Seed Starting and Garden Tips to Eat Fresh All Year!


When it comes to eating fresh all year long, some people would say its impossible! I’m here to share with you how you can start seeds not only in the spring to have a flourishing garden all summer long, but also how you can have some fresh foods around your home in the cold winter months.

I grew up seeing my grandma garden and preserve food and let me tell you there is nothing like a fresh jar of homemade pickles in the dead of winter!

When your first starting to garden it can be a bit overwhelming but just remember, there is always next year and you will 99.9% of the time learn something from your mistakes. I am no expert at gardening. I still have a lot to learn, but each year I get better and better at the craft.

Seed starting: What you will need

  • Basic seed starting soil mix – I always choose an organic kind and try to get something that says OMRI (this just means, certified in a scientific way).
  • Containers – the first year we started gardening we literally used plastic Tupperware containers… now I wouldn’t recommend that unless your budget is really tight. We now use plastic seed starting trays. They are around $4 at Menards or any other box store and you can reuse them year after year.
  • Seeds – you need to decide what type of vegetables or fruits your family would like to grow, and how much space you have. Some things like tomatoes can grow in containers on your deck or back patio, whereas other things like squash or pumpkins you will need a larger garden space for the plant to grow. So before planting anything you really need to decide what type of space you will have for your plants after they have sprouted and began to grow in order to best grab seeds for your needs. My fav seed shop is, his seed packs are $0.99!!
  • Water – This is pretty self-explanatory. But when you are first starting your seeds, prior them sprouting you want to keep your soil moist but not sopping wet. I like to use a spray bottle to help with this process; this ensures proper germination. I always put 2 seeds in each pot just in case, then I take out the weaker ones.
  • Sun – ALL plants need some sun, and some need more sun then others but each of your seed packets will tell you exactly how much sun each plant needs. but plan for 6-8 hrs of direct sunlight a day. So pick a nice sunny spot to grow your garden. Prior to transplanting your seeds outside you can use a grow light or even a sunny porch window, but you want to make sure you have 6-8 hrs of direct sunlight.

Now you have veggies growing in your garden, how do you preserve them for the winter months?

This for me is my favorite part of the garden! there are quite a few ways you can prep veggies for the winter. a few are Canning, freezing, and drying are my three personal favorites.

  • Canning allows you to keep your pantry stocked with foods from your garden for many months to come. This is especially great for Pickels, applesauce, and pasta or pizza sauces. Surprisingly, it is not all that difficult either. However, it is an investment to get the equipment.
  • Freezing is by far the top choice of most moms because it’s quick and keeps things fresh for months to come as well. what I like to do is vacuum seal my fresh veggies all summer long. I do this each time I bring a harvest in, so come winter my freezer is stocked with stuff I can use during the cold months. Then my family is getting “fresh” stuff all year! this is not something you want to do with Cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs they will get brown and mushy really fast.
  • Drying works best for herbs, you can just make bundles of each herb, tie a string around them and hang them upside down. I wait a few weeks, then break them off the steam to use during the winter months in my cooking or with tea.

For those who do not have space for a garden, this section is for you!

Prior to living on our “Homestead”, we lived in an apartment downtown Perrysburg so we did not have space to have a garden but we still managed to eat fresh as long and as much as possible.

We visited the farmer’s markets around town and stocked up on all sorts of fresh fruits and veggies grown locally! this helps save on the pocketbook in the winter and gives you that amazing fresh taste of veggies all year long.








In summary, eating fresh doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. Make it fun! Let the entire family in on it, and who knows you might learn something new along the way! I do every year!

Health and Happiness!

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Samantha VanderVlucht
Samantha lives a more unconventional life. She works for her family’s business so she is able to bring her little one with her to the office. She also works from home a few days a week, and does all the Mama things in-between! She resides in Luckey Ohio with her husband of 7 years Kyle, her one-year-old daughter Demi Kay, and her fur baby Remington. Samantha enjoys the outdoors and doing all things homesteading. Most days when she is not working you will find her in the gardens, in the kitchen learning a new skill, or prepping for the winter months when fresh fruits and veggies are not in supply. She and her husband are passionate about health and wellness and have a wealth of knowledge about it. They love sharing the natural go to’s for just about anything! Essential oils are Samantha’s must-haves day in and day out! Samantha and her family strive to live a self-sustaining life. She is so excited to be a part of Toledo Mom’s; another adventure added to her belt! Find her on Instagram @skvanderv.



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