7 Steps to Propagate Tame Blackberries

7 Steps to Propagate Tame Blackberries

7 Steps to Propagate Tame Blackberries

We grow tame or thornless blackberries and can make some extra money from them. Well, did you know that you can propagate these blackberries to basically double your crop? Here are the steps we took to propagate these blackberries.

Step 1

Backing up, blackberries (tame or wild) spread by once a long stem touches the ground, and gets in contact with the soil it roots and then starts a new plant.

The first thing to do is find where a new plant has started from the old one. You will see one of the stems from the old plant touching the ground and then usually a single long stem is coming up from the ground.

Step 2

From the old plant clip off the stem close to the ground. You should have just the new stem left of the new plant.

Step 3

Dig up the new plant left in the ground. Be sure to leave a pretty good sized root ball intact.

Step 4

Dig a new hole a little larger than the one you just dug up. Add any soil amendments.

Step 5

Plant the new plant in the hole and backfill making sure their are no air pockets.

Step 6

Water well, add root stimulator according to the directions, and mulch. (We use straw)

Step 7

(optional but will make your life a lot easier when it comes to harvesting)

Make a trellis out of two by fours and wire for the blackberries to climb on.

That’s All

You did it! If you’re like us, you were able to just double your plants and in the next couple of years double your crop! Blackberries don’t usually produce unless the canes are two years old. People around here pay quite a bit of money for blackberries and they’re pretty easy to grow. I personally don’t think the tame ones are as sweet as wild blackberries but they still taste good and you don’t have to mess with thorns.

Top 5 Mistakes Raising Chickens

Top 5 Mistakes Raising Chickens

5 Mistakes Raising Chickens

This is a list of 5 things NOT to do when raising chickens.We first started raising chickens when we lived in town. Disclaimer: It’s a very small town so it was ok…lots of people have chickens. Here are some things we learned along the way and the top mistakes made so you can avoid them!

1. Don’t build a ladder for the chickens to get out of the pen!

We actually made this mistake when we first got chickens. I came home from work one day and there were 16 chickens at my house! My husband is really great at building things and he built a really nice coop with a run on the outside of it. The fencing needed bracing so he put a two-by-four diagonally from the bottom of one end to the top of the other. Well, you guessed it! Those chickens climbed right up that board and got out. He fixed it by putting chicken wire over the end of the run. Worked like a charm!

2. Getting too many chickens to start with.

Well, you saw above that we started with 16 chickens. We knew that we needed a few chickens anyway to have eggs, but for our family of four, 16 was too many. We had more eggs than we could eat and we eat a LOT of eggs. Half that many chickens would have been enough for our family and a lot less work.

3. Not having a plan for excess eggs.

Like I said earlier, while we had talked a little bit about getting chickens, I came home from work one day and there they were! Therefore, we had plenty of chickens and plenty of eggs. I will say there is nothing like fresh eggs. Store bought doesn’t even compare. So since we had all these excess eggs, my husband decided my boys who were about ten and eleven at that time could go into the egg business. They had a few people buy from them, but they were not as enthused about this business as my husband was. Guess what? My husband got tired of being the only one selling eggs, so we had way too many eggs so we blessed our family with the eggs. They were pretty happy about that.

4. Underestimating the cost of raising chickens.

Feed is fairly inexpensive, but our chickens go through a lot of feed. Also, we feed our chickens  (affiliate link) oyster shells in the winter to keep them laying. That stuff is not very cheap but it sure worked. I’m sure if we fed them all organic feed and such it would really increase the cost. No wonder organic eggs are so expensive.

5. Thinking you need a rooster in your flock.

Now, this may sound silly to people used to chickens, but when we first got chickens this was a question a lot of people asked us. How do you get eggs if you don’t have a rooster? Well, we wouldn’t get fertilized eggs capable of having chicks, but it’s just like human females that produce an egg every month only they produce a lot more often. The breed of chickens we have are kind of like a mule, they couldn’t have fertilized eggs even if we had a rooster. They are a great docile chicken and perfect for beginners.
Boy holding chicken

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Getting Chickens

  • Know your limitations and only get what you can manage. Don’t make the same mistakes we did! I probably should add one more mistake a beginner might make. Falling in love with the cute fluffy chicks they have at Easter and purchasing a lot! Those babies require a LOT of care and attention to survive. Also, they need special equipment so be prepared. A beginner should start with layers only and then expand as you’re able.
  • Got any other mistakes? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!


