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How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter
2
June Community Garden Update!
3
How to Store Cilantro To Make It Last For Weeks
4
10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden
5
4×4 Garden Plan: Let’s Grow 100 Pounds of Food!
6
Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants
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Here’s how much we grew in the garden last year!
8
This Week’s Harvest Includes 67 Pounds of Tomatoes!
9
We Grew Celery For The First Time!
10
This Week’s Harvest Includes Lots of Greens!
11
We Won The Cauliflower Battle!
12
Summer Tomato Planting
13
Garden Giveaway – FoodSaver Preservation System!
14
We’re growing peanuts this year!
15
We planted our Spring 2017 garden!
16
Planting our 2016 Christmas Tree!
17
Bombay Potatoes and Free Lettuce Seeds!
18
Spring Garden Planting in New York
19
How to Grow Black Beans
20
Welcome to our greenhouse!

How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter

How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter! We grow HUNDREDS of pounds of vegetables in our planters! Follow these easy DIY step by step instructions on how to make your own container garden. These planters are perfect for gardens of any size, and they’re cheap to make!

What is a Sub Irrigated Planter?

Sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) have been a game changer for us since we started using them almost 10 years ago.  The main difference between them and traditional container gardening planters is that with SIPs water is introduced from the bottom and is absorbed up through the growing media via capillary action.  This method conserves water and makes sure that moisture stays where your plants need it most – their roots.  

Sub Irrigated Planter Garden

Hundreds of pounds of vegetables grown in a couple sub irrigated planters!

We originally learned about building SIPs when we used to garden on our NYC rooftop (and grew hundreds of pounds of vegetables!).  Watering had become a daily multi-hour chore and we were looking for solutions to combat the hot and windy conditions that quickly evaporated water from the garden and always left our plants looking thirsty. 

There are numerous premade SIP solutions to buy but they can get expensive and didn’t really fit the level of production we wanted so we decided to build our own.  Our two favorite resources are Earthtainers and Global Buckets. The first summer we used SIPs we were in love.  Our evaporation woes were over, watering wasn’t a constantly required chore and best of all the plants looked great – especially our 8ft tall tomato plants that were giving us pounds (and pounds!) of vegetables a day!

(btw need tomato recipes? You NEED to try my stewed tomatoes and cherry tomato sauce!). 

Growing Tomatoes In Sub Irrigated Planters

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June Community Garden Update!

Find out what’s growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!

Hey everyone!  Hope you had a great weekend!  Ours was a hot one, with temperatures on the rise!  We stopped by our Community garden space to check on our vegetables and I decided to take some photos to show you a update!

If you missed it, we decided to go back to our roots (no pun intended!) and grow in Brooklyn again this year.  The last 2 years we grew Upstate, but the heart was heavy for urban city farming again!

This is our 4×4 garden space, with a little expansion with our sub irrigated containers!  Like everything in the city, we use every inch of space we can get! 

Find out what's growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!

Happy Baby!

And here’s one happy baby who’s already trying to nibble on my kale and drag the hose around! A big reason why we decided to garden again in Brooklyn was to show her how fun it is to grow your own vegetables in the city!
Find out what's growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!
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How to Store Cilantro To Make It Last For Weeks

HOW TO STORE CILANTRO to make it last for weeks! This easy trick shows how to keep cilantro fresh in water in your refrigerator to last for 3 weeks! It’s the perfect way to store cilantro for a long time!

I’m back with another tip to help your vegetables last longer! Remember how I shared my tip to keep your lettuce fresh for a month? Well this trick will keep your cilantro fresh for weeks!

HOW TO STORE CILANTRO to make it last for weeks! This easy trick shows how to keep cilantro fresh in water in your refrigerator to last for 3 weeks! It's the perfect way to store cilantro for a long time!

Cilantro – are you one of those people that love it or hate it?  I love it! But my issue with cilantro is that it never seems to last long enough to use it all.  Often recipes only call for a small amount of cilantro, and it’s hard to find things to do with a whole bunch of it!  With this tip you’ll no longer have to let your cilantro go to waste!

