How to Care for Rhododendrons

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How to Care for Rhododendrons

One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Claudia recently sent me an email asking how she should take care of a rhododendron shrub her mother in law gave her.

Here in Washington you cannot drive down the street without seeing a giant rhododendron in someones yard. A rhododendron is an evergreen that has beautiful big blooms in the spring.  It is very similar to an Azalea {except Azalea’s aren’t evergreens}.  They are perfect if you have a shady spot that is in need of some color.  {I have plenty of shady spots in my backyard, but Rhododendrons are poisonous to dogs, so sadly, I cannot have them.}

They require just a bit of TLC, but once you get the basics down, they make a great addition to your landscaping.

With Rhododendrons, the first thing to consider is soil.  They prefer a slightly acidic soil {kind of like blueberry bushes}.  So, some soil amendments might be in order.  {I use coffee grounds and pine needles to amend my soil}.

Garden tips add leftover coffee grounds to your soil

Next, consider placement.  They do not like direct sunlight, and can’t withstand a ton of wind.  So choose a shady protected area.  They are perfect for those shady areas that might be up against the house.

Next, mulch, mulch, mulch.  Rhododendrons have shallow roots that need to be protected from weather extremes, both hot and cold.  The mulching will help keep the moisture level consistent too–they like that delicate balance of not drying out and not sitting in stagnant water.  Mulching with pine needles or pine straw can help with the soil pH and protect the roots.

Finally, make sure to prune your Rhododendron immediately after they finish blooming {usually June-July}.  If you wait too long, they get a bit cranky, and may not give you flowers the next year.    To prune, just pinch back dead blooms.  Over-pruning can also lead to a couple of years of no-blooms.  If you have an established Rhododendron that has gotten too big, you may just have to bite the bullet, prune it way back, and accept a couple of years with no flowers.  They are grudge holders, but they always come back around, eventually.

Rhododendrons do not really have a ton of insect problems, and with a bit of routine maintenance, they will provide years of year-round color to your yard.

Perennial plant care

The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do & When to Do 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.



1 Year Subscription to Urban Farm Magazine Only $8.99!

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urban farm magazine

It’s Baaaaack!

DiscountMagsis offering a 1 year subscription to Urban Farm Magazine for only $8.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. I love this magazine! Learn how to grow you own food in the space you have!

Urban Farm Magazine is guide for those in cities or suburbs looking to become more self-sufficient by growing some of their own food and treading lightly on the environment in the space they have. Articles include how-to projects, gardening basics, composting, beekeeping, roof-top gardening, preserving and freezing, and time and money-saving ideas.

Go HERE to order Urban Farm Magazine.

*This special rate will be live through midnight 6/16/2013 (EST). You can purchase this deal as a new subscription or to renew your existing subscription. You can also purchase additional subscriptions as gifts! This is such a wonderful magazine at an amazing price.

mavis garden blog

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.

Wood Pallet Garden Pictures- Lettuce, Strawberries, Celery and Lettuce

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recycled wood pallet gardens lettuce

Did you plant a wood pallet garden this year? How is it doing? I was planning on harvesting my romaine lettuce earlier this week but now I think I’ll just harvest it tomorrow and make a big Cesar salad to go with our Father’s Day BBQ.

lettuce regenerating itself

When I harvested the endive lettuce, I decided to cut it off at the base of the plant and left the roots intact because I wanted to see if I could grow another head of lettuce. Have you ever tried this? Do you think it will work?

recycled wood pallet garden

Check out the strawberries! Do you see the runners starting to form at the end of the pallet?

recycled wood pallet garden celery

And last but not least, the celery. The celery won’t be ready to harvest until fall, but it sure is fun to watch it grow. Our pallets sit in a shaded area of our garden, and if there is one thing celery loves, it’s shade.

Wood Pallet Gardens

It doesn’t matter if you are gardening in a traditional plot, containers, a greenhouse, towers or wood pallets, gardening is cool. Anytime you can get outside and get a little dirt under your fingernails, it’s a good day

~Mavis

heat treated wood pallet

Want to learn more about wood pallet gardening and how I put mine together? Click on the pallets above and it will take you to my first pallet garden post of the year. You’ll also learn what to look for when choosing a pallet.

