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Header SowandsowAt Urban Organic Gardener, we’re all about sharing inspiring stories of how people are growing food in small spaces.  A while back, we found Sow and Sow Gardens on instagram and have been following them ever since. What they’re doing is truly inspiring.

How did you get started with your blog/Instagram page?3

“I got started with my personal Instagram page. I would post all kinds of things about what I was going and what troubles I was having in the garden. Then someone asked me on Instagram if I had blog. At the time, I felt like I was no expert and how could I possibly write a blog. About a year later I decided I really enjoyed growing food and why not write about it.”

{Start Following Sow and Sow Gardens on Instagram!}

Did you start your blog/Instagram when you started your transition to live this life style? 

“I was let go from my job of almost 7 years and decided I wanted to help my husband out with growing food. We had two mortgages and bills. I figured that growing food would help and that it would be less of a grocery bill.  Yes, I began to have many followers on my personal page who was interested in my gardening. I wanted to come up with a creative name. I asked my sisters for their help. My sister Nnenna was like “you are in the South…you know they always say thing like….you know….so and so down the street”. “Why not Sow and Sow Gardens, like sowing seeds.” It was perfect!”

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Have you always been this way?  If not, what sparked your passion?

“No, I was not always this way. I started learning about GMO’s about 7 years ago. I started reading the labels on things I was buying from the store. Then I started reading about more issues about the food that we were consuming into our bodies.  I started telling people at work but of course they would look at me funny. I was the “Earthy One” was what they started calling me. When I started growing food, it was something amazing to see a seed pop its little head out of the dirt. It was just magic to me. It was so beautiful. It was my creation is how I saw it.  I know this might sound corny but I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the world. It has to begin with ourselves if we want to see any change come about on this planet.”

What are some of the other things you would like to have other people understand about living a healthier and self-sufficient life style?2754805_orig

“There is nothing like growing your own food…Period. You know where it comes from and how it was grown. I feel great that I don’t have to depend so much on someone else to provide food for my family. It’s much healthier and taste better than what you will get from the stores. I also like teaching my daughter about where her food comes from and how it grows. As one can see, there have been a lot of issues on this planet when it comes the weather. California is going through a drought. I would not be surprised if the prices rose due to the drought. It’s something my family will not have to worry about . I have started 2 apple trees, goji berries bushes and artichokes. I want to have a little food forest in my backyard. Start off little and work your way up. I started growing my own food 3 and half years ago. I started with a 7×4 raised bed.”

What tips and tricks could you share with other people? 

“Always see for yourself how things grow. I was told that radishes did not transplant well. I wanted to see for myself. I transplanted radishes and carrots. The radishes came out great but not the carrots. There are always different results for different growers. I also like to start my seed on paper towels. For two years I could not get pepper seeds to germinate. I was on youtube one day and put in the search engine how to germinate pepper seeds. Someone started theirs from paper towels. I gave it try and now I germinate all my seeds this way. I have the hardest time trying to germinate seeds in the dirt. “

367734_origHave you ever made mistakes or failed doing something? 

“Oh my!!! Yes, I learned to NEVER put mint in the ground. I have been trying to contain that mint in the backyard. The first year, the soil was bad bad bad. I didn’t amend the soil well. Nothing would grow. I thought planting it was all I needed to do. I started researching and reading lots of books. I was on the internet and YouTube a lot. That’s how I really learned how to grow food. I have never really been able to grow tomatoes well. Looks like this year, I might have some luck. Leafy greens always grow best for me.”

How did you overcome any obstacles? 5001191_orig

“My first and second year was hard. I was learning the whole process. I had to learn about the soil.  I wanted to give up but I just kept trying because I loved gardening…my creation. I dealt with flooding last year and it ruined most of my crop. It just sat in water. So I had to find another method of growing food with lots of water involved. On my blog I showed the whole process for months of what I went through for the backyard transformation. I tried the double dig method. It’s a lot of work but it worked for me. You have to see what works for you. The double digging method was the way to go. The beds were high enough that the rain did not affect the food. The book that saved me was ‘How to Grow More Food’ by John Jeavons. For me, this is my garden bible.”

Have you ever dealt with a person who disregards your life style? 

“No I haven’t met anyone. The only thing I hear from people is that they don’t like to get dirty. I love it!”

What are some of your greatest rewards with a lifestyle such as the one you live?

“It brings a peace of mind. Just walking out of my back door to get herbs to cook is a wonderful thing. We have less of a grocery bill. Knowing where my food comes is the greatest reward there is.”

To follow their journey of building a backyard food forest, you can subscribe to their blog.

