How to Grow Vegetables All Year Long ( You Can Grow Your Own Food, 365 Days of The Year, No Matter Where You Live )

grow vegetables

How you can create a harvest of fresh, nutritious winter food throughout the cold months.

Now that the mower is about to be stored away for the winter months, I like to spend a couple of weekends getting my vegetable beds packed so that I have lots of fresh fodder to pick at over the chilly months ahead. Keeping your garden going through the winter gets you outside in the fresh air, allow you to exercise and can give you brilliant home-grown produce. [Read more…]

26 Plants And Vegetables You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side


Organic gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those combinations—and practical experience has demonstrated to many gardeners how to mate certain plants for their mutual benefit.  [Read more…]

The 35 Easiest Container and Pot Friendly Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs – DIY Your Way to More Homegrown Food on The Table All Year Long


With spring and summer often comes the desire to plant things. If you are someone who enjoys growing and preserving your own food but you’re also someone who just doesn’t have the outdoor garden space that you need, we’ve got a great collection of projects for you. [Read more…]

The Secrets of Growing Giant Vegetables – How to Make Compost Tea (Simplest method on earth)


The Secrets of Growing Giant Vegetables – How to Make Compost Tea (Simplest method on earth)

How to Make Compost

The majority of yard wastes can certainly be composted, including plant stalks, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, weeds, vines, and branches. Food wastes, which are compostable, include vegetable and fruit scraps, nutshells, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Here’s how to make compost. [Read more…]

Preparing for the apocalypse



Organised by nature: Post-apocalypse life will still involve washing the dishes and taking rubbish out, according to Peggy Layton’s hoarded supplies



Post-apocalyptic worlds may exist on the big screen and in sci-fi novels, but that’s where the similarities between a disaster-ravaged planet and daily life in America end.

Or so you may think.

A new TLC show introduces us to the families who live in fear of the apocalypse, convinced by the inevitability of the end of the world as they know it.3

Organised by nature: Post-apocalypse life will still involve washing the dishes and taking rubbish out, according to Peggy Layton’s hoarded supplies

But far from admitting defeat, the programme instead focuses on their preparations for life after destruction. And, as TLC shows, survival tactics take on many forms.

Livin’ for the Apocalypse follows four families who are not only predicting the apocalypse but preparing for its arrival. The measures that they are taking now, are they believe, the key to their survival if economic collapse, doomsday predictions, natural disasters, alien invasion, meteor strikes or zombie viruses ever take grip of planet earth.

Meet Peggy and Scott Layton. The parents of seven children, the Laytons believe they are ‘ready for anything.’


Stockpiling: Peggy Layton has vast amounts of storage for foods, including sealed buckets of soups and stews – and dog food


Good night: The Laytons have an underground bunker beneath Peggy’s office, complete with bunk beds and a full kitchen and dining area


Geodesic: As well as their bunkers and vast food supplies, the Laytons have a greenhouse and grow vegetation for animal fodder


The family from Manti, Utah, have a garden to live from and a root cellar that can double as a bomb shelter as well as a home in the mountains – protected by Mr Layton’s large supply of firearms – that they will escape to should disaster or invasion ever make the city unsafe.

‘We won’t go down without a fight,’ says the father and plumber.

Mrs Layton’s office has an entire underground bunker system including bedrooms with bunk beds, a kitchen and dining room and, of course, ample storage for food and supplies.

Determined to hoard as much food as she can fit in her bunker, she has has made a whole career from preparing for the end of the world as she knows it. She has published seven books to date, all focusing on the key to emergency food preparation and survival.


Warfare: Survival Doc explains the benefits of a side-ventilated gasmasks. You want interference with your gun’s aim, afterall



Here, bunny: The Doc takes a rabbit from his bank of hutches and prepares to kill it before storing the meat for harder times

‘If it’s messy and unorganised, it’s hoarding’ the mother and business woman says. ‘I feel a great urgency to be prepared and to have my family prepared. It’s a possibility we could have an earthquake, we could have economic collapse.’

