jonesen’

23 Things to Love About Growing Edibles

growing edibles

Future jelly, syrup or salad dressing.

Gardening and particularly growing edibles means many things to each individual, but there are also a lot of things we enjoy in common.

Perhaps you will find yourself here:

1. When the sunlight falls upon the water coming from the hose, and it makes a rainbow.
2. The smell of soil and the way it feels in your hands.
3. Seeing a seed sprout, and knowing what is to come.
4. Not having to read a food label.

growing onions

A year’s worth of onions.

5. Freedom from dependency on others for food.
6. The excitement of each new growing season.
7. The way the failures make the successes all the sweeter.
8. Grazing.

growing edibles

Thinning greens makes for lunch.

9. Finding new things to grow.
10. Getting unexpectedly hit by the sprinkler. A wee bit shocking, yes; but still fun on a hot day.
11. Filling the larder shelves.
12. Tomatoes. Jus’ sayin’.
13. The critters, all of them, both helpful and harmful.
14. Getting to know which veggie is which.
15. The ‘Do-over’ each year.
16. The Winter Withdrawal and planning time.
17. Botany. The Mad Scientist. The Muwahahaha! moments.
18. Seeing how different foods grow; like kohlrabi and walking onions.
19. The camaraderie with other food growers, sharing knowledge and info.

growing potatoes

Spuds for two.

20. Knowing exactly where your food came from and how long it took to get to your table.
21. Saving seeds for the future garden.
22. The stillness and meditative aspect of gardening.
23. Being in touch with and a part of life itself.

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Possibly the Hardest Part of Gardening

At some point every spring, the hardest part of gardening arrives; resisting the urge to over plant.
Once everything is in, what is there to do?

Intercropping basil and tomatoes.

There is already basil in with the tomatoes.

gardening in zone 5 - 6

There are beans coming up in the corn bed.

Intercropping beans, squash and corn.

Even this corn bed is slated to have additional beans and some squash.

growing vegetables vertically

Even though there is room being conserved by growing vertically, it still is never enough.
So the only thing left to do now is wait.

intercropping vegetables

Oooh, except maybe there is a wee bit of space there, just enough for another squash mound.

And after that we will wait patiently, really.
Or, at least try to.

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Jones’ Laws of Gardening

homegrown onion

if something can grow wrong, it will

• A passing shower, desperately needed, will do just that.
• When in doubt, if you water your garden- it will rain.
Conversely, if you don’t, it won’t.

• If your seeds don’t come up when they should, plant more.
The first seeds will then come up immediately, followed closely by the second batch.
• This is especially true when it comes to zucchini.

starting seeds indoors

carefully labeled

• If you do not label your seedling trays, one of 3 things will happen:
—–Your trays will get moved without your presence
—–Your trays will get moved by you, but someone else will be blamed
—–You will claim that your trays have been moved, because otherwise you surely would have remembered what every tray contained
• If you carefully label your trays, one of 3 things will happen:
—–You will forget what your shorthand means
—–You will meticulously transplant your seedlings, and forget to label the new pots
—–You will successfully get your transplants into the ground, but forget what you planted where.

garden plan

the best made plans

• A thoughtfully planned-out garden is just asking for trouble.
• Never underestimate the combined weight of any vining squash.
• Weeds are very good at growing next to a vegetable plant they resemble.
Rest assured that when you pull it out, it will have some potting soil attached to the roots.
• Never direct seed before a heavy rain. Nature can move rows.

And last:
• A watched tomato will never ripen. Something else will get to it first.

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Many Things to Celebrate

bees and sunflower

Better together.

Dear Gardening Friends,

Since we began posting late in the fall of 2009, we have had many occasions to celebrate-

A graduation, weddings, beginnings at college, the birth of our grandson.

We also have had the wonderful experience to get to connect with many like minded gardeners both seasoned and new, professionals in the field, wonderful entrepreneurs who love gardening, garden writers, and all around fantastic people whom we are happy everyday to be linked to.

By answering questions and listening/reading what others say, we have learned a great deal, and our gardens show it.
That gift is also priceless.