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Seeds or Plants: Which Should You Choose?

Seeds or Plants: Which Should You Choose?

You may wonder whether or not you should choose seeds to plant or just purchase plants already started when planning your garden.  We do a combination of both and I will tell you which ones do well.

*this post contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you. However, I only recommend products I love and use!

From Seeds

We always have a fairly large garden–between a large garden and a truck patch–over the years we have learned what works best for us regarding whether or not we buy plants already started or seed packets.

1. Lettuce

Any lettuce we plant always comes from seeds. In our area, Valentine’s Day is when everyone usually plants their lettuce seed.

However, we have a low garden spot that always takes a while to dry out after the spring rains so we wait until a lot later (around Mother’s Day) before we plant our lettuce. I love buttercrunch lettuce.

Basically, we plant our whole garden around the same time. Our lettuce always does well even thought we plant it that late.

2. Carrots

Carrots are one of those things we always plant directly in our garden with seeds. Once the seedlings emerge, you do have to go in and thin those puppies out to produce good carrots. Get organic seeds here.

3. Green Beans

Green beans are one of our largest crops. They are one of the few green vegetables my whole family eats! We can a lot of green beans.

Also, we always plant bush beans so I can’t give any recommendations on pole beans. Bush beans do fantastic planted directly into the garden.

4. Zucchini

When you plant zucchini, you hill up a mound of dirt and plant three seeds. One hill will about feed a county, so unless you have a plan for getting rid of all that zucchini, plant one hill!

If not, you might find yourself eating things such as zucchini pizza, zucchini apple pie, zucchini anything you name it.

5. Okra

Okra is another one of those plentiful producers. A few plants will do you. So you probably won’t need the whole seed packet unless you have a plan.

However, okra should be harvested when it is small. If you let it get too big, it gets tough. We freeze it instead of canning it. If you like gumbo and all that jazz, you may use it more than we do. We basically just like it fried.

6. Potatoes

While these are not “seeds” per se, they are grown from the eyes of the potato. We always plant these in a hilled up row in our garden and when they start to vine, my hubby keeps adding dirt on top of the row until it’s a foot or more high. We’ve never had the problem of having vines only and no potatoes.

7. Sweet Corn

We love to grow sweet corn. Usually, we just grow enough to eat on through the summer. If you want to have enough to freeze for the winter, you need to grow a lot! Always plant at least two rows for pollination. These do great from seed. We love Peaches and Cream.


1. Onions

We usually buy candy onions which come in a small six pack and take a lot of separation because there are multiples in one pack, but those are the only sweet onions that do the best here in the Ohio Valley. Plant them far enough apart to allow them room to get big.

2. Tomatoes

We always buy these as small plants to transplant, although they can be grown from seed, these just have a head start. We plant a few different varieties and always can a lot of tomato juice and sauce. Last year, we had around 100 tomato plants! I like to killed my husband when it came time to can lol!

3. Herbs

I always buy plants for my herbs rather than trying to get those seeds to survive or produce, but I’m sure you could. Read my post on herb container gardening.

4. Peppers

I always buy pepper plants rather than starting from seeds most of the time, although my husband started some Carolina Reapers from seed and they did pretty well but they took a long time to mature.

All other pepper plants like green, red, yellow bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, and the like we’ve all done from plants.

Also, you may need at least two pepper plants to help with pollination. Even if they are self-pollinating having more than one seems to help them bear more fruit.



Now if you plant hot peppers close to sweet peppers there is the possibility that some of the sweet peppers could have some heat. Depends on how much on the wild side you like to live!


  1. Lettuce
  2. Carrots
  3. Green Beans
  4. Zucchini
  5. Okra
  6. Corn 


  1. Onions
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Herbs
  4. Peppers
Got any other plants you like to start from seed or plants?


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Vintage Ford Tractor Makeover

Vintage Ford Tractor Makeover

My husband Brian is an extremely creative person. He loves to come up with inventive ideas for just about anything and our vintage Ford tractor is no exception! See below for the amazing before-and-after of this tractor. Trust me you’ve never seen anything like it!

