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Holiday Garden Wishlist Staff Picks 2022

Enjoying Your Harvest

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.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

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Give 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!

Garden Like A Superhero

Okay, this tool isn’t going to make you more powerful than a locomotive, but you will be able to prune with 3 times the cutting power with the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper. Made with reinforced fiberglass composite, these loppers are lighter than the competitors.

It also sports a unique gear technology giving you more power without straining to cut. You can easily cut branches up to 2” (5cm) in diameter with this puppy.

PLUS, 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.”

The Small But Mighty Gift

For  smaller pruning tasks, check out our favorite hand pruner, the Bypass Pruner by Corona. Because no two hands are alike and this pruner was designed with that in mind. 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.

Combined with the full steel core handles and ComfortGEL grips for superior comfort it’s no wonder these pruners were a 2017 finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards.

Garden Smarter, Not Harder with these INSTANT Raised Beds

Garden set ups are often extremely costly both in time and money. And if you’re just starting out, 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. That’s why GYOV staff members consider these the best thing since sliced bread:

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags

These grow bags are just over 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter and 12″ (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 since they eliminate heavy lifting of infrastructure material hauling. Best of all, they are ZERO labor. Buy, open, fill with soil media, and start growing!

Built to last, even commercial growers use them. With 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. AND. they’re sustainable and made of food safe recycled plastic and felt. Need something bigger? Check out the 200 gal bags.
 Need something smaller? They’ve got grow bags in 4, 5, 7, 10, 25 gallon sizes too.

The Micro-Dream Tray

Recommended by GYOV staff member and commercial microgreen grower, these trays are one of a kind! So many of the trays on the market are downright junk and you’ll be lucky if you get two plantings from them. Not these trays! Meet the most amazing microgreen tray on the market.

These extra strength 5×5 trays (AKA 801 inserts) are made of heavy duty, recycled, food grade, polypropylene plastic and guaranteed not to warp or break. We were skeptical, so we personally put them to the test! The result? We can’t imagine growing our micros without them ever again.

These trays are great for anyone wanting variety! Fitting eight 5×5 trays to one 1020 flat, these trays reduce environmental waste, AND save you money. The design provides better drainage than competing trays, saving you even more with reduced crop loss. As an added bonus, we ran them through the dishwasher with no problem. Say goodbye to flimsy non-sustainable trays for good with Bootstrap Farmers’ superior quality 5×5 Microgreen Trays.

The ULTIMATE Container Garden: The Garden Tower® 2

Grow up to 50 plants and vegetables in 4 sq. feet (1.2 sq meters) with this Garden Tower! We were blown away by how much thought went into the materials and design of this indoor / outdoor growing container.

The Materials
The Garden Tower® 2 is made of 100% food grade HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic), FDA-approved dye and UV-protection for health, durability, and it’s recyclable! 💪🏽

The Unique Design
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!?’ Order this unique container at their website here.

Want the complete Garden Gift Guide? Download it for free here!

Ease the holiday frenzy so you can relax and have more time with your loved ones with the Grow Your Own Vegetables 2021 Holiday Garden Gift Guide.

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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.

The Benefits of Fermentation

Enjoying Your Harvest

Fermentation has a rich history that runs hand-in-hand with human history. Fermentation charts the progress of countless societies whose survival depended on bread, one of the oldest fermentations, and of Johnny Appleseed traveling up the Mississippi River spreading the gift of cider. It tells the story of humans seeking to both preserve and enhance the foods they have cultivated from seed to sprout to fruiting body, and tending to their garden with care for all living beings affected by them. For centuries fermentation has been helping us get more of what we grow.

Soybeans and miso are a great example of fermentation that has all of these incredible attributes! Without fermentation, soybeans offer a light flavor; however, after being fermented with koji (the process of making miso), the soybeans develop a rich and complex flavor structure as well as millions of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, that help balance the microbiome in your gut. These beneficial bacteria then live with us and the by-product of them metabolizing in our gut has shown to manufacture vitamins, primarily K and B12, once in our microbiome [1]. Compared to fresh soybeans, which have a shelf life of a couple weeks at most, miso can potentially last for years and years if handled and stored correctly. Some misos ferment for three years and can be stored far longer. Fermentation has evolved alongside us because of these beneficial properties: preservation, unique flavor development, and bacterial/enzymatic development.

