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The Taste of Summer And How to Preserve It By Canning

September 4th, 2013

Olives

Oh, the taste of summer. Who doesn’t love dipping a crisp tortilla chip into fresh tomato salsa, or enjoying a bite of corn on the cob smothered in butter or sprinkled with lime? With memories like that, canning vegetables and fruit is becoming a popular way to preserve the taste of our favorite seasons all year long.

Interested in preserving the taste of summer, but have never canned before?

Essentially, canning the taste of summer requires placing the sweet taste of seasonal fruits and vegetables into prepared jars and heating them to a temperature that microorganisms are unable to survive in (and it’s easier than you think!).  If done effectively, canning vegetables and fruits can prevent unnecessary waste with tasting results, save money, and provide a summer bounty for your family all year long, as well as in an emergency situation.

There are two main options for home canning the taste of summer: one is water bath canning and the other is pressure cooker canning.  While both effective, this post details water bath canning as it is user-friendlier for first time canners. We’re covering everything you need to know in this post, from what you need to get started, to a step-by-step guide to effective canning.

Water Bath Canning

Selecting The Correct Jars Mason and Bell jars are the two safest and most effective jars to use for canning the taste of summer because they are designed to heat at high temperatures, and come with a two-piece self-sealing lid.  Do no use commercial mayonnaise, baby food or pickle jars, as these are not suitable for high temperatures.

Supplies Needed Much like with any hobby, the start up costs for canning the taste of summer can seem daunting.  Yet as each year passes, count on saving money as you can reuse jars, canning racks, and other food preserving tools through the years. There are also several canning kits that are available on the market, but you can also purchase these items separately:

*A large traditional cooking pot, specialized canning pot, or pressure cooker to place jars in. Whichever you choose, be sure it has a secure lid to prevent spills.  The pot should also be large enough to fit in each jar with room at the top for water to flow. Check that it is no more than 4 inches wider than the burner for an even temperature.

*A jar rack works well to guarantee water flow, and to space the jars properly; which will prevent cracking.  If a jar rack is unavailable, some choose to use sanitized cotton cloths to separate and cushion each jar.

*Jar funnels helps to easily ladle food in, and prevents fingers from touching the jar lid.

*Several Mason or Ball Jars with two-piece self-sealing lids.

*Other Useful Supplies: Mixing bowls, saucepans, clean towels, a timer, measuring cups, tongs, a ladle, and a cutting board will all help ensure a smooth canning process.

Basic Step-By-Step Water Bath Canning This process is ideal for canning the taste of summer: pickled carrots, a cucumber-turned-dill-pickle concept, unwashed berries, jams, preserves, jellies, pickles and tomato sauce, and can offer intense flavor even after many months.

1. Sanitize all jars and lids by dishwashing them first, and then adding them to a large pot of boiling water.  Allow all jars to soak for at least 5 minutes.  Remove each jar with sanitized tongs, and place them on a clean towel.

2. Using sanitized tongs for larger pieces of food, or a jar funnel for sauces and jams, gently ladle or funnel the food into each jar.  Leave approximately ¾ of an inch at the top for the lid. Be sure to use fresh and seasonal produce for optimum taste and expiration life.

3. Seal each jar by placing the small metal disc on the lid of the jar, and twisting the circular piece until securely fastened

4. Place the jar rack inside a large pot of boiling water, allowing the handles to come up from the top.  Carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water, until all jars are set and carefully spaced. Using the jar rack handles, lower in the jars and fold the handles inside the cooking pot.  Allow the jars to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the jars using tongs, and allow them time to cool off.  Jars should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place to preserve the jar’s contents.

Bonus tip: Looking for a great recipe to get your canning off to the right start? Tomato sauces are excellent choices for first time canners.  The Producer includes the Rose Tomato, an heirloom variety with a beautiful, deep rose pink color. Meaty and flavorful, these tomatoes are perfect for tomato sauces.

