Friday Night at the Movies – To Make a Farm

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Tonight I plan on watching To Make a Farm.  It’s a documentary that follows five people who have decided to give small-scale farming a go.  Having a little farm would be awesome, but I suspect the documentary will show just how hard it is to make a living at it.

 to make a farm

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Foraging for Dinner in the Lettuce Jungle

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growing lettuce in a greenhouse garden

Last night during a ridiculously epic rain storm, I went foraging in the lettuce jungle for some salad fixin’s. Not having to go to the store is pretty high on my list pretty much everyday of the week. The crowds, the noises, the dirty shopping carts and baskets that never get washed {unless rain counts} are a big deterrent for me.

cutting lettuce leaves

But walking to the backyard in the rain to find something for dinner? No problem, they’ve got these things called umbrellas and let me tell you Bob, they are one of the coolest inventions ever.

giant bowl of homegrown lettuce

BYOS. Bring your own scissors and go home with a giant bowl of gourmet greens. :) planting tomatoes in a greenhouse

Ahh but what’s a trip to the garden if you can’t get a little sidetracked… right?planting tomatoes in a ginat tub

Last night before dinner I clean up the lettuce bed and transplanted my first 2 tomato plants {Sun Gold} to our greenhouse garden. It’s still a little too chilly to transplant the tomatoes directly into the garden beds, but they should be find in the greenhouse.

using tomato cages

Hot diggety dog, can you believe it? Tomato season is right around the corner.

Let’s get this party started!

~ Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Hoop House – Picture Tutorial

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how to make a hoop house

My buddy Heather made this hoop house . Check out her easy peasy directions.

I’ve made a few hoop houses in my day – some prettier, long lasting, and easier to use than others. But, as temporary hoop-houses go, I think I’ve nailed it. And better yet, for the low-low price of about $22 from your friendly Home Depot guys, you too can make your own Fancy-Schmancy hoop-house too! {I may have missed my calling as an infomercial queen!} ;)

Hoop House Supplies

how to make a hoop house

The first steps to making your hoop house are to make the end parts, which are waaaaay easier than you think it’s going to be. First measure the distance of where you will place the end pieces and, by screwing in two pipe ends to an extra piece of wood, you can create a jig.

making a hoop house from scratch

Then lay out the plastic (I did this in my living room because even a small breeze would be the equivalent to trying to do this with half a dozen toddlers).  Now, cut out around the pvc pipe and leave a 4”-5” border so you can wrap the plastic around the pipe and tape it down. Don’t worry about it being too tight, the plastic will fluctuate with the temperature anyway. Ta-daaaaah. Looks sweet huh? Now slide it out of your jig and make another.

building a hoop house

Grab that old hose and a sharp pair of scissors, pat yourself on the back for up-cycling, and get to work cutting that hose into sections of 12” or so. Then cut them down the middle like a hot dog bun. These hose pieces will act like grips to hold the plastic in place, I made 13.

making a hoop house

Now it’s time to screw the pipe ends to your wood boxes and put up your two end pieces that you made inside and add another pvc pipe in the middle for support (my boxes are 4’x8’). Oh heck ya, it’s looking awesome already.

tomato plants

At this point I skipped inside to get the tomato plants I seeded in January – whoo-hoo! – to plant in my hoop house.  They had way over grown their pots and unless I wanted to re-pot them again, I had to move them outside.  Normally, this is about 6 weeks too early, but with my handy-dandy-fancy-schmancy hoop house I can move them out into the garden now.

hoop house directions pictures

To add the last 9’x12’ plastic sheet on top, you’ll need a helper to hold it in place, and wedge the hose pieces on to secure them. (If the plastic touches the sharp tops of the tomato cages, like mine do in a few pieces, just put a bit of duct tape on the metal cages to buffer it and protect the plastic.)

The goal is to open the one side of the hoop house for watering and weeding without having to un-do the whole thing (my main gripe with previous hoop houses that I’d made/used) or try to water and weed from one of the ends (which is almost impossible).

hoop house polytunnel directions

For the back side, add several rocks or a heavy pieces of wood on the back end to hold the plastic in place and secure it to the ground.  On the front side tape the last ½” piece of pvc pipe to the plastic so you can roll it up and secure it on top for weeding in the garden box.

