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Pumpkin, Externally Yours

Pumpkin Vine Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Pumpkins Grow more Roots
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Recently we discovered that our pumpkin had been cut at the root. This pumpkin has endured much and had to be re sown a few times. We wondered since it has vines that anchor itself to the ground and also pull nutrients from the soil that way, could it still survive. Our researched yielded a resounding yes. In fact they grow additional roots as well. What wonderful things have you learned about your plants, yes even house plants? What have these articles taught you? How have these articles helped you? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Mahatma Gandhi & Saving Seeds

mahatma gandhi and seed saving shidonna raven garden and cook

If you know even a little bit about Gandhi, then one can easily understand what Gandhi means to seed saving or what seed saving would have meant to Gandhi. Gandhi was very much a promoter of the freedom of man and his country man. Like King he saw freedom in both simple and profound ways. A seed in itself is simple. Yet seed saving is a revolutionary concept even today. Where there is industry and money to be made, there is always controversy. More specifically where the industry is not truly needed is where the controversy seems to begin. Gandhi believed that people should have the right, yes right to grow their own food rather than being subject to purchasing food at prevailing prices. To this day there are many industries that surround the growth of food. Even farmers struggle against this industrial corporate complexes.

So in the midst of a pandemic when many people have begun to start their own gardens, seed saving is more important than ever. Understanding the profound yet simple practice of seed saving is important. Knowing and being able to save seeds gives one freedom to contentiously produce their own food sources. One might say, I buy food out of convenience and to save time. During a time when money is short for many but time is long, one might say, like many have, I will grow my own food. Exercising the right to grow ones own food has become important to many in the midst of COVID 19. Jim Ulager “Beginning Seed Saving for the Home Gardener” helps one to understand the background of seed saving as well as the application of seed saving.

We have saved several seeds of our own such as pumpkin, green beans, lentil beans, pinto beans, cantaloupe and more. A few of these seeds are in our garden and did sprout. Pumpkin is our largest saved seed. How has COVID 19 impacted you and yours? How could you and yours benefit from saving your own seeds? How has this article helped you? How could this article help your friends and family especially during these times? “Beginning Seed Saving for the Home Gardener” can be found below or by clicking the link. Share your experience with seed saving with the community by posting your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Story of Two Trellises

trellised beans shidonna raven garden and cook

Today one of our neighbors and garden cohorts came over to help us trellis our beans. Beans like tomatoes need something to grow up on. Pumpkin and watermelon will grow along the ground. But other tendril like plants like green beans and tomatoes need to grow up and not along the ground. Bean plants can actually grow pretty tall like tomato plants. So, today we placed the beans into 2 types of trellises. One type (red) is circular while the other (green) is a flat web of string placed between to poles or stakes, so that the plants can grow up and have plenty of space to bare their fruit.

Trellised Beans
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

What other plants need to be trellised? Which plants can grow along the ground? How do you care for the plants that grow along the ground and not up? Wondering? Post your questions below.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Watermelon, Greenhouses & Indoor Gardening

Sugarbaby Watermelon Shidonna Raven

When we decided to start our garden, as you know, it began humbly with a mere 2 packs of seeds destined for the kitchen window. It quickly grew into over 30 seeds. We planted each one. Some where successful and others were not. But, as Eliot Coleman will tell you, even the experienced farmer learns through trail and error. When we started we began in our mini greenhouse, which is really our garage with 3 windows. We were so excited to get started that we begun at the end of the winter season, which was at the very very beginning of the growing season for many of our seeds in our zone (Virginia, USA). When you began before the last frost has past, you must start inside with the seeds that can be transplanted. Then once the frost has past and its growing season has begun one can transplant them outside. So, because we began early we started in our mini greenhouse and got a jump on the season. Greenhouses can be used year around for various reasons. However, they are key when you want to grow outside of a seeds growing season by either starting early or extending the season.

Pumpkin Flower in Bloom
Pumpkin Flower in Bloom

The watermelon you see (1st image) in our outside garden started as a seedling in our mini greenhouse. The mini greenhouse presented several challenges to us with its high moisture and low light. We discovered there were many other factors that were hindering the success of some of our seedlings. When we had questions and were left scratching our head when our seedlings ran into trouble, we turned to Richard Bray’s book “Greenhouse Gardening” for answers to our questions. Understanding greenhouse gardening is understanding how to garden indoors whether one has a kitchen herb plant or a simple house plant. He helped me to understand factors such as heat, ventilation, watering and sunlight. This book was a tremendous resource that helped us grow our watermelon successfully. We had to sow her several times. At first she did not sprout successfully. But, once we understood greenhouse gardening more, we were able to grow her successfully into a plantling. Now she is in the garden outside thriving. We located “Greenhouse Gardening” for an absolute steal. We love deals around here. Click the link below to get yours. We can not wait to see her fruit. I know someone who is a huge watermelon fan! So we are happy to report that she is doing well and in the same row as pumpkin. Stay tuned to see her progress.

