Category Archives: Gardening

As spring rolls around, we start to think of being outside, enjoying the wonderful weather. Now is also the time to think about establishing your vegetable garden – it’s a wonderful way to save money, get exercise, and help your family to eat healthy. And taking care of a garden is a never-ending and rewarding learning experience.


The most important thing to consider is where your garden will be located. Gardens need sun, the more the better. Locate your garden away from any shadows cast by large trees or buildings. Ideally, you would like to have level ground; if the garden is on too steep a slope, the soil will erode and nutrients will be washed away. Ideally you want to choose the sunniest, brightest spot in the whole yard. If you are limited for space you can also grow some vegetables in containers on a sunny patio or deck. I have a friend who lines their front walk with large containers planted with lettuce. It’s very pretty to look at, convenient and you are providing your family with fresh greens.


If this is your first year gardening, you also want to consider the size. It is better to start small and increase your garden size year by year. A 15 x 15 foot plot would be a good size to start with.establishing your vegetable garden


Once you have decided where to place your garden, the next thing to consider is the soil preparation. Well-prepared soil will help you have a successful garden. However, any soil can be improved. Soil quality is determined by three characteristics: composition, pH (its acidity), and fertility. All of these areas can be improved by adding generous amounts of organic humus: compost, peat moss, well-rotted manure or processed manure. Be sure to mix the organic humus thoroughly with your existing soil.establishing your vegetable garden


  • Composition: The composition of the soil determines a great deal about its growing potential. Soil is made up of clay, sand, silt and biological sediment. If the soil is too loose and sandy, or too heavy and clayish, aeration, drainage and nutrient retention will suffer. You can determine the composition of your soil by doing this simple test. Take a shovel and dig a hole about six inches deep and remove the surface layer. Spoon about one cup of the mix into a glass-canning jar and fill with 2 cups of water. Shake it up for several minutes to fully mix the contents. Let the jar sit for 24 hours and look at it. The small clay particles will be on the top; the silt will be in the middle and the coarse sand particles on the bottom. An ideal garden soil would be 40% sand, 40 % silt and 20% clay. Here is a handy graphic regarding soil composition.establishing your vegetable garden


  • pH: Vegetables require a pH range of 6.0 – 7.0, anything above or below that and optimal growth will be affected. pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Basically it is a measure of the amount of lime contained in your soil and the type of soil you have. An acid soil has a pH lower than 7, and alkaline soil has a pH higher than 7. You can test your soil yourself with a pH soil tester which you can purchase at your local garden center or online. Your local extension bureau will also test your soil for a modest fee. Once you have determined your pH you can amend your soil. To have your soil tested by your local Extension office you purchase a kit, which includes a mailer, sample bag, and information form. The fee for the basic test in Vermont is $14.00, this incudes the pH and your potassium, phosphorus and calcium levels as well as Magnesium, Sulfur, micronutrients, CES (carbon exchange capacity) BS (basic saturation percent), organic matter and will give recommendations for one crop. When you are filling out the form you can say that you are growing mixed vegetables. This is the best way to find out exactly what shape your garden is in and what the recommendations are to improve the soil.establishing your vegetable garden



  • Fertility: The fertility of a soil refers to its ability to supply nutrients for plant growth. Insufficient fertility cannot support healthy crops. For a soil to be healthy it must have nutrients readily available and a pH value at a recommended level for the plants that will be growing in the soil. The nutrients that should be available for the plants are nitrogen (for leaf growth), phosphorus (root growth) and potassium (overall health). In addition to the essential nutrients there should also be trace elements like calcium and magnesium. Plants growing in a fertile soil will be very strong and healthy and produce well.


No matter what type of soil you have the addition of organic matter will work wonders. Organic matter is plant and animal residues in varying forms of decomposition. Compost is an excellent way to help amend your soil. Compost is already decomposed and can work wonders in the garden. If your soil is lacking nutrients and you don’t have access to compost you can purchase various fertilizers at your garden center.establishing your vegetable garden


Now that your garden plot is laid out and the soil is ready, it is time to decide what vegetables you want to plant. Before you decide what to plant in your garden, determine the eating habits of your family. You want to grow vegetables that your family will eat. There are many sources online that will help you determine just how many rows to plant of each vegetable. One source I found is this simple seed-planting chart: If you want a rewarding, productive garden, do some research to find out what grows well in your area. An excellent resource is your state’s agricultural extension office. You want to make sure you know what growing zone you are living in; when your last frost date is expected in the spring, and when the first date of frost in the fall is expected. These dates will determine when you can plant outdoors, what you should try to grow, since the days to maturation will need to fit in this last frost to first frost window, and when you should be harvesting your vegetables.


You have now decided on your garden location, figured out which vegetables and how many to grow. You must now figure out where the plants will be placed in your garden. The taller crops should be planted on the north side of your garden so they don’t shade the other plants. At the southern end of the garden plant your shorter vegetables, like your carrots and lettuce. By taking time to plan out your garden now you will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest later this summer.


