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Secrets for How to Grow An Edible Garden Just About Anywhere!

If you’ve given up on the idea of growing an edible garden this year, I’ve got good news. Even if you rent and your landlord won’t allow you to dig up part of the property—no problem. Even if you don’t have time to tend a full-size garden; even if you don’t have time to build square-foot boxes.

 

photo credit: OliveandCocoa.com

 

You don’t need acreage, a big yard or “perfect” conditions. In fact, you really don’t need any acreage at all. There are myriad ways to you can get started today growing your own food. It’s easy, too!

In a black plastic trash bag

Seriously, you can grow a garden in a trash bag. The easiest way to get started growing stuff in plastic bags is with potatoes. To get started you’ll need a heavy duty black trash bag, a shovel, a knife, potting soil, “seed” potatoes and agricultural sulfur—available at any garden center.

Find a complete step-by-step tutorial for how to get your bag planted and those potatoes growing here.

On a deck

Even in a small space like a deck or patio, you can grow many different vegetables and enjoy an amazing harvest for your efforts. There is nothing quite like making meals with herbs and vegetables that you have grown yourself—that you can harvest fresh, right outside your back door.

Check out these 11 tips for growing vegetables on a deck or patio.

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Grow Your Own Food One Square Foot at a Time

For years I’d tried to grow a decent vegetable garden. It was the high cost of fresh basil—$3.50 for a few measly, wilted fresh basil leaves, ditto for a pound of somewhat reddish tomatoes and mostly pink strawberries—that prompted me to try.

I started with tomatoes, basil, and peppers (a salsa garden!). In no time, I added zucchini and cucumbers to my repertoire—even corn one year.

 

But I have to be honest. My harvests have ranged from disappointing to mediocre. Only that one year did my garden produce enough to share with others. I’m still trying to remember how I did that. So far, I’ve been unable to duplicate the results.

Uniquely talented

One thing I do quite well is weeds. I try not to take too much credit here, but I have to tell you I’ve never seen anyone else grow weeds quite as successfully as I do. And I can take them right through the season until they actually re-seed themselves for the next!

Oh, the effort

While I love the concept of a garden that’s not only nice to look at but actually produces something we can eat, I’m not 100% in love with the anxiety, pressure, guilt, backaches, leg cramps, and fear of needing hip replacements.

There has to be a better way

While in the past my efforts to grow a garden have been more of a hobby than a serious endeavor, I feel that changing. The high cost of food—specifically produce—tells me it’s time to get serious. We need to become more self-sufficient, but in a cost-effective way.

True cost? Yikes!

While I feel that I’ve mastered weeds, I’ve failed miserably in cost-effectiveness. I shudder to imagine the true cost of the pathetically tiny bounty I’ve garnered over the years.  That doesn’t mean I’m ready to give up on vegetable gardening, only that I’m ready for a new way to do it.


RELATED: Grow Tomatoes at Home Even If You Don’t Have a Garden


 

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How to Get Your Windows Sparkling Clean—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

My husband and I moved into our new home in April 2015, just in time to experience our first Rocky Mountain spring. There are no words to describe this adequately, but this picture does a great job.

021516image

 

The thing I noticed the first time I walked into this house—windows. Tons of windows framing our new view and every one of them dirty. It looked to me as if no one had ever washed them.

I did my due diligence in researching local professional window washers. For sure we would have to pay to have them cleaned properly. But it would be one and done. We would keep them clean and that would be an easy task. Of course.

The price was ridiculously high, but the job got done and the windows sparkled. That’s when I set out to discover the best (easiest, fastest, cheapest, sparkly-est) way to keep these windows clean—not only dust-free but also clean.

Surprise. It’s not with Windex, paper towels, newspaper or other methods I may or may not have recommended in the past, which produce a big mess—dripping, soggy, dirty paper towels and windows with streaks that can be difficult to remove.


MORE: How I Dry Cleaned My Windows


The right tools

I have invested in the right window-washing tools. You need the right tools, too, or you are going to waste a lot of time and money trying to get your windows streak-free and sparkling like diamonds. Look for tools like these at your local big box store, home improvement center, or online. For your convenience and also so you can see what I’m referring to below, I have provided Amazon links for each of these specific tools. Read more

19 Surprising Ways Epsom Salts Can Improve Your Life

I can recall vividly—and count on one hand—the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of them before age ten. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them. Until about two years ago.

With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why then, after all these years?

Flower in bowl next to bath tub

In reading up on the latest findings on what might cause my migraine headaches, I discovered the importance of magnesium to overall health.

Turns out that an estimated 68 percent of the U.S. population suffer from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues—one of them being migraine headaches. One study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine concludes that all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. 

