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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]. 

Spirit Gardening [Stage 5] The weirdest spirit gardening secret I know

What if I told you that you could have SO much abundance in your garden that you’ll start to RIP OUT plants to make room?

I know this may sound out there or far-fetched. But it’s totally possible when you live in the 5th stage of Spirit Gardening… AWE!

This one stage has the power to completely make all other stages feel like a warm up to true Spirit Gardening. I’ll explain how in a bit…

But first let’s talk about how we get to awe. 

If you’ve noticed a theme so far, kids know how to do this a lot better than adults! The whole world leaves us in AWE when we’re kids after all!

Remember thinking that your Dad was the strongest man in the world? 

Or that your Mom made the best mac and cheese EVER?

That’s because you were probably living in a state of awe. Everything is new and exciting! And there are all these people around us who have more experience at this “life” stuff. 

When you’re young… you might’ve felt like these people had superpowers or magic at their fingertips.

*spoiler alert* They probably didn’t use magic, but what they DID give you is much more powerful…

You might even be thinking right now… what could possibly be more powerful than superpowers??

One word… LOVE!

Yes, as a kid you might’ve had a lot of people sending love your way. And it feels AMAZING! 

You might’ve gotten bedtime stories before you went to sleep…

You might’ve gotten animal crackers and juice boxes when you needed a break during the day…

Or you maybe had play time and recess when it was time to move your body…These are all ways the world shows you LOVE when you’re young!

*sidenote* Why did we stop all of this as adults?? I think a regular nap & juice box time would solve a lot of the world’s problems and make us all happier too…

And here’s a not-so-surprising surprise… this technique works for your garden too!

You may have seen two plants Ikea did a study on in my Spirit Gardening talk at the Superfood Garden Summit. They experimented with “loving” one plant and “bullying” the other one. The result?

The plant they loved thrived and the one they bullied struggled:

The same lesson works in your own garden too. If you focus on what is thriving and love it, you will start to help it thrive even more! To be honest, I don’t know exactly how it all works.

But I’ve seen it work for my students too many times to think this isn’t real.

Somehow when you focus your love on what thrives, it expands!

It wants to grow even more for you and make even more delicious herbs and vegetables!

And if something doesn’t respond to your love, guess what?

You can actually PULL it from your garden. Yes, that’s right. You can take plants out of your garden at any time. 

Because here’s the counter-intuitive truth… the thriving parts of your garden will be more than happy to take up the space! This may seem totally crazy, but it works. And if the plant you’re pulling out is one you really want to harvest this year… don’t worry!

Sometimes just pulling out one plant that is doing so-so and replacing it with a fresh starter is enough. Eventually (and with enough love), you will get to harvest all the vegetables and herbs you want. All plants respond to love. But you don’t need to go crazy loving on your plants either (but you can if you want to!)

Sometimes just having your morning coffee with your plants and telling them what good things might be happening in your day is enough.

And if you want MORE examples on how gardeners like you love on their plants, Join me LIVE tomorrow!

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite techniques for living in Stage 5 of Spirit Gardening, Awe.

It’s really a magical stage to be in once you practice for a while!

You don’t have to “pass through” the other stages to get to Awe either. I’ll show you how to reach stage 5 of spirit gardening even if you haven’t practiced the other 4 stages yet.  

I’d LOVE to see you there. 🙂

Peace and AWE,
Stacey

 

Save Your Spot

“How to Practice Spirit Gardening LIVE Q&A” with Stacey Murphy

August 7th, 2022
[1pm PT / 4pm ET]

 

Join Stacey LIVE to help you answer any gardening mindset questions or challenges you have.

Enjoying Stacey’s Spirit Gardening Series? Share your ‘AhHa’ moments with us!

Spirit Gardening [Stage 4] Better mindset, better garden

Gardening is the best way to get the freshest, healthiest food. 

But what if I told you that it turns out that gardening does a lot to keep your MIND healthy too?

Because studies have shown that gardening provides equally incredible health benefits for your brain including:

• Reduced stress and anxiety by making you feel more peaceful and content.
• Boosting your self-esteem when you see your hard work pay off with a bountiful harvest.
Improving attention span and concentration by focusing on a task without the usual indoor distractions.
Encouraging social bonding when you garden with others or share your harvests in your community.

