10 Reasons To Own a Greenhouse

I decided to take a trip out to the greenhouse the day after Christmas. It was 29 degrees outside and 52 degrees in the greenhouse.
I just sat in the chair thinking how thankful I was to have a place to go where it’s warm, life is going on and my joy of gardening is not stifled by the weather.
So, it was then I decided to jot down 10 reasons why I love my greenhouse so much. And then I decided to do a video on 10 reasons why everyone should own one.
So here is the video:

How To Make Your Own Grow Bags

After many requests from my video “How To Make Your Own Grow Bags”
I decided to lay out the gallon sizes and dimensions for the fabric needed to make them.
You can make these in any size you desire.
In the first video, I explain the process of making them.
In the second video, I show how to layout the fabric and calculate the dimensions.

First Video “How To Make Your Own Grow Bags

Second Video “How To Calculate Fabric For Making Grow Bags

Dimension Chart

Pomegranate Apple Smoothie Recipe

I love to put this juice into a travel mug and take with me.
It’s just 3 ingredients.

Ingredients:

Seeds from one pomegranate
1 Apple
1 1/2 cup Almond Milk

Instructions;

Pulverize the pomegranate seeds in the Nutri Bullet first or blend them and strain the seeds through a sieve.
Add the apple and almond milk.
Blend for about 15 secs.
Add ice if you want it chilled more.

Watch the video below:

How To Remove Pomegranate Seeds Quick & Easy

A quick and easy way to remove the seeds of a pomegranate. The key steps are:
1. Roll the fruit around to loosen the seeds up (you can hear the crunching)
2. Cut around the circumference, making you should don’t cut through the center
3. Pry it directly open.
4. Hold the fruit cut side down into your hand.
5, Beat the back of it with a wooden spoon.

To see it in action, watch the video below:

How To Grow Garlic

I usually get my fall garlic in the ground around Halloween or the first week of November. I’m running a little late this year. But in Zone 7b, I can actually plant anytime before the new year as long as the ground does not freeze. In this video I am planting in my newly cultivated raised bed.

Make Your Own Soil-less Seed Starting Mix

I typically like to start my seeds in a soil-less mix. Especially if I’m germinating seeds that take a long time to sprout. Even so, it’s a good practice to start everything in this mix.
The mix I use is 1 Part Perlite and 1 Part Coconut Coir.
There are many reasons for using this mix, but let me give me my top 5

  1. You can control the density
    In other words, with my two part mix, I just have to increase one or decrease the other to adjust how heavy I want it. If I increase the Coir, it makes the mix denser. If I increase the perlite, it becomes more aerated.
  2. Virtually no damping off. Damping off is a disease caused by a fungus in the soil. This fungus kills the seedlings before they can get well established. Since this mix is inert, the fungus can’t thrive.
  3. No fungus gnats. No fungus (#2) means no gnats. If the gnats have nothing to feed on, they can’t grow.
  4. No shock to the seedlings. The seedlings don’t need to extract any energy from the soil. All the energy is stored within the seed itself to get it to the first stage of true leaves. Adding all kinds of fertilizer only stresses the plants and offsets the balance of the seedlings
  5. Watering is a breeze. Both Coconut Coir and Perlite respond well to watering. The Coir retains the water and releases it out slowly. The Perlite helps with the drainage if the coir gets too saturated.Watch the video below:

Compost Tea, Help or Hype?

Is compost tea helpful in the garden? In this video I give six reasons for not making or using it.

There is no evidence to support the use of compost tea as beneficial to your garden. Here I will explain why.

5 Reasons To Raise Your Own Chickens

Raising chickens is a lot of fun. I remember as a child, the excitement of new arrivals whether by incubation or a broody hen.
Although all the benefits are too numerous to mention in one post, I am going to give you my top 5 reasons to raise chickens.

chickens_in_yard

# 1 No more composting
Forget drudging out to the pile, dumping kitchen scraps onto it and turning it daily.
Let the chickens do the work.
Food scraps go in one end, and out the other end comes compost. What a great machine.

Chickens will eat just about any food. I’ve even given them leftover meat. Some people have suggested that there are some foods a chicken should not eat, like apple seeds, avocados and citrus. But to be honest, I’ve never really been too careful about that. I figured if my family can eat it, so can the chickens. But I understand if you have reservation about those things. If you’re concerned, I suggest doing your own research on that.

