Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Huge Success! Our Plant Give Away Season Comes To An End

Wow, what a Spring!
Crazy weather everywhere and tough going trying to get those gardens in.
Growing The Seeds of Love plant giving season has come to an end but not before planting our outdoor beds up to three times because of a late snow storm and after replanting had many plants damaged or destroyed by torrential rains and hail.  Third times the charm right :)
I am thankful that we were able to offer plants for a second and third time to some who also suffered the same weather and losses.

It was a wonderful giveaway season!  We were able to gift well over 1000 organic plants this year!
I lost track after the first 1100 with starting so many new plants to replace the ones that were storm casualties.
We also made some wonderful new friends.  Some photo's of some of the beautiful people we met this year.

Now we are concentrating on the growing season so that we have plenty of produce to gift.
Cucumbers and summer squash are already producing and we have a variety of living lettuces that will be ready to gift next week.

I did a variety of gardening styles this year.  We have two traditional garden beds and a third one built for next year.  I also did over 50 containers!  I tried 2 straw bales and our hydroponic systems are working perfectly and the plants are gorgeous!  My husband built a new vertical hydroponic system for me (he just loves it when I get these ideas from YouTube, lol) and I love it.  It has 88 holes and we are growing lots of lettuce, pak choy, swiss chard and cucumbers on it.
We should be able to help provide for quite a few people.

I have all kinds of plans and new additions for next season and am so excited!
One of those plans is to build an in ground greenhouse, called a Walapini.  It will keep cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter.  With the addition of a cob stove we should be then able to grow all year around.
Also hoping to put my new welder to use and create some garden art :)

I want to thank all of you that participated in this seasons plant giveaway and made it such a huge success!
Please teach your friends and family the importance of growing and sharing their own organic food, saving seed and just being more self sufficient.  
I'm always available to help teach people to get started in hydroponic or container gardening and straw bale also.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need help.

Thanks again everyone, it was wonderful to meet all of you!  I hope to see you again next season.
Many Blessings!
~ Lisa

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Guide To Straw Bale Gardening Final Parts 3 & 4

Today we have the conclusion to A Guide To Straw Bale Gardening by my friend Melana MacLeod.
 Just in time, we should be able to start conditioning those bales soon :)

Straw Bale Gardening...Getting Ready to Plant -Part 3.