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that common, ordinary Epsom salts is one of the richest sources of magnesium. Studies like this one offer scientific evidence that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin—by soaking in it. In a nice warm bath! Just make sure the bath water is not too hot, otherwise your skin will eliminate rather than absorb.

You can be sure that Epsom salts soaks are now part of my routine to boost my magnesium and hopefully continue to avoid migraines in the future.

In the nearly two years since I wrote about my recurring migraine experience, I’ve been working Epsom salt baths into my regular routine and I have not had even the hint of another migraine.

Epsom salts, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, which is sodium chloride and NOT even close to the same thing) is plentiful, inexpensive, and available at drugstores, supermarkets, and online. And it has dozens of other practical uses and health benefits, too!

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Best Inexpensive Gadgets and Gear for the Home Gardener

There’s nothing like a series of sunny days in late winter to awaken my inner gardener. Apparently, I’m not the only one as evidenced by my inbox these past few weeks.

Mary Hunt's garden in spring

Dear Mary:  I just moved into my first home after living in an apartment for the last 10 years. As a novice home chef, I’ve been dreaming of the day I could grow my own vegetable and herb garden and have a nice yard with grass and shrubbery as well. 

Do you have any suggestions for some basic tools I need to get started? Thanks for your help. I love your column and read it daily! Asher

Dear Asher:  I’ve got gardening on my mind, too. Currently, mine in this photo is under a few inches of snow but I have faith. I know that in a few weeks we’ll be back to temperatures in the 70s, which gives me a new appreciation for the condition known as spring fever! I’ve got it bad and can’t wait to get my hands dirty and my garden planted.

With that in mind, I came up with a list of my favorite inexpensive yard and garden gadgets and gear.

While this may look like a sizable investment, it’s not likely you will need all of these items on day one. Just hang onto this list as you begin to furnish your tool shed.

I’m confident you can rely on this list to build a collection of garden tools that will work well for many years to come. I’d rather see you spend a few more dollars on good quality tools from the start than to find yourself having to replace poor quality items every season. Been there, done that and wasn’t very happy about it.

Here for your gardening pleasure are my best inexpensive garden tools:

Gloves, trowel and weeder for the DIY gardener

1. Gloves

I tried so many until I found the gloves that work for me. Atlas Touch Gloves are awesome. Made of cotton with nitrile (similar to vinyl) coating on the palm and fingers, these gloves fit so well and are so flexible I can easily open a can, pick up a small pebble or even take a call while wearing them.

A pack of six pair comes in an assortment of pastel colors and sizes small, medium and large. These gloves are machine washable. Best garden gloves ever.

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Reasons Gardening is Good For Us Plus 6 Favorite Garden Tools

You may have figured out by now that I am obsessed with gardening and it’s a good thing. I’m convinced this summertime hobby improves both my mental and physical wellbeing.

Effective exercise. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (doesn’t everyone check with the CDC before doing anything strenuous?), just one hour of light gardening and yard work burns 330 calories—more than lifting weights for the same amount of time. I’ll take it!

Blood pressure. Gardening scored on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s recommendation list for battling high blood pressure. I’m sure they’re thinking the physical movement aspects of gardening. But me? Beautiful flowers and well-manicured beds calm my soul and refuel my joy like little else.

Immune system. It’s the sun, I’m sure of it. When I’m in my garden, I’m soaking up vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium, which in turns keeps bones strong and the immune system healthy. Read more

Revisions

Secrets for How to Grow An Edible Garden Just About Anywhere!

If you’ve given up on the idea of growing an edible garden this year, I’ve got good news. Even if you rent and your landlord won’t allow you to dig up part of the property—no problem. Even if you don’t have time to tend a full-size garden; even if you don’t have time to build square-foot boxes.

 

photo credit: OliveandCocoa.com

 

You don’t need a big yard and “perfect” conditions. In fact, you really don’t need any acreage at all. There are myriad ways to you can get started today growing your own food. It’s easy, too! You don’t need acreage and “perfect” conditions to get started. You can do it now with what you have, where you are.

There are myriad ways to you can get started growing your own food. You can do it now with what you have, where you are.

In a black plastic trash bag

Seriously, you can grow a garden in a trash bag. The easiest way to get started growing stuff in plastic bags is with potatoes. To get started you’ll need a heavy duty black trash bag, a shovel, a knife, potting soil, “seed” potatoes and agricultural sulfur—available at any garden center.

Find a complete step-by-step tutorial for how to get your bag planted and those potatoes growing here.

On a deck

Even in a small space like a deck or patio, you can grow many different vegetables and enjoy an amazing harvest for your efforts. There is nothing quite like making meals with herbs and vegetables that you have grown yourself—that you can harvest fresh, right outside your back door.

Check out these 11 tips for growing vegetables on a deck or patio.

Read more