Getting Started Growing Your Own Vegetable and Herb Seedlings

Seedlings are the baby plants you see at the nurseries, ready to be transplanted into your garden. But you might want to grow your own instead. While there are many benefits of starting your own vegetable and herb plants from seeds, there is one BIG reason why you might consider purchasing instead. Here’s the most important considerations for growing seedlings at home. 

Benefits to growing your own:

  1. You know exactly how the seedlings were grown. Ensure your plants are grown organically without any toxic chemicals entering your garden. When purchasing ask whether plants have been treated. 
  2. You ensure your plants immunity is high for a healthy life. Temperatures and conditions are important to baby plants, and stress at a young age can cause transplant shock or a weak plant that doesn’t yield well. Sometimes you bring home a seedling, plant it, and it dies. And you’re not sure if it’s something you did. But it could just be a plant that wasn’t cared for properly.
  3. You have complete control of when you put plants in the ground. When purchasing transplants, you are relying on what’s available at the stores. And what you want is not always there when you need it. Growing your own means you can plan ahead for your most abundant harvest.
  4. You have access to hundreds of varieties of vegetables. There are so many varieties of mustard greens and tomatoes on the planet that nobody could even tell you how many there are. And that’s true of most vegetables. Choose exciting varieties for flavor, yield, what grows well in your climate. 
  5. You save money. Once you get the hang of growing HEALTHY plants and you have all the supplies, you will save money. However, the first few years, planting your own can actually be more expensive than buying transplants. This is the one BIG reason you may want to purchase instead.

Three garden supplies essential to growing your own seedlings

You’ll need 1) growing medium (not soil), 2) containers to put it in, and 3) grow lamps if you’re growing indoors. We’ll focus on containers in this article. But real quick, our favorite growing medium is Fox Farm Ocean Forest, It’s got everything your plants need in one bag, from earthworm castings, bat guano, sea-going fish & crab meal to forest humus and moss. This mix will not disappoint!   Click here to get it on Amazon. And here is a bulk order option

This article is too short to include recipes for making your own mix. A couple key ingredients to include are perlite, vermiculite, peat moss or Canna Coconut Coir and Wiggle Worm – Worm Castings. For small gardens choose the 4.5-pound size. For larger gardens choose the bulk 30-pound option.

This is not a complete list, just some of our favorites to get you started.

Reusable Containers for Starting Vegetable and Herb Seeds

Generally, plastic trays are flimsy and end up in the landfill after just one or two uses. However, one farm is changing all that and helping to redefine our relationship to the Earth. Bootstrap Farmer offers durable trays with a one year warranty against warping and breakage… that’s amazing! Clean trays between use to prevent disease spread.

These are the best, longest lasting trays on the market. And they have different cell sizes available. Get cells for smaller varieties like lettuces here and get larger six cells for your larger transplants like tomatoes and cucumbers here.

Containers You Plant Right in the Ground

Avoiding plastic altogether?, Consider Fertilpots over at Arbico Organics which compost right into your soil. Plant the whole thing in your garden and avoid any transplant shock from handling the plant. Unlike many similar compostable products, they are OMRI listed meaning the ingredients have been tracked as organic. Fertilpots are breathable and help prevent roots from getting root bound, too. However, the downside is that you have to keep buying more.

“Soil Blocking” Eliminates the Need for Containers

Soil blocking is a process where you press your growing medium together into squares that hold together without the need for containers. Once you have the right equipment for this process, you never have to buy containers ever again. However, you do have a higher initial investment to get started.

There are benefits to this method: no cleaning trays, conserving growing medium, and providing optimal root health. The details of how to soil block effectively is the topic of another post. NOTE: You’ll need to mix your own special growing medium (not one that you can buy at a big box store), and a bit of time to get used to the process. 

Soil blockers are for anyone who wants to get away from plastic, has a little extra time and money, wants the healthiest seedlings and plans to garden long term. 

20 Cell Soil Blockers come in a hand held and stand up  versions. The stand up soil blocker is much easier on your wrists, shoulders and back. 4” Soil Blockers are the largest blocker available and are perfect for your larger transplants like tomatoes, gourds, cucumbers, eggplant, etc.

How do you make your garden decisions?

Ultimately, there are many garden choices you will make. Some questions to consider: What do you really have time for? What feels like the best environmental choice for you? And what amount of investment feels good right now? Whatever suits you and your lifestyle is the right choice for you. And that goes for making decisions about seed starting at home, too.  

Check out our NEW Garden Freedom Series Micro Course for more information and instruction on successful seed starting. In this course, you’ll find resources for setting clear goals that reflect your values and make gardening everything you need and want it to be…


NOTE:  This article contains affiliate links and Grow Your Own Vegetables, LLC may be compensated when you click and purchase through the links above. By purchasing through these links, you’re supporting our mission to help green the planet and create food stable communities across the globe. We only recommend products we LOVE and that help growers on their quest for a fresh food lifestyle.

Cutting Boards for Fresh Food Safety

Food safety practices are important… especially when you start preserving and storing food. You’ve probably heard about sterilizing jars, and cleaning kitchen utensils properly. These are common practices to keep the bad microbes out of our food. But quite often, the one tool that’s overlooked is your cutting board. 

