Friday Night at the Movies – Edward Scissorhands

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One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Brenda, sent me this suggestion awhile back:

“Trim your bushes on Saturday and that’s only after Friday Night at the Movies. That weeks selection needs to be “Edward Scissorhands”. There is no telling what creative design you will come up with!! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Haha. But thank you for inspiring us all inside and outside our homes.”

If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a boy, who is created by a scientist and given scissors for hands. When the scientist dies, an Avon representative {you can’t make this stuff up} decides to bring him home to suburbia to live with her and her quirky family.

edward scissorhands

 

I haven’t watched the movie in ages, and thought I would pass along her suggestion.  Thanks Brenda!

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.



Starting Seedlings Under Grow Lights vs. Natural Light

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tomato seedlings in greenhouse

Starting your garden from seeds is undoubtedly cheaper {and more gratifying} than starting them from plants from the nursery.  Investing in a grow light is one of those, “Should I, shouldn’t I?” sort of dilemmas a lot of people teeter back and forth on.  In the end, only you can decide how much of an investment you want to make, but I will say, unless you have really great natural light {which doesn’t exist here in Seattle during seed starting time}, starting with natural light can be a bit of a gamble.  Still, it is absolutely possible to get healthy plants with this method, so I thought I would give a quick overview before we jump full steam ahead into seed starting season.

leggy plant

Let’s start with natural light.  First, a south facing window is going to be your best bet.  It will get the most light.  The problem with a window sill is that you will only get light from one direction, which may result in some leggy plants.  So, you will want to rotate the seedlings regularly–and make sure that they don’t get too cold next to a window {most plants like the temperature to be about 75 degrees for at least the bulk of the day in order to germinate}.  If you want them to grow tall and straight, they will need to receive their light from above, like the sun provides naturally.

tomatoes in greenhouse

Unless you have a heated greenhouse, that can be tricky.  {If you do have a temperate green house, natural light rocks.}  If you are going with natural light, I recommend less temperamental seedlings–like pumpkins, zucchini, and the like.  Tomatoes and peppers, in my opinion, are the most difficult to start indoors, and really darn hard if you aren’t using a grow light.

grow lights seedlings

Okay, now onto grow lights.  Once you have grown seedlings under a grow light, you can totally see why people push them.  You will have more consistent germination rates and stronger resulting plants.  Plain and simple.  You don’t necessarily have to invest in a grow light set-up {though, I will admit, I don’t regret having done so myself one bit}.  Grow lights typically have the full-spectrum of light, as sunlight would provide, though, not always.  Florescent bulbs that are attached to some sort of system that can be raised or lowered really do work just fine, if you want to keep costs lower.

grow-lights

Either way, you will want to be able to raise and lower your light source, as seedlings seem to do best when the light source is only about 3-4″ above them.  The warmth from the light source will also mimic the fluctuations in daily temperature that plants would experience in nature.  When the light source is on, it will put off a little more heat, making the plants warmer.  When you turn it off at night, the temperature will naturally drop a little bit.  Plants love that crap.

miracle Gro potting mix

No matter what light you choose, make sure to choose an appropriate growing medium.  Seed starting mixes are nice, because they kind of take the guess work out of the equation. I prefer starting my seeds in Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Mix {found at the Home Depot for about $4 a bag}. Ultimately, you want to have light airy soil, so that you don’t drown and/or suffocate tender seedlings and their roots.  Moisture and oxygen is vital to the whole germination process–getting that balance right is a real pain in the butt if you are a first timer.  Don’t worry, though, as time goes on, you’ll learn.  It’s totally a process, so don’t give up on starting seeds yourself.  If you do decide to use lights to start you seeds, keep them on for 12-14 hours per day.

kale swiss chard seedlings

Overall, I think you have to decide what you want from your garden.  If you are looking to grow heirloom variety plants that aren’t usually available at the nurseries, invest in a grow light and go nuts. If you are just looking to save some moolah and plan on planting the basics, test the natural light waters–you can always pick up a few “filler” plants at the nursery if you don’t get a full enough crop out of your seedlings.

For those of you that are seed-starting pros, how do YOU prefer to start your seeds…grow lights or natural light?