You guys know I don’t like to waste anything we grow.  I’ve showed you how to make tomato powder out of tomato skins, and how to make mint tea, but now I wanted to show you my trick on how to how to store cilantro to make it last longer!

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10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden

Top 10 Easiest Vegetables To Grow in the garden! All these vegetables are easy to grow from seed and in containers!  This is the perfect list for a first time gardener! 

I get asked a lot “I want to start a garden, what vegetables are best for beginners?”.   The short answer is ALL OF THEM! The long answer is “Well, they all have their pros and cons and there are so many variables that go into a specific vegetable, but here’s the ones I think that would work best for you depending on your space and climate”.  

10 Easiest Vegetables To Grow

I thought about this recently as this question usually starts to pop up frequently in the Spring.  So I decided to make a list of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden!  All of these vegetables are grown from seed and specifically grow good in containers (even sub irrigated planters)!  I picked vegetables that can grow successfully across different climates, including heat tolerant vegetables!

So now…. the list…!

Easiest Vegetables To Grow In Containers

 

 #10 TOMATOES
10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden
Did you know that one tomato plant can yield 50-80 pounds of tomatoes?  Yup, that’s a lot of tomatoes!  Make sure to give your tomatoes enough water in the Summer as they continue to grow.  Use cages to support the plants as they grow high!

Need tomato recipes? Try my reader favorites: Stewed Tomatoes and Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.

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4×4 Garden Plan: Let’s Grow 100 Pounds of Food!

This year we’re going back to garden basics.  And we’re back in Brooklyn y’all!  After spending 2 Summers gardening Upstate we’re going back to our garden roots – growing in a small space in the city!  Let me introduce you to this Summer’s experiment – how much can we grow in a 4×4 garden?

The 4×4 garden begins!

4x4 garden plot

This year we joined our Brooklyn neighborhood community garden and got a 4×4 garden plot.  We’re going to be using every inch of that 4×4 space, including the outside of the box with sub-irrigated containers!  Seriously, we’re going to use all the space that comes with our little growing area!  

So here’s my goal. I want to show you that you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own food!

I want to grow 100 pounds of vegetables in a 4×4 garden plot!

We’re not growing any heavy vegetables this year, such as pumpkins or watermelons, so the majority of the pounds would come from tomatoes.  Instead of growing 3 types of tomatoes like we did every year, we’re only growing roma tomatoes this year because that’s what we use and can the most.  

pink haired mom with baby in garden

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Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants

How to use Double Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants.  Easy step by step instructions on how to stack the cages.  This will help prevent your tomato plants from falling over and keep them growing big and strong!

Well it’s that time of the year where the heat hits and the tomatoes start to take off to the sky!

To make sure our tomatoes grow big and get the support they need we always add cages on almost as soon as they are planted.  It’s always easier to put on cages when the tomato plants are small rather then later when they are already bushy.  If you’ve ever attempted to put a tomato cage on a bushy tomato plant then you can probably understand the frustration that could be involved with this.  

Not only do we put 1 tomato cage on the tomatoes, but we double them up.   In the past our tomato plants often grow over 6 feet tall so to make sure they stay supported with the heavy wind and encourage their growth we stack a tomato cage on top of the other.  

This is done by using zip ties to attach them and then tying the tomato cages to our structure with twine.  Wind is a big deal on the roof so we always double make sure everything is locked down.

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Here’s how much we grew in the garden last year!

Each year we track our garden yield by weighing the vegetable after we pick them.  Here’s 2014, 2015, 2016… and finally, 2017!

Let’s talk totals! In 2017 we grew a total of (drum roll please) 363 pounds and 6 ounces of vegetables!  It was quite a drop from our 1147 pound harvest in 2016, but here’s why:

-We didn’t grow any pumpkins. In 2016 we grew almost 400 pounds of pumpkins!
-We didn’t grow any watermelon.
-Oh yeah, we had a baby in July!  Talk about a change in the growing season!


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This Week’s Harvest Includes 67 Pounds of Tomatoes!

