Honey Bees and Langstroth Hives

Honey Bees and Langstroth Hives

My Friend Jane and her husband Jamey picked up 40,000 bees last week for their Langstroth hives {yes those bees are riding shotgun in their van!!!} and I wanted to share her beekeeping experiences with those of you who might be interested.

honeycomb

Jane’s first batch of bee’s died this winter after several months of super low temperatures, but after experiencing a record honey harvest last year, they are back at it again with a new colony of bees.

Langstroth Hives

I’ve always wanted to keep bees but I am severally allergic to them, so I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously through her. ūüėȬ†If you are interested in beekeeping, be sure and stop by her site ThyHandHathProvided and check out the latest installment in her beekeeping series.

~Mavis

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DIY Garden Markers Using Painted Rocks

DIY Garden Markers Using Painted Rocks

Rock garden markers, well…rock. ¬†You can pretty much always find rocks for free, they never blow away in the wind, and they add a lot of color to your garden. ¬†Oh, and the best part is that you don’t really have to be very artsy to make them look awesome.

You’ll Need:

  • Larger Flat Rocks {pretty easy to scavenge at construction sites, river beds, hikes, etc.}
  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Clear Coat {to make sure that watering your plants doesn’t also water the color right off of your rocks}

DIY Garden Markers Using Painted RocksDirections:

These are pretty basic. ¬†Paint your rock, or leave them rock colored and just paint the name of the plant on the rock. ¬†You can add pictures, polka-dots…whatever floats your boat. ¬†Allow them to dry. ¬†Apply a clear coat over the top of the painted rock to seal the paint.

Place them next to the plant, and walk away. ¬†It just doesn’t get easier than that :)

~Mavis

 

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Leggy or Spindly Seedlings

leggy plant

One Hundred Dollar a Month reader, Vicky, recently asked me a question about the seedlings she started indoors. ¬†Her problem is so common, I thought I’d answer her question in a post, in case anyone else is experiencing the same thing this time of year. ¬†She writes,

Hello Mavis, I started seeds for the first time this year. They grew long and spindly. I grew them indoors under a plastic little make shift greenhouse tray that I purchased. Is there any hope for my long spindly veggies ( cucumber tomatoes zucchini and peppers)HELP!!!
Vicky

tomato plants

This is a super common problem. ¬†The plants grow tall and spindly {usually called leggy} and the stems look weak and thin. ¬†It is almost always caused by too little light. ¬†I used to have this problem before I started using a grow light. ¬†Unless you have a window with amazing direct sunlight, plants tend to do this. ¬†My suggestion would be to get a grow light and finish them off under there. ¬† That will fortify them a bit over the next month before you plant. ¬†If a grow light is an absolute no, you may want to “chase the sun” in your house. ¬†Move your plants throughout the day to ensure that they have direct, steady sunlight all day long.

greenhouse tomatoes

Even if you can’t completely reverse their growing patter with more light, the good news is that even leggy plants have hope. ¬†They can typically rally once planted outside–though, be aware, they will not be as strong as non-leggy plants. ¬†The wind will be their biggest enemy as their stems are simply not as strong to withstand it. ¬†You may want to protect them from inclement weather outside until they have grown stronger.

Have any of you ever dealt with leggy seedlings?  How did your garden ultimately turn out?

~Mavis

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Everything You Need to Know About Growing Herbs

Everything You Need to Know About Growing Herbs

Herb gardens are awesome. ¬†They don’t require a ton of space, they are perfect for beginners, and, ¬†they have a ton of culinary and medicinal users {read: ¬†they will turn your cooking up a notch}, and can help deter pests¬†{like mosquitoes} and attract beneficial insects/bees to your garden. ¬†Best of all, besides a little sun and water, you basically have to do nothing for them to thrive. ¬†They are delightfully forgiving.

