How to Grow Beets {Start to Finish}

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mavis butterfield garden blog

Yesterday, after the rain finally stopped, Lucy the Puggle Dog and I went outside and planted an entire 4×8 garden box full of beet seeds. Growing up I only liked pickled beets, but as I’ve learn to cook them over the last few years, I’ve really fallen in love with them.

The Handsome Husband and I both love them, but the kids? Well, they haven’t exactly acquired a taste for them just quite yet. But I’m sure at some point they will. ;)

botanical interests seed packets beets

This year I planted 4 varieties:

what do beet seeds look like

If you have never grown beets before {or just need a little refresher, here are a few tips:

Brief description: Beets are a sweet and delicious root veggie.

Where to Plant Beets:  Plant in raised beds and/or garden beds. 

beets

Planting Seeds:  Plant outdoors 2-4 weeks before the average last frost.  For best results, soak seeds for 8-24 hours before sowing–they will germinate faster.  Plant seeds 1/2″ deep {about 3 seeds every 4″}.  When seedlings are 2″ tall, thin to one every 4″.

heirloom beets

Growing Tips:  Beets are a cool weather crop.  They can be sown in early spring or late summer for a fall crop.  They like even moisture, so don’t let the soil dry out–mulching in the hot months will keep them cool and happy.   

picture of giant heirloom beets

How to Harvest:  Harvest when beets are 1-1/2″ to 3″ in diameter.   You can harvest the leaves for salads, cooking or garnishes.  You can also, obviously, harvest the actual beet.  You can either pull them out or dig them out–it’s really a personal preference, though, if you dig them out, make sure not to slice the beet with your shovel.  Wait to wash your beets until you are ready to use them, they will last longer that way.

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

Here are a few of my Favorite Beet recipes:

roasted Red Beet & White Bean HummusRoasted Red Beet and White Bean Hummus

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Walnuts

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Walnuts

 

easy summer recipes raw beet carrot slawGrated Raw Beet Salad

how-to-can-pickled-beets

How to Can Beets

Interesting Fact:  About 10-15% of all U.S. adults experience beeturia (a reddening of the urine) after consumption of beets.  This is important stuff to know, don’t you agree?  Ha!

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 Plant an Herbal Tea Garden

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How to Plant an Herbal Tea Garden

I think we have established how much I LOVE tea.  If not, let’s just say, it is my faithful sidekick, so growing a garden that I can literally turn into tea seems like the logical next step.  Point being, I’m thinking about doing one this year.

All you need to grow an herbal tea garden is a sunny spot–and not a very big one at that.  Most of the herbs you grow for tea are also pretty to look at, so if you don’t have a spot outdoors, try a sunny window sill inside.  If you are planting them outside, you can plant them in pots or straight into  your garden beds {except for the mint–you will regret it if you don’t plant it in pots, it spreads and gets out of control fast}.  I’m thinking I am going to keep mine in pots, herb garden style.

lavender field

Here’s a list {not an exhaustive one, by any means} of herbs you can grow:

  1. Lavender.  Seriously, it adds a really nice flavor to tea and has a calming effect to boot.
  2. Bergamot.  It adds an orange flavor to your tea.
  3. Mint.  Make sure to keep this one in a container and not in your garden beds–they will spread like a weed.  Meanwhile, peppermint adds a minty flavor to your tea, and as an added bonus, mint can help to calm an upset stomach, so you can whip up some mint tea the next time you have a little indigestion.Chamomile flowers
  4. Chamomile.  Chamomile tea will help you sleep and smells amazing.  It is the foundation of ANY tea garden, in my opinion.
  5. Roses.  So, not really an herb, but still awesome for tea.  Not only are they beautiful, but the petals also make a really nice and refreshing tea.  {Make sure you don’t spray your petals with nasty stuff if you plan to use them for tea.}  Plus, the bees love them, so you are pretty much doing your whole garden a favor.
  6. Lemon Balm.  This makes a fantastic tea.  It has a nice lemon flavor {obviously} that is still pretty subtle.  Like mint, it also helps settle an upset stomach and has relaxing properties like chamomile.
  7. Lemon Thyme.  You will be able to use this one for tea and cooking.  It has a very fresh flavor, and it does alright in some shade, which makes it a little more versatile.
  8. Rosemary.  It has a very distinct flavor, which people either love or hate.  It is also one that tolerates a little shade.

rosemary

There are tons more options, but those are my personal favorites.  To make tea from your plants, you can use them fresh or dry them in your dehydrator first {you can also dehydrate them in the sun outdoors, but it takes quite a bit longer}.  Store the dried herbs in an airtight container for tea all year long.  You can even order tea bags, if you want to get fancy or give them as gifts.

What do you think, will you be giving it a try this year?

~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 – Harvesting Lettuce in March

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growing peas in gutters

Have you planted your peas yet? I planted my first round of peas in early February in gutters and then placed them in the greenhouse. Yes, it was a wee bit early to be planting peas and we did get a hard frost the day after I planted them, but luckily, they are starting to pop up through the soil. :)

Round two of my sugar snap peas were planted last week in one of my garden boxes… and round three? Well I’ll be planting those this weekend. If you have never grown peas before, give it a try this year because they are hands down a million times better than anything you’ll ever try from the frozen food section. Fresh peas = Love.

growing lettuce in a greenhouse

And lettuce. winter lettuce greenhouse

Holy cow, we are practically swimming in mesclun lettuce these days.
growing lettuce in containers

We have three containers full of lettuce and are harvesting every other day right now for side salads. mesclun lettuce

Think how much money brides could save if they walked down the aisle with bouquets of gourmet lettuce greens instead of roses. ;) True, walking down the aisle with a head of iceberg lettuce would be a little weird, but if they chose the right variety of lettuce, it might just work. mavis butterfield garden

Arugula Rocket Lettuce for instance has a beautiful leafy pattern to it, but if the bridal party were to get a little hungry and decided to nibble on their bouquets, they’d be in store of a huge surprise.

Have you tried it before? Wowza! It.Is.Spicy. Almost so spicy on it’s own it makes you gag. ;)

Happy planting everyone, I’m off to start some more seeds,

~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.

Garden Junk, What Garden Junk?

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mavis butterfield

Earlier today the HH was giving me a hard time about the “junk pile” in our back yard.

garden containers

Of course I had no idea what he was talking about until he pointed to the {ever growing} mound of odds and ends I’ve been collecting behind the greenhouse since last summer. black garden pots containers

Obviously my husband doesn’t know what he’s talking about because HELLO, these pots are totally reusable. In fact, I’ll be needing them in a few weeks when I re-pot my tomato plants I started from seed a few weeks ago. broken terra cotta pots

And these? These broken terra cotta pots are perfect for putting at the bottom of larger pots to help with drainage. I’m telling you, the man doesn’t know good “junk” when he sees it.

terra cotta pots

Oh and get this, he says I have to many pots… and that I should get rid of them. Is he CRAZY? Does this look like junk to you? Because it sure doesn’t look like junk to me.

Grrrr.

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 Grow Seed Potatoes {Start to Finish}

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how to grow potatoes

Yesterday the Girl and I planted 2 bags of seed potatoes in the backyard garden. I’m not sure how many spuds we are going to plant this year, but let me tell you Bob I am excited! The Handsome Husband is Irish, and potatoes are pretty much the only thing he likes to harvest in the garden so I typically grow several different varieties.

If you’ve never grown potatoes before {or just need a little refresher course} here’s how to grow them.

purple potatoes

Brief description:  Potatoes are a starchy edible tuber.

Where to Plant Potatoes:  Plant in deep containers {old garbage cans work great}, potato towers, garden beds, and even raised beds {so long as you have at least 12 inches of depth to work with}.

seed potato chitting

Planting Seeds:  It is best to buy seed potatoes, as grocery story potatoes are usually treated to prevent sprouting–making yields a little unpredictable.  Store your seed potatoes in the fridge until you are ready to plant.  If your seed potatoes are already starting to sprout, plant them whole.

seed potatoes all blue red pontiac

Otherwise, a few days before you plant them, take them out of the fridge and cut them into 2″ chunks or cut into pieces with at least one eye per piece.  Leave them on a paper towel overnight to dry out a bit.  When planting, plant about 10-12″  deep and 10″ apart, then cover with 4″ of soil.  As the potato leaves begin to show, cover with another 4″ of soil.  Repeat the process until you have mounds about 12″ high.

Growing Tips:  Potatoes prefer cooler weather, so plant 2 weeks before the last frost in your area.   Water regularly, potatoes like it moist, but not wet.

how to grow red potatoes

How to Harvest:  When the leaves die and turn brown, it is time to harvest your taters.  Just take a shovel and turn over the dirt.  I like to start nice and wide so that I don’t puncture any of my potatoes.  If you have grown them in a container, lay out a tarp and dump the container.  Sift out your potatoes, and voila, you’re done.

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

Here are a few of my Favorite Potato recipes:

baked potato cassaroleBaked Potato Casserole

easy side dish recipes scalloped potatoesHomeStyle Scalloped Potatoes

crock pot baked potatoesCrock Pot Baked Potatoes

Interesting Fact:  In 1845, Ireland’s potato crop was devastated by a fungus.  Until then, the Irish had subsisted largely on potatoes, because they were so easy to grow and required relatively little space considering the yields.  That single fungus put into motion a devastating 10 year famine, known as the Irish Potato Famine.

Potatoes are obviously still a staple to this day, they are the world’s 4th largest crop.  They follow rice, wheat and corn.

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre - This book rocks!

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.

Monthly Garden Chores – March

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march garden chores

I love March.  It is the sure promise that winter is coming to an end around here.  Even though I started quite a few seeds last month, March is my official kick-off to the gardening season.  I will be able to get outdoors a lot more this month.  Wahoo!

grow lights seedlings

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

  • Peppers {Ancho/Pablano Chili Peppers, Itialian Marconi Golden Peppers, and Sweet Cherry Blend Peppers}
  • Echinacea {known as the cone flower}
  • Zinnias {I like the Envy, Fantasy, and Fireball Blend}
  • Toy Bok Choy
  • Cauliflower
  • Sprouts
  • Microgreens

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

fava beans

What I Plan to Plant or Transplant Outside this Month

deals on seed potatoes

Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

mung bean sprouts

What I plan to Harvest This Month

forcing bulbs

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Continue to nurture forced bulbs.  You should see the starts of the bulbs sprouting up now.  If you haven’t already, move them to a bright location.  House plants may benefit from a light feeding now.

mavis butterfield

Trees and Shrubs

Time to prune fruit trees.  Prune raspberry canes before they start to get leaves.  If  you have roses, now is the time to apply their first feeding–actually all trees and shrubs could benefits from a feeding at this point.

Weed and Pest Control

There is probably some weeding to do this month.  Make sure to pull them early before they become the bane of your existence.

patchy lawn winter

Lawn Care

As crazy as it sounds, grass is fragile right now.  Too much traffic on the cold, soggy ground can lead to damaging the dirt below, so try to limit foot traffic.  Take the same care in your garden beds this month, making sure to walk only on designated walking rows.

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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Inside Chipotle

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I don’t have a ton of time tonight, so I am just watching a quick 20 minute documentary called Inside Chipotle.  It’s the story of how Chipotle came to be, and the reasons they cook with sustainable and responsibly grown/raised meat and produce.  Chipotle caught my attention with their ad several months ago, so I am kind of curious how the owner decided on his food/business plan.

Inside Chipotle is FREE to stream on Netflix.

inside chipotle

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?

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.