Now step back, do a little dance, and let’s kick off this gardening season early!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

What Is Compost and Why Is Compost So Important?

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What Is Compost and Why Is Compost So Important

I get questions about compost all of the time, and since I am itching to start really get going in the garden, I thought now would be the perfect time to give you the 411 on all things compost.

First, compost is the product of the natural decomposition of organic materials.  In an nutshell, it’s the dirt-like substance that comes from waste that is allowed to follow its natural process of breaking down to re-feed the earth.  It will happen whether you composts yourself or not–but having your own compost pile really only helps you in the long run.

How to Make Compost

Compost is nature’s way of making sure the earth doesn’t pile up with waste.  {As humans, we have, of course, managed to figure out how to make things that simply to not break down, but that’s a whole other topic.}  The decomposition, by design, feeds the plants that grow from the earth, which feed the animals.  It’s all part of the great cycle of nature.

Creating a compost pile or buying a composter helps to reduce the amount of stuff that ends up shoved into plastic bags and sent to the landfills.  It also results in what most gardeners refer to as “black gold” for your garden.  Compost is a nutrient rich amendment for your soil that is literally free to make.

how to compost kitchen scraps

Making your own compost is basically a no-brainer.  It’s easiest to start with kitchen scraps.  {Click HERE to see a full list of kitchen scraps that can be composted.}  Just get a bucket or composting collector of some sort, and toss in your kitchen scraps.  When it is full, take it outside to the compost pile and dump it.  Layer your kitchen scraps with grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste {sticks need to be put through a wood chipper, otherwise they take FOREVER to break down}.  As a general rule of thumb, if it came from nature, you can usually send it back to nature.

Composting Chicken Manure

Compost will need to “cook” before it breaks down into a dirt like substance.  In order for your compost to break down, you will need microbe activity.  This happens pretty naturally, and while there are ways to help it along {by adding nitrogen}, I don’t think you need to.  The microbe activity is what causes the heat {maybe you have seen a compost pile steaming in the middle of winter?} which is needed to cook the compost.  It’s important to keep constant moisture {but don’t over do it} and turn your compost pile frequently in order to get the fastest results.

How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

If your compost is complete in the spring, make sure to allow it to sit for up to 3 months before applying it directly to your beds. See how I made a compost bin out of wood pallets HERE.  Compost can be “hot”, which means it is high in nitrogen, and it can burn your plants.  Allowing it to sit can prevent that.  If you compost is done in the fall {which I think is ideal}, you can spread it over the top of your garden when you put it to bed and allow it to sit over the winter.  Come spring, you will be ready to turn it into the soil and plant.  {Store bought compost can be used any time}.

That’s about it.  Do you have anything to add about compost?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Wisteria

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How to Plant, Grow and Care for Wisteria

I don’t know about you, but I could grow Wisteria over just about everything–it’s like outdoor crepe paper, only prettier.  I have it growing over the top of my arbor on my garden gate.  I love it.  It makes me want a porch swing and iced tea.

wisteria growing arbor

Planting  and growing Wisteria is stupid easy.  {In fact, I hear in the south it’s more of an invasive nightmare than a dripping vine.  Here in the Northwest, though, it makes a just right addition to an arbor.}  To plant it, start with a healthy vine.  Most nurseries will have them come early spring.  While it will grow in part shade, it won’t flower, so if you want the purple blooms, make sure to choose a sunny location to plant it.

how to plant a fruit tree in your backyard

Dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the root ball or roots.  Place the vine in the soil, cover with a mixture of soil and compost.  A 2″-4″ layer of mulch will help the vines retain moisture.  Water it in and you are done.  {You don’t need to continue regular watering unless you live in an area that receives less than 1″ of rain a year.}

wisteria over garden gate

To care for Wisteria, pruning is key.  Don’t prune in the winter or early spring, because you will deter flowering.  It is best to prune heavily after the spring blooming.  That will encourage another flowering in late summer/fall.  A heavy pruning in late summer can also help to keep the fast growing vine tame.  Wisteria does not need fertilizer, and once established, past keeping the growth under control, it needs almost no maintenance.

