Dig for Your Dinner – Starting Artichokes from Seed

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Starting Artichokes from Seed

The HH loves artichokes, so I always make sure to include them in my garden.  They are actually really beautiful plants, in a strange, Tim Burton cartoon sort of way.  I kind of saw them in a new light when we stumbled onto the Thomas Keller’s French Laundry garden a couple of years back.  They aren’t a very common dinner table fare, but I don’t know why–you can class up pretty much any dish with them–afterall, they are, technically an edible flower.  Lore goes that Zeus himself turned one of his scorned lovers into an artichoke–maybe because it captured some sort of tragic beauty?  {Did I sound like a scholar there?  That’s what I was going for :) }.

Artichokes are packed with goodness.  They are a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, and magnesium.  They only have about 25 calories for a whole medium flower.  You really can’t make a case against them, so just embrace growing them.

artichoke 10 weeks

How to Grow Artichokes:

One plant can yield up to 20 artichokes per season, so you really don’t need to plant a ton to get great yields.  To start them from seed, start approximately 12 weeks before the last frost.  Plant seeds 1/8″ deep.  When you transplant them outside, keep rows 2-4′ apart–one plant can get quite big.  Make sure to plant in a sunny location with good drainage.

When are Artichokes Ready to Harvest?

Harvest when flowers have reached full size, but are still CLOSED.  The flavor and texture changes the more they open up.  Cut the bud off with a 2-3″ stem.

fresh artichokes

Which Artichokes to grow?

My Favorite Recipe with Artichokes:

My favorite way to eat artichokes is probably the most basic.  I steam them whole and then dip the edible part of the leave in melted butter.  If you are only into the artichoke heart {which, is admittedly the best part}, give Martha Stewart’s Artichoke Bottoms au Gratin recipe a try.  It’s cheesy aritchokey goodness.  If you want to turn an artichoke into an entire meal, try this Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Stuffed Artichoke recipe–I mean, what in that title doesn’t sound uh-mazing?!

If you live in the Pacific Northwest Region and are unsure what seeds you should be starting right now, or when your transplants should be set out in the garden, this regional planting guide should help you out.

Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Find your regional planting guide HERE.

How-to-Grow-Artichokes

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.



Danger is My Middle Name

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

mavis butterfield garden reciprocating saw

The HH gave me a reciprocating saw for Christmas, which I LOVE, but I’m also hoping doesn’t turn into the most expensive gift ever. The thought of having to be rushed to the ER because I sawed my arm off or something isn’t super appealing, but I guess only time will tell. ;)

sawz all

This morning I went out to pull some weeds on the hillside but when I got there, the ground was frozen solid. So instead of heading back inside to down a gallon of hot cocoa and watch movies all day , I decided to break out my new toy and do a little tree trimming.pruning

I know, I know, you’re probably looking at this picture and thinking… Uh Mavis, that’s not how you prune a tree. And you’re probably right. But if I did it correctly {read: cut the limb off close to the tree} the giant limb could have snapped back somehow and knocked me off the ladder and the saw could have landed on my face or something.

pruning trees reciprocating saw

See. This is way was way safer. Right?shade killed grass

I am determined to have a green {not patchy brown} lawn and a lush vegetable garden this summer but it’s going to take some work. But before I can plant anything I need to cut down, dig up, move, and/or get rid of all the stuff that’s in my way.

tree limbs

I figure if I can tackle a little each day from now until the beginning of March, I should have everything done in time to get my garden planted. Starting from scratch is hard, but I’m excited to finally get going on some projects now that the remodel is over {well, phase 1 at least}.

frozen hillside

Now, if the ground would just hurry up and thaw I could get the rest of those weeds pulled.

How about you, are you itching to get out there too?