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

 

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How to Make an Organic Foliar Food Spray from Seaweed

August 6th, 2013

leaf feeding

Did you ever wonder why supermarkets spray their leafy garden produce with a light mist on a constant basis?  As a result of the vegetables being picked, they have been cut off from their natural food supply.  The likelihood of them becoming dehydrated is high. As a result, the act of spraying re-hydrates the leafy greens before they wilt and lose customers’ appeal.

What’s important to note is this isn’t like waxing a cucumber or apple. Moisture from the misty spray is absorbed by tiny pores in leaves through a process called foliar feeding, the word foliar relating to anything that has to do with leaves. How does this work? The pores on a leaf absorb water faster than roots allowing nutrients to reach a plant’s nervous system more directly.

That’s why whether plants are sick or you want to provide them a little extra strength to ward off illnesses, providing a robust foliar feed is a great way to go. Water is the most basic food to feed but if you really want to maximize potential of the process you might want to try a seaweed solution which will boost a plant’s immune system exponentially.

If you live in a place like Bridgeport, CT  where it’s easy to find fresh seaweed- ask any landscaper or gardener and they will tell you how it’s one of the best natural fertilizers because it’s filled with the abundance of nutrients and minerals found in the oceans. Furthermore, unless a store bought brand has added chemicals, seaweed makes for a very organic plant food.

Want to make your own seaweed plant food? Just do the following:

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh or store bought but naturally dried seaweed

  • A closed bucket or container

  • A spray bottle

  • A funnel

Seaweed Foliar Food Recipe:

1. Fill a bucket or container with fresh seaweed, add water until full, and put on the lid. Keeping the homemade plant food in the garage or outside so any developing odors won’t bother the family.  Periodically stir and continue doing so for a few days. If it’s a store bought brand follow instructions on the package regarding how much to use and how long to let it sit. NOTE: The longer it ‘brews’ the stronger the solution and the more potent its effectiveness will be. When the seaweed and water have ‘brewed’ long enough, utilize the funnel and transfer some of the solution to your spray bottle.

2. Approach plants in the early morning hours as it is the best time to feed them whether at the roots or foliarly. Any later and the heat of the sun may dry up the solution too quickly or cause the pores, otherwise known as stomata, to close in an effort to retain moisture.

3. Preferably aiming for their underbelly which is where the majority of pores are located spray leaves until small droplets of moisture form. Do not over spray as this may harm plants more than help them, especially in climates where prolonged wetness can breed mold and fungus.

4. Repeat twice a week in conjunction with regular daily watering.

Remember, not all sick plants can be saved through foliar feeding but spraying leaves with something like a seaweed solution can reinvigorate them and provide a new lease on life. Otherwise, try it out on healthy plants throughout your home and garden and reap it’s amazing benefits.

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This post was written Jakob Barry. He is a green living journalist for Networx.com- a website that helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to fencing contractors and landscapers, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

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How To Read A PLU Code: Organic, Conventional, GMO

August 2nd, 2013

photo (17)

You may already have a garden of fresh, organic and non-GMO produce right in your backyard – never needing to worry about barcodes or pesky stickers. But the grocery store is another matter entirely.  Each number on a Price Lookup Code (PLU) is determined by the International Federation for Produce Standards, and can mean several different things. Below are some basics to checking those tiny stickers on produce – and ensuring it’s exactly what you want.

PLU Numbers on Produce Stickers

*Organic produce has a 5-digit PLU number and begins with the number 9.

*Conventional produce has a 4-digit PLU number and begins with the number 4.

*Genetically modified produce (GMO) has a 5-digit PLU number and begins with the number 8.

*In terms of packaged GMO foods, be wary of processed foods containing corn, wheat and milk products, as these are the leading genetically modified foods.

If you lose your cheat sheet, simply asking the produce person at your local grocery store can be quite helpful.

What is “organic” produce?

Certified organic produce are harvested from plants that have been grown without synthetic chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and fungicide.  Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, and because of these regulations, organic food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by the national government and international organizations.

What is “conventional” produce?

Conventionally grown is an agricultural term that refers to a method of growing produce on a large scale.  In this industry, fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones are used for the purpose of bringing in higher yields and better plant longevity.

What is Genetically Modified (GMO) produce?

