Archive for the ‘Organic Vegetable Gardening’ Category

Here’s a list of my tips to grow more veggies, keeps animals away, water the right way and more!

  1. Make plant markers by using an old mini blind. Take the slats, cut them with scissors and use a Sharpie. Go to Goodwill if you don’t have any. You can get one for .50 cents.
  2. Keep deer away from your garden by using human hair. I save my clippings when I buzz my head or you can go to your local hairdresser and ask for hair, they may look at you weird but they’re happy to get rid of it. Sprinkle it around the perimeter and replace every couple weeks or after a big rain.
  3. Use coffee grounds to fertilize your soil. Go to a local coffee shop and ask for their spent grounds. They save them at my shop for gardeners and have a sack behind the counter.
  4. If starting vegetables from seed is intimidating, try radishes. They’re really easy and go from seed to fruit in 35 Days.
  5.  Also, to keep deer and other animals out of the garden, pee on the fence posts. This is easier if you’re a guy but if you’re a gal, be happy about multiple orgasms.
  6. To trap critters, I’ve had the best luck with the following bait; Raccoons love marshmallows and cat food. Rabbits like carrots (duhh) but love brussel sprouts and spray the trap with apple cider. Ground Hogs love apples and mice well…peanut butter is all you need.
  7. Don’t water during the day. It’s useless and a waste. Most of it will evaporate and if you water the plant, the sun can burn it up (think of water droplets as tiny magnifying glasses). Always water at the base. Keep in mind vegetables are made up of mostly water. A tomato is 90-95% water.
  8. If you want to get children interested in gardening, stay away from root vegetables. They can’t see the growth and understand what’s going on underneath the ground and can’t visualize it. Stick with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins and corn. The changes are visually stunning and fun to watch.
  9. Always plant flowers throughout your garden to attract pollinators. And besides, it atheistically pleasing.
  10. Grow organically and plant non-GMO seeds. Why put poison on something you’re going to eat. And if you’re growing organically, be sure your plants and seeds are not genetically modified. Why waste time gardening organically if you’re growing a tomato created by splicing fish dna and a strawberry?

On the topic of GMO’s….On Friday, The Farm Bill amendment that would have unambiguously given states the rights to label genetically modifiedingredients in food without fear of reprisal from biotech companies was been voted down in the Senate. The amendment, introduced by Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), was voted down by 73-26. If your Senator didn’t vote for it, call their office. Here’s a link to all the Senators from every state Click Here.

It was all over every major news corporation, wasn’t it? Ohh wait, it wasn’t covered by anyone.

Plug: My wife created a site of wonderful artwork; whimsical themes for children in a variety of mediums. She offers original works, archival reproductions and can also create custom artwork for those who request it.  Please visit her site by clicking on the banner above.

and finally a quick update on the farm…….in pictures. Happy Sunday everyone!

Lady bug on a bush bean plant

I need to trellis the peas.

Orange is my favorite color

Pumpkin patch is blowing up.

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Cucumbers are coming in real nice. We’ll be pickling soon.

Zucchini’s blossoming and the Brandy-wine Tomatoes are loving this heat.









Peas need trellised, corn is coming up and so are soybeans.

Pumpkins popped up a day ago and the bush beans are getting big.









Chickens frolicking and a bunny. I gotta do something about the bunnies. They’re eating up all my beans.

Broccoli. Nothing better than fresh broccoli marinated with soy sauce and garlic and cooked on the grill.

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Bush beans planted by Uncle Keith and rows of peppers and tomatoes.








Cabbage, Black Berry Bush and Chickens love Watermelon.








Cucumbers and Zucchini







There’s always time to take a break and find a dragonfly resting or watch the kids canoe.







Pepper Plant, Manure in the Wheel Barrow and a long garden shot of the pepper rows. Of course I like to plant a couple of cherry tomato plants on the corner. That way I can grab a snack as soon as I walk in the garden.

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Chickens are getting big, should start laying any day now. They’re about 22 Weeks Old. Chickens usually start laying (depending on the breed) around 20-24 Weeks.

Spreading the manure with the neighbors Bobcat.








Rained all week but afterwards the sun came out and flowers bloomed.








I was able to get the fields disced again after the manure was spread. It supposed to rain again tomorrow so hopefully I can get some seed and plants into the ground before it does.








It was a nice day for a swim in the pond as Max and Moose showed their talents off chasing the ball.














Lemon Balm is blowing up……and finally Max Photobombing and the plow after use (all shiny)








Happy Mother’s Day to All.



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2 Ideas enter, One Idea Leaves…..or maybe a compromise…. See Mad Max if ya don’t get it….

Should I eat organic fruits and vegetables or what? What’s the deal? I see the USDA Organic label and I feel safe but if I purchase it, I feel like an idiot for paying 4x’s as much for the same product. Does it really matter? Is it so much better to invest so much more in a product? Are regular grown veggies that much more beneficial to my health? Let’s take a look at what the big dogs have found so far:

The Mayo Clinic is uncertain, that helps right? In their article “Nutrition and Healthy Eating” they say:

The answer isn’t yet clear. A recent study examined the past 50 years’ worth of scientific articles about the nutrient content of organic and conventional foods. The researchers concluded that organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs are comparable in their nutrient content. Research in this area is ongoing.