Ok, so by now you have conditioned your bales, they are lined up North to South like little soldiers! Awesome! Now comes the really fun part.....what are you going to plant?
Make a list of those veggies/fruits you want to plant. Visualize the SIZE of each plant. Do they usually "run" on the ground like cucumbers? If so these will be running "up" instead of "down". So your runners will be the tallest plants you have. Your tomato plants will most likely be your second tallest. Think about wouldn't want to plant cucumbers in front of your pepper plants or your bean plants because they will steal a lot of sun from them during the day. Plant your bales from the smallest plants to those that will be the tallest.
When you make those decisions you will need to trellis those climbing plants.....they need somewhere to go don't they? You'll need to add inexpensive posts at the ends of the bales so you can run your wire between them OVER the bales so your plants have somewhere to climb. The posts also help keep your bale together throughout the growing season. This wire also is good when you first plant to put plastic over to protect your young plants and seedlings if you get a cold snap, it will act much like a greenhouse. And since the interior of your bales are still "cooking" the plastic will help hold that heat in and protect your plants even more.
This is where you need to make the decision whether you want to put an irrigation system in or not (before you plant). Many use "soaker hoses" and run them down the center of each bale and plant on either side of the hose. I enjoy the "watering" so I just water with the hose as needed (know that at the beginning you'll need to water more often). So, you have to decide for yourself how much time you wish to devote! If you DO choose to water by hand remember it is vitally important that you never water from the top of the plant down...always water right at the surface of the bale. This prevents the plants from holding water droplets on their leaves all day which makes them more susceptible to the dreaded white powdery mildew!
There are a couple ways to plant in a straw can plant seeds and transplants. Transplants or plants you purchase are the easiest way to get started if you are new to gardening....once you start to develop that "green thumb" you can start all your crops from seeds....I utilize the seeds from my strongest and best producing plants from the year before.
When your planting seeds if you were to just drop them on the bale they may not germinate, they'll get lost in the bale or some scavenger birds could come along and grab them up from the bale! So the easiest method is to put about 1-2" of potting soil on TOP of your bale and plant your seeds directly into that. Plant according to the package directions and keep the soil moist until they germinate.
When planting your transplants you'll want to "well" out a hole to put your plants into. You can use a hand trowel or even an old steak knife to hollow out a hole for your plant. I put a handful of soil in the hole just to help hold the water in while the plant takes hold.
Here are some tips for a variety of vegetables and how many you can plant per bale to maximize your yield yet leave the ability for air to move through the plants and not choke them out: Also, I do not recommend trying to plant just isn't worth wasting the bale!
Arugula or lettuces (leaf not head) about ~60 seeds per bale
Green Beans-Pole ~16 per bale
Green Beans-Bush ~30 per bale
Beets ~40 per bale
Broccoli ~5 per bale
Brussels Sprouts ~4 per bale
Cabbage ~4 per bale
Carrots ~48 per bale
Cauliflower ~4 per bale
Peppers ~4 per bale
Chard (Swiss) ~12 per bale
Cucumber ~4 per bale
Eggplant ~3 per bale
Green Onions ~60 per bale
Kale ~4 per bale
Lettuce (head) ~8 per bale
Melons ~3 per bale
Onions ~40-60 per bale
Peas ~30-40 per bale (climbers)
Pumpkins ~2 per bale
Radishes ~60 per bale
Spinach ~30 per bale
Summer Squash (yellow crook neck) ~3 per bale
Winter Squash ~ 2 per bale
Tomatoes ~2-3 per bale
Zucchini ~3 per bale
**Potatoes are unique in that their crop grows off the root, the deeper the seed potato is in the bale the more potatoes you'll harvest! This, by far, is my favorite crop....just because it's so cool! I shove a broom stick way down to almost the very bottom of the bale and plant my seed potatoes there. Then on the surface of those bales I plant my lettuce, spinach and other leaf vegetables because by the time the potato plant actually comes out the top of the bale your leaf crop has already grown and been harvested! It's awesome! And in the Fall all you do to "dig up" your potatoes is to cut the twine or wire holding your bale together and pick out your potatoes. No digging to harvest them!

