Winter Gardening – Growing Paperwhites Indoors

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Growing Paperwhites Indoors

I picked up some paperwhites at The Home Depot sale yesterday.  I plan on growing them in my kitchen window so that they will be ready for my holiday table.  They are super easy to grow indoors, and by the time the gray days of winter set in, it’s kind of nice to bring the outdoors in.

They also work as a fantastic last minute birthday or hostess gift if you are in a pinch, because you can simply take them off of your counter and hand them to someone {not that I’ve every done that before or anything}. ;)

planting paperwhites

You’ll Need:

  • A container {only about 3-4″ deep} with no drainage holes
  • Gravel or polished rocks
  • Paperwhites
  • Moss {optional}

planting paperwhites for December blooms

Directions:

Put about 2″ of gravel or polished rocks in the bottom of your container and spread it out evenly.  Set the bulbs on top of the gravel, pointed end up. I like to pack ‘em in there, because they end up looking better in a big bunch.  Add another layer of gravel on top, but leave the pointed tops uncovered. I always like to add a little bit of moss on top of the gravel/rocks because I think it looks kind of cool {and HELLO, I have oodles of it}.

planting paperwhites

Add water to the container–enough that the water reaches the bottom of the bulb.  Careful not to cover the bulb with water, though, or it will rot. Store the container in a cool dark place until they start to develop roots.  You may need to add water every so often.  When the roots form, move the container to a sunny window sill and let them bloom.  Once they have bloomed, move them away from direct light, and they will last longer–which is perfect, because that’s about when you’ll want to put them on the table.

chicken in grass

Happy planting,

~ 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.



The Urban Cultivator

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get totally discouraged at the whole idea of technology taking over our daily lives–pulling us away from the whole cycle of life happening out of doors, so when I found out about the Urban Cultivator on Treehugger, I kind of felt like technology was redeeming itself a bit.  I mean, if we are going to have appliances, why not have ones that allow us to become a little more independent with our food sources?

The Urban Cultivator is basically an indoor growing system–designed to provide the right amount of light, water, etc. so that you can grown your own greens year round right in your kitchen.  I know, you can do this in little pots near the window, but this totally amps up the process.  I like the idea that it fits under the counter–like a little mini-fridge.  The whole idea is in support of a zero mile diet.  You grow it, you harvest it, you eat it.  The energy used to keep the appliance going is far less than the energy used to truck your herbs and greens to your grocery store.  The one drawback is that they cost a small fortune {about $2500–yikes!}.

Maybe they will be like flat screen t.v.’s used to seem–totally out of reach, and then one day, bam! you can pick it up on a Black Friday deal at Walmart for a steal, and the next thing you know, everyone has one?

What do you think, would you want one of these bad boys in your kitchen?

~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.

Indoor Gardening – Seeds to Sprouts in 5 Days or Less

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growing sprouts at home

One of the things I’ve been struggling with during this whole remodel process is the fact that I just can’t go outside and garden anytime I feel like it. And it’s starting to wear on my nerves. I’m getting cranky. Really, really, cranky.

For starters, it’s fall, which means the daylight hours for working outside are pretty limited to begin with. Basically, if I can’t get my garden chores done between 8 am and 4 pm they’re not going to get done.

Which wouldn’t be a problem under normal circumstances because I could just put them off to the next day, but I don’t have that luxury right now. When the workers are here I have to keep Lucy upstairs in the office with me {while I work on the blog}, or take her to doggy day care so I can help out with the remodel downstairs, and usually those are during daylight hours.

But even on the days when the workers aren’t here, getting outside to garden is a struggle as well. The whole house is torn up right now and Lucy can’t really roam around or watch me from the windows for more than 5 minutes at a time without getting into some sort of puggle trouble. Plus, there’s no where for her to lounge. We have no couches!! Yet, my list of garden chores keeps growing, and nothing is getting checked off the list.