Several years ago I shared my experience of being given some seeds for the Gete okosomin squash from a friend of mine in Wisconsin.finding gate okosomin seeds No matter what the actual story is of these wonderful seeds they are definitely an heirloom squash that has been grown for years and years. In fact when the seeds were first discovered finding Gete okosomin seeds was almost impossible. As a result after my post was published I have had numerous requests for seeds.finding gete okosomin seeds


When I first was given the seeds I planted them in my garden. Unfortunately that was the year we had a real drought and the harvest suffered. I did get some seeds but now enough to fulfill all the requests I had.finding gete okosomin seeds


Our house then went on the market and last year I cut way back on our vegetable garden and did not even plant any of the squash seeds. I continue to get requests from people who are having trouble finding Gete okosomin seeds.finding gete okosomin seeds


Since our house is still on the market and we’ve had a lot more interest this year I may or may not even have a vegetable garden this year. I thought I would do a little research for those of you who are having trouble finding the Gete okosomin seeds.


If you do a Google search on these Gete okosomin seeds you will find that there are not very many places to purchase the seeds.


Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds would be my top recommendation. Baker Creek is currently selling 10 seeds for $6.00. I love the story of Baker Creek Heirlom Seeds and am glad to support them by purchasing their seeds. Jere Gettle always had a passion for growing things, and at age 3 planted his first garden. Ever since, he wanted to be involved in the seed  industry. So in 1998, at the age of 17, he printed his first Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog. The company has grown to offer nearly 2,000 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs, the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the USA.


They are also available from the SeedWise website. A packet of 10 seeds is $3.50.


I also found an offer on Amazon for Frozen Seed Capsules. It lists that the capsule includes Gete okosomin Squash Seeds plus five rare garden seeds for $24.95! Seems a little high for me!


There were also two offers on Google.


Heirloom non GMO Gete okosomin Winter Squash Seeds for $0.99 plus $2.64 for shipping from eCrater-Survival Seeds. There was also a listing from Bonanza-Little Sprouts Farm’s Booth for 10 seeds for $5.64 plus $2.95 shipping.


I hope this helps for those of you having trouble finding Gete okosomin squash seeds. As soon as my garden is up and running I plan to grow these wonderful winter squash once again. They store well and have a wonderful taste. Well worth adding to your garden.finding gete okosomin seeds



It may be snowing outside but I’ve got flowers inside! Usually in the winter you will find me forcing bulbs or transplanting my houseplants. Anything to get my hands back in the dirt! However as you know our house is on the market and I’ve cut way back on my houseplants and do not have any bulbs being forced. This does not mean I have to give up having blooms inside!silk flowers


Silk flowers came to my rescue. They have pages of silk flowers and silk plants on their web site. Perfect solutions to brighten up our house in the winter. Plus they look so real!

I picked out a set of mixed blooms including daisies, ranunculus and morning glory, which gave me four vases. I was able to place them in different areas of our home to add a touch of spring.


When we lived in Florida years ago I used to have many silk plants. They were so easy, no watering required and the only care they needed was a little dusting now and then.


If you are challenged by the thought of keeping houseplants but would like a little greenery or some spring blooms in your home try Commercial Silk plants. There have many options to choose from. Try a tall Cherry tree or a small bouquet of flowers like I chose. You’ll be amazed at how a simple silk plant can brighten up your flowers


Using artificial flower arrangements means they’ll last forever. No dead flowers to throw out. These flowers I received from are top quality. They arrived packed well with no damage to the silk flowers. I would highly recommend them, their products are top quality, the plants have lifelike blooms and they have numerous plants in all shapes, sizes and flowers


Have you ever used silk plants in your home? If you’re looking for options checkout Commercial Silk, I’m sure you’ll find something you flowers


I received free product as compensation for writing this post, all opinions are my own.




Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that spring is coming.Spring is Coming The temperatures outside are well below freezing and the ground is covered with snow and ice. Even the birds are puffed up at the feeders. Spring seems along way off. However the one clue that tells me that spring is coming is the number of seed catalogs in my mailbox!Spring is Coming


I’ve actually been receiving less seed catalogs in the last few years, I’m sure because mailing has gotten so expensive and I haven’t ordered anything form them in a few years. The seed catalogs I continue to receive are my favorites.


There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting by our woodstove with a cup of tea looking through the various catalogs and planning my garden because spring is coming!spring is coming


I’ve cut way back on our vegetable garden since our house is on the market and you never know when we might get an offer! However I can’t give up gardening totally and I have eight wonderful raised beds so why not plant them!Spring is Coming


My favorite catalog is the Solstice Seed catalog. A local seed saver, Sylvia Davatz started this catalog several years ago. She lives just a few towns over so I know that everything in her catalog will grow in my garden. Last year she passed on the catalog to another local seed saver. As a result the prices have increased somewhat. However the goal of both of these wonderful seed savers is that we should all be growing and saving our own seeds. Every seed listed in the catalog you should be able to grow and then save the seeds yourself.Spring is Coming


My second favorite seed catalog is the Fedco Seed Catalog. This is not a glossy publication in fact there is not one photograph in the whole catalog, just black and white drawings and wonderful descriptions and information on the various seeds. There prices are very reasonable and I get a further discount when ordering through our local co-op. As a result my order is usually very inexpensive.Spring is Coming


If you are interested in growing heirloom seeds you should request a catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This company has almost 2000 different varieties of seeds for sale. The photographs are beautiful and the stories behind the various seeds are so interesting to read. I love that the company was started small and has done so well. I would love to order all my seeds from them but instead I just order a special few. If you are interested in the Gete okosomin squash they do offer seeds!spring is coming


What are your favorite seed catalogs? I love finding companies that are fairly local, like Solstice Seeds. That way I can be assured of having a successful garden. Spring is coming and now is the time to order your seeds!