Straw Bale Gardening ~Tips, Tricks and Pests" -Part 4
Got it all planted, your noticing your seeds starting to poke up their little heads and your thrilled! Congratulations! You are now a SBG or a Straw Bale Gardener! It's so easy, it's satisfying and it will be the easiest garden you've ever grown! And one more thing....don't limit yourself to the "tops" of the bales! I stick marigolds and basil, Thyme and Oregano in the SIDES AND FRONTS of the bales too!. Just dig a hole into the front or sides of your bale, put a handful of dirt in there to help establish the roots and stick your plant in! You get to utilize a lot more than just the tops!
And in the end, when the frost has nipped your plants you can do a couple different things with the remaining bales. If your bales held up well enough you might be able to plant them again next season. Mine were SO "composted" by the end of the growing season that part of them went into the compost pile and the rest went to cover all my flower beds to enrich that soil and protect my bulbs that will come up in the Spring. Oh, and the twine that held them together? I clipped them, tied them all together to make a huge ball of twine and I'll be using that this year to put between my stakes to help support my plants! Nothing went to waste.....your potatoes you just cut the twine and let the bale fall apart and pick up your potatoes...NO digging!
I thought I would just pass along some tips and tricks that I learned along the way:
* It seems, at least in my area, that the Japanese Beetles love my plants. I can't say they are drawn to the bale gardens but I've gardened here for 7 years and never had a problem with them. Last year they were horrible. I found a great Japanese beetle trap that truly did the trick. Once I set it up in the yard I had literally 100's of them in the trap just 48 hours later. The one I used I found on Amazon and it's called "Rescue JBTZ-DB12 Japanese Beetle Trap", it's about $7. There are no chemicals and your not putting anything on your plants. It works by attracting them to the trap and once in they cannot get out. I loved that it did NOT have chemicals. When they died I simply took the trap down to the dock, unzipped the bottom of it and fed the fish! The catfish loved them!
* Snails....we have a snail problem here in Missouri. While I've read snails don't like to crawl up the bales I sill had some trouble with them. I just took a couple pie pans and filled them with old beer (got it from the local bar for free). No chemicals and the snails are very attracted to it...they go quickly and happily! LOL
* Tomato DO they find my plants? When I see them I just pluck them off, they are pretty big...then I dust the plants with a fine covering of wood ash. It works pretty well without using chemicals. I put it through an old flour sifter from a yard sale!
~Your pollinators!
* You have to have a lot of happy bees to make sure your crops that need pollination get what they need. I planted a LOT of wildflowers this past year because the honey bees are in trouble environmentally. The year before I had to pollinate my cukes and squash plants with a small paint brush and my yield was very low. I found they bees really liked Zinnias and Black Eyed Susans....any wildflower mix will be good. You can even find some that are specifically for butterfly and honey bees and some that also attract hummingbirds. Just remember, if your putting chemicals on your plants you are also eliminating the "good" bugs too!
~Watering. Always, always water your plants on top of the bale. Do NOT water from the top of the plant down. Because you are putting plants in closer quarters your setting yourself up for "white powdery mold" which once your plants get this...they are done. You can slow it a bit but it will just overtake your "climbers" in as little as 24 hours. If your afraid of it or you have dealt with it in the past you probably know that watering that way is the end! If you have had it before and you'd like to be "pro-active" as far as NOT getting it in the first place do not bother with the "fungicides" they sell for it in the stores. They don't work, they are expensive and you don't need chemicals on your plants! The best "preventative" I found was buttermilk...let it "sour" for a day or so outdoors, put it in a spray bottle, add 2 drops of Dawn and lightly spray your leaves, tops and bottoms. If you need to you can thin it out with water. Do it in the morning so it can dry all day.
Your SBG will need less watering eventually but until your seeds/plants develop a good root system you will want to water daily.
~Fertilizer. Organic is best, there are a lot of organic "teas" you can make to feed your'll want to fertilize organically each week for about a month to a month and 1/2 until those plants are really raring to go! I also save all my egg shells, pull the membrane out of the inside and dry them. Once dry I crush them up and save them in an air tight container. When my tomato plants are up about 12" I put the egg shells into an old blender and add some water and blend it up. I take a couple of tablespoons of the liquid and pour it around my tomato plants...they love it. I also use Epson salts...the tomatoes LOVE it! Here is a link to everything you need to use Epson salt on your garden!
ng-with-epsom-salt.asp It's cheap and plentiful and won't harm your plants OR the bees and butterflies!
~Wind. We get some really strong winds here so I stake my bales on each end and put twine between them. That way I can "weave" my plants as they grow. I "weave" just stops them from being blown over here.
Enjoy! I hope you have fun with your Straw Bale Garden this year...if you ever have any questions you can message me. Also there are all kinds of great videos on SBG on YouTube.
Happy Straw Bale Gardening!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Guide To Straw Bale Gardening

Today we have a great article by a wonderful friend of mine, Melana MacLeod.
For anyone who has wanted to know how to or is curious about straw bale gardening then you will love this post!

