Nurture Magazine - Angel West

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gardening

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food

vol. 1

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lifestyle


Letter from the Editor Welcome to Nurture Magazine, a home growing gardening story brought to you by the editors of Nurture Magazines. Since its founding, Nurture Magazine has devoted itself to publishing “the best stories and information,” regarding how to start and grow your very own home garden. But a quarterly only comes out…well, you know. We have been looking for a way to keep in touch with our readers between issues, and to call attention to our favorite writers and artists in something close to real time. If Nurture embodies a sensibility, this Daily will try, in a casual and haphazard and at times possibly frivolous way, to put that sensibility into words. Taking inspiration from Nurtures founding editor, Daniel Stewart, our mode will be participatory journalism, our beat the arts. We will write about only the best ways to nurture and maintain your home garden. That anyway is our aim. Furthermore we hope that you will enjoy Nurtures Magazine Vol.1 of 2022, and—most of all—that you’ll write in and tell us what you think. Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

– Sophia Moyer, Editor of Nurture Magazines


Contents Nurture Mag

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Vol 1

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March 26

04 Benefits of Home Gardens 8 reasons to grow your own garden

06 How to Start

Choosing between seeds and saplings

14 Garden Insect Pests

Natural ways to prevent and eliminate pests

17 Storing and Preserving Ways to preserve food from the garden


Benefits of Home Gardens

8 reasons to grow your own garden Being in nature has clear health benefits.

teaches them about nutrition. One study

Spending time outside increases physical activity and helps you calm your mind, research has shown. Spending time in nature can reduce the tendency to dwell on negative thoughts. Even looking at pictures of nature can improve your mental focus.

found kids who participated a gardening program ate more vegetables afterward. A McMaster University study found that older adults who gardened had better quality of life. Get the kids and grandparents outside for a spring day in the home garden and everyone benefits.

When you spend time in the sun, your skin absorbs those rays and makes Vitamin D. This vitamin helps keep your immune system strong so you can fight off viruses and infections. Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium you eat, which keeps your bones and teeth strong.

Carving out your own little patch of land in a community plot helps you meet other gardeners. Having an active social life is great for your mental health. Some doctors have even started prescribing social activities, including gardening, for depression and anxiety. “We know

Gardening can help that activities that have Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels you get your heart rate both social and physiup through movement. That lowers your cal components to them risk of obesity and many related problems, tend to have stronger effects on cognition,” like heart disease. Thomas says. While you may not be able to enjoy all the social benefits of gardening Those who do manual labour tend to during social distancing, it’s something to have lower blood pressure than expected, look forward to later. Thomas says. He did a study that asked older women to squeeze a simple device When your next snack is growing in the with their hand regularly. The device was backyard, it becomes easier to eat fresh similar to a gardening tool. After eight fruit, herbs and vegetables. Growing vegweeks, the women in the test had lower etables yourself also lets you pick them at blood pressure. In another study, women the perfect time. Gardening, specifically, over 80 showed lower blood pressure and can help you manage stress and mental less anxiety after working with plants. health too. A 2017 research review gathered evidence from many studies showing that School gardening programs that teach gardeners had less stress, anxiety kids how to plant and care for vegetables and depression. 4

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How to Start

Choosing between seeds and saplings Why start from Seeds When planning for a garden, a key thing to consider is whether you want to start your garden from seeds or from young plants (“transplants”) bought from a local nursery. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Buying transplants is certainly a lot easier and more convenient, but you are also limited to only growing the types of vegetables and flowers that you can find. Seeds, on the other hand, offer a wide range of varieties to try. Here are the main things to think about: If you want to grow a lot of plants, buying packs of seeds is usually cheaper than buying individual seedlings from the nursery. While some nursery plants are grown really nicely, others may be of poor quality. When you plant your own seeds, you have control over the way the young plant is raised. This may be especially important if you are an organic gardener. Finally, there isn’t always a great selection of plants at local nurseries. When you plant from seed, you have a much wider choice of varieties, tastes, and textures—and you can experiment with new ones, too!

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For absolute beginners, it’s not a bad idea to start off with buying transplants, as you won’t have to stress over things like the timing of starting seeds or the care of young seedlings.

Indoor vs Outdoor Once you’ve decided to try your hand at starting your own seeds, it’s time to think about starting them indoors or outdoors. There are many benefits to starting seeds indoors rather than waiting to sow them outdoors (aka “direct-sowing”). The main reason is to get an early start on the gardening season, but that’s not the only consideration. In colder climates with short growing seasons, starting seeds indoors allows you to gain a few precious weeks of growing time, which can really make a difference when frost looms in the fall. Slow-growing crops such as tomatoes may not even have enough time to reach maturity if they are started outdoors.

