My Friend Jennifer’s House…

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laundry clothesline

Last week The Girl and I had the privilege of staying at my friend JJ’s House for a few nights. large garden plot

For those of you who don’t know, JJ is this amazing, talented {slightly crazy, but in a good way} incredibly hospitable person who just happens to live in one of my favorite states – Virginia.  She lives with her handy man, handsome husband and four kids in an old farmhouse that was built in the late 1800′s and let me tell you Bob, they know a thing or two about living in the country. growing tomatoes in cages

For starters, they’ve got a huge garden. It’s nothing like mine and I think that’s why I love it so much. It’s just one giant rectangle of garden goodness. There are no garden boxes to maintaining and they hardly ever have to water their crops because of the heavy mulch {hay} they apply every spring. I’m not weatherman but I’m pretty sure the humidity with almost tropical like thunderstorms that always seem to be in the forecast have something to do with it too.row of corn

Corn. Oh how I wish I could grow it here in Western Washington. bale of hay

The hay bales are even cooler over in Virginia too. All we have around where I live are rectangular bales of hale they sell at the feed store for 5 bucks. In Virginia you can get a monster sized round one for $15-20. I know it’s weird to covet a bale of hay but c’mon, doesn’t it look cool?

kids clubhouse

And then there is the clubhouse, the trampoline, the swing set and practically everything else a kid who didn’t grow up glued to the tv could ever want for a fun and happy childhood. chickens and lambs

Chickens and lambs!!!black lab laying on porch

A county dog on the porch.black and white kitten on porch

Kittens.

black cat with white stripes

It kind of makes me wish I could do the whole “raising my kids all over again” thing. Because if I could go back, I would have bought a house in the country rather than one in the suburbs.

I would have never got cable, or an iPad or a membership to Costco.

Life. It’s so sweet when you take the time to look around and see what’s really important.

~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.



When to Harvest Garlic {And Garlic Scapes}

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When to Harvest Garlic {And Garlic Scapes}

If you planted garlic last fall, you’ll probably be harvesting it sometime next month–depending on your location.  If you are growing a hardneck variety, the garlic will send up a scape this month that would, if allowed, eventually flower.  {The scape usually appears about a month before harvest time–so make a mental note to help you know approximately when your garlic will be ready}.

You don’t want to allow the scape to flower, because it takes valuable nutrients from the bulb and makes the actual garlic bulbs much smaller.

harvesting garlic scapes

Don’t just cut the scape off and toss it, though!  You can do sooooo much with those babies.  If you never have, I seriously recommend making garlic scape pesto.  Scapes have a milder flavor than the bulbs, so the pesto is super tasty without being over-powering.  You can also chop them like scallions and saute them in stir fry, soups, etc.

At the very least, chop them up and use them as an organic bug killer {add water, chopped garlic scapes and dish soap to a spray bottle, it takes daily effort, but it works pretty well on pests like aphids}.

If you didn’t grow garlic this year, be on the lookout for garlic scapes at your farmers’ market.  This is the one time of year they are available for purchase, which makes them somewhat of a delicacy in my opinion.

harvesting garlic bulbs

Now, onto the bulb.  Knowing when to harvest the garlic bulbs is pretty simple once you get the hang of watching for the signs.  First, as I mentioned, it is about a month after the scapes appear {for hardneck varieties}.

Second, it’s best to harvest garlic when the bottom 5 leaves have turned brown.  If you wait any longer, the leaves will continue to brown, and the garlic does not store as well.  The tops of the garlic should still be green as can be, those green leaves will protect the bulb during the curing process {drying out the garlic for storage}.

harvesting garlic lucy the puggle dog

To harvest garlic, carefully dig around the bulb.  Don’t pierce the bulb in any way, or it won’t be suitable for longterm storage.  Life the entire bulb and stalk out of the ground and allow it to dry for several days in a dark, cooler spot {like a garage}.

Don’t worry about the dirt left on the roots, you can deal with that later.  Cure them with the roots and stalk intact.  Once the garlic is cured, you can cut off the roots and stalks {it usually takes about 2 weeks to cure} or leave the stalks and braid them for storage–it’s completely up to you.

fresh garlic bulbs

What is your favorite thing to do with garlic scapes?  When do you typically harvest garlic in your neck of the woods?

~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 Mail – Sarah From Prineville, Oregon Sends in Pictures From the Farm

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Picture2A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

Check out the amazing pictures of reader Sarah’s farm in Oregon. So. Much. Fun.

Picture1Dear Mavis,

I am attaching some recent pictures from my gardening/chicken coop/honeybee adventures. My name is Sarah and my little family and I live in Prineville, Oregon.