Over in St Louis, Missouri, the Survival Doc is taking no chances. He and his wife Liz have stockpiled silver for years – their various coins, ornaments and table wear accumulating thousands of dollars’ worth of value over the years.


Don’t forget a can opener: The Survival Doc has an internet channel on which he broadcasts tips for days of destruction, not least food storage and access

A chiropractor by trade, Survival Doc even has an internet channel on which he broadcasts survival tips, inside knowledge and plans for preparation.

The grey-bearded super-scout lives by the survival motto ‘One is more, two is one,’ and stores vast amounts of food, supplies and even alcohol even though he is not a drinker, because ‘it’s good bartering material.’

He farms rabbits, killing and storing their meat and owns a selection of guns, including a concealed 357 magnum which he wears at all times. He even tried to develop a way to swim with the weapon, but admits that ‘obviously you can’t protect everything. There are no guarantees in life.’

For her part, his wife, Liz, is long-suffering: ‘I try to support him in everything he does. But it’s a challenge.’ She remains supportive, though: I’m so grateful my husband has taken the time to put things together,’ she says of his eccentric tendencies.


Survival mode: The McClungs show off their supplies including the family’s surgical kit


His dogged multiple-buying of everything has one exception, though: ‘I only have one wife. One is enough in that regard.’

Then, there is the young family from Mesa, Arizona who believe in Hopi, Malachy and Mayan prophesies that predict the world will end .

 RELATED : Start of The End of World all Predictions here in 2017-2024


Danielle and Dennis McClung have two young children and have made sure to teach them what to do in an emergency. Together, the family make games out of praticing to dress in gas masks and protective clothing, while the children are taught to fend for themselves in preparation for a worse-case scenario.

Mrs McClung says of her ‘protective’ five-year-old son: ‘He can cook, he can make cereal,’ hoping that if anything was ever to happen to the adults, the infant could take care of his two-year-old little sister.


Self-sustaining: The McClungs have built a garden with a tilapia pool, goats, chickens and plenty of vegetables


Gone fishin: A fishing net is hauled in from the tilapia pond, ready for the McClung’s dinner. The fish are fed by chicken droppings from a coop above the pond

The McClungs hope to live entirely off grid by doomsday in December 2012, producing all of their own food, water, and energy. They have converted a swimming pool into a hi-tech closed loop garden complete with chickens, goats and a tilapia pool that is nourished by chicken droppings.

Helped by community volunteers, they say their unusual vision is an inspiration to others. ‘I don’t see ourselves as fear-mongers or even negative people,’ says Mr McClung. ‘I think we are actually very optimistic people, we’re just preparing for the worse-case scenario and hoping for the best.’

But there are fewer more unorthodox approaches to post-apocalyptic survival than friends Jackie and Gidget from the Southwest Desert. Jackie, a trans-gender woman, is credited with being ‘the enforcer, protector, handyman… or handywoman’ of the pair, while Gidget takes control of food storage and has a career as a seamstress.

The couple, who wear matching purple tops, seem to have little strategy in place, besides heading to the shooting range to beef up their ‘shoot to kill’ survival tactics.

‘We’re preparing because the world as we know it and especially our country is coming to an end,’ says Gidget. She is on the look out for economic collapse, war and rioting, but Jackie is more fearful of ‘zombies.’


‘I would like am M-16 or something like that for self-protection,’ says Jackie, a senior who is undergoing hormone therapy.


Not so rosy: As sweet as they may appear, Jackie, left, and Gidget are determined to ‘shoot to kill’ then ‘can em up.’ We hope that doesn’t mean what it seems to imply


Ladies with guns: Jackie, left, and Gidget make sure their gun skills are up to scratch, ready for doomsday. They vow to ‘shoot to kill’

‘I have learned how to shoot a gun… I don’t want to have to shoot anybody but I will,’ says Gidget. ‘I’ve always been taught that whatever you shoot and kill you have to eat it and I’m not accountable but it might come to that… Shoot to kill. Can ’em up.’