So this morning I decided to start some sprouts, indoors, on my new kitchen windowsill. Sure the window area not be trimmed out and put together yet, but I felt like if I didn’t do something garden related, I would majorly freak out. {Deep breath.} In doing so, I unknowingly made a few menu plan decisions for this week as well. {High five!}

Indoor Gardening - Seeds to Sprouts

So this week I’m growing mung bean sprouts for our favorite stir fry dish, alfalfa sprouts for an egg salad sandwich, and sprouted garbanzo beans for a broccoli rabb and bacon dish. The cook top should be hooked up tomorrow and if not, I’ll just whip up the recipes in the electric skillet.

botanical interests seed sprouter

If you’ve never sprouted seeds before, it’s ridiculously easy. Simply soak your seeds in water overnight {about 8 to 12 hours} and then place them in your sprouting container. Rinse at least twice daily until sprouts have reached the length you desire {about 5 days for me}. I’ll share my progress each afternoon this week so you can see just how easy this whole sprouting thing is.

Garden therapy, I think we could all use a little right now. ;)

How about YOU? Are you into sprouts?

~Mavis

P.S. Most companies suggest that before you actually start your sprouts, to disinfect the seeds by placing them in a mixture of 2% bleach solution {1 cup water to 1tsp. bleach} for 15 minutes.  From there you simply rinse the seeds thoroughly and you are ready to go.

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 Garden Blog – Pruning Rhododendrons, Planting Carrots and Planning My Winter Garden

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Pruning Rhododendrons

I know the rhododendron is the state flower of Washington state, and tons of people love them, but I despise rhodies with a every fiber of my being. And unfortunately the house we bought has like 10 million rhododendrons on the property.
chopping rhododendrons

I don’t know what the plant did to me in a previous life, but I aim to chop down every single one of them on my property by next spring. Sadly though I can only do it one yard waste bin at a time. :( At our other place I could just heave unwanted brush over the back fence… but not here, so it’s going to take some time.

blowing leaves

Another thing that’s a little different with this property are all the pine needles. Monkey Boy blows them into a pile for me to rake up at least once a week but it’s still not enough to keep on top of them.

We had tall pine trees all over our last backyard but they were spread so far a part I guess I never really noticed what nuisance they can be when you are trying to keep a garden path clear all the time.

I may have to rethink my brick and pea gravel walkway I had planned to build this winter and switch to a brick and mulch walkway instead. If I don’t I think I’ll  loose my mind trying to keep all the pine needles out of the pathway during the spring and summer months when I’ll be using it everyday.botanical interests seed tape

On a brighter note… my Botanical Interests Seed order arrived yesterday! :) :) :)

botanical interests seeds

I can’t wait to put all these babies to use in my winter garden. Our remodel should be done in just a few more weeks {and so will all my indoor projects} and then I’ll get to work on this years winter garden. There is SO MUCH TO DO before next spring!!! Holy cats people, starting over is hard work.jiffy pots under lights

Luckily though I was able to get a jump start on things indoors. I planted basil seeds a few days ago under the grow lights and plan on getting a few more things planted this weekend so when I do finally get going on the backyard garden, I’ll have something to put in the ground {the basil will stay indoors though}.

How is your garden doing these days? Are you done for the year, so are you just getting started?

Mavis wants to know.

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 Garden Blog – Planting Cabbage and Lettuce for My Winter Garden

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planting vegetables in a stock tank

Yesterday I was able to sneak outside for a bit and get a jump start on my winter garden. I planted 3 purple cabbage and 2 packets of lettuce seeds in the stock tank turned planter alongside the house. I ordered some Carnival Carrots and Detroit Dark Red Beet seeds from Botanical Interests over the weekend, and as soon as they get here, those will go in the planter as well.

cabbage plant

I also planted a few more cabbage plants and some cauliflower starts in the big pots along the back of the house as well. Normally I would have planted these in early September, but with the move and remodel going on, I’m a little late this year. But I’m optimistic. Unless we have a ridiculously cold winter, I should be harvesting cabbage towards the beginning of next year. It’s a long time to wait for a head of cabbage, but at will at least give me something to look forward to as I map out my garden for next year.

growing basil indoors

And today, I hope to find the grow lights {buried in the garage somewhere} so I can get some basil going indoors. Which I think will look pretty darn fantastic once my kitchen window area gets put back together.

Gardening, there’s always something you can grow!

