How to Harden Off Seedlings

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How to Harden Off Seedlings

Before I can transplant all of the plants I started indoors, I will have to harden them off.  Hardening off plants is basically acclimating plants that you started indoors to the outside weather.  It allows your plants to get used to the sun, wind, rain, etc. gradually–kind of like slowly allowing your kids to experience some of life’s harsh realities {only plants won’t eat all of your food and make your house smell like dirty socks}.

I usually harden off my plants for about seven days, but some people shoot for closer to two weeks. I have milder weather here, so it is a bit easier to get them used to the outside.  About a week before you plan to harden off your plants, you need to stop fertilizing them {if you use fertilizer} and scale back on the water.

How to Harden Off Seedlings zinnia

Start the process by leaving plants in a shady spot outside for a couple hours–but make sure to bring them in at night {my favorite spot is my front porch}.  Each day, gradually increase the amount of time you leave your plants outdoors, as well as how much direct sunlight they are exposed to.  After about 7 days, your plants should be ready to stay out all day and all  night {make sure to check temperature requirements for each plant to make sure it is staying warm enough at night}.

how-to-transplant-seedlings-swiss-chard

Once you have hardened off your plants, you can transplant them into the garden.  If possible, try to transplant them on a cloudy day {pretty much always possible in my neck of the woods} and water them in well.

That’s it, it’s like the final step before the actual gardening starts.  Weeee!

~Mavis

How to Grow More Vegetables

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 3/30/14

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raised garden beds

This past week has been a soggy one in our garden and there is no sign of letting up either. In fact, I think we actually hit a record for rainfall around here in Western Washington for the month of March.
potting bench spring

Everything is drenched! pallet garden

But the vegetables are still growing. Slowly.
poppies and rhubarb

Our poppies and rhubarb plants are doing great, but the artichokes I transplanted last fall have still not popped up yet. I guess it means I’ll have to plant another round of artichoke seeds and this time not move the plants. I knew I was taking my chances moving them but I was still hopping for the best. Oh well, lesson learned. magnum glass greenhouse

Everything in and around the greenhouse is growing like mad. 
greenhouse lettuce

 Don’t you think it looks like I’ve got a mini lettuce factory growing inside? {And yes, that is kale growing in the pots just outside the greenhouse.} ;)

shasta daisy flowers

If you are looking for a perennial flower that will spread like crazy and has some fantastic blooms, you should plant some Shasta Daisy Seeds. When we moved here 8 years ago we dug up a small section of a shasta daisy plant from our old house and planted it in our backyard. Since then every summer the plant spills seeds like gangbusters and now I’ve got shasta daisy flowers growing all over my backyard. I LOVE it!daffodils and raspberries

And last but not least, a photo of our raspberry patch. It’s coming alive!! Take a look at all those green leaves. I’m hoping for a bumper crop this year. :)

How about you? What’s happening in your garden these days?

Mavis wants to know.

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.

3 Quick Tips to Get Your Garden Growing with Vegetable Starts

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vegetable-starts1

Looking to get a jump start on planting your spring garden crops but don’t know where to start? Check out my latest eHow article  Vegetable Starts: 3 Quick Tips to Get Your Garden Growing for a quick and easy solution.

Have you been to the garden center lately and notice anything new? How about all those rows and rows of promising vegetable starts waiting to be plucked off the shelves? Buying vegetable starts (rather than planting seeds) is a great way to get a jumpstart on your garden and cut down on your growing time.

Typically you can expect to save between 1-2 months of growing time (on average) when using vegetable starts instead of planting cold weather crops like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts under grow lights in your home.

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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Betting the Farm

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Tonight The Girl and I are going to watch Betting the Farm.  It’s about a group of dairy farmers, who after being dropped by their national milk company, decide to band together to start their own milk company.  I really hope it’s one of those stories that shows just how successful local food can be–though, given the trailer, it looks like it might really be about the sheer struggle of being successful and both farming and business.

 betting the farm

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.

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.

Gardening in Small Spaces – Container Gardening

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container garden

Recently reader, Jennifer, contacted me asking about how to grow a garden in a small space with homeowner restrictions.  She wrote:

“Hi Mavis – I have a question. We live in an townhome complex with some pretty strict rules. We can’t plant gardens in the grounds or the flower beds. While we’ve looked at moving, for health reasons, this is the best place for my mum right now, and so we’re staying. That said, I’d love to create a garden for vegetables and maybe some fruits. We can grow in potted planters on our deck and patio, both of which get full sun all year round. Any suggestions/recommendations for how to get started gardening this way, what would work, and things not to do?”

container-herb-garden2

First off, let me assure you, container gardening rocks.  It actually helps with a lot of issues that come up in regular gardening beds–it allows you to control your soil, drainage, water, and it even helps to manage pests.  That being said, getting started is really the most important part.  If you are growing in containers, you want to consider three things:  drainage, sunlight, and soil.  That’s pretty much it.  If you can knock those three things off your list, you can have a successful container garden.

unusual garden containers lettuce

For drainage, make sure to get containers that you can drill/poke holes into the bottom, if the containers don’t already have them.  Make the holes about 1/2″-1″ on the bottom of the pot.  Water regularly, a good rule of thumb is to literally poke your finger into the soil.  If the top 1″ or so of soil is dried out, it’s time to water again.

