Weekend Coffee Share; Book – Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget

Start your weekend with a cup of coffee with me! How was your week? 

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My daughter is thrilled that her corn is growing so much. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she is going to be able to taste it, before she goes to her dad by the end of next week. 

Besides my regular job projects, horses, gardening, and being a mom, I’ve been busy working on my book, Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget. I’ve been focusing on a chapter about mulching these past few days. 

A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area. A mulch is usually, but not exclusively, organic in nature. – Wikipedia

I wish that someone had explained the importance of mulching to me, sometime there in the beginning. Ohh…how much smoother the gardening learning curve would of been. It feels like a very important chapter. The chapter that I wished I had read before I started gardening more seriously. It’s been fun. This chapter is far from finished, but I feel that the book is making some progress.

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Baby fig trees from cuttings, with plenty of mulch. I add organic matters to my garden every week as needed. 

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Above is some of my squash plants, growing along a fence. If you look under the leaves, in the photo below, you’ll see….drum whirl….lots of mulching. 

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The chapters for my book is pretty much lined out. I have published a couple books before, but they have been very different, more of luxurious coffee table books. Focusing on highlighting my photography, while raising money for charity. They have been expensive to print, made with glossy, thick paper. This book is going to be a high quality book, also with photos, but made with a more normal price point in mind, that fits the title. I want it to be easy accessible for anyone who could use it. My previous books, that I enjoyed making very much, was targeted to wealthy european horse people. This book has a completely different targeted audience. Here’s a little teaser from the introduction, that explains my motivation. 

The methods in this book is a result of 5 years of experimenting with organic gardening, on a very slim budget. You will be provided with different approaches to organic gardening on a budget. They are easily adapted to your amount of space, gardening zone, and access to material. I’m a homemaking, homeschooling mom, that for the most part been alone in my responsibility to raise a healthy, happy little girl. My motivation to write this book is very personal. Especially during the first years my creativity was often tested to the max, when it came to providing healthy food, due to limited finances, and a nomadic lifestyle. I’ve lived, and I’ve learned. 

Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget, covers everything you need to know to get started; planning an organic vegetable garden, materials, compost, mulching, seeds, how to grow your food scraps, plants, trees, propagating fruit trees, kitchen herbs, mushrooms, sprouts, harvest, how to barter your produce/work for a bigger variety of local produce, and container gardening. 

I believe that you are what you eat; mind, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food.  My ultimate dream is to have a small homestead, and be as self sufficient as possible, producing the majority of my family’s food myself. I am working towards that goal, by growing as much organic produce as I can. I love that gardening is a lifelong learning process. I’d love to share a few of the things I’ve learned so far. Most of these activities are kid friendly. If you have kids, I highly recommend growing produce that your children enjoy eating, and involve them in the process. There’s many colorful photos throughout the book, showing how my daughter and I tried different approaches to gardening, and the pro’s and con’s with each one. Growing my own food makes me smile, in many ways. Literally because I enjoy working in my garden, and internally because it makes me feel good eating organic food. My conscious also smile back to me when I try to lessen my ecological footprint, by eating a more locally produced, plant based diet. I sincerely hope that Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget, is going to help you, and your family towards a happier, healthier life.

This is very much a work in progress. Is there a chapter that you would love to read, that I didn’t think of? An angle that would make the book more interesting for you?  I’d love input, and constructive criticism.

Any fun plans for the weekend? Please join the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d love to have coffee in your backyard this weekend, and hear all about your week.

Happy Friday! 



Ms Zen

Published by Sagittarius Viking

It’s all about experiences, and the healing power of nature. Life is about choosing happiness. I entered the magic world of photography when I was five years old. My gypsy soul have taken me to many different countries, and definitely taught me to be more humble. I believe that you are what you eat, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food, and spending time outdoors. A Sagittarius loves to travel, have an open mind and, and a philosophical view. It motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. A lot of that perfectly describes me. The fact that my ancestors, on both parents sides, were vikings, doesn’t exactly lessen my desire to explore. Maybe a slightly more mindful exploring, compared to the average viking. My blog, and my art prints is a results of my (inner and outer) explorations. Love, Maria

28 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share; Book – Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget

  1. Your energy is so impressive. In addition to all you do, you are also finding time to write a book! The subject is a good one and I’m sure it will appeal to many.
    Our heat wave has finally broken and there is a cool breeze blowing the heat/humidity out of the house. A cool night ahead should make things a whole lot more comfortable around here, including working in the garden. I’ve missed being outside for hours every day. I made an arrangement to celebrate! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am blessed with lots of energy. Writing helps me to sort things out, and make them clear in my own head. I have many writing projects on my computer, but most of them are never going anywhere, it’s not the main purpose. I figure that writing about our journey in gardening, and include our mistakes (and how we solved them,) could benefit someone. Thank you for your kind words.

