Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 4/13/14

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pallet garden

Happy Sunday everyone, how is the weather where you are? This past week has been spectacular up here in the Pacific Northwest and as a result our backyard garden is really starting to take off.

The potatoes we planted a few weeks ago are starting to pop through the soil {second garden box from the front on the left} and before too long it will be time to set tomato plants outside {my favorite thing to grow}.

pallet gardening

The pallet garden is coming along nicely. Later this week I hope to transplant a few more lettuce starts to our pallet garden. {I’ll be sure and take some close up photos when I do}.

espalier pear tree

Check out our espalier pear tree we having growing alongside the house.

pear flowers

Aren’t the blooms gorgeous? I wonder if we’ll get pears this year? This particular tree has 6 different varieties grafted to it, how cool is that? raised garden beds

The garlic is really beginning to fill out the boxes.
lasagna garden beds

I think I’ll turn the lasagna garden into a sunflower and pumpkin patch. Now all I need to do is wait another 6 weeks to plant the seeds.
rhubarb and poppies

Poppies and rhubarb. flowering rhubarb plant

Two of my rhubarb plants have giant flowers coming out of the center. I think this happened last year as well so I’m not too worried. Once the rhubarb stalks get a little bigger I’m going to pick a few and make a batch of Vanilla Rhubarb Jam.magnum glass greenhouse

The greenhouse is still pumping out gourmet lettuce leaves by the bowlful. daffodils and raspberries

Daffodils and raspberries. You probably can’t see it {unless you squint real hard} but the first round of tulips are beginning to pop up. The daffodils are dying a slow death and should be done blooming by next week, but the tiny grape hyacinth are still hanging in there.

periwinkle in bloom

And last but not least, the backyard is bursting with tiny vinca {periwinkle} flowers. These bloom twice a year, in the spring and fall, and are great plant for growing on a hillside.

Ahh Spring, I love you.

~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.



Upcoming Seattle Tilth Educational Classes

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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. Whether you want to raise goats, learn about companion planting, or learn about food preservation, you’ll find a class that matches your interests on their extensive class list. They’ve added a whole slew of cool new classes, and here are just a few:
seatle-tilth-fall-container-garden-classKitchen Classes
Food Preservation Certification Course
Saturdays, May 31-June 28; 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Veggie Gardening
Learn to design a four-season organic veggie garden.
Get Your Garden Growing Thu., May 1; 6-8 p.m.
Comprehensive Organic Gardener
Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. & Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., April 9-30
Container Gardening 101 Thu., Apr. 10; 6-8 p.m.
Container Gardening 101 Sat., May 10; 2-4 p.m
Organic Gardening 101 Two Thursdays, Apr. 17 & 24; 6-8 p.m.
Organic Gardening 101 Sat., May 10; 1-5 p.m.
Some Like it Hot: Grow Great Tomatoes Sat., May 10; 10 a.m.-noon
Organic Pest Management Sat., May 17; 2-4 p.m.

Urban Livestock
Produce your own eggs, honey and fertilizer! Find out what it takes to raise chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks and bees.
Raise City Goats Sat., Apr. 19; 10 a.m.-noon
Poultry Health Basics Wed., Apr. 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
City Chickens 101 Sat., May 17; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
City Chickens 101 Sat. July 19; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Raise City Ducks Wed., July 16; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Raise City Rabbits Wed., July 23; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Beekeeping 301: Harvest Honey & Winterize Your Hive
Sat., July 26; 10 a.m.-noon

Permaculture & Sustainable Landscapes
Go beyond basic veggie gardening.
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods – Part 1: Identify and Harvest
Sat., Apr. 26; noon-2 p.m.
Urban Weeds & Wild Foods – Part 2: Preparing for Your Table
Sat., Apr. 26; 2-4 p.m.
Secrets of Companion Planting, Sat. May 17; 10 a.m.-noon

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 – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair

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Tonight The Girl and I are going way back and watching Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair.  It was released in 1945, and about a girl and her family going to the State Fair {the most exciting thing all year, don’t you know}.  It makes life seem simpler to watch these classics sometimes.  If you haven’t seen it, seriously, it’s a hoot.

state fair

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? Can’t wait to watch it over and over?

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.

What Does Days to Maturity Mean on a Seed Packet or Vegetable Starts?

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What Does Days to Maturity Mean on a Seed Packet or Vegetable StartsI just got a question from reader, Emily, about how to read the days to maturity number on vegetable starts.  I decided to answer both her question and throw in a bit about starting from seeds, just in case you’ve ever wondered.