*This contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you*

As you can see the tractor is pretty rust and greasy. My hubby wire brushed and degreased everything before priming. He likes to use Awesome degreaser.  Then he got it all cleaned up. Next was time to prime. He uses Rustoleum spray primer.

Here are some pictures of the in progress tractor.

After priming it is time to paint. He used Rustoleum engine primer for the engine before painting that. Also, he likes to paint with Rustoleum spray paint (red, white, and blue).

We searched and searched for a place to get a new Logo and finally found one on ebay I think. He found the perfect blue seat at Rural King. He replaced One of the large tires for now and will replace the others as we can afford it.

Side note: He got all of this done and it was up and running for about a day! Now we’re waiting on the carburetor to be rebuilt to get it going again.

Well, are you ready for the big reveal! Here comes, let me know what you think of this vintage Ford tractor makeover in the comments below!

I call it the Patriotic tractor! Pretty cool, I had to get the pictures taken because this is probably the cleanest it’s going to be lol! Let me know what you think about this tractor in the comments below!

Want to learn more about homesteading? 

See my post  Small Homesteading: The Beginner’s Guide.


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Pressure Canning

Pressure Canning

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

The Best Canners for Pressure Canning


  • You’ve spent your time growing and harvesting your garden; now it’s time to preserve your hard work by pressure canning.
  • When it comes to pressure canning, there are several canners to choose from, and it can be overwhelming. This post will help you decide which one to choose. I only recommend products that I love and use.

What is Pressure Canning?


  • Pressure canning is the use of a pressure canner to preserve low acid foods such as vegetables and meat. Higher acid vegetables do not require pressure canning
  • Using a pressure canner to preserve food is NOT the same thing as using a pressure cooker to cook food quickly. Therefore, pressure canners are made with the capacity to heat at the right temperature and pressure for whatever food you are preserving.

Why Mess with Canning?


  • Canning is the best way to preserve your produce to enjoy over the winter.
  • Pressure canning does take some time but is so worth it! If you have the right tools, it goes fairly smoothly. I started canning honestly to save money. Being on a tight budget, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we had time to invest. Growing things allowed us to save a lot on our grocery bills. Also, we kept the canning costs down because family members who didn’t garden and preserve anymore but had in the past, had all these canning jars just laying around. They gave them to me as well as an ancient, I mean ancient, pressure canner. I should try to find the owner’s manual, but I have no idea where it is now. Pretty sure it was from the 1950s.
  • I am so thankful for them blessing me with these supplies because, to be honest buying all new jars along with a canner can get expensive to begin with (but well worth the investment). If you have family members that used to preserve but don’t anymore, see if they have any supplies you might be able to use to get started.

Pressure Canners Review


Now for the big item…the pressure canner! I will show you two options.

The one my family used for 60 years thereabouts is very similar to the one I will show you. This one is newer, so it has the more modern safety feature of venting without having to do it manually like my old one. The advantage of this particular canner is that it holds a lot of pint jars on two levels. It is heavy duty and the nice thing is it doesn’t have a rubber gasket that needs to be replaced.

All pressure canners need supervision for safety.

This is the priciest option but like I said it lasted in my family for 60 years. It’s a very heavy-duty canner which is probably why it lasted so long! The All American 21-1/2 quart pressure canner.


The next two that I use are pretty similar. They both have a rubber gasket that after a few years of use will need to be replaced. This brand is less expensive and is ok on smooth stovetops. The reason these are ok for smooth stovetops is that they are thinner and lighter. Therefore, they will need to be replaced sooner. The Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner.

The next one is a little smaller but also the same brand. Also says it’s ok for smooth stovetops. The Presto 16-Quart Pressure Canner.

The next one is a little smaller but also the same brand. Also says it’s ok for smooth stovetops. The Presto 16-Quart Pressure Canner.

Common Questions/FAQ About Pressure Canning

    What is the difference between pressure canning and pressure cooking?

    • Pressure canning is the process of canning food in jars. These are heavy duty and able to handle the amount of heat and pressure required to safely preserve food.

