Early Morning Harvest

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harvesting zucchini

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

heirloom tomatoes

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

What are you harvesting from your garden these days?

Are you swimming in tomatoes yet?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Turn Your Garden Produce Into Cash

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

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

Tips for Selling Produce

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

Go HERE to read the full article.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – Tiny: A Story About Living Small

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After watching Queen of Versailles, One Hundred Dollars a Month reader left a suggestion on Facebook that I counteract the madness by watching Tiny: A Story About Living Small.  Holy buckets, after watching that train wreck, I kind of need some balance, so thanks Dina for the suggestion!  {If you have Netflix, it is available to stream for free.}

tiny a story about living small

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.

How to Grow Brussels Sprouts {Start to Finish}

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brussels sprouts

 

Are you thinking about growing Brussels sprouts this year for a winter harvest? Well now is the time to plant those seeds!

Brief description: Brussels sprouts are a cabbage-like vegetable and are part of the mustard family.  They have a richer, less bitter taste than cabbage, though.

Where to Plant Brussels Sprouts:  Plant in fertile, well-drained soil in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.  They can be grown in raised beds or garden beds.

cabbage seeds

Planting Seeds:  Direct sow seeds 1/4″ deep.  When seedlings are 2″ tall, thin to one about every 2 feet.

Growing Tips:  Brussels sprouts like slightly acidic soil.  Don’t be tempted to cram them in tighter than 24″ apart–they are one of those plants that need plenty of space to grow.  They do best in cool weather, so as tempting as it may be to plant them in spring for a summer harvest, don’t, it makes them taste super bitter.

brussels sprout sprouts stalk

How to Harvest:  Brussels sprouts mature from the bottom up, so pick the them from the bottom up.  Pick off sprouts when they are firm and about 1-2″ in diameter.

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’s my Favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic VinegarBrussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

Getting kids to eat brussels sprouts:  Around Halloween time is the perfect time to introduce brussels sprouts to kids.  Cook a whole Halloween feast, and tell the kids the brussels sprouts are Martian Heads.  They will love it.

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 – How to Harvest and Store Onions

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I’ve received a bunch of questions recently from people wanting to know when they should harvest their onions,  so I thought I would go ahead and repost this handy dandy tutorial on how to harvest and store onions for those of you who have never done it before, or just need a quick refresher.

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This year I grew 3 different types of onions.  Walla Walla Sweets Yellow Onions, and Red Onions.

The Walla Wallas are for eating fresh, the yellows for winter storage, and the red onions for homemade salsa, sandwiches and for roasting on the grill.

Because I planted so many onions, at different times, not all of the onions are ready to harvest right now.  But a few of them are.

Here are a few pictures of the drying process of my first batch of onions.

Onions are ready to be harvested when the necks are nice and dry.  At this point you’ll want to pull up the onions, and lay them flat on the soil for a day or two so they have a chance to  dry out in the sun a bit.

Then, you’ll want to move your onions to a warm, ventilated area {out of the sun} for a few weeks so they can finish curing.

You’ll know the onions are done drying when they look like the regular onions you see in the grocery store.  The outer skins will be paper like and brittle, the roots will be dry, and the tops will be completely dried out.

If you would like to show off your onions, then you’ll definitely want to try braiding them.  Hanging the onions in the kitchen is cool.  The Pilgrims did it, and so can you.

Braiding onions is pretty basic, almost like french braiding hair, but instead of pulling hair {onions} from beneath, you are adding them on top and working them into the onions from there.

The trick to braiding the onions is to make sure the onion stalks are not completely dried out.  If they are to dry, the papery stalks will crumble in your hands.  You need them to be moist enough so they will be flexible to braid with out falling apart.

When I braided the bunch of onions you see above, they had been drying for about 7 days on the back porch, which I felt was the perfect amount of time.  As the onions continue to dry, they will hold together just fine because I braided them pretty tight.

As far as long term storage goes, brush off any excess dirt, and place onions in mesh bags, or storage crates in a cool, dark place.  The ideal temp for storing onions is around 40 degrees.

Now, if I could just get the smell of onions off my hands…

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.

Help! What’s Wrong With my Onions?