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How to Sow Seeds 1.

Fill clean containers with an all-purpose potting mix or seed compost. Do NOT use regular potting soil. It’s not fine enough for many seeds’ roots to easily penetrate the soil and does not allow oxygen to flow.

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If you are using plug trays, push potting mix down into the plugs with your fingers so it’s nice and firm, then add a little more potting mix.

3.

4.

Plant your seeds into the depressions at the depth listed on the seed packet. Choose the largest seeds in the packet for the best chance at germination. Many vegetables, including common crops such as salads, onions, beets, peas, and radishes, may be sown in pinches of three to five seeds per plug while larger seeds are sown individually.

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Cover containers loosely with plastic or an otherwise clear, waterproof covering to keep them from drying out too quickly. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick for ventilation; mold growth can occur if containers are not allowed to “breath.”

6.

Check trays and pots regularly for moisture. Lifting them up is a good way to judge how much moisture is in the potting mix. If it’s light, water. One way to achieve a thorough watering is to pop trays into a reservoir to soak up water through their drainage holes. Remove them once you can see it’s moist at the surface.

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When seedlings start to appear, remove the plastic covering and move containers to a bright window or under grow lights and lamps.

Gently skim over the surface of the tray with your hands to ensure all the seeds are buried. Water trays carefully using a watering can or clean turkey baster. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully, dislodging the seeds or young seedlings’ fragile roots. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Go over the trays a couple of times so that the potting mix is completely dampened. Label trays with the variety and date of sowing. Nurture Mag

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Types of Seeding Containers Plastic Food Containers

Seed Flats or Trays

(Yogurt Cups, Sour Cream Containers, etc.) Plastic food containers such as yogurt cups or sour cream containers make for excellent seed-starting pots. Simply clean them out and poke a few drainage holes in their bottoms. They are generally large enough to house one or two small seedlings for a few weeks. Eventually, seedlings will need to be transplanted into their own individual pots.

A seed flat or tray is a single tray-like container that is useful for sowing very tiny seeds such as basil or easy-to-transplant flower seeds. The seeds are sown in the tray and, when big enough to handle, are transplanted on to their own individual pots or plug trays. The compact size of seed trays makes for a very efficient use of space during this first stage of growth. You can sow multiple seeds in the same container or seed flat. You can even stack trays up after sowing to save on space. After two or three days, start checking daily for signs of germination then move them out to the greenhouse or cold frame to continue growing.

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Plug Trays Plug trays are basically containers with individual pockets for each seed. They minimize root disturbance and save time, because often seedlings can go straight from their plug tray to the outdoors. Trays with smaller plugs suit most leafy greens and radishes, especially if they will be transplanted promptly (within three or four weeks of sowing). Larger plugs are great for sowing chunkier seeds such as beans and bigger, hungrier seedlings such as those of the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.). Well-made trays of rigid plastic can potentially last for many years, but if you want to avoid plastic, look for alternatives made of biodegradable fiber.

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Everything you need to know before you plant How to Prep: 1.

Be seed-savvy. Obtain seed catalogs from several companies and compare their offering and prices. Some of the regional companies may carry varieties better suited to your area. Make a list of what you’d like to grow. A good rule-of-thumb is to imagine your garden one-quarter the size that it really is. This allows for good spacing practices! See Vegetable Gardening for Beginners for popular beginner vegetables. Prepare for some losses. Though it’s good not to plant too much for your garden space, it’s also good to assume that some of your seeds won’t germinate, or that they will inexplicably die off later. Plant a few extra, just in case. Consider a grow light if you start in late winter.

2.

Most veggies need between 6 to 8 hours of direct sun, so it’s important to have a grow light if you are sowing your vegetable seeds indoors in late winter. A grow light will also keep your seedlings from getting too leggy. Learn more about using grow lights. Use clean containers. Most seed catalogs offer seedling flats, peat pots, and other growing containers, but egg cartons make good containers for the earliest stages of seed starting, too. Be sure to poke holes in the sides near the bottom of the containers you use in order to allow excess water to drain. Keep in mind that you might need to transplant your seedlings into larger containers at some point before moving them into the garden.

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Label your containers now! There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting what you planted, especially when you are testing out different varieties of the same plant. You may have to soak, scratch, or chill seeds before planting, as directed on packet. Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F (18–24°C). Don’t let it get too cold. Rotate your seedlings. If you keep your seedlings next to a window, remember to rotate the containers every so often to keep the seedlings growing evenly. If you’re using a grow light, remember to raise it a few inches above the tallest seedling every couple of days.