When chopping fresh produce, it’s vital to have a cutting board that won’t create biofilms and harbor the kind of bacteria you don’t want to ingest. If you’re preserving your food for later – whether blanching, freezing, canning, drying or fermenting – it’s even more important. Having a good quality cutting board is the foundation for keeping you and your loved ones safe.  

Simply put, a good cutting board is the one place you don’t want to skimp on. But what is the safest cutting board?  

Plastic, Glass, or Wood?

Many people think that plastic cutting boards are safer than wood. Even the USDA’s Food News for Consumers has recommended plastic over wood cutting boards. 

However, more recent studies reveal that plastic is not as safe as we think. According to the study, glass is the superior choice, followed by wood. Glass has a smooth surface, so no gaps to harbor bacteria. The problem with glass cutting boards is that the hard surface is hard on knives and might cause food-slippage accidents. Be careful! 

Wood however, does not cause slipping the way glass does and is easier on your knives. Wood also has an antibacterial effect not found in glass or plastic boards that scientists are still trying to understand. What’s more, wood doesn’t require harsh sanitizing the way plastic boards do. Once a plastic surface has been cut into, the grooves can harbor all kinds of bacteria and require sanitizing with harsh chemicals. But as time goes on and more grooves appear, sanitizing your plastic cutting board may become less and less effective. 

Sterilizing your wood cutting boards is easy and doesn’t require harsh chemicals. What’s fascinating about this study is that the scientists researching expected to find plastic cutting boards to be safer. Their intention was to discover how to clean wood to increase its safety. So they were quite surprised to discover that wood – specifically well maintained, close-grained hardwood cutting boards – were less prone to contamination.

PRO TIP: Historically, butchers used salt to keep the ‘bad’ smell away. Perhaps they also knew that using the salt kept people healthy, but there’s no record of that. Regardless, they had the right idea. Rinse your cutting board with warm water, sprinkle your cutting board with salt and rub the salt into the board using a lemon cut in half (flesh side down). Let sit for five minutes, rinse and let air dry in a place with good circulation. 

What kind of wood is best for your Cutting Board?

According to the study, hardwoods are best. When you think of hardwood, you might think oak, mahogany, or maple. It’s true that these woods are harder than pine, chestnut, cherry, and even walnut. But they aren’t the BEST hardwoods for prepping your ferments, preserves  and fresh food. It’s hard to imagine, but these woods are soft in comparison to other hardwoods. One quick look at a Janka chart will reveal just how soft in comparison these woods really are. 

The Janka Scale Reveals the Best Wood Choice for Cutting Boards

Wood is measured by its hardness using a process called the Janka scale. This test measures the amount of force required to embed a 0.444″ steel ball into the wood to half of the diameter of the particular wood. Woods with higher ratings are harder than woods with lower ratings.

So for example, Genuine Mahogany measures 800 and English Brown Oak rates at 1360. The scale goes all the way up to 4380! While you don’t need the hardest wood on the planet to safely cut your vegetables for ferments and preserves, it’s a good idea to find something that has at least a 2500 rating. Even though maple is the industry standard (1,450 on the Janka scale), a harder wood will be more scratch and impact resistant, leaving you with a safer cutting board.

Check out this amazing cutting board, the Stella Falone Reversible Cutting Board made of solid West African Crelicam Ebony Wood. Not only is it made from a hardwood measuring at a whopping 3080 on the Janka Scale, but it’s made by a company that harvests ethically, replants what they harvest, and pays stable living wages to workers. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, these mixed wood cutting boards made with Purpleheart Wood (2520 Janka Scale) are also good options.  Here’s a pretty one that could double as a fancy food tray at your next party. It’s a Ziruma Teak and Purpleheart Wood Cheese Board and it’s cured with Organic Beeswax, too.



The Downside of Supremely Hardwood Cutting Boards

Yes it’s true, there’s a downside. The hardwood cutting boards ranked higher on the Janka scale will dull your knives a little faster. But it’s a small price to pay for better protection for your health and well being. Simply choose good quality knives, and sharpen your knives more often.

Ultimately, the cutting board with the least potential for bacterial contamination is glass… but the safest cutting board? Hands down, properly cared for hardwood cutting boards are safer with no slippage plus antibacterial properties. Plus, these beautiful cutting boards can also be a fancy food tray for your parties. Enjoy!

AK, N., CLIVER, D. and KASPAR, C. (1993). Decontamination of Plastic and Wooden Cutting Boards for Kitchen Use. [online] Available at: https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article/57/1/23/195718/Decontamination-of-Plastic-and-Wooden-Cutting [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020]. 

Grow Like a Pro: Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Part 1

The 8th Annual Superfood Garden summit was a BLAST! With thousands of growers all over the world joining in, this was our most popular summit to date. For those of you who weren’t able to join, here are a few of the Superfood Garden Summit highlights and insights from the garden and herbal experts who joined us this year.

This year’s summit was so popular that viewers demanded an encore THIS weekend May 25-27! Yes Summiteers, you can still get the special pricing if you want to own the summit and get the extra goodies.