Straw Bale Gardening by Melana MacLeod
Straw Bale Gardening...Part 1

I had been asked to blog about Straw Bale Gardening. Can you say "easier than dirt"? In fact, you do NOT plant in the plant in bales of Straw. It's easy, you can garden anywhere and in any climate. It's also great for those that are not physically able to "garden" in the traditional sense of the word. No bending, no hoeing, no weeding! And, if you grow in Straw Bales you can get your things in and growing several weeks sooner than planting in dirt which lengthens your growing season. Here are the basics with some pictures from last years Straw Bale garden.
1. The bales must be STRAW, not HAY. While it may not appear to be that much different it IS. Straw has almost all of the "grain" removed while hay is filled with seeds from weeds, grains and grasses. Think about it, if your watering a bale filled with seed what's gonna happen? Yup, you'll have a beautifully green, lush bale filled with weeds! Straw still contains a few pieces of grain here and there but you don't even need to pull them if you don't want to...they die off quickly.
2. There is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to set your bales down. Straw is banded with either nylon twine, coarse twine or wire. You do not want to lay your bales down with the twine on should be on the sides of the bale. And which end you set it on also matters! One end of the bale will have the straw that looks smooth and bent over the other end will STRAWS. It will be cut and you'll see down into the straw pieces. This allows more water to get down into the bale vs. running off.
3. Location, make sure your bales will receive at LEAST 6 hours of bright sunlight a day. This is especially important for tomatoes. So, choose wisely and know that once you start to condition your bales they will become super heavy because of the watering...and you do not want to try and move them then. Believe me, they weigh a ton!
4. Rows....straw bales should be set in rows running lengthwise north and south. This helps a great deal to make sure your bales are getting equal sunlight and not blocked light. It's important for all your crops to receive FULL and direct sunshine.
5. Keeping weeds down....I save cardboard from boxes etc and put the cardboard down on the ground and then place my bales on top of it. While it looks a bit "messy" at first once you start conditioning your bales the cardboard that is hanging out from under your bales will just pull up and you can either toss it in the compost pile or use it for something else. I try very hard not to use cardboard that has ink writing on it, especially colored ink. You can put your bales anywhere. There is no need to dig up grass or bring in dirt. Just plunk those bales down anywhere! You can put them on a driveway, patio or out in the middle of your yard! I do not, however, suggest you put them on a wood deck as it will stain/rot the wood eventually.
To are the basics:
~Choose your location
~Plants should have a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily
~Be sure you have STRAW NOT HAY
~Put down cardboard or newspaper to prevent weeds from growing through your bale
~Set your bale rows to run in a North to South direction, end to end.
~Make sure you have your bales facing up the right way with the cut straw end UP
You can find straw bales from farmers in your area, livestock feed stores and some hardware stores. Google it for your area if you don't know where to go or let me know and I can try and find a location for you to purchase your bales. Sometimes even the big box hardware stores carry straw bales for landscaping purposes.
You are now ready to start conditioning your Straw Bales! That will come in "Straw Bale Gardening...Conditioning your bales". Part 2
In the pictures below you can see the "end to end" North/South orientation of the bales. You can also take note of the cardboard under the bales. Notice the nylon twine as it goes AROUND the bales and the cut/straw end facing UP.

