Mavis Garden Blog – Pictures, Plans and Planting Ideas for My New Garden

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abortive privacy hedgeOnce we decided to downsize our home, one of the most major things I was looking for was a home with a garden. Sometimes you get lucky, and find everything you want in not only a home, but a garden as well. We didn’t. Be we saw possibility. MAJOR possibility. And that was confirmed yesterday while I began the {long} process of weeding our new {to us}, upper garden.

backyard full of moss

Remember the new 85 year old neighbor of mine who brought me flowers? Well, I met her husband yesterday while I was working near the arborvitae privacy hedge. WHAT A HOOT! Not only did he tell me he’s running for congress {at 85?} he also invited me for pecan pie and tea next week.  :) :) :)

He said, “I heard you’re a gardener, and that’s good because this garden hasn’t been touched in years. It’s nice to know someone is going to bring it back to what it once was.”

grass full of moss

Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ll tell you one thing… the backyard is full of moss. Lot’s and lot’s of moss.privacy hedge

And I can’t wait to dig it up and plant a vegetable garden in it’s place. I have high hopes of turning this little plot of land into a mini Monticello vegetable patch. A long, rectangular patch full of homegrown goodness. evergreen hedge

In fact I’m hoping to turn the garden into one of those well manicured ones you’re always seeing in home and garden magazines. At a little over a 1/3 of an acre it’s just enough to keep me busy without feeling chained to endless weeding and landscaping projects 24/7.

future garden plans

I have high hopes that by next summer we’ll be able to sit at the patio table nibbling on summer salads and gazing out on our newly planted perennial flower and vegetable garden.

future patio garden

And the patio garden? BRING IT ON!! I intend to have oodles of pots lining the back of the house filled with both vegetables and flowers.

future potting bench area

I’m hoping to find a cool potting bench this winter to go alongside the house where those pots are right now. potted broccoli plant

But I better get crackin’ if I want to eat more than a couple of heads of fresh broccoli this winter. So this weeks goal is to weed, weed,weed. Once that’s done, I can get back to what I know best… getting my hands dirty. ;)

Have a great Sunday everyone,

~Mavis

P.S. What do you think of my new garden space? Any suggestions?

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 Over: New Home, New Garden, No Stress

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terra-cotta-potsThe thought of starting a garden from scratch can seem daunting to some. That’s what I’m facing at not one, but 2 different houses. When all of this is said and done, I’m going to be a pro! But in this week’s eHow article: Starting a New Garden From Scratch Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming, I’m covering some of the strategies I’m using to keep from feeling overwhelmed by the process.

This past week, our family moved from a house and garden we built ourselves more than eight years ago. Every tree, bush, strip of grass and vegetable seed planted was done with our own hands. The new property we bought is roughly one fourth of the size, but there is still a ton of work ahead of us to the landscaping. Starting over is hard, but with the right mindset, creating a new garden space from scratch can also be a boatload of fun.

Here are a few tips for starting a garden from scratch.

Read the full article 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 – Boyhood

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I’ve been hearing a lot about the movie Boyhood lately.  It’s claim to fame is that they filmed it over several years–usually the same childhood actor.  While it is a fictional story, using the same actor, it is supposed to be a really touching “coming of age” type movie.  It’s available for pre-order on Amazon right now {which is still cheaper than me and the HH going to the theater}, so I am thinking about checking it out.

boyhood

Anyone seen yet?  Is it worth watching?

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.

Monthly Garden Chores for October- 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.1I never noticed how acutely the temperature changed until this year. Probably because I’ve got so many tomato plants loaded with fruit that I’m anxious to keep. On the upside, we’ve gotten a whole summer’s worth of rain in the last couple of weeks {it seems} so the yards are all spectacularly green and the fall colors that New England is famous for are in full effect.

I’m feeling pretty good about this summer’s garden results and production this year as it was probably my first, truly, successful year. My soil is rock solid and I will once again add manure and leaves to my boxes as they’ve compressed over the summer’s use.  I’ve canned, dried and frozen my produce and herbs to my little heart’s content within the very millisecond of free time I had available after work, kids, sports, meals and life. And finally, the backyard is looking less like a baron square with boxes and more like a sculptured, oasis of flowers, fruits and veggies. Fine, I might be feeling a liiittttle nostalgic with the impending frost we’ll no doubt get this month, but can you blame me? Summer in New England is just beautiful.

