My Go-To Garden Guide

Along with canning, the other most frequently asked about topic is gardening.  How to start one, what kind to start, what to grow, how to grow, how to care for, etc.  Just as with gardening, I am putting together a post here for you to consult for all your gardening questions!  I will also keep a copy in the “notes” section on the Facebook Page for Burlap and Butter Knives for easy reference  and I will update both as I find great new info for you!  Of course, I also have a pinterest board full of gardening glory.

Gardening isn’t impossible, it doesn’t require acres of land, just find what works for you. YOU can do it! In your yard, in containers, however you want.  Just take your time, read ahead and plan it out.

Throwing in the trowel

Throwing in the trowel

Lettuce area

Lettuce area

*My own personal tips*  I’m not the end all be all of gardening, but this is what I have learned.

  • Start your tomatoes and peppers indoors first, I generally start them the end of march. Once it warms up, I set them outside (covered) curing the day, and bring them in at night.
  • Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Beans, Peas, Carrots, Beets, and Lettuce all grow best when planted directly in the ground. (direct sow)
  • Soak your beet, bean, and pea seeds for 12 hours, or overnight, to give them a good start!
  • Spinach doesn’t like full sun or a lot of heat.
  • Research your herbs! Some spread with a vengeance, and it is nearly impossible to contain them.
  • Harvest frequently
  • I water at 4 am, and at 4pm
  • Do not harvest lettuce into a metal bowl in the sun. The bowl will get hot and the lettuce will wilt.
  • Chipmunks love tomatoes.
  • I hate Chipmunks
  • If you are lucky, you will find Cicada skin.
  • Watch out for Squash borers, they are terrible bugs. I hate them too.
  • If you think a plant has problem, don’t be afraid to call the Cornell Garden Hotline! 845-340-DIRT (3478) for you Hudson Valley Residents
  • If you have too much of something, check out pinterest for ways to use it up or save it for winter!
  • Plant radishes throughout your garden, they are a great pest deterrent!
  • Pictures of my garden in various stages, from it’s very humble beginning to it’s current size

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, I am always here to help!

Tasty Yellow Tomatoes

Tasty Yellow Tomatoes

My favorite websites

  • Golden Harvest Organics, they offer tips for keeping critters out, my all time favorite companion planting guide (it is in my garden binder and consulted frequently),  plant disease, gardening tips, insect issues, weed id’s and how to deal with them, as well as great products for gardens!
  • The Helpful Gardener, pretty much every topic you can imagine, container, beds, fruits, veggies, forums (great for questions and answers) and so much more
  • Organic Gardening, all inclusive website. They do annoyingly try and sell you things, BUT the information is great. Some things require you to give them your email address to gain access, but it is well worth it!
  • The Real Dirt On Gardening, a fantastic website run by the incredibly knowledgeable Greg Draiss, the head of all things Garden Center for Adams Fairacre Farms and an amazing gardener!
  • A Visual Guide to Lettuce, from Epicurious, this is a fantastic visual for figuring out which lettuce is best for you!

Seed Sourcing

General gardening, planting and seed starting  downloads and printables

Lots of tomatoes, just after harvest

Lots of tomatoes, just after harvest


Garden Problems and Solutions

Berry Good Care 

Looking to grow fruit trees? 

My garden in the beginning

My garden in the beginning

What to do with all that food after you’ve grown it! 

My containers

My containers

Facebook Pages

I will add more great sources as I find them!


8 thoughts on “My Go-To Garden Guide

  1. I’ve gardened for years and the single biggest thing I believe that’s necessary (beyond the obvious of sun, water, etc) is dirt. I can not believe how many people punch a hole through hard clay, stick in a poor little plant and expect it to grow. I think I amended my soil every year for at least 5 years before it was actually something that I thought reminded me of the Missouri topsoil I grew up with!

    No more veggies for me but herbs, herbs and more herbs. I think they are easy to grow and love that many are perennials. The only invasive herb I have is mint and It’s grown for 20 years contained in a 5 gallon paint bucket that was dug into the ground. I’m moving this week; I will miss my garden as much as anything…hmm, maybe I need to go run and get some cuttings huh?

    Nice tips…have fun in the sun!

    • Hi Barb! I completely agree with you on the dirt/clay thing! When I went to Florida I was in utter and complete shock when I dug 8 inches down and found, gasp, SAND! It is all about making amends! lol.

      I understand the no veggie thing for you, how are you feeling and healing? You could do a little lettuce to in containers, that would give you lots of really beautiful lettuce any time you want it! You are so right on the herbs being easy, they are great! I hadn’t thought about putting a container in the ground, excellent idea! I think you should definitely get some cuttings, you will definitely regret it if you don’t 😦 Happy moving, I can’t wait to see pictures of the new house!

  2. Jess, your blog is fantastic! I’ve always wanted to try gardening but 1) Have killed every plant I’ve touched and 2) Live in an apartment. This is pretty inspirational… any tips on indoor plants/gardening??

  3. I grew up with a really large organic garden, so this post really speaks to me! We would literally grow everything! Living in a city (San Francisco) I miss that. At any rate, another good resource to check out is Smart Gardener: It helps you create a personalized garden plan that works for you…and helps keep track of all your garden “to-do’s” electronically. A very neat site!

    • Hi Michelle! (PS did you know my middle name is Michelle? Random piece of info for you hehehe 🙂 )
      That is so great that you grew up with a garden, I did as well and there is no substitute for it at all! Was that here in Croton-On-Hudson? You should try a few containers this year, even if it is just lettuce and herbs! 🙂

      Thank you for the information and link I will definitely give that a try and pass it along to the women in my gardening group. It can be overwhelming, especially to start, so that is really fantastic! Thank you again! PS, I have been loving the daily Delicious Karma emails!:-)

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