How to Grow Turnips {Start to Finish}

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how to grow turnips

If you plan on growing your own turnips for Thanksgiving dinner now is the time to plant them. We planted 2 packets of Purple Top White Globe Turnips this morning and if all goes well, we’ll be swimming in them by late November.

Brief description:  Turnips are a root veggie that make great fall crops because they can withstand cooler temperatures.  You can also eat the tops:  turnip greens.

Where to Plant Turnips:  Plant in a well-drained sunny place.

turnip seeds

Planting Seeds:  For fall harvest {which usually yields sweeter turnips} plant about 2 months before average last frost.  Plant in a sunny, well-drained area.  Plant 1/4″ deep about every 3″ apart.

Growing Tips:   Keep the soil evenly moist for best growth.  At about 5″ tall, apply a mulch to protect the plants.

turnips

How to Harvest:  If you are harvesting the greens, pick only 2-3 leaves per plant at a time.  For the turnip roots, pick when they reach 2-3″ in diameter {they taste better when they are smaller}.  Harvest the roots like you would a potato or rutabaga, being careful not to damage the turnip.  

How to prepare turnips to eat:  Turnips are a great substitution to the more starchy potato.  They don’t have quite the carb load, so if that matters to you, you can still get the potato flavor without the sugars.  Turnips can be mashed, diced, sliced, roasted, and even eaten raw.  Turnip greens can be cooked or eaten raw too.  Turnip roots store for a long time–don’t wash them, just cut off the greens and place them in a single layer in a box.  Then store the box in a cool, well-ventilated area.

Fun Fact:  According to the Botanical Interests website, the Irish used to hollow out turnips and put and ember in them–which is where the idea for Jack O’ Lanterns came from.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

vegetables to plant for a fall harvest

Now is the time to start thinking about Thanksgiving root vegetables.  If you want to know what else you can plant to have in time for a Thanksgiving harvest, go HERE, and check out my fall planting guide.

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 August – 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 August garden plans for my Seattle, Washington garden HERE.

east coast 3Well you guys are gonna laugh yourselves right off your chairs! And not one good laugh but TWO!

Giggle #1: Earlier in the season I was rather proud of myself because I have an unfenced garden and was CONVINCED that the hair I sprinkled around the outside of my garden prevented unwanted critters from eating from my garden like the proverbial salad bar. Well yesterday the HH was watering the garden for me and there was a great scurrying inside the jalapeno box. Upon further inspection we found SIX BABY BUNNIES. Not only did momma bunny get into my 12″ high garden box, but gave birth in there, and then raised her babies. Good grief.

east coast 2Smirk #2: Remember my massive plot to conquer the chipmunk invasion I had last year? Those little buggers would take one bite, out of every tomato ruining them, and then move on to another tomato – it drove me mad! So this year I stuffed hair in the rock wall, encircled my garden in marigolds and planted a marigold in the corner of each box. I was determined to thwart the chipmunks once and for all. And I thought I had succeeded because I have not seen one.single.chipmunk. Then my neighbor came over to pay me for some eggs and pick-up another dozen and she had mentioned that she loved watching the new neighbors cat because it would perch itself on her garden bench and pick off the chipmunks day in and day out. Huh.

Soooo basically, a good ol’ fashioned hungry cat or two can remedy your garden of unwanted critters. Who knew? Oh, yeah, every single non-suburbian gardener ever.

east coastSeeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

Back in March my daughter and I made some {read: 29} winter sowing greenhouses. I had winter sown a lot of perennial bloom, lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, and marigolds and it worked really well.
east coast 4

Check it out – I was able to create a wildflower garden next to the garden and the beginning of a lavender hedge for the front yard!

east coast 5What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

Don’t you just love a bonus? Turns out mother nature is a waaaay better gardener than I am because although I purposely planted 8 tomato plants – I’ve ended up with 30! Volunteers are the name of the game that’s for sure!

7 Volunteer Tomatoes seen staked here and 2 more in the compost pile seen in the background. east coast 64 more volunteer tomato plants in the “hot mess” photo above, 3 more in another “hot mess” box, 2 in barrels, plus 4 in front of the chickens – in addition to the 8 I caged and staked in a garden box = 30!

And not only tomatoes – cucumbers volunteered too! I’m not sure if the cucumbers will have time to produce fruit still this season, but I’m AMAZED how well they’re growing!

east coast 7And look at this hot mess! One tomato I planted, 5 that volunteered, carrots and onions. They’re messy and they like it!east coast 8
Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

Well I never plan to buy anything, but then, well I walk into HD and there’s a plant sale! What’s a girl to do?