We can only hope it won’t get to that stage: the couple have been hoarding food, alcohol and home-canned meats – including beef heart and ‘cheap pork’ – and their bathroom is stocked full with tinned carrots, spaghetti sauce and tuna fish. They breed and sell guinea pigs that they hope to never eat. ‘They are a little skinny,’ says Jackie.

From guns to gas masks and fresh fish, the one-hour special programme says that preparations for the apocalypse are a growing trend in the U.S. as more and more families ready themselves for a life beyond civilisation. A final word of survival to take from the unconventional characters on the show?

‘Maybe in preparing for the worst, it brings out the best in humanity,’ says a hopeful Mr McClung. Or, there are always the dubiously wise – or should that read paranoid? – words of the Survival Doc to live by: ‘Be prepared. Or be prepared to be fleeced.’

Prepare to Live or Prepare to Die, you decide. 



Other useful resources:

Backyard Innovator (A Self Sustaining Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness)

Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )

Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)

Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)

Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)

Sold Out After Crisis (Best 37 Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)




3 Vegetables You Can Grow All Winter … Even Without A Garden-Video

container-gardening-400x275When it comes to gardening, I have a hard time waiting for spring. In January I start to dream about planting. In February, I’m researching plants, designing my garden, and writing up a cost estimate for my newest growing endeavors. By March, I’m chomping at the bit, eager to get my pots started. But I don’t own a plot of land where I can plant. Rather than resign myself to wistfully admiring other’s gardens, I’ve tackled vegetable container gardening in the past and this year is no different. Small space may require a bit more work to encourage cold-weathervegetables to grow and produce, but it’s certainly an option and one I love!


Some of the first crops of the season are broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. While these plants respond best when planted directly into the ground, they can manage well in pots if cared for properly. To start out, you’ll need a correct pot size for each plant. Broccoli and cauliflower generally need larger pots (at least five gallons per plant and between 12 to 16 inches deep). Cabbage can manage in a two gallon pot. Ensure there is at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. While water, and plenty of it, is essential to rapidly growing plants, too much stagnant water can smother a plant. Generally, the larger the pot size, the better it is for the plant. Larger containers help quell soil temperature fluctuations, and the more room there is for soil, water and roots, the better the crop will be. When it comes to pot size, don’t skimp!






Once you have your containers chosen, you’ll need to think about what you’re going to fill them with. Good vegetable growing soil needs to provide adequate drainage and supply nutrients to your plants. It’s generally recommended to start out your pots with a good quality potting soil mix. These mixes include perlite or sand (for drainage) and peat, or composted bark (for nutrition). If you desire to mix your own soils, do some research online or at your library or bookstore, as there is a lot of good information out there on creating excellent potting soil. Alternatively, you can get by just fine with purchasing a bag of quality potting soil from your local plant nursery.


While potting soil comes with its own nutrients, it doesn’t tend to last the entire growing season due to tendency of the nutrients to wash out of the soil from the frequent watering. Plan to start fertilizing your plant sometime in the summer, close to the time the plant starts producing. Over-fertilizing is common, but not necessary, so watch your plants and experiment with how much and how often you give them extra food.


Your broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants will be very dependent on you for adequate water. Container plants go through a lot of water. Some water will drain out the bottom, especially if too much is given at one time, while other water will evaporate out the top. Stack on top of that the intense water needs of growing vegetable plants, and you can expect to water your plants every day.

Ed Smith shares that “There’s no wiggle room here; vegetable plants that don’t get enough water when they need it become stressed, and don’t produce as well. This means that a traditional container gardener has to be available to water the garden once a day – or more than once – every day” (Mother Earth News, April/May 2008). However, there is also another option: self-watering containers. These have a reservoir in the bottom that you fill with water. The soil then takes up enough water for the plant’s satisfaction. While these are available from plant nurseries, they’re also easy enough to construct yourself. Glance around online for instructions on how to make your own. Whether you use traditional pots or self-watering containers, watch your plants and you’ll soon know what they need. Container gardening can be intensive from time to time, but the results are worth it!

