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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Complete Guide to Growing Container Eggplant & How to Fry Your Harvest: Grow It Cook It Eat It!

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A Complete Guide to Growing Container Eggplant & How to Fry Your Harvest: 
Grow It Cook It Eat It!

Eggplant is an outstanding container vegetable. It is extremely productive. I show you everything you need to do to maintain them in containers, once planted and growing. 

Eggplant is the “meat” of the garden and Stacy Lyn will show you how to fry and make breaded garden fresh eggplant. A perfect golden fry that can be used with all kinds of sauces & preparations. Her cookbook, Harvest, contains this delicious recipe as well as many more!

Stacy Lyn's 'Harvest' Cookbook a perfect companion for Grow It Cook It Eat It
Stacy Lyn's Website Game and Garden
Stacy Lyn's YT Channel

Come Join Stacy and I in Grow It Cook it Eat it's FB group

Friday, August 25, 2017

How Well Do All-America Selections Winners Grow? Extremely Prolific Vegetable Plants for Your Gardens

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How Well Do All-America Selections Winners Grow? 
Extremely Prolific Vegetable Plants for Your Gardens

I had a great time growing All-America Selections Winners in my garden this year. I highly recommend going to their site and finding the new winners as well as some past winner from the last 85 years. Yes, they have doing this for 85 years! The 2018 AAS Winners have just been released and I will be growing some of them next year. Why not get something new and be the first in your area to grow it, show it off and of course eat it.

So... are the winners truly winners? Do they just have a stamp on them or do they offer something that merits the title of a winner?  What makes a vegetable or flower an AAS Winner? Well I have the answers for you in my garden tour video.

I grow and test before I recommend. Here is my most recent video with some wonderful, fully  'The Rusted Garden' tested,  All American Selections Winners. They one word I use, in the video, often is prolific. They really produce and produce and produce. I show off 8 mature vegetable varieties and 1 flower variety I grew this year.  And check out the production!

They were easy to grow, highly productive, great tasting and seemed to have some extra disease resistance (some varieties) compared to like vegetables.  I believe they have the qualities of winners. Check out my most recent video A Tour of My All-America Selection Winner's Garden: 9 Prolific Varieties for the Ground & Containers and decide for yourself.

I had a great time growing new found varieties I haven't grown before. I will be growing an All-America Selections garden next year. I encourage you to join me by following my YT Channel The Rusted Garden. Here are the vegetables in the videos.  All-America Selections doesn't sell the seeds, they only declare winners every year. You can find seed distributors that sell them by going to the AAS website or search the variety name to find sellers.

Find these All-America Selections Winners a: http://all-americaselections.org/buy-...

Candle Fire Okra
Sweet Banana Pepper
Fantastico Tomato
Seyshelles Pole Bean
Cornito Gaillo Sweet Pepper
Patio Choice Yellow Tomato
Midnight Snack Tomato
Patio Baby Eggplant 
Pretty N Sweet Pepper

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mental Health and The Vegetable Garden Part One: Positively Changing Your Structure & Routine

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Mental Health and The Vegetable Garden
Part One: Positively Changing Your Structure and Routine
by Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden) 

I have been working in the field of mental health for nearly 30 years and have been a Clinical Mental Heath Therapist for the last 15 years. My grandfather introduced me to world of vegetable gardening when I was in elementary school. He came over one day with tomato transplants and dug a garden. He taught me how to plant and grow my own tomato plants. My memories of him, in the garden with me, continue today. What he taught me that day ignited a passion and that passion continues to influences my daily life.

Mental heath is really about life quality. We perceive the world. We feel the world. We interact with the world. We are social beings that interact with family, friends and the communities in which we live. Life quality is often influenced by our daily structures and weekly routines. They vary greatly person to person. Sometimes our structures and routines are defined, in part, by things outside of our control. What is within our control, the things we can change, is how we can begin to improve our mental health and the quality of our lives.

