How to Grow Broccoli Raab {Start to Finish}

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Broccoli raab seed packet

Have you thought about your fall garden yet? This year I will be growing broccoli raab again. Why? Because it’s freakin’ delicious that’s why. ;) I don’t even really like broccoli, but broccoli raab? Oh heck ya, bring it on.

Brief description:  Broccoli raab is also known as asparagus broccoli, broccoletto, rapini, or rabe, .  It is grown for it’s asparagus-like shoots.  It can be used in salads and vegetable dishes or it can stand alone.

Where to Plant Broccoli Raab:  In a sunny location {though it will tolerate partial shade, but with lower yields}.  Plant in raised beds, containers, or garden beds.

brocolli raab seeds

Planting Seeds:   Plant seeds 1/8″ deep.  Thin to 1 every 4-6″ {or one per pot} when seedlings are about 2″ tall.

Growing Tips:  Broccoli raab uses up quite a bit of nitrogen, so regular fertilizing is best.  Manure and/or compost soil conditioners also help yields considerably.  Requires moderate, but consistent watering.

How to Grow Broccoli Raab {Start to Finish}

How to Harvest:  When plant reaches about 1 foot high, harvest buds and leaves just under buds with scissors.

Prep Tip:  Broccoli raab has a stronger taste than regular broccoli.  If the taste is too strong, you can tame it down considerable by blanching it.  {Blanch for 2-3 minutes in heavily salted water.}

regional-planting-guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here is my Favorite Broccoli Raab recipe:  

broccoli raab salad
Chickpeas with Broccoli Raab and Bacon

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



How to Get Rid of White Powdery Mildew on Squash Leaves

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How to Get Rid of White Powdery Mildew on Squash Leaves

I’ve received a bunch of questions recently from people wanting to know how to get rid of that awful powdery mildew on their squash leaves lately, so I thought I would go ahead and repost this cool trick reader Veronica sent in. 

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After I told you all about the powdery mildew on my pumpkin patch, reader, Veronica, wrote in about her success in getting rid of powdery mildew.  {I would totally try this if my pumpkin patch wasn’t so big, it would take hours to apply!}, but I thought it was an AWESOME tip that I would share in case some of you are dealing with powdery mildew.

Veronica wrote:

My zucchini plants got powdery mildew this year and I got rid of the mildew! As directed by my mother, I combined a tsp of baking soda with a quart of water in a spray bottle; shook it up real good so all the soda dissolved. Then sprayed each infected leaf each morning until the spots when away. My plants are now back to producing (albeit slowly) zucchini. I live in Mukilteo, WA, so it should work for you too, if you want to spray your pumpkin plants each morning. Good luck with that!
That’s awesome that you were able to save your plant, Veronica.  And thanks for sending in the tip!
white powdery mildew leaves
As a sidenote, powdery mildew can overwinter too, so make sure to clean up all the leaves and plant debris out of your beds in the fall.  Also, in the interest of prevention for next year, avoid overhead watering {i.e. sprinkling the leaves} and try making plant spacing less dense to increase air circulation.
Does anyone else have this problem? How did you get rid of the white powdery mildew on your squash leaves?
~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Turnips {Start to Finish}

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how to grow turnips

If you plan on growing your own turnips for Thanksgiving dinner now is the time to plant them. We planted 2 packets of Purple Top White Globe Turnips this morning and if all goes well, we’ll be swimming in them by late November.

Brief description:  Turnips are a root veggie that make great fall crops because they can withstand cooler temperatures.  You can also eat the tops:  turnip greens.

Where to Plant Turnips:  Plant in a well-drained sunny place.

turnip seeds

Planting Seeds:  For fall harvest {which usually yields sweeter turnips} plant about 2 months before average last frost.  Plant in a sunny, well-drained area.  Plant 1/4″ deep about every 3″ apart.

Growing Tips:   Keep the soil evenly moist for best growth.  At about 5″ tall, apply a mulch to protect the plants.

turnips

How to Harvest:  If you are harvesting the greens, pick only 2-3 leaves per plant at a time.  For the turnip roots, pick when they reach 2-3″ in diameter {they taste better when they are smaller}.  Harvest the roots like you would a potato or rutabaga, being careful not to damage the turnip.  

