fbpx

What to do if you have no “Browns” for your Aerobic Compost? (Composting in the City)

Adding “Browns” (organic, dry and carbon rich materials) speeds up compost of food scraps in an aerobic bin. What’s Stacey’s favorite Brown if if she doesn’t have leaves? Watch and find out!

Are you a city gardener? Share your city gardening tips with us!

Become a Closet Gardener and Grow Greens Indoors Year Round

Growing greens year round means you you can enjoy fresh, organic food at your fingertips! That’s why Shannon started this beautiful closet garden to grow greens indoors. Plus she shares some hidden benefits that her doctors can’t explain… gardens really do HEAL!

Shannon asked how she might improve her yields. Watch this video to discover what she has already done and how she might tweak her system to improve her yields with tips on watering, “flies”, and lights.

Eating well and boosting your immunity is a year round lifestyle… it doesn’t have to stop just because it’s cold outside or there’s snow on the ground. Discover the secrets of successful indoor and outdoor winter gardens.

Are you a winter gardener? Share your magical adventures below!

How to Plan for the Future of Food: Seeds, Soil and our Health

By now, most of us are aware that our food systems are teeming with unsustainable practices–practices that gradually diminish our ability to feed ourselves and future generations.

Are you hungry for solutions and to contribute more and more positively to sustainable food systems?

One of the best steps you can take is to grow your own food! It’s so important, we named our whole organization after it 😉

Why grow your own food? Here’s some ways to start making a difference today for generations to come:

🥕 Growing your own food improves food security! Food shortages are increasing and the cost of food is on the rise. Growing even a fraction of your own produce makes you more self-sufficient.

💰 Growing your own food saves money! You will save thousands of dollars on grocery bills annually while improving the quantity and quality of foods you eat!

🍆 Growing your own food provides better nutrition! Most produce loses at least 30% of its nutrients just 3 days after harvest. Spinach loses 75 – 100% of its vitamin C content in 7 days after being picked. When you grow your own fresh food you get 100% of the nutrients.

❤️ Growing your own food can help prevent disease! Evidence shows fruits and veggies contain compounds that can help prevent cancers, heart disease, and stroke that vitamin supplements cannot replace.

🥗 Growing your own food improves the quality of food! You can grow thousands of varieties of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains that you will never find in any grocery store. The variety in flavors, taste, and enjoyment of your food will skyrocket.

🧠 Growing your own food improves mental health! Prescribed medication for mental health issues has recently reached an all-time high. Gardening naturally promotes happiness. Contact with serotonin-boosting soil microbes and Vitamin D from the sun fights depression and anxiety.

🌳 Growing your own food improves the environment! Homegrown food has a zero carbon footprint. Transporting food from farms to tables contributes 19-29% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Commercial agricultural production accounts for 80-86% of total food system emissions.

Want to join us and be a part of building a resilient food system? Then this event is for you … those of us that are hungry for solutions and how we can contribute more and more positively to this system.

We’d like to invite you to the 2022 Future of Food Summit, hosted by our friends at Back to Eden.

On November 4-7, you can join over a dozen conversations from food and garden experts including New York Times best-selling authors, activists, award-winning filmmakers, doctors, market gardeners, and farmers.

At the Future of Food Summit, we will look to the future through the future of seeds, soil, food, and health.

 

The stellar lineup of speakers includes food and garden experts including New York Times best-selling authors, activists, award-winning filmmakers, doctors, market gardeners, and farmers. Through having such an array of internationally renowned voices (some with decades of experience in their field!), this event offers a uniquely thorough perspective.

The videos from this event will be available for you to stream from November 4th through the 7th for free when you register through this link. You will be emailed the details to access the event! When registering you will see two ticket options; the free pass provides access to the content during the 4-day event, PLUS there is a paid ticket that gives you the option to lifetime access to all the presentations!

>>> To learn more about the speakers, see the full speaker lineup, and register for the event click here!

We’d love to see you there!

 

This article contains an affiliate link. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own  Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend events and products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Did you attend the summit? Please come back and share your take-a-ways!

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 Crops for Hot Weather Gardening

Hot Weather Crops for Your Garden

Choosing hot weather crops

The first key to success with hot weather gardening is choosing crops that are well-adapted to heat.

Summer crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons all fare well in heat and humidity. But if temperatures climb above 90 and stay there, production will slow significantly.

The hot weather crops on this list originated from tropical or subtropical climates, and several of them have been staples in these areas for thousands of years. They have the genes to take the heat! Each crop comes in many varieties, and each variety has its own unique set of climate adaptations.

Notes on temperatures

Air temperatures are listed below. Soil temperature differs from air temperature and has just as much (if not more) impact on your plants. Research your specific cultivars for their soil and air temperature needs.

Temperature profiles for each crop include “low,” “grows,” and “slows” averages. Individual cultivars vary.

Low: At or below this temperature, your hot weather crops will stop producing and may suffer long term damage.

Grows: These are the ideal temperatures for growth and production

Slows: When air temperatures climb this high, your plants’ production will slow. Note that they will survive beyond the “slows” high temperatures. They just won’t grow or produce optimally.

Okra

Temperature Profile

Low: <55°F at night 
Grows: 75-90°F
Slows: >95°F 

Okra was cultivated by ancient Egyptians and is an important crop in tropical and subtropical climates worldwide. In West Africa, for example, the leaves, flowers, seeds, and buds serve an impressive variety of functions, from paper pulp to coffee additive. In the American South, fried okra is a popular side dish that traces its roots to the transatlantic slave route ingenuity of West African women, who braided its seeds into their hair before they were captured and enslaved.

At their peak, okra plants have an other-worldly vibe with distinct leaves, gorgeous flowers, and pleated seed pods.

