Several of my friends are starting to grow some of their own food and have lots of questions, so I write and include links with them in mind. A few of my friends also like to read about our Gardening Adventures each year, even though they do not have space or the ability to grow for themselves just now, so......

We decided to make permanent Beds last year, and are now sticking with the tried and true methods we've learned through experimentation over the years. Since we are both in our late 60's, we are becoming aware, we can not increase-experiment with our Garden Beds as much. We may try one or two new veggies though, just for fun. We love hands on learning and trying new things. Hubby will be experimenting in the Greenhouse though, as he's adding an additional Hoop House and has some ingenious ideas he wants to try out; we look forward to using it as a Sunroom in the Fall, Winter and Spring in days to come.

A friend who manages a Farm, treated us with lots of composted Mature and we filled our freshly made Raised Bed and Plastic Barrels with it last season. We left the bottom open to the ground and made 3 beds out of each barrel. If you plan to move-pull them around, do not cut out the bottom. You may be able to find them through Craigslist or a local Horse Vet, who receives meds in them, Vets usually give them away and some local farmers are willing to give away or sell composted mature for a good price and some will even load it in the back of your pickup with their Tractors, saves on the back. Co-ops such as Southern States will often sell broken bags for half price, perhaps Lowes or Home Depot will as well???

Here is a picture of one of our Barrel Container Beds, this one has some lettuce growing in it.

Just like with our own Spiritual Life, the right amount of Light, Water and healthy Soil is very important and keys to an abundant crop and Spiritual Growth. Not only does it produce larger and a more productive harvest, but the plants are able to receive nutrients from the soil that our body needs. If you do not Top-Side Dress or add nutrients to the soil via Manure Tea and the like, the soil can become depleted and that will affect the amount of nourishment you put in your body, through the food you grow. That is one of the reasons to grow your own, if you can, even if it is just a Patio Tomato, Pepper or Lettuce during cool months. It is one of the reasons we Top or Side Dress some of our plants with composted mature when possible, as each season begins anew and a new plant is placed in the ground. We grow organically and frugally for food, not for how the Garden looks, so you will notice our gardens are simple and hopefully, efficient.

Plastic Barrels like the one below are also a good place to start seedlings in a Greenhouse, rather than a Cold Frame or something similar. We can transplant directly from there if we want, as they usually do not need to be potted up. Below is a barrel with seedlings and straw, from last season. These Plastic Barrels can be used in the Hoop house or elsewhere.

We started our 2017 Tomatoes and Peppers indoors in early January and our White Eggplant in early February this year. The earlier we start them, the sooner we can have a harvest. I prefer White or Rosa Eggplants because they do not need to be salted and rinsed before using, as they are not bitter like some of other varieties. We grow mostly Heirlooms from seeds I harvested the previous season.

I have planted our Sugar Snap, Petite French and Snow Peas outside already and have side dressed and mulched the Chard which is coming back, outdoors. I also weeded and top dressed a few Raised Beds and Plastic Barrel Container Beds, with the plan to come back and lay a thin layer of Newspaper and Straw on top to stay ahead of the weeds and keep them down all season. Our weather is unusually warm and dry at this time, here in Zone 7, in the USA and unwanted growth in the Veggie Beds as well as Bulbs elsewhere are already coming up. We've had a pretty dry Winter thus far, which could be an indication we may have a dry summer too. Experience has taught us that method will also help the beds to stay moist, whether we have drought or not. I tried that method when I first began Vegetable Gardening, here on our one little acre and was glad I did, because we had a rare drought that year. While our Neighbors plants died due to lack of moisture, ours survived.

A great Facebook Page, for those in need of Gardening Tips and who like to find links through Facebook as well as Youtube is called 'It's Grow Time'. Below I will add some links posted there that can be found of Youtube too.

Facebook also has some excellent Groups you can join and learn from as well, I like the Growing Winter Food and Preserving Food Groups, personally, at this time, as I am interested in learning more about Fermentation. We want to be able to grow in our Greenhouse all year long when possible, in days to come. Our smaller half Hoop House, attached to our Home, is mainly being used for over wintering plants and our Hot Tub.  Today my hubby sat out a few seedlings on trays in the Greenhouse, that now need to be potted up. We will be bringing them back in, in a few days, as the Temps will be dropping again.  The mass and heat from the Hot Tub and the walls inside, that are attached to our Home, (painted a dark color to absorb heat) help to maintain the heat in there. We also have a well pump area we open up, so the colder temps can drop down there and keep the room from freezing. We have a small fan we use to blow-pipe in warm air from inside our Home.  I tried over wintering a mature Eggplant in there, but it did not make it.  We also lost our Ferns this year, as we had some record breaking cold snaps too. This fall and winter has had a highly unusual weather pattern, with record breaking highs and lows. 

Here are two sample post links from Youtube that were Posted in 'Its Grow Time', for those who are not on Facebook. EnJoy!

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