Straw Bale Gardening - Conditioning Your Bales - Part 2

Conditioning your Straw Bales is easy. It takes about 12-14 days to do so but really only takes 15 minutes or so each day during that time. "Conditioning" the bales means you are composting internally to the point where the inside of those bales will support root growth. There are tiny microbes inside the bales and you are "feeding" them with fertilizer which steps up the conditioning process. You are instantly composting your bales to be simple about it.
If you want to plant by the middle of May you will need to start conditioning your bales about 2 weeks before that. Find the average "last frost" date for your area and go back 2 weeks...this is a great time to condition those bales!
What do I need to condition my bales? Water and fertilizer....that's it. Your fertilizer should have a nitrogen content 20% or more higher than the Phosphorous and Potassium. Look at a bag of'll see 3 numbers like 20-0-4. The first is always Nitrogen, second is Phosphorous and the third Potassium. In some areas, if you in or close to a farming community, you can get pure Nitrogen fertilizer that is 30-0-0 or higher! Your fertilizer must NOT be a "time released" fertilizer or contain a "pre-emergent". A pre-emergent is nothing more than a weed killer. So, if your using that to condition your bales it will kill off your transplants and seedlings! You can use just a plain lawn fertilizer.
The process of "conditioning":
Day 1 - Spread 1/2 cup (4 oz) of fertilizer over the entire top surface of each bale. Use a hose with a strong stream of water or a hose with sprayer end to push the fertilizer down into the bale. You'll know your done when you can no longer see the fertilizer. SOAK that bale, your doing it correctly when the water is exiting the bottom of the bale.
Day 2 - All you need to do today is water the bales. Make sure they are completely saturated.
Day 3 - Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of fertilizer on each bale top and water.
Day 4 - Today is a just water day once again!
Day 5 - Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of fertilizer and water completely.
Day 6 - You might be able to start smelling an "odor" of decomposition in your bales...that's GOOD, if not try using a bucket of warmish water over the bales to water today.
Day's 7, 8 and 9 . Apply only 1/4 cup of fertilizer to each bale and water till running through the bottom. Use warm water if you can, if you cannot that's fine too!
Day 10 - Apply one cup per bale of a "balanced" 10-10-10 general garden fertilizer. The job today is to get some Phosphorus and Potassium into the bales and get it into the root zone area of the bale. Again, no weed killer, pre-emergent, crab grass killer etc. should be in the fertilizer.
Day 11 - Water completely water is fine.
Days 12, 13, 14 - What you have created is a rich, nutrient packed area deep within your bales that is slightly composted organic material. You can even tell that it is MUCH warmer then the air or soil's "cooking", it's filled with worms and good bacteria and disease free! You have essentially created a mini "greenhouse" inside your bales. Seedlings and transplants will thrive in the warm bales early in the season and your seeds will germinate quickly! On these days you do nothing but stand back and appreciate all you have accomplished!
Your bales are ready to plant....but ONLY if the internal temperature of your bales have dropped to 85-90 degrees.....NOW you are ready to plant!
** Just a couple notes here. Your going to freak out when you see mushrooms sprouting and covering your bales. But, this is a GREAT thing! It means your bales have composted to the point that they are a perfect medium for growth. Congratulate yourself "you done good"!! You can make yourself crazy by pulling them out OR leave them, they will die off and just provide more compost material for your plants!
Watch for "Straw Bale Gardening....Getting Ready To Plant! ~ Part 3

Thank you Melana for this wonderful, informed article!
I don't know about the rest of you but I can't wait to try this form of gardening.
Look for the final segments of Straw Bale Gardening to be posted in a couple of days :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Wonderful Year Ahead!

I am as I know most of you are, anxious for Spring planting season to kick in gear.  I'm busy, busy planning this seasons gardens and hydroponic setups.
With the installation of many more hydroponics systems we will really be able to start growing the Growing The Seeds of Love organization!

In addition to gifting plants and produce, I have decided to combine our Gifting group (Communities Gifting Globally) and the Growing The Seeds of Love organization and start a local gifting marketplace!
We are now "Growing The Seeds of Love" a FREE Food Community and Gifting Marketplace!
My inspiration has come from so many different people and organizations but two people in particular have been extremely inspirational to me, my friends Angie and Darla.   I cannot thank them enough for all of the encouragement, love and inspiration they have offered as well as being amazing examples of this concept.
I have so many other wonderful ideas and plans for our community that I will be sharing over the coming months, I can't wait!

 I am also looking forward to having guest writers post on the blog with their techniques, tips, tricks and any other helpful or fun info related to gardening, sustainability and gifting.
I invite anyone who would love to share their stories to be a guest writer as well.  Please contact me for more info.

It was so nice to have fresh hydroponic tomatoes and red cabbage and miniature peppers through mid December despite some  -25 to -30 degree temps!   We could have kept them going but even with just a 4x8 space set up with plastic for the hydroponics and an electric heater for both the hydroponics and cold frame, it was too expensive to keep running.
I will start seeding the end of February and would love to hear from locals what plants they would like offered this year.  We will have all of the basics we had last year; several kinds of tomatoes, several kinds of  beans, snow peas and snap peas, zucchini, butternut squash, buttercup squash, acorn squash, cantaloup, two kinds of watermelon, several kinds of lettuce, kale, two kinds of chard, green peppers, red peppers and several hot peppers.
In addition to all the plants listed above, we will be planting more potatoes, onions, rhubarb and hopefully some corn to gift this year.
So, keeping fingers crossed, we will have a lot of plants and produce to offer to anyone who would like them!