Now that you have your containers and soil, it’s time to take a look at the individual cold season crops. When purchasing plants or seeds for container gardens, look for ones that say “dwarf,” “compact” or “fast-maturing” as these are best suited for growing in smaller spaces.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli loves cool weather, lots of water, at least six hours of sunlight and rich soil. Start your seeds indoors about six weeks before the last spring frost. Once the plants are about four weeks old, harden them off (gradually get them used to the outdoors) and move them outside. Broccoli can also be planted in the late summer for a fall crop. You’ll need to start your seeds indoors 12-14 weeks before the first fall frost. Set them outside when they’re between four and six weeks old.

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Check your plants for worms. Water frequently and fertilize often. Adding compost, composted chicken manure or liquid fertilizer are excellent ways to meet broccoli’s high nutrient needs. You can pick your first harvest “when the florets around the edges of the head begin to show slight loosening, but when the beads in most of the crown are still tight” says Barbara Pleasant (Mother Earth News, August/September 2009). Cut the stems at a diagonal to deter water pooling and your plants rotting. If you choose a sprouting broccoli kind, then you’ll see repeat harvests, though each harvest will be smaller. You can eat your broccoli fresh in stir-fries, salads and more, or you can steam it and freeze it for future use.





2. Cabbage

Cabbage comes in a range of kinds, Green, Red, Savoy, Pointed, and Napa. Look for smaller, fast growing varieties for your container garden. They love fertile soil and lots of sun, so consider adding some compost to your potting soil and feeding throughout their growing season. Set your pots where they can receive direct sunlight for much of the day. You’ll need to start seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before your area’s last spring frost. Once the seedlings are about six weeks old, you can harden them off and set them outside. If you want a fall crop, start seeds 12 to 14 weeks before the first fall frost. You can cut your first harvest when the heads feel firm. Cut high and clean and your plant may produce several smaller heads. Your cabbage will store nicely in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Enjoy fresh coleslaw or blanche and freeze it. Another alternative is to make nutrient and healthy bacteria rich fermented sauerkraut (not heat-treated). Enjoy!

3. Cauliflower

Cauliflower may be one of the most temperamental of the cool weather crops. Generally, it’s recommended to start plants in the summer for a late fall/winter harvest. If cauliflower gets hit with 80 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures while the heads are forming, small, poorly textured heads result. Look for fast-growing, early maturing plants for container gardens. Cauliflower loves fertile soil, so plan to feed your plants regularly. They also do not handle cramped spaces well (delivering smaller heads), so ensure you have a nice sized pot for each plant (at least five gallons and preferably bigger). In late spring or early summer, start your cauliflower seeds. Watch your plants for insect problems. Drench plants with a high-nitrogen fertilizer (like fish emulsion), every couple weeks as they grow. Once the head is formed and a nice size (don’t wait too long or the head will take on an unpleasant texture), use a sharp knife to harvest it. Cauliflower plants only produce one head, so you can pull and discard or compost the rest of the plant once you’ve harvested the head. Cauliflower will keep in the refrigerator for a number of weeks or you can blanch and freeze the florets. Enjoy in stir-fries, soups, and more!

When it comes to gardening in small spaces, cool-weather crops are certainly an option. Choose well-sized pots and containers for your plants, adhere to the seasonal growing recommendations, feed often, provide plenty of water and sun and you’ll be experiencing the joys of your first cool-weather crops this year!






How to ‘Grow-a-Row’ for Those in Need

tomatoes-growing-1Editor’s Note: Last summer my nephew, Greg Horner, an avid backyard gardener, organized a “Grow-a-Row” campaign in his community in eastern Massachusetts. He signed up 40 local gardeners willing to grow extra produce for the local Food Pantry. The program contributed fresh produce over a span of four months to benefit those in need, and was also a great way for local gardeners to get to know each other and work with a shared sense of purpose.

I asked Greg if he would offer the benefit of his experience to others who may be inspired to organize a “Grow-a- Row” program in their communities. In response to my interview questions, here are his observations and advice.