And that’s just from “traditional gardening.” 

When you start to apply Spirit Gardening, it takes these health benefits and amplifies them. That’s why in the 4th stage of Spirit Gardening, Evolve…

…you focus less on action and more on feeling!

Today you’ll take what you’ve learned from the previous three stages and decide how to grow and evolve from it. 

Here’s how…

Stage 1: You had wonder and curiosity and you asked questions.
Stage 2: You listened to your plants and noticed things about them and your garden.
Stage 3: You took playful action.
Stage 4: Now your garden has responded to what you did and you’ll choose how you respond to your garden.

Your garden’s response may or may not be what you expected. Maybe you wanted bigger zucchini and a more abundant harvest. But instead, you got similar-sized zucchini from last year and less of them.

This is where the opportunity to evolve and grow lies. Because no matter what your outcomes are… you get to choose the “story” attached to what happens!

Many people react to not getting the result they wanted with guilt, anger, or shame. They feel like a failure. Like something they did caused them to fail. But I want to introduce a very special idea to you (one that’s taken me years to understand)…

What happens in your garden is not your fault. But how you choose to respond to what happened is your responsibility.

Your garden is an amazing place to connect with and work through these darker emotions. It’s okay and totally normal to feel that guilt, anger, and shame! But when you Spirit Garden you’re able to release those emotions because these feelings are just teachers to help you get closer to your goals next season.

…and you always win! Because you either got what you want or you gained a lesson.

In one case you got what you wanted (yay!). Or you learn a priceless lesson that you will never forget! 

In this stage, as you grow and evolve you’ll come to realize that your garden does so much more than nourish and rejuvenate your body. It nourishes and rejuvenates your mind as well. 

These are the things that are going to improve your garden. It isn’t focusing on tactics and strategies. It’s focusing on your feelings and the lessons you learn about life.

You’re going to feel more successful AND I promise that given enough time, you will see positive results.

Whether this sounds crazy to you or like the best form of therapy, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Which is why I want to invite you to join me LIVE for my training,“How to Practice Spirit Gardening Q&A”.

I’ll be answering your questions about Spirit Gardening and how it can help improve your garden, your mindset, and your overall well-being.

This is the way to lifelong gardening success. This is the way to love your garden. This is the way to appreciate the plants, animals, and people in your life. 

Peace and carrots,
Stacey

 

Save Your Spot

“How to Practice Spirit Gardening LIVE Q&A” with Stacey Murphy

August 7th, 2022
[1pm PT / 4pm ET]

 

Join Stacey LIVE to help you answer any gardening mindset questions or challenges you have.

Spirit Gardening Stage 1 
Spirit Gardening Stage 2
Spirit Gardening Stage 3
Spirit Gardening Stage 5: Coming Saturday, August 6th

Enjoying Stacey’s Spirit Gardening Series? Share your ‘AhHa’ moments with us!

Spirit Gardening [Stage 3] The secret that makes gardening fun

Have you ever seen children playing house? (Or remember doing it yourself!) 

Pretending to be adults going about their everyday life. Going to work, making dinner, going shopping. They turn things that we adults often find dull and boring into play.

And they have a blast doing it!!

It turns out (and numerous studies have shown this) that imaginative play is how children develop their social, emotional, and language skills. 

Play is learning.

There are reasons that so many math games, reading games, and science games exist. You and I are designed to learn more when we’re having fun!

This is why Play is the 3rd stage of Spirit Gardening.

This is what makes Spirit Gardening different than learning from a book (or even any one of my other courses!)

Instead of thinking “I want to plant tomato seeds because that’s what everyone grows in my neighborhood,” you say “what do I think would be fun to grow?”

You go get the seeds of the plants you actually want to grow, you plant them, and then you see what happens.

In this stage, you want to take the curiosity and wonder questions of stage 1. Then combine it with the ease and observations you made in stage 2. Put them together and what do you get?

You get inspired action that feels like PLAY!

What have you noticed around your garden? What questions have those observations raised for you? Listen to the little intuitive hits, the ones that seem to come out of nowhere. Trust those and try them.

