Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 7/22/14

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fallen tree on garden

Over the weekend a tree fell smack dab in the middle of our pumpkin patch killing two plants. Luckily we were all inside when it happened. Living in a wooded area has it’s perks, but falling trees, isn’t one of them. growing green beans on a trellis

The rest of the garden is doing really well though. The second round of green beans should be ready in a few more weeks and I just planted our third and final round last night. onion braids

Onions. We harvested all of them. Our winter leeks are still growing like mad and with a little luck the chives we have planted alongside the greenhouse should be okay thru the middle of October or so. For some reason plants seem to hang on a little longer in that spot. Not sure if it’s because of the shade or what, but I’m not complaining.
cabbage plant

We are harvesting about a head of cabbage a week. Grocery shipping in your backyard is cool!zucchini plant

Zucchinis. Are yours growing like crazy this year too?harvesting beets

And last but not least beets. We harvested a tray full of beets last night and planted new seeds in the same spot for a late fall harvest. Call me crazy, but I think a 4′x8′ garden box should be just enough to last thru the winter. What do you think?

How is YOUR garden doing these days? What’s your favorite thing growing in your garden right now?

Mavis Wants to know.

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at BotanicInterests 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.



What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

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What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes

I recently received an email from One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Kathy in Ohio.  She wrote,

Hi Mavis! Happy Wednesday to you!  Have you ever discussed blossom drop in tomatoes? It’s when the blossoms bloom then drop off tomato plants, with no fruit setting. Someone recently came to me asking about it, and luckily enough, after years of caring for acres of tomatoes when my step father was alive on the farm, I was able to help her.
I think your readers would like to know about this. After all, it has been hot and humid around most of the country lately and that can be a factor when dealing with blossom drop.

It can also affect other fruit bearing veggie plants like peppers, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and other squash, melons and eggplant
By the way, I’m in NE Ohio,  where it’s been near 90 or above, with super high humidity.

Have an excellent day!

Excellent suggestion, Kathy.  Thanks!

Blossom drop can be maddening.  The worst part of blossom drop is that several things can cause it.  It is an indication that the plant is under some level of stress, so you may have to trouble shoot a bit what could be causing it in your specific situation.  First off, blossom drop is when the flowers {that should eventually become tomatoes} wither up and fall off–which means no tomatoes.  Whah!

Typically, blossom drop occurs when temperatures spike very quickly or drop quickly.  Drastic changes in temperature really stress tomatoes out.  As Kathy mentioned, humidity can also do a number on potato plants.  If you live in a low humidity area, it’s an easy fix, you can try wetting the foliage a bit during the day to get a bit of humidity into the air around the plant.  If you live in a high humidity area, it’s pretty darn hard to control.

If the weather isn’t the problem, it may be a pollination issue.  If you don’t have bees buzzing around your garden, you may not have great pollination.  Without pollination, no tomatoes, plain and simple.

blossom drop in tomatoes

Lack of water or nitrogen in the soil can also stress out a tomato plant.  During the hottest months, it’s really best to give a deep water {like flood irrigation} once a week, rather than a daily surface sprinkle.  The water really needs to reach the roots, and if given the change, tomatoes like to lay some deep roots.  If you suspect your soil might not be very nutrient rich, try a quality organic nitrogen based fertilizer.  Follow the instructions on the fertilizer for application.

Inspect your plants regularly for insects or disease.  Again, an infestation or disease will stress out your plant, causing it drop flowers.

heirloom tomatoes

Finally, and this is probably the best case scenario, it can happen when you have a really heavy crop.

Yep, even too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  The good news is that after you harvest some of the tomatoes, it should resolve itself.  The plant only has so much nutrients to go around, so if there is an over-abundance of fruit, it will drop some of the flowers to concentrate on growing the rest of the fruit.

Once you know what is causing your blossom drop, you can easily address the issue {except for controlling the weather, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet :) }.

Thanks again for the suggestion, Kathy!  I can’t believe I haven’t thought to address the topic before.

~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.

Joy From Michigan Sends in Pictures of her Garden and Garden Shed

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

joy

Remember that time my friend Amberlina and I survived the Tacoma City Marathon with our favorite soldier, Nick?

joy6

 Well his grandmother, Joy, is an avid reader from Michigan and today she is sharing pictures of her adorable garden. I’m totally in love with her cute garden shed!

joy5She is just beginning to enjoy her homegrown veggies.

joy3Check out this picture of her flower garden. {I mean tell me you wouldn’t absolutely love the view from Joy’s chairs! That is like the perfect relaxation spot.}

joy2

Joy- I have total shed envy! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your cute garden.

joy4

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

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 – Land Girls

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I just started the series Land Girls.  I’m only 2 episodes in, but I LOVE it!  It’s about a group of women who were members of the Women’s Land Army {women who worked on British farms during WWII}.  The series follows the women’s lives through just about everything you might expect.  It’s awesome.

Netflix has it for free, if you are a Netflix member.

land girls

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.

Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse – Tomatoes and Cucumbers

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growing lettuce in gutters greenhouse

Do not attempt to grow lettuce in a greenhouse when the temperature outside is in the mid 80′s. It won’t work out too well. Not that I would know anything about that. ;)

seattle greenhouse garden

Yesterday was greenhouse clean up day. It’s been awhile since I did anything out there but water or harvest vegetables, so I thought I better hop to it and get something constructive done while the weather was nice. Oh, and no, you do not need to adjust the color on your computer monitor. I am really that pale. But, if you look closely at the next photo, you notice my forearms are much darker. So there is hope for my farmers tan. I think.

mavis garden blog greenhouse tomatoes

Snacking on cherry tomatoes, is one of my favorite pastimes. growing sungold tomatoes

A rainbow of happiness. Anyone else growing Sungolds this year?green heirloom tomatoes in a greenhouse

I have no idea what these ones are but I can tell you one thing, as soon as they ripen, I’m going to eat them! And I won’t even feel bad if I don’t share. growing cucumbers in a greenhosue

Gardening, it’s pretty rad.

Wouldn’t you say?

~Mavis

You can see more greenhouse photos from this year in my Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse Series.

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 7/13/14

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old watering cans red wheelbarrow

Did I tell you my 50 foot hose has gone missing?

Seriously, how does a hose disappear? I’m sure it will resurface at some point but with the weather in the 80′s and 90′s around here lately, watering the garden has turned into a major chore. I have to make at least 5 trips with the wheelbarrow loaded up with watering cans just to water my garden beds properly.

Sure I’m getting a great workout… but c’mon. What a pain!

onions and beans

I feel like it’s the year of the slacker. And let me tell you Bob, I’m embracing it. My garden might be small this year, but I keep telling myself  that it’s okay. Next year I’ll have more time {and energy} to spend on it. Right? I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much but for someone with major OCD, it’s hard. ;)

cascadia raspberriesThe raspberries.

Oh my. There are tons of them this year. Tons I tell you. Tons. And the strange this is, the HH keeps asking me about them. “Did you pick the raspberries today? What are you going to do with the raspberries? Did you put raspberries in my lunch? Maybe you should freeze the extra raspberries.”

It doesn’t freaking stop.

When did he become a gentleman farmer? Is this what I have to look forward to in my old age? Am I going to have to give him a little plot of his own to take care of? I take a year off from gardening and he suddenly becomes an expert.

head of cabbage

I even caught him harvesting a cabbage the other day.

magnum glass greenhouse

I just hope he doesn’t wander into the greenhouse anytime soon because it’s a real mess in there. Seriously. I’m going to stop typing right now and get out there and clean it up a bit before I get busted by the HH.

Peace Out Girl Scouts. Have a great Sunday.

~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.

Monthly Garden Chores for July – East Coast Edition

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This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. I thought it would be fun this year to post Monthly Garden Chores from both the West Coast and East Coast. You can see my garden plans for my Seattle, Washington garden HERE.

Heather1

Geeez, June just FLEW by!  And it was a little bizarre here in New England. The weather seemed to be up, down, sideways and all around! Hurricane Arthur just a few days ago made it swing from 90 degrees down to 65 degrees in a 24 hour time period. Needless to say, the eggplants and hot peppers are having a bit of a hard time.  Others, like my tomatoes, raspberry bushes, and peas are having a grand ol’ time – the temperature swings don’t seem to bother them at all.

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

Instead of starting a winter garden this fall, I’ll continue on my quest for awesome soil. Last year I amended my garden soil with copious amounts of manure and leaves to each garden box, and this year I’ll do a cover crop.

heather2

Can you BELIEVE the stores are stocking up on back-to-school supplies?!!  It’s true; I just saw it today {my plan is to ignore this intrusion on my summer until September}. But it got me thinking, if the retail season is shifting, that means it’s time for me to clean up on gardening sales, especially potting soil, vermiculite, and peat moss for early spring/grow light seed starting {check out how to make your own potting soil HERE}. I learned last year that if you are looking for potting soil supplies in February it’ll be tough going to find any.

I also need a few more large tomato cages. Why is it that you can never have enough tomato cages? Coming up in the next couple of months the garden boxes I like will drop in price also, by like $10-$15! Plus, this week I’ll be heading to the feed store for a chicken water heater, hopefully catching it at a sale price still.heather3

What I Harvested Last Month

Oooh, yes – the best part of the season! So far we’ve harvested cilantro (and frozen it in water cubes). heather4

Mint, chocolate mint, oregano, and thyme. We’ve gotten quite a bit of strawberries from our two pallets but they seem to systematically disappear, and by systematically I mean every time my daughter goes out to the garden ;)   heather5

I’ve pulled all the garlic and it’s drying on a rack in the garage. I use it primarily for spaghetti sauce so I really think this will be enough for the whole year! And peas, I almost forgot about the peas – so many peas.  heather6
What I Plan to Harvest This Month