Superfood Garden Summit Success Kit

Nurturing Nature’s Winged Wonders

Are you worried about the decline of butterflies? Amy Landers sheds light on this pressing issue. With a 19% risk of extinction for US species and a 75% biomass decline in Germany, butterflies are facing a dire situation. But, there’s good news! You have the power to make a difference by growing superfoods that cater to these delicate creatures. Dive into Amy’s tips and transform your garden into a butterfly haven.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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The Comfort of No-Dig Gardening

Charles Dowding offered a back-saving insight at the summit: creating garden beds no wider than 1.2 meters. This simple tweak means you can garden comfortably without the strain. Remember, caring for your garden also means taking care of yourself.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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Unseen Allies: Nematodes and Soil Health

Crystal Meserole opened our eyes to the microscopic world under our feet. Crystal shares that, of an estimated million potential nematode species, only about 30,000 have been identified. Crystal uses this fact to remind us that when our gardens don’t go quite the way we want, it’s because we only understand a fraction of this microscopic universe. Keep exploring and learning – your garden’s success depends on it.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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Cultivating Healthy Kids Through Gardening

Jason Matyas emphasized the importance of involving kids in gardening. Encourage them to grow plants they’re curious about, fostering a lifetime of healthy eating and gardening habits. Engage their interests, and watch as they grow alongside your garden.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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Sage Advice from Herbal Guru Kami McBride

Kami McBride’s expertise on sage’s therapeutic properties came with a priceless bonus: a recipe for a sage steam. This potent herb is more than just a kitchen staple; it’s a home health remedy that you can grow and utilize all year round.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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Chocolate Lovers, Grow Your Own!

The bitterness that chocolate has? That is due to the polyphenols, and the kind of polyphenols that are in a cacao are called flavanols. Flavanols are not only antioxidants like other polyphenols, but flavanols are also anti-inflammatory.

Ever dreamt of growing your own chocolate? Marjory Wildcraft and Jeff Paul provide a comprehensive guide to cultivating cacao, the superfood behind chocolate’s rich flavor and health benefits. Get ready to embark on a deliciously rewarding gardening adventure.

Join the Encore Weekend to Watch HERE

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Thrilled with these Superfood Garden Summit highlights and insights but missed the live event? Surprise! You’re invited to the encore weekend from May 25-27. Grab the special pricing, soak up every presentation, and join a community passionate about superfood gardening. This is your chance to grow your knowledge and your garden!

Join Us for Encore Weekend May 25-27

Superfood Soil Guide

Grow Like a Pro: Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Part 2

The 8th Annual Superfood Garden summit was a huge success! With thousands of growers all over the world joining in, this was our most popular summit to date. For those of you who weren’t able to join, we made a post last week sharing some of our favorite highlights and this week is part two! So here are some more of our favorite Superfood Garden Summit highlights and insights from the garden and herbal experts who joined us this year.

Yes Summiteers, the summit is over but, you can still get the special pricing if you want to own the summit and get the extra goodies.

Superfood Garden Summit Success Kit

The Cycle of Life: Soil as an Ecosystem’s Foundation

Matt Powers brought to the summit an essential reminder of the soil’s role in life cycles. By understanding and respecting this cycle, you can nurture a garden that’s both productive and sustainable. Start seeing soil as the foundation of all ecosystems – because it truly is.

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Matt Powers - Regenerative - Bullet Points - EVENT

Backyard Fruit and the Rhubarb Revelation

Michael Kilpatrick debunked a common rhubarb myth, teaching us that only certain plant parts are safe to eat. Use his insights to confidently add fruit trees and rhubarb to your garden, ensuring a bountiful and safe harvest.

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Michael Kilpatrick - Backyard Fruit Gardening- Bullet Points - EVENT

Growing Greens and Berries in Small Spaces

CEO of Food Revolution Network Ocean Robbins reassured new growers that even small spaces can yield abundant superfoods. His presentation on the potential of greens and berries will inspire you to maximize your garden’s productivity, regardless of size. To Your Health!

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Ocean Robbins - Supercharging Your Health with Berries and Greens - Bullet Points - EVENT

The Herbalism Deep Dive with Sajah Popham

Sajah Popham reveals the importance of sourcing quality seeds for a home garden of immunity from reputable providers. One of his favorites (and ours), is Strictly Medicinals.

Sajah’s session was a treasure trove of herbal wisdom. From cultivation to preparation, he covered essential techniques for a robust home apothecary. Take his advice on sourcing quality seeds, and embark on a journey to garden-grown immunity.

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

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Seed Saving: An Act of Preservation

Bill McDorman’s conversation with Greg Peterson highlighted an inspiring fact: you, as a small-scale gardener, are a crucial guardian of plant genetic diversity. Your role extends beyond your backyard – you’re helping to secure food diversity for future generations.

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

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Explore Bioenergetics in Gardening

Stacey Murphy introduced the concept of bioenergetics, expanding your perception of natural interactions in the garden. Humans perceive only a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, indicating vast unknowns in the natural world. Recognize that there’s more to your green space than meets the eye, and start exploring these dynamic energies.

Did You Miss the Summit? Own It Here

Superfood Garden Summit Highlights Stacey Murphy - The Experimental Gardener - DIY Bioenergetics and Electroculture - Bullet Points - EVENT

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, the Superfood Garden Summit has something for everyone. Don’t miss this opportunity to enrich your gardening experience and enhance the health of your garden, your loved ones, and yourself.