How to prepare turnips to eat:  Turnips are a great substitution to the more starchy potato.  They don’t have quite the carb load, so if that matters to you, you can still get the potato flavor without the sugars.  Turnips can be mashed, diced, sliced, roasted, and even eaten raw.  Turnip greens can be cooked or eaten raw too.  Turnip roots store for a long time–don’t wash them, just cut off the greens and place them in a single layer in a box.  Then store the box in a cool, well-ventilated area.

Fun Fact:  According to the Botanical Interests website, the Irish used to hollow out turnips and put and ember in them–which is where the idea for Jack O’ Lanterns came from.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

vegetables to plant for a fall harvest

Now is the time to start thinking about Thanksgiving root vegetables.  If you want to know what else you can plant to have in time for a Thanksgiving harvest, go HERE, and check out my fall planting guide.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

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How to Save Tomato Seeds

Do you save your seeds from year to year?  There are definitely lots of advantages to saving them.  One, it’s cost effective {read:  free}.  Two, it allows you to save seeds that are already adapted to your individual climate, soil conditions, etc.  And three, it’s the ultimate in self-reliance.  Oh, and four, it’s pretty simple, so why not?

How to Save Tomato Seeds

To save your tomato seeds, first consider your variety.  Hybrids don’t always save very well, because they don’t come up true from year to year.  Heirlooms are the perfect choice for saving each year, because they are incredibly predictable.

How to Save Your Tomato Seeds

Next, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the pulp into a mason jar.  Add a couple of tablespoons of water.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Cover the mason jar with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and leave it to sit for a couple of days.  A layer of scum/mold will start to form on the top of the jar after 4-5 days {it’s the fermenting process, nothing to be alarmed over}.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Skim this layer off and then pour the mixture into a bowl. Pour a little cold water over the mixture in the bowl and allow it to sit for a minute or two.  Some seeds will float to the top—skim these ones out, they are duds.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Now pour the rest of the mixture into a fine wire strainer or a sieve.  Run the mixture under cold water until no pulp remains.  Now you should have viable, clean tomato seeds ready for drying.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

To dry them, lay them out flat on a paper towel or newspaper.  Allow them to dry for 10 days or so, stirring them around every couple of days to ensure consistent drying throughout the seed.  Now you can put them in an labeled envelope and pat yourself on the back for your pure awesomeness.  Job well-done, Captain Sustainable.  Job well-done.

~Mavis

Read more about Long Term Seed Storage

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Dry Sunflower Seeds

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How to Dry Sunflower Seeds

I have the most amazing readers, and most of the time, it is me learning from you, but every once in awhile, someone sends in a question that I think, “Hey, I bet lots of people would love to know the answer to that.”  So, I am going to try to feature some of your questions and answer them, the best I can.

Mavis,

Do you have a preferred or recommended way to dry the sunflower heads to gather seeds? I have tried several times and mine always seem to mold before seeds are ready to harvest. I have tried a few ways with no luck! We decided to try again and the seeds went in the ground today ……would appreciate any tips! Thanks!  On another note…your garden inspires! Thanks for rocking and growing!

irish-eyes-sunflowers

First off, thank you!  Second, good question.  To dry sunflower seeds, it is best to leave the sunflower in the ground.  You will know you are ready to start drying your seeds when the flower has lost its petals and the head begins to droop.  As it starts to die back {you may need to provide some support to the stalk as it is dying} cover the head of the flower with cheese cloth or a paper bag and rubber band or tie around the base of the flower head.