~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 Care for Succulents

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How to Care for Succulents

I LOVE succulents.  If you maintain them, which is super easy to do, they always look great.  They make great centerpieces, for pretty much any occasion, they are excellent house plants, and here in my neck of the woods, they look great in outdoor landscaping.  {Does it sound like I am running for the Succulent Promotion Council?  I am having cards made up as we speak.  It’s all very official :) }

succulents

Like I said, maintaining them is a piece of cake, once you know what you are supposed to do.  Here’s the 411 on caring for succulents:

  1. Water.  Succulents have unique watering needs.  During their growing season {the warmer months}, they actually need consistent watering.  Allow them to dry out completely between waterings.  In the cooler months, cut back watering to just once a month.  They will go dormant, and just won’t need tons of water.
  2. Light.  Because cactus are actually a type of succulent, some people think all succulents love direct heat and sun, but not true my friends.  Afternoon sun can actually burn them.  They do, however, enjoy plenty of light.  How is that for conflicting information? :)  Your best bet is to place them in a south facing window, but move them back quite a bit in the dead of summer.  If you plant them outside, plant them in spot that they aren’t exposed to direct afternoon sunlight.
  3. Temperature.  If you only have succulents as houseplants, you don’t really need to worry about this one.  They are happiest in a range of about 50-85 degrees–which is actually a pretty significant spread, if you ask me.  Outside, they can tolerate higher and lower temperatures, but you may notice some signs of stress.sedum and succulents living wall frame
  4. Soil.  Because succulents tend to grow naturally in very sandy well-drained soil, make sure to choose a potting soil designed for cactus and/or succulents.  If you can’t find any, you can mix regular potting soil with perlite, to encourage drainage.
  5. Pots.  If you will be potting your succulents, make sure your pots have sufficient drainage holes.  This is pretty much a standard rule of thumb for all potted plants, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

That’s it.  If you take care of those 5 little items, your succulents should stay pretty happy.

~Mavis

Need a creative way to showcase your succulents?  Try making a succulent terrarium or you can try a  succulent living wall planter.

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.

The Best Plants for a Cottage Garden

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The Best Plants for a Cottage Garden

I have always loved cottage garden landscapes.  Did you know they originated among peasants in England {with every plant having a purpose, i.e. hedge to provide privacy, herbs for cooking, medicinal plants, flowers for cutting, etc.}?

I love that even though they appeared chaotic and untamed, they were actually a well-thought use of space–I wonder if English peasants would laugh at the idea of suburbanites paying landscapers good money to replicate their style?

pink roses

The key to cottage gardens is to find and layer plants that will provide color from early spring to late fall–as well as having shrubs, etc. that are evergreens, so that even in the winter, you have clearly defined landscaping.

Most cottage gardens are densely planted for this reason–plus, as an added bonus, the dense plantings offer less space for weeds to thrive.  Remember to mix in other organic elements, like gravel, walking stones, etc.

foxglove

Here’s the 411 on the best plants to start your cottage garden:

  1. Coralbells.  These are typically pink, red or white flowers that bloom in early spring.  They attract hummingbirds and add great color to semi-shaded spots.
  2. Daisy.  Daisy flowers are pretty much required in a cottage garden.  They are hardy and look great in a simple vase.
  3. Foxglove.  Foxgloves look like little bright colored bells.  They have a habit of reseeding themselves each year, so they are pretty low maintenance for the the high impact color they provide.
  4. Hollyhock.  Hollyhocks are  perennials, which basically means a one-time investment.  They are typically taller {4-8 feet}, with a wide choice of flower colors.  They are perfect for a layered cottage garden look.  In beds, these can be planted near the back, with shorter flowers planted in front of them for a wall of color.Sequim Lavender Festival and Street Fair
  5. Lavender.  Lavender is one of those ornamental herbs that can provide you with TONS of uses.  Lavender has deep purple flowers that attract bees.  It can also be dried or added to tons of recipes to add a delicate flavor.  I think EVERY garden needs Lavender.
  6. Violas.  Violets always make me think of Alice and Wonderland.  They are perfect for the garden, because they add color to cooler seasons.  For looking so delicate, they actually can withstand spring and fall weather really well, giving you a much needed burst of color in bleaker gray weather.
  7. Boxwoods.  Boxwoods are an evergreen shrub that are favored in cottage gardens because they can be groomed and shaped to either provide privacy or to define spaces within the garden.
  8. Forsythia.  Forsythia is a large shrub that blooms bright yellow in the spring and then stays green through late fall.  Most rose gardeners tell you to wait to prune your roses until the Forsythia blooms–they are a fantastic addition to the garden for that reason alone {they are like a little spring alarm clock}.  They have a kind of wild, untamed look with a pop of color.basil plant
  9. Basil and Thyme.  Edible herbs are essential to a cottage garden, not just because they are usable, but also because they detract pests.
  10. Peony.  Peonies are crazy beautiful and basically thrive on neglect.  They add color and size to the garden–plus they smell amazing when they are blooming.
  11. Iris.  Iris flowers are great cut and placed in vases {I used to bring them to my teachers in the spring when I was a little girl}.  You typically start them from bulbs {or transplants from a neighbor} and they come in basically EVERY color imaginable.  They are another one of those one time effort plants and look super classy when they are planted with a green backdrop {think:  evergreens or ornamental grasses}.Ornamental Grass
  12. Ornamental grasses.  Grasses are a low maintenance way to get green into your landscaping {or purple}.  They are pretty much impossible to kill and they make fantastic backdrops for more colorful flowers.
  13. Hosta.  Hosta is another great pop of green color.  They are great because they can tolerate quite a bit of shade, they are perennials, and they have shoots of tall purple flowers in the spring.
  14. Sweet William.  Sweet William is another flower that usually self-seeds, making it a low-maintenance choice.  It has clusters of bright colored, highly fragrant flowers.  Hummingbirds and butterflies love them.  Some varieties even have purple leaves, which adds another color dimension to the garden without really even having to try.hydrangea
  15. Hydrangea.  Hydrangeas have massive flowers, in a variety of color.  They usually bloom from June to September, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
  16. Catnip.  Catnip is an extremely hardy green herb.  It makes great tea and repels mosquitoes.  If you are looking to put your plants to work, this one will do the job.
  17. Cone Flower/Echinacea.  Cone flowers are typically purple {though you can definitely find other colors} perennials with huge orange cone-like centers.  They attract birds to the garden and bloom from June to August.
  18. Bleeding Hearts.  Bleeding hearts are so pretty and delicate, they are almost unreal.  They are prized because they have beautiful heart-shaped flowers, but thrive in the shade.
  19. Delphinium.  Delphinium are short-lived bloomers, but they are literally so breath-taking when they do bloom, they are totally worth it.  The colors on these tall flowers {about 20″} are so vibrant, they almost seem unreal.
  20. Lady’s Mantle.  Lady’s mantle makes great ground cover.  It has large green foliage and gets tiny yellow flowers throughout the summer.  It is happy in full-sun to part-shade.

Happy planting,

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 Garden Blog – Seedling Updates and Pictures

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basil seedlings

This year we are growing almost all of our garden vegetables {and flowers} from seed. I thought it would be fun show you how a few of the seedlings are doing.

If you’ve never started your seeds indoors before, not only is it easy to do, but it’s kind of nice to be able to grow something indoors when the weather is so stinkin’ chilly outside.

I like to plant seedlings in flats, to save space under the grow lights. This year I am growing 3 different kinds of basil.  Last year was my first successful year growing it and I think it may have been because I grew the basil in the greenhouse.

pepper seedlings

Peppers seedlings. The first true leaves should start to appear soon.

tomato plants 6 weeks

Check out these tomato plants I started back on February 1st.  Don’t you think the stems look nice and plump? Since the Handsome Husband killed off my heirloom tomato plants last year when I was out of town, this year I planted a second batch of seeds last week for back up. Hopefully we will have a ton of tomato plants to set out and extras to donate if all goes well. We shall see.

zinnia seedlings

Zinnias. The leaves look so happy I want to squeeze them!

grow lights

This is what the set up looks like. I have 2 tables set up next to my desk so I can keep an eye on the plants and talk to them.

As soon as the weather warms up a bit I think I’ll try and figure out a way to camouflage an extension cord and bring the whole grow light set up out to the greenhouse though.

Having a bunch of grow lights on in the front room when it’s dark outside and having the neighbors drive by and then call you to find out why there is a glowing light peering through your blinds at 10 pm is a little awkward.

Ahhhh Ha Ha!

Living in the suburbs is awesome.

~Mavis

P.S. Are you using grow lights this year? If so, what are you starting from seed?

grow lights

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 Garden Blog – Pictures of Tomato, Kale and Artichoke Seedlings

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seedlings grow lights

I thought I would give you an update today on how some of our seedlings are doing. I’m sure you know by now I am a big fan of grow lights. But the thing is, I’m running out of room. I can only fit 6 trays under my 3 lights.

Pretty soon I’ll have to start hardening some transplants off and moving them to the greenhouse. I still need to get some sort of heater set up out there, hopefully I’ll get around to it this weekend, we’ll see. I may also start a few seeds and prop them up against the sunniest windows in the living room too. I’m sure the HH will be thrilled with the news.

tomato seedling

I planted my first bath of tomato seeds on February 1st and the first set of true leaves are just starting to appear. I don’t know what it is about those first set of true leaves, but they sure make me smile. Maybe it’s because I know I’m only about 5 months away from biting in to a real homegrown tomato.

tomato seedling 1 week

I started my second batch of tomato seeds 7 days ago. They are cute too, but it’s not the same as seeing those defined tomato leaves.

kale seedling

This is kale. Whoop t do. After seeing {and later posting} this picture on facebook, I am determined to grow a giant, lush border of kale around the chicken coop. Not only will my hens enjoy pecking at the leafy greens from behind the fence {which I will totally allow them to do} but when the kale garden has reached it’s peak, I think I’ll open the chicken run and let them have one giant kale feast.

Although, I’m not exaclty sure how I’m going to weigh the kale if I do that. Hmmm. I may need to re-think this idea.

artichoke seedling 6 weeks

Any my artichokes! Take a look, they are doing a great job of acclimating to the great outdoors. I set the artichokes out for an hour outside the first day, and two hours yesterday. Today I will bump it up to four hours, and hopefully by the end of next week all 40+ artichoke plants will be living outside in the greenhouse until it’s time to plant.

Yee- Haw! Starting seeds is fun.

So, have you started any seedlings yet?

How is it going? Are you using grow lights or the windowsill this year?

Mavis wants to know.

 

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 Garden Blog – Grow Light Set Up and Pictures of Seedlings

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indoor grow light set up

Several of you have been asking me to post a pictures of my grow light set up. It’s nothing fancy. Just 3 sets of grow lights {2 were purchased last year} sitting on a few old tables in my office next to the computer. If the Handsome Husband had his way, these grow lights would be set up in the garage, in the greenhouse, or pretty much anywhere else out of sight.

But the thing is, I wouldn’t be able to SEE my seedlings everyday and track their progress if they were far away {out of sight out of mind}. Plus, I’d probably forget to water them as well, which of course, would not be good.

artichoke seedlings

Take a look at the artichokes! I planted these on January 2nd and their true leaves are just now starting to appear. I think it’s amazing how the packet of artichoke seeds I planted costs $1.99 each and I now have 51 little artichoke starts {I planted 3 packets}.

Most grocery stores sell 1 single artichoke for around $2.50 each. Holy cow batman! All I have to do is give these babies a little TLC and by the end of summer I will have saved a fortune. It’s pretty crazy when you break it down like that.

lettuce seedlings

The Mesclun lettuce was started on January 8th and is looking sharp. The lettuce will need to be divided up and transplanted to larger pots soon. I love that I can grow lettuce indoors anytime of the year.

onion seedlings

The onions were planted on January 1st and still look like aliens.

grow wheat grass indoors

And HELLO wheatgrass! This is my second planting and I had no idea wheatgrass was so awesome in smoothies. I should totally open my own wheatgrass juice bar.

Well, there you have it. That’s how I am starting my seeds indoors this year.

How and when are YOU starting your seedlings this year? Or maybe you’re not starting seeds, but buying starts at a local nursery this year instead. Either way you look at it, gardening is rad.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

♥ Mavis

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre By Brett L. Markham

Looking for a great gardening book?

Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre—and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require.

Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more. ~ Amazon

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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