What’s eating my garden greens? (5 common garden pests)

An ounce of prevention is worth dozens of pounds of fresh herbs and vegetables.

You’re planting lots of food in your garden, specifically greens… and all of a sudden there’s someone else eating all your food before you have a chance to harvest it… ARG!

Everyone has some pests that show up in the garden. But before you can kick them out of your garden, you need to figure out WHO has invaded! Typically, there are 5 (actually 6!) common pests that give gardeners the most trouble. Watch this video to help identify these unwelcome guests:

Once you identify which pests, diseases, or weeds have come into your garden, you can start showing them the door! 

What are favorite, or not so favorite, visitors to your garden?

Gardening Moms Get Kids to Love Eating Vegetables

One mother and student in our garden membership, Harvest Club, shared a story with us. It’s one that holds a clear message of why growing your own food is just, well… superior.

As a mother and wife she struggled to get her kids and partner interested in vegetables. They simply didn’t like them. And she wouldn’t be the first. Parents all over the globe struggle to get their kids to eat fresh food. It’s so common that kids don’t want to eat fresh vegetables and fruits. And really, who can blame them?

The moment a food is picked from the earth it’s connected to, it begins to die. It starts to lose nutrients and begins to decompose. That means that by the time it travels who knows how far and sits in storage and on shelves for who knows how long, it has lost so much vitality and flavor, no wonder kids don’t like it! 

But when this mother started growing her own, the kids and her partner began eating vegetables in just a single growing season! It seemed like a miracle!

Really, it’s the power of fresh, nutrient-dense food. And it’s the power of variety. Large farm producers choose plant varieties most often by how much it can produce and traits like how long it can live on the shelf. Some even choose variety based on how uniformly it will grow in the field. But large scale growers aren’t choosing their varieties based on nutrition. 

Garlic is a great example of this: Hardneck garlic doesn’t store nearly as long as softneck. So most of the garlic you see in the store is softneck. But hardnecks have more allicin in it. If you’ve never heard of allicin before, it’s the principal bioactive compound present in garlic and is in study for a variety of health benefits. 

Back to the story of mom … all was going well during the growing season for mom until one unfortunate week, she ran out of fresh greens. She decided to pick some up from the store. When the daughter began eating the greens at dinner that evening, her mouth twisted. 

“Ewww! These taste really bad!” her daughter exclaimed, removing them from her mouth. 

The mother felt she had spoiled her family and worried that her daughter may never be able to eat greens from the store ever again! 

Our first thought? That’s wonderful! Because homegrown food simply tastes better. And science is now discovering that there is a link between flavor and nutrients. So the more flavor your food has, the more nutrients it contains.

And this isn’t just important  for us. By growing a variety at home, we are sharing that nutrient density with our loved ones and preserving the best varieties, for our children and future generations to come.

Mom’s goal when she joined Harvest Club was to grow a garden and get her family to eat fresh greens. Mom, you nailed it! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for being a fresh food revolutionary! And a huge thank you to all the mothers out there growing fresh, homegrown, nutrient-dense food.

Have a story about your kids eating fresh?

Share below!

3 Keys to Successful Indoor Seed Starting

Growing your own healthy plants from seed can be tricky. Even expert growers have trouble keeping their seedlings alive and well. Luckily, three simple keys are all you need to focus on.

Discover how to start your plants off right so they thrive. Be sure to stick around to the end for a Bonus Key!

Do you have a successful seed story? Please share!

Vegetable & Herb Gardening in Different Growing Climates

Getting to know your local growing climate is one of the first steps to growing a thriving vegetable garden. But there’s a big difference between learning about your climate and feeling limited by your climate.

Your growing climate matters. It determines what veggie varieties you’re going to grow and when you plant and harvest them.You’ve probably heard that vegetables and herbs thrive in an “ideal” temperature range of 50-85 F (10-30 C). But how many places on Earth consistently stay in that ideal range? Not many!

You don’t have to live in ideal conditions to grow lots of food all year long.

There’s no denying great growing conditions help. But once you understand the language of plants and what they want, you can grow vegetables anywhere at any time of year. You just have to get a little creative!

“There are as many creative ways to grow your own vegetables as there are places on this earth” -Stacey Murphy

In this two minute video, Stacey shows you what’s possible if you want to grow food at an unusual time of the year OR in a less than ideal growing climate.

What grows best in your climate? Share your creative gardening tips with us!

Meet Martha: Experience More Joy From Your Garden

Big news!

We are just days away from releasing the the Joyful Garden Docuseries. 😉

But first, a fun story from Martha from our Grow Your Own Vegetables community.

She’s retired (with kids) and living in Ontario.

Enjoy meeting Martha as she shares gardening with kids and her experience with a community garden.

“My little granddaughter, even when she was two, she knew where the carrots were and she would go out there and just pull one up and eat it. And they are so much nicer tasting. She has her own little special plot and she grows tomatoes and cucumbers and things she wants to grow. Things taste better and you can just walk out the door and get what you want out of the garden.”

Listening to her story, you’ll experience even more joy for gardening. (I kind of felt like we were two little kids talking about playing outside in the dirt 😜)

Please share in the comments below:
How your garden brings you joy.