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onion harvest

I posted a picture of my onion harvest on my instagram page the other day and someone made this comment:

This is the 1st year I’ve put out a garden, my onions have fallen over and the base has gone mushy. I harvested them, only three were bad, but I was wondering why it happened?? Any ideas?

Honestly, there are a lot of possibilities that would make them mushy.  First up, a bacterial disease.

Onions become susceptible to bacterial infections once the bulbs start to form, or if they get wounds in the leaves.  There are a couple of bacterial diseasaes that are possible, and they are pretty hard to tell apart.  Unfortunately, the bacteria can reside in the soil, in the irrigation water, etc., so preventing it can be tricky.  Your best bet is to use flood irrigation once the bulbs form.  It keeps bacteria from the dirt from splashing up onto the leaves, as it might when using sprinklers.  Onions can also be susceptible after harvest, so curing them correctly is super important.

Next, you may have had onion maggots.  They like to get inside the stems and destroy your onions from the inside out.  I don’t think this sounds like the case with  you, or you would have seen evidence when you dug them up, but still, they would cause a mushy-ness.

Finally, it’s possible for your onions to get fungal infections and become mushy.  Usually, you will see evidence of a fungus, like white, gray or black powdery looking stuff on the onion.  Fungal problems typically come from cool weather or over-watering.  Again, keeping the water off of the leaves by using flood irrigation really helps.

If I were a betting lady, I’d say  you had a bacteria {just because you didn’t really mention evidence of anything else}.  I’d plant your onions in a new spot next year {crop rotation}, and try the flood irrigation.

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.

Get Ready for Fall with 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. 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 this fall, and here are just a few that caught my eye:

gourds2Veggie Gardening
Learn to design a four-season organic veggie garden.
Start Your Fall and Winter Garden Sat., Aug. 16; 10 a.m.-noon
Organic Pest Management Sat., Aug. 2; 2-4 p.m.
Build Unique Raised Beds Sat., Aug. 16; 2-5 p.m.
Save Seeds Wed., Aug. 20; 6-8 p.m.
Save Seeds Thu., Sept. 4; 6-8 p.m.
Grow Edible Perennials Thu., Aug. 28; 6-8 p.m.
Comprehensive Organic Gardener Sept.10-Oct. 1
Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. & Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kitchen
Pickles and Fermentation 2Get the basics of canning, pickling and foraging.
Basic Canning Sat., Aug. 23; 10 a.m.-noon
Basic Canning Thu., Sept. 11; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Pickles and Fermentation Sat., Aug. 23; 2-4 p.m.
Pickles and Fermentation Thu., Sept. 18; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Make Herbal Infusions Thu., Aug. 21; 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Permaculture & Sustainable Landscapes
Go beyond basic veggie gardening.
Intro to Permaculture Sat., Aug. 9; 2-5 p.m.
Secrets of Companion Planting Sat., Aug. 2; 10 a.m.-noon
Grow Fruit in Small Spaces Wed., Aug. 6; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Planting for Wildlife Thu., Sept. 4; 6-8 p.m.

Urban LivestockIMG_1765
Produce your own eggs, honey and fertilizer! Find out what it takes to raise chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks and bees.
Beekeeping 301: Harvest Honey & Winterize Your Hive
Thu., Aug. 14; 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Native Bees: Introduction and Field Study
Sat., Sept. 13; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
_1140639Raise City Goats Sat., Sept., 13; 10 a.m.-noon
City Chickens 101 Sat., Sept. 20; 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Backyard Beekeeping 101 Sat., Sept 27; 10 a.m.-noon

Apartment Dwellers – FREE Classes!
Learn how to compost and grow salads, herbs and vegetables in containers year-round in FREE container gardening classes. Find our more on the website and register.
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Register the Kids for Summer Camp
There’s still time to give your kids an experience they can brag about when they go back to school. At our summer garden and farm camps, children learn about edible plants, soil, critters and taking care of the earth. Find them in the Wallingford and Rainier Beach neighborhoods.

Community Events & More
Mark your calendars for our Harvest Fair on Saturday, September 6! Come celebrate harvest season with the community and enjoy music, food, education and one of the largest farmers markets in the region. Visit their website for information about volunteer opportunities, events and programs.