    • Pressure cooking is the process of cooking food quickly under pressure. While some pressure canners can also be pressure cookers, a pressure cooker can never be a pressure canner.

    Is pressure canning safe?

    • Pressure canners nowadays are pretty safe with safety pressure relief valves. However, since you are building up the pressure, they should always be supervised. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type thing.

    What foods need pressure canned?

    • Any meat or low acid vegetables need to be pressure canned.

    The Last Thing You Need to Know about Pressure Canners

      • Pressure canners are great, just make sure whichever one you purchase works with your particular stove. Always supervise your canner.
      • Want to know more about canning in general? See this post.
      • What do you think of these canners? Is there something else you use? Leave a comment below and share if you enjoyed.


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      Small Homesteading: The Beginner’s Guide

      Small Homesteading: The Beginner’s Guide

      Small Homesteading: The Beginner’s Guide

      • Small homesteading is a great place to begin the homesteading experience. With all the concerns regarding food quality, it is important to know where your food comes from.
      • My husband and I both grew up growing, preserving, and enjoying our own food. We now have a small homestead of around five acres. Since we’ve been married (almost 20 years now!), we consistently have a garden, raise some animals, and attempt to learn from the older generation. Homesteading comes with a lot of trial and error, and I hope to share some tips we’ve learned along the way. One property we had was just a very small yard but were able to raise enough to feed our family pretty well for an entire year! It requires some hard work and dedication, but the joys of knowing that you have contributed to caring for your own family in such a personal way make it all worth it.

      What is homesteading?

      • Homesteading nowadays is not the traditional definition of the government giving away land in exchange for people working the land to earn it. Homesteading means many different things to different people. In my mind, small homesteading is making a home while trying to be more self-sufficient.
      • Some common misconceptions people have about homesteading are that you need a large acreage to be successful. While that can be true if you are planning to raise large animals and you want to feed your animals with your own land, it is not necessary. If you have a windowsill that you can place a planter on, you can get started!

      How to get started


      • Start SMALL! I can’t stress this enough. If you are brand new and have never grown anything, start with one thing in a container. Herbs in containers are a fantastic way to get started. They take up a small space and can be placed on a balcony or just outside somewhere. You’ll be surprised that even one herb plant can produce more than you can use. Learn about caring for it and preserving it.
      • If you have space for animals, again start with just one or two to learn how to care for them before branching out. I highly recommend beginning with plants and produce before branching out to animals. You can have animals even on a small homestead.

      Tips for Success in Homesteading


      • Start small.
      • Be patient with yourself. You will make mistakes along the way. Some years are just better for some crops than others. It’s all part of the process.
      • Don’t give up. the crop that didn’t do well this time may be your best one next time.

      Common Questions/FAQ


      What is the first thing I should do?

      • The first thing you should do is plan. Plan the size of your project and research what you want to begin with.

      Do I have to have a large acreage?

      • It depends is the most concise answer. You can homestead anywhere! An apartment, balcony, small yard, five acres or less, or hundreds of acres can all be the right size for homesteading.


        What are the best animals to have?

        • The first animals I would try would be chickens. Depending on the breed, chickens can be very docile and good layers. If you are looking just to have eggs for your own family and are not looking to sell them, three or four would be plenty.


          What do I need to do to prepare the ground?

          • Preparing the ground needs to start in the fall. If you till that is the time to do it and add any natural fertilizer. If you apply natural fertilizer (aka manure) in the spring, you could burn up your crops.


            What is the easiest thing to grow?

            • I find the easiest things to grow in our area are peppers of all kinds.


              What is the easiest thing to preserve?

              •  Preserving onions, garlic, and potatoes are pretty straightforward.


                The Last Thing You Need to Know about Homesteading


                • The main thing to know about small homesteading is that it can be accomplished in a very small space, even a windowsill can get you started. You decide what works for you. Starting small and being patient are key when beginning.
                • If you liked this post, please share/comment/subscribe!


                vegetable plants for homesteading


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                Canning 101: The Ultimate Guide

                Canning 101: The Ultimate Guide

                This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.

                Here is the ultimate guide to canning 101!

                What is Canning?

                Canning is the process used to preserve food. There are two main types of canning. Pressure canning and water bath canning. Pressure canning is necessary for canning low acid vegetables and any meat. Water bath canning is for high acid vegetables and most fruits.