~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.

Wicked Big Storm Coming! Park Ya Cah!

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This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. Since getting 2′ of snow is totally unheard of up here in the Seattle area, I asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing her “snow day”  with us. 

unnamed (1)

Someone at the MA Department of Transportation has a sense of humor! Either that or they just moved to MA and think the accents are hilarious. :)

Monday night the HH and I went grocery shopping. Make no mistake, the store was PACKED – in fact we got one of the last two shopping carts. But it wasn’t crazy, it was calm. New Englanders are not a bunch of newbs when it comes to tons-of-snow. We’ve got this.

Yes, blizzard’s can be dangerous. But if you prepare properly, play smart with Mother Nature, and have a back-up plan… well then, it’s basically an adult snow day. :) :) :)

I ignored email, baked and crockpotted, shoveled the coop, walked the dogs, helped the hubbahubba shovel (fine, only a little, but I’m still counting it), played with the girl in the snow, and got my week’s worth of exercise climbing a (HUGE) hill for sledding!

We got around 2’ of snow, but the strange thing was – it’s really no big deal. We shopped early, prepped, and enjoyed. Plus, this is New England, not Texas, so the state is beyond prepared

garden under 2 feet of snow

My garden is in there somewhere…

snow blower in driveway

Notice the snow-blowed paths? The HH makes a path for the greyhounds around the house, a path to the coop, and a path to the shed. Plus he amused the girl with a little snow shower. A quality snow-blower is worth its weight in gold! This storm only ate one sheer-pin, probably because the snow was so fluffy.

removing snow from the roof

And then there’s the roof – yep, ya godda rake the roof. If you don’t you’ll risk too much weight on the roof, dangerous snow overhangs, and worst-of-all, ICE DAMS.

snow in mail box

When I took the dogs for a walk today, I saw this mailbox fail. ;) I scooped it out and shut the door, luckily there wasn’t any mail in there.

blizzard

This is what the early morning blizzard looks like with a hot chocolate in your hand. It started in the early hours of Tuesday and snowed continuously all day. Luckily it was super light and fluffy, for shoveling. But not good snowman material.

chicken coop in snow

The coop was a bit difficult to shovel – cause really, where do you put it all? It was two feet in a confined place. I basically decided to shovel half of it and lay down some leaves so the little princesses can stop on the snow (commence eye rolls now).

placing leaves in chicken coop snow

My stash of leaves have come in handy again and again covering mud and snow. Plus they decompose, mix with chix poo, and turn into awesome garden box material.

leaves on snow for chickens in winter

See that water heater under the waterer? Worth.it’s.weight.in.gold. This is the one I have. I buried the extension cord back in the fall and happily it’s working like a charm. As soon as I knocked off the snow that had built up over it, and scooped out the thin ring of ice, the water flowed again. I couldn’t believe it!

The best part about an adult snow day with no work and no email?

starting seedlings indoors

I get to do whatever I want! And today, I had my eye on the bucket of potting soil I made up in the fall for seed starting. There was a blizzard outside but I still managed to get my fingers in the dirt! So I got to work making my winter sowing buckets. Last year was a HUGE success. My winter sowing buckets produced an entire lavender hedge, a ton of perennials including Echinacea, Lemon Balm, and Chamomile. This year I’ve got plans on growing Ginseng in my winter sowing buckets. I’ve never grown ginseng so we’ll see how it goes.

monkey bread

We also made monkey bread!!

I don’t have a bunt pan, and this is the only recipe I would use for a bunt pan – so I cheat and fashion a bunt pan with a deep glass bowl and a glass cup. I let it rise overnight a little and again in the morning before baking.

monkey bread with icing

Hmmmm, it’s like love on a plate.

Do you have snow on the ground? How are you passing the time? And what is your favorite snow day food to make?

~Heather from Massachusetts

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.

See the Country in Exchange for Your Time on an Organic Garden – Become a WWOOFer

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wooffing

I recently found out about a program called WWOOF {Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms}.  It is basically a collaboration of organic farms/gardens all around the country that have agreed to open their mini-farms up to visitors interested in visiting {and putting in a 1/2 day of manual labor} in exchange for education, room and board.  I literally LOVE the idea, and thought it might be a really cool way for The Girl and I to travel the country this summer.