Maybe you saw a toad in your garden. It sits peacefully in the corner, observing just like you. Maybe you felt a connection with that toad and think about putting in a toad house.

You have fun with it! Maybe you create a cute little toad village. Even if it takes up some of your precious gardening space.

Your little toad friend moves into his new toad abode. After a few weeks, maybe you notice more toads hanging around your garden. You might also notice those caterpillars that were leaving holes in your broccoli leaves have mysteriously disappeared.🐸🍴🐛

When you approach gardening this way you’ll find surprising things happening. Some will be good, like toads acting as a natural pest control. Some not so good like dandelions making a home in your new flower bed. But here’s the beautiful thing about approaching your garden with a playful mind…

There’s no failure in play.

When you approach your garden in a playful way it will always feel like a success! You’ll be excited to come back and learn, to experiment, and see what happens. You might even discover a new gardening breakthrough!

So if you want more inspiration to turn gardening into play, join me on August 7th for my LIVE QA Training.

I’ll share even more ways you can add play and have fun in your garden.

Peace and Playfulness,
Stacey

 

Save Your Spot

“How to Practice Spirit Gardening LIVE Q&A” with Stacey Murphy

August 7th, 2022
[1pm PT / 4pm ET]

 

Join Stacey LIVE to help you answer any gardening mindset questions or challenges you have.

Spirit Gardening Stage 1 
Spirit Gardening Stage 2
Spirit Gardening Stage 4: Coming Friday, August 5th
Spirit Gardening Stage 5: Coming Saturday, August 6th

Enjoying Stacey’s Spirit Gardening Series? Share your ‘AhHa’ moments with us!

Spirit Gardening [Stage 2] How do you “Be Ease”?

Have you ever had a job where it felt like your boss might’ve been looking over your shoulder?

Like they were “just checking in” to make sure you’re working?

When you have a boss like this, it’s easy to pick out work that makes you “look busy”…

(Even when you don’t have any real work to do.)

It may sound strange, but this is relevant to your garden too…

Because many gardeners I’ve met treat their garden like a “job” where they have to constantly stay busy. Or they start to feel like they won’t get their payday of a harvest at the end! They say they HAVE to be working when they’re in the garden. 

And they put a lot of pressure on themselves for not doing enough planting, weeding, pruning, watering, harvesting…

Sometimes it can feel like their mantra is “There’s always SOMETHING to do!”

But is it actually true that working all the time gives you a better garden?

Well you might want to consider these truths…

A seed that gets the right amount of sun and moisture will sprout. 🌞🌱Nature flourishes and thrives without any help from us. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes doing less IS more. Especially in your garden.

That’s what today’s stage of Spirit Gardening, Ease, is all about.

But how do you “do ease?”  Here’s a helpful question to ask yourself…

When do you feel the most “at ease”? 😌

Think about going to your favorite coffee shop to meet your best friend. You feel relaxed and comfortable. You can tell your friend anything and not feel judged. You can even just sit in silence observing the goings-on around you and feel at peace!

That is “doing ease!” And it’s something you can achieve in your garden every day.

When we’re “at ease,” we’re most observant of the world around us. You can take in the little things in nature and, most importantly… listen to what your plants are telling you!

Being at ease is also a state of being with yourself. You’re trusting your intuition and what you feel is right for your garden. 

I’ve learned more about what my garden needs from taking a few minutes a day to just sit among my plants than I have in hours of diligent tending and weeding.

And going to your garden shouldn’t feel like going to work. It should feel like visiting with your best friend. You want to sit in your garden and observe. Breathe, relax and enjoy being among your plants.

So that’s your goal for this stage of Spirit Gardening. 

Have one day this month where you just SIT in your garden and be at peace instead of “doing” your next project.

Of course, if you want to know more about how to “do ease” in your garden. Or how to turn down the volume on the “boss” in your brain telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, register below for my FREE live QA event.

In this training I will answer your questions about the 5 stages of Spirit Gardening and how they can help you get more joy and abundance from your garden.

Peace and Ease,
Stacey

P.S.   Watch Stage 3 tomorrow where I show you how to have more FUN in your garden while growing even more than ever before!

