lettuce can be harvested as early as it has a sustainable amount of leaves.  If you want to grow head lettuce, it will take 45-55 days, but loose-leaf varieties will grow in much less time.
  • Lettuce contains anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Lettuce protects your brain.
  • Lettuce contains 20% protein!  This is a good thing if you need to grow food that will sustain your family.
  • Lettuce can actually help your body rid itself of toxins.  This, in turn, helps your body to remain healthy.
  • It’s an antimicrobial agent.
  • It also has anti-anxiety properties

5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During WinterRadish

Radish is an easily grown veggie!  Not only are they easy to grow, but they are also a fast veggie.  These can be grown from planting the seed to decent size radish in about 3 weeks.  This is a huge upside in case you need to grow food to sustain yourself.  If you plant radishes weekly you will have a continuous harvest indoors throughout the winter.

On top of that, sometimes (especially in soups), you can cut up radishes and use them almost like potatoes in soup.  Do they taste just like a potato? No, but they have been used by a lot of people to replace potatoes.

But why grow radishes?

  • Help protect red blood cells
  • They guard blood pressure
  • Keep you from getting sick from their high vitamin C content
  • Contains anthocyanins which protect your heart
  • Helps keep our blood vessels supple and prevents atherosclerosis
  • High on nutrients and fiber

Tomato  5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During Winter

Does that one surprise you?  Yea, it did me too, but they are possible to grow inside during the winter.  What I did discover is that smaller varieties like cherry tomatoes do grow better inside.  I also love the idea of growing tomato plants upside down!  You’ll need a sunny window, but it’s very possible to grow these indoors.

  • A single tomato provides 40% of your daily vitamin C
  • Improve your vision
  • Help protect healthy digestion
  • Protects against cancer.

5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During WinterOregano

This is a wonderful perennial herb to grow indoors if for no other reason than to flavor your meals.  Oregano a grown easily in a pot – actually it’s best grown in a pot because it can take over spaces easily.

Oregano takes light, well-drained soil.  It will need a good deal of sun, so make sure that you have a sunny window to keep it in.  Oregano needs water, but not too much.  Only water it when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Oregano has so many wonderful qualities.  Throughout the years, oregano has been used medicinally to treat.

  • Respiratory Tract Disorders
  • Stomach ailments
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Mint  5 Vegetables to Grow Indoors During Winter

Mint is just like oregano in that it will spread and easily take over space.  It is better to have this in a contained area or in a pot.  You can grow it indoors especially in winter because it only needs partial sun.  You can put it in a part of the house that gets sun some of the time, but it doesn’t have to have constant sun.

Fortunately, it takes more to kill mint than it does to grow it!  Even my black thumb (that I’m trying desperately to reform) couldn’t kill mint when I tried.  It’s pretty amazing!  So find needs partial sun.  They like moist, but well-drained soil.

Mint has been used medicinally for a long time especially when it comes to upset stomachs.

It’s benefits and uses include

  • Stomach calming tea
  • It has one of the highest levels of antioxidants around
  • helps stomach spasms
  • helps gallbladder spasms (shouldn’t be used if there are gallstones)
  • IBS
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Keeps numbers of bad gut bacteria in check

What About You?

Have you successfully grown any foods indoors in the winter?  What lessons have you learned?  I’d love to hear.  Leave a comment below and share your experiences with us so we can all learn.

Together lets Love, Learn, Practice, Overcome.

Seed Starting Class, Jan. 23rd, 2021


Seed Starting Class

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021  1:00-3:00 pm

Bill and Julie Michener’s house

Text 509-830-5431 to RSVP


Class content: seed sources, what kind and how much to order for your household, sprouting methods, hardening off, transplanting, seed saving, storage and more.

There will also be a garden tour to look at the instructors’ 14’×37′ poly tunnel and cold frames to see what all we are growing and harvesting right now with no heat.

Practical Self Reliance: 60+ Unique Fruits & Nuts for Cold Climates (Zones 3-5)

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance writes about 60+ Unique Fruits & Nuts for Cold Climates (Zones 3-5) More photos through the link at the original article. Where we live is a bit warmer than this around zone 6, but we have aronia, elderberry, chestnut, goji berry, blue/black/rasp-berry, currants, rhubarb, and silverberries at home. And, of course, several of these are grown commercially in the area. We’ve tried some cold hardy figs, but I think it’s just a little too cold for them. We’ve also got a couple of kiwi vines which do well as vines, but so far no fruit. We still hold out hope for them, though.