The whole idea started in England {wouldn’t you know it, those clever Brits}, and has spread worldwide.  The USA chapter is thriving, with over 1900 participating farms/garden.

wwoofing

To become a WWOOFer {which I will do, just so I can call myself a WWOOFER}, you have to sign up.  It costs between $40-$50, depending on which option you choose.  Once you sign up, you receive a directory of all of the farms participating in the program.  Then you make a plan and contact the garden to arrange a visit.  Oh, and P.S., it’s not just gardens, you can choose from homesteads, ranches, orchards, etc.  You can also become a host, if practice organic growing techniques, and you would like to open up your farm/garden and house to visitors.  I’ll admit, if I had a bigger operation, I wouldn’t mind somebody popping by to help me with the weeding for 1/2 a day in exchange for dinner and a bed.

Holy buckets, people, if this is not the most Utopian idea I’ve heard in a long time, I don’t know what is.  How cool would it be to meet other people, learn different gardening tricks, and then get the rest of the day to explore the place you’ve landed?  It would be awesome, I tell ya.

Has anyone tried this before?  If not, would you be interested in trying it?

~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.

Rock Borders, Moving Daylilies and Digging up Dirt

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moving rock path

Would you believe it was 60 degrees at my house yesterday? In January? The daffodils are popping up all around the neighborhood and the street in front of my house was packed with walkers in short sleeved tee-shirts. How can that be? What happened to the rain, wind and crappy weather?
privacy hedge

Well who cares, right ? I have a garden to plant! :) :) :)

Yesterday, I started to re-work the rock path alongside our house. When we first moved here I had all these grand plans of yanking out the river rocks and installing a mulched walkway with a brick border. And then I realized it would cost me about $500 to do that {not to mention all the blood, sweat, and tears}.

And with last Sundays impromptu planting of the arborvitae hedge, I decided I didn’t really need to go all out and install a totally new border… the old one would just fine with a little tweaking and a fresh load of pea gravel {which I’ll lay once I finish the border}.

And for those of you who are worried I planted the arborvitae hedge too close to the house… it’s hard to tell from the pictures but the hedge actually sits about 3 1/2 feet away from the house. My goal is to have the hedge grow 6 feet tall to conceal the utility boxes from the road. and still have a 18 inch path between the hedge and the house for any access needed for repairs.

Several other people in the neighborhood have well trimmed hedges like this and they look fantastic. Not to mention the lush, green backdrop.

transplanting Daylilies

I also dug up a boatload of yellow daylilies that were in the front of the house and transplanted them to the side of the house. privacy hedge alongside house

I’m not a huge fan of daylilies, but hey, they were free.

digging up front garden bed

Digging up the daylilies of course left me with a bunch of giant holes in the front garden bed. Over the next few weeks I plan on leveling the area, removing the lamp post that’s not really a lamp post {because it has not a lamp nor any electrical wiring} and transferring the soil to the new vegetable garden area. It will take some time, but it really needs to be done if I want a nice, cohesive look from the road.

creating new garden beds

Now, if I could just get those garden beds built soon. :)

Keep calm and garden on, right?

~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 Plot Pictures 1/25/15

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privacy hedge

Holy canolies people, was today gorgeous or what? I ended up working outside for eight hours straight. And it was awesome. I LOVE DAYS LIKE THAT. I finished planting all the trees in the upper garden, pulled ivy from the hillside, pulled weeds in one of the front garden beds, and I even planted a privacy screen alongside the house. I wasn’t planning on it, but I had 7 extra arborvitaes so I decided to go for it.

pulling tree from planter

Okay, so maybe I only had five extra arborvitae trees and stole the other two from our front planters.

lucy the puggle dogPoor puggles. :(

future garden plot

In other gardening news, do you think I should double dig the beds or go ahead and build actual garden boxes? Garden boxes might give the space more of a formal look, but they’d obviously cost some dough. I only budgeted $100 a month for my landscaping allowance for this year {which is tiny compared to our last garden} and there are a lot of things I want to buy. Bushes, dirt, grass seed, a couple of  trees, and garden bench just to name a few. Plus, I have to figure the HH will probably blow $150 on stupid lawn fertilizer as well.

