Friday Night at the Movies – The Wonder Years

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Um hello. Guess who just discovered The Wonder Years are on Netflix?  Yep.  Kevin, Winnie, Paul. You better believe that it went straight to our watch list for this weekend.  I can’t wait to start watching all of these old episodes–I bet that I will have a totally different perspective watching them as an adult.

 the wonder years

Did you grow up watching the Wonder Years? Have your kids seen it?

Have 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.



DIY Garden Markers Made From Sticks

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Garden Markers Made From Sticks

I always think that I will remember which plant is which, but I can only hold so much information in my brain these days {and that amount is very small, I admit}, so I inevitably forget {usually within hours}.  So, for me, marking my plants is absolutely essential.

I really liked the organic look of these stick markers and I lov that all I had to do was wander into the back yard to collect a few sticks to make them. ;)

sticks

You’ll Need:

Pruners
Veggie Peeler or Sharp Knife
Sticks {about 1/2 thick}
Sharpie

DIY Garden Markers Made From Sticks

Directions:

Start by wandering outside and cutting some branches off of a tree–or better yet, find a fallen limb.  Choose a branch that is about a 1/2″ thick.  Cut the stick into segments, roughly the same size.  Trim the sticks, so that they don’t have any shoots.  Now, using the veggie peeler or sharp knife, remove the bark from one side of the stick.   {I totally felt like I was whittling wood–very old-timey of me.}

You only need to remove the bark about half way down the stick, because the rest will be pushed into the dirt.  {If you use a veggie peeler, be aware, it may really dull the blade!}  Once you have a bark-free portion of the stick, write the name of your plants on with a sharpie.

DIY Garden Markers Made From Sticks

That’s it.  Now, mark your plants and free up some space in your memory bank.

~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.

Straw Bale Gardening

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garden growing food in straw bales

Have any of you ever tried straw bale gardening?  It is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t have the space and/or time and money to garden traditionally.  Instead of building potentially expensive raised beds or tilling up garden space, you just throw a couple of bales of straw {NOT hay, hay will sprout} out into the yard and use it as your growing medium.  {It’s also a pretty perfect solution if you have soil that heavily clayed, or just seems to kill everything you try to grow.}

Straw bale gardening not only solves a space issue, but the straw will begin to break down {essentially compost}, feeding your plants and requiring almost nothing from  you but water.  Bales of straw are cheap at about $5 a bale around here.  Plus, as an added bonus, straw bale gardens are virtually weed-free and naturally hold moisture, cutting way down on watering.straw bale garden

All you really need to do is condition the straw bale to expedite the break down process.  Depending on how you garden {organic vs. non-organic}, you add manure/blood meal or fertilizer a couple of weeks before planting, let the straw bale heat up and begin decomposing and voila, the composted matter becomes your growth medium.  Stick a couple of seeds down into the growth medium, add water, and wait for them to sprout.

I know straw bale gardening has been around for a long time {a few of my readers have sent in uh-mazing pictures of their gardens HERE and HERE}, but I didn’t really get the process until I read a book review from the NY Times on Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten.  Apparently the book basically walks you through the how-to’s {which means I am going to have to read up and try it out}.

Have any of YOU tried straw bale gardening?  Was it a success?

~Mavis

straw bale gardening

Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten

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 Corn {Start to Finish}

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how to grow corn

 

Will you be planting corn this year? If so, now’s the time to plant. This year I’m trying a couple of varieties some for eating fresh and some ornamental for my fall table as well.

Brief description: Corn is one of the most widely grown crops in the world.  It is a staple food that can be cooked in about a million ways.  Corn is actually a grain, not a vegetable.

Where to Plant Corn:  Plant corn in a sunny location in raised beds or garden beds.

corn stalks

Planting Seeds:  Directly sow seeds when soil temperature is at least 60 degrees.  Plant seeds about 1″-2″ deep.  When seeds are about 4″ thin to every 4-6″ apart, and keep row spacing at about 24″.  {Over spacing corn only encourages weeds.}

Growing Tips:   There are a ton of different varieties all with different maturation rates {anywhere from 60-100 days}, , so be sure to pick one that best suits your area and your planting time frame.    Corn can be susceptible to disease, so keep a close eye on it so that you can manage it quickly.

fresh corn

How to Harvest:  Corn is ready to harvest a couple of weeks after the silks appear.  The silks will start to turn brown when it is time to harvest.  To harvest, gently pull the corn from the stock, breaking it off.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here are a few of my Favorite corn recipes:

How to Can Fresh Corn
How to Can Fresh Corn

fresh-corn-pancakes-recipeFresh Corn Pancakes

roasted corn saladRoasted Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

Fun Fact:  According the the Farmer’s Almanac, if you corn is harder to schuck than usual, prepare for a hard winter.

