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Growing Celery for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor

Garden Hacks - Simplify routines

Celery Used as Disease Prevention for Thousands of Years

Did you know celery (Apium Graveolens) was used almost exclusively for medicinal purposes from 850 BC through the 17th century? A 2017 phytopharmacological review on celery confirms “…the Apium has emerged as a good source of medicine in treating various diseases.” From weight gain and skin conditions to rheumatic tendencies and chronic pulmonary catarrh, celery is proving itself to be a powerful plant for many ailments and chronic diseases.

Three reasons to grow your own celery

Protect yourself from toxic chemicals. Celery is ranked as one of the Dirty Dozen by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), making it one of the most contaminated produce items on the grocery shelves. When you grow your own, you know exactly how the plants were grown and create a toxic free future for yourself and your loved ones.

Choose foods that are nutrient rich. When you have no idea where your food is actually grown, that’s a big question mark where your health is concerned. Your health starts in the soil, and growing your own food allows you to focus on quality soil. Plus, food starts to decompose the moment it is harvested. There’s no telling how much of those vital nutrients were lost before your food reaches your plate. 

The flavor of homegrown celery will surprise and delight you! It’s easy to overlook celery for flashier vegetables. But that is a big mistake, especially in the garden. Because homegrown celery is so much more fragrant than store bought. You quickly rediscover why it’s been in recipes for thousands of years, not just for its health benefits but for its unique homegrown flavor.

Important Tip No One Talks About When Growing Celery

Growing celery from seed is not recommended for beginners. It is one of the more finicky seeds and takes longer than most to germinate. When you find good quality, celery plants at a trusted nursery or farmers market, you will have more success and faster harvests.

If you can’t find celery plants, growing from seed is still an option. Discover best practices in the Grow Your Own Celery – Cheat Sheet.

How To Grow Nutrient Dense Celery

When inviting plants into your life, it’s important to remember that plants want to thrive. They do whatever it takes to grow strong and turn to seed for the next generation of plants. Your role as a steward is to provide the best conditions for your plants to flourish. Here are the eight considerations when growing celery.

1. Growing Celery is Great for People With Busy Lives

Celery is among one of the easiest plants to care for in the vegetable and herb garden. Once your garden is started, it takes just minutes each day to harvest and care for celery. Luckily, most pests avoid this fragrant herb making it easy to care for too.

2. There IS a Celery Variety for Your Climate 

Plant your celery outside once night temperatures are above 55°F (12°C). Celery grows best in temperatures between 55-80°F (12-26°C). Living in a hot, dry desert climate? You’ll have better success planting in dappled shade or under shade cloth.

A favorite among many gardeners is Tango variety. It performs well under less than ideal growing conditions such as heat and moisture stress. And the flavor is fragrant with stalks that are more tender and less fibrous.

Which other varieties to consider? Tall Utah is an upright plant, rather than one that spreads out. For color, Giant Red or Chinese Pink varieties are a fun way to add some unusual color to your meals.

3. Your Celery Plants Want 6-8 Hours of Sunlight  

Without proper sunlight, your vegetable plants cannot photosynthesize and grow. Your outdoor celery needs 6 hours of sunlight minimum. NOTE: Sunlight and grow lamps are not the same thing. When growing indoors, your celery plants need 16 hours under grow lamps. 

4. Quality Soil Means Nutrient-Rich Food 

Health starts in the soil. If growing in a container, choose a high quality, organic potting mix. If growing in soil, ensure good drainage, structure and fertility. Add a 2” layer minimum of organic compost on the top of your potting mix or soil each growing season.

5. How Many Celery Plants in How Much Space?

Celery is perfect for small gardens. While planting celery 6” (15cm) apart is recommended, squeezing that spacing to 4” has some benefits. It may lower your harvest per plant, but you’ll get more harvest overall since you have additional plants. This is a great option for people with small growing spaces.

For container gardens, choose a container that is 12” (30cm) wide and at least 12” (30cm) deep for four celery plants or cutting celery clusters. This will give you and your family of four several celery stalks for 2 out of 3 meals daily.

