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! 

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget

 

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The theme  of the weekly photo challenge this week is; Smile. 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.

The photo above is an 11 day old Squash seedling. My daughter was smiling while planting the tiny seed 11 days ago, and she’s been smiling while watering it, and checking the growth every day since then. Today we had to replant the seedling (photo below,) into a bigger (repurposed) pot, since it outgrew its tiny seed starting cell. I saw another big smile on her face (and I’m pretty sure I smiled myself as well,) when we carefully lifted the little plant, and saw the intricate root system already developed. That’s pure magic! Don’t you think?

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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’m slowly working my way towards that goal, by growing as much organic produce as I can every spring/summer, and by continue my learning process about how to do it (by reading, doing my own garden, and helping out at farms in my area.) I love that gardening is a lifelong learning process. 

Yesterday when my daughter and I was making lunch, she was cutting celery, and started to ask me questions about why sellers is good for us to eat. We talked about how it is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and I mentioned a study I read recently about its cancer fighting powers. I remember seeing a photo of someone (in a garden group I’m a member of,) planting celery leftovers. So we read a little more about that, and tried it. According to what we learned you can cut it straight off at the root, saving a few inches, and place it in water for a few days. You’re going to se it start growing new celery in the middle first, and a couple days later the roots are supposed to come.

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This was what it looked like this morning, already started to grow new celery in the middle. Maybe even a root under? Not sure. When it develops a root system you can plant it either in a pot, or outdoors if the temperature is right. Both my daughter and I, are very excited about this. It’s the first time we try growing celery like this. I try to expand my garden to some new varieties every year. Especially if I can find something my daughter really enjoys, it certainly makes it easier to motivate her to eat her vegetables.

I cook all the food we eat from scratch, and I use a lot of garlic in our food. You’re supposed to plant garlic in the fall, for a harvest next year. I didn’t know that you actually can plant it in the spring as well, with a slightly smaller harvest. I spent some time learning about that this morning. You can trick the garlic that it is still winter, by having the garlic in the fridge. Conveniently, I had organic garlic in my fridge. Having my soil and everything out already, after replanting some seedlings earlier, I decided to try my knew found knowledge. Nothing like learning by doing 🙂

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I took two garlics, that I carefully opened up, and then I choose the biggest cloves. It was suggested to plant three cloves in a small pot, carefully leaving the white skin on the cloves.

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Plant with the pointy side up. The soil is supposed to be loose, and moist. After planting them, water, and then sprinkle either airy soil, or shredded leaves over the garlic.

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I sprinkled seedling soil on top. Just a little bit. Garlic like to be moist, and have at least six hours of full sun when they are growing. I’m planning on transplanting mine outside when they get bigger. Did you know that you can eat every part of the garlic? The cloves, the skin (huge antioxidant,) the sprouts – everything. I’ve never planted garlic in the spring before, and I’m curious about what kind of impact this late planting, is going to have on the harvest.

I’ve been experimenting with organic gardening on a slim budget, for the past 5 years. I’m a homemaking, homeschooling mom, that for the most part been alone in my responsibility to raise a healthy, happy little girl. 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 moving a lot. I’ve lived and I’ve learned. I’ve kept track of different methods I’ve tried, and how I adapted them to fit new places we moved to. I’ve had everything from an 80 acres ranch, to a small RV pad. I’ve tried regular gardening in fields (still organic,) raised beds, container gardening, and combinations of them. I’m planning on publishing what I’ve learned, along with photos, and Pro’s/Con’s with different methods in a book. Eating healthy organic food doesn’t have to cost a lot, and it is possible to build a productive organic garden even if you have a very small space, live in an apartment, or an RV. I’d like to share how. If you have more space, that’s wonderful, and you can grow even more, keeping your costs down when using a few tricks I’ve learned along the way. My goal is to have my book ready for publishing this fall, around harvest time. If everything goes well. It’s a fun project, that also makes me smile. I haven’t told anyone about it until today.

What makes you smile this weekend?

Love,

Ms Zen