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A New Routine

silhouette of a person staring at the milky way

I want to keep things brief, but I have to write about my new routine that I have to commit to.

Every morning when I wake up, I grab a mug of coffee & head upstairs to my creative area / Plant Lab to write my Morning Pages. Morning Pages (from The Artist’s Way) are a daily dedication to writing that I have done every single day since New Year’s Eve 2019 – I believe today was day 144.

While Morning Pages is a stream-of-consciousness writing that is more private, personal, and not meant for anything other than serving my own creativity for me, I feel like I need to do more writing and communicate more with the world other than sporadic posts. I will have Morning Pages for myself in the morning, but my new routine will now include Nightly Blogs.

Nightly Blogs will be my recap of the day that will inevitably consist of stories about Kyla, Twiggy, Basil, and the garden – but it will also be packed with lessons I’ve learned through the day with topics sprinkled in such as business ideas & opinions, politics & news, health & fitness, and so much more.

We all have varying interests in life & I believe that the point of life to experience as much as you can while enjoying the journey you’re on. Super excited to keep this rolling & hope you join along the ride!

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Haikus of the Mind, Body, Garden

tomato and pepper seedlings in jiffy pellets

Recently I have been trying to learn more about my WordPress site, its functionality, and in doing so, I found out about WordPress running daily writing prompts for the month of April. I know I’m a little late to the game, but yesterday’s prompt was: Three – whatever that means to you.

Unsurprisingly, my mind went to 3 things: Mind, Body, Garden, but I wanted to break away from the monotony & attempt some creativity. In place of a long-form blog I wrote 3 poems, that consist of 3 lines each; also known as Haikus – a Japanese form of poetry that consists of an alternating number of syllables per line 5-7-5.

Mind

When we doubt, we Seek;
Meditate upon the Truth;
Feel your Emotions]

Body

Acknowledge Power;
Your Body is a Temple;
Push Limitations]

Garden

Sow the Seeds of Hope;
Cultivate the Peace Within;
Harvest Happiness

Hope you enjoyed ­čÖé

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Microbes in the Garden: Mycorrhizae & Trichoderma

Mycorrhizae has been a hot topic in horticulture for a while and I had become familiar with it through products like┬áGrotabs. I became completely obsessed with how fungi or bacteria could be beneficial for plants, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. We have beneficial bacteria in our gut that help us break down & process foods, and that’s the same basic mechanism that soil-borne fungi or bacteria have – they work as pre- or probiotics for the plants, providing them with nutrients and protecting them from disease.

Grotabs are great because they contain mycorrhizae, fertilizer & Trichoderma (see bottom of this blog for more information on definitions for endo- & ecto-mycorrhizae, Trichoderma, etc) but theyÔÇÖre perfect for transplanting flowers or shrubs in your landscape, or for the veggies you plant in your garden. The downside to traditional Grotabs is that they come in tablet form (although they do make┬áGroTab Powder), they contain fertilizer (although there are some┬ágiant buckets of GroTab Microbial-only Powder), and many growers may just want Mycorrhizae only so that they can fertilize with their own fertilizer of choice. Personally I love GroTabs for transplanting my veggies, but I also love fertigating with Neptune’s Harvest Hydrolyzed Fish & Seaweed fertilizers.

Some great options for growers who are looking for Mycorrhizae-only are listed below with a description of uses & key points.

  • UE1 – MycoApply┬« Ultrafine Endo Mycorrhizae
    • 4 species of endomycorrhizal fungi
    • 130,000 endomycorrhizal propagules per pound
    • OMRI-listed Organic
  • UEE1 –┬áMycoApply┬« Ultrafine Endo/Ecto Mycorrhizae
    • 4 species of endomycorrhizal fungi & 7 species of ectomycorrhizal fungi
    • 130,000 endomycorrhizal and 110 million ectomycorrhizal propagules per pound
    • OMRI-listed Organic
    • Application rates are same for UE1 & UEE1:┬áMycoApply┬« Ultrafine Endo/Ecto┬áis a suspendable powder mycorrhizal inoculant that can be sprayed onto bare roots, used as a root dip, drenched into porous soils, hydromulched, or blended into potting media.┬áThe goal is to create physical contact between the inoculant and the growing roots.┬áUse higher rates for propagation or high-stress circumstances.┬á
  • SMAXX1 –┬áMycoApply┬« Soluble MAXX Mycorrhizae
    • This product is like GroTabs on steroids ÔÇô less fertilizer, but more beneficial fungi, bacteria, & natural growth hormone precursors
    • Combination of:
      • 1-0.5-1 fertilizer analysis
      • 9 species of endomycorrhizal fungi & 10 species of ectomycorrhizal fungi
      • 2 trichoderma species
      • 12 species of beneficial bacteria
      • Blend of: Kelp, Humic Acids, & vitamins
      • 30,000 endomycorrhizal and 1-1/2 billion ectomycorrhizal propagules per pound
    • MycoApply┬« Soluble MAXX┬áis best used with applications that create physical contact between the roots and inoculant. MycoApply Soluble MAXX can be applied to established plants including nurseries, ornamental seedbeds, propagation trays, or field grown plants, as well as new seedlings and transplants. Applications can be made through drenching, soil injection, or root spray applications to achieve the best contact with the roots to optimize plant benefits. Applications can be made at any time the root systems are active. Additional applications may be required for stressed plants. Use filters or screen no smaller than #50 mesh when using application equipment.