Thrilled with these Superfood Garden Summit highlights and insights but missed the live event? You can still grab the summit here and OWN IT FOR LIFE, soak up every presentation, and join a community passionate about superfood gardening. This is your chance to grow your knowledge and your garden!


Superfood Garden Summit Success Kit

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Supercharge Your Health with These Superfoods Garden Tips

Grow Superfoods by Growing Soil

Superfoods can only grow in super soil. Expert growers know that they don’t grow plants, they grow soil. So if you want superfoods, grow superfoods by growing soil. You don’t have to be a super gardener−you just have to become a steward of the soil.

Fresh green corn plants with roots in soil

Healthy Superfood Soil Tips

1. Get a one-time heavy metal test.

You need to be sure your plants aren’t pulling toxic metals into their bodies. This will help you to avoid heavy metal contamination in your body. While it is an expense, it can save you tons of money in medical expenses in the long run… and most importantly, your health!

2. Get a soil nutrient test.

This will tell you where the nutrient levels in your soil are and what you might need. For both the heavy metal and nutrient test, TPSLab.com is a great resource. They test soils all over the globe and we’ve experienced the friendly customer service there.

3. Know your soil.

You can do this with a home jar test. It’s also a really fun family experience! Visit our blog here for a quick How-To on soil Jar Testing.

Soil Jar Test Example Image

Our Top 5 Tips for Building Super Soil for Superfood

Growing Superfood Tip #1: Compost

Compost adds nutrients and soil biology that carry nutrients to plants. If you’re growing less than 9 months out of the year, you’ll want a 2″ layer of Compost. If you’re growing more than 9 months, add a 2″ layer twice a year.

Growing Superfood Tip #2: Rock Dust

Rock dust provides vital trace minerals for your plants. It can take up to a year for the minerals to become bioavailable to your plants, so apply yearly.

Growing Superfood Tip #3: Compost Tea

Compost tea will boost the organic organisms in your soil by… well, a lot! Just one small handful of COMPOST contains roughly eight billion microorganisms. Eight billion… That’s as many people as there are on the planet! But if you think that’s BIG, then you should know that compost tea has been found to contain up to 10,000 times that number in the same volume of space! That’s HUGE! That’s 80 trillion little workers ready to do the garden work for you, right in the palm of your hand.

Growing Superfood Tip #4: Worm Castings

Studies show that adding 20% worm castings to your substrates for transplants can significantly boost the health of your plants and their immune system. Add this to your transplant mixes, and another bit when you plant–add a small handful under transplanted plants, and a thin row under your seeded row plants.

Growing Superfood Tip #5: Hands… AND FEET OFF!

Avoid stepping in the garden. Stepping on soil compacts it, preventing water and air flow. It also makes it more difficult for plant roots to navigate through.

Also, avoid working in the soil when it’s wet and ideally, only lightly hoe the top 2-4″ of soil. If you lightly hoe the soil once a week, you can keep pests down. If you hoe the soil any deeper than that, you run the risk of destroying the underground micro cities of your soil beneficials.

When if comes to superfoods… you can only get them if you have super soil. Want to learn more on how to grow superfoods by growing soil?

Download Your Free Superfood Soil Building Guide

Superfood Soil Guide

Supercharge Your Health with These Superfoods Garden Tips

The secret to harnessing the full power of superfoods lies in the freshness. Imagine relishing a meal garnished with vibrant, nutrient-packed greens and herbs plucked straight from your backyard. Growing your own superfoods isn’t just gratifying; it ensures you’re getting the optimal nutrients your body needs to thrive. Right from your garden to your plate, here are some growing tips to supercharge your health.

Supercharge Your Health With Nutrient Powerhouse Kale

Did you know your planting strategy affects your yield AND leaf tenderness? A good strategy to increase yield and tenderness while keeping pests at bay is to plant kale 8″ apart instead of the typical recommendation of 12 inches. Then, harvest the leaves earlier when they’re smaller and more tender. Always leave 5-7 leaves on the plant. Less leaves can compromise photosynthesis but more leaves invite the pests in.


Here’s How to Supercharge Your Health with Garlic

Are you team hardneck or softneck garlic? Your choice should depend on your climate. Hardneck thrives in cooler climates and is rich in allicin, whereas softneck can grow in slightly warmer climates. But you should know: store-bought garlic should not be used for planting; it may harbor soil pathogens, or have been treated and fail to grow entirely. Plus, store-bought varieties aren’t selected for their nutrient content but rather for their shelf-life. So these garlics rarely have the nutrient density worthy of your garden space.

Supercharging With The Tropical Spice Twins 

Growing ginger and turmeric demands patience. It can take upwards of 8-10 months for these crops to mature under ideal conditions. Water these twins generously, but be sure your soil drains well to prevent root rot.

Did you know that not all turmeric is orange? Turmeric also comes in blue! Both require similar care, so why not grow a spectrum for your curries and teas? You can sometimes find this unique variety at one of our favorite seed suppliers: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com)

Supercharging Your Health With Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of those vegetables that are considered a whole food. They’re so packed full of nutrients that the human body could survive for a long time just by eating sweet potatoes… that’s AMAZING! What’s more,  is that sweet potato leaves are also edible. So you can get the root and the leafy green veg all in one plant! Just be sure to harvest the leaves sparingly; over-picking can impede root development. 

