How to Grow Pansies {Start to Finish}

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

purple pansy seeds

Today I planted 2 packets of pansy seeds under grow lights in the office. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE pansies. Typically I plant a bunch in our front window box and near the front door in early spring and more often than not the come back up again the following year. Pretty cool if you ask me.

I must admit though, I usually only plant pink, purple and white flowers, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I get a bunch of red and yellow ones though. Maybe I can barter them with my neighbor Mrs. Hillbilly.

pansy seeds

Brief description: Pansies are a cold-hardy brightly colored flower.  They are typically annuals, but will overwinter in zones as cold as zone 4.

Where to Plant Pansies:  Pansies can be planted in garden containers or flower beds.  They like part sun to shade conditions.

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds in groups of 4 every 4″-6″ {or per seed pot if starting indoors like I am}.  Plant about 1/8″ deep.  Thin to 1 plant every 4″-6″ when they are about 1″ tall.  Start indoors about 6-8 weeks before transplanting.

pansy flower root ball

Growing Tips:  Water pansies regularly.  {I think it’s funny we call weak people pansies, because these are super tough flowers that are almost impossible to kill}.  Remove faded or dead flowers to encourage re-blooming.

red purple pansies pansy

Interesting Fact:  Did you know pansies are edible?  Well, they are!  Have YOU ever tried them?  I haven’t, but maybe I should give them a try. What do you think? Do they taste good?

~Mavis

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!

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 – Setting Up The Greenhouse

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

mavis butterfield

Lemon lost a few leaves this past week so I had Monkey Boy move her to the greenhouse yesterday. I know losing a few leaves is totally normal when you transplant a tree, but after Erin showed me a picture of the lemon tree growing in her greenhouse, I decided to go ahead and move mine out to the greenhouse as well.

I don’t think Lemon was getting enough sun exposure inside. Hopefully the move will perk her up.

tulip bulbs

We also moved all the tulip and daffodil bulbs we planted in containers last fall to the greenhouse. Earlier in the day I had Monkey Boy haul the giant Costco table out and set it up so I can have everything I need when I start to pot a few spring planters later this week.

onion and leek transplants

The onion and leek seedlings we set out a few days ago are thriving, and maybe in another 6 weeks or so I’ll start setting them out in the garden boxes.

magnum glass greenhouse

On the agenda for today, start hardening off the artichoke plants I transplanted last week by setting them in the greenhouse for about an hour today, and then slowly increase their time spent outdoors over the next 10 days. We’ve spotted artichoke plants at 2 local stores recently so it must be time to move them outdoors.

How about YOU? Any garden plans for today?

~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 Garden Blog – Garlic Shoots

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

Last October I planted garlic in one of our raised garden beds. Yesterday, I pulled all the chicken fencing off the straw covered bed of garlic and was happy to find oodles of tiny green shoots poking through.

grow garlic

I had to place the fencing on the garlic bed because the chickens kept scratching around in the soil for worms and pecking at the tiny bits of green that were starting to make their way towards the sun.

garlic shoots

I didn’t count all the little green shoots, but I’m hoping we will have enough garlic to use this summer for canning tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, and whatever else we can dream up.

garlic shoot

Spring is on it’s way, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Did YOU plant garlic last fall? How is yours doing?

~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 – How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

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

How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

Today, I decided to make a compost bin out of wood pallets.  Since I’m going double or nothing and trying to grow 4000 lbs. of fresh produce this year, I figured I better get serious about making every effort to keep the soil healthy.  Plus, composting is FREE, and once you have the spot for it, pretty much a piece of cake {an old rotting piece of cake, ha!}

clean wood pallet

I chose to make it out of wood pallets because they are so easy to come by.  In order to make one, you will need:

  • 4 – Wood Pallets {5 if  you are going to build a floor/bottom, instead of just using the ground}
  • 14 Gauge Wire
  • 2 – Hinges
  • 1 – Latch
  • 2 – Landscape Pole or Long Stick of Wood

You can pass on the last two, and just use the wire if  you want a square box, but it might making getting to the compost a little trickier {read:  a big fat pain}.

14 gauge galvanized wire

First, you want to configure your pallets.  You’ll need to decide if you want to set the pallets long ways or short ways–one will give you a smaller deeper bin, while the other will give you a larger more shallow bin.  You can also mix and match, making the sides long and front and back short.  It’s completely up to you and how much space you have.

galvanized wire

Second, cut the 14 gauge wire into segments, approximately 18″ long.  Strap the sides to the back of the pallet by wrapping the wire through both pallets and twisting tight {Don’t twist too tight or the wire might break}.  Two lengths per corner should do it.