My husband Eric and I were married on his family farm in 2006. It was our intention to eventually move out to the farm and raise children someday. We lived and remodeled a historic home in Redmond the first several years of our marriage and I dabbled in gardening and raising chickens on our small 5000 square foot lot. Eric’s dad passed away in 2011 and the move seemed right. That is where the farm adventure began.

Picture3My first farm garden [was in] 2013. As we worked on the remodeling of the house … I tried my best to create the garden space I had always dreamed of.

Picture4We’ve been adding to our garden as we can. 20+ blueberry bushes, 75+ raspberries, red wiggler worms and most recently 75+ pumpkin starts down our long gravel driveway.Picture5We have a few animals around here too… our sweet elderly Ida Mae and our rambunctious Alice. They are two well loved yellow labs. We also have cattle, three pregnant heifers, a steer, barn cats, 18 hens and our most recent addition is the honey bee hive.

Picture6I have long known the benefits of having honeybees in the garden. This winter I enrolled in the OSU Master Beekeeper program to learn how to help these invaluable creatures. I’ve since become a member of a local beekeeping group and added this hive to our farm. Our children are fascinated with the bees and our little three year old boy is quick to point out whether or not he sees a drone flying through the yard or a worker bee.

Picture1Our children play a big part in the gardening experience around here. From digging, making seed tape, rototilling, to planting their own “seed babies,” they are involved each day.

Picture8I’m the crazy lady that takes pictures of each harvest, journals garden adventures and can’t let a single seedling die. My garden beds are planned out to the last detail with companion planting and crop rotation in mind. My rows are methodically lined up and the harvest dates for each plant are calculated with as much precision as possible.

I am proud to be a farmers wife, a mother of two amazing children and a lover of all things garden related.

~Sarah

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

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 6/22/14

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backyard garden plot pictures

It feels like forever and 27 days since I have posted some pictures of my backyard garden. Maybe it’s time I get off my keister and get back to work. ;) growing mint in containers

We came home from our mini holiday to find mint growing EVERYWHERE. Note to self: never plant mint unless you put it in a container first. growing red onions in containers

Check out the red onions. I think I’m going to start harvesting the onion one at a time this week and use them in recipes. If I remember correctly we planted about 100 red onion starts so I should have plenty for salsa later this summer. Growing tomatoes in cages

Speaking of salsa, how are your tomato plants doing?green tomatoes

So far we have Roma and cherry tomatoes forming. No Purple Cherokee’s yet though.growing kale in cages

Kale. It seems we are growing a bumper crop this year. head of cabbage

And cabbage too. raised garden boxes

The view from the back of the garden.
magnum greenhouse

I don’t know what happened, but for some strange reason the HH watered the greenhouse while we were away. {Weird, huh} He didn’t water anything else… just the greenhouse. ;)
purple sage

Purple sage. I need to harvest and dehydrate a bunch of sage this week so I’ll have some to use in my recipes this fall.
cascade raspberry patch

The raspberry jungle. I think we’re about a week or two away from our first harvest.

blueberries ripening

And last but not least, blueberries. Holy cats, this is going to be a bumper year for sure. We planted 12 blueberry plants about 7 years ago and as long as I can keep Lucy from eating them {she LOVES blueberries} we’ll probably be able to harvest enough that I won’t have to buy any for the first time. How cool would that be?

Well that’s what’s happening in my garden these days… How about YOU>

What’s in season at your place?

~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.

Friday Night at the Movies – BBC Future of Food – Part 3: Cuba

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This is the last part of the three part series on The Future of Food I’ve been sharing with you over the past few weeks.  This one explores how we can continue to sustain the world’s population with our current food growing and importing standards.  As always, the BBC puts on a good show, and it’s free, so click play and let me know what you learned from watching the series in the comments below.

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 Keep Bugs Out of Your Garden

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How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Garden

I recently got a facebook question from reader, Amanda, about keeping bugs out of the garden.  She asked,

Mavis, how do you keep bad bugs out of your garden? All your produce always looks so healthy!!!! What’s your secret? I am battling little green caterpillars on everything. Little munchers are on my nasturtiums, sage, radishes, brassicas. I’m finding them everywhere!!!! HELP!

The truth is, I don’t keep bugs out of my garden.  I only manage them.  It’s a delicate balance, and occasionally, they have the upper hand.  To manage them, I use a couple of different techniques.  First, I check my plants DAILY.  Any bugs gets squashed, like, well…bugs.  I painstakingly pull them off with gloved fingers.  That’s usually my first line of defense.

marigolds

I use companion planting to do my best to avoid getting bugs in the first place.  Flowers, like Marigolds, are awesome for deterring bugs {and sometimes attracting them–which keeps them away from your edibles}.

Why Crop Rotation is Important for Healthy Soil

Prevention goes along way in managing insects.  In addition to companion planting, you can try row covers on your crops from start to finish.  It might prevent the bugs from settling, but won’t help much if you have bugs that have over-wintered in the soil, so combining row covers with crop rotation is essential.  Over-watering seems to lead to infestation as well.  It makes sense that bugs would stay where there seems to be a consistent water source, so make sure you water enough for your plants to thrive, but not so much that they are in standing water.  Most plants benefit from the soil drying out completely between watering.

where-can-i-buy-ladybugs1If bugs do make their way in the garden {and they will}, I usually try to  introduce natural predators {read:  other bugs} into my garden.  That way, while I am off living my life, they can chow down on unwanted pests.  Click on the link above to get a detailed how-to on beneficial insects, but basically, you have to attract them to your garden with certain plants {companion planting comes full circle again}.

If these less aggressive methods don’t work and the bugs start to win, I have recommended diatomaceous earth in the past, not because I have used it, but because LOTS of my readers and friends swear by it.  It still qualifies as organic, but it will help to manage the bugs in a little more aggressive way.  You can also flirt with making your own pesticides–I’ve used a mixture of dish soap, hot peppers flakes, and minced garlic to spray on infested plants, with mixed results.  Google it–you are bound to find a recipe that people swear by.

square foot gardening kale

That’s about it.  I hope it helps, at least a little.  I wish there was a magic cure-all fix to organic gardening, but there just isn’t.  It is more of a slow and steady marathon.  One day, you’re winning, the next day, the bugs have the upper hand–and some years are worse than others.

How about YOU, any tips for Amanda?

~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.

DIY Garden Markers Made From Beach Shells

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This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. It’s a good thing we don’t live next door to each other because we would never get a moments rest. We’d be too busy making arts and crafts and gardening 24/7. ;)

DIY Garden Markers Made From Beach Shells

The great thing about garden markers is the sheer creative variety! Mavis made these sweet Chalkboard Garden Markers these clever plant markers made from Broken Pots, and these stamped popsicle stick plant markers  well and the creative juices started flowing. ;)

Last summer when my daughter and I made a trip to a local beach north of Boston, which was filled with the very common Atlantic Surf Clam shell. So of course we brought a few home.

shells on beach

Supplies 

  • Shell or other item you’d like to use as a marker
  • Pencil
  • Paint (I used Martha Stewart Acrylic Paint)
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge Spray (11-oz. Super High Shine Spray 1450, this stuff is saweeet)
  • Gorilla Glue 
  • Metal (clothes) Hangers

decoraitng beach shells

Directions

Use a pencil to draw your design on a shell. Then paint on the final design, let it dry, use the Mod Podge spray.

DIY-Garden-Markers-Made-From-Beach-Shells

Handy-Dandy-Tip: make sure you spell check yourself! “rasberries” is actually spelled “raspberries”. ;)

DIY Garden Markers Made From Beach Shells

Finally Gorilla glue the metal hangars to the shell, and let it dry for a day. Then, very carefully, bend the wire around your garden box posts.

DIY Garden Markers Made From Beach ShellsHow cute is that?

~Heather

 

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 – BBC Future of Food – Part 2: Senegal

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Last week, I shared part one of the BBC Future of Food.  Tonight, I am going to continue on with Part 2:  Senegal.  This one explores the impact of our western diets on countries who are providing our food, sometimes at the expense of having enough to eat themselves.   Again, this one is totally free {wahoo!} so all you have to do is click play.

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.

Protect Your Garden with Beneficial Insects

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where can i buy ladybugs

Over the years, I have learned that growing a a garden organically does not mean putting the plants in the ground, watering, and waiting for fresh produce to show up.  To truly get the most out of your garden, you have to learn to work with nature.  Introducing beneficial insects into your garden can help you naturally manage insects that would otherwise destroy your crops.  Essentially, you are waging a carefully calculated war in your backyard.  You are introducing natural predators of nasty produce sucking insects to maintain the balance in your garden.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit to liking the power of it all -ha!

 ladybug
Ladybug {photo credit}

To start, ladybugs are an awesome choice.  Believe it or not, it’s not really the actual ladybug that helps to control aphids, etc., as they don’t really eat all that much in their adult state, but rather the larvae that really contribute to the overall health of your garden.  Those little babies eat A LOT of soft bodied insects.  The key to getting ladybugs to STAY in your garden lies in making it a hospitable place to lay eggs and raise babies.  You can order ladybugs online or get them at your local nursery.

