Check out the following...

"Backyard Grocery Gardening": Info to provide healthy, nutritious and untainted produce
"Special Cooking & Food Prep": Canning, storing, cooking stored-food or money-saving meals
"Homesteading Basics": Becoming self-reliant, inventory checks, water, emergencies, etc.
"School-At-Home": Discussions, quizzes, assignments and other schoolwork
"What Would U Do If...": A fun way to spend 5 minutes of your day!

A Mobile Container Garden

Wanna see some pictures from our first year to garden? (2008)
The above was part of our garden last year. See the small rectangular tubs? We planted beans in them. We set small indoor trash cans, with peppers and eggplants and okra, in tires to prevent them from toppling over during wind storms. Several tires had potting soil directly into them and they grew beautiful delicious melons and pumpkins. The top right of the pic with the yellow netting (tulle fabric) is a pot with a blutberry plant in it (covered to prevent birds from eating our berries). The raised bed to the right was made from 4' x 8' wood boards, filled with potting soil... we planted soybeans around the edge and carrots in the center. The raised beds for the corn patch is in the upper left corner.

Above: a picture of the potted tomatoes, taken in Summer 2008, about a month before the pic that follows. We placed the pots on boards so earwigs would have a harder time getting into the pot. It worked.

The above is a pic of our tomatoes from 2008 Summer. Hmmm... how beautiful and very productive. We got 5-gallon pots and buckets from dollar stores to go with what we already had. We planted way too many tomatoes, and each of the 20 POTS held at least one tomato (sometimes two), a marigold and a basil. Still, even with overcrowding, we had a huge harvest.

Above is a picture of 6 asparagas plants, about a month after we transplanted them. Three in each "trash can". By the end of Summer, these were so bushy that the little asparagus stems had to fight the foliage for sunlight! These pots are now in our family room, near the grow light, hopefully hibernating until Spring.

Because of the quality of our soil at our current home (sand on top of clay), we grew much of last year's garden in containers., as you can see from above.

Now... because we don't know yet if we'll be in a new house in time for Spring planting, thought we'd go on and plan at least a minimal garden for our 25-35 containers we used last year for tomatoes and various other plants. That way, when we move, we can move our growing plants too.

So... oh, no. Now we really have to finish deciding our mobile-garden plan. Ok... we'll post our plan in a day or two. Meanwhile, aren't these pictures wonderful!

Carrot and Squash Harvest - Sept 3 2008

Here's our harvest from September 3 2008.

At the top are three white scallop squash. Obviously the two smaller are the ideal size - we didn't notice the bigger until too late. However, after our first free in October, we found an even bigger one that we'd missed. Not very tasty, even baked. No, these are best harvested a couple of inches in size, and eaten raw.

These are carrots - planted so many, not sure what these were. Very sweet and tasty. Washed the dirt off and ate raw. Freshly harvested carrots don't last in our house very long. We planted and harvested
atomic red, cosmic purple, orange Danvers 126 half long, and a cremey white carrot that we can't remember details about. We plan on sowing seeds for red, orange, purple, yellow and white carrots in 2009 - lots of each.

The one long cucumber in the picture is a Boston Pickling. The big tomato is a Big Striped Rainbow (slicer - sweet), and there's a lot of other various tomatoes in the colander.

The odd-shaped yellow squash was a result of cross-pollination, but dehydrated well.

We love talking about our garden - even if all the plants are dead and the harvests are preserved now. Don't you?

Tomato and Zucchini Harvest - Aug 14 2008

This is what we harvested on August 14 of 2008.

We had two
Striata d'Italia zucchini, 3 beautiful Boston Pickling Cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, Juliet Grape Tomatoes, Thai Pink Tomatoes, Romano string beans, yellow pear tomatoes, a few red cherry tomatoes, two Kellogg's Orange Breakfast Tomatoes and that one dark tomato towards the middle right is a Black Cherry Tomato.

This was an average daily harvest for us.

We loved growing these, but have decided to cut back on the tomatoes for Year 2009. The Kelloggs Orange were thick paste and strong and meaty. Will do those and Big Striped Rainbow (orange) Tomatoes for sweetness and slicing value. Probably Red Amish for red paste tomatoes although they supposedly don't have much of a taste (which is fine since they will be used for italian sauces and ketchup. Haven't decided what other tomatoes yet.

As to the zucchini, it's the first time we'd grown the
Striata d'Italia and were pleasantly surprised. They are thicker on the blossom end, very few seeds, and extremely tasty raw. Somewhat mild. We even got the kid to eat a third of one each time we harvested one. (Family of three, see!) We, unfortunately, planted it in the corn bed, which hindered their growth. We know better next time. And we'll plant more. We would have eaten one a day raw, and did often as well as diced a couple for the freezer (zucchini bread later).

Yummy food we grew ourselves - novice gardeners in Year 2008. If we can do it, so can you.

Besides, we'll do much better next year.

Gardening Resolutions

Here's our family's resolutions for our garden for the New Year:
  1. Finish planning our garden, as best we can. Pick 3-4 tomatoes, 3-4 beans, 1 summer and 1 winter squash, 1 corn, 1 okra, greens, eggplant, etc.

  2. Order seeds for vegetable garden (assuming we have our new place).

  3. Sell our house by mid-March so we can move closer to Hubby's work and Hubby's mom, and where there is more land and less restrictions on how we can use it. (Right now we are not allowed chickens or bees or farm animals.)

  4. Order, receive and plant several nut trees, fruit trees and fruit bushes. Give them a head start since they take longer to produce.

  5. Prepare vegetable garden area.

  6. Plant vegetable garden.

  7. Buy chickens and when old enough, place in tractor cage for garden/fertilizer/pest control.

  8. Create compost using the two composters we already have.

  9. Harvest and preserve produce.

Blessings to all, and have a wonderful new year. The Williams Family

Catalog/Suppliers: Burgess, Burpee, Nature Hills

Here are the last three catalogs to consider when you plan your next garden. We might have more in the future, but for now... this is it!

Burgess Seed and Plant Co. -
We've bought from this company before. Quite a variety to choose from. Grapes, citrus, berries, and more. Phone people are helpful.

Burpee -
We think just about everyone has heard of this company. These seeds are almost always available in stores like Home Depot or Wal-Mart. However, we picked up a package of mixed tomato seeds last year (not available now) and it had only a total of like 8 seeds for over $2.00. They have great varieties, but be sure to check how many seeds you get for their high prices.

Nature Hills -
We haven't used this company before but found them when searching for pomegranate. They have several things we plan on checking out about them.

That's it for now. Get going and plan your garden!