Seed Starting Calendar


I’ve comprised a seed starting calendar for our area that I wanted to share with anyone who is wanting to try to grow their own food this year! If you don’t live in Tennessee, these specific dates won’t apply to you, but from what I’ve seen, our growing season starts about a month earlier than in the Midwest. So you may be able to start your seeds one month after what I have listed.

Last year was my first time having a garden large enough to feed our family of three all year long and I learned a ton through trial and error. One of the things I learned is that you don’t have to start all of your seeds at the same time and that you don’t have to wait until mid-April to transplant everything outdoors.

The other thing I learned was that the spring growing season is rather short. Since Tennessee winters are warm and summer temps settle in come May, certain cool weather crops (root vegetables, broccoli, greens, etc.) need to be in the ground come February and March if you want to get a good yield.

So now is a great time to start certain crops! But which ones?

CHECK OUT MY CALENDAR TO FIND OUT!

To Start Seeds Indoors: Fill clean egg shells or seed starter kit with organic compost or potting soil. Plant two seeds per shell according to planting depth on back of seed packet then water and store in a warm place. (On top of the fridge is great as most seeds do not need sun to germinate. If your kitchen is cold, try placing your starts on top of a heating pad.) Once seeds sprout, you can move to a warm sunny window.
To Transplant Your Starts Outdoors: Harden off (introduce to sun incrementally) before you transplant outdoors, then remove soil pod from your egg carton or seed starter kit and plant into the ground. Press down soil around transplant firmly and water. Water as needed until roots are established then water according to instructions on back of seed packet.
To Direct Sow Seeds Into the Garden: 
Prepare garden bed by amending soil (add compost and/or sand and other organic matter) then place seeds in the soil according to recommending spacing on the back of the seed packet. Cover with soil and gently pat down to secure seeds in their spot. Water gently as to not move the seeds. Water once a day until sprout then water according to recommendations on back of seed packet.

My calendar only contains crops that I grow myself. Your list of garden vegetables might be very different than mine, so please consult this comprehensive list to find out the start dates for dozens of other vegetables, herbs, and flowers!

Thanks so much for stopping by and if this post helped you, please share! For video tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Instagram!

Happy Planting!

xo,

Kanga

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Adventures in Organic Gardening: How we Keep our Garden Pest Free 

Cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and squash in full swing! All without the use of store bought sprays or fertilizers!


We don’t have a fence put up around our garden. With owning a new house, the projects are never ending, and they add up fast. So we decided to forgo the garden fence this year, seeing as how most of our neighbors don’t fence in their gardens. So with the help of​ 

advice from locals and some good old fashioned trial-and-error, I’ve found a few effective ways to keep hungry animals and insects from destroying our crops.  

1.) Lime: we put lime down on the bottom of our trenches before we planted potatoes, garlic, and onions to keep bugs from eating the crop underground. We didn’t lose a single potato to slugs because of this.

2.) Dog Hair: we asked the local dog groomer to save us a bag of dog hair for one week and we put a handful of hair under each transplant. Soon after planting our tomato and bell pepper transplants, I noticed the leaves were getting eaten up. Rabbits love eating these plants and a great way to deter them is to lie down dog hair in the garden. Some people swear by spreading it around the perimeter of the garden, but we live on a ridgetop and the winds get very powerful out here, so I stuffed it under the base of the plants so the leaves of the plants could keep the hair from blowing away. We haven’t had any issues with bunnies coming to feast on our crops since! I’m going to ask for another bag soon so I can put more down when I plant my fall crops.

3.) Human Urine: along the same lines as #2, you could pee in a bucket and drizzle it around the perimeter of your garden if you can’t get your hands on dog hair from the groomer. We did this that long week I was waiting for the dog hair and we didn’t lose any more tomato leaves to the bunnies.

4.) Egg Shells: crush up your egg shells and spread them around the base of your plants to deter slugs. They don’t like crossing their sharp edges.

5.) Cayenne Pepper Spray: make a spray of garlic, cayenne pepper, and peppermint essential oil to keep white butterflies, caterpillars, beetles, etc. from destroying your plants. You can find a recipe on Pinterest somewhere I’m sure, but I just steeped garlic and cayenne pepper in a big pot of boiling water, strained it and added peppermint oil. Spray in the early morning before the sun gets too hot.

6.) Zinnias: these colorful flowers deter cucumber beetles and tomato worms, so plant them in between rows of cucumbers and tomatoes. They also attract hummingbirds which eat white flies that may damage potato plants, so we put one big row of zinnias behind our potatoes as well.

I’m excited to plant Nasturtium (an edible flower that helps repel cabbage worms) and try floating row covers on our cabbage  in the fall. We lost the whole crop to white caterpillars and I’m determined to grow some for homemade kimchi this year!

What do you use to keep pests and insects off your garden crops?

<3,

Laura

What’s Cookin’ Wednesday: Swedish Meatballs

This meal is 100% gluten free, dairy free, and packed with anti-inflammatory, immune boosting ingredients. But man oh man. It is so delicious you would never know!

If you’d rather load up your mashed potatoes with milk and butter, by all means, do your thing! If you don’t have gluten sensitivities, use regular bread for the meatballs and all purpose flour for the gravy instead. Extra virgin olive oil, ghee, or butter will work in place of the coconut oil. If you don’t have flax seeds, you can replace that portion of the recipe with one beaten egg. None of the measurements would change! That’s the beauty of this recipe – you can make it as healthy as you want to!

Organic is the best for optimal health, so that’s what we use. Whatever you have on hand is fine!

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SWEDISH MEATBALLS WITH GRAVY
(c=cup; t=teaspoon; T=tablespoon)

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Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar Recipe

Since September of last year I have been doing the no-poo method of washing my hair. It’s a non-toxic, eco-friendly way to wash your hair. Sounds great right?

Well…I started with the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse. It made my hair very dry and brittle and impossible to comb so I switched to a more conditioning coconut milk shampoo recipe that I found from Dr. Axe.

I have combination hair so I altered Dr. Axe’s recipe because it was making my hair way too oily and weighed down. I took out the coconut oil entirely and just did a mix of:

1/4 c Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap
1 can of coconut milk
30 drops of rosemary essential oil
20 drops of peppermint essential oil

That recipe worked wonders for me (with an apple cider vinegar rinse) for about 10 months. I only had to wash my hair 2-3 times a week and on occasion, I did a baking soda rinse to clarify any build up.

Then we moved to an area with hard water.

All of a sudden, my hair was waxy and hard to brush and nothing I did would fix it. I did a little digging and found out that we had hard water and that Dr. Bronner’s does not work in hard water.

So I tried the BS/ACV method using distilled water. Didn’t work. I tried honey, aloe vera, and Shea Moisture shampoo. Nothing worked. I was sure my no-poo/low-poo journey was over so I switched back to conventional shampoo.

And boy did that just anger me! I couldn’t get through half a day without my hair being greasy, and it was so silky smooth that it just completely fell flat and had no body or texture.

I missed my homemade shampoo. Determined to find something that worked, I found a super simple, three ingredient recipe for a coconut oil shampoo bar.

I have to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this working because nothing else did, but after a month of washing with this and rinsing with an apple cider vinegar/water mixture, my hair went back to normal!

This shampoo makes my hair soft, shiny, manageable, and full of body! It’s easy to blow dry, but looks good even if I air dry it.

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See?! 🙂

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Baby Rue is One! 

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Happy Birthday sweet girl. Mommy and Daddy love watching you grow!

Little Miss Rue is a riot these days!! We are in awe of how much personality she has and how fast she learns.

She loves walking, playing with dogs, throwing balls, carrying bags, putting things around her neck, turning lights on and off, reading books, and climbing. She can give kisses, hugs, and high fives and say mama, dada, ball, and roar! (when you ask her what a dinosaur says).

Your entrance into this world was nothing short of a miracle and this past year has been more than a blessing for your father and I. It’s hard to put into words the magnitude of love we have for you. You have completed our family unit and we can’t imagine life without you. You have challenged us and moved us in ways we never thought possible and you continue to amaze us each and everyday.

We are so excited for what is to come and we’re thankful for all the memories we’ve made these past twelve months.

Happy birthday love bug! We love you so, so very much.

<3,

Mommy & Daddy

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