Cold climate gardening can seem limiting, and you just can’t grow many common supermarket fruits.  That just means you have to get creative because there are literally dozens of delicious cold hard fruits you’ve probably never tried.

Harvesting Honeyberries


One of the things I really love about permaculture is how the design manuals really think outside the box when it comes to perennial plant varieties.

Alongside apples, pears, and raspberries, you’ll find mention of Cornelian cherries, lingonberries, beach plums, and spicebush —all manner of food forest crops to keep things interesting in the kitchen year-round.

Our permaculture homestead is in a cold zone 4, with temps that occasionally dip as low as -27 F in the winter.  While we won’t be harvesting mangoes anytime soon, there are still plenty of options for temperature climate permaculture food forest plantings.

The plants listed below are well suited to grow in zone 3, 4, and 5, providing good yields with minimal effort for a well-planned diverse permaculture homestead.

Aronia Berries (Aronia melanocarpa)

Currently gaining popularity as a new age super food, Aronia berries are actually a wild edible native to much of the US.  They come in two main varieties, black Aronia and red (though there’s also a “purple” Aronia, thought to be a hybrid of the two).

They’re easy to grow and resistant to disease, preferring wet soils and tolerating partial shade.  Once established, bushes are highly productive and can grow 6 to 8 feet tall.

Hardy in zones 3 to 9.

Wild Berries of Black Chokeberry (Aronia)

Apples & Crabapples (Malus sp.)

The vast majority of apple varieties are hardy to zone 4, if not zone 3, and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from.

Don’t just go with the grocery store types you know, branch out and try some really unique varieties by reading through a few well-stocked nursery catalogs.  Make sure you plant a mix of summer apples, along with late fruiting good keepers for a solid supply of year-round fruit.

Don’t forget to add in a few crabapples, both for pollination and amazing fruit.  Dolgo crab, in particular, is a good choice, as it’s a profuse bloomer with delicious fruit.

Hardy zone 3 to 9, depending on the variety.

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

Many apricot trees are hardy to zone 3, but they’re still not common here in Central Vermont.  I asked a nurseryman why, and he told me they don’t do well here because of our wet summers.  Apricots are susceptible to fungal diseases, and they do better with less humidity and heavy rains.  Nonetheless, we’re trying a few out.

The past few years have been hit or miss for rains, and we had one summer with an epic drought and no rain for more than 6 weeks straight.  You never know what the weather will throw at you here in New England, and we might just get lucky.

Growing up in California’s high desert, we were often buried in apricots (literally), and we’d make ourselves sick gorging on them.  If you have dry summers, they’re a good option, even in cold climates.

Some varieties hardy zone 3 to 9.

Apricot, Manchurian Bush (Prunus mandshurica)

Native to colder regions in Asia, the Manchurian bush apricot is very hardy.  The trees naturally stay small, growing about 12 feet high and 12-18 feet across at the widest point.

Though the trees are hardy to zone 3, late frosts can damage the buds and prevent fruiting in the coldest regions. Plant in a micro-climate that melts out late or protects the trees during late frosts.

We planted three near our pond, which moderates temperatures and helps create a more stable micro-climate.  Everything I’ve read says they’ll bear fruit in 2-3 years.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Hardy zone 3 to 9.

Autumn Olives (Elaeagnus umbellata)

Another wild edible, autumn olives, are actually considered invasive in some parts of the country.  They’re profuse, easy to grow, and birds easily spread the small soft fruit.  I’ve seen two varieties, red and gold.

I’m particularly excited about these, but it’s hard to find a source of plants.  From what I’ve read, autumn olives grow readily from hardwood cuttings, so if you’d like to mail me a bundle of sticks in late winter or early spring, I’d really appreciate it.

I recently found some from a new wholesale nursery we’re trying out, and they have seedlings available for $4 each or $20+ for named varieties.

Hardy in zones 3-9.

Beach Plum (Prunus maritima) 

Once common in coastal regions from the mid-Atlantic states to Canada, Beach Plums have been wiped out by coastal development and population explosions. It is rare in many states.