Emily asked,

“Quick question you might know the answer to: are the “days to maturity” on the tags for vegetable starts counting from the day I buy the plant or the day it’s seed was planted?”

What Does Days to Maturity Mean on a Seed Packet or Vegetable Starts

On starts that you buy at your local nursery, there is some contention about when to start the days to maturity count.  The most widely accepted answer is to start the count the day you plant it in the ground.  So, if it says 60 days to maturity, count forward 60 days from planting, and that is a rough estimate of when you can expect to have a harvest.  The same goes for any transplants you started from seeds indoors.

botanical interests seed packet

If you direct sow seeds into your garden, start the days to maturity count when the first true set of leaves emerge.  The reason for the difference is that all plants go through a little bit of a transition process when you transplant them.  It takes them a minute to acclimate to your soil, etc. and slows down the maturity process for a bit.  Directly sowed seeds will not have that issue.

In pretty much all the cases, remember that the days to maturity are just a guideline–it doesn’t mean you go out and pick the cantaloupe on the 110th day exactly.  It really just helps you choose the appropriate plant for you climate–if you know you only have a 3 month growing season, you will want to stick to plants with around a 90 days to maturity tag.

I hope that helps!

~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 Geraniums

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How to Care for Geraniums

I saw a whole row of brightly colored Geraniums when I drove passed Home Depot the other day.

Wahoo!  That must mean spring has sprung.  If you are planting Geraniums this year, here’s a quick guide on caring for them {remember, you can over-winter them, so they’re more like an investment}:

Geraniums basically need three things to thrive:  water, sun, and nutrients.  If you provide those three things regularly, your Geraniums will reward you with lots of bright flowers.

First, water.  Geraniums don’t love being left to dry out for long periods of time.  While no plant really loves soggy soil {it’s like have wet feet all of the time–no bueno}, Geraniums do prefer to have consistently moist soil.  In the hotter months, consistently moist soil translates to daily watering.  If you can poke your finger into the soil and it is dry 2″ down, they need watered.

pink geranium flowers

Second, sun.  Geraniums will give you brighter fuller blooms when they have full sun.  They will tolerate some shade, as they become more well established, but at first, they will need lots of blistering sun and warmer overnight temperatures.

Third, nutrients.  A good organic fertilizer will go a long way.  Ideally, they would love a feeding once per week.  They are needy that way.  If you don’t want to buy commercial fertilizers, you can add in some homemade compost.  The compost is a good idea, irregardless, if you are planting them in pots.  Work compost into your potting soil before planting.

DIY - How to Make Your Own Potting Soil

Make sure to deadhead the fading flowers to encourage new growth throughout the season.  If you plan on over-wintering your geraniums {i.e. plucking them out of the ground and into the house or garage to save them for next year}, snip them back about 2/3 of the way when the night time temperatures hit 45 degrees, and put the pots indoors in a location where they will get at least 4 hours of light.

You can water much, much more sparingly throughout the winter {once a week}.  When new growth begins to appear in the spring, it is time for the Geraniums first fertilization.  When it is time to put them back outside, make sure to harden them off by exposing them to the out of doors gradually.

Do you have any tried and true tips for caring for Geraniums?

~Mavis

Don’t forget to check out my DIY Potting Soil Recipe. It’s awesome.

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

garden chores east coast april

Springtime in New England means about six weeks of rain, which I always think of a ‘waking up nature’. Today alone it must have rained six inches! Soon all the trees and bushes will start to bud, have you ever noticed that buds are different colors depending on the trees and the leaf color?

tomato plants

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

April 1st begins the 7-week count-down to planting day {May 20th around these parts}. So this month I’ll begin the seeds, that I haven’t already started to get the garden started come planting day.

~Garlic & Onions were planted last fall and beginning to come up with little green sprouts

~Tomatoes were started in February, and already about 6” tall {I added soil last month to the stems to deepen the root system}

~Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Kale, Eggplant, Jalapenos & Broccoli were started in March and are now little seedlings happily growing under my grow lights

~Beets, Beans, Carrots, Corn & Peas I’ll start in a hoop-greenhouse this month because they don’t transplant well. Note to self: build three hoop greenhouses.