What I plan to Harvest This Month

In August so far I’ve harvested jalapenos, lettuce, Swiss chard {the HH picked some and tried to eat it but it didn’t pass the test ;) }, cherry tomatoes, celery, chamomile, lemon balm, basil, chocolate mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and I think the potatoes are done.

east coast 9
Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

I moved a lot of house plants outside this summer, which is good for them I think, but it also makes my deck look all Better-Home-and-Gardens-ish.

east coast 10

Trees and Shrubs

Lemon is alive and well, the blueberry bushes are thriving, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a firm “no” from the HH on the addition of apple trees :) so I’ll start that plotting that plan in the fall when the nurseries have sales.

Weed and Pest Control

I found a recipe floating around the internet of a mixture of 1 gallon vinegar, 2 cups Epson salt and a 1/2 cup of dish soap – shake and spray after weeding and re-applying every three weeks it seems to be working. The key is to re-apply, which is a little tedious but it’s way better than using round up!

Lawn Care

Remember that blank weird looking island in the middle of my front yard? After cutting down some rotten trees I was at a loss of what to do with it for a while. Pinterest to the rescue :) Check out my little flower garden!
east coast 11

My secret pumpkin patch, plopped in a flower bed in the front yard. It’s tinny-tiny but already has two pumpkins.

Don’t you just love this time of year?

**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 – Dancing Nana

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Tell me this video doesn’t just make you happy. It’s pure awesomeness. Go grandma, go! I totally hope that when I’m 88, I’m loving life like this little dancing nana is. What a spit fire!

Have you have already seen it? Don’t you agree that she’s the coolest grandma ever?

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!

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~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.

We Now Interrupt This Blog… To Pick Fruits and Vegetables

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picking blueberries

Last night The Girl and I picked a whopping 3 quarts of blueberries. Talk about a bumper crop.gathering blueberries

We planted 12 blueberry bushes the second spring after we moved in and this is the first year we’ve been able to pick this many berries. When I planted the blueberry bushes I choose 6 different varieties so they would ripen over several months.

In hindsight, I should have just planted all of the same variety because having a large garden is a lot of work and having to come back every couple of days to check on the berries gets a little tedious. Oh well. Live and learn I guess.

picking pears

Pears. We’ve got them. I thought for sure after last years giant crop we wouldn’t get any this year. mavis butterfield

But I was wrong. We might not have as many pears as last year… but holy cow man, they’re huge. green pumpkin

How are your pumpkins doing? At this rate ours might be decorating our porch by early September. purple cherokee tomato

And heirloom tomatoes? We’re swimming in them.

italian kale plant

Kale? Yep, we’ve got that too.
green cabbage

Would you believe I picked 3 heads of cabbage this morning? Is it just me, or does picking cabbage in the middle of August just seem weird? Cabbage is a cool weather plant after all, I don’t know, it just seems odd.

Oh well, I’m not complaining. Gardening is RAD. Now matter what you’ve harvesting.

Wouldn’t you agree?

~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.

Bob and Sherle Share Their California Vegetable Garden Photos

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beans growing in a cage

Bob and Sherle have one of the most amazing gardens on the planet. Last year Sherle sent in photos of their garden {see them HERE} and shared pictures of her husband standing next to their tomato plants that were over 10 feet tall. Wowza!

Well we are all in for a treat because Sherle just sent in photos from this year garden and let me tell you, they are just spectacular. I hope I can have a garden that will look as good as hers someday.