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Photo by Gary Barnes from Pexels

Which seeds should be started indoors? Not all seeds should be started indoors. In fact, most vegetables grow perfectly well when started outdoors and even prefer not to be transplanted. Ultimately, it’s important to consider how each type of vegetable grows. Consult the table below to see which crops are typically started indoors and which are typically started outdoors. Keep in mind that there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule about what you can start indoors and outdoors; it varies by your experience, your personal preference, your location, and the plant itself. Crops that are best started indoors include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and tomatoes. Those with a slower root development, such as cauliflower, celery, eggplant, and peppers, should also be started indoors. Tender vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are very susceptible to the cold temperatures of spring, so it’s best to start them indoors and keep them safe from unpredictable weather. Plants that do not transplant well and are therefore best started outdoors or in containers include

cucumbers, muskmelon, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon. These are all tender, however, so refrain from sowing them outdoors while frost is still a threat. Some plants truly resist transplanting. For example, root vegetables like carrots and beets don’t like having their roots disturbed, so it’s usually safer to just start their seeds outdoors in the ground rather than transplant them later on. Plants with long roots also do not like to be transplanted; such as dill and parsley.

Moving seedlings outside Once you have raised your seedlings and saplings indoors, it is important to take steps to acclimatize them to their new outdoor home however, or you risk losing your plants and wasting all that hard work. This is a process known to gardeners as “hardening off.” This will prepare the seedlings for the harsh realities (i.e., climate) of the outside world! Hardening off should take a minimum of a week and may take up to two. Suddenly moving plants from a stable environment to one with wide variations in temperature, light and wind can seriously weaken plants.

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For most plants, start hardening off about a week before the final frost date for your area. See our Gardening Calendar for safe dates to plant outside and work back from there. Withhold fertilizer and water them less often. Seven to ten days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in shade for a short time. Make sure the spot is sheltered from any harsh winds. Gradually extend the amount of time that plants are outside over the course of a week or two, until they’re staying out all day. Keep the soil moist at all times during this period. Dry air and spring breezes can result in rapid transpiration. If possible, transplant on overcast days or in the early morning, when the sun won’t be too harsh. If you’re not able to be around to bring your seedlings back in during the day, another option is to place your seedlings into a cold frame and gradually increase the amount of ventilation by opening vents progressively wider each day. Make sure to shut them down completely before dark.


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Garden Insect Pests

Natural ways to prevent and eliminate pests There’s no greater joy for a gardener than a plot full of perfect-looking flowers or vegetables. The problem is that many garden bugs use our flower and vegetable beds as a salad bar. But instead of looking to pesticides for help, you can still have a beautiful garden just by following these simple, natural and cost-effective tips for dealing with garden insect pests. Start with “Clean” Soil. First till in organic matter like compost when the growing season begins. This will keep your soil clean by adding natural elements and compounds that help keep pests away. After tilling, cover your garden with black plastic or cardboard for 6 months. The heat that builds up underneath it will kill most 14

garden pests and a host of other harmful micro-organisms and parasites. After removing the plastic, lightly cultivate the soil. Now you’re ready for planting. Buy Disease and Pest-Resistant Seeds. It’s easier to prevent diseases and pests than it is to get rid of them after they arrive in your garden. When you look at seeds in a catalog, look for letters like V, F, N or T after the name of a seed; they indicate the problems to which the seed is most resistant. Selectively and Aggressively Thin Out Plants. This is essential because small, weak seedlings are more likely to become diseased. And they, in turn, may pass the problem on to healthy plants. So be sure to prune away dead shoots and branches

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that restrict airflow. Plants need good air circulation to breath and stay healthy. Water Plants in the Early Morning. Plants primarily need water to help with photosynthesis, which occurs during the day. When you do water them, soak the roots rather than getting the foliage wet. Soaker or drip hoses are a good investment. Control Weeds. Weeds compete with your plants for valuable resources such as water, nutrients and light. And they often harbor garden insect pests and parasites, too. Be sure to pull weeds and their roots completely out of the ground. Here’s how to win the war on weeds.

Keep your Garden Clean. Removing faded blooms, fallen leaves and weeds is important because decaying plant matter is a prime breeding ground for fungus, garden bugs and diseases. Pinch Off Dead or Infested Leaves. When you first see signs of diseased leaves, pluck them off. This will stop them from contaminating the entire plant.