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 Maintain a Healthy Vegetable Garden

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How to Maintain a Healthy Vegetable Garden

Did you have trouble growing veggies last year?  Every once in a while, I’ll have a bad gardening year.  Sometimes it’s beyond my control {i.e. squirrels or other critters getting into my plants} and sometimes, I’ll look back and be like, “Whoops, I can totally see how I screwed this year up.”  Gardening is definitely a learning process.

Maintaining a healthy garden isn’t really that tricky when you get right down to it, but it does involve the slightest bit of tenacity–which, on days when you would rather drink tea on the patio and only think about getting dressed eventually, can be too much to ask.  Ha!

Why Crop Rotation is Important for Healthy Soil

Here’s what I think are the basics on maintaining a healthy vegetable garden:

  1. Soil.  It seems like you should be able to stick your plant into the dirt, water it, and watch it grow, but that’s just not the case.  The soil should be prepped and cared for all through the gardening season.  Adding compost to the beds each year and basic crop rotation will go a long way in ensuring your soil can provide for your plants.  {I ignored the crop rotation principals last year and paid for it in much lower yields.  Lesson learned.  Mother Nature-1, Mavis-0. }  Now, I am a little behind the curve, so I am also going to prep my soil this winter by experimenting with cover crops.  Hopefully, they will give my soil a little added boost.
  2. Rethink your watering plan.  All plants require a different level of water, but letting vegetable crops dry out a bit before you water them is pretty universal.  Over-watered plants become susceptible to disease and fungus.  So, water thoroughly less often–allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings.onion transplants
  3. Start with healthy plants.  If you buy your plants, don’t be afraid to pull them out of the container and examine their roots.  A healthy root system and plant gives you a huge head start in maintaining your garden.  The same goes for plants you grow from seed.  If you have a weak one, get rid of it.  It’s survival of the fittest here–don’t be sentimental.  :)
  4. Be vigilant and proactive.  Bugs can devastate a plant pretty quickly.  Worse, if you don’t catch it in time, you have to decide whether you are going to treat the problem or lose the plant.  I try to maintain a completely organic garden.  I pick squash bugs off pretty much daily.  Last year, though, the snails won, and I opted for an organic solution called Sluggo to help me combat the slimy little beggars.

organic vegetablesWith those four basics covered, you really can maintain a pretty healthy vegetable garden with good yields.  How about you, do you have any swear-by tips for keeping your garden healthy?

~Mavis

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

How to Grow Cucumbers {Start to Finish}

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How to grow cucumbers seeds

This morning  I planted my cucumber seeds! I started 2 flats using some of my DIY Potting Soil blend. This year, I am growing Marketmore, Lemon, and Burpless. It’s been a while since I’ve grown lemon cucumbers so I’m looking forward to them.

Brief description: Cucumbers are part of the gourd family.  They grow from a creeping vine plant.  They are broken into three varieties:  pickling, slicing, and burpless.

Where to Plant Cucumbers:  Plant cucumbers in a sunny spot.  They prefer warm weather {soil temperature should be at least 70}, so make sure to plant after the last frost.    Cucumbers can be planted in raised beds, garden beds, or containers using a trellis.

cucumber seedlings

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1/2″ deep, 6 seeds per pot or mound.  When plant has 3 leaves, thin to 3 per mound.

Growing Tips:  Cucumbers like rich soil, so mix a little compost in with your planting.  You can train cucumbers to grow up a trellis if space is an issue.

burpless-cucumbers

How to Harvest:  Read your seed packet to find out length of a full-grown cucumber for the variety you chose.  It’s better to pick them at the specified length–any larger and they will start to taste bitter.  Most cucumbers are ready 55-70 days after planting.  To harvest, pull or cut the cucumber off of the vine.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here are a few of my Favorite Cucumber recipes:

Easy Summer Salad Recipes – Cucumber Tomato SaladCucumber Tomato Salad

recipe quinoa saladQuinoa Salad with Cucumber and Mint

Fun Fact:  If grubs start to eat your cucumber crop, slice a cucumber and put it in an aluminum pie tin.  The cucumber will react with the metal and put off an odor {undetectable to us} that will drive the slugs away.