Okra gets big–up to 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Because of its size, okra casts quite a shadow and is great to interplant with less heat-tolerant vegetables.

The seed pods grow quickly and become tougher the bigger they get. It’s best to harvest the seed pods frequently when they’re about 4 inches long. You can cook them fresh or freeze them, and they pack an impressive nutritional punch.

Growth and production slow above 95°F. When you regularly see >95°F days, prune okra plants down to about 2 feet tall for a bumper crop later in the season. You can also prune them anytime they start growing too tall for you to reach! 

Sweet Potatoes

Temperature Profile

Low: <50°F
Grows: 85-95°F
Slows: >100°F

Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite hot weather crops, but…they’re not actually potatoes! Potatoes are tubers that like temperatures at or below 80°F, and sweet potatoes are tuberous root vegetables perfect for hot weather gardening.

Sweet potato plants produce vigorous vines that quickly spill out into your garden, so make sure you give them plenty of space or a trellis. The leaves are also edible raw or cooked, so you can get your greens in while you wait to harvest the tuberous roots 🙂

You can store raw sweet potatoes for several months in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Frozen, cooked sweet potatoes are good for six months.

Growth can slow over 100°F, but your sweet potatoes will stay healthy even in that heat if you keep them watered.

Malabar Spinach

Temperature Profile

Low: <50°F
Grows: 75-85°F
Slows: >95°F

You won’t have seen this one at the grocery store yet, but Malabar Spinach is gaining popularity as a great green for hot weather gardening. Most leafy veggies can’t take the heat, but this one sure can.

Malabar Spinach is a vine that can grow six feet or longer. Trellising helps, as does frequent harvest! You can grow Malabar Spinach in full sun or partial shade. The leaves become particularly big and juicy when they get some shade.

You can cook Malabar Spinach or add it to salads just like common spinach. Keep your plants well-watered so the laves don’t become bitter.

Growth slows above 95°F, but making sure your Malabar Spinach has plenty of water and a little shade will keep your plants happy until temperatures cool down.

Hot Peppers

Temperature Profile

Low: <50°F
Grows: 70-90°F
Slows: >95°F

Hot peppers might seem like a no-brainer for hot weather gardening, but just how hot can they handle?

Just like tomatoes, peppers experience blossom drop if temperatures get too hot. Bell peppers are less tolerant of heat than hot peppers. Among hot peppers, temperature tolerance of individual varieties and cultivars. A good rule of thumb is the hotter the pepper, the more heat it can handle.

Make sure your pepper plants get plenty of water. If temperatures regularly top 95°F, pay attention to them. If you start to see blossoms drop, give them some shade. Experiment with different varieties and cultivars to see which hot peppers thrive best in your climate.

Cowpeas

Temperature Profile

Low: <60°F
Grows: 70-95°F
Slows: >95°F

The term “cowpea” includes a wide variety of cultivars with all sorts of textures and flavors, from black-eyed peas to lima beans. Like Okra, cowpeas or “southern peas” originated in West Africa and are an important crop in tropical and subtropical climates.

Cowpeas are a legume, so they are actually beans, not peas. Like other legumes, cowpeas fix nitrogen and build soil. They can be a cover crop and green manure, as well as forage for livestock. Rotating cowpeas through your garden beds will increase the production of other vegetables as well.

If you live in an arid, hot climate, cowpeas are a great option! They are the most drought-tolerant crop on our list, and they continue producing even under harsh conditions. In very dry climates, you may need to provide some water when they flower. Otherwise, irrigation may not be necessary, and it’s important to avoid overwatering.

You can eat cowpeas fresh or leave them on the vine to dry for long term storage.

Let’s do this!

Hot weather gardening is about learning to work with the conditions you have. You can’t change the weather, but by selecting plants that grow well in your conditions, you set yourself up for success with less heartache and less work.

 

Amy Davis
Wordsmith and Client Support

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

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


References

Albert, S. (2022, June 9). How to plant, grow, and harvest sweet potatoes. Harvest to Table. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://harvesttotable.com/how_to_grow_sweet_potatoes/

Anderson, C. R. (n.d.). Southern peas. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Anderson, M. (n.d.). Pepper. Aggie Horticulture. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/vegetables/pepper.html#:~:text=A

Fern, K. (n.d.). Basella alba. Useful Tropical Plants Database. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Basella%2Balba

Kemble, J. (2022, August 8). Rejuvenating okra: Producing two crops from one planting. Alabama

Cooperative Extension. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/rejuvenating-okra-producing-a-spring-crop-and-a-bigger-fall-crop-from-the-same-planting/

Oregon State University. (2019, October 1). Okra. Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/oregon-vegetables/okra-0#:~:text=TEMPERATURE%20REQUIREMENTS,for%20germination%20is%2060%20F

Parkell, N. B., Hochmuth, R. C., & Laughlin, W. L. (2016, April 24). Leafy greens in hydroponics and protected culture for Florida. IFAS Extension. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/hs1279

Pothour, G. (2014, February). Growing sweet potatoes in the Sacramento area. Sacramento ; University of California Cooperative Extension – Sacramento Country.

Qiu, Y., & Liu, G. (2020, September 8). Florida cultivation guide for malabar spinach. IFAS Extension. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/HS1371

Schumaker, P. (2019, June 11). Southern peas – a summer vegetable and a cover crop. UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotteco/2019/06/11/southern-peas-a-summer-vegetable-and-a-cover-crop/

Smith, P., & Shaughnessy, D. (2003, April 23). Southern peas. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/southern-peas/

Smith, P., Polomski, R. F., Shaughnessy, D., & Snipes, Z. (2020, January 14). Okra. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/okra/

Do you have a favorite Hot Weather Crop? Share your hot weather gardening success below!