We are also going to hook up with our local food pantry and some other local organizations to reach the people most in need.  It is going to be an amazing year of growing, sharing and LOVE  :)
If you would like to join us or keep up on what's happening here at Growing The Seeds of Love, you can find our Facebook group and request to join here  
and soon we will have a public page on Facebook.

Would love to hear from you in the comments about what your gardening plans are for this year!

Until next time, happy Growing and Gifting <3
~ Lisa

These are how the hydroponic tomatoes and the peppers and red cabbage in the cold frame looked in early December.  We let them go a couple more weeks before we harvested and cut the heat for the remainder of the Winter.  The carrots were in a bed in the greenhouse and just covered with straw.

Monday, June 9, 2014

It's Time To Gift Plants!

The past two months we have been busy, busy.  Sowing seed, getting the greenhouse and containers ready and getting the hydroponic systems ready to go.  Then when seedlings were big enough transplanting those and getting them ready to gift.

What a Spring!  This year we planted almost 2300 seeds, almost all of them came up.  We had a late frost and snow for several days after plants were already up.  We couldn't keep all of them warm so we lost quite a few of them, we ended up re-planting almost half of them.

Since this is the first official year of the Growing The Seeds of Love organization, I am very pleased with the amount of plants we were able to grow and give away so far.  We have gifted 3/4 of the plants that we had to gift this year! We still have a lot of black bean plants and also almost 3 trays of tomatoes to gift yet so if your in our area, contact me if your interested in some plants and we will fix ya right up :)
It has also been nice talking with folks and telling them about our mission.

Just think of the impact we could make if most of us chose to grow some if not all of our own, organic produce!
And if we also grow food for those in need then Wow, we could really make a difference and wipe out hunger and bring back good, healthy, nutritious food.
This is our mission.  This is our challenge to you!

I would love to hear your growing and gifting stories and have you as a guest writer to the Growing The Seeds of Love blog.  If your interested, please contact me and we'll get it all worked out and get your stories posted.

Until next time, happy growing and gifting everyone <3

A few photo's of some of the plants we had available to gift this year:
 Green Beans and Black Beans for Gifting, most of these have been gifted!

 Tomatoes and Squash, all of these have been gifted :)

 Almost 3 trays of tomatoes to gift yet!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Sharing Garden Shows the Way to a Moneyless Food System

This is such a wonderful article from Shareable and a great example of what we are doing, volunteers coming together and sharing the bounty with those in need  <3
Here is a link to the original post on Shareable

 The Sharing Garden Shows the Way to a Moneyless Food System

In Monroe, Oregon, the Sharing Garden started and managed by Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody is the gift that keeps on giving. Over the past few years, the garden's bounty has tripled thanks to the support and hard work of "Sharegivers" (aka volunteers) who donate various materials and actual labor three mornings a week.
And, in true Sharing Garden fashion, the harvest is distributed not only to the volunteers, but also to the food bank next door, as well as churches and other community members in need... all for free, as part of what Burns calls "nature's economy." He points out that, "None of the other lifeforms on the planet use money or currency of any kind. There's a symbiotic relationship, an interdepency. So we're trying to model that in the garden so that people understand they can give freely without having to account for their giving, and knowing they will receive what they need."
With the Sharing Garden, Burns and Peabody have established a circle of sharing in their community. As a result, the couple now enjoys free housing in a 1930s farmhouse owned by a volunteer. The garden, itself, also enjoys rent-free status on its two-thirds of an acre site. The total experience lands them smack-dab in the middle of the sharing economy, and they excitedly encourage others to join them by taking some baby steps.
Burns explains, "You can look for opportunities to give anonymously. And they happen every day. Just going by somebody in the shopping mall and giving them a nice smile... And you don't have to get credit for that. It's this whole idea of giving to get -- getting credit for your giving, getting recognized for your giving. You start there. The garden is way down the road." Check out the video below about The Sharing Garden courtesy of Peak Moment TV:

 If this post resonates with you, please consider supporting Shareable. Watch the two-minute video below & donate to our crowdfunder.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's Almost Planting Time!