garden plots

I know the Leland cypress trees I paid $6.99 a piece for will provide a nice privacy border from the street once they grow in, but that will be another 3-5 before I see that benefit. So I think it might be wise to invest in building four good sized garden boxes since people will be able to see them from the street as they walk by. What do you think?

side of house garden

Also, what would you do with the ugly rhododendron to the left? I hate it. I’m thinking about removing it and planting a boxwood hedge that would circle around to the patio. But it would take forever to grow in properly. And holy cow man, the tree behind it is a major leaf dropper.

pulling up vinca minor

It may be January, but it sure feels like spring!

How about YOU? Did you get out and play in the garden today?

~Mavisbotanical interests seed packets

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2015 Garden Seed Catalogor see the seeds I’ll be growing in my garden this year HERE

Up for a tour? Read about our behind the scenes tour of Botanical Interests Seed Company.

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 – Living on One Dollar and Salam Neighbor

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Recently, I stumbled on a small non-profit film production company that documented living on $1.00 a day  in rural Guatemala for 8 weeks.  I watched the first documentary Living on One Dollar {available on Netflix} just last weekend and thought it was an amazing {and heartbreaking} look into the lives of extreme poverty. to date, the documentary has raised more than $90,000 to alleviate poverty.

Now, these college buddies are filming Salam Neighbor {right now, as I type this}. It will document the EXTREME poverty and living conditions in Syria.  This time, they are living for one month along side Syrian refugees.   They are posting on social media sites regularly as they film, like Facebook and Instagramif you are interested in following along until the documentary is available.

 living on one dollar

I thought the first film was super interesting, and I expect Salam will be as well.

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.

Dig for Your Dinner – Growing Lettuce from Seed

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Growing Lettuce from Seed

Lettuce is pretty much the easiest thing to grow on the planet.  It has pretty high yields and, unlike other veggies, can make up the bulk of an entire meal.  Because, I know, deep down you can’t get enough veggie trivia {it’s probably so deep down you’ve never even considered the term “veggie trivia”} I thought I would throw this awesome little nugget out:  The term salad comes from the latin world salata, which literally means salted things.  Salads originally consisted of veggies that were salted, and drizzled with oil and vinegar.  Salads date back to ancient Rome and Greece {probably because they were so easy to grow} and have been a staple in nearly every culture since.

Nowadays, salads are pretty much synonymous with dieting, and occasionally get the bad rap of being rabbit food, instead of the awesome goodness that it is.  Still, dieter or not, it must be popular because the average person consumes about 17 lbs. of iceberg lettuce alone each year in the U.S.  I don’t know if you have ever weighed lettuce, so let me tell you, 17 lbs is A LOT of lettuce…and not even the tastiest variety at that.

How to Grow Lettuce:

growing lettuce in winter

Like I said, lettuce is crazy easy to grow.  You can sow it directly outside 2-4 weeks BEFORE the average last frost.  Then, you can continue to sow it every 3-4 weeks for a successive crop.  If you live in a mild-wintered climate, you can grow it all year {it will just grow a little slower}.  Sow seeds every 1/2″, about 1/8″ deep–or according to seed packet.  Water seeds by lightly sprinkling with water–lettuce seeds are so small, they will drift out of their rows if you introduce too much water.  Thin to 1 plant every 6″ when seedlings are about 1/2″ tall.

When is Lettuce Ready to Harvest?

red leaf lettuce

Lettuce can be harvested as a “head” or you can snap off leaves as needed.  If you decide to harvest an entire head of lettuce, cut the head off at the base, being careful to leave the base–it will give you a second crop of lettuce that way.  Each variety matures at a slightly different rate, and has different flavors at every point of maturity, so make sure to sample them all.

Which Lettuce Varieties to grow?

This year, I am growing these kinds of lettuce:

My Favorite Recipe with Lettuce:

Roasted Chicken Salad with Cranberries

Roasted Chicken Salad with Cranberries

If you live in the Pacific Northwest Region and are unsure what seeds you should be starting right now, or when your transplants should be set out in the garden, this regional planting guide should help you out.

Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Find your regional planting guide HERE.

how-to-grow-lettuce

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 Do I Keep My Vegetable Starts Watered While I’m Out of Town?

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tomato seedlings

One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Kristin, recently sent in a question about keeping veggie starts watered if you need to leave town and can’t convince someone that seedlings are enough reason to pop over to your house each day.  It’s actually something I’ve learned to deal with myself, as the HH cannot always be trusted to water in my absence.

dead tomato plants

Kristin writes,

“Hi Mavis – I enjoy seeing all of your progress and have learned so much from your blog. But, now I have a question! I live in NE Indiana, so I start my garden seed inside mid-Feb, and plant in late April. This year, however, I am required to go out of town for a week in March. Dosen’t the world know I have a garden to start? Anyway, I have grow lights on timers, but how can I keep my new little starts watered?! I have no access to a “plant-sitter”. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions? Please help! Kristin”

seed starting trays{lettuce seedlings I started last week}

First, you want to start with the right supplies, plain and simple.  You want to have a grow tray AND a plant tray underneath your seedlings, then you can fill the tray underneath with water and the seedlings will suck up the water as needed–just like they would in nature {I like these ones, because they don’t have holes in the bottom}.  I like to cut out one square out of my growing trays, so that I can easily pour water into the tray without having to lift the grow tray up every time.  Afterall, I don’t want to disturb my precious babies seedlings, and it doesn’t really hurt that it makes it waaaaay easier to water.  It’s also nice to be able to see exactly how much water is in the plant tray, so that it doesn’t come sloshing out over the sides.

This method should buy you a week–unless the humidity is you house is impossibly dry.

I hope that helps!  If any of you have any other suggestions, make sure to leave them in the comments below.

~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 Clear Moss for a Garden Space

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mapping out garden plot

Recently, One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Randi, sent in a question about my plans for the mossy areas in my backyard:

“Hey Mavis.

I live north of Seattle and love your blog. I am adding to my garden space this year. That lawn/moss patch in the back is prime for a salad garden I think since it doesn”t get a ton of sun due to the green belt. I’ve been watching with interest your staking of your new garden space. What will you use for the sides of the bed and what type of soil mix will you fill it with? I’m not sure if I should rip out the grass/moss or put down weed barrier fabric or even newspaper. Thanks for your gardening wisdom!

~Randi in Mukilteo”

grass full of moss

For me, the moss is going to be kind of several step process.  First, I plan on digging it up by hand.  I want to use it in my spring baskets.  I’ve already started trimming branches back to give the area more light.  I plan to do a soil test.  I think that will help me decide how I will need to amend the soil to grow it {I’m guessing based on moss’s preference, that it will be acidic}.  Right now, I plan on planting my cold weather and root crops in my shaded areas and warmer crops, like tomatoes and beans on the back patio where I get more sun.  The beauty of planting on my back patio, is that in containers, I have total control over the soil.

The real key to moss is preventing it.  For now, you’ll probably have to dig it all up as a first line of defense, then you will have to work on prevention.  The key to stopping moss is to create a less hospitable environment for it.  Start, if possible by creating more light in the area {for example, trimming back branches, or removing trees that cause too much shade}.  If that’s not possible, test the soil.  Likely it is acidic and will need lime.  It the area is wet, moss is in heaven.  So, consider improving drainage.  I know in Seattle that can be an infuriating battle.

backyard full of moss

If digging it up is just too monumental a task {especially if you have a large area to clear}, you can try covering it with newspaper, and then covering the newspaper with a mixture of fertilizer and lime.  I have never tried this method, only heard of it, so I can’t really attest to it working or not.  Meanwhile, winter might be your nemesis every year, if the area is wet and shady.  That might just be a battle you’ll have to deal with, I am sorry to say.

lettuce growing in rows

I think you are spot on to create a lettuce garden in the spot.  Lettuce is pretty darn forgiving about its environment.

I hope this helps, at least a bit.  Do any of you have suggestions for Randi?

~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.

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