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 – Forks Over Knives

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Quite of few of you have suggested that The Girl and I watch Forks Over Knives, so tonight, we are going to take your suggestion.  {Thanks for all of the suggestions, by the way, keep them coming}.

Forks Over Knives is another food documentary {my favorite!}, and explores the relationships between modern food and modern diseases.

Amazon Prime Members can watch Forks Over Knives HERE.

forks over knives

 

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.  Did you love it? Hate it? Can’t wait to watch it over and over?

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

 

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

Raised Garden Beds – Cabbage, Beans, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Garlic

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raised garden beds cabbage

Lucy and I snapped a few pictures of the raised garden beds this morning and I thought I would show you what’s growing in them. 17 heads of cabbage were planted and so far 2 of them are bolting.

I always think it’s weird when you plant something in the same soil and the conditions are the same but one or two of plants decide to do their own thing. It’s kind of weird if you ask me. I mean I get how the whole bolting thing works, but still. I think it’s odd.

cabbage head

This fat head of cabbage looks perfect though.

raised garden beds green beans

Remember the two garden beds where I couldn’t get anything to grow? Well knock on wood because after several attempts, we have green beans and beets coming up in one of the beds.

planting potatoes and corn together

And potatoes and corn in the other. I don’t know if I’ll actually get any corn to harvest since I only planted a few seeds, but the stalks will still look cool on the porch this fall when it comes time to decorate.

raised garden beds tomatoes

A sea of tomato plants.

growing garlic and artichokes

Artichokes and garlic. I’ve stopped watering my garlic because the leaves are starting to die back a bit. We typically harvest garlic around the end of June or early July. The garlic plants are looking pretty good considering they got a bit of a late start.

The artichoke plants were started from seed in January and for their first year, I think they look great. This was the first time I had ever started artichokes from seed and for being such a large plant, I’m amazed at how well they are doing.

winter squash seedlings

Squash. Finally! I planted some butternut squash seeds up by the pea teepees early last week and they are just now starting to pop through the soil. I LOVE winter squash and I planted a bunch of seeds so we’ll see what happens.

potato plants

And last but not least, the potato patch. The HH has been laying grass clippings in the potato beds each time he mows. So far so good. I haven’t noticed any additional slugs.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

Did you plant potato plants this year? Are you using any type of mulch?

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.

Growing Tomatoes, Basil and Cucumbers in a Greenhouse

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glass greenhouse

Just before watering the plants in the greenhouse this morning I snapped a few pictures so I could show you what’s growing. Last year I had a lot more tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse around this time, but it was nuts. I packed way to many plants in there and could barely move around, so this year I promised myself I wouldn’t do the same thing.

After all, plants need room to grow just like humans do.

greenhouse gutters

Right now we have cucumbers, basil, Swiss chard and peppers growing on the left greenhouse wall.

garden gutters cucumbers

Once the cucumbers get a little taller I’ll wrap some garden twine around them and create little trellis so they can grow along the top eves of the greenhouse and dangle down. I did it last year and they looked pretty cool.

garden gutters basil

This is round two of our greenhouse basil. The first batch was grown in a flat. This time around I thought it might be fun to try growing the basil in gutters. Have you ever tried this? I think it will look cool once it gets growing.

growing food in a greenhouse swiss chard

And Swiss chard. You can grow this crap yummy delicious stuff anywhere.

strawberries growing in gutters

Check out the strawberries! We are harvesting juicy red berries from the greenhouse gutters every other day now. We had strawberry shortcakes last night and they were delicious!

greenhouse tomatoes

Here is a picture of my beloved green zebra tomatoes. I LOVE THESE TOMATOES!

Last year the plants grew so tall they were coming out of the top vent in the greenhouse. It was crazy. But I’m looking forward to it happening all over again because these tomatoes are delicious.

potatoes and chives growing alongside a greenhouse

And last but not least, here is  a picture of the potatoes and chives growing alongside the greenhouse.