GMO is short for “Genetically Modified Organism.” It means that intervention is required to place a specific gene in a plant, which in turn produces a protein that contains a trait that is considered desirable. Many crops today have more than one trait that prevents plants from succumbing to disease, resist pests and weeds, and even grow with vitality in a drought. In Europe, Japan, Australia, and a growing number of countries around the world, GMO’s are banned. But in the United States, genetically engineered foods are increasing, and remain unlabeled. This has led to a growing number of GMO’s entering our grocery stores without consumers even knowing it.

The most commonly altered foods are canola, corn, cotton and soy products. Keep in mind that byproducts of GMO food, like high fructose corn syrup are now finding a place in anything from ketchup to cereal.

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How to Promote a Healthy Garden on a Budget

July 7th, 2013

Saving Money

 

If you’re a beginning gardener or have problems getting a garden to form, there are ways you can promote a healthier living without investing too much money. While you may have to spend a few dollars here and there for necessities, much of the experience can utilize items you may already have around the home. Whether you are building a beautifully rich garden full of color or trying to get vegetables to grow for home-grown meals, your labor doesn’t have to be fruitless.

1. Starting Strong - Getting your plants to grow healthy can be difficult if your yard is heavily trafficked or the environment is too harsh for seedlings to take a solid root. Instead create starter plants within the home where you can control the entire environment the plants are subjected to. By keeping the seedlings indoors where they can grow stronger you are more likely to be successful in your gardening. Once the plants stand at least three to four inches, they can easily be transplanted to your garden.

2. Soil - Mixing nutrient-rich top soil into your garden can ensure that your plats have a solid base to work with. If you have the budget to include top soil, it would be advisable. However, there are ways to encourage a garden without investing a lot of money. Compost and natural mulch can be a great source of nutrients for your garden. This is the process of taking organic material from the home and yard to decompose in the garden to infuse it with the necessities the plants need. By mixing food bi-products from the home, leaves, and grass clippings into your soil, you can save money from topsoil purchases as well as reducing the amount of waste that you throw out.

3. Weed Prevention - Once your indoor started plants are transplanted into your compost-rich soil, it’s time to think about ways to prevent weeds from invading your garden. Mulch made from grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, or essentially anything else that can prevent weeds from getting direct sunlight can help eliminate the work of pulling these invaders out every weekend. For those who are developing edibles, many will use black plastic sheets to cover the beds save for the area where the plant is present.

4. Watering - Water is essential to promoting a healthy plant. Depending on your area, you could be faced with drought restrictions. In these areas, rain-barrels can be a savior providing it will rain any time in the near future. If you have the money to invest in a water saving material this can help your plants retain every droplet of water they can by keeping the water locked where it needs to be. These water saving materials are perfect for areas that are only allowed to water lawns and gardens on specific days. Your plants can live longer with less watering.

You’ll get out of your garden the amount of effort you put into the experience. This also includes a constant vigilance over the development and care of the plants themselves. At moments, it can be akin to caring for a child as you provide necessary nourishment and the proper environment for them to flourish. Don’t get discouraged if the plants don’t perform to your expectations and find solutions to what is causing the problems you face.

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

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Making Weeds into Snacks

June 16th, 2013

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As gardeners we often see weeds as pests and think up new ways to destroy them. But there are more to weeds than what meets the eye. Did you know that many weeds are edible and even nutritious? Here are a few weeds you can snack on instead of eradicate:

  • Dollar weed  – This circular weed has a tendency to take over yards. However since you can eat them perhaps you will find them not so objectionable anymore. The small round leaves of this weed can be eaten raw and have a taste similar to cucumber. Try to pick leaves smaller than a quarter for the best flavor. Dollar weed also grows in standing water so be sure to wash well before eating. If you desire you can also make a kimchee or sauerkraut like dish from the leaves. Only the leaves are edible. The stems are stringy and hard.
  • Dandelion – This is another common weed that is edible. With its distinctive yellow flowers and fluffy seed heads this is one weed you can’t overlook. This is also a nutrition packed plant. High in many vitamins, minerals and even protein, you could survive for a while on this plant alone. However the flavor leaves something to be desired. With a bitter taste this plant is best eaten cooked. The yellow flower can be eaten raw of the green parts are removed. It makes a colorful addition to salads. Young leaves can be mixed with other greens for a flavor burst. Wilting the leaves is also a great way to make the plant palatable. Combine with hot bacon drippings, green onion, a little sugar, and apple cider vinegar for a tasty side dish. Or you can use a strong oil and vinegar dressing or a salty accompaniment like soy sauce to disguise the bitter flavor. The roots of the dandelion can also be roasted and ground for a coffee substitute or boiled for twenty to thirty minutes before eating.
  • Spiderwort/Day Flower  – With beautiful blue flowers and long, slim leaves this distinctive plant is easy to spot growing in the shade. You can eat the stems of this plant and they have a texture similar to okra, and just as slimy. The sap from the plant can be used to relive minor burns and the stems can be added to thicken stews. The leaves are also edible raw. Nutritious and hardy a frost will kill this plant but it will grow back within a couple of months.
  • Chickweed – Another weed, this one loves to grow in sidewalk cracks, along foundations and anywhere the soil has been disturbed. It has tiny white flowers and likes to grow in clusters. Full of vitamin C, iron and other minerals, this plant is best cooked in stews and soups and acts as a thickener. It tastes good chopped fine and cooked in pasta sauce or as an addition to pesto and salsa. Do not eat too much of it as excessive consumption can cause stomach upset.
  • Purslane/Sedum/Stone Crop – Another weed that loves sidewalk cracks, this juicy looking plant has many uses. This pant loves heat and can often be found growing during the hottest parts of the year when everything else is turning brown. The leaves and stems are edible raw or cooked. Full of vitamins A,C, and all the Bs, minerals, and omega-3fatty acid, this plant is a great addition to your diet. You can also steam it or fry it and the largest stems can be pickled like cucumber.
  • Sow Thistle – This weed is another variety that pops up where you least expect it. It can grow to waist high and has many edible parts. The young leaves are edible raw, steamed or boiled. The stem can be peeled and then cooked like asparagus. Very rich in vitamins and minerals the whole plant can be picked before flowers appear and steamed. The buds of the yellow flowers also make a great caper substitute. Just pluck them before they open and pickle them for six weeks. The roots of this plant are very bitter but can be roasted for a coffee substitute.

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.

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Beat The Heat This Summer In Your Garden!

June 15th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During the dog days of summer, you and your plants need some extra TLC – particularly when it hits above 100 degrees. It only takes a few hours for the sun’s rays to damage your plants beyond repair while you were splashing around in the pool (not that we blame you!). To make summer gardening beneficial for your plants and more bearable on yourself, here are some quick and easy tips.

Taking note of your plants. When the heat is on, plants will show signs of distress. Look for browning, yellowing and/or wilted leaves with little to no flowering.  They may also feel crisp when touched. If there are already signs of damage, you may be able to save your plants for successful harvesting. Make sure to mulch 3 to 4 inches to help conserve water, and when watering, give your plants a good, deep soak. Mulching also cools the soil temperature by shielding it from direct sunlight. To prevent damage, read further.

Watering. Depending on what region you live in, you may be experiencing drought. If so, and if you are dealing with water restrictions, you will need to be thoughtful with the day(s) and time(s) you water. If you can, water your plants deeply when it’s cooler in the early morning or evening. If you have drip irrigation, great! If not, you may want to invest in soaker hoses. If you’re fortunate to get a summer monsoon season, a water harvesting barrel is a great way to water your vegetables and reduce your water bills.

Feeding your plants. Many plants may hold back fruit in the hot weather, making it important that you continue to encourage fruit by providing nutrients. One easy way to do this is by side-dressing your plants with compost. Making your own compost is easy (see tips here), plus it makes a rockin’ natural fertilizer for your garden. Limiting weeds can also reduce competition for nutrients and water with your plants – pesky little things aren’t they? If it’s too hot to go weed pullin’ – you may want to try in the evening.