1. How did you go about contacting local gardeners to present the ‘Grow a Row’ idea?

I used four methods for getting the idea across to gardeners in the local area: our organization’s e-newsletter, local print media, word of mouth, and local partner groups – including the food pantry which we were supporting, which posted a sign outside and promoted the program to its donors. In year two I hope to do more with partner organizations for recruitment.

The season kicked off with an open-house style event at the library, where people stopped by to pick up seedlings, seeds, tomato cages, and a handout that was part logistics and part growing instructions. It was a key time to connect with people in person to answer questions and make a face-to-face connection.

Every week or two I sent out messages by email to the group: reminders of planting dates, information about pruning, staking, mulching, watering tips, reminders about drop-off times, fertilizing, etc. Mostly this focused on tomatoes; doing this for multiple crops would be nice but also a lot more work. Gardeners often have favorite crops which they can grow successfully without the need for reminders, so this requires less effort on my part.

2. Do participating gardeners provide mixed crops or a single crop?

Donations varied greatly. For year 1 we decided to keep it simple, and focused on the Food Pantry’s greatest needs: tomatoes, lettuce and carrots. Tomatoes were the prime focus, and most of our volunteer gardeners provided those. Some also provided carrots or lettuce, and we got plenty of other donations as well.

3. Do you suggest crops for gardeners to grow for the project? (Do some crops lend themselves to this project more than others?)

We suggested 3 crops: tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots. And we kept it simple so that the produce would be familiar to the food pantry clients – smooth skinned red tomatoes (not funky heirlooms), basic lettuce, and carrots.

This all came about after I spoke to the Food Pantry director about their produce supply and demand – she spoke of very generous local farms donating produce, but told of excess Kohlrabi and other less-familiar vegetables…and not enough of the basics. I said to myself – here’s something we can help with – and that week a friend offered me some surplus fluorescent lights leftover from an office renovation project. I rewired the lights so i could plug them in, then used some lumber in my basement and leftover materials to build a 3-level rack.





We gave away 50 free tomato seedlings (which I grew in my daughter’s bedroom under lights), plus free packets of lettuce & carrot seeds which were donated by a seed company, and at-cost tomato cages bought cheaply at a discount store. So many people love to grow tomatoes that this was an easy decision. But for general guidance, we take our cue from the Food Pantry since they have the best idea of what garden produce people prefer.

4. Do you pick up the harvested crops and deliver them to the food pantry or do the gardeners provide this service?


The gardeners are responsible for this, and it is one of the weak points of the program, as the pantry is only open on a limited schedule. Ideally we’d have a way for donations to be dropped off anytime, or possibly regional captains to collect produce from each part of town.

I don’t see us moving toward having a pickup service. Some sort of Google map with all the growers might bring about some collaboration on produce drop-offs.


5. Harvest times vary for different crops. Is there a single collection date or are multiple pickups/deliveries needed as crops mature?

Donations were brought in as the produce was ready, from July through October. We kept a notebook that people used to record what they dropped off, which helped us see the patterns and assess our impact.

6. Would you do this again, and if so, what would you do differently?


Instead of growing seedlings myself, this year we’ll seek donations or spend the $ to buy the seedlings from a local farm; the cost of electricity, soil and pots added up. I will also seek more partner groups; and pursue a small grant. Starting early is key for lining up partners, as spring is a very busy time for everyone, especially local farms and gardeners.

A friend told me – and this was key to keeping costs down – that a researcher at Cornell determined that you don’t gain anything by using grow light bulbs unless you are trying to get a plant to flower under the lights. In other words, I could use the free bulbs on hand.

I was hoping to offer a workshop on home gardening to the food pantry clients, but the director of the pantry discouraged me from this idea, saying that people generally lacked either the time, space or capacity to grow and tend a garden. I’m not convinced but she may be right.

Yes, I will be doing this again and already have plans under way for this upcoming season. I think this is a great project to share; it is easily replicable most anywhere and has been very well received in our town, enabling our ‘green’ group to engage many people not usually interested in our projects. And besides the satisfaction that comes with helping others, this project has been a great experience for my daughters to witness and participate in. And it’s a good way to meet other local gardeners in a sharing experience that brings us all closer together.










