For some gardeners, fall isn’t the end of the growing season, it’s also a new beginning. Take our Senior Editor Amanda for example. Just after she’s done pulling up plants and covering her raised beds in mulch, she’s getting ready to fire up her collection of hydroponic gardens. And it’s quite the collection, as you’ll soon find out. She could hardly wait to get started on this month’s issue dedicated to hydroponic gardening.
Have you ever grown hydroponically? It’s a real treat! Imagine fresh lettuce just growing wildly in your kitchen or dining room without the nuisance of soil. Or being able to get fresh herbs at your fingertips while there’s ice and snow covering the ground.
Look, I give my sage some credit, it’s still offering up little green high fives through the snow, but basil is long dead and I need fresh basil in my kitchen at all times, OK?. Sure, those little grocery store containers work alright, but a fresh batch of it growing on my countertop with little to no effort sounds a whole lot better!
In our February 2022 issue, we dive right into all things hydroponic, like growing veggies from scraps, to aquaponics, microgreens, sprouts, small hydroponic systems, vertical hydroponic systems, and even cooking with your harvest! Sounds real science-y but we’ve taken the beginner’s route and show you how you can do it all with kits you can buy.
Be sure to check it out in this hydroponic edition of Food Gardening Magazine. If you’re growing food hydroponically, be prepared to have a ton of produce all winter long, and you’ll need recipes to use it all up. So don’t miss the burrata salad recipe using homegrown microgreens and fresh-squeezed mandarin orange juice. Here’s a closer look at some of what you can expect in this issue:
Gardening with Amanda Videos—Amanda MacArthur is one fabulous food gardener, and her expertise in hydroponic gardening shines through for this special issue, which includes companion videos to show you, not just tell you, exactly what to do. Check out these four helpful articles, with videos, from Amanda this month:
- NEW VIDEO! 6 Essential Gardening Tools for Beginners to Buy in February: Much like seeds, gardening tools sell out fast in the spring. Add supply-chain issues to the mix and you could be hurting for essential tools like new tomato cages this year if you don’t get them now. In this article and video, Amanda describes these and a few other key items you should grab before it’s too late.
- NEW VIDEO! Hydroponics for Beginners: 5 Systems for Growing Greens and Veggies: Get ready to venture into a 30-day journey of growing food hydroponically, from sprouts and microgreens to aquaponic fish tanks, small countertop herb gardens, and big vertical lettuce and veggie gardens. Join Amanda as she takes you on a trip through the growth cycle of each method and system.
- NEW VIDEO! Regrowing Green Onions, Carrot Greens, and Celery in Water: If you’ve ever wanted to re-grow carrot tops, celery, and green onions, this tutorial on how to do it proves that it’s not only easy, but anybody can do it!
- NEW VIDEO! Burrata and Microgreens Salad with Orange Vinaigrette: One of our featured fruits this month is oranges, so Amanda whipped us up a delicious sweet and savory salad using homegrown microgreens, and a juicy sweet orange vinaigrette.
And this issue of Food Gardening Magazine includes details on our three featured foods this month—concurrently with publishing this issue of our magazine, we’re publishing three new and updated gardening guides on oranges, tomatoes, and basil. As a premium member of Food Gardening Network, you get full access to the magazine and these gardening guides:
Oranges: You don’t have to live in a subtropical climate to grow your own orange tree — container-grown trees can produce excellent fruit! Prepare to pick your ideal orange tree — for snacks, for juice, for homemade marmalade, and more! Learn how to get started growing your own orange trees in our Juicy Oranges Gardening Guide!
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are the most popular plant for home gardeners! With The Everything Tomato Gardening Guide, you’ll have everything you need to know about growing and enjoying this versatile food, from the history and background of the mighty tomato to specific advice on growing, harvesting, and enjoying your hard work!
Basil: Basil is one of the most essential herbs and can be found in just about every kitchen. With The Basil Grower’s Gardening Guide, you’ll have everything you need to know about growing and enjoying this versatile herb.
I’ve read all three gardening guides, and I learned so many things about these three plants. Consider some of these tidbits that I discovered while reading these gardening guides, to get you thinking about what you might want to plant this year.
- Did you know, Oranges originated in Southeast Asia, then spread to the Mediterranean, and eventually made their way to the Americas. And did you know that a specific variety of orange is responsible for the taste and fragrance of Earl Grey tea?
- And did you know Tomatoes actually are a vegetable? Legally speaking, anyway. The United States Supreme Court actually weighed in on the matter in 1893 to resolve a legal dispute about trade and tariffs. In Nix v. Hedden, the Court ruled that tomatoes are a vegetable because they are mainly served with dinner and not as a dessert, making tomatoes subject to tariffs on vegetables that didn’t apply to fruits at the time. Botanically speaking, tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are fruits—berries actually. But, for cooking purposes, tomatoes are usually treated as vegetables. Tomatoes have much less sugar than typical fruits, which is another reason why some people view them as vegetables.
- Let’s not forget a fun fact about Basil I learned from our gardening guide. Basil needs to be regularly harvested, so the plants don’t “go to seed”—that means clipping leaves from the tops of plants on a regular basis (the leaves will grow back and thrive and produce even more basil). In Italy, seed packets for Basil contain thousands of seeds because basil is grown like a microgreen – it’s picked when it’s only 6” tall for the best flavor, and is re-seeded all season.
To help guide you about these three foods and our gardening guides, you’ll find in this edition of Food Gardening Magazine Gardening Guide Close-Ups that focus on oranges, tomatoes, and basil—these in-depth articles give you valuable tips and advice about these three foods, and you’ll have instant access to the premium gardening guides themselves, too. Be first to read these Gardening Guide Close-Ups, to get a head start on how to grow these foods:
- How to Grow an Orange Tree in Your Yard. In this article we’ll show you how to grow orange trees at home under the conditions they’re meant for, in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. We’ll answer questions about growing in flood zones and more.
- The Sweetest Tomatoes to Plant. Everyone wants the best-tasting tomatoes, but taste is subjective, and elements like soil and nutrients play a big part. In this article, you’ll get a list of the sweetest tomatoes we love, perfect for salads and sandwiches.
- 5 Types of Basil Gardeners and Chefs Love. Basil is not a one-size-fits-all herb. Some types of basil give off better flavors when they’re cooked, while some are better added in just before serving a meal. There’s color and aroma to consider, too! If you want to know the best basil to cook with different dishes and cuisine, that’s what you’ll find in this article.
And then there are the recipes you’ll find in the three gardening guides—here are three of my favorites that are tasty, unique, and easy to make:
- Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup: Make this tasty soup for a warm lunch meal on a cool afternoon—and serve with a companion grilled cheese sandwich for the ultimate in comfort food. Kids and adults will beg you to make this all winter long!
- Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce: Direct from Florence, Italy, comes this easy-to-make Italian pizza sauce recipe that allows you to quickly whip out a pizza for lunch or dinner at almost a moment’s notice!
- Baked Orange Chicken Breast: A simple yet elegant meal you can put together in under an hour and can serve with your favorite vegetables on the side. But don’t wait for company to come over; this is an easy weeknight meal you can make for yourself!
I hope you enjoy the February issue of Food Gardening Magazine as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together. We’re so happy to have you here, and if the cold of winter is putting a chill in your gardening spirit, I hope all these great ideas for growing hydroponically will lift you back up until we’re back outside and on the ground again.
Editor & Publisher
P.S. Please enjoy this issue of Food Gardening Magazine, and let me know what you think about it by commenting below with your feedback! Your input is valuable to us and can help us make improvements.