~ 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 Tours and Projects of 2014

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

While I love hearing from you guys, some of my very favorite emails are when you share your gardens or gardening projects. I love my garden, but sometimes I really get sick of looking at it. So seeing your garden is a breath of fresh air! I asked you to send in your photographs and stories of your garden, and for yet another year in a row, your gardens have blown me away. Here are some of the coolest ones I’ve seen:

Alison2Alison Sends in Pics of Her Very Colorful Harvest:

We were lucky enough to get a glimpse {through gorgeous pictures!} of Alison’s amazing garden in Pennsylvania. Wow! Those tromboncino squash alone made me love her garden! She also has a pretty amazing broccoli house I’m totally jealous of.

garden-girlVegetables, Kids, Pigs and Chickens! Oh My:

When Amanda from Southern Virginia send in her photos, I thought for sure they had come straight out of a magazine. I mean seriously, does that photo above not look magical! Her whole backyard does really. They call it their “Half-Acre Home on the Range,” which I love. I also love how involved her kids are in the whole process. Pretty lovely setup they have.
growing-vegetables-in-tiresBob and Sherle From California Share Their Vegetable Garden Photos: Take 2:

Bob and Sherle have one of the most amazing gardens on the planet. This is our second rodeo with them and let me tell you Bob, they continue to impress! Last year Sherle sent in photos of their garden {see them HERE} and shared pictures of her husband standing next to their tomato plants that were over 10 feet tall. Wowza! Their pictures this year were just as spectacular. I hope I can have a garden that will look as good as hers someday.

jane7My Friend Jane From Thy Hand Hath Provided Finally Shows us Her Garden:

My dear friend Jane from Thy Hand Hath Provided {you know, the one with the AWESOME cookbook}, shared her amazing garden pictures after months of me begging. She said something in her email to me that I love and refer back to a lot: “We love trying new projects like Shiitake mushrooms, honeybees, fruit trees, and selling sunflowers, but it’s taken a little while to learn that it is only possible to do many different things IF we lower our standards and live with some weeds and things not looking perfect all the time.” Something I need to always remember.

Pallet-Garden-Pumpkin-TrellisDIY Pallet Garden Pumpkin Trellis:

KK from Preppy Pink Crocodile sent in a few photos of a pallet garden trellis she built for her community garden allotment last summer and I thought it was so clever! She only has about 200 square feet to work with so she has to plan carefully to take the greatest advantage of space. She’s pretty resourceful, too, getting the pallets for this project for free!

rainbowGarden Pictures All The Way From Tasmania, Australia:

Lisa and her husband have been living in Tasmania for 3 years and are enjoying gardening in a new climate. I was enjoying seeing all her gorgeous pictures! Here’s what she had to say about the soil there:

“I must tell you the soil here is a delight… its like you throw seeds at it and it says ‘Here! Food!’”

rasied-garden-boxes-backyard-set-upBeautiful Raised Bed Garden Pictures From Austin, Texas:

When Jana sent in her pictures of her raised bed gardens, I immediately had garden envy! Her garden is just so pretty and orderly and organized; just how I like it. Plus, she’s growing stuff like mad. So far they have have 21 tomatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, broccoli raab, snow peas, lettuce, corn, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, Blue Lake green beans, cilantro, basil and chives. Wow!

Strawberry-TowerEmily From Washington Uses Self-Watering Planters:

Emily had one sunny spot in her yard that gets pretty hot in the afternoon sun. In years past, they had tried using regular pots to grow tomatoes, but with little success. The soil dried out extremely fast, leaving crispy plants by the end of the day. She was determined to find a solution so she scoured the internet and found many self-watering planter DIYs. She showed her husband one of the YouTube videos, and he and a buddy took the basic idea and modified it to work in rain barrels. Pretty brilliant idea if you ask me!

unnamedAnn From Eastern Oregon Gives Us a Glimpse of Her Garden:

Ann lives in Eastern Oregon, which is not the green, lush Oregon most people think of when they hear Oregon. In rural Eastern Oregon they have wide open spaces, beautiful rugged mountains and an abundance of wildlife, cattle and farm land. Ann is growing and harvesting like crazy, crops that include: a variety of produce {both wild and domestic}, a bumper crop of huckleberries, bing cherries, sour cherries, apricots and {soon} apples!