Sweet Potatoes

Supercharge With Berries

For blueberry lovers, you need to know that this plant requires a certain number of chill hours to produce. Chill hours are the minimum number of hours of cold weather a plant requires in order to bear fruit the following season. Be sure to select varieties that suit your climate’s chill hour requirements. This ensures a bountiful harvest of these antioxidant-rich berries.

Elderberries are a superfood star, but you should never consume them raw. Also, be aware that only certain varieties are safe for consumption. Proper investigation and processing is key to enjoying their immune-boosting benefits.

Supercharge the Entire Garden

Did you know that filling at least 30% of your garden with perennial flowers and herbs can create a thriving ecosystem? This strategy not only beautifies your space but also fortifies it against pests and diseases. Remember: diversity means healthier plants and a more robust garden ecosystem.

Download Your Free Superfood Gardening Guide

SGS 2024 eGuide

The 8th Annual Superfood Garden Summit Comes Early This Year

Join us for the 8th Annual Superfood Garden Summit, the much-anticipated global event of the year for garden enthusiasts and health-conscious growers! This year, we’re delighted to bring you the summit early so you have the opportunity to apply fresh insights and strategies to your current growing season.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of What’s Coming for You!

Stacey Murphy ignites our passion for DIY bioenergetics and electroculture. Murphy advocates for playful experimentation in the garden, incorporating elements like lunar gardening and biodynamic farming. By testing different techniques, Murphy encourages us to embrace a fun, trial-and-error approach to growing food.

Ocean Robbins, CEO of the Food Revolution Network, takes the stage to discuss “Supercharging Your Health with Berries and Greens.” Robbins spins heartwarming stories from his family garden while uncovering the importance of growing greens and berries. Robbins invites us to convert even the smallest spaces into nourishing food havens.

Superfood Garden Summit

Also joining us at the summit this year we have Charles Dowding, a proponent of No-Dig Gardening. Whether you’re delving into gardening with a few pots of potatoes and leafy greens, or you are a homestead grower, Dowding’s insights on no-dig gardening are sure to optimize your efforts.

Greg Peterson from Urban Farm U joins forces with seed-saving expert Bill McDorman to discuss “Seed Saving Hacks and Wild Seeds.” Dispelling myths about hybrid seeds and advocating for native ecosystems, Peterson and McDorman guide us through the strategies for seed stewardship and resilience-building in our own backyards.

Who Else is Coming to the 8th Annual Superfood Garden Summit?

Rounding out our expert lineup, we have Michael Kilpatrick, who will help you transform your backyard into a berry paradise, Kilpatrick covers the cultivation of elderberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries with a side of rhubarb. Marjory Wildcraft explores the wonders of growing your own chocolate while Amy Landers teaches us how to create butterfly havens in our gardens.

That’s Not All!

In addition to our garden topics, we have herbal experts Kami McBride from Living Awareness Institute and Sarah Popham from The School of Evolutionary Herbalism. McBride shares respiratory benefits of garden sage, and Popham joins us to dive into  herbs for our garden that bolster immunity.

Last but certainly not least, Matt Powers dives into the world of regenerative soil, illuminating its crucial role in nurturing our ecosystem. Jason Matyas shares how gardening and homesteading can instill resilience and valuable life skills in children. Commercial grower, Crystal Meserole, shares beneficials for your soil.

Superfood Garden Summit Event Guide with Desktop image TINY

Join us at the Superfood Garden Summit, to discover how to enrich both your garden and your life. It’s our mission to empower you to cultivate your own nutrient-dense food. We strive to empower growers so you know exactly what’s on your plate. By harnessing the knowledge of expert growers, you can grow plants with higher nutrient density and get better yields with ease. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned grower, this summit is an essential resource to bring you more health, joy, and superfood into your life!

FREE Superfood Garden Summit

Airing May 14-17, 2024

Sign up for FREE access to the Superfood Garden Summit to help you grow nutrient-rich foods with ease.

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Fun is Better than Perfect

Garden Mindsets: Fun is Better Than Perfect

Embrace the Joy of Gardening

Gardening is often viewed as a realm for the perfectionist or traditional farmer: rows of flawless vegetables and not a weed in sight. Here at Grow Your Own Vegetables, we  invite you to shift your perspective with a simple yet profound philosophy: fun is better than perfect.

Rebel Against Perfection

“Fun is Better than Perfect,” is an invitation to step into the garden as a space of exploration and wonder. Abandon the idealism of your garden needing to become a showcase of expertise. Grow Your Own Vegetables garden trainer Crystal Meserole further illustrates the importance of making your garden journey a source of joy:

“It’s better to harvest a pound of tomatoes in joy, than a bushel in stress.”

Fun is Better Than Perfect

Dream Big But Start Small

The great news for beginners is that you don’t need a wealth of knowledge to start. Find a spot with 6-8 hours of full sun, amend your soil, and plant some seeds and transplants.

It’s about taking that first step, even if it means your garden won’t be the iconic images you see featured in magazines. The real reward comes from watching your efforts sprout and grow.