The most important factor in getting them to stay is how you release them.  Release them just after dusk {that ensures that they’ll at least spend the night, as they won’t fly away in the dark} in a well-watered garden.  Typically, ladybugs you buy are a wee bit dehydrated, so a place that has plenty of water might entice them to stay and make a home.  Also, unfortunately, an ounce of prevention doesn’t really apply with ladybugs.  Your garden needs to have some level of aphid {or other sap-sucking insect} problem.  No food, no stay.

If you aren’t into buying bugs for your garden, you can do a lot to attract them.  Planting appealing scents {herbs like fennel, coriander, and mint, or flowers like marigold} go a long way in drawing the creepy crawlers in.  Most beneficial insects are attracted to nectar and pollen {ah, they have a sweet tooth too}, so providing them a buffet to snack on also keeps them around.

lacewing

Lacewing {photo credit}

Lacewings are another popular choice.  While they look, well, um gross, they have an insatiable appetite for aphids, thrips, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars and mites.  They enjoy a bit of nectar to wash down all of the insects they feed on, so make sure to plant plenty of tasty flowers for them to draw the nectar out of.

flower fly

Flower Fly {photo credit}

Hoverflies, or flower flies, kind of look like bees.  In addition to feeding on aphids, they pollinate strawberries and raspberries.  Again, you can draw them in with a healthy flower garden.

assassin bug

Assassin Bug {photo credit}

There is a whole host of predatory bugs that feed on tomato hornworms, thrips, spider mites, many insects’ eggs, leafhopper nymphs, corn earworms and other small caterpillars.  Some common ones include pirate bugs, assassin bugs, and ambush bugs {even their names sound tough}.  These bugs have been known to attack adult-sized japanese beetles.  They are a take-no-prisoner sort of gift to your garden.

wasp

Wasps {photo credit}

Wasps are a great addition to your garden as well, because they typically attack unwanted pests at the egg level. Unfortunately they also sting!

spider

Spider {photo credit}

Spiders, if you can get past their shifty startling presence, eat a lot of unwanted bugs, and more often than not, are not poisonous {exceptions to your specific location obviously apply}.  They get a bad rap, really, because they are so darn ugly {I said it}, but they really can improve the overall health of your garden.

There are a ton more potentially beneficial insects–knowing which are preying on your plants and which to keep helps the overall balance of your garden.  Ah, isn’t being one with nature fun?

Will you be adding any ladybugs to your garden this summer?

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.

Grow Your Own Sprouts – The Health Benefits

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how to grow your own sprouts (2)
I’ve told you all about how to grow sprouts and the awesome Botanical Interest Seed Sprouter I use to do just that, but let’s talk about why you should be eating those sprouts! There are SO MANY health benefits from sprouts and with all our healthy eating New Year’s resolutions, it’s the perfect time to start sprouting. Here are just a few of the health benefits of sprouting:

1. The vitamin and mineral content is out of this world. If your body is lacking calcium, potassium, iron, Vitamin A, B, B Complex, E, or K, get to sprouting already. It is estimated that the vitamin content increases by up to 20 times the original value within only a few days of sprouting and that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than normal raw fruits and veggies. Getting more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat will, simply put, make you a healthier person.

2. The sprouting process also makes these minerals more usable in your body when the mineral binds to the protein in the bean seed or nut.

3. Sprouting increases the fiber content in the food you sprout. If you’re looking for a great addition to your weight loss routine, increasing your fiber is where it’s at.

4. Sprouting also increases the quality of protein in the beans, nuts or seeds you sprout. Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, increasing the nutritional value of your food. Who needs protein powder when you have sprouts?

5. Sprouts help reduce the acidity levels in your body. Too much acidity can be detrimental to your health and in some cases, even increase your risk of cancer. Sprouts help alkalize your body to prevent this.

6. I’m always looking for ways to get more of the essential fatty acids into my diet. Well guess what? The sprouting process increases the essential fats. Problem solved with just a few sprouts.

7. You control what you sprout. There’s no danger in consuming harmful chemicals, pesticides or additives because you’re doing all the growing! As a gardener, this is probably my favorite health benefit of sprouting.234

And there you have some of the many health benefits of sprouting. I sprout all sorts of things and love incorporating my sprouts into recipes or throwing them on a sandwich. Not only are they delicious, but sprouts are so stinkin easy to grow. Even if you kill every plant you try to grow, I promise you can grow sprouts!seed sprouter botanical interests If you haven’t ever sprouted anything or are nervous about trying it, I highly recommend trying the Botanical Interest Seed Sprouter. It’s perfect for beginners and completely awesome for advanced sprouters too who want to stack a ton of trays on top of each other and grow, grow, grow.

020While you’re waiting for your new sprouter to arrive, you can always sprout in a simple Mason jar. That’s how I learned how to sprout and it works like a charm.

So tell me, why do you sprout? What’s your favorite thing to sprout? How do you use your sprouts?

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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