The USDA FDA says:

No conclusive evidence shows that organic food is more nutritious than is conventionally grown food. And the USDA — even though it certifies organic food — doesn’t claim that these products are safer or more nutritious.

How’s that make you feel? 50 years and no actual data? Are you kidding me? I could lobby congress for meal at a D.C. pub and a night at a sleazy strip club to have that turned in a week. What do these guys do? I mean really…. I’ll give you the big fancy government definition of this stuff, then I’ll break it down 7th grade style, not cause I think you don’t get it but because they fill their information with so much pork, it’d take you way too long to read.

Organic: The US Department of Environmental Protection has a long winded explanation here.  Does it differ from our buddies at the USDA’s standards? Sort of… Why? Because big government got involved. It was supposed to be a three year writing program but once Frito Lays got involved, it took ten years! And what did we get out of it? A watered down version of what it should be thanks to big business. If you get bored one Sunday, Google Frito Lays and Organic and try and see what fat cat CEO’s did to your Organic standard.

Organic (in simplest terms) is growing plants with no synthetic fertilizers (just compost, green manure and animal manure) and not using synthetics to keep away pests.

Why isn’t every farm organic? Maybe it’s because the government likes to charge a butt-load to certify a farm “organic” cause the GOV needs to make money right?

From TLC:

In a study of certification costs across eleven certification agencies, initial costs averaged $579, $1,414, $3,623, and $33,276 for farms with incomes of $30,000, $200,000, $800,000, and $10,000,000, respectively. For small farms, costs ranged from $90 to $1,290. For medium farms, certification cost anywhere from $155 to $3,300. Large farms paid about $200 to $12,300. And super-farms paid $575 to $150,300 for organic certification.

Why would a small farm (who barely makes enough money to survive) spend a ton of money to have the government give them USDA Certification? Maybe cause of the money……

Prior to 1990 Organic Foods didn’t exist! (Even though organic principles started as far back as the 1940’s) U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010. Sales in 2010 represented 7.7 percent growth over 2009 sales. Experiencing the highest growth in sales during 2010 were organic fruits and vegetables, up 11.8 percent over 2009 sales (Organic Trade Association)

Organics now represent about 2% of the U.S. retail dollars spent on produce. This may seem small, but it represents a phenomenal growth rate in the last 10 years; it is estimated that this percentage with climb to 10% within the next 10 years. It remains to be seen, however, whether organic food will ever become the norm. (Organicecology)

The American demand for year-round organic fruits and vegetables has incited a farming boom in the arid deserts of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. I’m talking about growing “organic” tomatoes in the desert…. Yes, the desert….Trucking in water then trucking the fruit 3,000 miles away so Whole Foods can put an Organic label on it and some soccer Mom from the suburbs can buy It and think she’s saving the world. But in effect, it’s against everything that organic principles are about. Organic, maybe… sustainable Absolutely No way. Here’s the article from the NY Times.

So, what do we do? Do we but Organic or not? I guess that’s up to you. There’s a lot of links on this blog so take a look around and decide for yourself. There’s also a ton more information out there, this post barely scratches the surface of this debate. Please take a look around and post some of what you found on the comments below.

Here is this rant in a nutshell…..

  • Buy veggies in season – don’t buy Asparagus in February in the Midwest, it’s most likely from Peru or Chili. Buy what grows when it grows…
  • Just because a farm doesn’t pay the USDA $ to be certified “Organic” but obeys Organic principles, buy their food!
  • Eat Vegetables raised from Heirloom Seeds
  • Buy Local, all the time – make friends with a farmer today
  • Organic (in my opinion) has got to be better since it’s not loaded up with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. I grow organically, I do so because; I love to be able to walk in my garden and pull out a veggie and eat it on the spot with no washing.
  • There’s no data that states that Certified Organic Food is any better for you then conventional growing methods. So, don’t dump a ton of money into “Organic” labeled food.

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Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a safe and joyous holiday season!


I will be presenting a lecture next month, Please join me!

Summit County – Master Gardeners of Summit County, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the Ohio State University Extension, Summit County, announce their annual Design & Beyond 2012 symposium on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at Zwisler Hall – St. Sebastian’s Church, 348 Elmdale Ave, Akron, OH 44320 from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm. Cost for the day, including continental breakfast, lunch and materials is $40 for all participants, and is open to the public.