Here is what Sherle had to share…

compost surprise

Compost Surprise: We dug up and flipped the compost bin this spring to get planting soil and when we turned it we realized we hadn’t watered it well enough to cook everything down so we still had bits in there. After putting what hadn’t cooked down back in the bin things began growing.
pumpkins growing in the compost heap
I didn’t hold out much hope for the plants but they took off and I have pumpkins growing everywhere. There is also purple sweet potatoes growing from the bin. We’ll have to dig up the bin this fall to see if we get any sweet potatoes.
tomato plants
Garden #1: This is the main garden at the house, where we are growing 7 varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, tatuma squash, cube o’ butter summer squash, jalapeno’s, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, potatoes, tomatillos and sweet potatoes.
purple tomatoes
Everything is so tall and I have to climb a ladder just to get some type of a picture. Sometimes I wish I was comfortable enough on the roof to get a picture from there.
growing vegetables in tires
Garden #2 Tires: This is my raised bed garden. Since I couldn’t afford any wood to make my raised bed garden and since my sons work had tires to spare and I had read about using them I decided to give it a try.
growing vegetables in tires
I gave it a go last year and it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped it would be. This year I tried a couple of different things and having drip irrigation has helped a lot.
green beans
I still need better soil in the tires, but it’s producing really well. I will be planting more beets very soon, for a winter crop.
watermelon
I’m growing or have grown, garlic, beets, watermelon, three types of green beans, 4 or 5 different types of peppers, (some hot, some sweet,) eggplant, and an unknown melon (I think), from the compost used in the soil that popped up amongst the yellow green beans.
corn
Garden #3: We grow our corn here, planting each row one week apart. I don’t know exactly how effective this is, but it works great when processing the corn. We gather just enough to get them processed in one afternoon with all four of us working. This year, HH calculated how we might try for two crops in one year.
cork stalks
We planted in the holes we pulled the corn from, definitely not the best idea, since the nitrogen is a bit poor, but with a nitrogen supplement we have hopes for something reasonable. It’s an experiment, the corn looks great, so far and we’ll see what the end result is.
white summer squash
Garden #4: This garden is, in part, a thank you to the folks who let us garden at their place. We planted summer squash, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, zucchini and some plants that popped up in the compost. It turns out that these seem to be a cross between zucchini and butternut squash, we call them zucchinuts, lol.
mulching squash plants
They cook up like zucchini but they have light orange flesh. We also planted winter squash out here, large pumpkins, sugar pie pumpkins, pink banana squash, sweet meat squash, honey boat delicata squash, my first time trying several of these, but I’m always up for adventure. Oh yeah, we have potatoes and butternut as well.
purple potato flowers
I tried sweet potatoes here but we missed a week of watering so they died before they could get started. There are two big problems this year with this garden, one being the soil needs treatment so we are going to try and solve that with horse manure and compost in the fall. The other issue is the ground squirrels or gophers. We don’t have a solution for those yet, if you or any of your readers have suggestions, I’ll take them.
pinto beans
Garden #5: This garden is actually a cover crop for the corn garden next year. Though we are still planning on picking a bunch of pinto beans when it’s time. The beans help to introduce the nitrogen into the soil that the corn will need.
pinto beans growing up twine
We had to build something for them to climb on, HH and son made the uprights and cross pieces while I and our daughter hung and tied all the strings for the beans to climb up. The beans have taken to climbing quite well, though I don’t have super recent pictures.
purple sunset
I’ve included a sunset picture that was particularly spectacular last month.
~Sherle

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

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How to Save Tomato Seeds

Do you save your seeds from year to year?  There are definitely lots of advantages to saving them.  One, it’s cost effective {read:  free}.  Two, it allows you to save seeds that are already adapted to your individual climate, soil conditions, etc.  And three, it’s the ultimate in self-reliance.  Oh, and four, it’s pretty simple, so why not?

How to Save Tomato Seeds

To save your tomato seeds, first consider your variety.  Hybrids don’t always save very well, because they don’t come up true from year to year.  Heirlooms are the perfect choice for saving each year, because they are incredibly predictable.

How to Save Your Tomato Seeds

Next, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the pulp into a mason jar.  Add a couple of tablespoons of water.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Cover the mason jar with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and leave it to sit for a couple of days.  A layer of scum/mold will start to form on the top of the jar after 4-5 days {it’s the fermenting process, nothing to be alarmed over}.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Skim this layer off and then pour the mixture into a bowl. Pour a little cold water over the mixture in the bowl and allow it to sit for a minute or two.  Some seeds will float to the top—skim these ones out, they are duds.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

Now pour the rest of the mixture into a fine wire strainer or a sieve.  Run the mixture under cold water until no pulp remains.  Now you should have viable, clean tomato seeds ready for drying.

How to Save Tomato Seeds

To dry them, lay them out flat on a paper towel or newspaper.  Allow them to dry for 10 days or so, stirring them around every couple of days to ensure consistent drying throughout the seed.  Now you can put them in an labeled envelope and pat yourself on the back for your pure awesomeness.  Job well-done, Captain Sustainable.  Job well-done.

~Mavis

Read more about Long Term Seed Storage

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 August

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Monthly Garden Chores for August

I’m kind of sad to see summer going by so fast.  It is bittersweet–most of the summer crops will be ready to be harvested this month and next, and it’s time to start thinking about a fall garden.

how-to-plant-broccoli-seedlings

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

No seeds indoors this month, I’ll just be transplanting what I started last month outdoors.

See the full list of seeds I’ll be planting this year

turnips

What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

  • Turnips {for Thanksgiving dinner}
  • Lettuce {for a fall harvest}
  • Peas {for a fall harvest}
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

How to Grow Garlic

Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

Time to order your garlic bulbs if you plan on planting them this fall for a summer harvest.

green beans wooden basket

What I plan to Harvest This Month

  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Pears

houseplant

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Continue watering/feeding houseplants regularly.  If the weather is really dry in your area, most houseplants will benefit from a light misting to increase humidity.

pear tree

Trees and Shrubs

In the heat of August, make sure you trees and shrubs are continuing to get a nice deep water, rather than frequent shallow waterings. Prune only dead branches off shrubs and trees now, and don’t prune spring blooming shrubs and trees at all this month.

sluggo for slugs

Weed and Pest Control

Weeding is really important again this month, as your plants set their fruits, you do not want them to compete for nutrients with nasty old weeds.

brown spots on lawn

Lawn Care

Keep the blade on the mower high again this month.  Grass that is under stress from drought may start to brown, but should perk right back up as the weather cools.

These garden chores are based on my Zone 8a Seattle/Tacoma WA 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.

How to Dry Sunflower Seeds

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How to Dry Sunflower Seeds

I have the most amazing readers, and most of the time, it is me learning from you, but every once in awhile, someone sends in a question that I think, “Hey, I bet lots of people would love to know the answer to that.”  So, I am going to try to feature some of your questions and answer them, the best I can.

Mavis,

Do you have a preferred or recommended way to dry the sunflower heads to gather seeds? I have tried several times and mine always seem to mold before seeds are ready to harvest. I have tried a few ways with no luck! We decided to try again and the seeds went in the ground today ……would appreciate any tips! Thanks!  On another note…your garden inspires! Thanks for rocking and growing!

irish-eyes-sunflowers

First off, thank you!  Second, good question.  To dry sunflower seeds, it is best to leave the sunflower in the ground.  You will know you are ready to start drying your seeds when the flower has lost its petals and the head begins to droop.  As it starts to die back {you may need to provide some support to the stalk as it is dying} cover the head of the flower with cheese cloth or a paper bag and rubber band or tie around the base of the flower head.

The cheese cloth/bag will keep the birds from attacking your seeds, and catch any seeds that may fall off during the drying process.  If you live in a wet climate, which you may, since you mentioned mold is an issue, you may have to cut the head off of the stalk {leave about 12” of the stalk} and dry it in a covered area {i.e. garage, shed, etc.}.  If you do bring it inside, make sure to still cover the head with the cheese cloth or bag, and hang the plant upside down to dry.

sunflower-seed-heads

Allowing the seeds to dry ON the head of the flower gives the seeds enough time to harden up.  When the seeds are completely dry, keep the head of the flower in the paper bag {or put a paper bag over the head now if you used cheese cloth, and gently brush the head, causing the seeds to naturally fall off into the bag.  If the seeds are giving you trouble, they are not dry enough yet.

I hope that helps.  Thanks again for the question!

Happy Gardening,

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.

Early Morning Harvest

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harvesting zucchini

I went out to water the garden this morning and noticed not one, but two giant zucchinis growing in the squash bed. Holy cannoli’s, when these things decided to take off it’s crazy.

heirloom tomatoes

And the tomatoes? We are officially in business! With a little luck we won’t have to buy any at the grocery store for quite a while. Homemade tomato sauce and salsa here I come!heirloom tomatoes

What are you harvesting from your garden these days?

Are you swimming in tomatoes yet?

~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.

Turn Your Garden Produce Into Cash

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setting-up-a-vegetable-stand-in-your-drivewayYou’ve put in a lot of time and effort and now your garden is producing produce like crazy. It’s possible all those extra veggies could mean a little extra cash in your pocket. I’m giving you some helpful tips to do just that in my latest eHow article: Tips for Selling Your Extra Produce.

It never fails: Every year I plant a garden, and every year I grow more food than my family can eat. So what’s a hip housewife in suburbia to do? Haul a table to the end of my driveway and set up a vegetable stand of course.

Tips for Selling Produce

  • Check-in with your Homeowners Association. If you live in a neighborhood with a HOA, check to make sure it’s OK to set up shop. My theory is if the HOA with allow you to have a garage sale, they probably won’t mind if you sell a few veggies once or twice a year at the end of your driveway.

Go HERE to read the full article.

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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