Tag Archives: Vegetable gardening

For me gardening is a labor of love. I love working in my garden and have been growing our own food for many, many years! I’ve always said it is an excellent way to save money. But is it really? To find out I would really have to keep careful track of every penny I spend over the course of the year. I would have to track the cost of the seeds I buy, any young plants I purchaser, and fertilizer.  To have an accurate figure I would also have to consider the water and electric usage and even the time I spend planting, weeding and harvesting. To calculate the rewards, I would have to monitor the amount of food we harvested as well as the cost equivalent from the local Farmers Market.

gardening, vegetables

vegetables from the garden

Keeping records is not a strong point for me, perhaps if I did these results would help me find a way to economize and improve my garden crops in the future.

If you are just beginning to garden you also have to consider all the start up costs. Besides plants you would also need tools, watering devices and many other items. Some would last for years while others would have to be purchased every year.

weeding tools

Small gardening hand tools.

With time a garden does pay off financially. Herbs will pay for themselves quickly. Eventually so will the berry bushes, fruit trees and fresh vegetables. If you preserve your harvest you will save even more money. Having a pantry and a freezer will help you to prolong the pleasure of the harvest.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

In the end you will probably find that the benefits of a garden can’t be measured in dollars and cents. For me I enjoy the time I spend in my garden. I love having a productive hobby I can share with others. I also love filling my pantry shelves with the gardens bounty, salsas, and sauces and jams all made with the bounty I grew.

prudent living, preseving

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce ready for the pantry.

A home garden can be an excellent component of a prudent or thrifty lifestyle. It is also a wonderful activity to engage the family. Over the winter read a few garden catalogs, pick a favorite fruit or vegetable, buy a few seeds and join the fun!

gardening, prudent living

Garden Seeds

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As our garden begins to produce fresh vegetables one of my favorite meals is a Veggie Pasta dish. The original recipe came from a Weight Watchers recipe. I have just made a few changes. This is a flexible recipe, use what you have on hand and enjoy!

Veggie Pasta

½ pound spaghetti noodles
2 small yellow squash or zucchini (about 2 cups), julienned
2 cups of carrots, julienned
2-4 tomatoes, diced
½ cup garlic scapes, sliced thinly
¼ cup onions, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning

Cook noodles according to the package directions. After about 6 minutes add the carrots and the yellow squash. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables are tender, about 6 more minutes.

Pasta, carrots and squash.

Pasta, carrots and squash.

Add the oil to a large sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic scapes and cook until the onion is tender.

Saute onion and garlic scapes.

Saute onion and garlic scapes.

Add the tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes are soft.

Cook tomatoes until soft.

Cook tomatoes until soft.

Add the seasoning to taste. Drain the pasta and vegetables. Serve the pasta and vegetables with the sauce on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Easy Veggie Pasta

Easy Veggie Pasta

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Every January I place an order with Fedco Seeds. They are a great seed company located in Maine, which means the seeds they offer should do well in my Vermont garden. Before placing this year’s order I sort through my old seeds. Some seed varieties will last a couple of years while other seeds need to be purchased in order to have a viable seed.

gardening, prudent living

Going through the old seeds.

Generally corn, leeks, onions, parsnips and spinach are short lived seeds lasting only 1-2 years. Check the date on your seed packets from last year and make sure they are still viable. Squash, pumpkins, peas, eggplant, parsley, beans, carrots and celery should last up to five years. The seeds that last the longest are broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peppers and turnips.

gardening, prudent living

Make sure your seeds are viable.

Before deciding what seeds to order plan your garden out for the whole year. If you are going to order seeds it is a good idea to order them all at once. That way you won’t run into a seed shortage in the middle of the growing season. For example if you wait until the summer to buy seeds for fall planting the varieties you want may not be available.

Evaluate what you planted last year. Did you enjoy the vegetables you grew? Did you plant too much zucchini? Instead of growing ten different varieties of tomatoes grow the ones that did well.

gardening, prudent living

Plant what you enjoy to eat!

You can have a large harvest without investing in large quantities of seed. By spacing your plants further apart you may find you have a great yield than by planting more plants close together.

gardening, prudent living

By spacing your plants you can have a more abundant yield.

It is also important to choose seed companies for your growing conditions. Find a company in your area that sell seeds that will thrive in your area. That is why I choose Fedco Seeds or Johnny’s Selected Seeds also located in Maine. Both companies offer a wide variety that will do well in my climate zone. By choosing the right seeds you will have a better chance at a wonderful garden harvest.

gardening, prudent living

Choose the right seed company to order from for your climate zone.


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The last year has just flown by. On The Home Front has been live for over a year now. To celebrate there will be a giveaway each week during the month of October. Be sure to go to the contest page and enter!

After looking through many of the popular garden posts from the last year, I found that this was one of the more popular posts. It’s not cold and dreary in Vermont yet, but it’s only a matter of time!

This post was originally appeared before this year’s growing season, scroll down to the bottom to see my results!