How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets DIY

Third, hammer a landscape pole into the ground about 12″ deep on the hinge side corner of the box {on the inside}.  This will help support the swinging weight of the compost gate.

screwdriver

Finally, add the hinges.  Before screwing the front gate onto the hinges, you can add a spacer on the bottom using scrap wood or a leftover piece of the landscaping pole to provide some ventilation for the bottom of your compost pile.

DIY How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

That’s it!  Easy, cheap and effective.  If only everything in life could be that way!

~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 Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 7 of 52

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

raised garden bedsWeek 7 of 52 – Mavis’ Backyard Garden Plot

I feel like my backyard garden is one giant heaping mess of unfinished projects right now. My goal is to have all of the projects finished by the end of the month. It may take a lot of ibuprofen, but I’m determined to stay on schedule.

The good news is, the rocks have all been relocated and now I can add some additional raised garden beds to the 16 we already have.

garden against fence

The plan is still sunflowers and zucchini plants along the fence, but I’m still not sure what I’ll put in the corner beneath the tree yet. Maybe some hostas, I hear they love the shade.

future garden space

This is the future sight of my salad garden. Hopefully the next time I show you this area I’ll have it set up.

bean teepees

Bean teepees. Still not sure if they are going to stay put or if I’m going to move them.

raised garden bed with logs

I think I might expand this garden bed. I was walking around it yesterday and I think I could gain about 5 feet in the front and another 5 feet on the left side if I move the logs and add more dirt. We’ll see.

garden in the woods

Last fall I tossed a bunch of rotting pumpkins between the trees with the hopes that a volunteer pumpkin patch will sprout this summer. If not, there are poppies and some other perennial flowers in this area, so either way, there will be color.

magnum glass greenhouse

The glass greenhouse is still waiting for tables.

wood pallets

Ah ha! Anyone want to guess what I’m going to do with those pallets?

wooded backyard

I know everyone thinks I am crazy for covering the back area with landscape fabric, but I have a plan. I do. I promise.

garden path

Here is another unfinished project. Eventually I’ll have dirt behind the rocks, a mulched path, and plants in front of the downed tree.

cascadia delight raspberry plants

Raspberry patch. Geez. Looking at all these pictures of my unfinished projects is a little depressing. I still need to fix the poles at the end of the rows, and roll up that stinkin’ hose!

raspberry patch

The area to the right is where I’ll have my container herb garden. So far I have mint, oregano, sage and rosemary. I also have chives planted on both sides of the greenhouse and will be starting plenty of herbs from seed this spring as well.

It’s taking a while to get everything up and going this spring, but I’m excited for this years growing season and to try and grow 2 tons of fruits and vegetables in our backyard garden.

To everything there is a season, and right now, all I want to do is play in the dirt.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, enjoy the day.

~Mavis

mavis and her boyfriend ryan botanical interests seeds

This years garden is being sponsored by the awesome folks at Botanical Interests Seed Company.  You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2013 Garden Seed Catalog HERE, or visit my {online} boyfriend Ryan’s blog 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.

Biggest Chicken Egg in the World?

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

A Big thank you to Polly S for sharing this video with me. What fun!

~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 – Garden and Beehive Photos From Connecticut

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

SONY DSC

Check out this recent email I received from a reader in Connecticut:

Hi Mavis,

I wanted to join in on the gardening feature because I’m an avid gardener that got on the organic, sustainability, gardening bandwagon years ago. Here’s a little about my garden adventures.

I live in suburban CT, zone 6b, and grow as much as I can squeeze into my 1/4 acre backyard.

Using the companion planting approach, in my 6 raised beds, I grow tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, peppers, green beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, pumpkins, zucchini, butternut squash, watermelon, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and nasturiums. I build frames for the vine plants to grow vertically and this allows more space for other plants below.

SONY DSC

Outside of the enclosed beds, I grow broccoli in pots and strawberry plants in window box planters so the chipmunks can’t get to them. Last year, I put in a medicinal herb bed with lemongrass, sage, thyme, fennel, calendula, comfrey, dill, lovage, stevia, feverfew, and bay. This year I’m going to expand the growing space and put in a culinary tea bed and more edible flowers, such as amaranth.

Interspersed around the property are 3 apple trees, that are plagued by apple rust so I might take them out, 2 Red haven peach, 1 Bartlett pear, 1 D’anjou (to cross pollinate the other pear), 2 Brown Turkey fig (grilled figs are yum!), 2 Paw Paw, 1 Nectarine and 1 apricot tree. In winter, I wrap the figs with burlap and frost blankets to protect them from the cold and it looks as if I have ghosts haunting my yard. Under the fruit trees, there are delicious thornless blackberry, raspberry, and 8 blueberry bushes.