 

Save Your Spot

“How to Practice Spirit Gardening LIVE Q&A” with Stacey Murphy

August 7th, 2022
[1pm PT / 4pm ET]

 

Join Stacey LIVE to help you answer any gardening mindset questions or challenges you have.

Spirit Gardening Stage 1 
Spirit Gardening Stage 3: Coming Thursday, August 4th
Spirit Gardening Stage 4: Coming Friday, August 5th
Spirit Gardening Stage 5: Coming Saturday, August 6th

Enjoying Stacey’s Spirit Gardening Series? Share your ‘AhHa’ moments with us!

Spirit Gardening [Stage 1] How to wonder more and worry less in your garden

“It feels like turning on a ‘light switch’ in your brain.”

That’s how one of my students described this meditation. Because in just one, simple visualization meditation you go from a world in your garden that is…

• Small
• Lonely
Hard
Full of challenges

…to a world that is…

• Big, unlimited potential
• Connection
Easy and flowing
Surrounded by solutions

And yes, you can do this all with ONE simple visualization exercise in your garden! 

Pretty neat right? 😄

The real secret to this meditation isn’t anything complicated or confusing. It is just a simple reframing of your mind to go from a closed state to one of abundance. I’ll tell you more about how I came across this in a minute…

But first, let me introduce you to the first stage of Spirit Gardening that we’ll be exploring together today…

Wonder!

This is the first step to gaining more joy, hope, and energy in your garden. You start here because it is all about one thing… being curious!

When your mind is in a curious state it’s almost impossible not to find happiness… because Mother Nature is so freaking cool and mysterious!

She’s like an elusive mistress of sorts… 😉

When you start with a curious mind everything else will start to just get easier. And the way to start is so simple, I’m pretty sure a 3-year old invented this. All you have to do is say to yourself…

“I wonder why ________ ?”

And you can do this anywhere, anytime! Just find a comfy chair or a place to sit in or around your garden. Then look out at your plants and just start to ask questions. Here are a few primers for example…

• Are there plants around you that you didn’t notice before you sat down?
Do leaves or flowers stand out to you that didn’t before?
How about any insects or birds?

You’ll soon find that just sitting in your garden, wondering, will open a whole new world for you!

And you’ll start to feel excitement and joy around you again.

Now, let me tell you a little secret… the reason I was able to discover this was because I was feeling a little down on myself one day. I felt like I was watching other gardeners have success with plants and crops that I had struggled with for years. And I couldn’t help but feel like I was a little broken.

The voice in my head was asking…

Why does it seem like there are things that I can’t get for myself?”

When I heard this thought, I decided to sit down and meditate on this for a bit. I asked nature in my meditation to show me that life is full of abundance. And that I too CAN have beautiful things for myself in my garden.

When I opened my eyes, nature was there to greet me with a WONDERful surprise…

All around me were tiny asparagus plants popping up through the soil! 

Now normally this wouldn’t be a big deal except that these asparagus plants shouldn’t have been there at ALL in September! Asparagus traditionally shoots up in early summer where I was growing. And by this point they should’ve been tiny, dried up nubs by now. 

But here they were… right in front of me!

Nature was showing me the magic of her abundance right there. 😊🙌🌿✨

And it had been there all along. The only difference was that now my mind was primed to see it.

Which is what I want to give to YOU in Stage 1 of your Spirit Gardening Journey… Wonder!

Here’s how.

(This is a shorter version of the full visualizations and meditations you’ll see inside the Spirit Gardening Course)

Just go out in your garden, take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes for 5 minutes. And while your eyes are closed, ask Nature to show you her abundance.

Then open up your eyes and start writing down all your “I wonder why _______?” questions.

Trust me, this process is magical! 🧙‍♀️🧙‍♂️

And after you’re done, I’d love for you to watch my upcoming training.

In this training I help answer any Spirit Gardening questions you have. And if you don’t have any questions yet, that’s ok too. You’ve still got 4 more stages of Spirit Gardening to go through.

In Stage 2 we’ll talk more about the second stage… which will take a lot of the STRESS out of your garden.