Shade. If your plants are showing signs of heat stress, you should provide them with shade during the hottest part of the day, generally between 11am and 3pm. You can purchase shading material at your local garden center or you can construct a shade barrier using old bed sheets and poles. Summerweight garden fabric is also a nice investment; it can shield plants from damaging rays, and protect crops from birds, insects and other nuisances. Lattices and old screens also work well to shade vulnerable plants.

Keeping your cool. Summer’s heat can be brutal and dangerous to the gardener as well, so it’s important that you protect yourself when in your garden. Using sun block and wearing a wide brimmed hat, loose fitting pants and a light-colored long-sleeved shirt or tee shirt will help reduce skin damage due to the sun’s powerful rays. Wetting or freezing a collar or a towel can also keep you feeling fresh. Furthermore – make sure to have plenty of water within reach while you work!

Best of luck this summer! What are your favorite ways to beat the summer heat within your garden? Do tell…

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Grow Up! Tips for Maximizing Your Garden Space

June 11th, 2013

Lattice

Yards come in all shapes and sizes, and even the most gifted gardener may run into the issue of trying to grow plants in an itty-bitty space, only to become frustrated and end up with frustrated plants, as well. If you’ve found that your plants aren’t thriving, don’t dismiss the idea of having a gorgeously blooming yard quite yet. There are ways to please your green friends, even when you don’t have acres of lush land with which to work.

What’s the secret to having more space in which to garden? Extending your yard upward, not outward. If you’ve never considered using a lattice, now might be the time. You’ll be amazed what you’ll come up with (pun intended).

What is lattice?

A lattice, quite simply, is a structure where pieces of material cross over each other in a grid. A lattice can make the garden space you’re working with seem much larger, since it enables your plants to grow up toward the sky.

Different Types of Lattices

There are a few types of lattices, each boasting its own advantages. Before you decide to put one in your garden, take a look at your options.

Plastic or Vinyl

A plastic lattice can be the least expensive option for the gardener, and plastic certainly has its good points. The advantages of using a plastic lattice can include:

  • It is less susceptible to weather elements.
  • Insects are not as drawn to plastic as they may be to natural materials such as wood.
  • It is easy to clean.
  • It will not warp or splinter.

Wrought Iron or Metal

A metal lattice can be copper, iron or a lightweight aluminum. The advantages of selecting a lattice made out of metal can include:

  • It is durable through the years, provided you maintain it.
  • It brings a sophisticated look to the garden.
  • It can hold heavy plants because it’s durable.

Wood

Of course, let’s not forget wood. If you choose a wooden lattice, you’ll have your pick of trees – pine, cedar and redwood, to name a few. Here are the advantages of a wood lattice:

  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • It blends naturally with the beauty of the natural world.
  • It can be painted or decorated easily.
  • It is relatively inexpensive.

Installing a Lattice in the Garden

Once you’ve decided on the type that suits your space the best, it is time to introduce the lattice to your garden. If you chose a lattice made from wood, follow these tips to install it.

  • Measure the space; measure the lattice.
    You’ll need to make sure that your lattice is cut into the size you need. Measure the space first and cut the appropriate amount of lattice. Use a fine tooth saw on a steady surface for cutting the lattice.
  • Create a frame.
    It’s a bit more difficult to get the lattice to attach to the earth, so a frame is helpful in this case. A simple wooden frame that surrounds the garden space should work.
  • Attach the lattice to the frame.
    Use small nails, deck screws or staples to attach the lattice to the frame you’ve created.

Selecting Plants for the Lattice

Now that you have a lattice in your garden, which plants will grow successfully in a vertical direction? Here are a couple suggestions for plants that will beautify your newly decorated space – there are many others, of course! Keep in mind, too, that these plants are also great for picket fences and any other structures around your home.

  • Roses
    There are many different types of roses in the world, so pick your favorites (make sure they’ll grow in your climate) and watch them wind around your new lattice. Roses are cherished for their fragrance – not to mention that they’re a symbol of love.
  • Clematis
    Clematis vines come in many colors. This is a hearty plant in most climates.
  • Wisteria
    Wisteria is known for its small flowers (usually white, blue or pink). Wisteria blooms in the spring and also thrives in many climates.
  • Morning Glory
    Considered one of the easier vines to grow, even for beginners, morning glory will bloom in the morning with large flowers in colors including white, purple and scarlet.