                Common Misconceptions with Canning

                • Canning is very hard
                • I will blow up my house and myself
                • Canning isn’t worth it

                While canning does involve work and is a process, it really isn’t all that hard to do. I’ve done this for years and am happy to share what I’ve learned through trial and error. Pressure canners do need supervision, but the newer canners have more safety features to release steam than the older canners. Canning is totally worth it when it is in the middle of winter and you open a jar of fresh tomato juice to make chili or soup or just to drink! It is so much better than store bought.

                How to Get Started


                The first thing to get started is to have something to can. This can be your own produce or food you’ve purchased from either a farmer’s market or store.


                Next, you need a good stove to can on. If you have a smooth top stove, you need a pressure canner specifically made for that type of stove. See this post about pressure canners.


                Then you need jars. If you have a family member or friend that used to can and no longer does, see if they have any jars laying around they don’t want anymore. This is a great way to get started. Just make sure there are no chips or cracks.


                Don’t have any? No problem, later I’ll let you know exactly which jars I use.


                Also, you will need lids and bands. The lids are never reusable, but the bands can be reused from year to year.


                Before canning, I always run my jars and bands through the dishwasher. Mine has a sanitize cycle that I use, but it isn’t necessary. Just as long as they’re clean.


                Supplies Needed

                • Large pot for boiling jars
                • Small saucepan to boil lids and bands
                • Potholders
                • Pressure canner or boiling water bath canner
                • Canning salt
                • Vegetables
                • Ladle
                • The following items

                Best Products to Begin Canning

                • Before products, I highly recommend this book for beginners. This is the place you will get all the info you need as far as how long and at what pressures certain foods need to process.
                • The first product I definitely recommend is this basic canning set. I didn’t have this for the first few years of canning and could’ve kicked myself for not getting it sooner! So inexpensive and totally worth the small investment. 
                • Now if you don’t have access to any jars, here are the jars I use. you can use wide mouth or regular mouth jars. If you are canning a lot of green beans or something, start with quart jars. If you can’t eat a whole quart when it is opened use pint jars. The main thing is to can in quantities you can use quickly after opening.

                • Also, you need a canner. Here is the post I did about pressure canners that you can read about here. For high acid vegetables (such as tomatoes) and fruit, you will need a boiling water bath canner.

                • If you plan on juicing tomatoes or berries, I like an electric juicer for this job. Beware! It can be a bit messy. This is the one I use.
                • I have also used this juicer for a less expensive option. Basically, anything is better than the wooden handle with cheesecloth and a colander the way I remember my mom doing it!
                • This is the canning salt I use.

                 Getting Started Canning

                To get started, gather all of your supplies. In your large pot and a small saucepan, fill with water and get that to boiling. Boil your jars in the large pan and your bands and lids in the small pan. Boil the lids for at least one minute and the jars for several minutes to sterilize. Use the tongs in the canning set to remove from the hot water. After sterilizing your jars, place on a clean old towel.

                Empty the pot you sterilized your jars in and get a clean pot of boiling water ready. Use the funnel from the canning set to fill your jars with produce and add the appropriate amount of canning salt. Some items such as green beans require filling the jars with boiling water. Use the headspace measure in the canning set. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean towel and using lid remover from the canning set remove from boiling water and apply to jars. Then apply the band and tighten finger tight only.

                Apply to canner according to instructions for either pressure canning or boiling water bath canner. Remove using gripper from canning set and as they cool you will hear a “pop” then check to see if the jar has sealed. The lid shouldn’t give on top if it is properly sealed.


                Common Questions About Canning 101


                How long do you boil a jar to seal it?

                • It depends on what it is you’re canning. Most high acid vegetables and fruits the general time in a boiling water bath canner is 10 minutes. Again this can vary depending on what you are canning.
                • Pressure canning requires different pounds of pressure for different amounts of time depending on what you’re canning. The book recommended above gives you all the info you need for times.

                What foods can be canned?

                • Pretty much any fruits, vegetables, and meat can be canned. I also can leftover soup sometimes and homemade chicken broth.

                How do you can using a water bath?

