Fresh Home Grown Vegetables
Frugal gardening is learning new ways to save money when gardening. This article will show how easy it is to grow fresh vegetables in your back garden from seed. Have you thought about doing this?
There is nothing better than walking into your garden and picking your own salads and vegetables knowing they are fresh and more important, free from chemicals. More important, the taste is better than those that you buy in the local supermarket.
These days we never know where the produce is grown when buying from supermarkets. Therefore, by having your own fresh grown produce is healthier than bought produce. In addition, you have fresh salads and vegetables ready to pick when unexpected visitors arrive.
We can all become frugal gardeners when growing fresh vegetables. Either buy small plants in punnets from the nurseries, grow some vegetables from recycled ones, although I will tell you about that later. Plus grow them from seeds, which is the reason for writing this article.
What you Need to get Started
Growing fresh vegetables and fruit in your garden is very easy and it will not be expensive. If on a budget start simple and buy one thing at a time.
Three main things you need:
- Good quality soil
- Good fertilizer.
- Choose good quality and healthy seeds
Always buy fresh seeds, not old stock as they may not grow.
Use your own
For the first time gardener, try to obtain seeds from the old market gardeners or friends. Or save money by using seeds from the produce from last year. These days many of the seeds are treated so they will not reproduce. Yes the plants will have good leaf growth, although gardening is about producing and these plants will not produce fruit. So bear this in mind.
How to Grow Butternuts and Pumpkins
Anyone can grow these in your back yard from seeds. The disadvantage is that most of these need a lot of space in your garden.
Planting seeds - Dig up an area forming a circle with raised edges. Plant the seeds inside this circle, keeping them about twelve inches apart. You can plant extra for when some do not grow, and then weed out the weakest plants. The raised edges help to keep the water in that area.
Growing your own Zucchini from Seeds
The beauty of growing zucchini is they take up less room than pumpkins. Therefore you can grow them in a large planter on your back patio or in the garden. Plant seeds similar to the pumpkins.
Ideas for cooking and eating zucchini
- Cut when small and pickle them, then store in jars
- Let them grow larger, then stuff and bake in the oven with a mince, onion and spice filling. That is the best way.
- Slice and fry in the pan
- Cut or dice, then boil in the pot.
- You can use them in stews, Quiche or pasta dishes. Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable.
Best Seeds for the Kids Garden
Kids Love to Help in the Garden
Kids will love to get involved in growing fresh vegetables, with their parents.
Children love playing in the dirt, although they lose interest quickly so need plants that grow fast.
Radishes - fit into this category because they grow in about six weeks from planting to harvesting.
Baby carrots- do not take long to grow, although not as quick as the radishes.
Another idea is to encourage them to grow their own herbs. That will give them more options, and these can also be grown from seed.
Planting Radish seeds
Form a shallow trench either with a stick or your finger. Because Radish seeds are tiny it is best to tip a few out on your hand. Then sprinkle the seeds into the trench. Cover with soil and water. If you have planted them too thick, you can thin by pulling the weaker plants out.
Types of Radishes
There are several types and shapes of radishes. Radishes are mainly found in two colours red and white, and grow in round or long shapes.
Be cautious as some rashes have too strong a taste for children. If left in the garden too long they will have a stronger and sometimes bitter taste. Therefore, best to pick early.
Saving your Seeds
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No Bees in your Garden
If you have no bees, then try pollinating your own vegetables.
Pumpkins, butternuts have larger flowers, hence easier to do this. However, you can still do it with cucumbers except this is fiddly.
How to pollinate flowers
Look for the female flowers with fruit underneath. Now look for the male without any fruit. Pick that one and pluck off the large petals, leaving the stamen sticking up.
Open the female flower carefully, and slip the male stamen inside and close the flower. Be careful not to pull or knock the female flower off the plant. That is all you need to do. Now just watch them grow and produce for you.
Growing Vegetables all Year
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Growing Cucumbers from Seed
Different Types of Cucumbers
There are many types of cucumbers: Although I will only mention the Lebanese and the normal garden variety. The long thin Lebanese one you see in the supermarket is always wrapped in plastic. I find this one keeps a lot longer in the fridge.
The other most common one is the garden one. This is often darker and thicker than the Lebanese.
Both these cucumbers are easy to grow from seed. Always save good strong seeds from both of these types of cucumbers from previous year. Let them dry out and if the growing season is over store in a dry position in a plastic bag until next season. As the growing season varies from different countries I will leave that for you to check your gardening guide. Always plant before spring to have them growing for the summer.
Cucumber seeds can be planted about eight inches apart. About 30mm deep, then cover with soil and water. These can be grown along a fence (which I prefer as you can see the fruit easier) or on the ground. Keep in mind that this allows the slugs and snails easier access to the cucumbers.
Tips to reduce pests and bugs
- Spread crushed eggshells to discourage snails
- Place half eggs shells in garden to attract white moth to lay their eggs in them.
- Plant other flowering plants in between your vegetables.
- Grow garlic in between vegetables to discourage pests.
- Crush garlic and place in spray bottle and spray over vegetables.
There are many other ways of saving money by recycling and regrowing bought vegetables. Some of the ones you can recycle are: Bok Choy, Celery, Spinach and onions
You can also grow potatoes and sweet potatoes by replanting them when they start to shoot.