Early Spring Container Garden

Think about your daily structure and weekly routine. They really are about activity, and far to often, the lack of activity or negative activity. Hobbies, like growing a vegetable garden, can change the way you interact with the world, at many levels. Positive activity additions to your life will greatly benefit your sense of wellbeing and mental health. Small changes in your daily life can make large changes in the quality of your life. The key is breaking your routine and trying something new. Change will never knock at your door. You literally have to go outside and dig around for it. This video explains some of the concepts in the article and teaches you how to start a small container garden. Please share you experience in the video comments. I think it will help others.

The keyword is enjoy. Planting, tending and harvesting vegetables from your own garden is a wonderful way to bring more enjoyment to your life. Too often we look at career, income, possessions and status as ways to become happier. While these things are important, you can make changes on a smaller scale. You can find an improved sense of well-being by finding and adding activities that you, not only enjoy, but can also share with family and friends. Gardening is both a solitary and social activity. As much as you may enjoy time alone, social interaction is also needed in life. Sharing a passion with like people will improve your mental health.

Gardening is a wonderful hobby because Nature designed the plants to grow and produce in all types of conditions. You can make mistakes and still get vegetables. You will learn life lessons in the garden and can teach life lessons to your children. You don't need formal training to have a garden. You only need to get started.

My Tomato Garden

You will need earth, sunshine, water and a space. You can dig a small garden in your yard or start on your deck or patio with containers. If you don't have land or enough sun, you can find family and friends that do and start gardening with them. There is a good chance there are community gardens in your area where you can rent a space at a very low price. The biggest barrier to positive change is putting out the effort to break your routine and add something different to it. If you don't want to start alone or need some help, find some family members or friends that want to give gardening a try. Have fun, share the experience and most importantly just get started.

Gardening will improve your mental health in many ways. I think the most important thing it does is it occupies your mind in healthy way for a period of time. You begin to focus on and get lost in the activity. You notice the smell of the soil, feel the shovel digging into the earth and hear the sounds of birds chirping around you. You begin to create, shape and transform your garden, completing the day's task. People stop worrying about the past, present and future and become totally absorb in the care of their garden. This process is called mindfulness.

When we lack positive or constructive daily activity and sit, we often dwell on the negative aspects of our lives. Caring for a vegetable garden takes you away from being sedentary and alone with unstructured time. It gets you out and interacting with your world. The outdoors, sunshine and plants will always beat staying indoors. Your are not only changing what you do but are changing how you think and perceive the world around you. This type of change may seem small but the impact on how you begin to feel is quite large.

Gardening will also reward you with a sense of accomplishment over and over again. The feeling of accomplishment leads to an improvement in self esteem. Taking a space and turning the ground over will be rewarding. Planting your first seeds and seeing them germinate will be rewarding. Picking your first radish will be rewarding. Tasting the herbs you grew in a meal will be rewarding. Remembering when you first turned the ground, planted a tiny tomato seed only to be standing next to a six foot tall plant full of red cherry tomatoes... will be deeply rewarding. Taking those cherry tomatoes to your family and friends and hearing how sweet they are will bring you a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Making changes to your life is not always easy. Gardening can be hard work. But if you start today, you and your garden will be better tomorrow. The second year gardener always does better than their first year. The third year gardener wants more land and new seed varieties to plant. The fourth year gardener now has a daily structure and weekly routine they love and enjoy and will never give up. If you are interested in gardening, start small, start with a friend, join some FaceBook gardening groups and start watching videos. You'll find the motivation to get started and begin to notice how getting lost in your garden helps you find a way to improve your mental health, life quality and overall well being.

Good Luck and Give It a Try,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Grow an All America Selections Tomato & Vegetable Garden with Me: Pictures of My AAS Winners!

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Over 800 Garden Videos Designed to Quickly Present Information!