Our friendly group Gardenaholics Anonymous is fast approaching 3000 members, and if you look to the right you will see this blog is about to break 200,000 wonderful people who took the time to stop by.

Even our personal page on Facebook stays just shy of that ominous 5000 mark and the new page past 1400.

So this post is a Big Grin Thank You! to all of you for being a part of our lives, even if our only connection is through the written word- we are still connected.

Very soon this site will reach the Quarter Million mark.
Can you believe it?
If you had suggested that might happen 4 years ago, we would have laughed so hard we probably would have gotten the hiccups.
Or worse. :-)

So as another Thank You! we are planning something (Shhh!!! It is a surprise!)
For now, we just want you to know how much y’all mean to us, and we hope we have helped you in someway because you sure have made a great difference to us!

Namaste and Happy Harvesting!

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How To Get Your Garden Organized

It is wonderful every year to get things just a little more organized and free up some wasted time that is better spent gardening.

Here are a few ideas we have found to help:

The garden notebook keeps growing.

The garden notebook keeps growing.

  • A garden notebook can keep a lot of the information from previous years as well as what is collected throughout the year for the upcoming season. Include a flash-drive for what you find online.
  • Likewise a clipboard can not only keep you planting maps handy, it is an easy way to hold seed packets that are slated to go out to the garden for planting. Just use the clip to keep them safe from spilling or blowing away.
  • A potting table allows for an area to organize your supply of soils, amendments and fertilizers.
Right at our fingertips.

Right at our fingertips.

  • We use a free seed rack from the local farm & garden store to keep seeds organized. This year the stash has been reduced from 3 racks to one, to further simplify garden planning and seed ordering.
Oh... there you are!

Oh… there you are!

One thing that eludes us is keeping track of tools.
It is as if the small ones intentionally hide, and the larger ones are like chameleons blending into their surroundings.

  • Here is a solution we are going to use this upcoming spring: Use duct tape, now also called ‘duck’ tape or paint to brightly color the handles on your tools, making them easier to find. We have in the past used the wonderful idea of adding an old mailbox to your garden area to hold tools.
    We did learn to be careful it is mounted level or pointing towards the ground, otherwise rain water can get in.
    Some lessons are always learned the hard way.

What tips do you have for staying organized?

Categories: gardening, jonesen', saving money & time, techniques

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8 New Plants for the Jones’ 2014 Garden

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

Many gardeners have already either ordered their seeds for the upcoming year, or at least made tentative plans.

Although we are still in the planning stage, there are a few things we expect know we will be adding in this year:

1. Sugar beets
Concerns about our food supply combined with our efforts to be more self-sufficient have led us to look at growing sugar. White sugar beets have a higher sugar content than regular red beets, and can be dried and ground into a powdered sweetener.
This should be interesting fun fun fun!

2. Tomatillos
Our daughter in law and son gave us some of the abundant crop of these green beauties last summer, and we were hooked. The salsa verde that resulted is both a treat to the eyes as well as a wonderful topping to many dishes.
Now we want need more from our own garden.

3. Salsify
Scorzonera, or ‘black salsify, is a delightful root veggie that we have grown in the past, but we have never planted salsify.
We’re thinking a side-by-side taste comparison would be a great way to find the difference between the two a neat way to spend an afternoon in the kitchen.

Prepping for 2014

Prepping for 2014.

4. Parsley root
Up until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even know this existed.
Just think of the possibilities of a parsley-flavored root veggie.
This time next year we are looking forward to trying a recipe few lot of recipes out.
Mmmm.

5. Bitter melon
This is a veggie we had heard of, but never grew. The bitterness is mild and lends itself well to oriental dishes, which we love eat almost daily.
Do we see a ‘fun in the kitchen’ theme here?

6. ‘Lunchbox’ sweet peppers
The plan here is to stuff these as they ripen and toss in the freezer for a quick winter snack or side dish.
No need to blanch, how easy is that?
If the crop is really abundant, we might absolutely will try some pickled as well.
If it is good enough for Peter Piper, hey, it works for us too.

