In the upcoming year of 2013 I am going to do some articles on animal husbandry, gardening for food and of course my favorite hobbies of food preservation and preparation. We will also throw in some fun articles through the year just to break up the monotony.
January brings me to perusing those wonderful seed catalogs and the hopes of a warm and wonderful spring. I know it's spring when I smell newly mown grass and a fire from a barbecue, quite possibly the most wonderful smells of all to me.
I love looking through those seed and gardening catalogs which are free by the way if you just cruise through the Internet for free gardening or seed catalogs. They are very helpful in providing me with ideas for my vegetable garden every spring. I do like to use mostly heirlooms and more and more are becoming available each year. When it comes to buying heirloom seeds however I prefer FREE. OK you say, how do I do that? Well, you start visiting produce stands, farmers markets etc. You buy one extra item, for instance you are buying some heirloom yellow tomato's for your dinner but buy one extra, then if you like or love the flavor you take the extra one and keep the seeds. (I will provide some directions later on how to keep the seeds.) Then about 2 months before planting you will plant the seeds in small containers and by the time they sprout and are hardened (more explanation's later) you will have plenty of your favorites to plant.
Some of the items I have planted from farmers market produce is: winter squash varieties, pumpkin varieties, tomatoes, potatoes (sweet, yam, purple, white, yellow), garlic, beans (dry varieties as well as green bean varieties, Asian bean varieties, corn, melons of all kinds and just so many other items. Some items it is just easier to buy seeds such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard, chard, etc. I also plant many varieties of sunflowers and zinnia just to attract the bees and butterflies for pollination and because I admit to loving the cut flowers in my house.
I will show you how to make enough sweet potato plants to provide yourself with enough sweet potatoes to go through the whole winter from only 2 sweet potatoes! You can do the same thing with just a handful of regular store bought potatoes. You don't even have to have a huge yard or garden to plant them if you practice upright planting... more on that later.
If you live in the city and don't really have a yard you can still be a gardener by doing container gardening or if you have a house in the suburbs where you can't actually grow a real garden there are ways to include some veggies right in your landscaping that will look nice and no one will know its a cabbage or some peppers grown there in the shady area and not an ornamental!
Kids, while they love growing and harvesting don't always enjoy the weeding and watering. Well, watering they like on a hot day but and its a big "but" they don't always water much more than themselves so don't trust that the job will be done to your satisfaction.