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

Garlic! The garlic is in the ground and with the copious amount of rain we’re getting I’m sure it’s settled in nicely. When the leaves start falling I’ll pile them on and they’ll be cozy until spring. I bought red clover to use as a cover crop but 7 of my 9 boxes are still actively growing so I may wait until early spring.2What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

Does transplanting horse manure into my boxes count? I’ve got three people lined up to hand over massive amounts of bagged leaves in a week or two. I’ll put a good amount of leaves in my garden boxes and save several bags as entertainment for the chickens through the winter. My friend Perry has promised me a trailer-full of composted horse manure for my boxes also. It’s excitement over the trailer-full of manure that surprises me – it’s all in the little things. ;)

The enchineacea I planted last spring is doing pretty well so I moved it to the base of this tree stump hoping it will grow around it next year. It’ll soften the look of the stump and I’m hoping to harvest the flowers next year.3The cold box is … a work in progress. The thing is – everything I build is just “wingin’ it,” and I’m not sure that will work this time so I’m procrastinating until I can figure it out. Luckily I still have a month before I’ll really need to have the lid done. I’ll fill you in on all the juicy details, but for now I’ve got three successive planting in so I’m still in good shape.

4Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

I ordered ginseng seeds last spring and they just came in! The timing is perfect though as they need stratification so planting them in the fall will allow nature to do it’s thing for next spring. Now I have to get to it and cut a border around our deck, enhance the soil a bit, stuff it with leaves, plant my seeds and mulch with leaves again and wait patiently for spring. Patiently… yeah, right.

What I plan to Harvest This Month

I might get a few more weeks left to harvest herbs and the remainder of my tomato lot. I plan to harvest chamomile, tomatoes, Swiss chard, eggplant, carrots, lemon balm, more tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, mint, and oregano. My dehydrator has been busy, busy, busy dehydrating herbs, apples, bananas {oof, super messy}, pineapple, and sunflower seeds.
5Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

I’ve begun stalking the weather station for their best guesses on frost dates. Along with watching for the frost date, I’ve been watching the “lows.”  When it looks like it will be 30* or below consistently I’ll move my lil’ trooper lemon back inside as well as a few other houseplants that have been living the good life on the deck all summer.

Trees and Shrubs

This is the time of the year to mulch your fragile or newly planted perennials and/or shrubs/trees/bushes. It may seem like going overboard but a little care could pay off come February when we have 4 feet of snow and they are appreciating their canopy of mulch. I’ll mulch my lavender hedge and blueberry plants for sure.

diy chicken tractorWeed and Pest Control

The chickens are doing a bang-up job in this department. There is a newly cleared area behind the garden that I just didn’t get to develop this season, and the chicken’s looove it back there. So, I open the door to their chicken tractor  and they march right in, then I drag it over to the cleared area and they go to town doing what chickens do – scratching and turning up the weeds and their roots as they find prizes to eat.

Lawn Care

Mid-Oct. is your end date for putting your lawn to bed for spring. Aerate {core is better than pine} and seed. Then fertilize. Better yet – pay the teenager to do it for you! ;)

Every trip downstairs to my “loot room” where I store what I’ve canned/dried or frozen from my little garden, in my very little amount of extra time, and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself *insert pat on back*.

What have you accomplished this garden season that you are most proud of? Let us know, we’re always looking for more ideas of ways to get the most out of our gardens!

**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.

Planting Around an Air Conditioning Unit with Boxwoods

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herb garden plan

Yesterday I broke out the shovel and got started on my future herb garden.

screening an air conditioning unit

There are quite a few things I need to get done before I can actually plant herbs, but with a little hard work, I think I can get the beds ready by early spring.

On the “to do list” is installing a new pathway {removing the big rocks and replacing them with brick that matches our house}, adding more pea gravel to the walkway, moving the hosta plants to the other side of the path, filling the area in the center that is now full of pea gravel with top soil so the bed is more of a half circle, and adding some sort of gate/trellis/arbor to the side yard.

Planting Around an Air Conditioning Unit with Boxwoods

And of course, removing those wild and crazy out of control bushes was first on my list. digging around an air conditioning unit

I like digging. It’s therapeutic.

Planting Around an Air Conditioning Unit with Boxwoods

Once the boxwoods grow together {and are trimmed properly} I think they’ll compliment the space {and future herb garden} much better.

What do you think?

Do you like my game plan for this space? Any suggestions?

~ Mavis

P.S. Don’t worry, the I planted the boxwoods far enough away from the air conditioning unit.  It’s just hard to tell from the angle I took the photo from. ;)

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.

