Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

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Most new gardeners have questions about how often and how much to water their plants. Vegetables and flowers need about an inch of water a week to survive. And, they must have it right when they need it as well. If you let the roots dry out, the plants will die.

In the very beginning, when seeds are germinating, it’s important to keep the top ¼-inch of soil moist at all times. That’s because this is the entire universe for those little seeds. They are just starting to sprout and they will die off quickly if moisture is not available. On hot, dry, sunny, windy days it is not uncommon to have to water your beds three or four times a day, especially if you have raised beds. When you touch the soil and it feels dry, it’s time to water.

Once the seeds have sprouted and emerged above the ground, the schedule changes. You want to encourage your plants to develop nice, deep roots so you can let the very top dry out a bit between soakings. The way to check to see if your plants need moisture is to insert a gardening fork down into the bed. If it comes up completely dry, you need to water.

garden fork inserted into soil

garden fork out of soil

Here’s where you can also see if your soil passes the permeability test. When you have sufficient organic matter, the water easily soaks down into the bed. If it puddles on top, you need to add more aged compost or manure.

Watering is best done early in the day. This gives the leaves a chance to dry out before the evening chill arrives. Plants that stay damp overnight are more likely to catch diseases and blights. Midday watering loses more of its moisture to evaporation. However, if you notice that your plants are very thirsty in the hot daylight Sun, water immediately.

Once the plants start to grow, try to water them at the ground level. A hose can be used but it will need a watering wand or spigot at the end in order to give the flow a gentle touch. Water straight out of a hose can erode some of the soil and splash dirt up onto the leaves. Be careful moving the hose around, too. It can become a “killer hose” jumping into beds and knocking down plants. Watch where and how it is following you to avoid such problems.

A watering can may be used instead. This also gives you the opportunity to add fish emulsion or compost tea to the mix. Compost tea can be made by filling a five gallon bucket 1/3 with compost and adding water. If you don’t fill it to the top, you can let the rain fall into it. Stir frequently and let it sit for about a month. Strain and add about a cup to a two gallon watering can. Plants love it, but only once in a while. Once a month is generally sufficient.

Soaker hoses can also be utilized. These are hoses with holes along their length that can be put down on the soil of the bed. It’s always a good idea to soak the soil when watering. This gives the plants a good drink and allows you to do other things the next few days.

Celeste Longacre and her husband, Bob, have lived sustainably for more than 35 years. They grow almost all of their vegetables for the year and preserve them by freezing, canning, drying and using a home -built root cellar. Celeste ferments much of the couple’s produce and makes her own sauerkraut, kimchee, and fruit and beet kvass. She is the author of Celeste’s Garden Delights and writes a gardening blog for The Old Farmer’s Almanac. For more information, visit Celeste’s website, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


peas growing

I have been raising my garden from seedlings for a very long time. I normally have immense success and delight in watching my babies thrive from first emergence to harvest. Much of the time, my own homegrown seedlings rival their nursery-raised cousins.

So far this season, my outdoor babies are coming along famously. I’ll soon be updating you on those potatoes I decided to experiment with. Both the hops and the peas (latter pictured above) are reaching for the stars! I’m looking forward to munching on the peas in the not too distant future. The hops will end up in apple cider and mead later in the summer.

Enemy forces seemed to converge over my indoor green thumbs this year, resulting in a near complete seedling failure. I suspect it was a multi-level attack. Mixed in were a couple of deviations I made — including a new starter soil and a different location for their birthing. To top it off, we were cursed with a very late hard frost. I’m trying hard not to get too attached to those babies still limping along on life support, but it’s difficult not to since I was really looking forward to trying some new varieties this year.

As I always look for the silver lining and bright side, I think I may have found my lesson here — though it took me a couple of weeks to grasp it. I remembered spending sweet time with our youngest son and a friend of his at a local nursery a couple of Mother’s Days ago. I decided to see if the place was still in business. Happily they were and they didn’t disappoint.