Because gardening should be EASY! You’ll see how to have ease in your garden on demand tomorrow. Until then, happy WONDERing in your garden!

Peace and wonder,
Stacey

 

Save Your Spot

“How to Practice Spirit Gardening LIVE Q&A” with Stacey Murphy

August 7th, 2022
[1pm PT / 4pm ET]

 

Join Stacey LIVE to help you answer any gardening mindset questions or challenges you have.

Spirit Gardening Stage 2: Coming Wednesday, August 3rd
Spirit Gardening Stage 3: Coming Thursday, August 4th
Spirit Gardening Stage 4: Coming Friday, August 5th
Spirit Gardening Stage 5: Coming Saturday, August 6th

Enjoying Stacey’s Spirit Gardening Series? Share your ‘AhHa’ moments with us!

Unusual Edibles for Your Front Yard Garden

Make your front yard garden beautiful so neighbors can enjoy it too.

There are many factors to consider when picking your plants each growing season. One factor you might have to deal with … does your neighborhood allow front yard gardens?

Here’s your chance to get inspired by some unusual yet stealth edibles.

How about adding some garlic?
Complimentary eGuide: Your guide to growing, harvesting & curing delicious garlic

What do you grow in your front yard garden? Let us know in the comments below.

6 Keys to Hot Weather Gardening

If you live in a climate where summer temperatures regularly exceed 90°F, hot weather gardening can be a challenge. Above 95°F, tomato blossom drop can happen, and summer favorites like cucumbers, sweet peppers, and eggplant slow production and become more vulnerable to pests and disease.

The good news is you can take steps to protect your plants and your harvests.

Gathering some information will help you be successful in hot weather gardening:

🔥 Your area’s average high temperatures

🔥 When you can expect the heat to strike

🔥 What temperatures your crops need to thrive

Not sure how hot it gets in your area? You can use Weather Underground’s “Historical Weather” section to learn about weather trends in your area.

All vegetable crops have a temperature sweet spot that supports maximum growth and productivity.

Cool season vegetables are generally leaf and root vegetables that thrive in temperatures between 50 and 70°F. Many can withstand frost, but they slow production and eventually bolt as temperatures climb.

Hot weather crops bear fruit (we call many of them “vegetables”). Summer favorites like tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, mellons, and beans thrive in temperatures between 80 and 90°F. If your high temperatures rarely go above 95°F, you just need to make sure your plants are healthy and watered.

However, if you live in an area that regularly sees temperatures above 95°F, keeping crops cool is key.

Hot weather gardening can be challenging, but just a few measures can keep your plants happy and productive:

  1. Choose crops that can handle the heat. Sweet potatoes, okra, melons, hot peppers, southern peas, and malabar spinach are all great options for hot areas.
  2. Make sure your watering is consistent. Irregular or insufficient watering can stress your plants and make them less resilient in the heat. Sufficient water helps your plants stay healthy and withstand heat.
  3. Provide lots of organic matter with compost. Abundant soil life protects your plants from diseases and makes them more resilient to stress. Soil with high levels of organic matter also holds water better, so you don’t risk losing as much moisture when things heat up.
  4. Interplant to create natural shade in the hottest part of the day. If you orient your garden beds facing West, you can plant tall, heat-loving crops “in front” of other crops to provide shade. Okra grows large with big, broad leaves–like a natural sun canopy that also feeds you!
  5. Space your plants further apart. Biointensive planting has many benefits. But when things heat up, closely spaced plants have to compete more for water and air circulation. Just like you don’t want a long hug on a hot summer day, your plants need a little room to breathe.
  6. Try shade cloth. Shade cloth comes in a variety of densities that provide more or less shade depending on your plants’ needs.

Solving your unique climate and space puzzle takes time, research, and experimentation. Making observations and taking good notes this year can help your garden grow even more next year. And we’re happy to help you learn more along the way!

Join us for our summer series of blogs all about hot weather gardening for bountiful harvests.

Amy Davis
Wordsmith and Client Support

In an age of increasing specialization, Amy proudly calls herself a generalist. She holds a Master’s degree in English, a RYT 200 yoga teacher certification, and is working her way through a bachelor’s in Biology. She believes in nurturing and following curiosity, then taking what you’ve learned and sharing it to better the lives of others.