                • Using a water bath canner is the easiest way because the jars fit better and it comes with a rack to lift jars out when they’re done. But it can be done with just a large pot of boiling water enough to cover the jars when standing upright in the pot.

                The Last Thing You Need to Know about Canning


                • It does take some time and effort but so worth the work! It’s not difficult work but needs to be done when you have time to pay attention to it. It usually takes me an afternoon to do this unless I have a lot ready at one time. Then a full day is in order.
                • Let me know what you think of this list for Canning 101. Is there anything else you would recommend?


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                Herb Container Gardening

                Herb Container Gardening

                I love herb container gardening. After several years of trial and error, this is the easiest way I’ve found to grow herbs. Bonus: I have the perfect spot outside my kitchen door where I can easily access these for cooking! There are some herbs that do really well in the regular garden. However, some will completely take over if planted there and ruin your garden.


                I love me some mint! My favorite thing to do in the summer is to take a sprig of fresh mint and put in my glass of ice water. So refreshing. However, mint of any variety is one of those plants that will completely take over the garden if left to its own devices. For my needs, I buy ONE plant and plant it in a medium-sized container and have plenty.


                Basil is one of those herbs that do grow well in the garden. However, I love having it in the container right outside my kitchen door for convenience. This is one herb that needs a little larger container. I planted mine in a large (not extra-large) container. Again, one plant is enough for my family as long as I make sure to keep the blooms pinched or snipped off.


                I love to use rosemary, especially when cooking with poultry. It adds such great flavor! This one does well when planted in the garden or even in your landscaping. It becomes almost like a small bush. Also, this one requires a large pot. One plant does my family well. I usually treat most of these herbs as annuals when container planting, however, this one came back in my container this year! I will need to add fertilizer and some additional new potting soil. And hopefully, it will make it!


                Sage is an herb that is pretty pronounced. My husband is a wonderful cook and he uses sage more than I do. It did great in the container. I just planted this one in a medium-sized container. He likes to dry sage and then crush it. One plant was enough for us but if you want to dry and crush a lot of sage, you might want more than one plant.


                My chives came back in the container this year also! I use chives all the time when I’m cooking so I was thrilled that they came back. Hopefully, they continue to do well. One plant in a medium-sized container worked well. You want to give chives a “haircut” periodically during the season and they will do well.


                I have never tried planting thyme in a regular garden, but in my container, it tended to grow and spread out. I’m not sure the exact variety of thyme I purchased. My bad! But if it was creeping thyme, that would probably also have a tendency to take over in the garden. I planted this a smaller container.


                I’ve grown cilantro both in the regular garden and in containers. And it’s done well in both places.For cilantro, it is very important that you harvest and prune often. It tends to want to flower and go to seed fairly quickly if not attended to. I also love the flavor of cilantro in many dishes. If you want the cilantro to come back the following year in your regular garden, just let it flower and go to seed at the end of the season. Next spring you’ll see little sprouts coming back.


                Like mint, oregano seems to be an aggressive grower. I have not planted this in my regular garden because of this. You don’t want to have to fight a plant that wants to take over. However, this did great in my medium-sized container. It does well being dried and crushed also. We’ve grown a couple of different varieties in containers and enjoyed both of them.

                What You Need to Know About Growing Herbs in Containers

                Never use soil from the ground in containers. It will not do your plants any favors. Soil from the ground tends to not drain as well and then when it does begin to dry it just becomes a big clump of dirt. Use potting soil, as it is made for that purpose, and save yourself a huge headache. Make sure there are drain holes in the bottom of the container so your plants won’t drown. Most containers–especially in the heat of summer–require frequent watering. Sometimes morning and evening as the containers dry out quickly. If you see yellow leaves on your herbs, it’s usually a sign of overwatering. Always check the soil by checking about an inch deep and then water well if it’s dry. Every couple of weeks I use a water-soluble fertilizer.

                Harvest your herbs when they have around 3 inches of growth and cut just above a set of leaves. Harvest often to keep them under control and to prevent them from getting leggy or flowering. Flowers are pretty, but the plant will give all of its energy to the flowering process rather than providing you with the edible foliage you want. If you want them to come back the following year it’s ok to let them flower and go to seed at the end of the season! Enjoy the fruits of your labor!


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