This Secret Garden (about 20 minutes from my home) offers a wonderful selection of vegetables and perennials, many of them heirloom varieties. I’d remembered their vast selection of tomatoes in particular. I was thrilled they were continuing to present such a lovely bunch. I’m looking forward to making a lot more salsa than I was able to last year. I’m almost afraid to count how many tomato plants I came away with… it may be nearly 30. C’mon salsa!

purchased tomato and pepper seedlings

In filling my flats with most of my desired crops, I realized that finding such a special nursery might just be the perfect way for me to compromise on my usual approach to vegetable gardening. I’ll admit that I’m feeling my age (body-wise) as I approach the big 6-0, and I think scaling back on how many flats of seeds I start might be a smart thing to consider more in earnest.

To Grow or to Buy Seedlings?

In the past, I was skeptical about purchasing rather than raising my own because there aren’t a lot of places nearby that I trust to use the non-GMO, organic seeds that I prefer. The Secret Garden is a great match for my tastes in that regard, as well as having the wide choices. I figure I can start the few plants I can’t easily find, filling no more than one flat, and purchase the rest from the nursery. The time and resources this will save can free me up for more arting or other endeavors and will also cut back on our electric bill.

Not only was I able to purchase the veggies that I wanted, but I was also able to find a lovely variety of flowers for the Mom’s Altar in our garden honoring the mothers in our family. My husband came along with me to the nursery and chose some of the plants as well. I enjoyed blending our tastes in flowers and vegetables. We may actually make this an annual adventure. I’ve also asked my bestie to put it on her calendar for next year as she’s an avid gardener who I think will also love the variety of plants.

I’m very hopeful that this group of babies will find happiness in our garden and that they’ll be supplying us with delectable edibles later this season. Until the veggies are ready, the flowers will be a feast of color out our front window. Here’s to lemonade and lessons, along with gratitude for flexibility and shifting with the winds.

purchased flower and cabbage seedlings

Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


Ogden Publications Inc., the publisher of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, has acquired Heirloom Gardener magazine from RareSeeds Publishing LLC.

HG mockup 

"Heirloom Gardener offers us the opportunity to reach the rapidly expanding audience of practitioners focused specifically on open-pollinated vegetable, classic old fruit, and farmhouse or other antique flower varieties, along with strictly organic growing strategies," says Hank Will, Ogden’s editorial director and Heirloom Gardener’s editor-in-chief.

Ogden has big plans for the growing publication. The company will use MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ newsstand success to expand Heirloom Gardener’s distribution. Readers will also have access to the publication’s content via the Web, events, and social media channels.

"Heirloom Gardener currently doesn’t have an online presence, which we can address right away," says publisher Bill Uhler.

Through the website, readers of Heirloom Gardener will be able to subscribe to free e-newsletters dedicated to topics such as growing organically, saving seeds, and preserving the harvest. Ogden also plans to cultivate a blogger community and a presence on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Heirloom Gardener will take part in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS held across the United States.


Contribute to Heirloom Gardener!

There are a number of fun, creative ways you can become involved with Heirloom Gardener:

Share your story: Has your family kept cuttings from the same rose bush for generations? Did a relative develop a vegetable variety that you maintain and treasure to this day? Is there a specific plant that always reminds you of home? We’re looking for readers’ stories about special plants passed down and shared for generations. Send your stories to Kristi Quillen, along with high-resolution photos if possible.

Blog for us: In the coming months, we will launch a full website for Heirloom Gardener magazine. In the meantime, we’re assembling a crew of skilled and passionate organic gardeners, cooks, craftspeople, and herbalists to join our blogging community. If you or someone you know would like to blog about rare plants, historical heirloom varieties, organic gardening techniques, seasonal recipes for the kitchen or medicine chest, fiber plants, or other related content, please email managing editor, Hannah Kincaid, for more information.

Send us photos of your garden: We would like to publish photos of our readers’ beautiful gardens in each issue. If your garden or nature photos would shine in print, please send a high-resolution file or photo-sharing link to Hannah Kincaid.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: Heirloom Gardener has an active Facebook page where we share gardening information, beautiful photos of rare plants, historic landscape designs, and more. Look for “Heirloom Gardener Magazine” in your Facebook search bar or click here to join our community. You can also find us on Instagram, where we share lots of behind-the-scenes photos of the magazine's production, by searching for "heirloomgardenermag" or clicking here.