Remember, a lattice can offer privacy and beauty to your yard, as well as creating a more vertical garden space for happier plants. If you’ve been wondering how to make the most of a minuscule yard, letting your plants grow up might be the answer you seek.

 

About the Author:

Chris Long is a store associate at a Chicago-area Home Depot. He frequently writes for the Home Depot website. Chris’ outdoor project interests range from providing homeowners with lattice tips to how to choose the right fencing for your yard.

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Your Guide in Starting an Organic Garden

March 29th, 2013

Organic gardening

Everywhere we look, the word “organic” seems to take center stage. With so many advances in technology, including genetically modified or genetically altered foods, everyone wants to go back to basics and partake in organic gardening.  All gardeners, whether they are professional or those who do it as a hobby prefer organic gardening because of two main reasons. It promotes better health to those who eat the produce, and also promotes a better environment.

Organic gardening involves not having to use any pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers which are usually used during common farming. However, little did farmers know that using these chemicals was harming the environment. Pesticides and fungicides were being washed away into rivers by the rain, which affected aquatic life. People also discovered that these chemicals did no good to humans once they ate the food.   So naturally, people started organic farming, which involved no pesticides or other chemicals which are harmful to animals, humans or the environment.

The basic principle of organic farming is to saturate the soil with nutrients rather than the plant. More attention is therefore paid on getting the soil as nutrient rich as possible, since plants get their nutrients from the soil naturally through their roots. In organic farming, crop rotation is also crucial. If you are growing crops in your garden or greenhouse, then this basically means swapping the boxes or located areas around. It allows the soil to rejuvenate itself since each plant takes up a different amount of each nutrient.

Fertilizers are still used in organic farming, but they are organic i.e. natural. In most cases, organic fertilizer comes in the form of manure. However, this is more likely to happen on farms. If you are planning on doing some organic gardening in your home, then you may not be able to get a hold of manure. In this case, you can use compost, which can be made at home or purchased from a good gardening center.

How to start an organic garden: 

If you want to start organic gardening, you will not be sorry that you did. All you need to do is prepare the soil in a way which is natural and chemical free. This means not using any form of plant or flower food as a fertilizer or a plant growth booster. You want to use the most natural product available to you which can be manure or compost (take your pick).  Then water your soil to make sure that it is fully moist.

Decide on what it is you wish to grow. Since you may be completely new to the organic farming game, you may want to start off by planting something simple and easy such as tomatoes or blueberries. Over the growth period, you need to make sure that you are not using any artificial fertilizer to promote growth, since this goes against the principles of organic farming. If you feel the need to re-fertilize the soil, simply add more manure or compost.

Once you have mastered the simple food such as tomatoes, you can try something harder such as potatoes or peas. Once you have enough experience and are comfortable with the concept of organic farming, you could grow virtually anything, which is a superb quality to have, especially during these times where we cannot be entirely sure about what is in our foods.

Your final product will be a delicious item of food that has been grown using nothing but nature’s goodness. This crop will contain no chemicals in any way, shape or form. It is completely and utterly natural, making it the healthiest you could possible get.

 

About the author:

Nicole is an author keen on flowers and home organizing. Enjoy her tips on decorating with flowers and gardening.

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Announcing Humble Seed’s First Fundraising Initiative

March 13th, 2013


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We are pleased to announce that Humble Seed is partnering with Saline High School’s Future Farmers of America for our first fundraising initiative!

Would you like to learn the exciting details?

Who we’re working with: We are fortunate to have David Mellor, Saline High School’s Agriscience teacher and FFA advisor working with us directly to spearhead the project. Together, we will support students as they sell our premium garden seed kits to their friends, family, and community members.

We are incredibly impressed with the dedication Saline students have demonstrated during the course of this fundraiser! Students have been hard at work handling all the sale orders, shipping, and delivery of seed kits. Furthermore, they will continue to educate the community on how to grow a home garden, as well as the importance of gardening with non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds.