How is your garden growing? Do you co-plant anything with your potatoes?

~Mavis

You can see more pictures of our greenhouse and the progress we are making, in my Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse Series.

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 Your Own Food – 6/12/2013 Garden Tally

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sugar snap peas grow on teepees

This year I’m on a mission to grow 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. In 2012 I was able to grow 2,028 pounds, and in 2013 I’m going double or nothing. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to achieve my goal. But, as with any adventure, half the fun is getting there.   ~Mavis

*******

strawberries and peas

Did you plant peas this year? How are they doing?

The sugar snap peas we planted alongside the teepee poles are growing like weeds I tell you. Right now they are about 5 feet tall and bursting with pods. We’ve already picked them twice and we are about ready to pick them again. I keep thinking we are going to have stir fry for dinner but last night I made a pea salad {I’ll post the recipe in a little bit} and the kids keep munching away at the extra snap peas as well as packing them in their lunches.

Life is good! I love this time of year. Garden fresh strawberries and peas. You just can’t beat that.

Now, if we would just get the tomatoes to hurry up, everything would be perfect.

Oh, and I don’t want to forget the Swiss chard. We collected stalks of that too {for the chickens}.

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh organic  basil

Basil – 7 ounces

Our second round of basil is poking through the soil in the greenhouse. I LOVE making fresh pesto.

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

So far this year we have planted 2 batches of beets. I think I might start another batch next week.

bok choy leaves

Bok Choy – 4 oz

Check out this Asian Noodle Salad with Bok Choy I made. It’s pretty awesome.

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

I planted carrots again last week for the 3rd {or is it 4th?} time. Usually carrots grow like crazy in my garden but this year I’m having a problem getting them going. Or should I say growing?

chives

Chives – 11 ounces

We are picking about an ounce a week to use in recipes.

fresh eggs

Egg Count – 1,385

We collected  68 eggs this past week. What a bunch of slackers!!! ;)

freckles romaine lettuce

Lettuce – 21 pounds 6 ounces

We harvested the last of the endive and freckles lettuce last week. Now all that’s left is the romaine we have growing in the pallet garden.

microgreens

Microgreens 5 ounces

I need to grow some more of these. My favorite way to eat microgreens is with egg salad sandwiches.

oregano container herb garden

Oregano - 2 ounce

sugar snap peas

Peas – 2 pounds 10 ounces

Sometimes it’s really, really hard to get a basket of sugar snap peas in to the house. The Girl and I picked a bunch last night and immediately weighed them. What you see is what made it to the back door after snacking on them for a few minutes.

To me, fresh peas and strawberries, feel like the beginning of summer.

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

Radish bouquet

Radish - 22 pounds 2 ounces

We have just enough radishes left for a salad and then they’ll all be gone! Eeeek! I totally forgot to plant more. Now I’ll have to add that to the list.

fresh organic spinach

Spinach – 6 ounces

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -2 pounds 2 ounces

Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

basket of strawberries

Strawberries 2 pounds 10 ounces

rainbow swiss chard

Swiss Chard 2 pounds 8 ounces

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 71 pounds

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 1,385

If you are new to gardening or just want to learn more on the topic of organic gardening, my #1 favorite book is The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food By Tanya L.K. Denckla.

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 – Lindsey from Texas Sends in Cinder Block Garden Photos

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cinder block garden cute chicken coop design

Wow! Check out this uber cute cinder block garden Lindsey from Texas sent in.

tomatoes growing in cinder blocks

This is Cindy’s second year using cinder blocks for her raised beds and she absolutely loves them.