In spring, Beach Plum trees are covered in white-petaled flowers that turn pink once pollinated. By late summer and early fall, blue-purple plums cover the plant. Wildlife loves these plums, but at one time, so did humans living near these trees.

While tart, Beach Plums are rich in antioxidants and can be turned into delicious jams. Some use these fruits in cordials and wines.

Hardy in zones 3-8. 

Beech Trees (Fagus grandifolia)

Though not often thought of as a food source these days, beechnuts were a historically significant source of calories.  The nuts are very high in protein and part of Native Americans and early settlers’ diet.

They’re abundant in our woods already and quite productive, though it’s hard to beat the squirrels to them.

Beech trees grow in zones 3 to 8.

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Often overlooked because the nuts have a slightly more bitter taste than English walnuts, black walnuts can be delicious if appropriately handled. It’s important to get them out of the green outer husk quickly because that husk contributes to the bitter flavor.

The green husk is made into a black walnut tincture (and powder) for use against intestinal parasites and an iodine supplement.

Black walnut trees are also one of the dozens of species that can be tapped for syrup, and they make a unique dark-colored sweet syrup.

Black Walnuts are hardy from zones 4 to 9; some say even to zone 3.

Black Walnuts in Hulls

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)

Blackberries aren’t as popular as blueberries or raspberries, but they’re an easy berry bush to add to your backyard. I grew up with fresh blackberries from my grandmother’s backyard. She would give me a bowl of blackberries with milk and a sprinkle of sugar – such a good snack.

Once planted, blackberries are easy to grow and do exceedingly well in these USDA zones; they’re native to the area. You don’t need to plant more than one bush because they’re self-fertile, but a few bushes will give you a large yield.

Hardy to zones 4-9.

Blueberries (Cyanococcus)

Everyone has heard of blueberries, and they’re some of the easiest berry bushes to grow. Blueberries take time to grow; it can take up to 10 years for a blueberry bush to reach a mature size, but that means they have a long lifespan.

After planting, expect it to take 2-3 years before you receive any sizable harvest, but they’re worth the wait. While waiting, blueberry bushes are attractive, with leaves turning several shades in the fall.

After establishing, blueberry bushes need simple care, including watering, fertilization, and yearly pruning. Aside from that, you don’t need to worry too much; they handle themselves well.

Their hardiness depends on the variety selected. You can find varieties hardy from zone 3-9. 

Buffalo Berries (Shepherdia argentea)

Sometimes called rabbit berries, Buffalo berries are a hardy shrub that reaches between six and 20 feet tall. They’re commonly found along streams throughout the Great Plains in North America.

Fruit appears on the shrubs between August and September in abundance. Buffalo berries are scarlet-red or golden-yellow and have a tart flavor that tastes great when used in relishes or jelly. Besides fruit production, adding buffalo berries to your property gives you a winter hardy and drought tolerant plant that can also fix your soil’s nitrogen issues.

Buffalo berries prefer to grow in zones 3-9, but with adequate protection, they might grow in zone 2 as well. 

Butternut Trees (Juglans cinerea)

When I first heard of butternuts, I immediately thought of the butternut squashes I grow in my garden, but these are a type of tree that belongs to the walnut family. Butternut trees are native to the eastern United States and Canada, growing wild in some regions.

Sometimes referred to as white walnuts, butternut trees produce their harvest in late October, developing buttery-flavor nuts. These nuts are popular for baking, fresh eating, and confections due to their unique butter flavor.

Growing butternut trees require well-draining soil and full sunlight, but they adapt well to most conditions. They reach up to 60 feet wide, so space everything else around your trees appropriately.

Hardy in zones 3-7.

My two year old son holding a few wild foraged butternuts (husked, cured and dried)

My two year old son holding a few wild foraged butternuts (husked, cured and dried)

Canadian Buffalo Berry (Shepherdia canadensis)

Cousin to the above-listed buffalo berries, Canadian buffalo berries grow in colder climates. These shrubs are typically found in Newfoundland, Alaska, Oregon, and parts of the Rocky Mountains.

These fruits are edible, but some say that the flavor isn’t as desirable as the original buffalo berries. The yellow flowers that cover the shrub eventually produce red berries.

This variety produces dry sites and handles the occasional drought, but they don’t like excessive heat. Production dramatically declines when the temperatures rise too high.