It sounds like sunlight is not an issue in your townhome, but if it were, that is the beauty of container gardening:  you can totally move the containers around to “chase” the sun.

DIY - How to Make Your Own Potting Soil

Finally, soil.  You CANNOT use regular garden soil in containers.  It is waaaay too dense and prohibits proper drainage.  You need to splurge and get the potting soil mix, or make your own.

Container Gardening Idea - Grow Salad in a Pot

As far as plants that do well in containers, there are tons of choices.  Botanical Interests has a pretty awesome “set” you can buy of seeds that are specifically for small space or container gardening.  It’s called Container Vegetable Seed Collection {it includes carrots, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onion/scallions, sweet peppers, spinach, and tomatoes}, which is a pretty well rounded garden, if you ask me.  herb container garden organic

In addition, you can grow most herbs:  basil, thyme, cilantro, sage, etc.  I have a friend who has been super successful growing larger plants, like zucchini in containers {she just uses tomato cages on the zucchini plant to train them to grow up instead of out}.

How to Plant a Meyer Lemon Tree in a Container Indoors

For fruits, you can grow strawberries {hanging baskets work well} or try a Meyer Lemon tree.   Our local nursery even has dwarf apple trees that could potentially be grown in large pots {though, I have never tried, so I can’t say for sure how successful it would be}.  I think your only real limitation with fruit would be melons–they need a lot of space, plain and simple.

Good luck Jennifer, and make sure to send me pictures of your container 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.

Mavis Garden Blog – Growing Lettuce in Gutters

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growing lettuce in a greenhouse

This past week I planted another row of lettuce in our greenhouse gutters, and let me tell you Bob, things are sure filling up in there.

growing lettuce in gutters

This time I transplanted out a nice red leaf variety. I figured it will compliment the Romaine lettuce I transplanted a few weeks ago in some of our dinner salads and on some gourmet burgers.

lettuce in gutters

I wonder if non gardeners have ever tried REAL, fresh picked lettuce before. Do you think they would even be able to taste the difference between the homegrown stuff and the lettuce that’s stuffed into plastic containers and sold at the grocer for cheap, cheap, cheap? growing lettuce in containers

Growing lettuce in containers {and gutters} has got to be the easiest thing to grow on the planet. Well, besides weeds. ;)  lettuce

The Farmer’s Market Blend from Botanical Interests is my favorite. lettuce seedlings

Start to finish, {in the spring} most lettuce varieties only take about 45 – 60 days to reach maturity. Talk about instant gratification. And the best part about growing lettuce? Pretty much all you need to get a good harvest is plant your seeds in a good soil mix and keep them watered. That’s it!

So if you have a friend who wants to try gardening, but doesn’t know where to start, give them a packet of lettuce seeds because they are pretty much a no fail vegetable.

lucy the puggle dog

In fact I bet a puggle could even grow lettuce. If I could get her to stop digging for treasures of course. ;)

Life is good.

~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 Grow Cauliflower {Start to Finish}

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white purple green cauliflower
For the past two years we have planted a packet of  the Chef’s Choice Blend Cauliflower seeds from Botanical Interests. Typically the only color of cauliflower you can find in the grocery store is white, but this packet contains three different colors; white, purple, and green. How cool is that? Eating a rainbow is pretty darn cool if you ask me.

If you are new to gardening, or are giving cauliflower a try this year, here are some handy dandy tips:

purple cauliflower

Brief description: Cauliflower is a mild vegetable that is part of the cabbage family.

Where to Plant Cauliflower:  Plant in raised beds, garden beds, and containers.  Cauliflower is a cooler weather plant, but does like full sun.

cabbage seedlings{thinning cauliflower seedlings}

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1/4-1/2″ deep.  Thin to one per pot or 1 every 1-2′ when seedlings are 2″ tall.  If starting indoors, try to keep the soil temperature around 70 degrees.

cauliflower in winter

Growing Tips:   Keep soil evenly watered.  Do not allow plants to dry out completely in between watering.  If it gets hot in your area before harvest time, gently fold cauliflower leaves over the head to protect it from the heat.

cauliflower grown in fall

How to Harvest:  Harvest by cutting stalk just below the head.  Mature cauliflower is typically between 6-12″ in diamter.

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 Cauliflower recipes: {try to list 3}

Easy Side Dish Recipes - Roasted Cauliflower with CurryRoasted Cauliflower with Curry

roasted cauliflowerRoasted Cauliflower

cauliflower hummus recipeCauliflower Hummus

Don’t like cauliflower?  If you don’t like cauliflower, try growing orange cauliflower.  It’s typically not at the grocery store, so it’s a gardener’s monopoly, and it tastes much sweeter than regular white cauliflower.

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.