Here is what she had to say about her garden:

Our cinder block raised beds hold potatoes, green beans, strawberries, tomatoes, cilantro, hot and sweet peppers, onions, carrots, lettuce, marigolds, ranunculus, sweet peas, sage and mint. We also have a plot of land dedicated to watermelons, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew and corn, and a second plot that I’m about to plant our pumpkins in.

cinderblock garden

We have a three year old and a one year old that love to help out in the garden – they love looking for strawberries to eat while I’m out there weeding and watering. In addition to the all of the veggies that I’ve planted, we also have dewberry vines that grow wild on our land, so we now have our freezer full of berries – at least the ones the girls didn’t gobble down. We have also canned two batches of dewberry jelly and one batch of salsa this year already.

toddlers and chickens

Last September we got our mixed flock of six chickens – Nugget, Cuckoo, Weezy, Doodlebug, Pepper and Ginger.My husband, father, and father-in-law built an amazing coop for them which I still need to paint! Our plans are to eventually move our raised beds within the chicken run (fenced in from the chickens of course) so the chickens can keep a bug patrol around the perimeter of the vegetable garden.

backyard chickens

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.

10 Water Saving Tips For Your Lawn and Garden

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10 Water Saving Tips For Your Lawn and Garden

Even though we get a lot of rain here in Washington, I still have to water the lawn and garden as the weather warms up.  I am always looking for ways to save both money and water out in the garden.

Here’s 10 tips to keep money in your pocket AND keep your plants and lawn happy:

  1. Water before 9:00 a.m.  Watering before the heat of the day helps reduce evaporation.
  2. Put a layer of mulch around plants.  Mulch helps retain moisture, lessening the frequency of watering.
  3. Collect rainwater in a rain barrel or container.  There’s tons of really cool rain water collection kits or you can make your own.
  4. Your lawn only needs about 2.5 cm of water once per week.  You can measure how much your giving your lawn by leaving a cup out during sprinkling/watering.  Scale back if you are overdoing it.
  5. Choose garden paths that are porous.  Use gravel, bark, etc. for garden paths, that way run-off water is not wasted, but returned to the ground and surrounding root systems.
  6. Group plants with similar watering needs together.  If you have really thirsty plants, keeping them all in one area will eliminate the need to over-water plants in other areas.
  7. Do not bag your lawn and raise the blade of your lawn mower.  Allowing grass clippings to compost right into the lawn provides a layer of mulch and nutrients.  Raising the blade of your mower in the heat of summer protects grass roots from heat and shades them from premature water evaporation.
  8. Aerate lawn in early spring or fall to improve water penetration.
  9. Make donuts around your plants and trees, encouraging water to pool where it is needed most.
  10. Water slowly.  Turn hose or sprinkler on low in order to give water time to soak into the dirt, rather than running off where it is not needed.

Do you have any great tips for saving water and still having a happy, healthy 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.

Square Foot Gardening – Broccoli, Kale, Peas, Carrots and Onions

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square foot gardening

Last week we harvested 1 pound 2 ounces of vegetables from our first ever square foot garden.

organic broccoli

I snapped a few pictures this morning to show you what’s growing right now in our 4×8 foot bed. Broccoli! Wahooo! I was unsuccessful growing it in our other raised garden beds this spring, but for some reason the broccoli is thriving in the square foot garden. Weird huh?

I think I’ll try growing broccoli again in the fall but for right now I’m pretty happy we’ll at least get one head of broccoli and a couple of florets this spring.

square foot gardening onions

Check out the Walla Walla onions! 3 of the 4 onions are growing great. Yes, it’s true, we do have a dud in the bunch, or maybe I should say it’s a late bloomer. I’m not sure yet.

square foot gardening carrots

Carrots, check.

sugar snap peas

Sugar snap peas. yep, looking good.

snow peas

Snow peas. Do you see the makings for a stir fry dinner tomorrow? I do.

square foot gardening kohlrabi

Okay, look at the size of this kohlrabi. I think it may have doubled in size over the past week. This uber cool vegetable is about the size of a baseball right now.

square foot gardening kale

And kale. Ain’t she pretty. I guess this means I’ll be drinking a kale smoothie for breakfast tomorrow. Yipee. I’m so excited. ;)

Are you growing a square foot garden this year?

How is it doing?

~Mavis

Read more about my adventures in Square Foot Gardening.

Are you thinking about putting together a Square foot garden? See the how I built a square foot garden grid HERE.

All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author, Mel Bartholomew is basically the king of square foot gardening.

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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