Another week, another big vegetable haul!  As we wind down the garden season this year, we are still left with a bounty of vegetables to pick!  Last weekend we had over 100 pounds of vegetables to bring back to New York City so let’s dive in to see what we’re still harvesting Upstate!

To summarize we picked tomatillos, dry beans, pie pumpkins, celery, corn, potatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, beef tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and roma tomatoes! Whew! That’s a lot of vegetables!

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We Grew Celery For The First Time!

Not only did we grow a baby for the first time this Summer but we also grew celery for the first time!  Garden high 5!
How to grow celery from seed in Zone 5A. Celery is a easy garden vegetable to grow during the Summer months!

We usually stick with our usual plants but this year we were feeling adventurous so we added celery to the garden mix!  For time reference the seedlings were transplanted to the garden on May 17 and then celery was picked in September!  We still have a few plants growing!
How to grow celery from seed in Zone 5A. Celery is a easy garden vegetable to grow during the Summer months!

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This Week’s Harvest Includes Lots of Greens!

This week’s garden harvest includes lots of greens!  Join me as I show you what’s growing in our garden!

Yup, it’s true! Even though this Summer has been life changing and we’re both sleep deprived, we’ve kept the garden up and running!  Although the garden has received less care and time due to the arrival of our July baby, it’s still producing wonderfully and we’re picking baskets filled with vegetables! So let’s look at this week’s harvest!
This week's garden harvest includes lots of greens! Join me as I show you what's growing in our Upstate New York garden during August!

Right now it’s all about the greens! We’re picking kale, cabbage, broccoli, tomatillos, green beans, sugar snap peas and jalapeno peppers.   Tomato season is about to start so we picked our first cherry tomatoes which I immediately threw up in the air into my mouth! Not pictured are the potatoes and onions which I totally forgot about – sorry!
This week's garden harvest includes lots of greens! Join me as I show you what's growing in our Upstate New York garden during August!

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We Won The Cauliflower Battle!

After years of failing at growing cauliflower we switched to a new variety and grew over 20 pounds of cauliflower! Learn how we grow cauliflower from seeds that can withstand Summer heat and result in a big cauliflower harvest!

I’m not sure if you remember but a few months ago when planting our seeds I talked about how Matthew didn’t want to grow cauliflower this year because he thought it was a lost cause.  For so many years we used up space in the garden to get lackluster cauliflower results (if any).  Cauliflower has always been one of the harder vegetables for us to grow, and it’s been difficult for us to get anything but a few florets of harvest.   Because I couldn’t give up on the cauliflower, I talked Matthew into trying one more year.  Instead of trying our usual variety, I researched the different options and decided we were going to grow Snow Crown seeds to see if it made any difference.   With hearts in my eyes and rainbows in the sky, it worked!  You guys, it worked so great!   In the last 2 weeks we’ve picked close to 20 pounds of cauliflower!  
After years of failing at growing cauliflower we switched to a new variety and grew over 20 pounds of cauliflower! Learn how we grow cauliflower from seeds that can withstand Summer heat and result in a big cauliflower harvest!

I’m so happy we pushed for one more year with the cauliflower and decided to try a new variety.  We went with Snow Crown because it was labeled as being able to be harvested in Summer or Fall so I figured it could take the heat.  Although Upstate is much cooler than NYC, it still does have days in the high 80’s (and sometimes 90’s) so it was important to find a type that could handle hot days.  When we used to grow on the roof in NYC the cauliflower would never last past the beginning of June, so it’s exciting to see it grow through July now!
After years of failing at growing cauliflower we switched to a new variety and grew over 20 pounds of cauliflower! Learn how we grow cauliflower from seeds that can withstand Summer heat and result in a big cauliflower harvest!

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Summer Tomato Planting

It’s tomato time you guys!  One of the most exciting parts of the garden year is Summer tomato planting for us.  The tomatoes always steal the show in the garden during the Summer, so seeing them in the ground gets us excited for the upcoming few months of care, growing, picking and endless tomato sauce cooking in the kitchen.
Summer Tomato Planting tips for transplanting indoor tomato seedlings outside to your garden. Follow these growing and planting tips for a big tomato harvest!