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 – Girl Most Likely

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Now that The Girl is home for Christmas break and I have my Friday Night Movie buddy back, I think tonight we will tuck in and watch Girl Most Likely.  It’s about a dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship that is forced to be rekindled after the main character {Kristen Wiig} has a mini breakdown.  First off, I love Kristen Wiig–she has genius comedic timing, and second, I think it should be kind of a light-hearted laugh.  Plus, it’s free for Amazon Prime member.  Wahoo!

girl most likely

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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Everybody’s Fine

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

In light of the all of the crazy family dynamic drama that usually comes along with the holidays, I thought it would be appropriate to watch Everybody’s Fine tonight.  It’s about a widowed father who decided to travel to his adult children after they all call and cancel coming home for the holidays.  It’s a feel-good tear-jerker…you’ve been warned.  The best part, though, is this is a freebie for Amazon Prime members.

everybodys fine

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.

Mavis’ Winter Garden Blog – Pulling Weeds, Chopping Rhodies and Planting More Trees

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

cutting rhododendrons

With phase one of the remodel behind us and all the big projects out of the way for 2014, I finally feel like I can start working on my garden now. It’s funny, for someone who loves gardening as much as I do, I really haven’t stepped foot outside too much in the last 90 days. And to be honest, I was starting to go a little crazy.

backyard garden in need of weeding

Mostly because every time I would pull into the driveway or look out our back windows all I could see was a HUGE UGLY MESS of a yard. Dead leaves everywhere, weeds, a mossy {and in some places non existent} lawn.

weeds

I honestly hate my yard right now. I LOVE the layout, and the potential I see in it, but there are only so many hours of daylight in December to work with, and by the time I log off the computer for the day, it doesn’t leave me with much time left to get out there and get stuff done.

shoveling dirt

Or so I thought.

planting a living hedge

Yesterday I made a game plan. A schedule of sorts… and you know what? I’m going to stick with it.

Let’s get this garden started…

~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.

Monthly Garden Chores for December – East Coast Edition

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. I thought it would be fun this year to post Monthly Garden Chores from both the West Coast and East Coast.

east coast garden pictures

Can you believe it’s December already? A year can really plow right by you when you have a marker like a post-a-month. This is a photo of my East Coast garden every month – cool right?

strawberries

Since it’s December, in New England, the gardening is rather scarce. And since we just finished off the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about all the things I’ve learned from Mavis. And hopefully, when she reads this, she {and you}, won’t roll your eyes. Because, honestly, Mavis has turned out to be that great {albeit electronic} neighbor next door you had no idea you were about to inherit when they moved in, but are thrilled with your good fortune.

breakfast sandwiches

I often joke with my husband of 16 years that he survived all sixteen years because when we first got married I didn’t know how to cook AT ALL. Let me put this into reference for you: Eighteen years ago {we were roommates first}, I’d put the pan of water on the stove and put the pasta in right away and then wait for it to boil. Seriously folks, he ate undercooked food, overcooked {read: burnt}, and plain disgusting food. Food I actually took away from him at the dinner table because once I took a bite I realized it was just inedible.

Over the years I’ve mastered a good 10-15 solid, easy recipes from my mother-in-law, who when I first met her, had to teach me how to pick out meat from a grocery store. I’m not kidding. It.Was.Ugly.

dehydrating bananas

In the last two years, with the help of Mavis’ blog, my cooking learning curve has been fast-forwarded by about ten years. I love that her recipes are a handful of ingredients and they are broken down into a few simple steps. Simply put, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

cold frame

So let’s finish up the December East Coast Edition of my year as a guest-poster {is that a word?}:

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

With the cold frame completed {haha-I-can’t-believe-I’ve-finally-finished-that-project-right-in-the-nick-of-time-before-it-snowed} I can start as much lettuce as I want under the grow lights and plant the little darlings into the cold frame.

What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

Lettuce, if I have built that cold frame properly.

Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

My daughter loves to go to the grocery store with me, mainly to sneak stuff into the cart I think, but while in the produce section she declared that she LOOOooovvved sprouts. That was news to me. So when I saw Botanical Interests 20% off Cyber Monday Week deal, well I couldn’t hold out any longer and I did finally bought the seed sprouter {that I’ve put in my Botanical Interests shopping cart five times in the last year} and seeds for next spring.