Learn to Compost, Forage or Pickle in a Seattle Tilth Class

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Seattle tilth fall classes

If you are an expert gardener, a novice gardener or even a non-gardener, the Seattle Tilth has some perfect classes for you. I’m a super fan of the Seattle Tilth because they truly help gardeners and homesteaders at any and every level. Right now they are ready to show you how to take advantage of the fall season in your garden. Plus, when you attend their upcoming lineup of classes, they’ll teach you how to make pickles or forage for edible weeds. Love it! They’ve added a whole slew of cool new classes this fall, and here are just a few that caught my eye:
Veggie Gardening
  Give your garden time to rebuild and rejuvenate this fall.
Build Unique Raised Beds Sat. Oct. 11; 2-5 p.m. (Wallingford)
Put Your Garden to Bed Sat. Oct. 4, 10 a.m.-noon (Wallingford)
Put Your Garden to Bed Sat. Oct. 18, 2-4 p.m. (Mt. Baker)
Composting 101 Sat. Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-noon (Mt. Baker)
Composting 101 Sat. Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-noon (Wallingford)

Kitchen
Get the basics of canning, pickling and foraging.
Pickles & Fermentation Sat., Oct. 11 10 a.m.-noon (Wallingford)
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods — Pt 1: Identify and Harvest
Sat. Oct. 18; noon-2 p.m. (Wallingford)
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods — Part 2: Preparing for Your Table
Sat. Oct. 18; 2-4 p.m. (Wallingford)

Garden Educator Training
Teachers and parents: bring garden education to schools, classrooms, youth programs, child care programs and community centers. 
The Garden Glassroom Sat., Oct. 25; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Wallingford)
Schoolyards & Sustainability Sat., Nov. 22 10 a.m.-noon (Wallingford)

Opportunities for Kids
Children and youth learn about worms, insects and pollinators, taste fresh vegetables straight from the garden, tend crops,  and explore our natural environment in hands-on science based learning.

Garden Tours 
Good Shepherd Center Children’s Garden and
Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands

Farm Field Studies
Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands

Mobile Classrooms
At a location of your choice

I not only love Seattle Tilth’s classes, but their whole organization. I’ve been to their Urban Farm and Chicken Coop tour and I never miss their plant sale every year. They’re awesome! So if you’ve never taken a class like this, trust me when I say they’re totally worth it.

Peace out,

~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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Pretty in Pink

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Ok, so now that I’ve watched Sixteen Candles, I’m on a Molly Ringwald AND John Hughes obsession…which is lucky for me, because she is in a lot of his movies.  Tonight I’m watching Pretty in Pink.  I watched it last year for the first time in ages, and now I can’t get enough.  It’s my favorite way to relive those awkward 80′s memories:  in my pj’s and a million years actually being in the decade again :) .

pretty in pink

Sidenote:  There can’t be a single person out there who can’t immediately sing OMD’s “If You Leave,” all because of this movie.   Try not to sing it right now, I dare you.

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.

Tips for Reseeding Your Lawn in the Fall

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Tips for Reseeding Your Lawn in the Fall

Last spring, the HH and I reseeded our grass.  We chose to do it in the spring, because as you know, we were trying to sell our house and wanted to put our best foot forward.  The best time to reseed your lawn, though, is actually in the fall.  The soil is still warm–so you can choose varieties of grass that will germinate only in warmer temperatures.

raking fall leaves

The trees are losing their leaves, so the grass will receive more sunlight.  Best of all, weeds and diseases that rear their ugly little heads in the spring become much less prevalent.  The steps for reseeding in the fall are pretty much identical to spring reseeding, so if you want to know how, click HERE and get a quick tutorial.

grass seed

After you have the basic how-to down, here are a couple of tips to help you get the best results:

  1. Try mixing your seed with equal parts seed to damp sand {put the whole lot in the spreader}.  It will jump start the germination process.  This can be particularly beneficial if you know that you have a window of good weather left.
  2. To ensure that the seeds make contact with the soil, and don’t become bird food, try rolling the seed in after spreading it.  Just get a roller and fill it half full of water.
  3. If you are so inclined, a starter fertilizer can help make up for less than ideal soil conditions.
  4. Make sure to keep off the new grass for several weeks–tramping through it can damage its delicate root system.
  5. For fall reseeding, it is best to let the grass get up to 4″ tall before mowing for the first time.  When you do mow mow it to about 2 1/2″ tall.  Allow the grass to stay longer throughout the winter to protect it from cold temperatures.