7. Strawberry spinach
This unusual veggie caught our attention in Baker Creek’s seed catalog.
If your spinach is going to bolt anyway, it may as well produce bright red edible berries.
The catalog describes the flavor as bland, but we’re thinking it should would be a delight conversation piece in a tossed salad.

8. Amaranth
Technically, this is not new to our garden as we did grow both yellow and red a number of years ago.
Unfortunately, we didn’t know you can eat the grain it produces.
We just tasted that recently and it had wonderful flavor, not to mention lovely on the plate.
It is considered a highly nutritious ‘pseudo-grain’ and will be a good one to grow for our health another food we can play with in the kitchen.

Is it ever enough?

Is it ever enough?

Of course we may very well end up with other veggies we haven’t planned on, as there is always something new out there to find.
And isn’t that just a part of the wonderful hobby habit called Gardening?

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The Good, The Bad, and The Say-What?

Whatever part of the world you garden is in, that’s a good place to be.
Here’s what is happening in the northeastern gardens this time of year.

snow or sugar peas

the leaning tower of peas-a

Well, here’s what is happening in ours anyway. :-)

lettuce

the last of the lettuce, for now

Some nice breakfast radishes are delightful on crusty bread with either butter or coconut spread.

radishes

what's for tea, Mum?

Don’t you just love unexpected surprises?

daisies

Mother Nature adds her touch.

It won’t be long now…

cucumbers

here come the cukes


What new veggie are you trying?

fava beans

first time for favas

Eat those bad bugs!
(But leave the good ones alone.)

spiders

hard garden workers

Can you see the tiny white flowers?
It’s soo exciting!

cranberry blooming

I see cranberries come fall

A little dried lavender and chamomile tucked neatly into a pillow helps with sleep problems.
Really really.

lavender

sweet dreams are made of these

I found this unusual abnormality the other day.
It was exciting!

twin male zucchini

our first set of twins

Less exciting and more plain weird when the second set showed up.

zucchini twins

really? another set?

Now that is one popular female zucchini!

female zucchini flower

at least there's one girl

Have you seen this infestation in your garden?

gnomes

and I thought the bunnies were bad

The highlight of the gardening season.

tomatoes

now we're talking

Uh oh- Time for some housework!

garden poetry

as long as we know when to come in

Categories: jonesen', Keeping up with the Joneses

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i thank You God

Today is the first day of Spring, and as such I have some pictures from my yard to share with you.
There’s also a story I want to tell.

chickweed

of course the weeds are happy

You see, my youngest child SaveTheWorld was born on the last full day of Winter;
which means, that she starts out every new year of her life stepping into Spring.
At least I like to think of it that way.

And although we gave her an early birthday party when she was home recently on spring break, and I did send her a ‘birthday party in a box’ to celebrate with her friends- I felt sad that she was away from home on her birthday and we could not share a hug.

spring chickens

who us? plotting an escape?

Now it was only just before she started college last fall that we discovered she and I had the same favorite poet- e.e. cummings-
somehow the subject had never come up.

If he is new to you, he can be difficult to read, but oh so enjoyable.
He uses words in unconventional ways that give them more meaning, he rarely used capital letters (only for great emphasis) and did what he wanted with punctuation.

So yesterday, on her birthday- I looked to see if by some chance there was a video recording of one of his poems.
Then I found it- a poem I remember from my college days -and it is not only perfect-
it is himself, reciting the poem.
I did send it to her yesterday, and it made me feel closer to her- knowing that she would enjoy it as much as I did the first time I read it.

spring parsnips

the first of the spring veggies

I was also then declared ‘the best Mother eevvveeerrrr!:-)

It is just a short video- but it is e.e. cummings describing Spring.
So in honor of her birthday, and in celebration of Spring- I’m posting it for you, too.
Because the best gifts of all are shared.

spring lilies

the wonderousness of nature

Click on the title to go the the video- and here are the words:

i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

Categories: jonesen', special posts

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Good Seed

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a bit of a seed junkie.
I can’t walk past a seed rack without at least looking.

seeds from the store

seed rack seeds

And it isn’t the least bit unusual at this time of year to find seed packets in my pockets, car or wallet.

seed junkie

whats in your wallet?

