How to Save Seeds for Next Years Garden

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How to Save Seeds for Next Years Garden

Saving seeds year after year can be a real money saver in the garden.  By saving the BEST of what you’ve grown year after year, the plants will adapt to your soil/climate and become naturally disease resistant.  The best part is that saving seeds is waaaay easier than people think.

If you are new to seed saving, here’s a quick guide to get you started:

silica-gel-packets

You’ll Need

Silica gel packets {I’ve been known to save these from other things that I buy}
Envelopes or Containers {to store seeds in}
Plate and/or bowl
Paper Towels
Sieve

how to grow bean seeds

Directions

First, make sure the seeds that you are saving are from open-pollinated plants {the original seed packet should tell you}.  Hybrids and cross pollinated plant seeds will not produce the same plant/fruit year after year.

Each plant is a little different. For beans and peas,  dry pods on the vine and harvest when they rattle in the pod and their skins are papery thin. remove the beans, and freeze them overnight to kill any bugs before storing them in an airtight container.

yellow pepper seeds

For peppers, melons, and squash cut open the ripened fruit and scoop out the seeds.  Rinse the seeds thoroughly {for sweeter fruits, like melons, you may want to use a mild dish soap to get all of the sugars off of the seeds.  Lay the rinsed seeds on a plate and gently pat them dry with a paper towel.  Leave the seeds on the plate to air dry completely.  This may take a few days {make sure to keep the plate in a pretty non-humid place}.

How to Save Your Tomato Seeds

Tomatoes are the most time consuming seeds to save {also the most worth it}.  For a full set of instructions, go HERE.

For cucumbers, gently cut open the fruit {so as not to cut the seeds while opening it}.  Scrape the seeds into a small sieve and rinse well.  As you are rinsing, gently rub the seeds along the bottom of the sieve to remove the coating.  Allow the seeds to dry as you would the peppers, melons, and squash.

When the seeds have dried completely, place them into marked envelopes.  To store the seeds long term, you’ll want to throw in a silica gel package to keep the moisture out.  Seeds can be stored indefinitely in the freezer {place envelopes into an air tight container and place several silica gel packets into the container}.  For year to year storage, a cool dark place like the fridge is best.  Either way, when it is time to use the seeds, DO NOT OPEN the container until is has come to room temperature.  That will keep the moisture out of your seeds.

That’s basically it.  Have any of you saved your seeds year after year?  Do you have stronger plants because of it?

~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 Freeze Green Beans for Winter Storage

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bowl of fresh green beans

I was out puttering around the garden this morning and ended up picking a giant tub of beans and immediate thought, beans… it’s what’s for dinner.” I even posted a picture on my Instagram account declaring green beans were on the dinner menu. cutting green beans

But them I changed my mind. ;) I think I’ll make a pie instead. Because I can do that. After all what’s the point of being head cook if you can’t change the menu at the last minute? cut green beans

So with pie on my mind I decided to go ahead and freeze those beans. I would have canned my green beans but it’s in the upper 80′s today and believe me, the last thing I want to do is anything canning related. So I froze them instead.
green beans going into the pot

If you’ve never frozen fresh green beans before it’s a total snap! Simply bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, wash, trim and cut you green beans then blanch them for 3 minutes {or until they turn bright green}. The toss the beans in a bowl ice water to cool them down.

Drain beans, pat dry with a clean dishtowel and bag them up into quart or gallon sized bags. Toss them in the freezer until ready to use. It’s that simple.

How to Freeze Green Beans for Winter Storage

Peace Out Garden Scouts,.

I’ve gotta go. MAKE A PIE. :) :) :) :)

~ 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.

Easy Tips for Extending Your Growing Season

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tips-for-extending-the-growing-seasonAre you starting to freak out that gardening season is fading fast? Think again! It’s not almost over. In my latest eHow article, 9 Proven Tips for Extending the Growing Season, I’m talking all about how to keep that garden churning out produce!

Just because the kids are back in school and our sunlight hours are fading doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the garden tools just quite yet. Although we may not be able to grow bushels of tomatoes during the fall and winter months, there are plenty of vegetables we can grow and many ways to extend the growing season.

Read the full article HERE.

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 – End of August Garden Photos

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growing green beans in garden boxes

The weather has been crazy good here up in the Pacific Northwest this summer and it’s hard to believe gardening season will be coming to a close  pretty soon. Well, not technically coming to a close… we’ve still got plenty of things to grow around here in the winter months, but for things like fresh beans and tomatoes, we’ve only got about a month left to enjoy picking them fresh out of our gardens.

baby green beans

What will I do without fresh beans?

growing zucchini in a garden box

And zucchini? Well actually, to tell you the truth, my love for zucchini is pretty much seasonal thing. ;)  purple Cherokee tomatoes

But heirloom tomatoes? Now that’s something I wish I could grow year round. pumpkin patch

Check out the pumpkin patch? I counted 7 pumpkins growing on the vines. {Plus a few winter squash!}green cabbage with slugs

I think cabbage is going to be on the menu this weekend. I just have to pick off a few slugs first.  :)
Italian kale

And kale. If you can’t kill it, you might as well grow it, right?

Ahh summer. I’m going to miss you.

How is YOUR vegetable garden doing these days? Winding down? Just getting started?

Mavis wants to know!

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.

Garden Tip – Use Vegetable Cooking Water to Fertilize Plants

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Use Vegetable Cooking Water to Fertilize Plants

I just did this this morning so I thought I would do a little PSA and repost this handy tip! ;)

The next time you boil or steam some vegetables on the stove top, don’t pour the water down the drain.  Once the water has cooled, pour the vegetable water in your garden or planting containers to “fertilize” your plants instead of wasting it.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now I think it really helps keep my garden green.

Do you do this too? Please tell me I’m not a total weirdo.

~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.

Mavis Garden Blog – Thinking Ahead to Thanksgiving

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gardening with raised garden beds

What do you think was the very first thing I did after buying our vacation property on the East Coast?

hauling rocks

I started planting a new vegetable garden of course.

Forget about furniture, the bizarre flooring situation or the bathroom cabinets made for people who stand 5 feet tall, there are things called priorities. And growing food, is one of them.

pile of dirt

I don’t know how I did it, but last week I removed 10 million and 2 buckets of pea gravel from a former play area and hauled in 15 yards of garden soil {a custom blend of 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 compost and 1/3 potting soil}. One wheelbarrow at a time. In 4 days. ALL BY MYSELF.

No teenagers workers bees. Just me.

creating a new garden bed

Holy crap. Let’s just say I didn’t know I was so out of shape. It got so bad that I was popping about 8-10 ibuprofen a day. It’s a good thing I didn’t have an accident or get cut because I probably would have bled to death {ibuprofen and tea are natural blood thinners according to my dentist}.

new garden beds

That drama aside, I’m happy to report I was able to get the enormous and awkwardly shaped  garden box filled.making garden rows

And planted.

botanical interests garden seed packets

With enough vegetables for a proper Thanksgiving feast. Rutabagas, beets, carrots and Swiss chard. I probably should of planted some seed potatoes as well but I haven’t found the local garden center yet. Oh well. I suppose, if I have to, I can buy a sack of spuds like a normal person just this once. ;)

Life is good. {Even if I’m still hobbling}

~Mavis

Have you planted your Thanksgiving garden yet? What are you growing?

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 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. 

***********************

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.

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