What I plan to Harvest This Month

Eggs, Lettuce from the cold frame, and sprouts from my seed sprouter. Hopefully, these two projects will keep the winter {no-gardening} cabin fever at bay.

growing lettuce in a cold frame

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Winter is sooo dry. Especially if you use a wood stove or pellet stove {like we do}, you can almost see the lack of moisture in the air. Your houseplants (and no doubt your skin) will benefit from a few strategically placed humidifiers. We’ve got ours running day and night already.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs have been mulched, wrapped, and supported in preparation for massive amounts of snow. Now we just hunker down and wait for spring.

Weed and Pest Control

If you hear what sounds like 15 toddlers {with really long toenails} in your attic – ACT FAST. Those are squirrels or chipmunks and once they get in, they are very hard to get out. If you haven’t already, take a maintenance-style look around your attic and take precautions such as keeping tree limbs away from the house and sealing any attic openings.

Lawn Care

Lawn care has now morphed into snow removal operations. But before we get three feet of snow, drag the snow blower out of the shed and put it in the garage. Look it over, fix that thing that drove you nuts last year, buy a handful of shear pins {with a lot of ice and snow they never fail to break at 5:00 am with half the driveway done when you’ve got to get to work}, and fill it up with gas.

chickens

Mavis Readers are the best! Thanks for your help, comments, suggestions, and recipes this last year!

**These garden chores are based on my Zone 5b Southeast/Boston MA location. Find your garden zone HERE.

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

Friday Night at the Movies – Sleepless in America

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

If you missed the National Geographic documentary, Sleepless in America on sleep deprivation, you’re in luck, because they are airing it again this Sunday.  I didn’t get to catch it, because we don’t have cable, but I’ve heard a couple of people talking about it now, so it looks like I’ll be sofa surfing at a friend’s this weekend.  It’ about the dangers of sleep deprivation–which apparently applies to nearly 40% of Americans.

If you have access to the National Geographic, check it out.  It might be a real eye-opener {no pun intended}.

sleepless in america

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.

Mavis Garden Blog – Harvesting Carrots, Beet and Turnips in December

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Swiss chard in winter garden

By late yesterday morning all the snow had melted and my garden was one big soupy mess. Except of course for the chard. True, all the outer leaves had died a horrible death, but take a look at the center of the plant. It’s alive and kickin’. Swiss chard is the Energizer Bunny of the vegetable garden… it just keeps growing, and growing and growing. No matter what. You can’t kill it.

what does a garlic plant look like in december

And then there’s the garlic. It’s pretty tolerant of cold weather too. I didn’t even mulch the shoots and they survived the snow and freezing temps just fine.chive plant in winter december

And the chives, well, they’re hanging in there too. I planted a few packets of chive seeds about 3 months ago and so far so good. I’m hoping my next summer I’ll have a nice hearty row of chive plants. carrots

The carrots though, I didn’t want to leave those in the ground all winter because I didn’t have any hay to cover them with and I was afraid if I left them there until spring, they might freeze up on me and turn to mush.

winter carrots harvest

So I harvested all of them.

harvesting root vegetables carrots beets turnips

What a good looking harvest! Homegrown carrots, beets and turnips. Heck yeah!

How is YOUR garden doing these days? Still harvesting? Or are you done for the 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.

Friday Night at the Movies – Burt’s Buzz

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

I think everybody has at least seen Burt’s Bees in the store–even if you haven’t tried it before.  I really didn’t know much about the products or the company until the HH and I decided to watch Burt’s Buzz, a documentary about Burt Shavitz, the co-founder of Burt’s Bees.  The documentary looks at  a fun-loving hippy-ish, Burt, through the evolution of Burt’s Bees, the company, and re-caps his super interesting life.

burts buzz

I love watching documentaries about eccentric people who are not full of themselves because of the amount of money in their bank account. Although I was really surprised to find out how little he profited from “Burt’s Bees.”

Grab a cup of tea and be prepared to smile.  Go Maine!

~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.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel