Grow MORE Spend Less Posted on 15 Mar 06:41 , 0 comments

We hope you have enjoyed all of the "growing" and plant spacing articles so far.  We are frugal people and I love a good DIY project in the garden that doesn't require spending a bunch of money.  A few examples from previous articles include Start A Bucket Garden or our videos about Using Manure in the Garden and Composting Basics with Mary.

So how do we Grow MORE and Spend Less?

As we mentioned above, recycling in the garden is a GREAT place to start.

-Food scraps and yard "waste" can be composted to use as "free" nutrients for your plants

-Recycled containers can be used for seed starting and growing

-If you have livestock or know someone with animals (rabbit, chicken, goat, cow, pig, horse, alpaca) then you might ask them for their manure.  Rabbit manure can be used immediately but the rest should be composted for 3-12 months depending on the animal.

-Collect & save water. Rain water, grey water systems and "shower buckets" are great ways to save

Free shipping and free seeds!

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we offer free shipping on heirloom seeds within the US with a $10 order minimum.  As an added bonus we also include a free pack of seeds with your purchase!


99 Cent Seed packs to help you grow more!

Our unique selection of sale seeds and every-day 99 cent packs are another great way to grow more and save.  Some of these varieties will grow large, delicious veggies.

Black Beauty Zucchini

We don't always let them grow this large but these were great as zoodles.  Some of these are over 14 inches long


Hubbard Blue Squash

From a single seed we grew several Hubbard Blue Squash.  This one was 16 1/2 pounds


Japanese Giant Red Mustard

This truly lives up to it's name as a giant mustard green.  It's a bit spicy but delicious!


Red Mammoth Mangel Beet

The smaller beet on the left is an early Wonder heirloom beet and on the right is Red Mammoth Mangel beet. The Red Mammoth Mangel Beet is known as a "fodder beet" and was picked small at only 3 1/8 lb
Fodder beets have been around since the 1400s if not earlier. These beets were prized as nutritious animal feed that was easy to store. Fodder beets are hardy, adaptable and palatable. They are ideal for planting in late summer for use as a winter and spring crop.
Red Mammoth Mangel Beets produce an incredible mass of edible beet leaves and a large root up to 20 pounds or more in size


NJ Wakefield Cabbage is another great option as each pack contains 200 seeds for only 99 Cents!


The outer leaves of the Swiss Chard can be harvested as needed and it will continue to produce.  We have had plants that lasted for a year so you can see why Swiss Chard made the list



Homegrown heirloom tomatoes are so flavorful.  There are so many unique varieties to choose from that you cannot purchase from the store


These are just a few example of how to grow more & spend less.


I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

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Food Gardens are Part of the Solution Posted on 29 Nov 10:42 , 0 comments

I love reading about people in their community growing food and building relationships thru their food gardens.  This particular story touched my heart so I'm sharing with you too

11 Year Old Boy Creates Community Garden so No One Goes Hungry
Hurt told 24-Hour News 8 he started gardening when he was 7 years old and planted beans. His mom said the beans provided extra food for the family.
Hurt is now expanding his garden to help others. The community garden opened earlier in May.
“I got rows of tomatoes, one, two,” Hurt described. “This one’s got two tomatoes.”

But this land is more than just a garden of fruits and vegetables.
“I got it from across the school because the lady over there donated it to me so that’s when I got it and also I wanted to do that to feed the community,” Hurt added.
He said the garden is open to everyone and people can stop by whenever to pick fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Because it’s the right thing to help feed the community, and it feeds people so nobody goes hungry,” Hurt said.

Helping people grow the healthiest gardens possible is our passion.  This is one of many reasons we started Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  Every day we are working to create additional planting tutorials and videos.  Our Gardens Fundraiser at Mary's Heirloom Seeds helps fund additional seed donations to school gardens, community and non-profit gardens and church gardens across the country.  Every Year our donation program GROWS!

Gardening can reduce stress & anxiety, it can bring people together and it's a great education tool.  Food gardens offer all of those benefits and more!

You may already know from numerous articles I've shared that I'm a huge advocate of Growing Food no matter what!  If you're curious, read

You Don't Need a farm to Grow Food

Start A Bucket Garden

Growing In Containers

9 Easiest Vegetables to grow from Seed to Harvest

Food Gardens can feed people!!!  I know that's an obvious statement but with so many hungry people in the world and right here in our own community, it needs to be said.  We can make a difference one food garden at a time.

Food Gardens can solve the issue of food deserts.  "Food deserts are defined  as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers." source

Food Gardens can help save the Pollinators!  2018 is the Year of the pollinators!  If you grow organic and WITH nature, there is always a place for beneficial insects.  We use Companion Planting as our first line of defense against pests.  A healthy, well fed soil system can produce healthy plant which do not require expensive sprays and treatments.

The agri-chem companies want you to believe that GMOs are meant to "feed the world" but that is a myth.  Read GMO Crops Do Not Cure Hunger.  The answer to feeding more people is for the community to get involved with their food production.  The amount of cancer causing pesticides and herbicides used every year is in the billions of pounds.  If we all took responsibility for our food and grow beyond organic standards, we could make a GLOBAL change for the benefit of everyone.

From PPS, "Safety and crime reduction  -  There is evidence linking community gardens to improved safety in neighborhoods – showing that crime decreases in neighborhoods as the amount of green space increases. Two reports in the Journal of Environment and Behavior studied (1) the impact nature has on mental fatigue (often a precursor of aggression and violence), and (2) the relationship between green space and inner city crime rates. The research determined that aggression and violence was “significantly lower among those people who lived near some green space than those who lived in more barren conditions.”"

Kids love to grow food!  Food Gardens are a great educational tool.  As part of our seed donation program at Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we work with several homeschool groups and co-ops across the country and in our own community.  My sister and her kids grow all sorts of deliciousness in the garden.

Why Heirloom Seeds?
From Seed Saving Part 1, "Saving Seeds from your garden bounty is like putting money away for a rainy day.  Best of all, saving your own seeds is one of many ways to regain control of your family's source of food"
Open-pollinated, heirloom seeds will grow seeds that can be saved and re-planted year after year. Hybrid seeds can be sterile and may not produce true offspring from saved seeds.

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

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About Moringa Oleifera Posted on 11 Nov 08:52 , 1 comment

We're growing Moringa Oleifera on our homestead!  This is one of those things that makes me excited about growing.  Moringa is a new one for us here.

What is Moringa Oleifera?

Commonly known as Moringa, it is said to be "the most nutritious tree found on the earth." Moringa tree grows in tropical conditions and this tree is native to Indian and Africa.

From Mary's Heirloom Seeds,
It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables. It can also be used for water purification and hand washing, and is sometimes used in herbal medicine.

From Moringa . com,
Moringa leaves, which is the most nutritious part of the Moringa tree, is loaded with Vitamins and Minerals. For this reason it is known as the Nutrition powerhouse. Fresh Moringa leaves contain 70 to 75% moisture and when they are dried the moisture content goes down to less than 8% and hence the nutrients becomes much more concentrated. That is the reason why people prefer to use Moringa Leaf Powder in their supplements.

Leaves can be harvested every 30-45 days throughout the year.


Moringa oleifera is a small size tree with approximately 5 to 10 m height. It is cultivated all over the world due to its multiple utilities. Every part of Moringa is used for certain nutritional and/or medicinal propose. Containing over 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants, non-GMO Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) is one of nature’s most nutritious foods. Ideal for helping our bodies maintain optimum health and balance. Because moringa leaf powder does not spoil, this makes an excellent long-term survival food.

From Trees For Life

To grow from seed:

Moringa seeds have no dormancy periods and can be planted as soon as they are mature.

  1. Choose an area with light and sandy soil, not heavy with clay or water-logged.
  2. Dig holes 1 ft (30 cm) square and 1 ft deep. Back-fill the holes with loose soil. Compost or manure will help the tree grow better, even though Moringa trees can grow in poor soils.
  3. Plant 3 to 5 seeds in each hole, 2 in. (5 cm) apart. Plant the seeds no deeper than three times the width of the seed (approximately ½ in. or 1.5 cm -- the size of one's thumbnail).
  4. Keep the soil moist enough so that the top soil will not dry and choke the emerging saplings, but it should not be too wet or else the seeds can drown and rot.
  5. When the saplings are four to six inches tall, keep the healthiest sapling in the ground and remove the rest. Termites and nematodes can kill a young sapling. Take measures to protect saplings from these two dangers.
The ground where the trees are to be planted should be light and sandy, not heavy with clay or water-logged.
Dig a hole 1 ft (30 cm) square and 1 ft deep. Backfill with loose soil. Adding compost or manure will help the trees grow better.