The Heart of Learning is Experimentation

Gardening is a hands-on activity that teaches through trial and error. Each season is a new set of experiments. Maybe you’ll learn that your tomatoes prefer one side of the garden over the other, or that your soil needs a bit more compost to support your vigorous plant growth. Each observation is a nugget of wisdom, and each misstep is a lesson. In gardening, there is no such thing as a failure as long as you’re learning from your observations and experiments.

The Stress-Free Garden

Aiming for perfection will make gardening an overwhelming chore. Striving for a pest-free, weed-less utopia will suck the joy out of even the sunniest afternoons. That stress can negatively impact your health. Adopting a more laid-back approach is the key to having a good garden experience.

So what if there are some weeds among your strawberries? Nature is unpredictable, surprising us throughout the seasons. If you’re trying to create this picture perfect reality you’re going to end up experiencing unneccessary stress. Embracing the chaos of nature can transform your garden experience from a curveball of stress to a curveball of joy.

And if pests nibble some of your greens, remember that sharing is caring—even with nature’s tiny critters. Without some pests, you won’t have beneficials. It’s not about pest-free; it about ecosystem balance. You want some pests so you have beneficials.

Harvest Happiness

Harvesting fresh food is rewarding. Harvesting happiness is priceless. You can’t buy happiness, but you can grow happiness. It is up to you to choose to cultivate it. It starts within you. It starts with a choice. When you choose to approach gardening with the mindset that the goal is health—physical, mental and emotional, you will be able to approach your garden with a sense of amazement, always experiencing, releasing the ideal you have to control the outcome.

Gardens can be spaces of delight and discovery. Whether you’re nurturing a few potted herbs or tending to a sprawling vegetable plot, remember that perfection is not the goal—enjoyment is. Approach your garden as a playground for your curiosity and a testament to the beauty of imperfection. Embrace the approach of ‘fun is better than perfect’ so you can harvest nature’s abundance of fresh food, joy, and happiness.

Fun is Better Than Perfect

Join in the Joy!

Part of enjoying gardening is connecting with others and learning new ways to improve your garden! Join us for the 8th Annual Superfood Garden Summit!

Superfoods to Grow in Your Garden

Why spend a fortune on buying organic superfoods from the supermarket if you can grow them yourself? If you are lucky enough to have a garden in your home, make sure you make use of it and grow nutrient-packed crops that will make a healthy and delicious diet!

Gardening is good for the body and mind alike – taking care of your plants has several proven mental health benefits, while eating organic fresh food is great to keep your body healthy. So, if you have the chance to grow your own crops, why not choose the ones that are the most beneficial for your health? That is right – it’s time to grow your own superfoods!

First, let’s take a moment to understand what superfoods are – these foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) have a very high concentration of nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, making them fantastic health boosters. However, there is no set criteria to determine which foods qualify for this status – the term “superfood” is essentially an umbrella term for the foods that carry the most health benefits when consumed as part of an otherwise healthy diet. And what else is healthier than homegrown crops?

Plus, growing your own means that you can be sure that your food hasn’t been treated with pesticides, biocides or other harmful chemicals. And the good news is, you can grow a good amount of these superfoods even if you are short on space – as some of them can thrive in pots and containers, without the need for a dedicated spot in your garden.

So what are you waiting for? With the help of this infographic, you can decide which superfoods suit your gardening skills the most, so all you need to do is get planting! 

The difficulty levels are indicators of how much time and effort is needed to keep the crops thriving, as well as how sensitive they are to certain weather conditions. Some plants, like peas and zucchini, are more forgiving and can grow even in lower-quality soil. However, plants like blueberry bushes are extremely sensitive to the type of soil they are planted in – blueberries require well-drained and acidic soil in order to produce healthy fruit.

Some of these plants need to be protected during the winter (lemons and fig trees need shelter from the frost), while others don’t tolerate the heat. It is advised to research your preferred plant thoroughly, so you can be prepared for the possible problems and the ways to solve them.

Don’t forget – anyone can become a gardener, so don’t let the difficulty levels discourage you from attempting to grow a higher-maintenance crop – just make sure you have done your research and are willing to spend time in your garden. Good luck and happy planting!

Guest Article by: Dóra Pista

Dora Pista is a blogger and hobby gardener, with a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She created the infographic above to help beginner gardeners start their journey into superfood growing.

Find Dora on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Share with us the Superfoods you love to grow!

Benefits of Container Gardening: Grow in Limited Space

Gardening knows no bounds, and for those with limited or no outdoor space, container gardening offers a delightful solution. Whether you have a balcony, patio, or even just a sunny windowsill, containers provide a versatile option for cultivating a thriving garden.

Benefits of Container Gardening

One of the primary advantages of container gardening is its ability to maximize space. With containers, you can transform any corner, nook, or cranny into a vibrant oasis of fresh vegetables and herbs. Vertical space can also be utilized by stacking containers or hanging baskets, allowing you to make the most of limited square footage. Whether you are gardening in an urban apartment or a suburban backyard, containers offer endless possibilities for creating lush and inviting outdoor spaces.

Flexibility and Mobility

Container gardening provides unparalleled flexibility and mobility. Unlike traditional in-ground gardens, containers can be easily moved and rearranged to accommodate changing sunlight patterns, seasonal weather conditions, or aesthetic preferences. This flexibility allows you to experiment with different layouts, plant combinations, and design elements, adapting your garden to suit your evolving needs and tastes.