The cheese cloth/bag will keep the birds from attacking your seeds, and catch any seeds that may fall off during the drying process.  If you live in a wet climate, which you may, since you mentioned mold is an issue, you may have to cut the head off of the stalk {leave about 12” of the stalk} and dry it in a covered area {i.e. garage, shed, etc.}.  If you do bring it inside, make sure to still cover the head with the cheese cloth or bag, and hang the plant upside down to dry.

sunflower-seed-heads

Allowing the seeds to dry ON the head of the flower gives the seeds enough time to harden up.  When the seeds are completely dry, keep the head of the flower in the paper bag {or put a paper bag over the head now if you used cheese cloth, and gently brush the head, causing the seeds to naturally fall off into the bag.  If the seeds are giving you trouble, they are not dry enough yet.

I hope that helps.  Thanks again for the question!

Happy Gardening,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Turn Your Garden Produce Into Cash

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setting-up-a-vegetable-stand-in-your-drivewayYou’ve put in a lot of time and effort and now your garden is producing produce like crazy. It’s possible all those extra veggies could mean a little extra cash in your pocket. I’m giving you some helpful tips to do just that in my latest eHow article: Tips for Selling Your Extra Produce.

It never fails: Every year I plant a garden, and every year I grow more food than my family can eat. So what’s a hip housewife in suburbia to do? Haul a table to the end of my driveway and set up a vegetable stand of course.

Tips for Selling Produce

  • Check-in with your Homeowners Association. If you live in a neighborhood with a HOA, check to make sure it’s OK to set up shop. My theory is if the HOA with allow you to have a garage sale, they probably won’t mind if you sell a few veggies once or twice a year at the end of your driveway.

Go HERE to read the full article.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts {Start to Finish}

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brussels sprouts

 

Are you thinking about growing Brussels sprouts this year for a winter harvest? Well now is the time to plant those seeds!

Brief description: Brussels sprouts are a cabbage-like vegetable and are part of the mustard family.  They have a richer, less bitter taste than cabbage, though.

Where to Plant Brussels Sprouts:  Plant in fertile, well-drained soil in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.  They can be grown in raised beds or garden beds.

cabbage seeds

Planting Seeds:  Direct sow seeds 1/4″ deep.  When seedlings are 2″ tall, thin to one about every 2 feet.

Growing Tips:  Brussels sprouts like slightly acidic soil.  Don’t be tempted to cram them in tighter than 24″ apart–they are one of those plants that need plenty of space to grow.  They do best in cool weather, so as tempting as it may be to plant them in spring for a summer harvest, don’t, it makes them taste super bitter.

brussels sprout sprouts stalk

How to Harvest:  Brussels sprouts mature from the bottom up, so pick the them from the bottom up.  Pick off sprouts when they are firm and about 1-2″ in diameter.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here’s my Favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic VinegarBrussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

Getting kids to eat brussels sprouts:  Around Halloween time is the perfect time to introduce brussels sprouts to kids.  Cook a whole Halloween feast, and tell the kids the brussels sprouts are Martian Heads.  They will love it.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – How to Harvest and Store Onions

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I’ve received a bunch of questions recently from people wanting to know when they should harvest their onions,  so I thought I would go ahead and repost this handy dandy tutorial on how to harvest and store onions for those of you who have never done it before, or just need a quick refresher.

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This year I grew 3 different types of onions.  Walla Walla Sweets Yellow Onions, and Red Onions.

The Walla Wallas are for eating fresh, the yellows for winter storage, and the red onions for homemade salsa, sandwiches and for roasting on the grill.

Because I planted so many onions, at different times, not all of the onions are ready to harvest right now.  But a few of them are.

Here are a few pictures of the drying process of my first batch of onions.

Onions are ready to be harvested when the necks are nice and dry.  At this point you’ll want to pull up the onions, and lay them flat on the soil for a day or two so they have a chance to  dry out in the sun a bit.

Then, you’ll want to move your onions to a warm, ventilated area {out of the sun} for a few weeks so they can finish curing.

You’ll know the onions are done drying when they look like the regular onions you see in the grocery store.  The outer skins will be paper like and brittle, the roots will be dry, and the tops will be completely dried out.

If you would like to show off your onions, then you’ll definitely want to try braiding them.  Hanging the onions in the kitchen is cool.  The Pilgrims did it, and so can you.