6. Water, Water and More Water!

Celery is 95% water by weight, and needs more water than most vegetables. It’s a marshland plant, so it prefers consistent moisture. That means watering each day (temperatures above 70) or every other day (temperatures below 70). Watering celery once a week typically doesn’t work unless you get significant condensation every night in your garden. How do you know if you need more water? If your celery plants wilt, water more. 

Living in a hot, dry desert? Add 6” mulch to the soil which can drop the soil temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit! The soil holds more moisture which keeps roots cooler.

7. How to Harvest Celery for Maximum Yield

You might read that it takes celery 60-80 days before it’s ready for harvest. If you were growing a head of celery like you find at the grocery store, that might be true. But the good news is that you can harvest much sooner with this PRO tip!

PRO Tip for more abundant celery harvests: Cut what you need, when you need it. When the plant has at least 10 stalks, no matter how small they are, start harvesting and enjoying your celery. Simply harvest the outermost stalks and keep at least 7 stalks on the cluster at all times. Your plants may last the entire growing season with this continuous harvest method. That’s WAY better than waiting for one single head of celery!

To harvest, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to remove each outermost stalk as close to the soil as possible. Keep the cuts as clean as possible as old plant material and ragged cuts are places for pests and diseases to fester.

8. Can You Store Celery For Later? 

Like most herbs, it’s best to cut and use celery fresh. After all, that is the benefit of your garden, putting the absolute freshest food on your plate at each meal!  But if you are harvesting a lot of celery at once, water is the trick to keeping celery fresh. One option is to place stalks in a glass of water on the counter. Display the vibrant green harvest while keeping it hydrated until you’re ready to use.  

Celery is a staple in cuisines around the world! If you are considering preserving celery for all your winter soups, use a dehydrator to remove most of the moisture for long term storage. Pro tip: grind your dehydrated celery into a powder and store in an airtight container in a dark cool space to enjoy your harvests year round.

Get the complimentary Grow Your Own Celery – Cheat Sheet with everything you need to grow celery in this two-page printable format. 

Black Lives Matter: message from Grow Your Own Vegetables

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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 are interested in supporting food justice organizations, check out Just Food in NYC and Civil Eats throughout the U.S. 

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

Holiday Garden WishList – Top Ten Garden Tools for 2020

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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.

Check out the Video Review Here 

Even when you harvest leaves you want to wash first, you’ll spend one 80% less time and energy cutting with these 5 blade scissors. Plus, these multi-blade scissors come with their own special cleaning tool, making clean up a breeze.

#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.

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.

#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.

Easi Grip Long Reach Garden Tools Set of 4

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!

Want the short handled version? Good news, they have those too! Easi Grip Short Handle Set of 4.

#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.

To see this hose in action and hear more about how it can work in the garden, check out Stacey’s Youtube Video: Overhead Hose Trolley for Small Gardens & Greenhouses.

#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.

Handcrafted Garden Tools

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!

Want to get just one?

We recommend starting with the trowel or garden hoe.

#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:

100 Gallon Raised Bed Grow Bags

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.

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.

#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…

Meet the most amazing microgreen tray on the market.

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 Materials

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.

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.

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!



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Growing a Vegetable & Herb Garden – This Makes Everything Easier

Climate & growing conditions

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

3 Fast and Easy Zucchini Recipes + How to Quick Pickle

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There comes a time in every gardener’s life when you have zucchini growing out of your ears. If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you know: One day, they are just small green plants. The next thing you know, there are zucchini EVERYWHERE!

Check out my three favorite zucchini recipes. Kids love these recipes, too It’s a great way to have some family fun. I mean, who doesn’t love a crunchy pickle?!

Here’s the link to grab the recipe book mentioned in the video: https://growyourownvegetables.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Zucchini-Recipes-Stacey-Murphy.pdf

Remember to share this link with all your loved ones, especially the next generation, so that they start great food habits young 😉

Pssst… What vegetable & Herb Plants Want You to Know!

Food Preservation

This might sound crazy… but vegetables and herbs are talking to you. And their message may just change your life and the life of your loved ones. Check it out!

And I mention another resource… the Food Revolution Summit, here’s the link to register so that you get the latest science behind living a long, healthy life: https://www.foodrevolutionsummit.org/?orid=125256&opid=302

Remember to share this link with all your loved ones, especially the next generation, so that they start great food habits young 😉