While fermentation is quite special for these attributes, miso does not stand alone in providing the benefits of fermentation. Fermenting cacao develops the flavor, lengthens the life of storage, and increases nutrition, which is what gives us chocolate! Kimchi is another fermented food that provides preservation, develops the flavor, and creates health benefits that the raw ingredients don’t have. Lesser known ferments have been produced in various places all around the world for thousands of years such as masato, a lightly alcoholic, fermented beverage made from yuca root that indigenous Peruvians will steam, peel, and chew the yuca root to be fermented by the yeasts in saliva [3]. With ferments such as sauerkraut the fermentation brings a development of acidic flavor, whereas for miso the fermentation causes a rich, nutty flavor to grow over time. Fermentation can bring vastly different flavors to a food. Fermentation experimentation is your way to discover them.

With the appliances we have these days, fermentation doesn’t fill the deeply crucial role it once did. For many of us, the decision to ferment does not decide if we will make it through winter, but that does not mean that we are in any less need of fermentation and the unique benefits it provides. So much of the food we consume carries fewer nutrients than the same produce grown decades or centuries prior. This is from growing in chemically amended soils, so receiving the nutrients our bodies need from the food we buy is becoming more difficult. This is a point already on many people’s minds, which may have been what brought you to us here at Grow Your Own Vegetables in the first place. 

Because of the average Western diet, increased use of antibiotics usage, and a wide array of other factors that can damage your gut’s microbiome, we as a society are seeing a steep rise in gut-related health issues. The science on the brain-gut connection is young, so actually knowing how many conditions poor gut health may cause is near impossible with our current knowledge. According to Mental Health America (MHA), “research in animals has shown that changes in the gut microbiome and inflammation in the gut can affect the brain and cause symptoms that look like Parkinson’s disease, autism, anxiety and depression.” [2] Because most fermentation methods produce enzymes and bacteria that benefit our gut health, these methods can help restore balance to our gut. By preserving nutrients and increasing our body’s ability to access the nutrients in our food by breaking them down more effectively, fermentation can help make sure our bodies are getting as much as they can out of what we do have. 

Fermented Food

While grocery stores may give us access to fruits and vegetables, often grown by industrial farms, they often prove to be lacking in the nutrients we need to live a healthy life. Supporting your local, small farms that use regenerative and/or organic farming practices who have healthy soil (and therefore healthy foods) is fundamental in voting with your dollar for healthier systems, but organic produce can be unattainable for many without the financial privilege to regularly access these foods. For so many, growing, preserving, and preparing our own food is the best way to access these benefits: the sovereignty, health benefits, and quality of life it provides.

Growing your own vegetables is the foundation that ensures you and your family will receive the nutrition that you need. Fermentation is one of your best tools to make sure the nutrients from the produce you grow will be more bioavailable! After being picked, most vegetables will slowly start losing nutritional content. Fermentation helps reduce that loss in nutrients and can often actually increase nutrient availability! Cabbage’s conversion to sauerkraut is a great example. Sauerkraut has about 12% of your iron and 11% of the vitamin B-6 needed daily, whereas cabbage only has around 1% of your daily iron and 6% of the vitamin B-6. This increase happens simply with salt and time! Often fresh produce will still be the best source for vitamins and micronutrients, but fermented foods will often provide enzymatic and bacterial support to your gut that fresh foods don’t compare to.

While fermentation is often a practice in patience, it can be one of the most deeply rewarding methods of food preparation. Fermentation is a way to take something you are familiar with and have a brand new experience from it! Fermentation, like so many other culinary techniques, can feel overwhelming at first, but it is a rewarding skill to learn. I encourage you to learn through both doing and studying. Other than ensuring safety, there is no one single “right way” to go about fermentation. Fermentation is alive. As alive as I am writing this, and as alive as you are reading it. Because ferments are alive, they can behave in ways that are difficult for us to predict, so be patient with yourself through your fermentation journey.

You can think of fermentation as a young life. We cannot have control over all elements of a life, just as we cannot expect to control all elements of fermentation, but through tending to our ferments in an informed way we are able to guide them through healthy fermentation and create tasty and unique superfoods!

Brandon Beins
Culinary Educator and Human, Plant, & Soil Health Advocate

“My food journey began in high school when culinary classes brought me into the world of creating food. I continued on to culinary school before completing a two year apprenticeship with a local sushi chef. This apprenticeship was really where 

I learned to care for ingredients; how to prepare them in a way that shows them respect. In order to really take care of your ingredients you need to start with the soil. I haven’t had many memorable meals that were prepared with unhealthy produce from depleted soils,and most of the memorable meals from my life were simple meals made from ingredients that had themselves been nourished lovingly and prepared the same way. I believe high quality food can be prepared by anyone, and it starts with the soil.” 

Benefits of Microgreens & Ways to Enjoy Them

Climate & growing conditions

Benefits of Microgreens:

There are many foods that we have come to know as superfoods that can often be difficult to access, such as maca, MCT coconut oil, and spirulina. Depending on where and how you live, these can be very difficult to grow, process, and store. 