We’re having a cold, dreary day here in Vermont. It’s been raining on and off and I’ve even noticed a few snow flurries. Not the day to be working outside. Instead I have an inside project. I’m sure you’ve seen the seed tape they sell in catalogs. Designed to help you plant those very small seeds like carrots so you don’t have to do as much thinning. Did you know you can also make these easily at home?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Flour paste – ¼ cup flour and enough water to make a paste.

Strips of paper to make the tape, you can use black and white newspaper, single-ply toilet paper or a thin paper bag.

seed tape, vegetable seeds, planting

Strips of paper

Something to dab the glue on such as a small paintbrush or a toothpick.

Start by making the paste, start with the flour and add enough water until you have the consistency of a paste.

Check your seed packet for the recommendations as to how far apart the seeds should be planted.

seed packet, carrots, prudent living

Packet of Carrot Seeds

Dab the paste onto your strips of paper as far apart as you would plant the seeds. Just drop the seeds into the paste. Drop the same number of seeds that you would plant in your garden.

seeds, prudent planting

Allow seeds to dry in the paste.

Allow the paste to dry completely and roll up your tape. You are all ready to head out to the garden!

For most seeds you will just need to lay the tape down in your garden and lightly cover it with soil. Water and watch the seeds grow! The paper will eventually decompose and you’ll never see it again.

seeds, vegetable gardening, carrots

My homemade seed tape.

Here are the results, it was a successful year for carrots and the seed tape process.

vegetables, seeds

Carrot Harvest

Linked To: MsGreenthumbJean, SidewalkShoes, ASouthernDaydreamer, AnOregonCottage, TootsieTime

Imagine a product that enriches your soil, naturally. Built with organic materials in a form that your plants love. Biochar is a new product for avid gardeners and professional farmers, based on ancient methods of farming. Discovered in the Amazon, made in New England. Read more about this amazing product in the summer issue of Prudent Living Magazine.

online magazines, prudent living

Prudent Living Magazine

What is biochar? According to Wikipedia is it a name for charcoal when it is used for particular purposes, especially as a soil amendment. It can increase soil fertility, raise agricultural productivity and reduce pressure on forests. It is a stable solid; rich in carbon and can endure in soil for thousand of years.

gardening, prudent living

Biochar-Soil Enricher

After reading up on Biochar I decided to give it a try. I have several raised beds in my vegetable garden and I thought it would be a perfect amendment to the soil.  I purchased their spring blend, which should charge my garden for the growing season. The directions said to add it to soil for vegetable and flowerbeds in the spring. Just apply about a half-inch layer and till gently into the top few inches of the soil. Adding in the spring not only gets your plants growing this year but enriches the soil for years to come. It’s like making a long-term investment in my garden soil.

soil enrichment, gardening

Adding biochar in the spring.

When I was getting my raised beds prepared for planting I added a half-inch layer to each bed and gently tilled it in as directed. As the gardening season progressed I didn’t think about it again. Now as the garden season is almost at an end I started thinking about how the plants in those raised beds performed.

As you may remember I had an abundant yield of garlic.

garlic, gardening

Abundant Garlic Yield.

The raised bed that I use for growing lettuce is still producing!

gardening, prudent living

September Lettuce!

I was impressed enough with the results in these two beds that I will continue to use Biochar in my future raised beds!

Linked to: MsGreenThumbJean, SideWalkShoes, ASouthernDayDreamer, AnOregonCottage, FishtailCottage, BlissfulRhythm, DeborahJeansDandelionHouse, TootsieTime, CraftyGardenMama

Labor Day has passed and there are signs of fall everywhere. The leaves are changing, the nights are colder, and it won’t be long before frost touches the valleys and hilltops of Vermont.

My garden did very well in some areas and not so well in others. We had a rather hot and dry summer, which is unusual for our area. My leeks did amazing well, soon I will be pulling and slicing them to put in the freezer.

fall garden, prudent living

September Leeks


The lettuce has preformed well all summer, we’ve enjoyed garden lettuce form the earliest days of spring right into the summer’s end.

greens, garden

Still enjoying lettuce.

Our corn did not do well at all; the summer was just too dry.

corn, vegetables

Disappointing corn harvest.

However the pumpkins did well and I will have plenty of pumpkins for soup, bread and pies.

pumpkins, fall harvest

Pie Pumpkins

The pole beans did well; I love the pattern of these Rattlesnake Beans. They are so pretty against the green foliage.

beans, vegetables

Rattlesnake Beans


Kale did very well and continues to grow. I have picked and harvested and frozen kale and still it grows!

vegetables, gardening



I’m always sorry to see summer come to an end but I do look forward to the slower pace of winter. It won’t be long before the new seed catalogs arrive and I begin to plan the garden for next summer.

fall, garden

Summers end

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean, ASouthernDaydreamer, AnOregonCottage, SidewalkShoes, FishtailCottage, BlissfulRhythm, TootsieTime

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