What’s for sale:  Humble Seed is offering our favorite seed kits to support the endeavor. This includes Veggin’ Out, Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles, Uncle Herb’s Favorites, and The Producer seed kits.

Why we’re doing it: 50% of all sales generated will be donated back to the school! From this initiative, we hope to encourage families to grow a garden that will provide a source of healthy, safe and nutritious food all while saving them money.

Our promise: As always, we offer heirloom, certified organic, non-GMO, and non-hybrid varieties in our seed kits at an exceptional value. We are providing the same quality packaging – utilizing Humble Seed’s unique resealable Mylar packs that keep seeds fresher, longer- allowing gardeners to plant now or later.

Thanks for all of your hard work, Saline Hornets! We are proud to be part of such a worthy cause, and look forward to continuing these types of fundraisers in the future.

Want to fundraise with Humble Seed: If you have an organization that is interested in partnering with Humble Seed for an upcoming fundraiser, please send your information to info@humblseed.com

 

 

 

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How to Maximize Small Space Gardening for Apartment Renters

March 1st, 2013

Herb Gardening-Pizza-219

“I’d love to have a garden but it’s impossible to do living in a tiny apartment.” If this is what you think, you’re either not trying hard enough or not that interested in gardening, because there are tons of ways to use your green thumb—even for renters. From balcony plants to window boxes to sprouting jars, apartment-dwellers have a wealth of options available to them.

And with the number of urban gardeners on the rise, you can even find lots of store-bought tools and DIY ideas that help you to greenify your space while still keeping your living area clutter-free and maximizing the space. Here are just a few great ways to get the most garden out of a tiny area.

Use the walls. If you don’t want to have plants taking up precious counter space, consider mounting them to a section of your walls that gets a decent amount of sun. You can use manufactured options like FloraFelt to create a true “vertical garden,” or make your own mounting system to show your knack for design and artistry. A simple wood slab with metal brackets attached can be fantastic for sprouting jars, or you can build a shelf, a window box that goes on your wall, or use gutters (yes, that’s right, gutters). Some people have even used old hanging shoe organizers as “pots” for their herbs—not bad if function is more important than aesthetics to you.

Get a pallet, jack. Yes, that was cheesy, but it’s also a great idea. If you stand a pallet up vertically, the open slats are spaced perfectly for you to fit in a bunch of different plants while using very little space. You’ll just need trays that have been cut to fit and plants that are okay with being a little cramped. Oh, and of course the pallet itself but, if you just call around to a few stores close by, you’re bound to find a place that will allow you to take a pallet or two the next time they get a shipment. Some of the surprisingly best options to try are pet stores and paint stores, and you should definitely check out Craigslist, because it’s fairly common for people to list them.

Let it all hang out. The concept of decorating your house with hanging plants isn’t a new one but you can take that a step further by creating a hanging garden. This works fantastically for individually potted plants, especially if you can find a space where they’re able to get a lot of sun. But if you just don’t have room or like the idea of heavy ceramic pots hanging over your head, you can always try your hand at what this crazy guy has discovered and start a string garden. No, those photos aren’t doctored. The plants really are hanging by a string and there’s no pot holding in all that dirt. It’s pretty awesome.

Create tiers. Even for those of you apartment-dwellers lucky enough to have porches or balconies, there’s a good chance that they’re not very big so you still have to be creative with your space. One clever solution is to nest your pots together vertically rather than placing them side by side. This blogger made a gorgeous outdoor herb garden by using different sizes of galvanized steel containers and punching holes in the bottom to let the water drain through. The end result is kind of like a series of Russian nesting dolls (or a snowman), with a giant tub on the bottom, followed by a medium-sized tub centered inside it, and then a small tub centered in that one. Making it tiered gives the plants more space vertically and horizontally since they can spread out above the lower ones. Genius.

About the Author:

Mark Russell writes about apartment living and solutions and creative ideas for living in small spaces.  Mark is a writer for Apartment Guys in Chicago.

 

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