When buying foods like these, they often have a higher price point as well, which presents its own set of challenges. To me, these are some of the factors that make microgreens the absolutely incredible superfood that they are! Microgreens can be produced very simply in your own home, and there are growing numbers and sizes of retailers who provide seed in bulk specifically for this purpose! While you do still need the space to grow in and a short list of materials to start producing your own microgreens, the setup required is quite straightforward. Once you are established, it becomes what is probably the most efficient superfood to produce yourself!

The benefits of access are the beginning of the “super” quality of microgreens. This still leaves the wondrous world of their vast nutritional content! Beyond the high antioxidant content found in microgreens, they are also found to have significantly higher levels of nutrients, such as vitamin E and vitamin C, than the mature versions of the plant. In an article from NPR, author Eliza Barclay shares about a study conducted by Gene Lester, who is the National Program Leader of Nutrition and Food Safety/Quality for the USDA, alongside colleagues from the University of Maryland, College Park, which was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The focus was on analyzing the nutrients in microgreens. They included 25 varieties of microgreens in their sample pool of species while looking at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals. What they found means a lot for our understanding of and relationship to microgreens! Their findings showed, ¨leaves from almost all of the microgreens [tested] had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant.¨ Variation was found from species to species, just as is found in mature species.

Coming from a culinary foundation, it always excites me to use an ingredient with such an acute flavor, unique texture, and high amounts of various nutrients. The search for  ingredients which bring a special texture or flavor that both stands out and incorporates well is an unending search. Microgreens meet all these criteria, and they do it in a way where they also provide great variation for you to experiment with and choose from. If you would like to make your dish stand out with flavors reminiscent of traditional Italian recipes, a bitter, slightly-spicy microgreen like radish or mustard goes a long way! Something herbaceous? Basil, fennel, or cilantro! Something refreshing? Peas, celery, cabbage, or parsley fit that in my book. Something with a sweeter, rounded flavor? Beets, arugula, or sunflower! 

Uses for Microgreens:

In my six years or so working in restaurants, I watched a number of ingredients skyrocket in reputation in our culture. Foods that many of us had not even heard about a handful of years ago are now popping up all around us from small, local cafes to NPR articles to Michelin star restaurants. These quick rises can often leave us with the basic question of what these foods are, let alone what makes them stand out or how to acquire or prepare them.

This stardom can lead to an unfortunate and unnecessary disconnect from these ingredients; however, we plan to address this by helping people connect with these ingredients! We are excited to share how accessible it can be to use microgreens in a variety of dishes in your own home. Microgreens certainly deserve the fame that has gotten them into Michelin restaurants, and by the same rationale, they deserve to be in your home diet as well! 

Microgreens can sometimes be confused with sprouts, but the distinguishers between the two are that microgreens must be grown in a solid medium (soil or soil-free mediums) and usually take somewhere between 7 and 14 days to be ready, whereas sprouts are simply sprouted in water and typically take just two or three days. Microgreens are understood to be higher in fiber, more nutritious, and safer in general than sprouts, as sprouts can sometimes develop harmful bacteria in their humid environment.

As mentioned earlier, microgreens provide a distinct, refreshing flavor and texture in cooked dishes or complimentary in salads or cool dishes. Because of all of these attributes, there is a fairly wide diversity of dishes that I like to use microgreens in. They seem to contribute the most to a dish when they are added at the end to preserve their flavor and crunchy texture. Some of the dishes that I enjoy including microgreens with cheese or charcuterie boards, pasta (mixed in after removing from the heat to keep the microgreens fresh), tomato toast, tacos, on top of curry, or with eggs in the morning. Sometimes cutting microgreens down smaller, sometimes leaving them whole!

I hope you feel more acquainted with microgreens after this! Their benefits and simplicity are the biggest takeaway within this. Don’t be afraid to try adding them to your favorite dish! Whether that be pizza, Tom Kha, nachos, hummus, or sushi!

Brandon Beins
Culinary Educator and Human, Plant, & Soil Health Advocate

“My food journey began in high school when culinary classes brought me into the world of creating food. I continued on to culinary school before completing a two year apprenticeship with a local sushi chef. This apprenticeship was really where 

I learned to care for ingredients; how to prepare them in a way that shows them respect. In order to really take care of your ingredients you need to start with the soil. I haven’t had many memorable meals that were prepared with unhealthy produce from depleted soils,and most of the memorable meals from my life were simple meals made from ingredients that had themselves been nourished lovingly and prepared the same way. I believe high quality food can be prepared by anyone, and it starts with the soil.” 

Conscious Nutrition

Enjoying Your Harvest

BY: Guest Heather Fleming

I am Heather Fleming, a Clinical Nutritionist who is also an emotional eater, recovering perfectionist, and very rebellious with my relationship with food. Instead of obsessing about trying to follow a perfect diet, I created Conscious Nutrition to help people feel nourished both physically and emotionally. 