DIY Garden Projects For Kids – How to Make a Seed Tape

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how to make a seed tape

These simple seed tapes are so much fun for little kids to make. I wanted to share the tutorial again for those of you with young ones who might have missed it the first time around. 

**********************

If you’re looking for a fun rainy day garden project to do with your kids, or if you are a new gardener and are concerned about planting tiny seeds like carrots and lettuce in the garden, I have the perfect project for you.

A seed tape. You can typically find seed tapes in the gardening section of your local store this time of year, but they usually run about $3 to $5 and half the seeds a a normal seed packet would.

make your own glue

How to Make a Seed Tape

Supplies

  • Toilet Paper
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Seeds
  • Bamboo Skewer or Toothpick

First figure out how long you want to make your seed tape.  My garden boxes are 8 feet long so I used 8 feet of toilet paper.  The great thing about seed tape is you can make it as long {or as short} as you need to accommodate your garden space.

Seed tapes can be made with any type of small seeds. Peas and beans are easy for children to plant with their tiny fingers, but seeds like carrots, lettuce and radishes are quite a bit harder for them to grasp.

how to make a seed tapeDirections

Make a simple paste out of flour and water.  You want the “paste” to be the consistency of glue. Next use a chopstick or a bamboo skewer and carefully dab a little paste onto the toilet paper.

Add 2 seeds to the dab of paste {I like to use 2 seeds just in case one does not germinate}. If you are unsure as to how far apart to paste your seeds, simply look at the back of the seed packet for instructions.  Most carrot seeds need to be planted 3″ apart.

Once the paste has dried, roll up your seed tape and head out to the garden.

how to make a seed tape kids projects

Lay the seed tape down and cover with dirt {refer to your seed packet to find out how deep}. For carrots cover with 1/8″ of soil. Water and care for your newly planted seeds just as you would had they been sowed directly in the garden. The toilet paper should dissolve in about a week.

Yee-Haw! Gardening is cool, even for kids!

~Mavis

gardening projects for kids

For more simple garden ideas to do with kids, check out Gardening Projects for Kids.

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 – Window Boxes and Raspberries

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window box flowers spring

I was milling around The Home Depot yesterday when I spotted the most gorgeous purple viola plants and knew I had to buy them for my front window box.

When I was a kid my mother always planted pink, white and purple flowers in our yard. And now as an adult, I tend to gravitate to those colors as well. Funny how things work out that way.

spring window box flowers

Even though the temps are still pretty chilly and there isn’t a whole lot to choose from at the garden center, my window box is still jam packed with flowers. Right now I have daffodils, violas, cyclamen and moss planted. I’m not sure if those other little sprouts are weeds so I don’t want to pull them just yet. ;)

washington raspberry canes

Well, I decided to finally do it this year. I’m finally going to re-stake the raspberry plants.

deas raspberry canes

But first I have to clean up, prune and weed seven rows of raspberry plants before I can begin. It’s a total pain, but if I don’t get it now, it won’t happen this year. So that’s my big project for this week, sprucing up the raspberry patch.

washington state raspberry leaves leafSpring, it’s finally here.

What are your garden plans for this week? Do you have any leaves on your raspberry plants yet?

Mavis wants to know.

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 3/23/14

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raised garden beds

Well hello there. How has the weather been at your place this past week? It’s been unusually nice in my neck of the woods. So nice in fact I was actually able to get quite a bit done in the garden beds this past week.

For starters, I transplanted some a few carrots from one side of a garden bed {the one with the white hoops} to make room for some new carrots.

This past week I planted radish, beet and carrot seeds in my garden boxes as well as more lettuce seeds indoors {under grow lights} and in the greenhouse as well.

pallet garden

I also transplanted a few more lettuce starts to one of our pallet gardens. I think by the end of the week I’ll have all the wood pallet gardens planted with strawberries and lettuce. {Fingers Crossed}

raised garden beds

Check out the garlic and leeks! That’s what I’m talking about. ;) Now, if I could get all my garden beds to look that cool during the month of March I’d be one happy camper. lasagna garden

The lasagna garden.  I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with it. rhubarb and poppies

Poppies and rhubarb. Still no sign of the artichokes. magnum glass greenhouse

I can’t help but smile everytime I walk past the greenhouse because really, what’s not to love? We’ve got a gazillion lettuce leaves growing in there and by late afternoon it’s so nice and warm under those glass panels that I’m tempted to bring my new book out there and sit on the floor and get some reading done. herb garden

The mini herb gardens alongside the greenhouse aren’t looking too shabby either. In fact, everything but the oregano has come back from it’s winter hibernation.

raspberry bushes

Ahh the raspberries. I wonder if this will be the year I pull up those ugly green metal stakes and give them the support they really need. ;)
pear tree buds

And last but not least, take a look at this bud on one of our pear trees. Last year we lucked out and had a bumper crop. With so many giant buds on the trees again this year I’m hoping we’ll have another big harvest.

Well enough about my garden, how is YOUR garden doing these days?

Please tell me it’s not covered in snow because that would totally stink!

~Mavis

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company.  You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2014 Garden Seed Catalog HERE, or visit my online boyfriend Ryan’s Page 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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