Variety of Plants

Another benefit of container gardening is the wide variety of plants that can thrive in containers. From flavorful herbs to leafy greens, the options are virtually limitless. With careful selection and placement, you can create a diverse and visually appealing garden that offers both ornamental beauty and culinary delights. Additionally, containers provide the opportunity to grow plants that may not be well-suited to your region’s soil or climate, expanding your gardening repertoire.

Accessibility and Control

Compared to traditional gardens, container gardening offers greater accessibility and control over growing conditions. You can tailor soil composition, watering frequency, and fertilization to meet the specific needs of your plants, ensuring optimal growth and health. This level of control is especially beneficial for gardeners dealing with challenging soil conditions, such as poor drainage or contaminated soil. Containers also elevate plants to a more convenient height, reducing the strain of bending or kneeling associated with traditional gardening.

Low Maintenance and Pest Control

With container gardening, your garden maintenance may be lower than an in-ground garden since containers provide a barrier against invasive weeds and many pests. Additionally, containers can be easily monitored for signs of pest infestations or diseases, allowing for prompt intervention and control measures. With proper care and attention, container gardens can thrive with minimal effort, making them an ideal option for busy gardeners or those new to gardening.

Creativity and Expression

Gardening in containers is not just about cultivating plants; it’s also a form of creative expression. Containers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, allowing you to customize your garden to reflect your personal style and aesthetic preferences. Whether you prefer sleek modern designs, rustic terracotta pots, or whimsical repurposed containers, there are endless options for infusing personality and charm into your container garden.

In the world of gardening, creativity knows no bounds, and container gardening is a testament to that. Whether you are looking to maximize space, experiment with new plants, or simply add a touch of greenery to your surroundings, container gardening offers a versatile and accessible solution. With the right combination of plants, containers, and care, you can transform even the smallest of spaces into a vibrant and thriving garden oasis. So grab your trowel, select your favorite plants, and let your container garden journey begin!

For more information about the best soils to use with your containers, download our Container Growing Medium eGuide. This free eGuide helps you to understand the difference between various soil mixes, their ingredients, and which are best for container gardening. 

Container Growing Medium eGuide Image

Let us know in the comments if you garden with containers and what you grow.

Benefits of Crimson Clover as a Cover Crop

In the world of gardening, the role of cover crops cannot be overstated. Among the diverse array of cover crops, crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) stands out as a vibrant garden ally. This crimson-hued cover crop not only graces your garden with its vivid blossoms but also bestows a wide range of benefits that enrich the soil, enhance biodiversity, and promote sustainable gardening practices.

Upclose pic of crimson clover with the words "benefits of crimson clover as a cover crop"

Soil Enrichment and Nitrogen Fixation

Crimson clover, belonging to the legume family, possesses a unique ability to distribute nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. This process, known as nitrogen fixation, benefits surrounding plants by providing an essential nutrient for their growth. As the clover grows, it forms a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, enriching the soil and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. The increased nitrogen availability contributes to improved soil fertility, enhancing the overall health of your garden.

Weed Suppression and Erosion Control

The lush growth of crimson clover creates a dense ground cover, effectively suppressing the emergence of weeds. By shading the soil and outcompeting undesirable plants for resources, this cover crop acts as a natural weed deterrent. Additionally, the extensive root system of crimson clover helps prevent soil erosion. The roots bind the soil particles together, reducing the risk of nutrient runoff and preserving the integrity of your garden beds.

Biodiversity Enhancement

Beyond its soil-enriching properties, crimson clover contributes to the biodiversity in your garden. The vibrant blooms attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, providing them with a valuable source of nectar. The presence of pollinators not only supports the health of your garden but also fosters a balanced and thriving ecosystem. By incorporating crimson clover as a cover crop, you create a welcoming environment for beneficial insects, contributing to the overall resilience of your garden.

Organic Matter Accumulation

As crimson clover grows and eventually decomposes, it adds organic matter to the soil. This organic matter enhances soil structure, water retention, and nutrient-holding capacity. The decomposition process releases valuable nutrients back into the soil, creating a nutrient reservoir for subsequent crops. The continual addition of organic matter through cover cropping supports the long-term sustainability of your garden and fosters a dynamic and nutrient-rich soil ecosystem.

Seasonal Adaptability

Crimson clover is celebrated for its adaptability to various climates and growing conditions. This cover crop is well-suited for both cool and warm-season gardening, making it a versatile choice for gardeners in diverse regions. Its ability to thrive in different environments allows gardeners to incorporate it into their crop rotation strategies, providing year-round benefits to the soil.

Green Manure for Improved Soil Structure

When crimson clover is cut and left to decompose, it acts as a green manure. Green manure is a practice where plants are deliberately incorporated into the soil to enhance its structure and fertility. As crimson clover decomposes, it releases nutrients, improves soil health, and encourages beneficial microorganisms. The result is a nutrient-dense soil ready to support the next planting.

In the practice of sustainable gardening practices, crimson clover contributes great benefits to your garden. From nitrogen fixation and weed suppression to biodiversity enhancement and improved soil structure, this cover crop offers a plethora of advantages that adds to the overall health and productivity of your gardening space. Consider introducing crimson clover as a cover crop in your garden and watch as its vibrant blooms provide vitality and sustainability to your gardening journey.