Like everyone else planning on gardening this year, I am drooling over the many seed catalogs I've received the past couple of months.  I made my list of the seeds I need and checked it twice :)
While waiting for those to come in, I have plenty of seed to get me started on this seasons plants.

We tried hydroponics for the first time last year and it worked out great for us.
We also do a lot of container gardening and a little traditional gardening in raised beds.
One thing I would really like to try this year is a planting style called "Square Foot Gardening".
If you have not heard of Square Foot Gardening (SFG) before then a good place to start for info would be Mel  Bartholomew, the creator, website at .
This is such a wonderful concept!  With SFG you can grow 100% harvest with 50% of the costs, 20% of the space, use 10% of the water and 5% of the seeds and it takes only 2% of the work over traditional row gardening methods!
This is such a simple method that anyone can learn to do it and it will greatly help the food shortage situation we are facing.

In a nutshell, to get started with SFG all you have to do is build a box (3'x3' or 4'x4') with weedcloth on the bottom, fill it with soil and add a grid.  Here is some info from Mel Bartholowmews site:

The 10 Basics of SFG

Click each of these points to learn more.  Thanks to Cassie Aula, one of our best certified instructors in Ohio,  for the descriptions of the basics.
Square Foot Gardening LayoutNo more gardening in rows! What a waste of space! Always think in squares: lay out 4 foot by 4 foot planting areas with 3′ wide aisles for easy walkways between them.
Square Foot Gardening BoxesBuild garden box frames no wider than 4 feet x any length, and 6 to 8 inches deep.  Boxes can be built from wood, vinyl or even cinder blocks.
Square Foot Gardening AislesIf you plan to have more than one garden box, separate them 3 feet to form walkways. Aisles can be made from grass, brick, stone, mulch or any other material that enhances your garden plan.
Square Foot Gardening SoilDon’t dig up or use your native soils!  Line the bottom of your box with a good weed fabric and fill boxes with Mel’s special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
Square Foot Gardening GridOn top of each frame place a permanent grid that divides the box into one foot squares. The grid is the unique feature that makes the whole system work so well.
Square Foot Gardening CareSince you will NEVER walk on or depress the growing soil, don’t make the frames any wider than 4 feet (2 feet, if only one side is accessible). Any wider makes it too difficult to reach in to tend the plants. Tend to plants regularly and trim dead leaves and branches with a pair of scissors. Harvest with scissors, too, to protect the plant from damage.
Square Foot Gardening Plant SelectionDepending on the mature size of the plant, grow 1, 4, 9, or 16 equally spaced plants per square foot. Choose fruits and veggies that make sense for your family and for the intensive planting style of the Square Foot Garden.
Square Foot Gardening SpacingPlant two or three seeds in each spot by making a shallow hole with your finger. Cover, but do not pack the soil. After sprouting, save the best one and snip off the others - thinning is eliminated.  Seeds are not wasted. Extra seeds can be stored cool and dry in your refrigerator. Don’t over-plant. Plant only as much of any one crop as you will use.
Square Foot Gardening WaterWater the root area only using a cup from a sun-warmed bucket of water.  Water often, especially at first, and on very hot dry days. Warm water helps the soil warm up in early and late season.
Square Foot Gardening HarvestHarvest continually and when a crop in one square is gone, add a handful of homemade compost and plant a new different crop in that square.
That’s how simple the whole system is!  Remember, you don’t need any tools or fertilizer.  Once your garden is built, there’s no work…and best of all, no weeds!  If you’re just getting started with Square Foot Gardening,  leave a comment below and let me know if this crash course helped you understand the method better!

Here is a link to the SFG store for books, dvd's, tools and more 
and this is a quick overview video about Square Foot Gardening.  

My challenge to everyone is to start a garden this year, if you live in an apartment or don't have a yard then plant things in containers and set them on your deck or balcony.  If you have the space, grow extra food for someone in need.  As well as utilizing extra hydroponics plants this year, I plan on doing a couple of extra square foot boxes for veggies to give away to people in need.
We can wipe out hunger!  Along with providing much needed fresh produce we will also be helping people towards a healthier eating habits and life style.

