Fall Gardening or just gardening in general is something I am very passionate about. It not only saves us money in our grocery budget but it is healthy for us and keeps us moving. When Mr. CBB approached me about doing a post for his site I jumped at the chance. I decided though since we all have different strengths with gardening that I should just share how we garden here at our Lil’ Suburban Homestead.
When we first moved to the coastal area six years ago we were frustrated with our gardening results initially. We learned quickly that we were going to have to amend our soil and do a lot of raised bed gardening and use a lot of pots to get that soil mixture just right.
We use a container mix from our local mulch yard (they blend it already and it includes topsoil, sand, and peat moss) but then we add our own compost, if it needs it we add more sand and peat moss and sometimes some vermiculite. This takes years of figuring out I have to say my husband “The Viking” in my life has really fine tuned this and kind of knows what works for us. In this regard I really follow his instructions on the mixes for the most part. He is Mr. Scientific in our household and I’m the researcher of plants. I look for the best time to plant the seeds and what best to plant them with.
This Fall I decided that I wanted us to grow a lot of Asian greens, mustard greens, kale, Bok Choy and those types of vegetables. I recently heard a speaker who said they grown magnificently in our area. I have included some photos of some of the greens that are coming up right now.
Take the time to join a local gardening group and learn from others in your area that have been gardening longer. We joined a local group and have learned so much already. If that won’t work for you join some of the on-line gardening forums and try to connect with others in your area. Many of them have seed swaps etc. I have participated in several of these types of activities and it helps keep the costs down and you get to make new friends.
I do have some advice for those of you thinking about gardening…..
My no. 1 piece of advice is if you don’t plant it won’t grow! Gardening is an ACTION and you can think all day about how you would like some lovely radishes or lettuces but if you don’t go outside and get your hands dirty you won’t have either at least not from your own yard.
My no. 2 piece of advice is don’t just limit yourself to what you think you can grow try lots of different seeds. I was not sure how Jerusalem Artichokes would do in our area and they have done wonderfully! We also grew some purple okra this past summer that was just beautiful.
My no. 3 piece of advice is find a little space for a herb garden. There is something magical about growing herbs as the scent from the garden will soothe your soul. It’s similar to having a home apothecary and you can explore different home remedies using your herbs. My absolute favourite herb is Rosemary “ remembrance” and I treasure it. I love to serve it with roasts or on my homemade crash potatoes a recipe from Pioneer Woman’s Blog. I think the neat thing about herbs is you can find so many uses for them so it makes them a very fun gardening item!
Gardening does not have to be an expensive pursuit truthfully most of our seeds we swap with local gardening friends. Also if you take the time to collect seeds from your own plants of course not so much your hybrid plants (if you are unfamiliar with hybrids) it’s not that you can’t get a good plant to grow from them a second time it’s just there is no guarantee they are reliable for a second planting but please don’t stay away from hybrids for that reason. I have a pepper plant that is five years old that is a hybrid that still produces. For a long time we would just set aside $30.00 a month out of our budget for gardening supplies which helped us stick to our plans and accomplish our goals.
Our first goal was to build our greenhouse which we built for under $400.00 with mostly recycled materials if $30.00 a month is too much for you start with $10.00. I have a friend that saves egg shells and milk cartons to start her seeds in. If you are primarily interested in growing your own food and becoming more self-sufficient I promise you vegetable plants are not picky or fussy and you can find free containers everywhere. Truthfully your most expensive gardening items in my opinion are your shears, your gloves, your soil mix and compost if you don’t have a free source of compost.
There are tricks to it all of course you definitely have to adjust your watering at times and if it’s raining too much you may have to move some plants to shelter. You will learn the defeat of dealing with squash borers and tomato blight but we gardeners don’t give up. As a matter of fact my friend and I said the other day one of our favourite things about gardening is that you never know what kind of crop you are going to have, it’s always a surprise. On the flip side of that if your life were depending on the crop it would not be so much fun. I hope we have inspired some would be gardener out there and please know you can stop by our Lil’ Suburban Homestead any time always look forward to seeing you!
Thanks so much Mr. CBB for having me here at Canadian Budget Binder it was a pleasure to write this post reminded me of where we started and helped me to focus where we are heading with our garden this Fall so not to sound too cliché “Go Grow Something!”
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