Harvest Club: The Online Garden Membership that helps you GROW for a lifetime of health, happiness, and well-being!

Do you have questions about cover crops or any other garden topic? Consider joining Harvest Club, our premier gardening membership program. Connect with an online community of like-minded growers, attend twice monthly virtual Garden Jam sessions, and receive personal garden email support to get the answer that you need when you need them. 

Receive a two month complimentary membership with the purchase of any of our courses. Learn more about Harvest Club HERE.

Let us know in the comments what cover crops you like to use in your garden.

Rediscover Your Garden Joy

Gardening, often seen as a therapeutic and fulfilling activity, can sometimes lose its joy for various reasons. Whether it is due to setbacks like plant failures or pest invasions or simply the demands of a busy life, losing the joy of gardening is a common experience. 

When you lose your connection to your joy, your motivation declines and your harvests are not as bright and healthy. You may find yourself skipping this step or that. However, the good news is that by shifting your mindset and adopting positive strategies, you can reignite the passion and pleasure that gardening once brought into your life and rediscover your garden joy!

Upclose view of a vegetable garden with JOY spelled out on rocks

Understanding the Loss of Joy

When the joy of gardening wanes, it is essential to reflect on the factors contributing to this decline. Perhaps unexpected challenges have become overwhelming, or the initial excitement has faded. Acknowledging the reasons behind the diminished joy is the first step towards reclaiming the pleasure of tending to your garden.

Shifting Your Perspective

Oftentimes, when that unexpected challenge or setback occurs, you might be too close to the situation to understand it fully at first. Instead of focusing on the particular occurrence, it is best to shift your perspective. Here are some tips for helping you achieve this.

Accept imperfections

Gardens, like life, are full of imperfections. Accept that not every plant will thrive and not every season will be bountiful. Embrace the learning process that comes with setbacks, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than failures.

Set realistic expectations

Re-evaluate your expectations and set realistic goals. Understand that gardening is a journey with its ups and downs. By establishing achievable objectives, you alleviate the pressure to create a flawless garden and open the door to enjoying the process.

Rediscovering Joyful Practices

If gardening is something that you truly love, you want to rediscover your joy for the activity—and it is completely possible—and not too hard of a process once you have some ideas in mind for regaining your gardening love!

Start small

Begin by reintroducing joy through small, manageable tasks. Focus on areas that bring immediate gratification, such as planting vibrant flowers or herbs that require minimal maintenance. Gradually expand your gardening activities as your enthusiasm grows.

Create a garden oasis

Transform a corner of your garden into a personal oasis. Add a comfortable chair, some cozy cushions, and perhaps a small fountain. This designated space becomes a retreat where you can reconnect with the joy of gardening without feeling overwhelmed by larger tasks.

Practice mindfulness

Infuse mindfulness into your gardening routine. Slow down, savor the sensory experiences—the scent of soil, the warmth of the sun, and the rustle of leaves. By being present in the moment, you can rediscover the simple pleasures that gardening offers.

Celebrate successes

Take the time to celebrate every success, no matter how small. Whether it is the first sprout from a seed you planted or the sight of a vegetable taking shape, acknowledging these achievements contributes to a positive mindset and reignites the joy of gardening.

Journal your thoughts

As discussed in last week’s blog (which you can read HERE), garden journaling allows you to gather and focus your thoughts in one place, often leading to the discovery of solutions for the thing that is diminishing your gardening joy. Journaling also allows you to acknowledge your emotions—both positive and negative—so that you can process them on your path toward gardening joy!

Evolving Experience

The joy of gardening is a dynamic and evolving experience. It is perfectly normal to go through periods where the enthusiasm wanes, but with a shift in mindset and deliberate efforts to rediscover joy, you can rekindle the pleasure of tending to your garden. By accepting imperfections, setting realistic expectations, and engaging in mindful practices, you will find that the joy of gardening is not lost forever but merely waiting to be rediscovered within the vibrant tapestry of your garden.

Gardening Joyfully

We at Grow Your Own Vegetables recognize the importance of joy in the garden and have developed an entire course around the subject. The Joyful Gardener Course consists of eight lessons that are a foundation of gardening practices to save you time and stress and maintain your gardening joy while achieving abundant harvests. The lessons center around fitting gardening into your lifestyle easily to benefit from the experience. 

Through Monday, March 11th, the Joyful Gardener Course is offered at a better than great savings of $120 off, which is 60% off the regular course price. In addition, to complement this course, you also have the option to add the Garden Mindset & Journaling Microcourse for only an additional $27. That’s two informative gardening courses for around $100!

In the Garden Mindset & Journaling Microcourse, you learn 26 mindsets to practice and cultivate over time as well as tried and true journaling practices and techniques to reap the greatest benefit from the practice. As mentioned previously, garden journaling is an important step in regaining and maintaining your garden JOY!

This special pricing is only available through Monday, March 11th at 11:59pm Pacific Time so don’t wait to add these two courses to your garden library. You can find out more HERE. The Garden Mindset & Journaling Microcourse for $27 is available for selection during the checkout process.

Let us know in the comments what brings you JOY in your garden and how you discover it if you happen to lose it.