Okay- maybe more than just ‘a bit’ of a junkie.
But when I do buy seeds, I organize them well on my spare room wall.

seed organization

my personal seed racks

So I was quite surprised when I was looking for some seeds I bought from Seed Savers Exchange on an end-of-the-year clearance last fall, and 3 packets were not there.
Just to be sure I didn’t leave them somewhere else, I looked- in my shoe boxes that hold the large bags of seeds I sometimes buy, and the seeds I’ve saved.
In the envelope the order came in.
Nope.

seed savers exchange

organic seeds

So I sent them an email to let them know I did not receive my entire order, and they promptly sent me the 3 packages- this year’s seeds, too- not the end of season ones- along with an apology.
Great customer service!

seed savers exchange

and one more

A few weeks later, as I stood on the bed putting my latest treasures into the seed racks, I happened to look down and I saw them- they had somehow slipped down beside the bed and were on the floor.
Let me tell you- I felt lower than my lowest earthworm.
I quickly sent them another email, apologizing profusely and asking to be billed for the additional seeds.

Let me just note here that they only know me by my real name, not as Gardening Jones.

So they wrote me back, saying not to worry about it- we all make mistakes; and to keep the seeds or give them away.
So that’s what I’m doing right now-

Just leave a comment on this post and on Monday morning I will let the online randomizer choose who will win the Watermelon and Hot Pepper Seeds.

As for the Sorghum (which is weird anyway) I’m going to plant those seeds. If all goes well, I will be giving away a colorful handmade Broom or Wreath come fall.

NOTE 3/5/12: the winner by online randomizer was wanderingsuz!
Thanks all again for commenting- you’re too funny!

Categories: Addiction, gardening people, places & things, jonesen'

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Antsy in the Pantsy

Not being able to play in the dirt is the worst torture for an avid gardener.
I’m sure many of you are in withdrawal and understand what I’m talking about.

purple and green cabbage seedlings

mmm...cabbage

Part of the way we survive the long winters is by reading seed catalogs and books, planning our gardens, and getting ready for that magic moment when we can start seeds indoors.

Part of my survival is also volunteering as a Master Gardener.
This time of year the most I can do is write and help edit our newsletter.

Here is a little piece I put in the most recent edition.
As long as I’ve been gardening, I can never remember which seeds to start when.
I have an idea, don’t get me wrong- but I often find myself looking up the times just in case.

celery seedlings

celery seedlings under lights 2011

So here’s my gift to help you through the remaining part of winter:
Copy and paste the list below, print it out and post it in a convenient spot.
Add dates if you’d like.

And know that every time you look at it longingly, you are not alone-
and a little closer to Spring.

Seed Starting Times
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi: 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Cole crops prefer cooler temps; plant out early spring or fall.

Brussel Sprouts: 6-8 weeks before planting outdoors. Need about 120 days to grow, taste better after a few frosts.

Eggplant: 8 weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant after all danger of frost is past.

Leeks: 10-12 weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant after all danger of frost is past.

Lettuce: 3-4 weeks before planting outdoors. Can handle some colder temperatures.

Melons: 4 weeks or less before planting outdoors. Do not like the cold at all.

Peppers, Sweet & Hot: 8 weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant after all danger of frost is past.

Pumpkins, Winter Squash: 3 weeks before planting outdoors. Can handle cooler temperatures in the fall, but transplant after danger of frost.

Tomatoes: 6 weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant after all danger of frost is past.

baby tomato plants

I can't wait!

If you really need a gardening ‘fix’- just gently rub a tomato leaf and smell the scent.
Mmmm…smells like summer.

If you need further support, join our FB gardening group.
More on starting seeds.
Even more.

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Everything here is original (unless otherwise noted) and has legal copyright 2014 by Gardening Jones (tm), and cannot be re-posted or reproduced without permission. Any re-posting of information, photographs, and/or recipes is considered theft and subject to prosecution.

As gardeners, we love to share, so just let us know what your intentions are and we can work together. Please feel free to link any post you see. They say they call that Link Love.

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