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Posted on May 18 2015 - 9:00pm by UOG
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This post originally was found on SeedsNow.com Vine tee-pees are a fun way to encourage children to spend more time in the garden. They will add a whimsical touch that even the adults will appreciate and are not only fun to look at but are extremely functional. Because they save space in the garden by using vertical gardening techniques, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space, and who...

5 Quick Growing Vegetables

Gardening isn’t usually a process that should be rushed. It takes time to prepare a spot that you’ll be planting in, and patience usually pays off when you’re growing your own food. There are a few crops, however, that always mature fairly quick.  If you’re short on time during your growing season or just want to get your toes wet as a first time gardener, we’ve put together a list of a few crops that are quick to grow and will have you harvesting your own homegrown veggies in no time at all.

 

1. Lettuce

shutterstock_107233463_1024x1024Learn how to grow your own organic Lettuce >

Lettuce – (Harvest in about 30 days) Lettuce is a wonderful crop to grow, and matures fairly quickly. Sow new lettuce seeds every 30 days for a continuous harvest that will provide you with fresh leafy greens year-round.  Lettuce prefers cooler temps, somewhere around 50-60 degrees but will also thrive during the summer if grown in the cool shade.  Have a sunny window? It grows wonderful indoors as well.  Short on space? Lettuce loves being grown in containers and usually doesn’t mind being crowded when planted so you can sow your seeds fairly close together as long as you’re not sowing varieties that produce a round head.

 

2. Radish

shutterstock_45890116_1024x1024Learn how to grow your own organic Radish >

Radishes – (Harvest in about 20-25 days) Want a fast growing crop that packs a ton of flavor?  Radishes take up very little gardening space, grow very quickly, and can come in over 200 varieties with a wide array of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors.   They grow well in containers, and prefer full sun however some varieties can be grown in partial shade.  In cooler climates they can be planted in both the spring and fall. In warmer climates they should be grown over winter.

 

3. Spinach

700xshutterstock_200666138_1024x1024Learn how to grow your own organic  Spinach >

Spinach – (Harvest in about 30-45 days) Baby spinach leaves can be harvested about a month after planting. The smaller leaves are loaded with flavor, regardless of the variety you choose.  Harvest the larger leaves at the base and allow the plant to continue growing and you’ll be able to harvest from a plant for quite a few weeks before it goes to seed.  It grows a lot like lettuce, so try and grow it in cooler temps. or in the shade during the summer.   Also grows well in containers and doesn’t require a lot of space in the garden.

 

4. Bush Beans

700xshutterstock_95261911_1024x1024Learn how to grow your own organic Beans >

Bush Beans– (Harvest in about 50 days) Beans love warmer temps. and seeds can be sown every two weeks during the summer to ensure a continuous harvest.  Bush beans usually produce most of their beans within a 2 week period.

 

5.  Peas

700xshutterstock_194277455_1024x1024Learn how to grow your own organic Peas >

Peas- (Harvest in about 60 days)  Peas are a wonderful cool season crop that take up virtually no space since they grow vertically on a trellis.   They do best when directly sowed. The simplest way to prolong harvest is to plant early, mid season, and late varieties at one time rather than sowing every 2 weeks.

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Most of us may have thought once or twice about throwing in the towel, walking up to our boss and calling it quits.

Maybe you’ve gotten to a point in your life where what’s important to you now isn’t what was important to you when you first started your career.

We all have moments in life when we need to re-evaluate what we’re doing with our time and energy. Sometimes you just need to overcome your fears and do what your gut is telling you to do.  The results just might surprise you.

Here’s a story about how one Seattle mom decided to close her business of over 10 years and started homesteading full time on their 1/2 acre urban farm.

This is her story about how she was able to not only make ends meet without the income she was missing, but how she actually started saving money & became self-sufficient.

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14 Urban Gardening TipsWhether it’s using leftover coffee grounds from your morning brew, drying herbs on the backseat of your car or using soap under your fingernails before digging into the soil… Paul James, a Master Gardener shares his top 14 gardening tips that will save you time, energy and money in the garden. This post was originally shared on HGTV.com.

Here, the latest tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:

1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you’ll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.

3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.

4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.

5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you’ll never go looking for twine again.

6. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.

7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.

8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.

9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that’s where the little buggers like to hide.

10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”

11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a foliar spray.

13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you’ve had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your “table” is now a birdbath.