First up… the plant car!  Since we plant the seeds in our Brooklyn apartment to germinate and grow under our grow lights, once the weather allows and the plants are strong enough we transport them Upstate to the garden.  We carefully pack each tomato, tomatillo and pepper plant into the back of our little car away we go!  I always like to think that the plants enjoy their scenic ride Upstate New York to their new home.
Honda Fit carrying Tomato Plants

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Garden Giveaway – FoodSaver Preservation System!

Hi garden friends!  To help kick off the beginning of gardening season I’m giving away a FoodSaver FM5480 2-in-1 Food Preservation System (retail $200) to one (super!) lucky reader!  This FoodSaver is going to help you preserve your Summer veggies for months to come!  One of my favorite features of this FoodSaver is that it seals delicate foods without crushing them, something that I’ve had a hard time with others!

 

Why do you want to use a FoodSaver?  It keeps food fresh, eliminates waste and saves money.   The system includes vacuum seal bags, zipper bags and containers designed to work together for the best performance.   The Vacuum Sealer protects food from the deteriorating effects of oxygen.  In general, food lasts 5x longer when you use it.  Meat for example can last up to 3 years in the freezer, instead of the usual 6 months. Use this for fruits and vegetables, breads, pastries, meat, soups and stew, coffee beans,  flour, sugar, rice/pasta and more.  You can even use it for refrigerator items like cheese which will help keep it fresh for 4-8 months!

It would be a perfect addition to your Summer veggie garden for sure!

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We’re growing peanuts this year!

We’re growing peanuts in our New York garden for the first time this year!  Read on as we plant Jumbo Virginia peanuts!

Or maybe the title should read “We’re trying to grow peanuts this year!” so I don’t jinx myself.  You might have read that we started our 2017 garden a few weeks ago, which is very exciting, but even more exciting is when we try to grow a new plant!  This year the new plants are celery and peanuts!  This post is all about peanuts though….!

We're growing peanuts in our New York garden for the first time this year! Read on as we plant Jumbo Virginia peanuts!

I decided last year I wanted to try to grow peanuts, mostly because I was currently in a peanut butter eating craze.  I did some research and saw some people in the North had successfully grown peanuts so I decided to give it a shot.  Peanuts need a good 4 months of heat, with no frost,  to grow, so let’s hope for a full 120 days of sun for them in our garden!

We're growing peanuts in our New York garden for the first time this year! Read on as we plant Jumbo Virginia peanuts!

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We planted our Spring 2017 garden!

While we’re experiencing a few heated days, we made our way Upstate to start the 2017 garden year and get our veggies planted.  This year we decided to hold off planting a couple weeks due to us having a few scary nights of dropping temperatures last year, but I think we’re in the clear now… and the veggies were ready to move out of Brooklyn and into their new garden home!

We planted our Spring 2017 garden Upstate! Come check out all the veggies we're growing - from broccoli, sugar snap peas, onions, celery and more!

A quick recap, here’s what we planted for our Spring garden and here are the dates that we started the seeds indoors and then moved them outside.
Onions |  March 18 | May 17
Kale   |   March 26 | May 17
Cabbage  | March 26 | May 17
Brussels Sprouts  | March 26 | May 17
Collards   | March 26 | May 17
Bok Choy | March 26 | May 17
Cauliflower   |  March 26 | May 17
Broccoli  |   March 26 | May 17
Celery    |  March 26 | May 17
Lettuce |  April 22 |  TBA
Carrots  | May 17 (directly in soil)
Sugar Snap Peas | May 17 (directly in soil)

As you can see from last year’s Spring veggies, not too much has changed.  We have our usual cast of characters, with one new addition.  This year we’re going to try to grow celery for the first time!   Honestly, the seeds were kind of jerks and really hard to germinate so we had to plant them twice.  Even then, the seedlings looked pretty pathetic and  weren’t up to par with their plant siblings.   At the very last minute I found this pack of 6 celery plants for $2 on our way Upstate so I got them.   We grow all of our veggies from seeds, but this year the celery just wasn’t happening so I had to give in and buy a pack.   Looks like I have to investigate more into these fussy, hard to germinate seeds for next year!
How to Grow Celery

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Planting our 2016 Christmas Tree!