Amy is an avid chaos gardener and has worked in agriculture for several years. In 2017, she first apprenticed on a Certified Organic vegetable farm and later took over as operations manager there. She also served as greenhouse manager for a local restaurant’s urban farm, and she spent a year in AmeriCorps service to an agriculture nonprofit specializing in education for beginning farmers and gardeners. She has a passion for greenhouse work, and she loves watching tiny little seedlings grow and turn into lunch. Amy and her husband grow an ever-evolving front yard garden in southern Appalachia (apple-atcha).  

Are you experiencing hot weather? Share your hot weather tips in the comment section below!

Creating Eden… or something close

Nature is so powerful. The smallest drips of water can create canyons, a flea can catapult themselves up to 100 times their body length and dandelions can root themselves well, anywhere!

But when it comes to solving human problems with nature, we often think nature can’t help us. We spend trillions of dollars researching, developing, and using human-made options. And some of these are life-saving fabulous technologies.

But what if we open ourselves to the idea that nature could help us solve the challenges we face? How much less pollution would there be? How much less work would we have to spend on doing something nature can already do for us and put all that energy into other aspects of life? That’s exactly what one doctor did… and it saved an entire town.

The year was 1907 and malaria was claiming countless lives. Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Charles Campbell, who recently helped end a typhus outbreak in San Antonio by encouraging the town to line their water supply with cement, was now dedicating himself to solving the malaria epidemic. It was just ten years prior that the transmitters of the parasite causing malaria (the female mosquito of the Anopheles genus) had been discovered. While Quinine was recognized as being able to suppress the disease, it wasn’t curing malaria and it certainly wasn’t preventing it.

Inspiration struck and Dr. Campbell set out to partner with one of the most feared creatures on the planet associated with numerous superstitions that still influence us today—bats.

While his first attempts failed, Dr. Campbell eventually succeeded in colonizing bats in a small community just south of San Antonio where 89% of the small farming community w

as infected with malaria. Here at Lake Mitchell, the mosquito populations were so high that livestock would break down fences just to try to escape the swarms.

The structure built to provide the bat colony with a safe place to roost was finished in 1911 and within two nights of the roost being finished, 250,000 bats had gathered. All the insect netting, insecticides, and draining of marshes people tried to help control the mosquito populations couldn’t do near what this one colony did. The bat colony consumed roughly 750 million mosquitoes per night and by 1913, there wasn’t a single new case of malaria in the area.

That’s the power of partnering with nature. All we have to do is think outside the box, look past our fears and superstitions, believe that it’s possible, and experiment (and maybe fail a few times) to find the path where nature and humanity can walk together to create a healthy environment and a brighter future.

And it’s not just about what we get out of the partnership. While the benefits we receive are great, it’s also about the balance in nature that is allowed to exist when we resolve ourselves to become stewards of nature. In the case of the mosquitos in San Antonio, the mosquito population was completely out of control. And that infestation would have continued to be out of control had Dr. Charles Campbell not thought to walk with one of nature’s most feared and misunderstood creatures or had he given up after his failed attempts.

It’s also about what we learn about nature. Echolocation of bats wasn’t discovered until 1938, but Campbell had commented years prior about the mosquito flight tones impacting a bat’s ability to find their prey with such detail that he had even discovered which notes were in the range of attracting a bat’s attention.

But perhaps more than anything else, it’s about realizing what more might be possible? What kind of garden (metaphorical and literal) can we create if we entertain unconventional ideas and practice questioning all of our assumptions? Maybe not something quite as idyllic as the Garden of Eden, but maybe, just maybe, it could be something close. One thing is certain: there’s a deep partnership with nature waiting to be cultivated and a world of solutions yet to be discovered. Your garden is a whole frontier waiting to be discovered, recognized, and appreciated.

And, while already slightly less practical than our usual blogs, in keeping with the sentimentality, here’s a little shout out to Dr. Charles Campbell, whose life and work are an inspiration to how we can work with nature to create a happier, healthier, and a balanced planet.

Do you partner with nature in your garden? Share a time when you learned the power of partnering with mother nature in the comment section below!