Mavis Garden Blog – New Flowers for the Window Box, Planting Peas and More

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pallet garden

Now that I’m all caught up on sleep, and our bags are unpacked and all the laundry has been put away, I can finally get back to gardening again.

planting peas

I started a few packets of peas in gutters a few weeks ago and put them in the greenhouse because it was too cold to plant the pea seeds outside. Yesterday I planted the rest of the peas along the edges of some wire cages I picked up last summer at a yard sale down the road from us. I’m excited.Because once the vines get going, I think it’s going to look pretty cool. Umm, and uniform which is super important if you have OCD. ;)

baby carrots

Carrots. I couldn’t wait any longer for them to grow so I dug up a few babies for a recipe I’ll be making a little later on today. Lucy the Puggle dog will help me dig up the rest of the carrots today. winter leeks

Winter leeks! Is it weird that I don’t want to harvest them?

winter garlic

Garlic! Holy cannoli’s, we will have more than a years supply for garlic this year that’s for sure.

window box ideas

And last but not least, the front window box. The Home Depot had cyclamen in stock so I grabbed 6 plants. Now I’m on the hunt for some English daisies to fill up the rest of the window box.

How is YOUR garden growing these days? Do you still have snow? Are you going crazy yet because all you can think about is your garden?

~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.

Window Box Ideas for Late Winter and Early Spring

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Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early SpringWhile The Girl and I were walking in London this past week I couldn’t help but pull out my camera {about a hundred times} and snap some photographs of the window boxes we walked past.

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early SpringI’ll admit it, I am a total sucker for a well planted window box and we’ve had one in the front window of just about every house we’ve ever lived in.

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

If you plan it out right, you can usually get away with just planting your window box gardens about three times a year. Well, at least that is what I do up here in the Seattle area anyway.Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

If you have OCD this one with the trimmed boxwoods would be ideal. ;)

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

I love, love, love the way these potted geraniums look. Unfortunately you would need to live someplace with pretty mild winters if you were going to plant these in your window box.Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

And last but not least, you just can’t go wrong with ivy, can you?

Do you have a favorite? I think the first garden box with the daffodils and moss might be mine.

~Mavis

Looking for a little more window box inspiration? Check out the book Window Boxes: Indoors & Out. I own a copy and pull it out every year to get ideas.

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 Grow Peas {Start to Finish}

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sugar snap pea seed packet

Right before we left for our trip The Girl and I planted our peas. Normally we plant our peas on St. Patrick’s Day but this year we thought we’d try to get a jump start on the growing season and plant them a little early.

garden tips soak peas

This year we planted sugar snap peas, snow peas and green arrow peas.  Sugar snap peas are plump and crunchy and are great for snacking and in stir fry, while snow peas are flat and typically harvested before the pea gets very large.  Green Arrow pea pods are not edible but the peas are perfect for canning and freezing.

sugar snap pea seeds

Where to Plant Peas:  Peas are a cool weather crop.  They need full sun in early spring.  Sugar Snap and Snow peas need a trellis or pole to climb and typically get anywhere from 3-6′ tall {depending on the variety}, so keep that in mind when you choose a location.  Green arrow peas typically do not need to be trellised because they only grow about 2′ tall. They are best grown in raised or garden beds.

sugar snap peas

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1″ deep {every 2″ if you are sowing directly outside}.  You will not need to thin them.

how to gorw sugar snap peas

Growing Tips:   Peas like rich soil with good drainage.  They do not do well in the heat, so plan them as an late spring/early summer harvest.  Provide them with a trellis or pole to climb.

When to pick sugar snap peas

How to Harvest:  To harvest, cut peas off at the top of the pea {hold the other side of the vine so as not to damage it during harvest}.  Do not let them get overripe or they take on a starchy flavor and stop producing.

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

Here are a few of my Favorite Pea recipes:

Ranch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach and Green PeasRanch Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Spinach, and Green Peas

easy summer recipes orzo saladOrzo Salad with Fresh Peas, Carrots, and Pine Nuts

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

Fresh Pea Salad with Bacon and Chives

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.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel