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Planning A Vegetable Garden

Planning a Vegetable Garden is the best part of the winter months. Rather than sulking indoors during the winter months, start imaging and planning your spring and summer garden. In January, the seed catalogs start arriving, and by February you should have picked out what you want to grow.  Creating a plan for your vegetable garden will make sure that everything you want to grow, you will have the available space and time. For a successful vegetable garden, you need a Garden Journal, Gardening Calendar, and finally a Visual Graph or Layout of your Gardening area.

Planning a Vegetable Garden

PLANNING A VEGETABLE GARDEN

Garden Journal:

Once you have chosen your seeds, use your garden journal (you can print your own copy at the bottom of the blog) Garden Journalto track each vegetable/berry/fruit tree, etc. on their own page.  Fill in all the information for the particular seed, how to sow it, care for it, etc.. There is a section for companions/enemies which is very helpful when drawing a garden layout, areas to record pests, harvest info. for tacking if if was successful, and when the seeds were planted indoors or outdoors.  

  • Detailed Garden Journal

 

Calendar:

Next step in planning a vegetable garden is to create a calendar. First determine you average last frost of the Spring and average first frost of the Fall and input them … READ MORE...

Winter Cover Crop for Raised Beds

Winter Cover Crop in Raised Garden BedsFall harvest has come and gone, but the gardening work is not over.  After the garden beds are cleaned up…it’s time to plant a winter cover crop in your raised beds.   Cover crops grow during the fall/winter months, and are tilled under during the late winter/early spring in preparation for late spring or summer plantings. A winter cover crop is excellent at replacing nutrients and organic matter back into the soil after each gardening season. 

In Colorado, Zone 5, the best winter cover crop is a combination of winter rye and vetch.  Vetch replaces lost nitrogen in the garden bed, where the winter rye is great at adding organic matter.

Many companies sell either winter rye OR vetch, but Urban Farmer, sells a rye/vetch combo!  I was very excited that I could get the benefits from both the vetch and rye.  I purchased the 5lb bag, but only sowed a little over half the bag (so I have bunch for next year).

Winter Rye & Vetch Combo

Fall Planting

Planting a Winter Cover Crop in a Raised Bed

After receiving your chosen cover crop in the mail or from your local store, it’s time to plant it.   Late October seems to be the ideal time in Colorado to plant your winter cover crop. 

Prepare your raised garden beds by removing (and composting) any vegetables that won’t remain through the winter. Sprinkle the winter … READ MORE...

Create a Storage System For Your Canned Goods

Create a Storage System for Your Canned GoodsIf you are just starting into the world of canning or have been canning goods for a while, you will have to organize all your jars and equipment.  If you are newer to canning, it will feel like every canning season you have to organize and re-organize everything…..and that is because you do as your jars and equipment expand.   Here are ways to create a storage system for your canned goods in order to keep everything manageable and expandable.

Expandable Shelving

I am a big fan of the IKEA Ivar System shelving because it is modulCanning Storage System Includes Different Areas of Organizationar and I can keep adding or taking away shelves as needed.   The 11″ deep shelves are perfect for fitting 4 pint jars deep or 3 quart jars deep.  The Ivar shelving units can all be bought individually; the uprights on either side of the shelf and then the shelves.  If you have a corner, like I do, there are also corner units than easily add on to the traditional shelving units.  I use the larger corner shelves to store the larger items like: the pressure canner, water bath stock pot, fermentation crock, etc.

Dewey Decimal System

Okay, so the Dewey Decimal System doesn’t work for canned goods.  However, you should create a storage system for your canned goods  based on the type of … READ MORE...

Canning Inventory

A Canning inventory is very helpful in keeping track of all your canning jars, it details what type of canned goodie you have and how many are available.  Creating your own canning inventory is very quick and simple.

Canning Inventory - COLORADO URBAN HOMESTEADERIf you are like me, I keep all my canned goods down stairs in the unfinished basement since it is darker and cooler than upstairs.  Upstairs in my kitchen pantry is where I post my inventory checklist.  Having a canning inventory list is a great visual of what you have available and could give you inspiration for that night’s dinner!

Creating a Canning Inventory SheetCanning Inventory - COLORADO URBAN HOMESTEADER

Open a word document, and write the name of each different type of canned good on a separate line.  Then, to the right of the item, add a checkbox for every jar of that kind you have.    As you use a jar, just cross off a box.  

There is no need to notate the years of the jars, just the quantity.  You should have a system established so that you use the oldest jar first to keep everything in rotation; if you don’t have a system, check out my post:  Create a Storage System for your Canned Goods

 

Updating the Canning Inventory Sheet

Your inventory sheet should be updated at the end of October or early … READ MORE...

Bottling Kombucha & Next Batch

If this is your very first time making Kombucha, please follow this link for directions on making your first batch. Make Your First Batch of Kombucha

Also links to the first Kombucha article with Book recommendation and helpful Facebook group.
Fermented Sweet Tea – Kombucha

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Congrats!  You have previously made your first batch of kombucha and it has sat for a week or two and is ready for the second fermentation and for you to start another batch.  Here are my directions, for Bottling Kombucha. Many pictures and directions will look the same as from your very first batch, but with more intricate steps.  Reminder this is for use in a Ball 1 Gallon jar, which will yield three quart jars of bucha per batch (with enough left over to start a second batch)

 

Make Sweetened Tea

    • Take a shallow pan, add some water to about 1 inch high (amount really doesn’t matter as long as it is less than 3/4 gallon), bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add tea bags.  I like to use 3 bags of Bigelow Green Tea and 3 bags of Celestial Seasoning’s Morning Thunder Black Tea.  Let tea bags steep for 5 minutes, then remove.  Add 1 cup sugar to pan and stir until dissolved.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
    • Bottling Kombucha & Next Batch - COLORADO URBAN HOMESTEADER 
READ MORE...