Like so many others, we are devastated and heartbroken by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones.
2020 has challenged us on so many levels. The silver lining of these challenges is that it is providing an opportunity to focus on what really matters even when it’s difficult. It allows us a chance to acknowledge aspects of our reality that open a deep and very old wound so we can reconnect as a whole Earth community.
There’s a painful divide in our culture, one that is hundreds of years old.
If you’re following the Black Lives Matter movement, you’ve probably heard the phrase “structural racism”. But what does it mean beyond its definition?
What you may not know is that BK Farmyards (our first business name) was rooted in social justice… specifically food justice.
In our Brooklyn community, we recognized that there were higher rates of asthma and chronic diseases like heart disease, Alzheimers, and diabetes among people of color.
And there was also less access to fresh, affordable, organic and culturally appropriate foods among our communities of color. As we converted unused land to farms, we focused on how we could make a difference in our own community and bridge the fresh food gap causing higher chronic disease and illness happening in our own neighborhoods.
One of our projects, the Youth Farm, provided leadership and job opportunities for young people of color. It was a space for people of all races and ages to come together to explore what food justice means.
We started getting press because it was an exciting project.
So we made an internal agreement. Media and press were only allowed to cover the project if they were willing to use the words “structural racism” in their article. We wanted to use our platform to acknowledge biases in our country that lead to unequal health burdens placed on people of color.
Some media agreed to use the phrase. But many editors took it out, because it was scary to acknowledge. As you might imagine, we also lost a lot of press. But it didn’t change our mission… or our minds.
The message that Black Lives Matters is prevalent now, because of all the people willing to take the risk to stand up and give voice to what’s important.
On the one hand, my heart hurts because it took hundreds of years and cost hundreds of thousands of sacred lives to acknowledge this massive structural divide.
On the other hand, it makes me want to sing.
Because we’re here now, acknowledging what’s been here for far too long and investigating it together.
This moment in history is beckoning us towards something new…
It’s time for us to listen deeply.
It’s time for radical self acceptance.
It’s time for us to make space for all the uncomfortable conversations, because they are the ones that matter most.
We are being met with new information and all the ideas we stood by yesterday are going through a metamorphosis. Together, we have the power to shift this transformation into a beautiful new life and improve the health and well being of all our communities.
It’s time to acknowledge our own fears of speaking out and taking risks.
Conversations are the glue that holds us together, that connects us.
And it’s a time to forgive ourselves when we accidentally stick our foot in our mouth and say something that is unintentionally biased.
Because biases gone un-investigated can lead to fatal errors in judgment.
And if you feel called to DO something, there are a couple things you can do to amplify the message that Black Lives Matters.
You can join a protest and help the people of this movement create more peace simply by standing next to them and uniting your voice with theirs so they feel and are heard.
And have an uncomfortable conversation with someone that doesn’t look like you.
Have them with your friends and family too.
Remember, your garden is wonderful place to sit and listen and celebrate the biodiversity of this Earth too.
If you’re anything like me you’ll want to jump to solutions immediately…it’s human nature. But I am reminded of a conversation I had with Nikki Silvestri in 2013 when she was Executive Director of The People’s Grocery in Oakland.
I was telling her that I felt helpless, that I just wanted to DO something…, to be part of a solution.
And she told me that the only thing to do was to love.
To face the pain and bring love and radical and unconditional acceptance of myself and others.
It’s time the wounded voices of our communities be heard and the broken heart of our culture be healed. Peace comes from opening our eyes and ears and hearts.
Is it possible that we are ready for that? The Black Lives Matter movement gives me great hope.
I appreciate you for reading this email. For listening and searching for answers to your questions about what matters to you.
Peace & carrots,
Stacey Murphy & the GYOV Team
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
3 Keys for Successful Indoor Seed Starting
Here are the 3 most important keys to help you grow strong seedlings and transplants. Stick around for the BONUS key at the end… it may be the difference between killing all your seeds and being able to grow your own healthy babies. NOTE: This video is not intended to show you EVERYTHING about seed starting, just to help you avoid some common mistakes growers make.
Susan is a dietician who knows that nutrition is absolutely fundamental to a healthy life. So Susan started gardening right at home… And eventually bought a whole farm to expand what she could grow!
With the new location, Susan and her husband are running into some typical challenges, experiencing new pests and wondering how they can work with their climate better.
Watch the conversation here for some climate tips (and garden advice from a Dietician!).