~Start Basil, Pumpkins, Cilantro, Dill, Thyme, Oregano and Echinacea under the grow lights.

seedlingsWhat I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

Can I get an aaaaah-men! It’s rainy and windy which means it’s officially spring! In fact, my teenager wore shorts and a t-shirt to school today because “mom, *eye roll* it’s warmer than 40*, and we have the ‘40* rule”. It’s true; I had to put a cut-off temperature on the shorts! Essentially, it’s now shorts-weather here in New England, so although we can’t transplant anything this month I will spend the month sighing longingly at the garden.

baby chicksPlants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

Ya know how you pop into the feed store with the kids for some pine shavings for your flock and bring home two Barred Rock chicks? HA! Just Kidding! We actually had a plan. Because we have a small coop and only want a few chickens {and there is a 6 chick minimum purchase law in MA} we all agreed to get two Barred Rocks and coordinated with a few friends to make a 6-chick order. Now we have two Black Sex-links, two Rode Island Reds and two Barred Rocks – a whopping 6 chicken flock J All these breeds are cold hardy and heavy layers, so perfect for our area and needs. These two-week-old chicks are super energetic and are constantly running around and JUMPING in their brooder-box.

garlic shootsWhat I plan to Harvest This Month

Although I could clip some lettuce for a salad, I think I need to transplant them to larger pots or move them out to the greenhouses {I have yet to build} and let them get a little larger before I make a nice big, fat salad.

houseplant

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Good News! The oil and soap solution reader Mari suggested in the comments of my March post worked like a charm on the scale infestation my lemon tree had gotten. The scale infestation was really, really bad. I mean dis-gus-ting. The scales were multiplying, hanging off the leaves and branches, sticky stuff all over the plant and floor, and there were little bugs flying all over. {In full 80’s fashion} it was totally groady.

Mari suggested mixing 1 tsp ordinary liquid kitchen soap plus 1 tsp {any} cooking oil plus 1-quart water. Then shake and spray the entire plant. Make sure to spray the stem, top and bottom of the leaves and the soil at least every two-three days to eradicate all the various stages of the bugs. The best part? It’s homemade, and safe for plants, including veggies and is perfectly safe to use around pets and chickens.

Every day it has been above 30* I’ve wheeled my lemon out to the south-facing front steps and hosed it down with the mixture. I’m happy to report I’ve seen a drastic difference and I’ve even got a half-dozen or so lemon buds growing. Thanks Mari!!

chicken tractor

Weed and Pest Control

The chicken tractor is a huge hit! I can’t help but wonder what the heck they’re eating so greedily in my perfectly normal looking yard, but I’m lovin’ it.

Lawn Care Projects

I have a confession to make. There is a giant pile of rubber mulch from when my garden was the site of a kid’s play set. I’ve donated the majority to a pre-school and have the rest to bag up for sale, but it’s a mammoth labor-heavy job.

Anyone else have an ugly, you-don’t-want-to-do job waiting for you in the yard this spring?

~ Heather

**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.

Mavis Garden Blog – Planting Herbs in the Garden

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planting a herb garden

Yesterday was such a  gorgeous day. The Puggle love and I spent a good 3 hours outside planting seeds, pulling weeds and playing with her new ball. {You can see a short video of Lucy in action HERE}. botanical Interests herb seeds

I cleaned up the mini herb garden we have growing alongside the greenhouse and planted 6 packets of Cilantro, Dill and Parsley seeds. Weeeee!growing herbs seeds planting

Now all that’s left is to plant my basil transplants in the greenhouse and then I’ll be officially done planting herbs for this year. {Basil seeds need higher temps that is why I am waiting}. mavis butterfield garden

Hey Mavis, wasn’t it like 70 degrees up in Seattle yesterday?

mavis butterfield

Are you really that pale? Why aren’t you wearing a tank top and shorts like everyone else on the planet?mavis

Ummm. That would be because I am a total freak that’s why. ;) Oh, and because I only own one pair of shorts. And one tank top. And anyway, the colonial peeps in Williamsburg would probably not approve of me walking around in a tank top and shorts, so there. That is my excuse. I am conditioning myself for the colonial life of sun bonnets and dresses. Plus, being a Washington native, I melt at 70 degrees so I have to either garden really early in the morning, or at dusk.

mavis butterfield one hundred dollars a month

How about you? Do you have a melting point? Or am I just a total weirdo?

~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 Maintain a Healthy Flower Garden

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How to Maintain a Healthy Flower Garden

When I first started gardening, I did not really get the importance of integrating flowers.  I mean, I like them because they were pretty, they added curb appeal, etc.  Now, though, I see them as an important part of my garden.  When they are healthy and thriving, so is the rest of my garden.  They do most of the work in keeping a healthy, balanced garden by attracting bees and other beneficial insects to the yard.

