Last month in the garden I focused on watering, planting warm-weather crops, training our new puppy, learning to cook from scratch, building up the compost bins and maintaining lots of grow bags!

Watering

It hasn’t rained in a long time. There’s still plenty of pond water available to water the plants, but there has been a significant drop…it’s the lowest I have ever seen it.

picture I took while cleaning out the gutters

But, on the plus side, as the water level drops, new soil is exposed, along with the leaves, algae, fish waste, and plant debris that have been accumulating on the pond floor over the years. This a great source of nutrients, so I’ve been raking some of it up for my compost bins, the chicken coop and planters.

Planting Warm-Weather Crops

I try to remember to plant seeds throughout the garden beds every few days. By staggering your planting times, you have continuous harvests all year long rather than one large harvest, then nothing.

beans, corn, bananas, quinoa, tomatoes, sweet potato and wild flowers!

Right now, I’m on a string bean kick (aka bush beans). Last month, I let a bunch of green, purple, and yellow string beans dry on the plant so I could harvest them for planting!

Grow some string beans!

String beans are great plants for new garden beds or to grow food in an area with poor soil.

They are easy to grow, fun to eat and the plants improve the soil (nitrogen fixers!).

These string beans have been troopers throughout the drought. They grow well in poor soil and in fact, they’re a great way to improve it.

I’ll keep planting them until the plants start showing signs of stress from our brutal summer heat. Then, I’ll chop them back, throw the leaves in the planter and leave the roots in the ground to decompose (aka natural fertilizer).

easy to grow purple string beans – zone 9b

In addition to string beans, I have been planting corn, peppers, eggplant, okra, squash, cucumber, and sunflower seeds, as well as spreading tomato plant cuttings.

Succession Gardening

Succession gardening, or planting seeds regularly, is a great way to ensure a steady supply of fresh produce throughout the year.

This practice involves staggering planting times to ensure you have a continuous supply throughout the season, rather than a large harvest all at once.

The Dog

I wasn’t planning on getting a dog…but, our friend’s dog had puppies and here we are.

Bailey the new garden dog – a 4-month-old Aussie Doodle

So far, we’ve taught her to take sticks to the fire pit and herd the chickens back into their pen. She doesn’t run away, she’s great with the kids and she’s been a surprisingly awesome addition to the family. She’s going to be pretty useful to have around and I’m excited to have her.

Cook your own food

We have been cooking and baking a lot lately. We started off with recipes that use lots of eggs, like egg noodles and French toast, and now we’re experimenting with pizza dough and bread.

(I’ve been trying to perfect a hidden vegetable pizza sauce since the boys won’t eat raw vegetables. Send me any good recipes if you have some!)

making egg noodles

Our 9-year-old giant mulberry tree is yielding lots of super messy and delicious berries. Every year I say I’m going to make mulberry wine and jam, but we always end up eating them before we can get them in the house…maybe next year…

Grow Bags

Building up the soil requires patience. It takes time for those super tiny microbes to establish their communities, particularly the mycorrhizal fungi that link it all together. So, I always say you can’t buy great soil, you have to grow it. But, what if you can buy it?

grow bags, day one!

Now you can. I have been busy building up and maintaining 48 grow bags in preparation for my Grow Your Own Food seminar in May.

We filled them with soil, microbes, and seeds. I’ll tend to them for the next 2 months until I get to send these superpowered grow bags home with all my attendees. Such a great way to set people up for gardening success.

So, I have 2 months left of watering, mulching, adding compost, and raising microbes. It’s been a pretty cool experiment and I can’t wait to see how they look at the end of May for the seminar! Stay Tuned!

So, stay tuned! I hope you all have a great spring season! Get those warm-weather crops planted because the summer heat will be here before you know it!

If you want to learn more about gardening naturally, come out and attend my seminar at Rockledge Gardens for their Earth Day Celebration. We will discuss natural ways we can all grow our own fresh produce in a way that is beneficial to our health and our environment. See ya in May!

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