With a little TLC, you should have thick green grass before the first snowfall–and a blanket of green waiting for you next spring.

~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 Difference Between a Light and a Hard Freeze

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The Difference Between a Light and a Hard Freeze

My buddy, Heather, from Massachusetts mentioned the other day that it was getting cold in her neck of the woods.  Her tomatoes are still mass producing, so she will be putting up her hoop house up at night time starting this week.

how to make a hoop house

Hoop houses are the perfect protection for a light freeze–especially for delicate plants that really like the warm weather, like tomatoes.  And, in case you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a light freeze and a hard freeze is, I thought I would kind of break it down, because I am cool like that.

light frost on lambs ear

A light freeze is sometimes referred to as a frost.  A frost happens when temperatures dip down and their is moisture in the air.  Frosts can definitely damage sensitive leaves, but, unlike a freeze, temperatures do not need to get below 32 degrees {frosts can happen in temperatures as high as 40 degrees, if there is enough moisture in the air}.

A light freeze or frost can also occur when temperatures dip down below 32 degrees, but do not say there for days and days on end.  Daytime temperatures continue to be mild/warm.  Lots of plants can survive a light frost/freeze, so long as you cover them and prevent moisture from building up on their leaves while the temperatures are cold.

fava bean plants frost winter

A hard freeze is a different ball game.  It is the beginning of the end for standard gardening.  A hard freeze is when temperatures dip below 28-30 degrees and stays there for several days.  The daytime temperatures also typically do not rise high enough to make up for the night time dip.  A hard freeze is a death sentence for warm weather plants.  If there is a hard freeze warning, it’s best to harvest what you can from your plants–even a hoop house won’t protect them for long on a hard frost.

So, when the weather man predicts a light frost/freeze, make sure to run out and cover your plants.  When a hard freeze is predicted, harvest what you can.  If you’re not sure when the average frost/freeze happens in your area, I totally recommend getting a Farmer’s Almanac.  It will not only give you average dates, but tell you HOW to predict a frost/freeze.  It’s a  pretty handy little reference.

farmers almanac

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.

Not Looking Back… Not Even for a Second

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pumpkins

As we closed the garage and walked out of our home of the past eight years last night, the HH turned to me and ask if I was going to miss it.

hugging rhubarb

And I said no. But that didn’t stop me from walking around the backyard and hugging all the plants and hard work I/we left behind.

zucchini

Eight years ago when our kids were 9 and 10 a big house on a wooded acre was a gooood idea. Our kids had plenty of room to run around, dig for treasures and climb trees.

pop up greenhouse

I had a blank slate.

mavis garden blog raised vegetable bedsAnd I filled it to my heart’s content.

shoveling dirt

Over the years we hauled in hundreds of yards of topsoil, planted fruit trees, berry bushes and even installed a greenhouse. It was HARD WORK.

growing vegetables in a greenhouse

And I loved every single minute of it. Until I realized that once Monkey Boy and The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird were gone and off to college, I’d be the only one left to plant the plants, grow the vegetables, and to put up the harvest. And then what? What was I going to do with all of that food?     All that space.

backyard chickens

It the idea of maintaining that lifestyle {chickens included} just became too much. And that’s when we decided to take the plunge and downsize and buy a smaller house on a more manageable sized lot.

About 5 minutes away. :) It was the first and only house we looked at. I knew it was “the one” as soon as I drove by it. The house is by no means my dream home, nor does it have an awesome kitchen, amazing garden space, or any of those things I’d typically look for when shopping for a new home. Not.At.All.

But I saw what it COULD BE.

The house is SCREAMING for a cottage garden to be planted, a kitchen remodel, and some PERSONALITY.

The bones, location and exterior of the home we bought are great and I know with a little help {okay a lot} from Chino the Handyman and his crew it’s going to be AWESOME.

omlet chicken coop eglu cube

We gave all of our chickens, and the Eglu {their lifetime home} to Chino the Handyman’s best friend and his family. They have 4 young kiddos, and just purchased their dream “mini farm.” We know they are going to a good home and most importantly, they will be loved. 

apple tree

The fruit on the trees, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, zucchinis and pumpkins on the vine, we left those behind too. As luck would have it, the family who bought our home has 3 young kiddos and I couldn’t think of a better “Welcome Home” gift to leave them than an instant u-pick garden right in their very own backyard. :)

Change is good. And the fun starts Monday.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

~ 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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