Endo vs Ecto Mycorrhizae:┬áThe key┬ádifference between ecto-mycorrhizae and endo-mycorrhizae┬áis that the fungal hyphae do not penetrate into the cortical cells of the plant roots in┬áectomycorrhizae┬áwhile the fungal hyphae penetrate into the cortical cells of the plant roots in┬áendomycorrhizae. In other words ÔÇô┬áEndo grow into the root cells and Ecto grow outside the roots.

Endo=into, Ecto=exit

Benefits of Trichoderma

  1. Disease Control: Trichoderma is a potent beneficial fungus and used extensively for prevention & control of soil-borne diseases. It has been used successfully against pathogenic fungi; Fusarium, Phytopthara, Scelerotia.
  2. Plant Growth Promoter: Trichoderma strains chelate & solubilize phosphates and micronutrients.
  3. Drought-Tolerance – Increases the number of deep roots, increasing plant’s ability to resist drought.
  4. Biochemical Elicitors of Disease: Trichoderma is known to induce disease-resistance in plants. Three classes of compounds that are produced by Trichoderma and induce ethylene production, hypersensitive responses and other defense related reactions in plant cultivars.

The best way to ensure a strong garden is by giving your plants the best chance to succeed. Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma will work as a shield from pathogens such as pests, fungus, or disease for your plants’ root zones. Plus, it will help you reduce the amount of fertilizers you will need to use, while also making your plants more drought resistant – and overall, giving you the healthiest plants possible that will grow into a lush, productive garden in your backyard or balcony.

Happy Gardening ­čĹĘÔÇŹ­čîż

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Garden Plans for this Sunday

Yellow Gingko leaves with blue sky background

The Time it is a-changin’!

Today is one of the greatest & most hated days of the year, when Time decides to leapfrog forward a whole hour to disrupt our sleep cycles by stealing an hour from us – but it is also a strong signal that spring is on its way! Yesterday I saw that we didn’t have freezing weather in the foreseeable forecast of 15 days out.

Whether or not I believe that we won’t dip into freezing temps, or maybe a light frost, is debatable, but my Hope for an early & strong Spring is not. I have been fairly patient this year with seed starting – I have some onions, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli started – and somehow I have refrained from planting tomatoes & peppers just yet.

All of this sunshine and pollen has my biological clock spinning out of control and screaming at me to plug seeds into the ground and get the garden rolling for the spring. Though I can’t fully follow my urges, I wanted to plan out a few things that I could do at this point of the season:

  • Seed Starting – though I said I was going to control myself, it’s been 2 weeks since I planted my first seeds of the season – so now’s the time to follow-up with a succession planting. This means that I’ll plant another 24-48 lettuce seeds and 60 arugula seeds or so – who knows, maybe I’ll get some cauliflower or something else started today too. I’m planning on getting a plot at the Piqua Community gardens, so I should be able to grow a much more diverse crop this year – and since I failed so miserably with Cauliflower last year, I really wanna prove that I can grow that little beast. And Kyla loves Cauliflower (call-EE-flower) wings, so I feel like I gotta deliver for her ­čÖé
  • More Seed Starting – I’ve been putting it off for long enough, but now’s the time to get those tree seeds started for bonsai trees. I have no clue if the time of the season is right, or if the seeds actually vernalized – but we’ll see what magic we can work. The varieties I am planning on starting include:
    • Baobab – this is a tree species from Madagascar and is extremely unique looking, with a fat trunk and small limbs/canopy.
    • Boxwood – I could easily take cuttings of these, but I really wanted to see if I could crack the code on growing everything from seed, not just the veggies for my garden.
    • Gingko – Gingkos are one of the most beautiful & ancient tree species on the planet. They have a unique leaf shape and turn an amazing shade of gold in the Fall
    • Sycamore – there’s also something magical to me about Sycamore trees. They are one of the mightiest varieties of trees with an ancient-scroll-style of bark that every kid loves playing with, a large imposing shape & profile on the skyline that any person can recognize, and they bear a striking resemblance to the dendritic structure of the neurons in our brains & bodies that connects them to us in a primal & subconscious way.
  • Mind & Body Exploration & Experimentation – today’s high temperature is supposed to be over 60 degrees so I am going to take advantage of that by going on a long bike ride – the first one of the season. There is nothing that can clear the Mind & push the Body like a long bike ride. It is soothing and challenging at the same time. You have the opportunity to push your body to new limits, but it depends upon the strength of your Mind, the power of your Will.
  • Writing – this blog is the beginning of me actually writing when I feel the inspiration – rather than collecting ideas like a hoarder and then never releasing them because I am too busy contemplating & strategizing. Beyond this, I think I just need to write – it is my natural state, a natural way of me to communicate; not only with the world, but with myself.
  • Meditation – I have been on & off with mediation – I do it when it absolutely needs to be done, but I think I need to treat it as a part of my nightly routine, in the same category as flossing & brushing my teeth. If we want to feel fully great, we have to commit to the things that we know contribute to our success & optimization of Life.

These are my plans for the Gains that I’m Cultivating in the Garden of my Life, I wish you the strength & the passion to cultivate your dreams & ideas into Realities ­čÖĆ

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Seed Starting Cold-Weather Crops in Zone 6

Title image reading: Seed Starting Cold-Weather Crops in Zone 6

It’s the end of February, and it’s still a little early to get most seeds started here in Ohio. Last year I made the mistake of starting my tomatoes & peppers extremely early with the thought that they would develop more fully & we would be blessed with an early & abundant harvest of Tomatoes, Jalape├▒os, & Habaneros. In reality, this just led to the seedlings becoming root-bound in the trays, and forced me to do more work than necessary by transplanting them up into larger pots before transplanting out into Root Pouches in the spring once the threat of frost had passed.

So the moral of the story is – don’t plant your Tomatoes & Peppers just yet! This blog will walk you through the crops that are safe to plant at this time of the year if you’re in zones 5-7 or so.

You can also check out the full Part 1 of the YouTube video, if you prefer to follow along that way, but I will cover most of what I discuss in the video, plus I feel I have more opportunity to elaborate on the pieces that I may have missed in the video.

Cold-Weather Seeds I’m Starting Now

  • Arugula – Arugula is a cold-hardy crop that can tolerate a light amount of frost, plus it’s fairly quick-growing. I chose to grow Arugula because it adds a nice spicy component to salads, sandwiches, or burgers. It’s also important to note that Arugula attracts a TON of pests like flea beetles and cabbage worms / moths. This is a great reason to get Arugula out in the garden early while it’s still cold and the pests are hiding away for winter.
  • Broccoli – I didn’t think that I would be growing broccoli this year because of the stomach issues I’ve had, but I have been given the all-clear to add more fiber into my diet as long as it doesn’t bother me. And my garden isn’t all about me since I’m growing for a CSA, so I had to take that into consideration as well. Broccoli was a huge hit last year, and the Early Green Broccoli variety should give us a super strong start to the CropBox. Broccoli is frost-tolerant as well and the cooler weather actually helps to enhance the sweetness – so get those broccoli plants started!
  • Lettuce – What is a spring garden without lettuce? This year I’ll be growing two fan-favorites from years past: Buttercrunch & Concept Lettuce, plus a new one that I’ve been hearing about from every grower at every trade show: Salanova Lettuce from Johnny’s. The amazing thing about Salanova is that you can treat it as a hybrid lettuce and harvest it as either head lettuce or leaf lettuce – meaning you can get up to 3-4 harvests from a single planting! It’s important to note that if you have a rainy season (like last spring in Ohio), or if you maintain an overly moist environment in the lettuce, you will almost certainly attract slugs and/or snails – I found this out the hard way last year, but will be combatting that problem with an organic solution of wool pellets. Last year I also made the mistake of planting 288 heads of lettuce at once – this year I’m taking advantage of succession planting to ensure that we maintain a steady harvest of the staple rotational crops like lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens. I’ll go into more detail on succession planting later in this blog and in more depth in a separate blog as well.
  • Onions – Typically I prefer to plant onion bulbs or onion sets, but I haven’t had much luck with growing onions from seed, so I figured I would give it another shot this year. I started off with Evergreen Onions which are a green onions variety, but I may also plant some Red Burgundy seeds as well (those are a bulb variety, not used for green onions). Onions have a looong growing season, so if you really want to grow them from seed, get those seeds a-going!
  • Spinach – As with Lettuce, what is a spring garden without Spinach! My variety of choice is Gurney’s Goliath Spinach because it’ll give you leaves the size of your hands and it provides abundantly. Like all of these plant varieties, mature Spinach is extremely cold-tolerant and, depending on the variety, can withstand temperatures down to 20┬║F.

Seed Tray Selection & Succession Planting

This section is not a full-blown blog about Seed Tray Selection & Succession Planting, but it should help serve as a general guide. As overzealous gardeners, it is our instinct to fill the seed trays completely full of seeds – not realizing that we will end up with 72 or 288 heads of lettuce all needing harvested at one time!

When we plant our seeds, we need to ask a few questions:

  1. How many people are you growing for? This will give you an idea of what size of trays to start your plants in. I’m growing greens in 288-cell trays because I am planning to provide fresh veggies & herbs to 10-25 people. When I plant in these 288-cell trays, that will help the root systems form quicker in the smaller-sized plug and will allow me to pack more plants into a 10×20 tray-sized area. When I planted my lettuce I thought about the timeframes for harvesting and ended up planting 48 heads of lettuce & 60 plugs with Arugula. This left half of the tray to be planted up in another 2 weeks to ensure that we have staggered & continuous harvests of Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach, and other leafy greens or quick-turn crops like Radish or herbs.
  2. How much space do I have in my Seed Starting area & in my Garden? Every gardener in the world overestimates what they can handle – until they learn the hard way like I have over the past few seasons. This year I’m dialed in with a plan that I created wayyy ahead of time to ensure that I wouldn’t over-plant. Last year I found myself drowning in tomatoes & hot peppers, as per usual. This year, it will be drowning in greens, beans, cucumbers, melons, sweet, corns, and tomatoes, potatoes, & peppers. My Plan assures that we’ve got the space, but to really over-deliver this year, and to build some street cred, I’m also going to buy a plot at our local community gardens and plug it full of watermelons, cantaloupe, sweet corn & potatoes galore!

Supplies I Use for Seed Starting

I hope this Blog, Video, & Supply list helps you in your Seed Starting Journey! I will be producing more gardening content throughout the spring, summer, and beyond – so if there’s anything you’re curious about, or want me to dive a little deeper on – let me know & I’ll throw a video together for you!

Hang on for a few more weeks & the weather will start to turn in our favor. Within 4-8 weeks you will be planting your onions, lettuce, arugula, spinach, and broccoli outdoors – and then the real challenges & fun begin – Happy Gardening!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Seeds, Soil, & Supplies

Seedlings under grow light

It may be the middle of winter, but I know we’re all itching to get seeds started for the 2020 garden season! Unless you have a greenhouse, it’s probably a little early to start seeds – but now is the perfect time to plan your garden.

This blog is designed to walk you through how to start a garden from seed and serves as a support document to the podcast series that I am doing on Seed Starting, so if you want to listen in, check out the episode below:

The first step begins with deciding what you want to grow.

What do you & your family enjoy?

Or if you’re growing for a CSA or Farmer’s Market, what do your customers like to eat?

While you’re thinking about that, it might also be important to consider:

  • How much space do the plants require?
  • What are your anticipated harvest dates?
  • Do you only want to plant once in the spring? Or do you want continual harvests throughout the season?

This may seem daunting to a new gardener, so I will be breaking these topics down in more detail through this blog series. For now, the most important thing is to decide what you want to grow and where you’re going to get it.

The best place to start is to figure out what growing zone you’re in. Check out your Hardiness Zone here: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

This will give you an idea of what you can grow and helps you reverse engineer your seed sowing dates.

Next, you need choose what seeds you want to grow. A few of my top choices for seed include:

Once you’ve picked out your seeds, the next step is to get your supplies lined up. Supplies that you’ll need will include seed trays, pots, CowPots, soil or growing media, and fertilizer.

Below are my top recommendations with explanations of why you would use these products specifically. Also, some of these links are Amazon Affiliate links and I will get paid a small commission if you purchase through the links, pictures, or Amazon ads.

Seed Trays

For Seed Trays, I’m a big fan of TO Plastics. They make their horticultural plastic products from recycled material, so I like the sustainability factor, plus I feel that they produce a superior product with their Star Plug design to prevent circling roots.

CowPots

CowPots are by far THE best growing product I have used. At first I was skeptical – they’re pots made out of cow poop. Immediately it makes you think, maybe I’ll stick to Jiffy Pots! But once you try them out, you’ll be blown away. I felt like my tomatoes were completely thriving once I transplanted them into CowPots. Not only did they have more room to grow, but they are also getting oxygenated roots, which is probably leading to air-pruning (which is a good thing) AND you don’t have to worry about transplant shock. You just plop the whole pot in the ground and let nature do its thing! CowPots Pack of 20 Starter Pots Made from Cow Manure (3″ Diameter by 3″ Depth) 100% Biodegradable/Peat Free

Pepper plants in CowPots
Pepper plants in CowPots

HydroFloat & Fertilizers

This hydroponic seed starting kit is one of the easiest things to start seeds in. This kit comes with a tray, humidity dome, 55-cell styrofoam insert, and 55 grow plugs for the foam. Once you pop the plugs into the tray, you fill it with water until the foam is floating on top. You then plant your seeds, refill the water as needed and the grow plugs will soak up water & fertilizer through capillary action. Refills & the best fertilizers for this system are listed below:

Soil

Because the intro to seeds & supplies was so heavy, I am going to dive in on Soil in more detail on the next blog in this series. Keep your eyes peeled for the blog/podcast/video on Soil Health, Soilless Mixes, Soil Amendments, and more!

And if there’s any gardening questions I can help you out with – let me know, I would love to help!

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Seasonal Senescence

On Sunday I took a bike ride through Linear Park and couldn’t help but notice that Fall has a certain spicy smell to the air. Your lungs burn from the cold air, but then there is the sweet senescent spice of the leaves collecting on the forest floor and slowly decomposing into food for the microbes, the soil, and ultimately the trees they fell from. The leaves also cover the seeds that preceded the tumble of foliage and help to insulate and ensure survival from the elements of nature; beast or weather. There’s something comforting about the changing of the seasons, but there’s also something that makes you dread the cold, the dark. Winter is a time of cold and seemingly death, but it is simply a rest; it is in our circadian rhythm to synchronize with the symptoms of the season. We must simply embrace the cold and the ‘uncomfortable’ for what it is and enjoy it nonetheless. Why do we wish to look for ways NOT to do things or reasons why NOT. Why NOT figure out how to adapt and make the environment a product of you instead of relying on the environment to give you the directions of how to live.

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Talking Permaculture, Music, & Perspective with Romo Loco

Producing a podcast was at the top of my Resolutions List this year & I’m finally making it a reality thanks to my lifelong friend Tyler Gutman (aka Romo Loco). We had no plans, agenda, or structure going into this podcast, but I really feel like we got into a great flow & cadence – would love to hear your thoughts on the topics we dove into! We start off talking about the origins of our names – “Romo Loco” & “Gardening 4 Gains”, talk about Tyler’s time in the jungle & the practices of Permaculture he learned. Then we talk about Tyler’s music & what he’s currently working on – then we go everywhere from DNA & genetics to politics & just about everything else – Enjoy!

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Top 10 Most Cold-Hardy Fruits & Vegetables

Credit: Gilmour.com

With the impending doom of 60 degrees below zero on its way to us in Ohio, it got me thinking – what are the most cold-hardy plants that survive in the harshest conditions on the planet? I started doing some research and wasn’t finding anything particularly interesting. When it gets that cold, or you’re looking at an area like the Arctic or Antarctic, there’s a layer in the soil called Permafrost. This is a permanent frozen layer beneath the soil, but there is a thin layer on the surface of the soil that will freeze & thaw, called the active layer. Grasses, lichen, and dwarf trees & shrubs grow here, but the shallow layer of soil prevents trees from becoming well-established.

Though it’s fun to learn about that frozen world, I thought it would be better to focus on the fruits & veggies you can grow if you live in a frigid climate or growing zone below 6

1. Ice Cream Banana (Blue Java Bananas)

Blue Java Bananas (Ice Cream Bananas)

Also known as the Blue Java Banana, this plant was a little bit of a stretch for this list, but extremely unique and totally doable even if you’re gardening in Zone 4! If you’re in zone 7 or lower, you’ll want to plug these guys into pots. That way you can move the pots indoors during winter. Just as the name indicates, these have a vanilla custard flavor that comes from the plant’s unique blue bananas. This one may be quite a challenge, but so cool to know that it’s possible to grow tropical fruits in a Midwestern climate!