As a side note, last time I planted my Wisteria, several readers advised me not to plant Wisteria close to any trees, as it will choke them out eventually.  So, when you are deciding where to plant your vines, make sure to keep that in mind.

Now get out there and plant something,

Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Is it Just Me, or is the Pollen Everywhere?

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pollen on greenhouse

Holy cannoli’s people.  The pollen is EVERYWHERE.

pollen

The greenhouse, on top of the cars, the front porch, I can’t even spend 10 minutes outside without getting it all over my black shirt. Sheesh. It’s a good thing I’m not allergic to the stuff or else I’d have to lock myself in the house for the rest of the summer. lettuce growing in gutters

Luckily the pollen has not found it’s way into our greenhouse. Taking the time to have to rinse the sticky yellow stuff off our lettuce leaves does not appeal to me one bit.

growing lettuce in containers

And let’s talk about that lettuce shall we? lettuce in containers

To put it simply, I can’t keep up. The Butterfield lettuce factory is at full capacity and if I try and feed my husband another giant salad for dinner I think he’ll lose it completely. lettuce seed head

The rocket lettuce especially. Wowza! Have you ever tried rocket lettuce before? It’s crazy spicy. So spicy in fact that I’m letting the rest of it go to seed. oregano

Outside of the greenhouse the herbs are really beginning to take off. Check out my oregano plant, ain’t she pretty? I don’t know about you, but I love low maintenance herb plants. chives

And the chives, just look at them. I started these chives from seed 2 years ago and now the whole bed is full of the perennial herbs. I love it!chive seed head

Dear Spring, I love you and all the flowers and herbs you bring. But not the pollen. :(

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Prevent Potato Scab

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How to Prevent Potato Scab

After growing potatoes in the same location for several years, last year a couple of my potatoes had potato scab. It’s a good thing I decided to rotate the crops this year or I’d probably end up with a whole bunch of them this time around.

In case you don’t know, potato scab is basically a bacteria that builds up in the soil and then causes your taters to have gross lesions.  The worst part about potato scab is that usually you don’t even know your potatoes have it until you go to dig them up.   The good thing, is that preventing potato scab is pretty easy to do if you’re paying attention {unlike someone I know, ahem}.

Testing the pH Level of Soil

The bacteria really only thrives in a pH level above 5.5, and taters like it between 5.0 and 5.5–so, while I’m not a mathmagician, keeping your pH level at about 5.0-5.2 will go along way in making a really inhospitable environment for the bacteria.  Testing the pH level of your soil will help you to know how to ammend it to achieve the perfect balance.

Another way to naturally manage potato scab is moisture.  The bacteria thrives in dry conditions, so a weekly irrigation of your potatoes really ticks off the bacteria.  (Just make sure not to go overboard, or you will have rotten potatoes.}

Why Crop Rotation is Important for Healthy Soil

If you do get potato scab, it is essential that you rotate your crops.  It can survive in the soil for years, and without a host plant, it obviously can’t do any harm.  Your best bet is to plant a cover crop that will replenish the soil while the bacteria dies off–corn, rye and alfalfa are not susceptible to the bacteria, so they make good cover crop choices.

If you really want healthy dirt, plant a cover crop in the location for at least 3 years while you wait out the storm.

I know a lot of people don’t reuse their potato dirt at all once it has shown signs of disease, but I think with the cover crops I planted last fall and by simply rotating my crops I’ll be able to nurse my soil back to good health.

What have you done in the past to prevent potato scab?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 4/13/14

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pallet garden

Happy Sunday everyone, how is the weather where you are? This past week has been spectacular up here in the Pacific Northwest and as a result our backyard garden is really starting to take off.