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 – Lark Rise to Candleford

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In my love of all things BBC, I stumbled on a series called Lark Rise to Candleford.   It’s set in a small hamlet called Lark Rise during the end of the 19th century.  According to the BBC website, it is a drama based on the memoir of Flora Thompson’s childhood–though, with a little love, intrigue and drama mixed in.  Yes, please.  I can’t wait to start it.

lark rise to candleford

Have you seen this ? Did you like it? If not, let me know what you think if you decide to watch 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.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 7/22/14

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fallen tree on garden

Over the weekend a tree fell smack dab in the middle of our pumpkin patch killing two plants. Luckily we were all inside when it happened. Living in a wooded area has it’s perks, but falling trees, isn’t one of them. growing green beans on a trellis

The rest of the garden is doing really well though. The second round of green beans should be ready in a few more weeks and I just planted our third and final round last night. onion braids

Onions. We harvested all of them. Our winter leeks are still growing like mad and with a little luck the chives we have planted alongside the greenhouse should be okay thru the middle of October or so. For some reason plants seem to hang on a little longer in that spot. Not sure if it’s because of the shade or what, but I’m not complaining.
cabbage plant

We are harvesting about a head of cabbage a week. Grocery shipping in your backyard is cool!zucchini plant

Zucchinis. Are yours growing like crazy this year too?harvesting beets

And last but not least beets. We harvested a tray full of beets last night and planted new seeds in the same spot for a late fall harvest. Call me crazy, but I think a 4′x8′ garden box should be just enough to last thru the winter. What do you think?

How is YOUR garden doing these days? What’s your favorite thing growing in your garden right now?

Mavis Wants to know.

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at BotanicInterests 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.

What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

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What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes

I recently received an email from One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Kathy in Ohio.  She wrote,

Hi Mavis! Happy Wednesday to you!  Have you ever discussed blossom drop in tomatoes? It’s when the blossoms bloom then drop off tomato plants, with no fruit setting. Someone recently came to me asking about it, and luckily enough, after years of caring for acres of tomatoes when my step father was alive on the farm, I was able to help her.
I think your readers would like to know about this. After all, it has been hot and humid around most of the country lately and that can be a factor when dealing with blossom drop.

It can also affect other fruit bearing veggie plants like peppers, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and other squash, melons and eggplant
By the way, I’m in NE Ohio,  where it’s been near 90 or above, with super high humidity.

Have an excellent day!

Excellent suggestion, Kathy.  Thanks!

Blossom drop can be maddening.  The worst part of blossom drop is that several things can cause it.  It is an indication that the plant is under some level of stress, so you may have to trouble shoot a bit what could be causing it in your specific situation.  First off, blossom drop is when the flowers {that should eventually become tomatoes} wither up and fall off–which means no tomatoes.  Whah!

Typically, blossom drop occurs when temperatures spike very quickly or drop quickly.  Drastic changes in temperature really stress tomatoes out.  As Kathy mentioned, humidity can also do a number on potato plants.  If you live in a low humidity area, it’s an easy fix, you can try wetting the foliage a bit during the day to get a bit of humidity into the air around the plant.  If you live in a high humidity area, it’s pretty darn hard to control.

If the weather isn’t the problem, it may be a pollination issue.  If you don’t have bees buzzing around your garden, you may not have great pollination.  Without pollination, no tomatoes, plain and simple.

blossom drop in tomatoes

Lack of water or nitrogen in the soil can also stress out a tomato plant.  During the hottest months, it’s really best to give a deep water {like flood irrigation} once a week, rather than a daily surface sprinkle.  The water really needs to reach the roots, and if given the change, tomatoes like to lay some deep roots.  If you suspect your soil might not be very nutrient rich, try a quality organic nitrogen based fertilizer.  Follow the instructions on the fertilizer for application.

Inspect your plants regularly for insects or disease.  Again, an infestation or disease will stress out your plant, causing it drop flowers.

heirloom tomatoes

Finally, and this is probably the best case scenario, it can happen when you have a really heavy crop.

Yep, even too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  The good news is that after you harvest some of the tomatoes, it should resolve itself.  The plant only has so much nutrients to go around, so if there is an over-abundance of fruit, it will drop some of the flowers to concentrate on growing the rest of the fruit.

Once you know what is causing your blossom drop, you can easily address the issue {except for controlling the weather, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet :) }.

Thanks again for the suggestion, Kathy!  I can’t believe I haven’t thought to address the topic before.

~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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