Canadian buffalo berries grow in zones 2-6. 

Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)

These are rarely a common plant you’ll find in your landscape, but Carolina Allspice is a fragrant plant with maroon to brown flowers. The foliage is also fragrant when crushed. These bushes grow well in most soils and climates.

After the flowers, Carolina Allspice shrubs grow fruit that looks like a brown seed pod.

You can let these dry out or use the oven at a low temperature if you don’t want to wait. Once dried, smash and dry them and use them just like cinnamon.

Hardy from zone 4-10. 

Carpathian English Walnut (Juglans regia var. carpathian)

Carpathian walnuts belong to the English walnut family, but these trees handle cold temperatures and weather better. They grow further north than other cultivars and produce a steadier harvest in areas with variable winter.

When growing Carpathian walnut trees, give them plenty of space to grow. They grow up to 60 feet tall and 60 feet wide. Expect fast growth; the trees can grow more than two feet per year, especially in ideal conditions, growing best in full sunlight with at least six hours of sunlight.

The nuts are thin-shelled and easy to open, maturing 1-4 weeks before the hull opens. Expect yields of nuts starting in the middle of fall. The nuts are oval and measure up to two inches in diameter. It takes between 4-8 years for the tree to produce any nuts.

Carpathian English walnuts grow in zones 4-7. 

Cherry Trees (Prunus avium)

Homegrown cherry trees give you delicious fruit without too much work. Cherries are broken down into two categories: sweet cherries and sour cherries.

Sweet cherries are what you see in the supermarket for fresh eating. It takes between 4-7 years to bear fruit.

Sour cherries are used for cooking, in particular, pies and preserves. Some people call these tart cherries because their flavor isn’t as sweet. These trees take 3-5 years to bear fruit, depending on the variety.

Sweet cherries are hardy in zones 5-7, and sour cherries are hardy in zones 4-6. 

Cherry Plums (Prunus cerasifera) 

Cherry plums are a particular group of Asian plum trees, and some are a hybrid between plums and cherries. Prunus cerasifera is a native tree typically grown as a small, ornamental tree that produces fruit if there is another pollinator nearby…(continues)

Practical Self Reliance: 50+ Green Tomato Recipes

Green Tomato Cake

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has compiled a list of 50+ Green Tomato Recipes with links. A few years ago we had few of our tomatoes ripen. I don’t remember if we planted late or had an early frost, but we were left with plants full of green tomatoes. We ended up canning many different green tomato products like the mentioned green tomato mincemeat, green tomato salsa, green tomato chutney, and more. We also met green tomato spice cake for the first time, which was a delicious surprise. We use a nearly identical recipe to the Paula Deen recipe below, but with a cream cheese frosting (like for carrot cake) instead of the brown butter icing. So don’t despair if you find yourself with a surfeit of green tomatoes.

Green tomato recipes are an old fashioned tradition meant to ensure every last bit of the harvest is put to good use.  Don’t let those underripe tomatoes go to waste, there are so many creative ways to use green tomatoes (besides the ever-popular fried green tomatoes).

Green Tomato Recipes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14082″ src=”″ alt=”Green Tomato Recipes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>


Every year my tomato plants set fruit well into the fall months…only to be killed by early frosts in our short 100 day Vermont growing season.  We’ll top the plants with spare bedsheets to protect them from light frosts, but when temps well below freezing those tomato plants are done for.

With a killing frost on the way, it’s time to strip the plants bare before nightfall.  That often means buckets, baskets, and totes filled to the brim with green tomatoes.

With patience and good airflow, many of those underripe beauties will still ripen on the counter over the next few weeks.  Many though, will spoil in buckets long before they ripen.

This isn’t exactly a new problem, and resourceful gardeners have been cooking up green tomato recipes for generations.

Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Since green tomato harvests usually come by the bucketful in the fall, it’s no surprise that there are literally dozens of ways to preserve green tomatoes.  You can’t fry them all, but it’s easy enough to preserve green tomatoes with enough creative green tomato canning recipes.

Green tomatoes are actually more acidic than fully ripe tomatoes, and their texture holds up better to prolonged cooking.  Add in a flavor that works equally well in savory and sweet recipes, and you’ve got the perfect vegetable for everything from pickles to pie filling.  (Yes, really…home canned green tomato pie filling…)

There are so many green tomato canning recipes, I’ve separated them into savory and sweet.