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! There are Slugs in My Pallet Garden

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wood pallet strawberry garden

Selena from Tacoma sent in a few pictures of her strawberry pallet garden recently–along with a plea for help.  She wrote,

I built a strawberry box in my garden this year using a reclaimed pallet thinking that elevating the strawberries would help keep the slugs away.  However, I have found that baby slugs have no problem making their way up the box to get to the berries!  Do you have a suggestion on how to keep the slugs away without using chemicals? I would prefer an organic or homemade remedy.

slugs eating my strawberries

Yep, that is going to be a problem.   Obviously, your slugs have a taste for the good stuff. ;)

The key to treating them organically {in my opinion} is catching them early.  There are a couple of different methods you can try.  First up:  beer.  Not for you as a coping mechanism, but for the slugs.  They love the fermented yeast in the beer and will make their way into the beer where they will eventually drown.  {If you aren’t into purchasing alcohol, no worries, you can use non-alcoholic beer.}  Just take the can, a shallow yogurt cup or something like it {a kid’s to-go applesauce would work great} and stick it into the pallets, level with the strawberries.  Fill the container with beer and check it in the morning.  You should have dead-as-a-door-nail slugs floating in it.

strawberry pallet garden

Beer is just a first line of defense, though.  You should also combine it with hand-picking any slugs you see.  They like to come out and wreak all sorts of havoc at night, so catching them to squish them {a very therapeutic past-time, if I do say so myself} can be tricky.

For a little more aggressive treatment, you’ll have to go with organic options that you can buy at your Home and Garden store.  I know quite a few gardeners and chicken owners who swear by diatomaceous earth, which is still an organic option.  It’s  a white powder made from crushed fossils of diatoms { a rock}.  It basically cuts the slugs as they crawl across it.  {People also use it as an insecticide, to give their chicken dust baths in order to prevent poultry lice and mites, etc.}  I haven’t personally used it, so I can’t swear by it, but again, I have heard really good things about it.

strawberries in wooden box

My personal favorite organic method is Sluggo.  It still qualifies as an acceptable treatment in organic gardening.  It is basically iron phosphate {which doesn’t harm pets or other wildlife}.  It causes slugs to stop feeding, and as a result, die.  I have found it to be incredibly effective, when other methods have failed.  You have to be pretty religious about applying it weekly {during watering season}, as both a treatment and maintenance.

I am sure there are other methods you can try, but those are the ones that I am most familiar with.  If any of you have tried other successful slug abatement, make sure to leave it in the comments below!

~Mavis

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

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

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how to attract butterflies to your garden

A butterfly landing on you is suppose to be a symbol of good luck heading your way.  A butterfly landing in your garden is kinda the same thing, because they actually help pollinate your plants {which I personally think is a good thing}.

To attract butterflies, start with native flowers.  It’s that ol’ “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.  Butterflies have adapted to the native flowers, they have a sorta zen thing going on.  On that note, try to recreate nature in your backyard, place flat stones around your garden, giving butterflies a place to land and rest the weary wings.

Next, be sure to think about all of the stages of a butterfly’s life:  Adult butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms that are flat.  Caterpillars {the caterpillars of the butterflies you are trying to attract are not the destructive ones that are eating your leaves} like to eat passionvines, milkweed, gooseberry, azalea,  and pawpaws {different species eat different types of flowers, so plant an assortment if you would like to see more than one type of butterfly}.

Avoid using pesticides, they get rid of the good and the bad guys {read:  they kill butterflies}.

Because adult butterflies typically only feed in sunlight, make sure you plant your flowers in a nice sunny location.  Also, providing them a shallow pan with wet sand in the bottom will give them a place to drink.  Just set the pan near the flowers.

That’s pretty much it, now sit back and wait for one to land ON you.

Good luck,

Mavis

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

How to 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.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 5/18/14

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garden plot

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE walking through the garden and seeing box after box of garden boxes filled with GREEN. :) I makes my heart happy. raised garden beds

We have a lot on our plate this year so for the first time since 2008, I planted a small garden {well, small for me anyway} with just 10 garden boxes, a pallet garden, greenhouse garden and various fruit trees, berries, and bushes sprinkled around the property.
growing breakfast radishes

One of my favorite things about this time of year is that there always seems to be something ready to harvest. Last month it was chives and lettuce, this month, radishes.
crimson red radish

Lot’s and lot’s of radishes. :)

Vina Minor planted on hillside

Another one of my favorite things to look forward to this time of year is out hillside planted with vinca minor. We planted it the first summer we were here to prevent the mini hillside along our house from sliding. Holy cannoli’s, has it ever worked. {And as an added bonus, the vinca attracts tons of fuzzy bumble bees every spring and fall}.growing vegetables in a greenhouse

Lucy the puggle dog on patrol. cascadia raspberry plants western washington

I think we are going to have a bumper crop of raspberries this summer.
tri star strawberry plants

And the strawberries? Ha! I thought I dug them all up from this little patch last fall. Apparently not.

patriot blueberry bushes

And last but not least, our 12 blueberry bushes that we planted in the spring of 2008 seem to be producing a ton of flowers this spring. Talk about a good sign for a great blueberry harvest.

Summer. I think it’s finally on it’s way.

~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.

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