3 Empowering Benefits of Container Gardening

For countless reasons, from limited space or mobility to the local soil composition and length of growing season, container gardening can be an incredibly powerful tool if you wish to have a bodacious and diverse garden. We are going to walk through three of the core benefits of container gardening and how they can be used to create the exact growing conditions to accommodate your garden dreams.

These benefits become especially applicable where the green space is little-to-none, such as in apartments and large cities! Container gardening can be used for something as large as outdoor pots for planting fruit trees that may otherwise not thrive or even survive in your local soil or as small as a series of windowsill-dwelling potted herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and basil. With the right soil, container, and container gardening can offer most or even all of the benefits of a raised bed without the required construction or the relative permanence.

First, container gardening gives you the power to cater directly to a plant’s soil and nutrient needs without having to balance all the factors of remediating your native soil or building raised beds. The next core benefit is a vast one! Gardening in containers can help you get more out of your growing space, regardless of if that growing space is in a garden, on a concrete landing, in an empty lot, or in some found space inside an apartment. Finishing our list is the accessibility that container gardening provides to those with limited mobility.

1. Picky Plants!

Containers allow you to have various soil structures and to apply a specific combination of nutrients; therefore, you can accommodate for a more diverse selection of plants compared to what you can do with native soil. Exercising control over the soil structure and nutrients is one of your best tools for investing in your plant’s healthy growth and production. For example, if your native soil is alkaline, but you are looking to plant blueberry bushes that need acidic soil, then you can fill a suitable container with acidic soil while feeding an acidic nutrient blend to the plant. Through multiple seasons of carrot cultivation in the high clay content soil that we have in so much of the Pacific Northwest, our Director of Operations, Denise Beins learned that root vegetables like carrots and parsnips do best when given a looser soil structure.

Sunlight is another factor that you can have more control over with container gardening. As long as you have a way to transport them, plants grown in containers can be moved to follow the exact sun conditions needed as the seasons progress. Learning the right blend of soil, light, and nutrients for each plant you want to grow could prove overwhelming, so take care as to not to overburden yourself by trying to know each plant’s needs all at once! I recommend focussing on learning the needs of a couple or few plants per season. Pick your favorites, and after a few seasons you’ll have a proficient and well-rounded understanding for growing your ideal palette of plants. 🙂

2. Making the most of your garden space

Container Gardening Outdoors

Container gardening can help you get the most out of outdoor space! Added to the benefits of customizing your soil structure and nutrient mix, container gardening can make seemingly unusable land into a bountiful part of your garden! Areas that have been paved, laid with gravel or stones, or have low-growing ground cover or brush that could suffocate young seedlings can all become healthy growing space with an intentionally selected container, soil, and nutrient mix. Containers can also turn an apartment patio into a garden. You can even cultivate otherwise invasive plants, such as many varieties of bamboo and mint, without having that worry! Another fun idea includes companion planting mutually beneficial plants, or simply planting fun arrangements/combinations, such as a “Salsa Planter” with cilantro, perilla, hot peppers, and garlic chives.

Container Gardening Indoors

Indoor container gardening truly makes a night and day difference! For those without access to growing space otherwise, container gardening can be the difference of not being able to grow anything to being able to grow nearly any plant you’d like! Whether it’s sheer excitement to start cultivating your own garden or seeking access to whole fruits and vegetables, your local community is probably filled with testimonies of people experiencing the empowerment of having an indoor garden you can look to for inspiration. With GYOV, your online community will certainly have some sources of inspiration to share! Or maybe you have some container gardening experiences to share in the comments below? Please feel free to share that below and be a patron to some else’s garden motivation!

The most common examples of these include hanging gardens, windowsill gardens, and a seed starting station. Hanging gardens utilize a space to its fullest by efficiently utilizing the vertical space. Windowsill gardens bring the vivacious energy of the garden into your home, and their foliage can also help illuminate your home by reflecting sunlight into the space. A seed starting station can range from simple or elaborate; from a warming mat and a grow light on a side table to a wire rack arranged with warming mats, a grow light, air circulation, and a drip tray below to protect floors when watering.

3. Accessibility for gardeners with limited mobility

It is a common challenge for a gardener to come to a time in their life where they may have physical limitations from the methods they have used to garden. Whether it’s temporary from an injury or their body physically losing mobility with age, For those with limited mobility, there are many solutions for enjoying fresh veggies using container gardening!

One method is utilizing large, tall containers, measuring 2-4 feet off the ground, although these may require assistance to get started. These may be wood framed, large plastic or materials such as terra cotta (a couple options are showing below). One thing to consider is you may want these large containers to have wheels so they are mobile incase you can move according to the sun or for other reasons.

Another option is to incorporate some of the indoor gardening ideas mentioned above. You can grow lettuce, herbs and more in a windowsill and add fresh produce to your meals.

Using containers in your garden can expand possibilities for you so that you can achieve your garden dreams! There are lots of gardeners just like you (and us here at GYOV) who have found creative ways to enhance their harvest and enjoy the beauty that cultivating plants brings into your life!

Please share in the comments below ways that you’ve added ease into your gardening process with container gardening.