Growing greens year round means you don’t have to rely on the grocery store for your fresh, organic food… which is great if you keep having recalls on greens in your local area! That’s why Shannon started this beautiful indoor closet garden. Plus some hidden benefits that her doctors can’t explain… gardens really do HEAL!
Recently, Shannon asked how she might improve her yields. Discover what she has already done how she might tweak her system to impove her yields with tips on watering, “flies” and lights here.
Finding the right holiday gift for a gardener isn’t easy. Gifts that often appear helpful aren’t. And sometimes the ones that seem mundane can be fantastic. It can take years for growers to find gadgets and supplies they love. So how can friends and family find the perfect garden gifts this holiday season? We’ve got you covered! Here’s the top ten most useful and exciting products on the market for your holiday gift list.
#10 The Gift of Time
Even when a garden is optimized, growers typically spend 40% of their time harvesting. That’s almost half our total time in the garden! That’s why this tool can make all the difference. Check out these 5 Blade Scissors!
Why waste time harvesting your food, hauling it inside, pulling out the cutting board and knife, and using a bunch of energy and time chopping? Just grab the scissors and cut your harvest right into the bowl! And with five blades, you’ll save even more time and energy.
#9 Garden Like A Superhero
Okay, so while this tool isn’t going to make you more powerful than a locomotive, you will be able to prune with 3 times the cutting power with the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper.
Fiskars makes great products in general, but this Lopper is made with reinforced fiberglass composite making it lighter than others.
It also sports a unique gear technology giving you more power without straining your hands, wrists and muscles cutting those thick branches. In fact, you can easily cut branches that are up to 2” (5cm) in diameter with this puppy. And the corrosion-resistant, non-stick, fully hardened blade means it will last a lifetime. In fact, they stand behind their product with a lifetime warranty and their claim to pruning fame: “This superior- grade tool is lighter, stronger, and more powerful than anything you’ve ever used.”
#8 The Mini-Superhero
For smaller pruning tasks, check out our favorite tool in the garden, the Bypass Pruner by Corona . Because no two hands are alike!
The flex dial allows you to set the pruners to match YOUR hand size and to adjust to the size branches you’re cutting, reducing hand fatigue.
#7 Love Yourself As Much As Your Garden
Body abuse is common in the garden. Growers, you know what I’m talking about. There is that weed that just won’t let go and you won’t give up even though you left the proper tool in the shed. Or you’re determined to finish shoveling mulch or compost even though you’re tired. For us seasoned growers, perhaps you simply turn your head to look at a beautiful butterfly and crick your neck. 🤣
A gardeners work is physical and it’s important to take care of your body and avoid unnecessary strain. Even having the proper tools can put stress on your body if they are poorly designed. That’s what makes these tools so great.
Originally made for people with arthritis, these stainless steel tools are really just good for anyone wanting to take care of their body. They feature non slip soft grip handles that keep hands and wrists in a neutral position, taking the stress off hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and backs with the ergonomic design.
The tools also allow gardening from a seated position as well. This is especially helpful for anyone with knee issues or where bending is restricted. The long handles allow for reaching to the back of the beds.
A long trowel, fork, cultivator and hoe are included in this set of 4. Don’t need all four? They sell them separately, so you can just grab the ones you need!
#6 Worms in the House
Yep, you heard me right! Vermicomposting can now be done right in your family room with style… and without mess. While we haven’t tested this product out yet, we couldn’t wait to share this brand new composting bin for all of you who boldly go where no gardener has gone before!
Marketed as suitable for a family of 1 to 3 people, the design of this indoor ecosystem is super sleek. According to company, the Biovessel aesthetics were accidental as it is designed from almost two years of biological research, experiments, and observation on the process of food waste decomposition to maximize efficiency.
The ease of use makes it perfect for busy people; simply add food waste and it does the work for you. No more running out to the garden every time you need to discard your scraps (which makes it good for cold winters!). Even for large families, this Biovessel makes a great mini composter for smaller scraps.
There is a bit of monitoring of moisture, light, and pH levels, as with all composting. When done correctly, there is NO ODOR. And with the exception of the 7 Liters of bedding soil and 500–600g of composting worms, the Biovessel comes with everything you need to start composting.
This is an awesome learning tool for teaching kids about composting and encouraging good environmental habits. With so much waste generated by modern ways of living, this design brings sustainability home for even the most densely populated cities, transforming waste into one of the most precious resources on the planet: worm castings.