Send us article queries and feedback: Are there any specific topics or plant varieties that you’d like Heirloom Gardener to cover? If so, send your magazine feedback or article queries to Hannah Kincaid

We can’t wait to hear from our readers, and we’re sure to find inspiration in your stories, article ideas, and photos. If one or more of the bullet points above interests you, then please don’t hesitate—reach out to our editors to collaborate!



Producing one’s own food is a big part of what it means to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. However, starting a garden can really be intimidating for some folks. If you haven’t grown plants before, it’s easy to assume there are magic secrets and insider tips to get anything to grow at all.

Looking for facts about starting a garden online can be a big dead end because of the overwhelming amount of information out there. Self-proclaimed “expert gurus” delve so deeply into obscure techniques that the beginner is lost in the middle. They can become overwhelmed with information and tragically give up their dreams of having a garden before they even try.

starting a garden for beginners

We find it upsetting that people are giving up their gardens without even starting. We wrote this post because we hope to dispel some of the myths that surround starting a garden. We think it's a lot more simple than people make it. Our techniques should give you some confidence to get over being afraid and start putting your own seeds in the ground.

Obviously we aren't garden experts, but we use a strategy that has really worked for us in the past. So, what's that secret technique? Here it is! We prepare some soil, plunk seeds down into it, and then add water. Eventually, things (or most things) begin to grow! Honestly, it's just that simple.

organic seeds

Community Garden Experience

Before we left the city and moved to our property in Idaho we had been members of a community garden. Some of those seeds made the move with us so we figured they would be a fine start to our off grid garden. A few months ago we gathered straw and pine needles to make a mulch that was layer over the garden bed. As this mixture breaks down, it will amend the soil and add to its fertility. We left most of it on top of the beds and pulled it back where we were planting seeds.

We sowed our seeds a quarter-inch down and spaced hand-width apart. We personally like to plant multiple seeds at each spacing to ensure that at least one seed will germinate, but some people don't like to do this, because it means extra work later to thin out the excess plants.

As we said earlier, we aren't gardening experts. There is so much about growing vegetables that we don't know, that we honestly may never know. But, why should that stop us from starting a garden? Growing food is a skill that you improve as you try new things. No one is an expert when they first start out.

Go In with a Positive Outlook

Finally, remember to have the right mentality about your garden. Even if it's a complete failure and absolutely nothing grows, there is a really good chance that the grocery stores will still have food. Even living off-grid hasn't limited our food options that much. Gardening isn't the only technique we rely on for food, and so experimentation is just fine for us.

Hopefully this post encourages you to try something new in your life, whether it's an off-grid garden like us or some other hobby. Now go have fun and experiment away!

Here is a video we made on starting our garden — we hope you enjoy it!

Alyssa Craft moved to Idaho after purchasing 5 acres of land where she will build an off grid homestead from scratch. She is blogging about the journey from start to finish in hopes of inspiring others that wish to take a similar path. Follow her many DIY projects including building with reclaimed materials, building an off-grid hot tub, milling lumber with an Alaskan chainsaw mill and starting an organic garden. Keep up on the journey by following her blog Pure Living for Life, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel. View Alyssa’s other MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles here!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



A greenhouse can offer a lot to your household. You can get a head start on the growing season, have out of season flowers and vegetables, and it’s a great hobby to help spend long days.

But, can you plant year round in a greenhouse? Many people believe they can grow anything anytime when they just got their own greenhouse. You can, but that’s not always the case. Sure, it depends on what you’re planting in the first place. But, it also depends on the greenhouse itself and how you plant it.

Here are 5 things you need to consider if you want to plant year round in a greenhouse.

1. Greenhouse Building Materials

Growing year round is a different beast than just using a small greenhouse for starting seeds. When growing year round, the building needs to be made of sturdier stuff. Glass or treated thick plastic are both good investments for this type of adventure. Cheaper materials will age in the weather and will need to be replaced up to a few times a year.