Last year we started the tradition of planting our Christmas trees Upstate on the land.  This would be something to look back on one day, a majestic forest of pine and spruce trees with memories of the holidays.  This year we continued the tradition and planted Christmas tree #2!

Planting our 2016 Christmas tree!

I know, I know.. THE BUMP!

We had a beautiful weekend (it was 80 degrees!) so we decided to visit the land to plant the tree and do some Spring cleanup before planting season begins.  We haven’t been Upstate in almost 2 months so it was nice to get away and bask in the sunshine while digging around in the soil on a lazy Sunday.  Our Christmas tree has been inside our apartment since November, a little longer than we would have liked to keep it inside but it would have gotten cold shocked if we planted it earlier.   Somehow Matthew and I both forgot we now have a greenhouse that we could have moved the tree into during the Winter months – duh – we’ll remember this next year!  We’ve kept the tree close to the windows inside, and well watered, but it definitely showed signs of wanting to move outdoors.   We lost needles on the bottom section of the tree and had some browning, but the upper section of the tree looks great and has had lots of new green growth indoors.

 Planting our 2016 Christmas tree!

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Bombay Potatoes and Free Lettuce Seeds!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tasty Bite. All opinions are 100% mine.

I always get so excited when I learn that one of my favorite food companies is helping to promote gardening and growing your own.  As soon as I learned about Tasty Bite’s Good Seed program, I knew I had to share with you guys!

Tasty Bite partnered with AmpleHarvest.org to give away free lettuce seeds to people who pledge to share their vegetable harvest!    Tasty Bite has a great range of Thai, Indian and Asian products made with real food and real ingredients.    Their products would go perfect over some fresh garden lettuce! Their goal is to help eliminate waste by helping people grow their own food and share their extra crops by donating to food pantries.  Tasty Bite Good Seed Program is over for this year, but it’s an annual program, so make sure to sign up for their newsletter on tastybite.com for alerts on next year’s Good Seed program. Tasty Bite Lettuce Seeds_3

Our lettuce seeds will be planted in about a week for our Summer garden.  We love growing lettuce because it’s a simple plant that easily grows without much care.   I’m going to repeat what I always say… but how awesome is it go from lettuce seeds… to lettuce seedlings.. Lettuce Seedlings

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Spring Garden Planting in New York

I’m officially declaring it Spring because a few days ago I was able to wear a dress without tights under!  Since it’s Spring that means one thing – it’s time to plan our garden!  We always look forward to planting our seeds in Spring and the organization that comes with it.

 First we talk about what grew good last year, what we didn’t think do that well, what we grew too much of (bok choy!), what we need more of.  Then we discuss adding new vegetables to the garden – is there anything that we really want to grow that we aren’t already? From there we view catalogs, make a list, order any seeds that we might need and start planting.

The answer some of those questions…. the garden is staying pretty similar to last year with some little changes.  Cauliflower continues to be challenging for us to grow and leaves us not feeling that it’s always worth it.  Matthew wanted to get rid of cauliflower completely this year but I talked him into giving it one more chance, so we’re trying a new variety (Snow Crown).  Cauliflower, don’t let me down, you’re on notice.  

We grew almost 100 bok choy plants last year which was crazy, so this year we are growing less, and I will be picking it earlier in the season to enjoy it in it’s “baby” size.  We’re getting rid of radishes, they’re so easy to grow that it almost feels wrong to stop but I just haven’t been in a radish mood.    

How to Plan Your Spring Garden. Spring is a great time to organize your seeds and decide what vegetables grew great and didn't work last year. Follow these tips and ideas for a successful Spring garden planting season!

The new addition to the garden is celery! We’ll be trying to grow it for the first ever this year so stay tuned on how that goes!  Isn’t it amazing to see 100 future celery plants in my hand?  (We aren’t growing 100 though!)