  1. Water the planting holes one day before transplanting the seedlings.
  2. Plant seedlings in the late afternoon to avoid the hot sun the first day.
  3. Make a hole in the pit to accept all soil in the bag. Carefully cut open the sack and place the seedling in the planting hole. Be careful to keep the soil around the seedling's roots intact.
  4. Pack soil around the seedling base.
  5. Water only lightly for the first few days.
If the seedlings fall over, tie them to a stick for support. Protect young saplings from termites and nematodes

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

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Making Your Own Herbal Remedies Posted on 29 Oct 14:48 , 0 comments


Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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October 29, 2017
We've been busy in the gardens and creating in the kitchen.  We had a special request made on
our faceook page to bring back a few of our
These make fantastic gifts.
After sharing about the new kits we had a few questions about how to make tinctures.
Below you'll find the basic info as well as links to articles and tutorials we've shared on our website over the years.  Enjoy!!!

There are many ways to use herbs for medicinal purposes and one of the is in a tincture. Other uses include consuming in food, salves, herbal vinegar and herbal oils, teas and even syrup. I thought I would start with Tinctures because it is quite simple and easy to use.
There are 2 important components to your herbal tincture: Herbal material and menstruum
Our DIY Organic Tincture Kits include everything but the liquid!

What is Menstruum?
Definition: a substance that dissolves a solid or holds it in suspension : solvent
Types of Menstruum is general vodka, when making a true herbal tincture. Vinegar can be used, it can be safer than alcohol, but is less effective at leaching out the medicinal components of the plant. When tincturing dried herbs, water is sometimes mixed with the vodka or alcohol. When tincturing fresh herbs, I always use high-proof alcohol.

An herbal tincture is simply an herbal extract. Herbal remedies have been used throughout history to treat illnesses and ailments without "modern medicine" and pharmacueticals. Tinctures are easy to make, home remedies. If properly prepared and stored, your tincture will last indefinitely.  
How long will an Herbal Tincture last?
First, if you choose to use Vinegar, Apple Cider vinegar or Vegetable glycerin, your tincture will have a shelf life of approximately 6-8 months.
All tinctures should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. A kitchen cabinet away from the oven or stove works perfect.
According to my research, properly made tinctures with high-proof alcohol do not go bad. Again, if prepared and stored properly.
A few of my favorites: Cayenne, Feverfew, Chamomile and Thai Holy Basil
Did you enjoy our tutorial on how to make your own Calendula Infused Oil?
Why DIY Tinctures?
If you look at your local "health food store" you will find tinctures.  Most are $10-$40 per ounce.  Online it is the same story plus shipping.  
Pictured is a special "kit" I put together to get started on your tincture.
Our DIY Tincture Kits include 
1-32 ounce glass jar with lid, 1- 2 ounce Amber bottle with dropper top, 2 customizeable labels, 1 ounce of Organic Herb of your choice (additional herbs available) and Details Instructions
Let's do the math
Tincture Kit from Mary's Shop $15.75
Priority mail shipping $7.99
24 ounces (3 cups) of 100 proof vodka (approx)  $6.91

Total spent for 24 ounces of Tincture  $30.65
Homemade: Total spent for 2 ounces $2.55

Online store selling 1 ounce of Chamomile Tincture  $11.00
Shipping $4
Store-Bought: Total for 2 ounces: $26

HUGE savings!!!  Plus, with the Tincture Kit you have the Jar, Strainer top and detailed Instructions to make more!
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 


Happy Planting,


Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

15 Survival Seeds to Stockpile Posted on 26 Oct 15:26 , 0 comments

TIP: Stocking up on seeds for SHTF only works if you're actively growing and rotating seeds!
Please don't fall for the "lasts indefinitely" claim from most survival seed companies. Seeds most definitely have a shelf life (even in mylar bags). No one grows a perfect garden every year so if you're planning on growing, PRACTICE is essential.
We have been asked many time if we plan on offering a "survival seed pack" but it's just not something we want to encourage.  We do however offer several Seed Combo packs as well as a Back to Basics Homestead pack.
There are many reason to be prepared and not all of them are a complete collapse of our system.  Sickness, loss of a job or a reduction in wages are just a few very personal reasons to prepare for the unexpected.  
Being prepared doesn't necessarily need to be for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it).