Use treated wood or metal benches inside the greenhouse to avoid rot. Moisture in the air will eat away at untreated wood.

This could be bad news if you already built your greenhouse with cheap materials. But, if you haven’t yet, make sure to consider the material. Here’s a collection of 84 greenhouse plans to get you started.

2. Add Axtra Heating

Heating the structure is a must for year round growing. Depending on the style of your greenhouse you can heat in a few different ways. Some have electrical heaters that can ensure a steady temperature, but these can increase a power bill.

To add an extra measure of heat to your greenhouse, you can compost inside. As organic matter, such as leaves, eggs shells, and shredded newspaper decays, it gives off heat. By having a compost box under raised planting tables, you’ll be providing extra heat to take some of the work off the heaters.

Jugs can also help heat up the building. Milk jugs or empty cat litter jugs painted black and filled with water will heat up considerably when left in the sunlight. Over the course of the day, the jugs will absorb the heat and radiate heat once the sun has gone down.

3. Get Rid of Excess Heat

Controlling the heat in the structure can be hard, but that’s why we have vents. Whether they’re hatches on the roof or just small push open vents on the side walls, air vents provide a breath of fresh air and a cool breeze for stifling heat.

To improve ventilation don’t over crowd your greenhouse. If the leaves on the plants are touching, you should move them slightly apart to provide both room to grow and room for air to get through. If you’re not home during the day, you may want to invest in an automatic ventilation system. These systems will turn on either by a timer or by sensing the humidity and heat in the greenhouse. They will shut off in the same way.

Shade clothes can be used on hot days to help cool off the temperature in the greenhouse. Simply spread it out on top of the building to create artificial shade. These net like blankets can be stored on a shelf in a corner and brought out when needed. To quicken the cooling effect you can soak them in cool water before draping them over the greenhouse.

4. Pests: The Worst Garden Enemy

Pests are going to be attracted to your plants inside just as they would be if the vegetation was being grown outside. This means you’ll have to keep a watchful eye out for them. Some of the more common greenhouse pests include aphids, mites, and whiteflies.

If you spot them, you can try a number of manual removal options. Vacuuming and squashing are the first attempts at control. If you spot pests on one or more plants, immediately move that plant away from the others. Quarantining isn’t an end all to pests, but it will help reduce the chance of non-flying pests spreading too quickly. Wash the plant with soapy water to remove pests. Make sure to rinse off the soap once the wash is complete. Depending on what type of pest has arrived you may need to transplant the affected plant into new soil. Put out sticky traps around the affected plants or area. Fly strips work well for flying pests, and sticky pads that lay flat on the ground or bench can also be used for crawling pests.

A neat trick I learned was a mixture of pepper powder and vinegar. Mix several tablespoons of pepper powder, the stronger smell, the better, and three cups of vinegar together to create a very foul smelling pest repellant. Circle the greenhouse with a single line of the mix and it’ll detour insects, small mammals, and other creepy crawlers.

Be sure not to get any vinegar on your growing soil as vinegar will kill soil. Replace the circle after a rain shower or once a week.

5. Plant Diseases: The 2nd-Worst Garden Enemy

Like pests, diseases must be controlled quickly. Diseases can spread very fast in a greenhouse and before you know it you’ve lost half of your plants to root rot or another fungal disease. While checking for pests, it’s a good idea to check on the health of the plants themselves. Wilting or discolored leaves are often the first signs of a problem.

Quarantine any sick plants from the healthy ones. If possible set up a small area in your greenhouse just for sick plants. This will make it easier for you to act quickly in caring for the plants. Never reuse soil. Even soil left over from the transplant of a healthy plant can be dangerous. Fresh soil is always going to be the best option. Wash out containers and planters with soapy water after they’ve been emptied. If the plant that came out of them was sick, you can use bleach. Make sure to rinse away any chemical residue that may be left behind.