#5 Bringing the Indoors Out
We love nature so much that we talk about bringing the outdoors in most of the time. But in this case, we’re bringing the indoors OUT to save you tons of time and energy in your garden with one simple tool: a hose trolley.
A Hose Trolley is a greenhouse growers best friend. And
for the outdoor gardener who uses a hose to water, it
makes watering plants a breeze! It keeps nozzles clean,
reducing the chance of spreading plant diseases, prevents hose wear and tear, and eliminates potential for tripping and accidental plant damage that happens when hauling the garden hose all around the greenhouse.
There are many hose trolley’s on the market, but we chose one most likely to stand up to outdoor elements, so you can rig this in your OUTDOOR garden too (for those without greenhouses). This Hose Trolley Kit includes an aircraft cable corrosion-resistant stainless steel pulley, hose supports, rope clip, hose turnbuckle, 10 additional feet of hose to get to the spigot, a trigger released lance, and their best hose – the Gilmour Flexogen. It also comes in 75’ and 100’ lengths for the extra large gardens.
#4 Craftsmanship at its FINEST
Few tools are hand-crafted nowadays. No tools that we’ve found can compete with the more common mass-produced tools on the market… with one exception.
Made with hand forged steel, wrought iron, hand turned American Black Walnut wood, each tool is built individually using traditional blacksmithing techniques. Each tool is set into its own hand-turned hardwood handle so there are no welds increasing the strength of the tool.
Of all our years and experience gardening, we’ve never come across such beautifully handcrafted tools. Each tool is unique and put quite simply, a masterpiece.
This set of five garden tools is perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners. You’ll receive a large planting trowel, a narrow perennial trowel, square hand hoe, pointed hand hoe, and a three- tined rake. So if you’re shopping for a special someone with an eye for high-quality traditional crafts and an interest in gardening, this collection will light up not just their holiday season, but every growing season too!
#3 Garden Smarter, Not Harder
Garden set ups are often extremely costly. And when you’re just starting, on a tight budget, or renting your home, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money and time on your garden set up only to walk away later. That’s why we were excited to find these:
These grow bags are just over 4 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter and 12 inches (30cm) deep. They have reinforced handles for transport and are reusable lasting three years in normal gardening conditions. And the best part? They are only $29.99 each. That’s only $10 per year for a whole raised bed.
While these raised bed grow bags are great for anyone who wants to grow, they are perfect for gardeners just setting up and those on the go. They’re also great for gardeners with physical limitations, eliminating material hauling, heavy lifting, and best of all ZERO labor. Buy, open, fill with soil media, and start growing!
Built to last, even commercial growers use them since they have superior aeration and drainage to raised beds with solid sides. In fact, the only products that Bootstrap Farmer sells are ones they use on their farm. So if you’re looking for the perfect raised bed for your gardener, this 100 Gallon Grow Bag is where it’s at.
Want to get more than one? Get 3 for $69.99. Oh, and one more thing: they’re also sustainable, made of food safe recycled plastic and felt.
#2 The Micro-Dream Tray
As a commercial microgreen grower, having the right trays are invaluable! So many of the trays on the market are downright junk and you’ll be lucky if you get two to three plantings from them. But these are different…
Combine them with these extra strength 5×5 trays (also known as 801 inserts) made of heavy duty, recycled, food grade, polypropylene plastic and guaranteed not to warp or break. I was skeptical, so I put them to the test. And I cannot imagine going back to what I was doing before.
These trays are great for anyone wanting to grow more varieties per batch (fits eight 5×5 trays to one 1020 flat), reduce their environmental waste, and save money. Not only that, but their design provides better drainage than the traditional inserts, saving even more with reduced crop losses. As an added bonus, I ran them through the dishwasher with no problem. These trays are the stuff of dreams for micro growers.
Say goodbye to flimsy non-sustainable trays for good with Bootstrap Farmers’ superior quality 5×5 Microgreen Trays.
#1 The Garden Tower® 2
Grow up to 50 plants and vegetables in 4 sq. feet (1.2 sq meters) with this Garden Tower! So much thought went into the materials and design of this indoor or outdoor growing container there was no way it could be anything but number one on our list!
The Garden Tower® 2 is made of 100% food grade HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic) components), FDA-approved dye and UV-protection for health, durability and recyclability.