How to Plan Your Spring Garden. Spring is a great time to organize your seeds and decide what vegetables grew great and didn't work last year. Follow these tips and ideas for a successful Spring garden planting season!

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How to Grow Black Beans

How to Grow Black Beans from seeds in your vegetable garden.  Looking for a new plant to grow in  your garden this year?  Try growing black beans!  They’re easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

It’s the beginning of March which means your garden has already crossed your mind. We’ll start planting seeds indoors in about a week for our Spring garden, but it’s never too early to start planning for Summer.   Whenever I post a black bean recipe I get a few readers that say they want to grow black beans.  You know what? You should! You all should!

If you are looking for a new plant to grow in your 2017 garden, why not try dry black beans? 

HOW TO GROW black bean plants from seeds in your vegetable garden.  Looking for a new plant to grow in  your garden this year?  Try growing black beans!  They're easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

How to Grow Black Beans

The black beans we always grow are Midnight Black Turtle Soup beans from Johnny Seeds.  We’ve had year after year success with them so if you’re looking for a recommendation, get them. We grow our black beans in the “beans” garden bed where they grow alongside dry white beans, soy beans and green beans.  

To get a idea of how much time they take to grow, last year we planted black beans  (directly in the soil) on May 29 and we pulled them to dry on September 10.  On average they take 100-110 days to fully mature, ours took 104 days to be exact.  

The way that you know the plants are done is when the plants topple over and turn brown.  The other trick is is to shake the bean pod.  If you hear the beans rattling around then you know they’re full developed and ready to be picked.  

You’re going to want to hang up your black bean plants to dry for a week so just yank up the entire plant and tie up in some place that will remain dry.   We usually ties ours up in our garden shed.   Once they’re all dry, now comes the fun/terrible part – time to individually pick each pod off the plant, break it open and remove the beans. And just like you have black beans to use and store.\

Tips on Growing Black Beans

Tips/Info:

If you intend on eating these often, I would suggest growing 15 plants per person.   This should last you throughout all the seasons until you grow again.   If you really love black beans, grow even more!  The black beans won’t go bad, so it’s not like you’ll be wasting them if you grow too many.

Black beans are incredibly easy to take care of, they are kind of no nonsense plants.  Plant them, water them occasionally, give them sunshine and they’ll grow without any additional help.   

You can grow these in the ground or in containers – both work great.

How to grow black bean plants from seeds in your vegetable garden. Looking for a new plant to grow in your garden this year? Try growing black beans! They're easy to grow, produce a good yield and store great for recipes!

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Welcome to our greenhouse!

This post is sponsored by Hayneedle who helped us build a greenhouse so we can grow vegetables in the Winter! All opinions are my own. 

Make gardening season last year round with a greenhouse!  Go green and grow your own! 

I have been so excited to show you what we’ve been doing on the land!  Garden season ended a few months ago so that’s why there there hasn’t  been as many beautiful vegetables to show, but not to worry – we’re still growing! In February! In 10 degree temperature! In the snow!  Thanks to a greenhouse we’re all set up to grow our hearts out 365 days a year now!

Make gardening season last year round with a greenhouse! Go green and grow your own!

When we had our rooftop garden going we had a small greenhouse that left us able to grow broccoli, bok choy and kale during the Winter months. Once we moved the garden Upstate I was already thinking about Winter growing during the first year.   Because we’re Upstate in the Catskill Mountains we had some things to seriously consider about the greenhouse.  1) It gets really cold.  2)  It gets really snowy.  3)  It gets really windy.    So I investigated greenhouses and figured the Palram HG56 Glory Greenhouse would be best for our situation.  We got it in the 12L x 8W ft size which is more than enough for what we need.     Due to the strong wind on our property, we installed the anchor kit to ensure the greenhouse wasn’t going anywhere. Inside the greenhouse we put down a ground cover and a few bags of drainage rocks on top.

Make gardening season last year round with a greenhouse! Go green and grow your own!

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