Maintain the health of your plants inside the greenhouse by being careful what outside plants you bring in. Inspect any new plant for disease or pest before adding it to your greenhouse. If you do spot problems treat them and if not put the plant in a corner by itself for a week or so to keep an eye out for any problems that may develop.

Jennifer Poindexter and her husband raise most of their food and a variety of animals in the foothills of North Carolina, where they built a small homestead on very little money. She writes about all of her adventures at Morning Chores, where she shares the knowledge she has gained with others that might want to take the full plunge into homesteading. Read all of Jennifer's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



“Golden” will be the first word to enter your mind when you see the roots, rhi­zomes and dormant buds of Hydrastis canadensis. You’ll understand imme­diately why the common name is 'Goldenseal.' This very useful native woodland plant will not only charm and entertain you spring, summer, and autumn — it can even heal you.

Medicinal Properties of Goldenseal

Well, I’d better be careful not to play doctor here, though many Native American tribes were aware of the pow­erful medicinal benefits of Goldenseal quite a long time ago. The Cherokee used it as a cancer remedy, which is one of the earliest observations of the occurrence and treatment of cancer among American Indian groups.

Another important historical use of Goldenseal root was as an eye wash for various eye problems, such as conjunctivitis. The Iroquois found it beneficial as a bitter stomach digestive to help stimulate digestion and improve appetite, and to treat skin inflammations. Other uses include relief for inflammation of the mucous membranes of the throat.

I will say that I’ve used it successfully to ease the pain and hasten the heal­ing of sore throats and to treat cold and influenza symptoms. I made a tea from dried roots and have to admit that it was one of the most bitter tastes I’ve ever experienced. However, the results were well worth it and it was more pal­atable than taking overprescribed, and most likely ineffective, antibiotics.

Growing Goldenseal in Your Garden

Hydrastis canadensis is native to almost every state east of the Mississippi and will grow happily in just about any soil conditions. I would guess that hardiness and heat tolerance are USDA Zones 4 to10. I grow Hydrastis canadensis in several places in my gardens, from full shade to dappled sunlight. It makes a wonder­ful groundcover as the 6- to 12-inch leaves on 6- to 12-inch plants overlap and shade out weeds.

You can go to Sunshine Farm and Gardens’ page for some evolutionary, seasonal images of Hydrastis canadensis from early spring to late autumn, emergence, and flower to fruit. The large, medium-green, deeply textured oak/maple-shaped leaves stay rich and supple all the growing season long and make a perfect foil for their frilly white, ephemeral flowers in early spring and their bright-red, raspberry-like fruit in autumn.

This long-lived native perennial is very easy to grow from seed and, left to its own devices, will make a lovely colony in just a few years. Once established, it requires no mainte­nance other than normal weeding and a good mulch. Plants never “need” to be divided, but if you desire to make new divisions, you can dig them up every four or five years and make your divi­sions in early spring. This will give them ample time to re-establish themselves before winter.

As with all of the other members of the Ranunculaceae family, the volumi­nous herds of deer that traverse my farm daily have never touched this graceful plant.

All in all, Hydrastis canadensis is a welcome addition in any garden.

Barry Glick founded Sunshine Farm and Gardens in 1972 on 60 acres in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. His plant collection now numbers more than 10,000 taxa, many unknown to cultivation. Several of these plants have been introduced to gardening in recent years. Barry exchanges seeds and plants with people at arboretums, botanic gardens, nurseries and private gardens in virtually every country in the world. Peruse Barry’s speakers series here and read the rave reviews here. If you have any questions, would like to chat about any plants that Barry offers, send an email to his personal email address. Read all of Barry’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


Raised biodynamic bed

Building raised vegetable beds has many benefits; they negate contending with poor soil, you can make them tall to avoid bending, avoid soil compaction and they look appealing to name a few.  But how can you make them biodynamic?

As I discussed in Part 1, incorporating biodynamic preparations to the vegetable garden is easy but requires time to stir to activate the preparation before use, however for a raised bed, following the principles of biodynamic growing methods may be a little trickier.

Part 1 bed
Biodynamic bed from Part 1 two weeks on with huge growth from elderberry, currant and filbert.