Braiding onions is pretty basic, almost like french braiding hair, but instead of pulling hair {onions} from beneath, you are adding them on top and working them into the onions from there.

The trick to braiding the onions is to make sure the onion stalks are not completely dried out.  If they are to dry, the papery stalks will crumble in your hands.  You need them to be moist enough so they will be flexible to braid with out falling apart.

When I braided the bunch of onions you see above, they had been drying for about 7 days on the back porch, which I felt was the perfect amount of time.  As the onions continue to dry, they will hold together just fine because I braided them pretty tight.

As far as long term storage goes, brush off any excess dirt, and place onions in mesh bags, or storage crates in a cool, dark place.  The ideal temp for storing onions is around 40 degrees.

Now, if I could just get the smell of onions off my hands…

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

A Small Garden from Virginia Packs a Lot of Vegetables into a 6×8 Foot Raised Bed

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raised garden boxes

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

growing squash in a raised garden bed

Check out these photos Susanne from Virginia recently sent in of her 6×8, 24″ high raised bed garden. This is her second year with it and it just goes to show you do not need a huge amount of space to grow some veggies.

Here’s what Susanne said about her garden:

Kale, romaine, spinach and radishes were first and are about gone now.

Basil, and chives… Both onion and garlic in opposite corners! All have been ready for a couple months at least. Chives were perennial and survived last years crazy Virginia winter. Many things didn’t make it through that normally do.. My fig tree and large gardenia are still in recovery.

growing tomatoes in raised beds

Currently, in addition to herbs, we have HUGE Beefsteak tomatoes, tons of cherry tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. My 4 foot PLUS marigolds are blooming.., FINALLY! There are only 3 tomato plants in this garden. Two Beefsteak and 1 cherry! I have topped all over and over. They just get bigger… AMAZING. I will need a ladder to get all the cherry tomatoes… Literally.

squash growing in a garden box

My greatest challenge is to maintain good airflow and keeping it open and inviting to bees. I started everything from seed except the tomato plants and brussels sprouts. The sprouts are a failure. I have since learned they should be a fall planting… I guess the “grower” missed that point too!

All are growing in topsoil from a natural pond/runoff in the back corner of our property. This great natural dirt is amended with chicken poop compost from my chickens. The chickens live in our backyard. This garden bed is in our front yard!

raised garden

The table and bucket on the side are to keep my dogs from picking squash! They are starting to grow outside the box so we will see if they can restrain themselves!

~ Susanne

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Help! What’s Wrong With my Onions?

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onion harvest

I posted a picture of my onion harvest on my instagram page the other day and someone made this comment:

This is the 1st year I’ve put out a garden, my onions have fallen over and the base has gone mushy. I harvested them, only three were bad, but I was wondering why it happened?? Any ideas?

Honestly, there are a lot of possibilities that would make them mushy.  First up, a bacterial disease.

Onions become susceptible to bacterial infections once the bulbs start to form, or if they get wounds in the leaves.  There are a couple of bacterial diseasaes that are possible, and they are pretty hard to tell apart.  Unfortunately, the bacteria can reside in the soil, in the irrigation water, etc., so preventing it can be tricky.  Your best bet is to use flood irrigation once the bulbs form.  It keeps bacteria from the dirt from splashing up onto the leaves, as it might when using sprinklers.  Onions can also be susceptible after harvest, so curing them correctly is super important.

Next, you may have had onion maggots.  They like to get inside the stems and destroy your onions from the inside out.  I don’t think this sounds like the case with  you, or you would have seen evidence when you dug them up, but still, they would cause a mushy-ness.

Finally, it’s possible for your onions to get fungal infections and become mushy.  Usually, you will see evidence of a fungus, like white, gray or black powdery looking stuff on the onion.  Fungal problems typically come from cool weather or over-watering.  Again, keeping the water off of the leaves by using flood irrigation really helps.

If I were a betting lady, I’d say  you had a bacteria {just because you didn’t really mention evidence of anything else}.  I’d plant your onions in a new spot next year {crop rotation}, and try the flood irrigation.

Hope that helps!

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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