Pickled Green Tomatoes<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-14093″ src=”″ alt=”Pickled Green Tomatoes” width=”600″ height=”400″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Savory Green Tomato Canning Recipes

Green tomatoes maintain their crunch better than cucumbers for pickling, but they also make excellent salsa, ketchup, and chutney.

All of these recipes are perfect for water bath canning, but they also make great refrigerator or freezer preserves as well (no canner required).

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14094″ class=”size-full wp-image-14094″ src=”″ alt=”Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)” width=”1536″ height=”1152″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Canning green tomato slices means you can make fried green tomatoes mid-winter! (Image Courtesy of A Farm Girl in the Making)

Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens<img aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-14080″ class=”size-full wp-image-14080″ src=”″ alt=”Green Tomato Chutney from Lovely Greens” width=”750″ height=”440″ data-recalc-dims=”1″>

Green Tomato Chutney (Image Courtesy of Lovely Greens)

Sweet Green Tomato Canning Recipes

I know, it sounds strange, but green tomatoes are actually amazing in sweet preserves.  I was really skeptical, but I absolutely loved old fashioned green tomato jam.

Don’t knock it until you try it…(continues)


Here’s the Green Tomato Cake recipe that my family uses:

Green Tomato Cake

4 cups chopped green tomato

1 T salt


1/2 cup soft butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ginger

1/4 t ground clove

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

Mix the chopped tomato in a bowl with the 1 T salt and let  stand for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain the tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 9×13 cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, clove, baking soda, and 1/4 t salt. Add raisins and nuts, mix and then added the creamed mixture. Mix all together then add tomatoes and mix well. Pour mixture into greased baking pan.

Bake 40-45 minutes.  Frost with cream cheese icing.

AYWtGS: How to Ensure That You Have Seeds for Next Year!

Kim Deel at A Year Without the Grocery Store gives some ideas for having seeds for next year’s garden in The 2020 US Seed Shortage – How to Ensure That You Have Seeds for Next Year!

Whether we’ve been gardening for years or learning how to Guerilla Garden more recently, we’re at a point in the US where many feel the need to grow at least some of their own food.  For most of us, just the word “shortage” can bring up some powerful emotions, perhaps a bit of fear? anxiety? Or worse, panic?  Do you feel like giving up on gardening because you believe there is nothing you can grow without seeds?  Let’s dig deeper and investigate what the seed shortage of 2020 really means. Let’s explore what we can do about it because this is about getting-food-on-the-table!  I hope you are ready for a FUN challenge!

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. Many of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission which aids in the cost of running of this website.***

Seed Shortages and What to DO About Them!There are some lies being perpetuated.  But we’re going to speak the truth.

LIE:  There are no seeds available.

TRUTH:  Seed companies have not been able to keep up with the overwhelming demand for seeds this year.

The seed shortage is real, and it is a simple case of supply and demand.  Seed companies, like all other businesses, base their expected future sales on averages of sales from past years to help determine how much inventory they anticipate will be needed for the upcoming season. Since seed companies prepare more than a year ahead, there is no way anyone could have predicted that COVID-19 was going to hit and skyrocket the demand for seeds.   It is important to remember:  This is only a TEMPORARY setback!

New Demands

Now that the demand for seeds is higher, companies and individuals will begin to save more seeds to meet consumer demand.  The bad news is, it might take a year or so to “get back to normal” and adjust to the increased demand.  There **will** be seeds available, it just might be a bit tricky to find a specific variety for a little while.

Getting Creative

So, we have a big question—What are we going to do about it?  Well, we are going to get creative and find seeds!  This is going to be a challenge.  But I hope you will choose to make it fun, like going on a treasure hunt!  I need you to shift gears a bit, I want you to focus on our mission, which is to save seeds for our future.  In the past, we’ve been all about growing the biggest, get-food-on-the-table harvest, but today we will take a step back, and focus on seed saving to prepare for our future, because the tortoise wins in the end, right?

Seed Shortage Challenge#1  Seed Shortages and What to DO About Them!