2. Gooseberry


Gooseberries have been rising in popularity recently, but are still relatively unknown in the United States. These plants are extremely hardy all the way down to zone 3 – or -40┬║F!

3. Currants

Currants are very similar to Gooseberries – they are extremely hardy down to -40┬║F. The big difference between the 2 is that Currants grow in clusters of 8-30 fruit whereas Gooseberries will typically have 1-3 fruit per group. There are a ton of varieties of currant: red, white, black, and pink – I actually have a variety called ‘Pink Lemonade’ in my garden and last year was the first year we were able to harvest fruit. They taste somewhat like a mix of grapes & blueberries, but slightly more tart. This season will be the 3rd year we’ve had the plant, so should see some great yields this year!

4. Persimmon

I have been extremely interested in Persimmons ever since I had one of my grower customers at work (I work at AM Leonard horticultural tool & supply company) tell me that they were a native tree to Ohio. It’s funny because a) I have never seen or eaten a Persimmon and b) I have never seen a persimmon tree! These are another super-hardy plant that can tolerate up to zone 4, or -25┬║F. Just like the Blue Java Bananas, these are supposed to have a custard-like taste & consistency – I’ve also heard it described as nature’s sorbet.

5. Beets/Turnips/Radishes

Veggies that you already know about are boring to plop into this list, but I think it’s important to include fast-growing plants and not just fruit trees/shrubs that take years to get to fruiting. Radishes, Beets, and Turnips love the cool weather and they get off to a great start because they begin growing before the weeds do. Beets will thrive when growing in the warm summer months, but do better when seeds are started in a cooler environment. All of these crops can survive freezes and the cooler weather actually increases their sugar content & decreases that spicy flavor that can sometimes affect Radishes that are grown in hot weather (sorry to all my CropBox people that got the fire Radishes last summer!).

6. Cranberry

Cranberries are very similar to Currants & Gooseberries, but thought it would be important to list them on here as well because they’re considered the most-consumed berry in the world – and they are extremely cold-hardy, growing best in Zones 2-6. A lot of Cranberry production takes place in cold climates – Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Canada. And if you’ve never seen a cranberry harvest, it’s something you’ve got to check out. Cranberries are grown in ‘bogs’ and during harvest they flood the bogs, the fruit floats to the top, and they’re wading through waist-deep water with rakes – think Ocean Spray commercials with the 2 guys standing there in cranberries – that’s the harvest. Maybe I can try to link up with some local growers to capture a harvest next fall?

7. Cold-hardy Kiwi

Cold hardy Kiwi is a special plant. Normal Kiwis grow in zone 7-9, but cold-hardy will allow you to grow them up to zone 3! Another interesting thing about this plant is that it is basically in invasive weed – if you aren’t regularly pruning or training, it definitely has the potential to take over your garden, maybe even your whole yard!

8. Cabbage

Cabbage and other Brassica plants (Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts) are extremely cold-hardy as well with most of them able to take temperatures as low as 15┬║F. These veggies are great for starting off your growing season & getting some early-season greens, or you can extend your gardening season with these guys growing well into October or November for me here in Ohio.

9. Carrots

Carrots are another underrated crop that can withstand the cold down to 15┬║F – but you may have to cover the green tops to prevent damage from a hard freeze. Carrots are similar to the other root veggies mentioned earlier – they grow well in the heat, but the cooler weather really elevates the sugar content & makes for a sweeter-tasting end result.

10. Haskap Berries (Honeyberry)

Haskap is also known as Blue Honeysuckle, Honeyberry, and a slew of other variations. This berry is native to Japan, Russia, and Poland and grows well in zones 2-9. Honeyberries are loaded with antioxidants & supposedly have a flavor that tastes like a mixture of a blueberry & raspberry – I’m thinking we might have to make some room in the garden for these guys!

The winter months are grueling for a gardener – it’s all about waiting for the weather to break & keeping yourself occupied with projects to help plan the upcoming growing season. I hope this brought a little entertainment & value, maybe even helping you extend your growing season this year, but stay tuned as I’m really ramping up my content this year and will actually stay consistent with it. Just as last year I will be running my Fresh Produce Subscription Box, but will also be walking everyone through the process of gardening – from Planning to Planting, from Pest-Control to Fertilization, and from Harvest to Processing.

Let me know what you would like to see – what would help you become a better gardener?