14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great.
View the original post here: http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/14-simple-gardening-tips-and-tricks

Short on growing space but still yearn for homegrown tomatoes and peppers? Is your garden located on a balcony or terrace and you’re afraid you can’t savor the taste of vine ripened tomatoes or experience the heat of your favorite variety of pepper? Well you can, and all you need is a 5 gallon bucket, nutrient rich soil, a few amendments, water and your favorite variety of heirloom seeds. Start by finding a 5 gallon bucket. Make sure it is clean and food grade, meaning there’s never been any nasty chemicals...

The Hell’s Kitchen Farm operates on a 4,000 square foot roof & is growing in 52 raised beds. What they’re doing is quite amazing… According to their website, “HKFP is an urban rooftop farm in Hell’s Kitchen, managed and run by volunteers. HKFP is the outgrowth of community discussions concerning nutritional security, especially scarcity of affordable fresh produce, in Hell’s Kitchen.”   ...

The Urban Organic Gardener’s Monthly Seed Club is here and we’re ready to start shipping seeds. With Spring season right around the corner now is the best time to join.  We’ll automatically send you the best seeds to plant – at the right time of the year – specific to where you live. Sign up now for  $10 and receive a custom collection of NON-GMO Heirloom seeds every month.  Start by answering a few questions about your garden:  Click here to get started Easy as 1 – 2 – 3       Frequently...

Julie from homereadyhome.com just published a great article highlighting important Container Gardening Tips (for Beginners).  Click here to view the original post: http://homereadyhome.com/5-container-gardening-tips-for-beginners/ Here’s a quick preview of what she has has to say about container gardening: 1. Don’t “grow” overboard.   “Container gardening requires a time commitment. You’ll need to be more hands-on (ie. watering and fertilizing) with plants in pots than plants in the ground. Your container garden will...

Posted on Feb 22 2015 - 7:40pm by UOG
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Bet you didn’t know you could grow all these different plants in containers!  Give it a try.  You might just be surprised!   ...

Source: NaturallyLoriel.com Naturally Loriel recently published a blog post on a very important topic:  How to Source Non-GMO Seeds. She says, “You begin to learn which food companies deserve your support and try to find a local farmer’s market in your area. You realize it’s so important to meet and shake the hands of the farmer that produces your food. Unfortunately though, you’re not...

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Gotham Greens is a startup in Gowanus focused on creating sustainable rooftop farming solutions by adding working greenhouses to office buildings throughout the 5 boroughs. Anthony talks to the Co-Founders and Chief Agricultural Officer about why they decided to found the company in Brooklyn. ...

A roving mobile greenhouse teaches children about where their food comes from. “Compass Green is a school garden on wheels. It is a fully functional mobile greenhouse built in the back of an 18-foot box truck that grows vegetables, grains and herbs and is powered by waste vegetable oil. The project teaches practical farming tools and raise awareness on sustainability through presentations,...

StarTribune article and images from December 17 by Kim Palmer Season-extending structures are helping some Minnesota gardeners defy winter. Even in late November, Dawn Pape’s newest garden was a welcome sight for winter-weary eyes. In her Shoreview yard, under a blanket of snow, is a polycarbonate-topped, 2- by 8-foot box — or “cold frame.” Brush aside the show, lift the lid, and inside was...

Join the Urban Organic Gardener’s (UOG) SEED CLUB and get exclusive access to new and exotic seed varieties delivered to your door. Click here to fill out the online registration form. // ...

Growing your own food is exciting, not only because you get to see things grow from nothing into ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but you also don’t have to worry about the pesticides they might contain, and you definitely cut down on the miles they—and you—have to travel. If you’re up to the challenge—and it really isn’t much of one—growing your own food can be so rewarding. And so...

It’s obvious Ann Forsthoefel of “Aqua Annie” is excited by aquaponics, the growing of plants fed by nutrients from fish, which in turn provide a source of food when they reach maturity. “There are so few inputs compared to growing crops in the soil,” she said. With her gardens, she’s constantly building up the soil that is depleted at the end of each growing season. The beauty of aquaponics, she said, is that there isn’t that constant work because the fish are giving nutrients to the plants. Read her full post on Cooking Up a Story: http://cookingupastory.com/aquaponics

by Abby Quillen of CustomMade.com 1. Homegrown food is safer, more nutritious, and tastes better. When the latest salmonella or e-coli outbreak dominates the headlines, it’s comforting to know exactly where your food comes from and how it’s raised. And because vitamin content is depleted by light, temperature, and time, freshly picked produce grown near your house is more nutritious than conventional...

This homeowner observed his boring green lawn, and he started to ask himself, “so what’s the point?” Although it looked nice, it gave him no satisfaction. It was a lot of work to keep too. So he decided to try something else. Check out what he did next. Since the city was giving away compost for free, he got some and that’s what you see in the boxes. Support systems started coming up as...