The potatoes we planted a few weeks ago are starting to pop through the soil {second garden box from the front on the left} and before too long it will be time to set tomato plants outside {my favorite thing to grow}.

pallet gardening

The pallet garden is coming along nicely. Later this week I hope to transplant a few more lettuce starts to our pallet garden. {I’ll be sure and take some close up photos when I do}.

espalier pear tree

Check out our espalier pear tree we having growing alongside the house.

pear flowers

Aren’t the blooms gorgeous? I wonder if we’ll get pears this year? This particular tree has 6 different varieties grafted to it, how cool is that? raised garden beds

The garlic is really beginning to fill out the boxes.
lasagna garden beds

I think I’ll turn the lasagna garden into a sunflower and pumpkin patch. Now all I need to do is wait another 6 weeks to plant the seeds.
rhubarb and poppies

Poppies and rhubarb. flowering rhubarb plant

Two of my rhubarb plants have giant flowers coming out of the center. I think this happened last year as well so I’m not too worried. Once the rhubarb stalks get a little bigger I’m going to pick a few and make a batch of Vanilla Rhubarb Jam.magnum glass greenhouse

The greenhouse is still pumping out gourmet lettuce leaves by the bowlful. daffodils and raspberries

Daffodils and raspberries. You probably can’t see it {unless you squint real hard} but the first round of tulips are beginning to pop up. The daffodils are dying a slow death and should be done blooming by next week, but the tiny grape hyacinth are still hanging in there.

periwinkle in bloom

And last but not least, the backyard is bursting with tiny vinca {periwinkle} flowers. These bloom twice a year, in the spring and fall, and are great plant for growing on a hillside.

Ahh Spring, I love you.

~Mavis

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2014 Garden Seed Catalog HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Upcoming Seattle Tilth Educational Classes

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Seattle tilth fall classes

If you are an expert gardener, a novice gardener or even a non-gardener, the Seattle Tilth has some perfect classes for you. Whether you want to raise goats, learn about companion planting, or learn about food preservation, you’ll find a class that matches your interests on their extensive class list. They’ve added a whole slew of cool new classes, and here are just a few:
seatle-tilth-fall-container-garden-classKitchen Classes
Food Preservation Certification Course
Saturdays, May 31-June 28; 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Veggie Gardening
Learn to design a four-season organic veggie garden.
Get Your Garden Growing Thu., May 1; 6-8 p.m.
Comprehensive Organic Gardener
Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. & Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., April 9-30
Container Gardening 101 Thu., Apr. 10; 6-8 p.m.
Container Gardening 101 Sat., May 10; 2-4 p.m
Organic Gardening 101 Two Thursdays, Apr. 17 & 24; 6-8 p.m.
Organic Gardening 101 Sat., May 10; 1-5 p.m.
Some Like it Hot: Grow Great Tomatoes Sat., May 10; 10 a.m.-noon
Organic Pest Management Sat., May 17; 2-4 p.m.

Urban Livestock
Produce your own eggs, honey and fertilizer! Find out what it takes to raise chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks and bees.
Raise City Goats Sat., Apr. 19; 10 a.m.-noon
Poultry Health Basics Wed., Apr. 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
City Chickens 101 Sat., May 17; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
City Chickens 101 Sat. July 19; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Raise City Ducks Wed., July 16; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Raise City Rabbits Wed., July 23; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Beekeeping 301: Harvest Honey & Winterize Your Hive
Sat., July 26; 10 a.m.-noon

Permaculture & Sustainable Landscapes
Go beyond basic veggie gardening.
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods – Part 1: Identify and Harvest
Sat., Apr. 26; noon-2 p.m.
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods – Part 2: Preparing for Your Table
Sat., Apr. 26; 2-4 p.m.
Secrets of Companion Planting, Sat. May 17; 10 a.m.-noon

I not only love Seattle Tilth’s classes, but their whole organization. I’ve been to their Urban Farm and Chicken Coop tour and I never miss their plant sale every year. They’re awesome! So if you’ve never taken a class like this, trust me when I say they’re totally worth it.

Peace out,

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair

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Tonight The Girl and I are going way back and watching Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair.  It was released in 1945, and about a girl and her family going to the State Fair {the most exciting thing all year, don’t you know}.  It makes life seem simpler to watch these classics sometimes.  If you haven’t seen it, seriously, it’s a hoot.

state fair

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.  Did you love it? Hate it? Can’t wait to watch it over and over?

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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