Just dump the scraps into a large feed pan and watch the annihilation begin. Using a pan is a good idea, as there tends to be a lot of juice in the mix and they just love it. No sense in it seeping into the ground where it’s wasted. The chickens will consume the waste, and out the back door comes fertilizer.

I’ve always laid chips or pine shavings in the run. They will scratch and pick, mixing the manure into the ground. Every 3 or 4 days, just scrape off the top surface (about 1/2”) and toss into a wheelbarrow. This then goes into the garden as a mulch. I just layer it on top of the soil where I plan to plant. This is the absolute best soil enrichment on the planet. It is suggested not to add it when you have established plants or where you are going to plant right away as the raw chicken manure can burn your plants. However, the amount of manure is about 1/1000.  This has never been a concern for me as I don’t add it in season. I add it in the fall and let it sit over the winter or add it in early spring and let it sit for a couple of months before planting.

# 2 Goodbye tics, fleas and all other creepy crawlies

If you let your chickens free range, they will seek and destroy anything smaller than a marble that crawls, walks or flies. This is good news for entomophobics (people afraid of insects). Chickens have unique eyes unlike humans. Our eyes work in tandem to focus on a certain object, then pass this information onto our brains. Chickens however have the ability to use one eye to scan for predators and the other to forage for food. They also track motion much better and can freeze frame better than any Nikon on the market.

# 3 They bring hours of enjoyment to your family

If you’ve never been around chickens, you are missing out on the pure enjoyment of just sitting and watching them. They never stop. All day long they are clucking, running, pecking and having a good time. Like humans, each chickens has his/her own personalities. Unless you have hundreds, you will get to know them personally and begin to predict their moves. They really are fascinating little creatures. Be aware though, once you start naming them and treating them like pets, you’ll never want to cull them for food or give them away once their egg production diminishes. We even had a Barred Rock rooster once that was so friendly, the moment you walked into the pen, he would come running over. And heaven forbid if you squatted down, he would hop right onto your lap expecting to be petted. Needless to say, he lived a ripe old age and never went into the soup pot. And since chicken viagra hadn’t been invented yet, we still could not get rid of him. And he didn’t even mind when we brought in a young Rhode Island Red rooster to take over his manly duties

# 4 You know where your food is coming from

eggsThis may sound like an obvious one.
But in my opinion, the words “natural” and “free range” mean nothing. They are only marketing ploys.
What does natural even mean? The word has become so common place and distorted that it could mean anything. Some people even consider genetically modified organisms natural, which escapes me.

And who knows what free range means. Even eggs and chickens marked “organic” do not mean they are treated humanely and given lots of love and plenty of space to run free. It just means they aren’t fed GMOs and chemicals. that’s it. And frankly, that’s not good enough for me.

When you raise your own chickens, you are in complete control. You know what goes into them, and what comes out. Even if you choose to medicate your hens (which I prefer not to), you still are aware of it and can make choices accordingly. I strongly support giving your birds all organic feed from day 1. And if you eat organic produce, your chickens will also be getting good, healthy chemical free table scraps.

# 5 Self Sustainability

Here at “Grow Your Heirlooms”, I promote gardening and independence through growing heirloom vegetables, harvesting and saving your seeds for future growing. Raising your own chickens is a great addition to this venture. From producing compost and fertilizer, to providing protein rich eggs and meat. You won’t find a better feed to meat ratio on the planet. Many cities even allow you to maintain a small flock in your backyard.

They are easy to care for, provide hours of enjoyment and put food on your table. Is there any reason not to own a few? They have never disappointed me.

Growing Goji Berry or Wolfberry Plants From Seeds

Gojismall

I bought my first goji plant 5 years ago as a small 10″ seedling. The bush is now 5′ tall and taking over the grow box I built to contain it. They grow fast, produce prolifically and provide some of the most nutrient dense berries on the planet.

The health benefits of Goji Berries:

Goji are members of the nightshade family and native to the Himalayan mountains of Tibet and Mongolia.  Goji berries have been used medicinally in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
They have the highest concentration of protein of any other fruit and more carotenoids of any food.
Loaded with vitamin C, high in fiber and 21 trace minerals, Goji berries have 10-15 times the iron found in spinach. They also contain zinc, calcium and selenium.
People are starting to realize the benefits of eating this super fruit and are scrambling to buy the berries fresh, dried or frozen.

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