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Storing and Preserving

Ways to preserve food from the garden Freezing is one of the easiest ways to pre-

can also dry vegetables in the oven or even

serve vegetables for winter, and almost all vegetables are suitable, with the exception of cabbage and potatoes, which tend to become limp and waterlogged. Most vegetables need to be blanched first, which involves boiling them for a set amount of time– usually one to three minutes. Blanching stops the development of enzymes, thus preserving color, flavor, and nutrition. Once blanched, vegetables are dunked into ice water to cool them quickly and then packed for freezing. As a general rule, vegetables are packed

in bright sunlight. Cucumbers are the most familiar choice for pickling, but you can also pickle a variety of vegetables, including: Beets Carrots Cabbage Asparagus Beans Peppers Tomatoes Firmer foods, such as beets and carrots, may need a short blanching period to make them tender. Pickling involves arranging the vegetables in a glass canning jar with your choice of seasonings such as: Dill Celery seeds Mustard seeds Cumin Oregano Turmeric Jalapeno peppers A brine consisting of vinegar, salt, pepper (or sugar for a sweet brine) is boiled

in plastic containers or freezer bags.

and poured over the vegetables. Once the brine cools, the jars are securely sealed. Some pickled vegetables will last in the refrigerator for up to a month, but others must be canned if you don’t plan to use them fairly soon. Some vegetables can be safely stored in a cool, clean location for as long as 12 months.

Photo by Tatyana Novoselova from Pexels

Canning is one of the methods of preserving vegetables, but the process can be fairly straightforward if you take your time and follow directions carefully. Canning must be done properly, as some foods may develop harmful bacteria if they aren’t processed correctly. A boiling water bath is suitable for most fruits and some vegetables, but low-acid vegetables such as squash, peas, beans, carrots, and corn must be canned in a pressure canner. There are several ways of drying vegetables and they are easily rehydrated for the use in soups and casseroles. Using ann electric food dryer is the easiest method, but you

Vegetables suitable for storing include winter squash, potatoes, and dry onions and more. Some root crops, like beets and carrots, are suitable for storing in a container filled with moist sand. In cool climates, root crops can be left in the ground through the winter months. Cover them with a 12 to 18 in (31–46 cm) layer of mulch such as leaves or straw.

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What’s Next A sneak peak into our upcoming magazines Fill your outdoor living space with color

Once you determine the location, amend

and fragrance this year by planting a new flower garden. Whether your space is a window box, a porch container or a flower bed alongside your house, take time to plan your planting this spring for season after season of foliage and blooms.

and improve the soil before the plants go in the ground. If this is a window box or container, buy a well-draining, moisture retentive potting mix for the best start. Raised garden beds need a special mix of organic material and nutrients. Buying a raised garden soil or mixing your own from amendments like garden soil, peat and compost.

Before you buy a cart full of plants, take some time to review these planting basics. Plan the flower bed, prep the soil and then research the plants that will grow best in your climate. Getting it right the first time means less work and expense in the long run and will keep them living healthier. Your flower garden can be as small as a window box or a container on a patio. It could be a raised garden bed or a brand new flower bed. Whatever the size, know the sunlight in your garden location. Spend time outside and note the light and shade in the chosen spot throughout the day. Remember that more sun equals more blooms. A south-facing flower bed that gets six hours of sunlight is ideal for drought resistant perennials like coreopsis and coneflower. Filtered light works also. Just choose from a different group of plants like shade-loving hosta and heuchera.

In a flower border, remove weeds and amend the soil. If this is a new bed, put down a layer of landscape fabric to block weeds and top with six inches or more of garden soil or top soil. In an existing bed, amend the soil with composted manure before planting. The ideal location will need good drainage. A swampy site is good for water-loving plants, but most perennials like dry areas. Consider, too, how you will water the plants in the garden. Is a garden hose nearby, or will you need a watering can to water by hand? An irrigation system will make the process of gardening easier, and this will affect your choice of plants.

Flower borders can be narrow or wide, from two feet up to eight feet. A wider flower border offers more opportunity to layer plants in clumps for a cottage garden look. Build in room to maneuver when you need to prune, deadhead, or divide perennials.

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gardening

|

food

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lifestyle

Welcome to Nurture Magazine, a home growing gardening story brought to you by the editors of Nurture Magazines. Being in nature has clear health benefits. Spending time outside increases physical activity and helps you calm your mind, research has shown. Spending time in nature can reduce the tendency to dwell on negative thoughts. Even looking at pictures of nature can improve your mental focus. When planning for a garden, a key thing to consider is whether you want to start your garden from seeds or from young plants (“transplants”) bought from a local nursery...


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