Presenters will be:

Dan Soulsby – Local resident, Dan Soulsby is a passionate and avid organic gardener. On his small farm in Hudson, with the help of friends and relatives, over an acre of vegetables and herbs are hand planted. Soulsby’s passion for gardening began during time living in the cramped city Los Angeles where he worked at Disney Studios dreaming of his own little farm. He read almost every book he could get his hands on to educate himself on the principles and benefits of organic gardening. Soulbsy will discuss what he grows, how he grows it, the benefits of organic gardening, and his passion for sharing this information with fellow gardeners. This year he started a garden blog about farm life including witty humor, pictures, and how-to advice throughout the growing season. Recent posts include making tomato sauce, dill pickles, and catching fruit flies that come in with the harvest. Dan, and wife Mindy, created an organization called Project Garden Share. PGS is a non-profit organization linking those in need of food with individuals who own land and will allow others some space to cultivate fresh vegetables and herbs. This will be a great interactive program for all of us who love veggie and herb gardening!

Dan Soulsby will be presenting “Small Scale Organic Gardening and Farm Blogging.”

Bob Jones Jr.  – Grew up on his family’s vegetable farm in Huron near the shores of Lake Erie in a family that was born and bred with the love of farming. Hard times and fortunate “accidents” have defined and shaped their purpose and mission: “to grow vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature. ®” The Chef’s Garden has dedicated itself to working in concert with outstanding chefs all over America.  After graduating from The Ohio State University in 1989 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture, majoring in Horticulture, he worked in sales/purchasing at Farmer Jones Farms – the predecessor to The Chef’s Garden – for three years, before moving into field and greenhouse production in 1995. Bob, known to most on the farm as Bobby, currently works with a team of 12 growers at The Chef’s Garden to produce more than 600 Heirloom varieties of Vegetables, Herbs, and Micro greens for the world’s top chefs.           He has served on the board of directors of The Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association for almost a decade; he also served for six years on the Board of the Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association, as well as on The Ohio Food Safety Roundtable. He is currently serving on the Board of the OFA, and association of Horticultural Professionals as well as the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program and chairs the Advisory Board of the “Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement” which is a food safety specific marketing agreement.

Bobby Jones will be presenting “Farming for Flavor and Sustainability”

Hanna Rhoades of Bedford, OH is the owner of Gardening Know How (www.gardeningknowhow.com), one of the leading gardening advice sites on the web which was visited by over 7 million visitors last year.  GardeningKnowHow.com aim is to help gardeners at all levels answer their gardening questions. She also blogs about her own gardening experiences on her blog ThisGardenIsIllegal.com, and has a large following who appreciate her candid and amusing reviews of tomato varieties and gardening in general. She has been a presenter at RIPE at the Cleveland Botanical Garden the past two years on Heirloom Tomatoes. Rhodes enjoys using vertical gardening methods to maximize her gardening space, and we will enjoy a step by step Power Point presentation using her own yard as a demo. Vertical gardening has been gaining popularity in recent years as the interest in home food production has increased.                                                                                                                                                      Vertical gardening is a gardening technique that utilizes various resources to allow plants to extend upward rather than grow along the surface of the garden.

Hanna will present Vertical Gardening – Growing UP in the Garden”

Registration must be postmarked on or before January 7, 2012.  Late registration will be accepted until January 14, 2012 at the fee of $45. Registrations are transferable. No refunds after December 31, 2011

To receive a registration form: E-mail: Sherry Beam at: summitmgsnbeam@yahoo.com, or: mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Sherry Beam, 2633 Hudson-Aurora Rd., Hudson, Ohio 44236-2325

If you have any questions, please contact, Sherry Beam, facilitator – 330-342-0969

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Summer’s coming to a close. The daylight is fleeting and the cool autumn air is whistling through the trees and soon their leaves will put on a spectacular color show and I’ll have to rake them into big piles and haul them to the curb. The garden plants are hanging on and giving all their energy to the fruits clinging onto their stems.

We picked some pumpkins yesterday and celery, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and one crazy zucchini. The root vegetables can still sit in the ground for another couple of months. On a cool fall Saturday afternoon, I’ll head out back and dig up a wheelbarrow filled with onions and carrots and celery. So, long as the Buckeyes are playing an evening game and as long as I have a hot cup of apple cider to sip on.

Jake will help. By help I mean pee on anything that’s still vertical. As the world’s only farm Chihuahua, he has to mark his territory right? Mindy is always a big help harvesting too. She doesn’t like the planting but is a patient harvester. Carefully looking underneath each vine and every leaf. She can have some hot apple cider too.

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The garden is bursting with life and the tomatoes are finally staring to ripen. Which means, it’s time to can. My Dad found me a pressure canner at a garage sale yesterday for $8. What a deal. New they run close to $90. I’ve been canning the “old fashioned” way by putting cans in a huge pot of boiling water that takes forever but with the new canner, it takes just minutes and only an inch of water and it doesn’t turn the kitchen into a sauna in August. Thanks Dad!

Stay tuned, I’ll post a “How To Can” article with step-by-step instructions later this week. If you have any questions, send them to me now.


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This pic is from Saturday Morning

Spent the weekend fixing the fence and tonight (Sunday at 8:15pm) I caught this doe mowing the pumpkins. Look at this video of her leap over the 5′ fence without even trying. She disappears in the first 1 second of the video. Might have to rewind it a couple times to see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWkYvfMrRbw

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