Kids’ Read-Aloud: Dandelion Magic

So many grownups think dandelions are weeds. They mow them down, spray them, and gripe about them all spring.

But did you know dandelions can actually be…MAGIC?? Dandelions are the first food honeybees eat each year. And because they have a taproot, dandelions loosen hard soil and bring deep-down nutrients, like calcium, to the soil surface for other plants to use. Dandelions have tons of health benefits for you, too!

Join our Youth Garden Instructor, Meg Groves, as she reads Dandelion Magic by Darren Ferrell. Dandelion Magic is an interactive story about a little boy named Jonah, one magical dandelion, and a wish that gets a little out of hand.

Jonah’s Nana tells him that there is a very special dandelion that grows once a year. If you find the magical dandelion, make a wish, and blow its seeds, your wish will come true! Nana found it once herself, so she knows all about it.

Jonah finds the magical dandelion, and he wishes to become a pirate! But being a pirate comes with LOTS of unexpected challenges. Just when he finds treasure, sea monsters appear everywhere. Jonah needs your help to scare them off and get back home.

How can you help? Roaring, making faces, and blowing raspberries! This interactive story will work those dandelion-blowing muscles, even if they’re not blooming where you are right now.

When you blow the dandelion seeds off of the stem, the wind takes the seeds far and wide. If the seeds land in a place where it’s good to grow, they’ll grow into more dandelion flowers! More dandelions will feed even more bees and improve more soil.

With so many reasons to love dandelions, let’s stop all this “weeds” business. Pick a dandelion, make a wish, and send the seeds out on your own breath! Maybe you’ll make a little magic 🌬️

This article contains links to a product that we are a referral partner for. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Do you have a favorite ‘Garden Story’? Comment below.

Regenerative Soil Microscopy: the Book, Course, & Database

Matt Powers
The Permaculture Student

{2022 Superfood Garden Summit Presenter}

Matt Powers teaches permaculture and regenerative gardening and farming to families, youth, schools, and adults all over the world through his online courses, videos, and books. Matt provides daily inspirational and regenerative content online and is one of the most-followed permaculture teachers online.

How do we truly tell good compost from bad compost? Or better from best? BECAUSE in life, we are always after what is BEST.

What about you?

  • Do you want to KNOW what’s in your soil or compost before you apply it?
  • Do you want to be able to test your soil, compost, mushrooms, roots, and more at home?
  • Would you like to see other people’s test results in comparison to your own? What about in comparison to other bioregions and climate analogs?

Matt Powers has a new book, course, and database project that is absolutely WILD – it’s going to change soil science as we know it!

By having a way for everyone to compare their soils, the best soil regeneration and management practices will be revealed transparently, publicly, and powerfully!!

This is a game-changer – if you ever wanted to know how your soil or compost compares to others in your bioregion or in the world, this is how we are going to do it. Matt’s cracked the code: he’s developed a holistic approach to soil science with Regenerative Soil first and now with Regenerative Soil Microscopy & the new R-Soil Database, there’s a way to unlock the secrets of the soil for all the see for the first time EVER.

This is such an incredibly important project: it will change all farming, horticulture, ranching, gardening, and food as it rolls forward and shows the pathways to the highest nutrient density. Folks will be able to compare across 100+ points of distinction like organic matter %, BRIX of the plant sap, pH, all macro & micronutrients, paramagnetism, REDOX, CEC, Salinity, Compaction, Plant Sap Analysis, and so much more – compare your own samples over time or against the bioregion, world, or across specific variables like pH… the possibilities for deeper insight are limitless!!

This opens the door to a new way of testing, researching, discovering, sharing, learning, and growing.

THANK YOU MATT!!

Please show your appreciation by supporting Matt’s Kickstarter campaign in any way that you can – please share it with your people: this is for the folks that LOVE composting and soil & for those serious about growing, so please share it with everyone you can so we can find those folks to participate in this project. It’s going to help everyone as it develops and grows!

Check out what Matt is offering in his 7th Kickstarter!!
(Already 105% funded!!)

Did you check out Matt’s Video and New Book? Share with us your take-a-ways from his teaching.