So lets grow those seeds of love everyone <3


Friday, January 24, 2014

A Little Intro To Hydroponics

I am totally in love with Hydroponics.  I became interested in that type of growing after watching some wonderful videos on YouTube made by mhpgardener .  I love this guy!  He always makes it look so easy and fun too and there is tons of great information in his videos.
We chose to use the Kratky or Floating Raft method for our first Hydroponics project.  It was very easy to build and proved to be an excellent choice for us for several types of lettuce, spinach, kale and chard.
Here is a video that shows how to build the floating rafts.

Our Rhubarb Red Chard had those gorgeous pink/red roots also.

In addition to having the floating raft table, we also save all of our food safe containers like gallon miracle whip containers, medium and large size deli tubs, cottage cheese tubs etc... and used a hole saw (we used 2") to cut holes to fit our 2" net pots in the lids.  We spray painted our water reservoir for the Hydroponics table and all the containers black to prevent algae growth and then put the nutrient solution in the containers and put the net pot with seedlings in the holes and we're good to go.  We grow many different vegetable plants utilizing these containers.  We had such an abundance of greens, we had more than enough to share :)
We also set up a dutch bucket system for our tomatoes but I will do another post on those in the near future.
As a side note, if you live in an area that gets really hot in the summer months you will want to cool the water down in your reservoirs (should be around 75 degrees) by adding bottles filled with ice and or insulating your tank in some way.  We have a lot of 100+ days in the summer so that is a must for us.

Here is another version of Hydroponics using a simple rail system using pvc pipes with end caps or you can use pvc fence post with end caps.  Many versions of this system can be found on YouTube just search using Hydroponic Rail Systems.

 I hope this post gives everyone a little bit of insight into Hydroponics gardening and that you will feel inspired to try it yourself.

Happy Growing!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Hello everyone, so glad to have you here!
Let me start by telling you a little about myself and this project.

I am a wife to an awesome man of 25 years, a mother to 19 fur babies (13 are rescues). I love animals and all things gardening. I am a jewelry designer, Artist and crafts person.

I was born a city girl but despite living in the city my parents were very avid gardeners.  At our summer property "Up North" in Michigan, they would put in a garden of several acres and planted almost everything imaginable.  They always planted at least 200 tomato plants.  My Mom canned everything.  I didn't realize it then but we were pretty lucky :)
When I was young I never wanted any part of gardening and surely didn't want to get dirt under my nails, lol. Also, after seeing a few garden snakes out there I said no way to gardening. 
Now, much older, out of the city and trying to grow my own produce, I wish that I had listened and learned what they were trying to teach me.

Seeing a great need and feeling a responsibility to start providing our family with healthy, organic veggies and fruit, we built a greenhouse and I started gardening 2 years ago.  I have a true desire to help us become self sustainable and help provide to others in need.  Gardening is one way I can do that.
It's time for humanity to start giving back to the land and not just take from it.
I still have a lot to learn and hope that by sharing in this blog, we can all "grow" together, pun intended :)

The Growing The Seeds Of Love idea came to me when I was trying to figure out what I could do right now to help others in need.  Hunger is a huge problem all over the world and there is something we can ALL do to help.
This projects purpose is to challenge everyone to start growing their own organic food for themselves and grow extra to help at least one person or family in need.  It doesn't matter if you live in a big city or out in the country.  Everyone can grow something.  Container gardens are extremely popular and work well in spots that just don't have much space.

So come on everyone, get those seeds started and start Growing The Seeds Of Love for you and your family and someone in need.

I would love to share your stories and photo's of growing and sharing your bounty over the coming months so please send them to me so I can publish them on this blog.

I hope that all of you are inspired to help others and follow your bliss, your passion for that truly is our life's purpose <3

These photo's are of our first year trying hydroponics.  My husband built a hydroponics table and we were able to grow several kinds of lettuce, spinach, chard and kale on it.

Our first crop of rhubarb red swiss chard from the hydroponics table, Yum!