Learn how to save seeds.  Any time spent on learning how to save seeds will give back more seeds than you can possibly plant in your lifetime.  My favorite, hands-down winner of a reference guide is “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth.  My copy was published in 2002 and it has paid for itself many times over.  This book will teach you how to properly gather and prepare seeds for storage. This is an absolute must for your prepping library.

Seed Shortage tip #1

Choose your sacrificial fruit wisely.  For example, tomatoes– choose the most beautifully-perfect tomato from your entire plant, even if a worm has chewed on part of it, it’s still a great choice for saving seeds for next year. You don’t want to save the seeds from a sickly tomato because we don’t need sickly tomato plants in our future gardens.   Seed saving is a savings account and as we invest those beautifully-perfect seeds, you and your family can enjoy many beautifully-perfect tomatoes in the coming years.

(Your future self will thank you!)

Seed Shortage Tip #2

Let your sacrificial fruits stay on the vine until they are over-ripe, past the point that you want to eat it, but not rotten.  Doing so will yield large seeds that are hardy and will give you the best success at growing plants next season.

Saving Problematic Seeds

Start in your own backyard.  Look around and see what you can “pay forward” to your future garden.  Do you have any herbs that have flowered and “gone to seed”, if so, snip those flowery seeds off, stuff into a paper bag, and let dry?  Remember to label them because once they are drying on your dining room table, they all look the same! (Trust me on this: been there, done that.) Transplant something.  Even if you don’t want to, please transplant!  Divide some of your overgrown herbs and place them into pots to bring in the house over the winter.  Share with a friend or pay-it-forward — put out a curb alert on social media and share your bounty with a total stranger!  Got Flowers?  Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, or hundreds of other varieties?  Even if these always re-seed for you, pick off a few dried flowers anyway and save them to share with someone.

Back to the garden – cucumbers, and tomatoes – these seeds need to be fermented before storing.  Simply put the seeds in a bowl of water to break down the slick coating for a few days until a white film forms at the surface, then rinse well and place on a paper towel until dry and you are ready to store.  I like to store my seeds in snack-size plastic baggies, as paper envelopes can absorb moisture and ruin the seeds.

My Melon Story

Last spring I purchased Kajari melon seeds.  I was super excited, as this was my first time growing them.  I only planted 5 seeds, but they grew quickly and soon began to sprout softball-size melons—they are so good!  Below you will find a picture of the seeds that I was able to harvest from ONE single melon.  Beyond that one melon, one Kajari plant has over a dozen melons on one single plant!    One tiny seed has the potential for thousands of Kajari melon plants!   How cool is that?  Now you understand why I say there isn’t a shortage of seeds, there is a shortage of SAVED SEEDS.  We must band together to collect, save, and share the seeds!!  If every gardener would save their seeds and share with others, we could go from the Seed Shortage to the Seed Abundance in a very short period of time!

What About You?

Have you ever saved seeds before?  Do you know about any good seed exchanges?  Are there any other creative ways of which you are aware that people can obtain seeds?  Share with us in the comments below so that we can all be better prepared!

Together lets Love, Learn, Practice, and Overcome.

Backdoor Survival: Fall Onion and Garlic Planner

Samantha Biggers at Backdoor Survival has a nice article on garden planning for your planting of onions and garlic. We don’t always have onion in the garden, but we plant garlic just about every year, and have grown almost all the different types of onion mentioned at different times. Like Samantha, we’ve also had good luck getting garlic from Filaree Garlic Farm.

Onions are found in practically any type of cooking. They can have a big range of flavors. In our household, a lot of recipes start with chopping an onion. On top of having a lot of flavor, onions and garlic offer some great health benefits.

Matt and I really love our alliums. From little green bunching onions to leeks and shallots, we are planning on growing them all! We have some onions already planted but it is time to think about what to plant for Fall and Winter gardens.


Giant Musselburgh Leeks are a German variety that does very well during the winter months. We have a few planted now. These leeks will get very large if you let them and they winter over quite well. Leeks look like a giant bunch onion. We have grown them numerous times in our lives and I used to sometimes buy them at the grocery store but at $3 per bunch, they are one of the more expensive onions in the store. Shallots are the only onion that costs more and that is largely because they are imported from Holland or similar more often than not.Leeks make an excellent soup especially when combined with mashed potatoes and maybe a little butter, spices, and parmesan. You can dry them if you slice or dice them up and put in the dehyrator.