Supporting up to 1,000 lbs, the feet allow the tower to be anchored securely to any platform while still being able to rotate 360° for optimized sun exposure and growing in tight spaces
Planting pockets allow for easy planting and fast harvesting.
For mobile growing, you can get the Premium Caster Kit.
With a patented GT2 vermicomposting tube right down the center, you can compost directly into the tower where plant roots can access nutrients and oxygen from the perforated holes.
Compost release gate allows for seasonal removal of finished compost not used by the plants & provides for aeration from below.
Removable compost/nutrient tea drawer can collect up to two gallons of nutrient enriched water for another pass by plant roots.
The Garden Tower®2 is perfect for growing lettuces, herbs, kale, chard, smaller varieties of peppers and other plants with smaller root systems. To top it all off, it comes with a whopping 5-year manufacturer warranty. This container can last up to twelve years in the harshest of climates!
With all the thought that went into this special grow container, it’s no wonder it was recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Container Garden.”
The only question we have for the company is, ‘Is there anything you didn’t think of!?’
BONUS! For Your Winter Pantry
This isn’t a garden gadget. Actually, it’s for you, right now. While you’re busy running around prepping for your holiday season, we wanted to remind everyone to take care of yourself and give your body that extra boost your immune system will need to stay healthy.
As the immune support and other benefits elderberry provides us becomes more realized, good quality elderberry syrup is getting harder and harder to find, especially at an affordable price. This is your place to do that.
Our good farmer friend, John Moody and his wife’s potent elderberry syrup is the best on the market. You can get a huge 16 ounce bottle of their original formula for $24! That’s normally what a decent quality 4 ounce bottle costs! Plus, they have low carb, low honey, and an infant friendly formulas. No need to take it like a cough syrup though, use it in your everyday life; from hot teas and lemonades to glazes and marinades, elderberry syrup is for every day immune support. My personal favorite is as a spread for turkey sandwiches and on waffles!
NOTE: This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on them and take action, I may be compensated. I only recommend products I LOVE and that will help you.
Doesn’t matter if you are brand new to gardening or have years of experience, there is one thing that makes everything easier… and more fun! Check it out here. And to connect with amazing garden visionaries, head over to the Superfood Garden Summit where we are featuring a Complimentary Package.
Watch listener favorites today here: https://superfoodgardensummit.com
Remember the moment you FIRST ate a fresh-picked tomato and you thought, “Oh my gosh… everyone should know how awesome this is!”??? Well, now’s your chance to spread the love of REALLY fresh, homegrown food. Imagine if YOU were the catalyst for your friends and loved ones to start gardening and enjoying an even GREENer lifestyle… How much could that transform their lives?
There are already 55,000+ attendees for the Superfood Garden Summit. That is AMAZING! …AND we’re on a mission to reach 100,000 growers! Because EVERYONE deserves fresh, organic food for a long, healthy life. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to do just that. 💚 And if everyone brought a friend, we could reach our goal of 100,000+ growers!
It would mean so much if you could help us connect with more people who need this vital information. Share this link: SuperfoodGardenSummit.com
There are so many problems with our food system. And this is an opportunity to be part of a solution… imagine the impact that this community of 100,000+ growers would have towards an even healthier planet. ;)
Tackling garden projects is always easier when you’re inheriting best practices and lessons learned from people with experience. And I would love that for you. Superfood gardening… without all the hard work. Because let’s face it… we are better together. And this community of fresh food lovers is awesome! 💚 The Superfood Garden Summit is starting soon, and once the LIVE Summit begins, it is going to fly by! Here’s that link: https://superfoodgardensummit.com
So let’s get started with your first step here. Lots of gardeners get this backwards and skip this step… and that’s what creates a lot of extra effort. Yuck! Watch the video and download your guide here: https://superfoodgardensummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Stacey-Murphy-Superfood-Gardenin
There’s all kinds of garden challenges that you will face: super hot or super cold temperatures, soil that is hard as a rock, plants that don’t seem to grow… are any of these challenges insurmountable? Here’s what growers all around the world have done in the face of challenges and you can do too.
Register for the big event here and discover how to grow exciting superfoods right at home: https://superfoodgardensummit.com
It’s true… I gave up bananas for breakfast years ago. It started as a way to reduce my ecological footprint. After all, bananas are flown in from halfway around the world. In my search to find another breakfast sweetie, I stumbled on an unlikely candidate. Check it out!