I like to imagine they have little whistles to call in the pollinators {it’s possible I spend too much time with my plants}.

Here’s the 411 on maintaining a healthy flower garden:

  1. Soil.  Make sure to provide the right soil for however you plan on planting your flowers.  Potted flowers will suffocate in regular old dirt.  I usually make my own potting soil with my compost.  Flowers planted in flower beds also need a little TLC.  Laying down compost before you plant can provide much needed nutrients throughout the growing season.
  2. Give ‘em a little wiggle room.  Whenever I see those pre-potted flowers in the stores in the spring, I wonder what they will look like in a month or so.  They are so over-crowded.  They have a lot of initial appeal {probably to entice you into buying them}, but pretty soon, they start suffocating each other out.  Plants are like humans that way–in over-crowded conditions, they start to become diseased, fight for nutrients, and die back.  Not good.
  3. Fertilize.  I usually let my chickens do most of the fertilizing, but if you don’t have that option, a good organic fertilizer will help you maintain those bright blooms.
  4. Deadhead.  Pinching back faded blooms encourages new growth and makes your flowers the envy of your neighbors.  It’s win-win.
  5. Water.  Flowers will need you to adjust their watering schedule frequently throughout the growing season.  Water when the first 2″ of soil is dry.  I feel like flowers always hang their heads when they are dry, so you can usually tell by looking at them.  Like all plants, do not let them sit in water.  Their feet {roots} get soggy and it makes them very grumpy.
  6. Do a little research.  Some flowers offer a little more bang for their buck.  For example, Marigolds repel a lot of pests.  Companion planting with flowers is a great way to maintain an organic garden.

Any more tips you can think of for keeping your flowers looking and performing their best?

~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.

Get Urban Farm Magazine Subscription for Only $8.99 a Year

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urban farm magazine

If you missed this deal last time, it’s baaaack!

DiscountMags is offering a 1 year subscription to Urban Farm Magazine for only $8.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. I love this magazine! Learn how to grow your own food in the space you have.

mavis butterfiled

Urban Farm Magazine is guide for those in cities or suburbs looking to become more self-sufficient by growing some of their own food and treading lightly on the environment in the space they have. Articles include how-to projects, gardening basics, composting, beekeeping, roof-top gardening, preserving and freezing, and time and money-saving ideas.

Go HERE to order Urban Farm Magazine.

*This special rate will be live through midnight 4/7/2014 {EST}. You can purchase this deal as a new subscription or to renew your existing subscription. Plus you can also purchase additional subscriptions as gifts! Giddy up!

cherry tomatoes

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 4/6/14

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raised garden bedsThe ground was still a wee bit wet this morning when I snapped a few pictures of our garden, and by the looks of the sky right now we might get a little more rain here in a bit. But I’m not complaining {not today anyways} because we finally have some GREEN in those garden boxes!!

carrot seedlings

The carrots we started in early winter are on the right and if you squint real hard you can see some carrot seedlings popping up on the left. We planted those a few weeks ago.
growing peas broccoli

Snap peas, radishes and broccoli.
radish seedlings

I think Lucy the puggle trouble may have stepped in my row of perfectly aligned radish seeds. Now the question is, should I try and fix them? ;)  grow garlic and leeks

Leeks and cabbage plants on the left, and oodles of garlic plants on the right. Have you tried garlic scape pesto? It’s the best! Elephant garlic is in the center.
lasagna garden bed

Ahh the lasagna garden.  I am sill undecided about this area. Should I plant a little of everything? A pumpkin patch? Sunflowers? Decisions decisions. poppies and rhubarb

Poppies and rhubarb. One of our 5 rhubarb plants is beginning to flower already. Sheesh! magnum glass greenhouse

The greenhouse is bursting with lettuce. I plan on continuing to grow lettuce in the tubs until the weather warms up. I’ll try and remember to get some close up pics later this week. backyard garden

Check out all those shasta daisies coming back to life near the old stump. This is one of my favorite areas in the garden to watch every year. As for that giant patch of dirt… I’m still undecided about what I’m going to do with that area this year.

western washington raspberries

And guess who finally cleaned up the raspberry patch? ;) I still need to get the poles lined up and hammered in to the ground but the hard part is done.

Sweet diggity! Gardening season has finally arrived. :)

~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.

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