Reasons for Food Insecurities include
Job Loss
Rising food costs
Crop failure due to Weather or Water Shortage
Farm labor shortage
Interruptions in transportation of food
Civil unrest
Natural Disasters, as we've seen in recent months, are another VERY important reasons to be prepared.  Due to our aging infrastructure and roadways, emergencies can stall the delivery of goods, leaving a community without food for a given period of time.  While the recent hurricanes and wildfires have wiped out many people's gardens, their gardening experience cannot be taken away.
Getting Started
-Find out what grows best in your area and when to plant for your region.
Our Planting Guide for the US is a great resource
-How much space do you have for growing and is it adequate for feeding your group
*I'm working on a plant spacing article so we'll update this article soon*
-How many plants and varieties do you need to sustain yourself and/or your group
-If you're newer to Growing, it might be a good idea to start with easier varieties.  Stock up on all of the food varieties that you eat but start planting the easy ones.
-Timing is everything!  If you're in a very HOT climate, usually summer is not the time to plant.  If you're in a cool or cold climate, it is best to plant indoors to get a jump on planting season and/or provide a greenhouse to extend your growing season.
Our Planting Guide for the US is a great resource

-Learn to Save Seeds! 
FIRST and most important: Seed Saving from your own harvest is preferred. Store bought produce can be GMO or even hybrid. Even organic store bought can be hybrid.  Hybrid seeds can be sterile and will not produce true offspring from saved seeds.
Open-pollinated, heirloom seeds will grow seeds that can be saved and re-planted year after year.

Read Seed Saving Part 1 

Don't Wait until it's Too Late
As we mentioned above, 
"No one grows a perfect garden every year so if you're planning on growing, PRACTICE is essential."
Learn to grow the foods that you eat regularly.  Canning and preserving those foods would be the next step in being more self-reliant.  You'll find that growing food takes a bit of patience and knowledge of soil, sun and water.  If you have clay soil you mid need to amend with compost.  If you have rocky soil you may need to grow in raised beds.  These are things you'll learn as you grow. 
We offer 3 new videos about using Compost and Manure to amend your soil and these resources are FREE!

Beans - Easy to grow and preserve. Beans are very high in fiber, calcium, Vitamins A, C, and K
Spinach -  Cold hardy and prolific. Many call this a superfood based upon its large array of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, iron, thiamine, thiamine, and folic acid.
Carrots - Another hardy crop that requires very little space. This root crop is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C
Squash - Both squash and pumpkin are prolific producers.  Both store well, especially winter squash. Seeds can be saved and/or roasted and consumed. Squash has lots of carbohydrates and a great nutrient list, including Vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium and potassium.
Allium varieties - This includes Onions, shallots, Leeks and garlic.  A good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Beets - Easy to grow and multi-functional.  Both roots and greens are edible making beets a dual purpose crop.
Tomatoes - If you can keep your pest issues to a minimum, tomatoes can produce an abundance of food from a relatively small space. Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine, and Niacin
Broccoli - Another cool weather crop. Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamins A and K, and carbohydrates
Peppers - From a medicinal view, peppers such as cayenne are essential for natural remedies. Peppers are high in vitamin A and C
Eggplant - Not something most people would think to grow but still an important one.  Eggplant is relatively easy to grow and can grow for 3 or more years.  Bonus, it's pretty easy to save seeds from Eggplant
Asparagus - An essential perennial. Depending on your region, established Asparagus plants can continue to produce for 30 years (some report for longer)
Amaranth - Another dual purpose plant.  Amaranth is naturally drought tolerant.  Seeds from the amaranth can be used as a grain (cook just as you would quinoa).  Leaves can be picked while young and tender and eaten raw or sauteed as you would spinach. 

Radish - If you need a FAST maturing crop, radish is one of the best.  From seed to harvest, radish is mature in as few as 25 days.  Seeds are easy to save from crops and just as easy to stockpile.

Corn - I know I mention grain below but Corn deserves a specific mention.  While corn might not be the easiest crop to grow, it has many uses.  Most people automatically think of Sweet Corn.  However, Dent Corn & Field Corn are important.  Both can be dried and fed to livestock.  It can also be dried and ground into cornmeal. 
Grains - If you have livestock on your homestead, grains can help feed them.  Grains are a good source of carbohydrates, are high in dietary fiber and manganese

HERBS: Natural pest control can be obtained thru companion planting with herbs. If you're planning on making your own herbal remedies, medicinal herbs are a must.

FLOWERS: Do not underestimate flower power!  We use many flowers planted throughout our garden for companion planting and to attract bees for pollination.  Most common flowers we use are Borage, PurpleConeflower, Marigolds, Nasturtium, Plains Coreopsis, Cornflower, Yarrow, SUNFLOWERS and Calendula

Potatoes - *Keep in mind, seed potatoes do not keep.* You must continually replentish your stock from your own crops (or Mary's Heirloom Seeds as long as we have internet). Potatoes are a staple diet of many of the world’s peoples, especially those in the west. The contain potassium, copper and B6 and are really good to ‘fill you up’ at mealtime. They are also usually pretty easy to grow, although some varieties are very disease prone. 

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

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