This is an onion that you will find in many fancy recipes. They are delicious when sauteed to the point of caramelization. While they cost $4 an lb at the grocery store in my area, they are not particularly hard to grow and they are an excellent addition to any garden, especially if you tend to like red onion varieties.

Shallots have some temperature guidelines like any onion. They mature in 60-120 days after planting. Like garlic, they are typically planted in the fall or even early winter when temperatures are right. While they will grow in soil temps that range from 32-90 F, they need 30 days of temps in the 30-50 F range right after planting.

Some people do plant shallots in the Spring with success. You just have to be sure that you get that required initial temperature period. Check the average temps in your area and plan accordingly even if you have to buy your seed stock at odd times.

1 lb of shallot sets will plant a 20 ft row. Shallots generally need to be placed 6-8″ apart. Rows should be 10-12″ apart. Shallots spread a lot when they grow so they need more space than garlic.

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply has the best deal I have found on organic shallot sets. At the moment they have a good sale going on too.

Note: It is essential that shallots have good drainage. They will rot in the ground if they do not. This is one of the most common problems aspiring growers have. If your soil is too heavy then you need to add some other organic matter and sand to improve drainage.

Egyptian Walking Onions or Tree Onions

These are a very strange type of perennial onion. While they cost a little to get started, they will provide you with many onions over the years and you can save the bulbs and sell the seed stock or expand your onion beds indefinitely. The video below explains more about these unique onions. You can also check out this site for even more details.

Bunch Onions

The Green Bunching Onion is perhaps one of the easiest onions to grow. They are prolific and you can keep a bed going indefinitely with little care. Keeping your bed weeded and just harvesting the tops most of the time will ensure a steady supply even if your bed is fairly small and you start from seed.

I strongly recommend planting some bunching onions in a container even if you are short on gardening space…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Backdoor Survival.

Spotter Up: Homestead Indoor Gardening

In this post at Spotter Up, Alaskan homesteader David Donchess talks about some food plants that he grows indoors. For people in a preparedness mindset, having food through a long winter can be a big concern. David mentions growing potatoes in a plastic bin indoors to provide food throughout the winter among others. Homestead Indoor Gardening: Plants To Grow

Ever since I moved up to Alaska with my wife, we have tried to be more self sufficient. We have really been drawn into growing our own food, to include livestock. The challenge for us in Alaska is keeping our plants and livestock alive during the winter. The summers churn out many world record sized crops due to the extremely long and warm days. Winter, on the other hand, produces the shortest(4-5 hours of sun) and coldest(-30 to -40) days. The harsh winters here can kill most types of perennials if they are not bred to handle cold down to -50. For this reason, indoor gardening is probably your best bet for continuing production of certain plants like leafy greens and things like strawberries and peppers. For this article, I am just going to talk about some of the plants I have in my indoor greenroom and why I grow them.


When we start talking about indoor plant growing, we have to keep in mind that the point is to have the ability to be mostly self-sufficient. The reason for growing plants indoors at my house is not to have something nice to look at, but rather to have a healthy variety of foods to eat and cook with. The main focus, due to limited space, should be to grow plants that are nutrient rich and will give you the best return for your efforts. But don’t forget that some nutrients you need cannot be found in just one plant. You will need to do your research and find a variety of foods that give you a decent return in vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients.

For my plant selection, I have a few plants that offer the same return in certain nutrients, but lead in one area over the others. Then I have certain plants that are just more versatile and can be used in more ways and in more dishes than others. The choice is yours, but I have spent alot of time deciding what plants are worth the investment. Now keep in mind that this is not an indoor garden that is designed to provide everything during the apocalypse. If that were the case, perhaps we would want to simplify the number of plants we have to a short list that will allow us to minimize the need for water and light.

This specific selection of plants require varying ranges of attention, and it is all based on my abilities, space, and the time I am willing to invest in these plants. Each person will have different capabilities, space, funds, and time, which will determine what they grow indoors…

There are vegetables that I like to grow in order to provide a more diverse and balanced nutrient return, while also helping enhance the flavor of your meals. These veggies offer things that you may not be able to get from leafy greens like calories, protein, and higher concentrations of certain nutrients. Here is a list of the vegetables I like to grow and why.