Happy New Year my faithful readers!

It’s giveaway time!

What better way to start the New Year than with a wonderful giveaway! It’s time to think SPRING and plan our gardens. Enter the giveaway to win seeds and everything you need to get your garden going this spring!New Year's Eve

We LOVE Giveaways!!!!
As promised,  Mary’s Heirloom Seeds is sponsoring Another Giveaway.
Are you ready???

This is a super simple giveaway with loads of seeds!  This Giveaway will run from Sunday, January 1st thru January 6th at midnight and is open to residents of the US and Canada
We will pick One Lucky Winner on January 7th




Includes One packet of each:
 Amana’s Orange Tomato 
German Giant Radish
Anaheim Pepper
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Jalapeno Pepper
Tom Thumb Lettuce
Blue Lake Bush Bean
Purple-Top Whiteglobe Turnip
5-Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard
National Pickling Cucumber
This is a great starter kit for your Kitchen Herb Garden.  Includes a full-pack of the following varieties:
Genovese Basil


Coconut coir growing medium comes from the coconut’s fibrous husk (known as coir) that is bound together by lignin (known as pith).  With the addition of water, coir expands to an easy to work with growing medium. The addition of water increases the volume 3 to 9 times, depending on the packaging of products. This process results in a 100% organic, biodegradable growing medium, making it a natural and safe growth medium of choice for growers


It is an amazing experience to learn new things!  Each kit includes
-Seeds: Butterfly Weed, Plains Coreopsis, Echinacea Purpurea, Marigold and Lacy Phacelia
-20 coconut Coir Pellets
-Plant Markers
-Sowing and Growing Tips included
Mary’s Heirloom Seeds is a “mom and pop” small business created out of a
desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Our
customers know that we are a simple phone call or email away

We currently offer over 500 varieties of open-pollinated, non-gmo & non-hybrid Heirloom Seeds.  Mary has signed the Safe Seed Pledge AND the Declaration of Seed Freedom.

Are you ready to enter the giveaway?

Giveaway is open to all Residents of the US and Canada.
Giveaway opens 1/1/2018 and ends 1/7/18 at Midnight.
All giveaway entrants will be added to Mary’s Heirloom Seeds mailing list.
Your information is never sold and we never send spam emails.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Whether you are planting wildflowers, spring or fall veggies, or designing an herb garden, it takes a little bit of skill. You have to understand what your plants need to thrive. You have to know how when and how to:  

  • Prepare and protect the soil.
    • How to add nutrients
    • How to till the ground
    • Do you need mulch?
    • Do you use compost deposits?
  • Select the seeds
    • Which seeds grow best in your climate?
    • When should you plant them?
    • How long should it take them to grow (click here for more details)gardening


  • Determine the amount of sunshine the garden needs (direct sunlight or indirect sunlight)
  • How to prevent disease or damage done by insects
  • Which plants survive cool and cold temperatures?
  • How to rotate your plants in order to keep the soil healthy

There is help

Modern technology is the gardner’s best friend. There are tons of apps for smart-phones and androids that will help you plant and harvest a successful garden. These apps give you all the information you need to begin and continue your garden. If there is an issue with your plants, you can bet someone has already experienced the same issue.


Below we are going to share with you 3 of our top choices for the gardener. With these apps on your phone or tablet, your garden will be fail-proof.gardening


Gardening Companion

The Gardening Companion App is free. Everything you need to know about your garden is literally at your fingertips. The app answers your questions about planting and issues that come up. It can be set up to remind you of when to maintain your garden. This is like having your own gardening assistant.

Gardening Compass

This app gives you all the information you need on any plant. If you want to identify a particular flower or plant, it can help you. If you want to know if that plant is compatible with your garden, it can tell you that too. The calendar reminds you of important tasks to do. It is easy to forget your gardens needs in our fast-paced world.


One issue you may face when designing your garden is that the apps are not very flexible. If you have an odd shaped garden, the apps cannot adjust their instruction for the shape. Permaculture solved that problem. This is a high-tech app let you create a virtual garden. You will be able to design the garden on screen and the app will tell you if you have placed a plant in a prime area or if it should be moved.


Gardening is a great way to bring beauty and satisfaction to your life. You may want a small flower garden to enjoy in your backyard or you may have a large plot that allows for fall vegetables to grow. You may have a raised garden or a portable herb garden. These apps adjust to your requirements and make the job of expert gardening your reality. Whether you have been a gardener for years or this is your first try, these apps are going to be your new best friend.


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