Welcome to Day 4 Food Security Series! Are you pumped about getting your garden growing? Once you have stepped across the threshold and can proudly wear the “Gardener” crown, there’s no turning back!
So, your groceries are growing out in the yard and you’ll want to check on the lovelies (veggies) everyday. As you start gathering produce, I’ll admit the checking gets more exciting.
This daily checking is part of your garden maintenance. Below are a few maintenance tips to keep your garden productive and happy!
Garden Maintenance Tips for Day 4 Food Security
- Mulch around plants as needed. If you’re seeing grass, it should pull up rather easy and you will want to add more mulch where there is grass.
- Pruning – some vegetables, like tomatoes will need pruning and trellised. Pruning keeps the plant happy by allowing air flow and cuts down on disease.
- Fertilize with aged/composted manure or bagged organic plant food. We like the Jobes brand.
- Water – when necessary. Always water at the root or base of the plant. Watering from the top, or over the leaves can cause your plants to develop disease on the leaves. Mulching heavily around the plant base will reduce need for watering everyday. Hallelujah!
- Pest Control – Unfortunately, this can still be a problem even when you think you’ve done everything right. Companion planting and building your soil are top priorities. Healthy plants are less prone to be attacked. Keep an eye out for pests. Take swift action at the first sight of pests. Fertilize, if it’s been awhile.
Cabbage Family Maintenance
The cabbage family is prone to the dreaded white butterfly, which lays larvae and can wipe out your crop. One option is to cover with an agriculture net. The net will prevent pests from landing on your crop.
There are organic options, store bought and homemade with essential oils to help fight off any pests.
Once your produce starts ripening, there will be too much bounty to eat it all fresh. Check out these ideas for food preservation.
Preserving the Bounty
Last year we harvested a total of five, 5 gallon buckets of basil! Preservation was a family event. We chopped, placed in ice cube trays with olive oil and some with water, froze and then placed in freezer bags. I made and froze pesto and dehydrated a good bit.
With your harvest, you can freeze fresh from the garden, make recipes and dehydrate, and/or take up canning. The “Ball Blue Book” is the most recommended canning guide book. It’s the best book to follow when canning.
It would be great if you could find a mentor to teach you canning basics. A Mentor and the “Ball Blue Book” make a great combo! You can buy canning kits with the essentials. I’ll leave links of some of these supplies at the end. Stock your pantry with ready made meals, single ingredients and congratulations, you’ve just taken a step toward FOOD SECURITY!
Dehydrators are great to have for drying herbs/veggies/fruit, making veggie/fruit leathers, and meat jerky. Dehydrators will come with recipe instructions. The best dehydrators are the ones with the drying fan in the back because it dries more evenly. If you have one with the fan in the bottom, you will need to rotate trays. The bottom tray dries quicker than the ones closer to the top.
Dehydrating and freezing are the easiest ways to get started preserving. I started with these two and eventually learned canning. We’re rooting for your success! Keep moving toward your goals in Food Security!
If you’re enjoying the Food Security Series, share with others. Give us a shout out and let us know what you’re doing for food security. Check out Day 5 of the Food Security Series…we’re talking chickens! Talk to you tomorrow.
Shaun & Alisha