-Broccoli: This vegetable is a powerhouse for sure. Raw, it has a higher concentration of vitamin C than an orange, and about as much calcium as whole milk. The plant can be a bit difficult to get control of since you have to trim the florets before they bloom. But if you take care of your broccoli plants, they will produce for you over and over again with increasing return as time goes on.

-Carrots: This veggie is one of the more versatile since it can be prepared and consumed in pretty much any way that you can imagine. Just a little bit of carrots can easily provide a huge amount of vitamin A to your diet. It takes some patience to get them to harvest. You can actually reuse the carrot heads to make more carrots, making this a somewhat renewable vegetable.

-Bell Peppers: I like growing these because they add a good deal of texture to my meals. If I am making burritos or a stir-fry, you bet that Bell Peppers are going to be included. They give a decent return in vitamin C, but not much of anything else. For the most part, the plants are easy to maintain and grow indoors as long as you provide a steady temperature and don’t let the soil get too wet…

Potatoes are a big thing for my household to the point that I grow them indoors during the winter in big storage bins. They take some time to grow to maturity, but they offer so much in terms of calories and just energy overall. They are very filling and you can add them to pretty much anything. They are relatively maintenance-free except for periodic watering, and they give back alot in return…

Click here to read the entire article at Spotter Up.

Organic Prepper: Dirt Cheap – The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

This article from Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper is a link-fest, bringing together numerous articles across the internet – Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

With the price of healthful groceries going no place but up, lots of thrifty folks are starting a garden to save money on their bills this year. But what about the money to start a garden? It can be a very expensive undertaking, especially if you’ve never gardened before in your particular location.

I’ve been researching ways to start my own garden as inexpensively as possible and thought, “HEY!!! I know some other folks who would absolutely love frugal gardening ideas!” So…here they are.

Step One: What Kind of Garden Are You Going to Grow?

Of course, the very first thing to decide is what type of garden will work best for your situation. This will depend a lot on your soil, your climate, your skillset, and what you have easy and inexpensive access to. Following are some articles and books that will help you make your decision.

Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful

Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

DIY Super Easy Raised Garden Bed for Under $30

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for $12

For those who aren’t build-y: Big Bag Fabric Raised Beds (I have used these with great success for veggies with shallow roots and as a bonus, you can use them on concrete if you’re gardening on a patio.)

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

15 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in a Bucket Garden

PVC Drip Irrigation System for Your Garden

How to Save BIG on Lumber Supplies for Your Square Foot Garden

Step Two: Plan Your Garden

Now that you have figured out how you’ll grow your food, you need to figure out what to grow. A lot of that depends on your goals. Are you just hoping for salad this summer? Or are you planning to grow an entire year’s worth of food for your family? These links will help you make some decisions!

FREE Garden Planning Printables

How Much to Plant for a Year’s Worth of Food

An Inspiring 5000 Square Foot Garden Plan

Last Frost Date Seed Planting Worksheet

Step Three: Start Your Seedlings

While it’s easy and less hassle to buy your seedlings already started, it costs a whole lot more. One plant can be the equivalent of an entire package of seeds!  Starting your own seedlings is not that difficult and you don’t need an indoor growing operation that marijuana drug lords would envy.

Seed Starting 101

Frugal Seed Starting Station

10 Seed Starting Hacks

20 Frugal Repurposed Seed Starting Containers

How to Make Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

Another Way to Make Seed Starting Pots from Newspaper

Chicken Manure Tea for Seedlings

Why Your Seeds Aren’t Germinating

Step Four: Amend, Create, or Prepare Your Soil

No matter how sturdy your seedlings or how efficient your beds, your garden is only as good as your soil. These tips will help you, whether you’re amending what exists, creating soil, or preparing your soil to receive seedlings…(continues)

Some seed sellers on the internet are starting to take orders again, like Seed Savers Exchange.

The Prepared Homestead: Coronavirus – Six Actions You Should Be Taking Now

The Prepared Homestead has a video out talking about six steps that you should taking right now in regards to the pandemic and resultant/simultaneous supply chain/economic problems. He covers (1) sizing up the situation, (2) scenario development – best, most likely, worst case, (3) taking stock of your financial situation, (4) topping off supplies, (5) growing some of your own food, (6) working on your health. Much of one and two will be familiar to you if you’ve taken or read Forward Observer‘s SHTF Intelligence or Area Study book/classes.