What information do you find helpful? How did “Greenhouse Gardening” by Richard Bray help you? Email us photos to share with the community. Which one do you prefer: pumpkin or watermelon? We have big fans of both. As usually, we are all waiting to taste!

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Garden in Bloom

Korean Radish Plant

The Garden is in full bloom all over with many plants sporting flowers. Pictured below you can see Cilantro on the front porch in plenty of shade from the sweltering heat. The Korean Radishes in the garden have grown up tall from little sprouts peeking out from the dirt to full blown foliage and blossoms at the top. It seems like every set of tendrils the Pumpkin plant brings there is a beautiful big yellow flower that follows. This plant is interesting indeed. As you know these plants can grow very big, so we are looking for big things from this plant. It should fill the backyard with plenty of warm hues. What are your favorite blooms / flowers? Are they associated with a fruit bearing plant? Are they edible? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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How is the Garden?

Pumpkin Flower

We always get the question: how is the garden? It is becoming a regular series around here. As most gardeners will say I will check back with you on the plant. Plants may take time to grow but when they do things can change quickly. My father is looking forward to a few pumpkin pies and we hope to deliver. We have a few fall babies around here so pumpkin is one of the most popular and exciting plants we have. Initially we though that only one was planted. But, sure enough two have sprouted and it is going to be tight in the garden. We believe that the pumpkins will be a beautiful addition to the backyard.

Both pumpkin plants have flowers in bloom, which means fruit should follow soon. The flowers are gorgeous and we would love to pick them, but we do not want to interrupt the pollination process. We also got the Parsley herb plant outside in a container and it is doing very well. Initially when we harvested Dill we cut all the leaves. We have since learned how to properly harvest most herbs. It is important to cut only a third of the leaves and to leave the rest to continue to photosynthesize for the rest of the plant. She is now doing well and should last for a few years. Thank you for taking this journey with us. What are your favorite herbs to cook with? Why? Post a comment and tell us which herb(s) you like best and what you cook with it. Have you started growing your own kitchen herb? Great! Send us a few pictures. We would love to share them with the community. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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How is the Garden?

As you already know, one of the number one questions we get is: how is the garden? This question helped to encourage this site. The answer is a lot of good things are happening in the garden. While we still are keeping our eye out for slugs, snails and flies, for the most part they seem to be under control. But, Mother Nature is always full of surprises. So we will be keeping our eyes peeled. We have seen a few snails here and there. They are tricky because you do not always know what is in the shell. We currently have been treating the garden with the Organic Pest remedy: Oatmeal. Stay tuned for updates on if this Organic Remedy for snails is effective.

The Vole seems to have been taken care of. We have seen no more signs of eaten leaves although there are still a few flies around. The ants however seem to be our most difficult pest. We have been doing a regimen of ground black pepper and water solution, fertilizer for the plants health, marigold flowers (which ants dislike) and Neem Oil, all which should help. Some help more than others. Overall our Organic Remedies have worked although the verdict is still out on the ants, snails and slugs.

Our Roma Tomatoes, San Marzano Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkin, Sugar Baby Water Melon and Green Bean Plants are all doing very well. They have developed root systems and have begun multiplying their leaves and growing tall. We believe a Vole was causing a lot of havoc in the garden. Now that we have addressed that problem the garden seems to be taking off. Two of our bean plants have been leaning over. Their stalks are very tall, lean and can normally bear the weight of its fruit (beans) thus far. However, we identified two bean plants that needed some additional support so; we staked them with a few wooden paint stirrers that we got from the paint section for free. We will still have to keep our eyes open for flies, snails and slugs so they do not eat the leaves and the harvest. We thus continue to treat the plants with Neem Oil (an Organic Pest Remedy).

Have you started a garden? Do you have house plants? Send us pictures and leave us a comment telling us all about it. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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MiMi’s Flower

MiMi’s Cynoglossum Amabile (Chinese Forget Me Not) flowers have finally bloomed. These short and thick sprouts are sure to grow into a beautiful addition around the house. For only a dollar this is a great way to introduce your children to gardening. The growing medium discourages over watering because it is a little lose, runny and slow to absorb. Similar growing mediums are available for growing other seeds / plants. These blocks are sold individually from kits and come in blocks of different sizes. They also come in packs with a tray. These packs also have growing medium sold in different sizes.