About Greg
Greg Horner and his family grow their own garden produce and raise a small flock of chickens in suburban eastern Massachusetts.





5 Vegetables That Grow Well In the Northwest

We have covered vegetables that grow well in each major region of the U.S., including the southeast, northeast,midwest, and southwest.

Now we delve into vegetables that grow well in the northwest region of the country. The northwest can be a very tricky area to grow vegetables due to the prevalence of rainy, foggy weather the area is known for.

Having days and even weeks of cloudy cool weather is also a challenge for people growing vegetables in the northwest.

Whether you live in Washington state, or northern California, here are five vegetables that grow well in the northwest.













Peas enjoy cooler temperatures and is a perfect addition to a northwest vegetable garden in spring. Peas do not enjoy temperatures over 85°F and production will be lowered once temperatures begin to hover around this mark.

They are a vining plant so provide a pea fence or trellis for them to climb up. You may need to train the peas once they get a couple inches tall to find the vertical support. Once you that they are off and running.

Some excellent choices of peas are Wando, Sugar Snap, andMaestro.













Artichokes need very cool temperatures to grow and thrive. They should be direct-sowed into the garden after the seeds have been soaked and held in the refrigerator at 35-40°F for four weeks in loose sphagnum moss. You can get even better results with transplants held at 40°F for two to four weeks.

Artichokes also like humid weather where they receive plenty of time in temperatures below 50°F. If they a re grown as perennials space them about three to four feet apart.

Harvest the immature flower buds when they reach about three to four inches in diameter.

The Imperial Star is a great choice of artichokes for the northwest vegetable garden.













Lettuces need cooler temperatures and are easy to grow which makes them ideal for the northwest vegetable garden in early spring. Another great aspect of growing lettuces are the wide variety of them to choose from.

Head lettuces should be started indoors about six weeks before the last frost date, while leaf lettuce should be started about two weeks before.

Leaf lettuce can be harvested once the leaves reach two to four inches in length. Snip off the outer leaves as you need them. You can also trim off all the leaves about one inch above the soil. The leaves will regrow producing lettuce throughout most of the season.


The entire plant of head lettuce can be harvested all at once. Simply pull the entire plant up once the head lettuce is at an appropriate size – about the size of your hand or larger.

Some great leaf lettuce choices are Black-Seeded Simpson andButtercrunch.

Ideal head lettuces are Iceberg and Romaine.













Broccoli is another vegetables that loves cooler temperatures, but isn’t so easy to grow. Developing a nice head on broccoli requires plenty of rich soil that has nitrogen and calcium.

Harvest the head when it is tight and firm with a sharp knife or scissors.

Cabbage worms and flea beetles can be common pests of broccoli. Handpick cabbage worms, or use Thuricide for heavy infestations.

Green Goliath, Raab Rapini, and Bonanza.

Swiss Chard












Swiss chard is one of the most overlooked vegetables but can be very easy to grow and has many uses, including soups, salads, or cooked much like spinach. It can tolerate summer heat and even a light frost.

Direct sow seeds in the garden after they have been soaked overnight to speed up germination.

Begin harvesting the leaves when they are about five inches tall. You can also cut the plants back in late summer to rejuvenate them for fall production.

Young leaves can be damaged by flea beetles and remove any leaves that have leafminer damage.

Some very tasty varieties of Swiss chard are Flamingo andOrea.

Bright Lights Swiss chard is a very colorful variety that looks as good as it tastes.












Hi, my name is Tee Riddle and I’m passionate about growing fresh, organic vegetables.

I’m intrigued by heirloom vegetables, and crazy about sharing my passions with others.

It is my wish to share as much of my vegetable knowledge that I can with you.

Hopefully, I can learn as much from you as you do from me.

So, I’d like to welcome you to Veggie Gardener, and please do not forget to say hello. I’d love to hear from you!