Category: Farm

Improve your Home & Diet with a Vegetable Garden

Planting a garden can add aesthetic appeal and functionality to a property. Vegetable gardens can transform landscapes while putting healthy and homegrown food on the table. By growing their own fruits and vegetables, homeowners have total control over what foods can be harvested, and they can ensure sustainable, safe practices are used to care for the plants.

Vegetable gardens can be compact or expansive, depending on how much space is available to cultivate. However, first-timegardeners may want to begin small so they can hone their skills and experiment to see which plants are most likely to thrive in their gardens. Expansion is always a possibility down the road.

Choose a location

Spend some time examining your landscape. Vegetables generally need ample warmth and sunlight to thrive, so find an area of the yard that gets several hours of direct sunlight per day.

A sunny spot is good, but you also want a location with adequate drainage so your garden does not succumb to flooding or fungus during and after heavy downpours. Don’t place the garden too close to rain gutters or near a pool, where splash-out may occur. Select a location that is isolated from pets so the plants are not trampled and cats and dogs do not relieve themselves nearby.

Decide what to plantveggarden2

When deciding what to plant, consider what you eat and how much produce the household consumes, then choose vegetables that fit with your diet. Some vegetables, like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and squash, produce throughout the season. Others, such as carrots and corn, produce one crop and then expire. Plan accordingly when you purchase plants or seeds, as you want enough food but not so much that it will go to waste.

Choose three to four different vegetables and plant them in thegarden. Select varieties that require similar soil conditions, so that you can adjust the pH and mix of the soil accordingly. This will serve as good practice, particularly the first year of your garden. After you have mastered the basics, you can branch out into other produce.

Know when to plant

Many of the foods grown in vegetable gardens, including tomatoes and peppers, are summer vegetables, which means they reach peak ripeness after the height of the summer season. Pumpkins, brussel sprouts and peas are planted to be harvested later on. These plants may be put in the ground a little later than others.

It is less expensive to start seedlings indoors and then transplant them to a garden when the time comes. Seeds can be started three to four weeks before they would be put outdoors. Many vegetables are planted outside in April or May, but definitely after frost conditions have waned. Read seed packets to know exactly when to plant or consult with the nursery where you purchased established seedlings. You also can visit The Garden Helper at www.thegardenhelper.com/vegtips to find out when to plant, seed depth and how long it takes plants to reach maturity.

Vegetable gardens can become central components of outdoor home landscapes. Not only do gardens add aesthetic appeal, but also they produce fresh fruits and vegetables to enjoy throughout the season.


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Fall Canning – Farm Fresh Flavor

If you’re planning on preserving your produce this fall harvest, it’s important to plan ahead and have all of the tools you’ll need. Being prepared can help save time, ease stress and make clean up a breeze! Preserving local fruits and veggies is a fun way to support your local community and savor the farm-fresh flavors all year long.

Must-haves for fall canning:
• Large soup pot or pressure canner
• Tongs
• Jars and lids
• Funnel, for easy fill-up of jars (mess-free!)

-> Visit a local store like Mountain View Farm & Garden to get your fall canning supplies!

Don’t forget, you’ll also need:
• Sugar
• Pectin
• Lemon Juice
• Butter (Add 1 TB and melt before canning jam or jelly to reduce foam!)

-> Stock up on apples & fall produce at Shatzer’s Fruit Market!

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Recipe Ideas for Fall Canning

Plan ahead to stock your shelves or whip up some tasty holiday treats!

• Apple Butter
• Peach Pie Filling
• Sliced Pears
• Classic Tomato Marinara Sauce
• Garden Salsa

What’s your favorite thing to can? Leave your recipe idea in the Comments!

Apple Butter: Fall Recipe Favorite

Fall apples are a fresh, Pennsylvania favorite! Autumn offers the pick of the litter when it comes to this locally produced fruit. Perfect for mid-day snacking, baked in a pie, or start canning now to have holiday presents for friends and family!

One classic way to preserve is by making apple butter. Apple butter has a long history in the Pennsylvania & Ohio areas – like tapping trees for maple syrup, it was often a big celebration, with families and friends all gathering to pitch in for this yearly tradition.
Apples are are peeled, corred and boiled to create this sweet and creamy fruit butter. Copper kettles were a mainstay of this tradition, kept with a fire underneath for an entire day to make a batch of apple butter. Now, apple butter can be made worry-free at home in a crock-pot or with some watch, on the stove.
To make your own apple butter at home, follow one of these recommended recipes:

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Classic All Day Apple Butter

Applesauce Apple Butter

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Fall apples? Fresh from the tree? Pie? Crisp? Carmel dipped? Share your Favorite in our Comments!