The Farm is an Individual Entity

In biodynamic agriculture, the farm is considered to be the center of activity and is an individual entity. It is a fundamental principal that the biodynamic farm is self sustaining — the animals produce the manure that feed the land, the crops thrive on the nutrients of the land and the crops feed the animals and the people of the farm who in turn add to the compost pile which builds the soil.

Like the biodynamic farm, the biodynamic garden should be able to produce all that it needs and compost or manure brought in should be limited. An analogy to explain would be taking medicine for a short period of time to help with an illness. Bringing compost and manure from external sources is a temporary solution to help overcome the problem but once the garden is running, you should be able to generate the materials for the compost heap and the fertility of the soil.

First Answer These Questions

1. What sort of raised bed do I want?

2.  Will it be tall or low to the ground?

3.  Will it be contained by brick or wood, or left uncontained?

4.  Where will it be positioned?

5.  How will it be watered?

For the purposes of this post, I will cover a simple bed which is not contained by anything.

Building A Raised Bed

Step 1: Cover The Ground

If making the bed low to the ground, do not make it so wide you cannot reach the middle to weed or harvest this avoids you standing on the bed and compacting the soil.

Cover the area with a thick layer of cardboard or weed suppressing fabric.

flattened boxes 

Cardboard has a couple of benefits over the fabric; it will block the weed growth if overlapped well enough and will degrade over time providing nutrients and humus to the soil. Cardboard is cheap (or more often free!) and is a great way to recycle. It is best to remove all plastic from the boxes including packing tape.

 building the raised bed

You can add other organic matter such as dried leaves, straw, hay, manure or grass clippings.  If it is material that is dry, it should be wetted thoroughly to help decomposition and to stop things blowing away in the wind.

Adding more material layer by layer will add to the overall soil structure and fertility over time.

Step 2: Add Compost

Place a thick layer of compost on top of the cardboard.  You can add a thick layer of well rotted manure as a layer in the raised bed above, below or in between compost layers to provide a fertility boost for the roots.

If adding manure before the compost, you need to spray the manure with the biodynamic preparations of valerian and horn manure to ensure you will reap the benefits.  If you are just using lots of compost, I spray each layer with the preparations but you can just spray the very top.

Step 3: Prepare the Biodynamic Preparations

As before in Part 1, you will need to activate the biodynamic preparations by adding a small quantity to a gallon of water.  Remember if the water is chlorinated or chemically treated, leave it to overnight.

I prepared the valerian preparation (biodynamic preparation 507) first.  By adding 30 drops of valerian into a gallon of water and stirring for about 10 minutes.  When stirring biodynamic preparations in water to activate them, you need to ensure vortex is created in the clockwise direction as well as the anticlockwise direction.

 vortex in preparation

The picture above shows the beginning of a vortex. Once a vortex is created, allow the water to come to a stop before stirring in the other direction. Once the preparation is activated it is then placed it into a garden sprayer and sprayed on the bed until the soil is lightly wet.

Next you need to activate the horn manure (biodynamic preparation 500) in the same manner as the valerian preparation but it must be stirred for about an hour. After it is stirred, transfer to a garden sprayer and spray the area right before planting.

I have used the preparations to spray the cardboard and any other organic matter with the preparations which seemed to help break down the cardboard and leaves quicker.

Composts or manure brought into the garden from external sources such as the nursery or store; may be treated with the preparations before spreading on the bed for example in a wheelbarrow. I have found little difference in the growth of plants on spraying before spreading the compost or afterward spreading.

If you are converting an existing plot, add compost to the bed and spray with the biodynamic preparations.

biodynamic broccoli

It is best to sow the seeds in accordance with the calendar, for me it was a blossom or flower day so purple sprouting broccoli was sown and within a couple of weeks I have a thriving row in need of thinning.

Emma Raven has been gardening, cooking, canning and home brewing for most of her life. Formulation scientist, blogger, home brewer and avid gardener. Born in a village on the northern east coast of England, she now calls the Wasatch Mountains of Utah home. Find Emma at , and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here. 

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

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