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Grow an All America Selections Tomato and Vegetable Garden with Me 
Pictures of My AAS Winners!

This year I dedicated a section of my garden for growing vegetables that were recent All-America Selections Winners. The winning vegetables have been impressive. Next year I plan to turn my community garden into an exclusive All-America Selections Winners garden. The reason I'm doing this is because AAS Winners grow extremely well and I am having fun finding new and even old vegetable varieties for my garden. All these pictures are from my 2017 garden and I took them 30 minutes ago!

All-America Selections has been around for 85 years. They are a nonprofit organization that really does one thing and that is conduct yearly trials to find the best new vegetables and flowers for our gardens. They don’t sell the seeds or plants; they just trial, announce and promote the winners. Which I love, as they are doing the hard work and I am adding exciting new varieties to my garden. I am doing a whole video series on 'Midnight Snack' showing you how to plant cherry tomatoes from start to finish. They are just about ready to ripen!

'Midnight Snack' Cherry Tomato: 2017 AAS Winner

I mentioned I really enjoy finding new and old plant varieties for my garden. Both you and I are already growing AAS Winners in our garden. I call these the heritage winners for instance the ‘Sweet Banana’ was a winner in 1941. You can find that pepper in just about everyone’s garden. Many past AAS Winners can be considered heirlooms. Many of the new winners are hybrids. I have found having a combination of heirlooms and hybrids makes for a bountiful, delicious and productive garden.

'Patio Choice Yellow' Cherry Tomato: 2017 AAS Winner

Other Heritage AAS Winners are: ‘Pepper Bell Boy’ Pepper 1967, ‘Champion’ Radish 1957, ‘Cherry Belle’ Radish 1949, ‘Jubilee’ Tomato 1943, ‘Buttercrunch’ Lettuce 1963, ‘Red Sails’ 1985, ‘Salad Bowl’ 1952, ‘Cherokee Wax’ Bean 1948, ‘Dark Opal’ Basil 1962, ‘Sugar Ann’ Pea 1984, ‘Sugar Snap’ Pea 1979, ‘Straight 8’ Cucumber 1935, ‘Black Beauty’ Squash/Zucchini 1957 and so many more! Like I said you probably are already growing AAS Winners in your garden. You can search their database here: All-America Selections Website.

My experience is that the All America Selections Winners get high marks in the areas of ease of growth, high yield, great taste and in some cases, uniqueness. In addition to these marks, many new varieties do well resisting diseases. I really encourage you to check out their website. You can search their database of AAS Winners and find seed companies that sell the award 

winning vegetables and flowers. I hope you decide to grow an AAS Garden along with me. I plan to do a video series on my AAS Garden through 2018. It should be a lot of fun and I would love to have your comments and experience show up in the series. You can follow me on Instagram under The Rusted Garden and not only see the AAS Winners I am growing but also see my garden harvests.

I really encourage you to add some All-America Selections to your garden as I have visited the seed trials and met the people that not only hold the trials but actually breed and create the new varieties. It can take 10 years to come up with a perfect cross that brings a variety to market with great taste, better production and an improved ease of growing. They have an amazing passion for gardening as we do.

'Pretty N Sweet' Pepper: 2015 AAS Winner

'Seyshelles' Pole Beans: 2017 AAS Winner

Tips for Growing Pole Beans in Containers: 'Seychelles' Pole Beans 2017 AAS Winner

Now if I haven't convinced you to check out the AAS Winners let me say two more things. They also have award winning flowers that will help bring pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden I highly recommend mixing your garden with old heirlooms, new hybrids and other varieties of flower and vegetables you haven't grown before as a best practice. Keep a journal of what thrives in your area and you will find your own winning vegetables through All-America Selections that really raise the quality of your gardening experience.

'Fantastico' Grape Tomato: 2015 AAS Winner

'Interpecific Supra Pink' Dianthuis and 'Profusion Red' Zinnia: 2017 AAS Winners