How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix


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If you live in an area that has cold and snowy winters, the best way to feel like winter is shorter than it really is or that spring is here before it really is is to start seeds indoors. You’ll observe seedlings emerge 4 to 6-ish weeks before you can place seeds in the ground.

Optimal seed-starter mix will allow for the following:

  1. Retention of Moisture
  2. Drainage of Excess Water
  3. Aeration
  4. Emergence of Seedlings (upward growth) and Penetration of Roots (downward growth)
  5. Nutrients
  6. Beneficial Microbes

Seed-Starter Mix Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Parts Pre-Soaked Organic Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1 Part Vermicompost or Compost


Sunleaves 100% Organic Classic Coco Coir Mulch-Soil Brick – Growing Media & Soil Alternative

(affiliate link)

Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss

Probably the two most common mediums used for “soil”, moisture retention, and the “glue” that keeps everything together are coir and sphagnum peat moss. (Compost also has these characteristics.)

Coir is the by-product of coconut processing. Other names for coir are coco/coir peat, fiber, pith, or dust. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that “coco” is short for coconut NOT cocoa. :)

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Garden Watering Tips {Video}

The way I see it, there are two possible responses to the timing of this post:

Response No. 1: Are you SERIOUS!? Your Gardening Friend is JUST NOW sharing garden watering tips … in the middle of AUGUST?

Response No. 2: WOW! Your Gardening Friend is AMAZING!!! Holly’s preparing me for next year’s garden 8 months early, AND I get to benefit from these tips during the last part of THIS year’s garden! She’s just the greatest thing since … since the pressure canner.

I’m sure this goes without saying, but I’m totally unbiased in choosing the correct

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3 Reasons to Grow Heirlooms {Guest Post}


I’m excited to have Melissa K. Norris as a guest here on Your Gardening Friend. She has a wealth of knowledge on gardening, and I’ve enjoyed following her posts on her blog. I’ve also been blessed by her sharing her faith – beliefs we both share and hold dear.

Please welcome Melissa K. Norris.


Most gardeners know the benefits of growing their own vegetables and fruits. The summer months are dedicated to cultivating our plants, pulling out weeds to keep them happily nourished, checking for disease, and enjoying the harvest of our hard work. For many of us, it’s also preserving time. The pressure canner jiggle seems to be a constant rhythm playing well into fall in our kitchen.

But for the heirloom gardener, summer brings one more task in our gardens. And it might be the most important of all. The heirloom gardener is saving the seed to plant for next year’s crops.

Heirloom plants have many benefits compared to the regular hybrid seed sold in most grocery stores. With the threat of GMO (genetically modified) seeds and Monsanto purchasing seed companies, heirloom seeds give peace of mind. Heirloom plants are untouched by scientists and are exactly as God created them. They cannot be patented as some hybrid and all GMO seeds are.

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Rototillers – Everything You Need to Know


Those who follow Your Gardening Friend on Facebook, you know we purchased a rototiller about two months ago. Prior to that, we had been renting or borrowing.

When we needed to use a rototiller, we’d spend 2.5 hours hooking up the trailer, driving to the rental location, loading the tiller onto the trailer, driving back home, unloading the tiller, loading it back onto the trailer, driving it back to the rental location, unloading it again, driving back home, and unhooking the trailer. The 2.5 hours don’t even take into account the time to TILL the ground!

Now that we own a rototiller, when I need to till, I walk up to the barn, roll the tiller out, and till. When I’m done, I roll it back into the barn. What a time-saving difference!

As I add more organic matter and natural soil conditioners to this particular patch of land, in time, it won’t need to be tilled each spring.

I realize there are MANY ways to garden that do NOT involve the use of a rototiller, but for those who prefer to use a rototiller, here are a few things to consider when making a rototiller purchase (in case you’re currently renting or borrowing like I was).

I’ll cover five (5) main points:

- HP and CC
- 2-Stroke vs. 4-Stroke Engines
- Tillers vs. Cultivators
- Rear Tines vs. Front Tines
- Prices

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Eating Healthy – Progress Not Perfection {Recycled Post}

zirconicusso /

With all the new faces here, I thought I’d recycle a couple old posts here and there. This post was published January 2012. There’s also a part 2 and part 3 to this healthy eating mini series.

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This is the time of year people start making new year resolutions. Even if you’re the type of person who cringes at the idea of new year resolutions, you still probably entertain some similar line of thought. It’s a new year, a new start, a blank slate. New goals are only natural.

Planning to eat healthier in the year to come is a great goal, and a common one. Sometimes, though, we can go about our goals all wrong. If our goals are not broken down into clearly identifiable, measureable, manageable goals, we have nothing specific to aim at, or means of knowing if we’ve succeeded.

On the other hand, sometimes the problem isn’t a lack of specificity, but rather unrealistic timeframes for meeting our goals. We know what needs to be done, but we think it all has to be done TODAY. With this mindset, you might find yourself

  1. Tossing into the trash everything currently in your refrigerator, freezer, kitchen cupboards, and pantries because the ingredients, or process by which the food is made, are not healthy.
  2. In a single afternoon, purchasing from Craigslist a pair of goats, a dairy cow, dozen hens, a few pigs, and a plowing ox.
  3. Renting a cattle trailer, and picking up all the new farm animals from the 5 surrounding counties.
  4. Tying the animals to your garage, until your husband is done constructing the farm fence, small barn, and hen house.
  5. While the new heard of animals graze on their leashes, grabbing the ox, tying him to your waist, and plowing the soon-to-be strictly organic garden.
  6. Teaching your children the nutritional value of your chemical-free front lawn, while waiting to harvest the organic crops.

Whew!! Now … don’t get me wrong. You can do that. However, living a healthier, more organic, sustainable life should not equate to an unnecessary increase in stress. If it does, what’s the point?! So now you’re eating a “perfect” diet, but your family is falling apart, and your stomach lining is being slowly eaten away by ulcers. Way to go! ;)

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4 Things the Reluctant, First-Time Gardener Should Know


original image credit
© Pakhnyushchyy |

Some want to start a garden, but are hesitant … reluctant … fearful of what they don’t know that might cause them to FAIL.

If you identify with that statement, my hope is that after reading this post, you’ll be encouraged, motivated, confident, and EXCITED about starting your first garden!!!

Experienced, green-thumb gardeners, try to recall your first garden. Is there any advice, a nugget of wisdom, you can share with these reluctant gardeners?

Reluctant gardeners, let’s get started! :)

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