oregano container herb gardenGrowing herbs requires very little time and investment.  You can incorporate them into your landscape, grow them in pots {my personal favorite method}, or plant them directly into your garden beds {they are great for companion planting}.

how to make potting soil recipe

To start an herb garden, decide where you want to plant them.  Make sure you plant them in a nice, sunny well-drained location.  For containers, start with a high quality potting soil {I like to make my own potting soil}.  In deciding what you want to plant, think about the recipes you make the most.  What do they call for?  Start your herb list there.

rosemary plant organic gardening

Deciding on whether to buy herbs or grow them from seed totally depends on your preference. ¬†It has been my experience that herbs from seed take a little longer than some other plants, so if you plan on starting with seeds, you’ll want to start them indoors a month or two before it’s time to plant them outside. ¬†On the upside, starting from seed allows you to get much tastier varieties than what is available at standard nurseries.

basil

Once you have decided what to plant and where, all you really need to do is plant.  Provide plenty of sun, consistent water, an occasional dose of organic fertilizer and you are good to go.

blooming chives

If you really want to keep it simple, several varieties of herbs are actually perennials. ¬†Here’s a list of the most common, if you looking to go as low maintenance as possible:

  1. Mint. ¬†Just be warned, unless you drink mojitos like every second of every day, mint can become a real pain in the butt if you don’t plant it in pots. ¬†It spreads like a weed, and goes from awesome to a thorn in your side pretty quick. ¬†So, I guess I am saying, plant this one in a pot and enjoy the heck out of it that way.
  2. Oregano.  This is an herb garden must-have.
  3. Lavender. ¬†Lavender has so many uses, both in the kitchen and the garden that I think it should be in every yard–and who doesn’t love to look at purple flowers?
  4. Rosemary
  5. Sage
  6. Thyme
  7. Tarragon
  8. Marjoram
  9. Savory {make sure to select a winter variety}

There are actually a ton more that will volunteer year after year, but those are the most commonly found in recipes.

Do you plan to grow an herb garden this year?  What will you be planting?

~Mavis

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Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures 4/19/15

pink flamingo in garden

Yesterday I stopped by to chat with my 85 year old neighbor lady and after a few minutes she said “I’ve been meaning to ask you about all those flamingos in your yard…” ¬†I started laughing and told her the whole story about the HOA. She giggled and then mentioned how lovely it would be to have a little pink in her yard. So I brought one over and planted it in her front garden bed.

She was tickled pink. ūüėČ

Who knows… maybe we’ll start a trend here in Stepford.

cabbage seedlings

Meanwhile in the vegetable patch, things are moving right along for this time of year. The cabbage plants are getting a little bigger each day and the radishes are in need of a good thinning.
botanical interests

Now that I’ve been approved for a fence and can have proper raised garden boxes again, I’ve decided to turn the side yard into a lettuce and cabbage patch and will be starting another batch of lettuce seedlings this week.¬†growing lettuce in containers

That will free up the containers I currently have my salad mixes growing in for tomatoes once the weather warms up a bit. 
meyer lemon blossom

Do you have a Meyer lemon tree? How is it doing? I’m still waiting for mine to blossom.¬†
raspberry plants

The raspberry canes I planted earlier this spring are looking nice and green. I planted them towards the back of the property where they can grow wild and multiply in peace. creating a flower bed

The fence guy came out yesterday and said the wait for a fence is about a 4 weeks. So I wrote down a boatload of {boring} projects I can work on in the garden while I wait. Once of them is to create a 2 foot flower bed in front of the arborvitae hedge. I’m not sure what type of flowers I’ll plant, but I know it will add some depth to the upper garden when it’s all done.

clearing land for a fence

I’ve also been clearing some brush along the fence line. I’m sure someone will report me for that. ūüėČ

grass

Only 4 more weeks to go until I can have a proper {secret} vegetable garden. Wahooooo!

How is YOUR garden coming along?

~Mavis
botanical interests

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 Catalog,¬†or 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.