      So happy to hear that you are more comfortable weather wise again. We have thoroughly enjoyed three cooler days, with temperatures in the 90’s. It is highly unusual for the season. My tomatoes loved it, and are finally getting their red, and yellow colors. They are super sweet and yummy. Tomato plants grow really big here, but the challenge is for them to ripe. When it’s too hot they stay green forever. I’ve change the varieties we grow to more heat resistant ones, but the heat is still a challenge. I’m so grateful for out little respite from the heat. The ten day prognosis ahead only show temperature above 105. We ordered an above ground, salt water pool the other day. I’m very excited about that!

      Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How large is your new pool? Is it salt as a substitute for chlorine?
        Have you ever tried picking mature tomatoes, bringing them inside and wrapping them in newspaper to get them to turn red? Since we have a short season where frost can come before tomatoes are ripe, this is a trick that works.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, it is going to use a salt water cleaning system, instead of chlorine. My skin doesn’t like chlorine all that much.

          That’s smart to put the tomatoes in paper bags. I’ve tried it a few times. When the temperatures are fluctuating a lot. I would probably have done that this time, if we hadn’t gotten a few “cooler” days. There’s something special about picking them warm, and red from the vines though. If it’s at all possible, that’s what I want to do. But it’s wonderful that there is some tricks to extend the season. I often find myself fantasizing about weather proof greenhouses, like this one https://geodesic-greenhouse-kits.com/greenhouse_kit/greenhouse_kit_33/, where you can grow all year long. It’s not in the budget for this year..but it’s on my wis list. We do have a third growing season, in the fall, where you can grow tomatoes, and salad again. I’m about to start those seeds in a couple weeks.


  2. What a cool project! I keep thinking about working on some non-fiction, but run into fears that I won’t know what to say (or have enough to say about whatever it is I settle on writing about)! I’m not much of a gardener, but I certainly know a few that would probably be interested in a book like this!
    Thanks for the coffee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s only one way around that Alli, just start writing 😉 I would love to read your book. Thanks for having coffee with me. Good luck with your project 🙂


    1. Thank you 🙂 It is an exciting project! I was thinking about including a little about the different zones. I have lived most my life in cooler climates. There’s pro’s and con’s with all the zones. Right now it’s too hot for growing salad here..but on the other hand I will be able to do it in the fall. Best of luck with your garden ❤


  3. Wow. This is very inspiring. I can’t wait to read your book. I have been loving the heat this past week. After all, heat dome or not, it’s July – always the hottest month of the year, so let the sun shine on. I have been having fun with the girls and dancing around the family room to our old vinyl record collection before we clean in the morning. I had forgotten how I always loved the sound of the record ‘popping’ on the needle between songs. Scratchy, organic, soothing and electrifying all at once. Here’s to a great weekend! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s still a work in progress, but I promise to let you know when it’s available. It sounds like you’re having an awesome week! I love old vinyl players. I don’t own one right now, but have sweet memories to look back on. Enjoy the heat 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I admire your patience and dedication in gardening. It’s also truly rewarding to see the work of your hands and of course, eat them too. Im interested in planting a few herbs and flowers but I know I need time for that. My weekend is full and my coffee share will be late. Great post this weekend and thank you for coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed very much having coffee with you. Yes, gardening is rewarding I love working with my body, It’s makes me feel good. Here we need to water every day, and it’s almost a meditative chore. I enjoy it very much. I usually do my watering around sunrise, and it’s a magical time. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Ms. Z.

    I was thinking about your project above – it sounds perfect for you BTW, a great mix of your passions, strengths and knowledge. Then you also asked about any chapter we might want to read in such a book.
    I think I may have an idea worthy of your consideration and that is soil maintenance over several years.

    Most of us have limited land to work with, like our back yards. If we succeed in planting food producing crops, they each deplete the nutrients of the soil over time. Some of this I know can be mitigated by rotating your crops year by year so different demands are made of the soil. But it seems to me that there may be much more wisdom beneath your roof than mine.

    For example: I suspect that the leaves of each plant which are produced each year, but never consumed, in general should not be raked up and hauled away or burned because they contain many of the nutrients needed by the plants for future crops. I suspect they should be piled up, allowed (encouraged?) to decay and then, later, somehow spread and rototilled back into the soil. I also suspect there are things that can be added at this same time to enhance the organic chemistry of the soil (again, over the years of use) to maintain the viability of the soil. I have friends who raise chickens and use the manure instead of fertilizer. I think I recall being told that this manure is pretty potent and must be used carefully.

    The details of how to keep soil productive year after year, organically and on a budget I think is fascinating and poorly understood except by experts such as you. This topic might merit a few pages of your sage advice.

    Once again, I’ve enjoyed and learned some from your visit. It’s always a pleasure. All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful insight. You are right, the soil gets depleted of nutrients, and it is a good idea (almost necessary) to rotate plants. It’s actually exactly what I’ve been writing about this week, in the chapter about mulching. Mulching, and composting, kind of goes hand in hand, as they both can be used to enriched the soil. Chicken manure is wonderful, but like you said strong. If I get my hand on it, I mix it in with my aged compost, before using, and I’m very careful so that the manure don’t touch the sensitive stems of the plants. I have moved many times during my gardening journey, and even done some RV:ing in between. It’s been useful to being forced to use different kind of organic matters. Right now I only use things I rake up from around this property; leaves, aged horse manure, used shavings form the barn, small branches, and household scraps. I have not bought any fertilizer in years. It haven’t been necessary. I like the thought if using materials available. During periods when I haven’t had any space at all, literally, just using big pots, that I moved inside my RV when changing locations, I collected organic matter form places I visited. I often see horse manure, and sometimes chicken manure in the free section on Craigslist. During periods when I haven’t and horses, when traveling a lot, I’ve picked up manure (for free) from other peoples ranches.

      Thank you so much for having coffee with me today!


    1. Yes, I am planning to share those “great ideas” that didn’t quiet turn out the way they did in my head.. LOL. Thank you for reminding me about that. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I hope you’re planning on sharing a lot of photos from Paris 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement ! Yes, I am planning on using photos as a part of telling the story. At first I had planned to publish the book early this fall, but I have postponed it a few months. I really want to make it right, and useful for others. I am enjoying the process very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved what you have written and shared. I would read your book and am glad you are on this path as you have tested and tried so much, and you are so inspiring! Why its because of your garden and your blog that I decided to plant this year a very small tiny garden and I’m sooo enjoying it, so keep writing and I’ll keep reading and planting and gardening. I didn’t know mulch was as important as you say, something to remember for my next crops. I’m going to do more container gardening and my tomatoes are coming along in my container but will be planting more.
    Enjoy your weekend! and try and stay cool. We hit 116 yesterday and we are 10 degrees cooler today, but still over a hundred. Can’t wait for a cool down, under 100 is more tolerable. -Diana ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, thank you Diana! I am delighted to share my gardening journey with you. It’s so much fun, gardening, don’t you think? It really doesn’t matter how big your garden is, it’s the fact that you have a garden. It’s a wonderful thing. I’m so happy you’re enjoying it. I will start my cold season tomatoes in a couple weeks. I love that we actually have three growing seasons here, one advantage with our weather 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your weekend ❤


      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the coffee share! I’m learning how to garden. Wish I had a green thumb. I’ll get there though. Mulch is awesome. My plan for our garden in the future is to combine the back to Eden and permaculture techniques together. I’m reading 2 books that have helped open my eyes. Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway and The Natural Way of farming by Masanobu Fukuoka. I would love to add your book to my collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Learning by doing, and researching methods at the same time, is a great way to be successful with anything. My gardening philosophy is similar to Back to Eden with some other angles. I will check out the books you’re reading. Good garden books are a treat. My bookshelves is a home to a variety of them. Thank you for your kind comment, and best of luck with your garden!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with Eliza, where do you find the time? I love seeing the photos of your garden both here and on Instagram.. I’m sure your book will be a hit! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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