Kits are great because they take some of the guess work out of beginning to grow plants that many newbies face. The Soil Blocks and Growing Mediums offer the gardener a way to save in many forms. If you would like to learn more about Soil Blocks read our article titled “Soil Blocks” dated May 4, 2020. So far, we favor well drained clay pots. Many kits will not come with a clay pot but you can find one at your local garden center for a little more than $1 depending on the size you want. Metal pots can be lined and if you are remaining true to the Organic Journey you probably do not want to use plastic pots.

Among the Cynoglossum Amabile flowers we also found our Korean Radishes sprouting all over the place now that, fingers crossed, our vole problem is under control and we do not have underground munching going on. Our Pumpkin, Sugar Baby Watermelon and Beans (Green, Pinto & Lentil) are all doing very well. The plants have been getting plenty of water from Mother Nature over the last several days and are slotted to get a lot more over the next several days. We love and we think the plants do too. As soon as the rain lets up and we get a few sunny and calm days, we will set some plants out for transplanting and hopefully get the rest of the plants out into the garden. We halted transplanting until we could figure out our pest problem and then came the rain. So, hopefully we will get back on track in about a week.

We have a few squash and melon lovers out there, we are sure they are happy to see them sprouting and doing well. What pest problems have you encountered? How can you use these Organic Pest Remedies around the house as well as in the garden? What do you think the benefits would be? Do you think it would help save money and improve your health? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Keen Observation

As Eliot Coleman would say, some of the best farmers are observers. The farmers he learned from were keen observers. There are many benefits to making keen observations in your garden besides the sheer joy of watching the plants grow from a seed into full fledge fruit bearing plants.

  • Identifying issues such as disease or crowding of plants
  • Identify best practices, which your plants respond favorable to
  • Identifying practices to change, which your plants do not respond well to
  • Identifying Harvest time

Pumpkin was the first transplant to go into the garden. During watering time we observed that both of pumpkins leaves were missing. It was pretty difficult to miss. We were from there able to identify that we had a pest around our garden attacking just the leaves of the tender young transplants killing its chance to grow. Since the fatal attack, we were able to resow pumpkin from the arsenal of seeds that we saved. It has been several weeks since we resowed pumpkin. Without fail it has come from beneath the surface with deep and rich green leaves. These seeds came to us from a friend who got them fresh from a pumpkin. We have a few fall loving people who are very pleased to see pumpkin return.

We have had several friends and gardening cohorts come by recently. Some sharing advice and best practices for gardening and farming. Others checking on the progress of the garden and the plants in the garden. And yet others who have been dropping off seeds and growing kits. We are always thrilled to have visitors in addition to the birds who always come by to visit. We want to thank MiMi for giving us a growing kit of Cynoglossum amabile flowers. Growing kits are a great way to introduce yourself to gardening and to get children involved in the process as well. We will be talking more about MiMi’s flower in the next article. Thank you MiMi!

How can you sharpen your sense of observation? What are the benefits of keen observation in your garden? What observations have you made from the photos that we have shared? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Thank you for taking this journey with us. We are as thrilled as you are.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Great Pumpkin

Many of you know that Pumpkin suffered the first fatality in our garden from an unknown pest. We spotted a white and black cat in the garden today. While some of us do not believe cats are the pests we need to worry about, we still have not truly identified the culprit. The garden has attracted many birds and possibly the birds are attracting the cats. It is not the first nor last cat we will see around here – pre garden. Both the Pumpkins big and beautiful leaves were missing leaving only a stalk, which never produced more leaves once the only two it had were gone. As you might expect Pumpkin was our largest sprout and one of the first plants to go out into the garden from the mini greenhouse. It was an interesting plant we truly enjoyed watch growing so when it suffered its attack, we were all pretty disappointed.

Like most gardeners we were far from giving up. We sowed another few seeds from our arsenal and hopes of getting it out in time for fall and we are thus far on schedule. The good news is Pumpkin is beginning to show signs of sprouting as you can see. We expect to see two bold and beautiful (soap opera reference :)) green leaves soon. When Pumpkin finally sprouts and makes its return we will transplant her out into the garden and be sure to give you an update. Pumpkin’s anticipated return it here!

Does starting a garden seem overwhelming? How can you get started? How can you start a small garden and grow? How can you learn from set backs like pests and disease? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.