This month I’ll be harvesting more herbs. I’m hoping to provide enough for the whole year and Christmas presents. Plus, a handful of blueberries, raspberries, carrots, and a few tomatoes hopefully.
heather7Canning
In June I took my daughter to one of the local farms and we picked 8lbs of strawberries to can. I’d never made strawberry jam before, let alone canned it, so I wanted to start small. Let.me.tell.you.bob it was DELICIOUS. And surprisingly easy. My daughter and I picked the berries, and my son and I canned the jam. All in all an awesome day.
heather8

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Good news! Poor lemon, I thought he’d succumbed to a massive scale infestation, but in a brilliant moment {before I threw him out} I scraped the stem – it was green underneath! Which means, lemon was still alive and kickin’. So I trimmed the top two feet off leaving the main stem about a foot out of the pot, fertilized him and it started sprouting new stems and leaves. Lemon is back in the game folks!heather9

Trees and Shrubs

The “container” raspberries are growing like gangbusters in the over-sized container, and they look really lush and green. The blueberry bushes are growing fine but they fell victim to the caterpillars that ravage our greenery every year. I was able to catch it early and sprayed them with an organic oil compound {I like this one}, which saved some of them. I’ll probably only get a handful of blueberries this year. That’s gonna be one sweet handful though {assuming I get to them before the kids that is ;) }.heather10Weed and Pest Control

Sadly I just spied some critters on my tomatoes {spider mites maybe?} and something eating my potatoes {little worm-like things}. So its that time of year to get defensive and keep a keen eye out for any problems before they get out of control.  I think I’ll be able to nip them in the bud with an organic treatment like this one before they destroy my plants.

On the upside, my plan for total chipmunk domination is coming along nicely. Project marigold is working! First I planted marigolds in each corner of each box. Next I planted a barrier of marigolds between the rock wall {where they lived} and the garden.

The local coyotes are not around this year which means there TONS of rabbits. And my unfenced garden has not had one nibble…all because I picked up strangers hair in a bag {barf} and sprinkled around the perimeter of the garden! True story.

heather11Lawn Care

Earlier in the year, when I was putting together my winter sowing buckets I had a grand plan to dig up the front hedge and build a lavender hedge. So far so good, although it will probably be next summer before it gets very big and full like I’d like it.

Alls well in New England’s gardens. Speaking of New England, a Mavis reader suggested I check out this book The New England Gardener’s Year and it is REALLY helpful! If you live in MA, RI, ME, VT, NH, CT or NY, this book is worth looking into.
Happy July Everyone!! Whooo-hooo it’s summah!

**These garden chores are based on my Zone 5b Southeast/Boston MA location. Find your garden zone 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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Queen of Versailles

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My friend, MamaJJ recommended that I watch Queen of Versailles.  It’s about a billionaire’s family–and their experience when the economic bubble popped.  Fair warning:  apparently it kind of makes you want to strangle these people, but it is jaw-dropping enough that you can’t stop watching.

queen of versailles

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?

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.

Victoria, B.C. Flowers, Flowers and More Flowers…

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window box ideas

The flowers… they were EVERYWHERE. Seriously, if you are looking for ways to spruce up your window boxes, garden planters or just need some landscaping ideas, Victoria B. C. is the place to go. container garden ideas

It was not humanly possible to walk down a street there and not see flowers.
gorgeous planter boxes

Total flower porn.

black container garden

Did I just say that? ;) pink geraniums in flower garden

This planter with pink geraniums was one of my favorites.  Does anyone know what those tiny white flowers are? I am totally going to plant this combo next year.

black window box filled with petunias

Victoria should be named the flower capital of the world!!
lavender hydrangea bushes

I’ve been a lot of places and I have never seen so many flowers. To say it was lovely would be a total understatement. :) 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.

Has Anyone Tried Using Hair to Keep Squirrels and Deer out of Your Garden?

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How to Keep Deer Out of Your Garden

My friend Heather, who writes the East Coast Edition of gardening chores for me, recently posted about using hair to deter deer, bunnies, and squirrels from entering your garden.  While she combed {pun intended} the streets looking for salons that would slip her a little free human hair, I jumped onto professor google to see if this was a common pest control method and I’d just been living in a bubble.  Turns out, you can totally call me bubble girl.

Add hair to your garden to keep deer out of your yard.

Critters cannot stand the smell of human hair, so sprinkling a barrier of hair clippings around your garden, or lightly working it into the soil when you plant bulbs, apparently does have some merit.  The whole thing  kind of makes me laugh.  It never occurred to me that we are the ones that stink.

As I did a little more poking around, I found out that using hair in the garden can be pretty temporary, but no solid information on what temporary actually means.  (Hair apparently loses its smell after a bit–which is comforting to know that we get less smelly with time. :)

So, it made me wonder, do any of you use hair as pest control?  Does it work?  How often do you have to, um, well, reapply?  Will Monkey Boy and the HH have to commit to a buzz cut every summer?

~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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