We are meant to interpret our body’s signals instead of ignoring them and judging our cravings. I believe our bodies, taste buds and senses are giving us a sign to implement more nourishment and support.

Does that mean that chocolate cake every day is what your organs need? Prolly not. But what it may need is sweet.

Conscious Nutrition Taste Buds

Most health care professionals suggest just avoiding sweets so you don’t crave them more. This can be true, however, I haven’t met many people who can never eat sweets again.  Once you eat intensive sweets, you can crave them for the next 72 hours due to your glycogen stores in your liver, blood sugar spike, and insulin receptivity.

I shared a dessert with a friend the other day, it was magical. The next day at about the exact same time, I had a sugar craving. Instead of feeling powerless, eating more sweets, or judging me, I drank heaps of sun tea with lime and honey. Then the next day, it lessened. This has taken me YEARS of practice and heaps of self-compassion. Also, check in with how you talk to yourself during these moments. Would you say these things to a friend? 

Which organ does sweet support? Your nervous system.

And most of us are having some stress issues, so calming our nerves is important. That is why hunters and gatherers found the berries. We needed the sweet.

Conscious Nutrition’s Taste Chart

Next time you are craving sweets, instead of judging and restricting, add nourishment. 

With abundant nourishment,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.
ConsciousNutrition.com

Download Heather’s complimentary recipe book, The Conscious Nutrition Recipe Book HERE! 

The coupon code is: nourish
https://consciousnutrition.com/nourish-recipe-book/

Enjoy these Smoothie videos offered by Heather 🙂

 

Reset Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

Superfood Gardens that Thrive

Building Projects

Tackling garden projects is always easier when you’re inheriting best practices and lessons learned from people with experience. ​​​And all of us here at Grow Your Own Vegetables would love that for you. Superfood gardening… without all the hard work. Because let’s face it… we are better together. 💚 

The Superfood Garden Summit is starting soon, and once the LIVE Summit begins, it is going to fly by! ​​ 

​​​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 this video, get registered and download your bonus eGuide here:  https://superfoodgardensummit.com

Join Stacey and 15 other gardening experts for the 

2021 Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/

Fresh Spirulina & Oasia Farms: An inspiring and fun superfood!

Enjoying Your Harvest

Meet Dale Solomon of Oasia Farms. He has an interesting journey to becoming a farmer and grows a superfood that not many have heard of and one you will love learning about.

Dale’s Spirulina Journey: 

“Throughout my years in college I was deeply invested in environmental work, specifically combating climate change. I immersed myself in a green ecosystem (no pun intended) through a number of university clubs and was eventually introduced to the algae industry. I remember feverishly crunching numbers after class to figure out how many acres of algae ponds it would take to offset our global carbon emissions.

Dale Solomon Image

After graduating from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering in 2016, I took a job in aerospace. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my career had taken a wrong turn. Making fighter jets for a living didn’t represent the positivity that I wanted to bring to the world, so I made a change. In June 2017, I quit my job and decided to turn all those theoretical calculations I had cooked up in college into a real-life business.

It took almost a year of research and planning, but here we are growing a uniquely nutritious & therapeutic superfood- spirulina. We are so proud of the work that we are doing to improve and nourish the community! Spirulina is the most nutrient dense superfood on Earth and it’s at its best when consumed raw or fresh frozen. Our fresh product is moving the industry away from powdered and processed spirulina to a more bioavailable and palatable alternative. When unprocessed, the nutrients in spirulina are easily digestible, allowing your body to absorb the maximum amount of omega-3, protein, iron, antioxidants, and dozens of vitamins & minerals. Additionally, fresh spirulina has a light creamy texture and a flavor similar to smashed avocado or unsalted cream cheese. Personally, I find this far more appealing than the pungent, ocean smell of powdered spirulina. I think you will too!”

Incorporating Spirulina Into Your Diet: 

Spirulina Shake

Because of its creamy texture and light flavor, spirulina easily blends into countless recipes. Most people use it in a morning smoothie, but if you want to get creative, Dale has tons of ideas on his Instagram page (@oasiafarms) including salad dressings, sauces, yogurt bowls, soups and snacks. You can even use it as an antioxidant loaded face mask! 

Here are some fun recipes from Dale that can be downloaded.

→ Spirulina Guacamole

→ Green Goddess

→ Emerald Treat

→ Spirucado Toast


Join Dale and 15 other gardening experts on the Superfood Garden Summit

https://superfoodgardensummit.com/

Dale Solomon SGS 2021
SpirucadoT oast
Green Goddess
Emerald Treat
Spirulina Guacamole