SONY DSC

Along the property line on one side, there are legacy grapevines that were there when I bought the house. I’m not sure what kind of grapes they are, but my goal this year is to trim them back and turn them into a useful food rather than a privacy screen. Usually the leaves are harvested for making stuffed grape leaves. Along the shed, I have Kiwi vine growing.

backyard chicken{Eagle the Ameracauna chicken}

We have 9 chickens and 6 ducks, that make the most delicious eggs possible. They live in “The Girls with Feathers” coop I designed and then expanded to fit the ducks in there too. I keep the fowl in a chicken yard, but I let them out to forage near the chicken run in the Summer. Along two sides of the run, I grow hops, to provide some shade for the chickens and to produce hops for my eventual beer brewing that I will begin experimenting with this Fall, and lots of sunflowers.

SONY DSC

I fertilize the trees with rabbit manure from our adopted rescued Angora rabbit. (She grows the most wonderfully soft fur that I’m going to have spun into yarn.) In the basement, we have a vermicompost bin and use the worm castings to fertilize the veg beds. Because I don’t want to risk ecoli contamination, there are separate compost bins allocated specifically for the coop shavings. Every now and then we go down to the beach to clean it up after a storm and carry home buckets of seaweed for the compost piles.

SONY DSC

To pollinate the backyard, I have two beehives, one with Italian and the other with Carniolan bees. In a few weeks, I’m adding two more hives. I bartered 2 ducklings for a top bar bee hive on craigslist and recently acquired a Warre hive. Since everything in this backyard is an experiment of one kind or another, I want to find out if the hive body design effects how robust the bee colony is.

The bees have done an amazing job pollinating my gardens and I love watching them early in the morning from my kitchen window as they fly off in search of pollen and nectar in the Summer. The honey they produce is another plus because I use that instead of sugar. I also have 5 mason beehives spread throughout the garden to encourage the solitary bees to hang around.

There’s a lot of trial and error that goes on in this 1/4 acre, but that’s what makes it a challenge. I know I have written way more than many of the garden posts you’ve featured and I haven’t even gotten to my seed starting plans for the year. ~~*~~

All I can say is WHAT A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN! What an amazing job you have done and your love of gardening really shines though in your pictures. Thanks for sending in your photos.

~Mavis

{Sara from Fox Island’s Garden Tour}

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 & Craft made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.

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.

Regional Planting Guides For Backyard Gardeners

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

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? Click on the region you live in below and you’ll be taken you to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month.

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

~Mavis

Pacific Northwest Region Planting Guide

Mid-Atlantic Region Planting  Guide

Maritime Canada and New England Region Planting  Guide

Central/Midwest Region Planting Guide

North Central and Rockies Region Planting Guide

Southwest Region Planting Guide

Southern Interior Planting Guide

Gulf Coast Region Planting Guide

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 – Weekend Plans

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

mavis butterfield

This morning the Handsome Husband mentioned there is a big winter storm headed towards the New England states. 2 feet of snow is predicted. Yikes! It hasn’t snow here in my neck of the woods in almost a year, which in my opinion totally stinks. I love the snow. But then again I love my garden too, and I’m not quite sure what I would do if the ground was covered in a thick blanket of snow and I was stuck inside staring out the window unable to get any gardening done. 

wooded backyard

The Seattle/Tacoma area forecast is calling for 5 days of clear weather. And I’m going to need it. Still left on my to-do list is to finish laying down the landscape fabric. I pretty much just have to place some in front of the chicken coop and alongside the greenhouse and then I’m be done.

rock border

I also need to finish building the last rock border that will outline this years potato patch.

fruit trees in bags

Plant 6 trees.

swiss chard in window box

Pull the Swiss chard that over wintered in the front window box out to the backyard garden so the flower bulbs we planted have room to grow.

empty flower pot

Find a perennial flower to plant behind the tulip bulbs for the flower pot that sits in front of our house. The wheel the pot around to the back of the house because if I leave it up front the neighborhood deer will eat my tulips. What was I thinking? I should have planted daffodils instead.

rain barrel

And last but not least, figure out where I’m going to stick the bright orange {future} rain barrel I scored the other day, plus hide move those 3 soon to be gorgeous metal drums around back so the Handsome Husband doesn’t freak out when he sees I’ve brought home a bunch more trash for our backyard {again}.

That’s what is on my weekend to-do list, how about you?

~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 Garden Blog – Landscape Fabric and Gladiolus

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

costco landscape fabric prevent weeds

About a week and a half ago Helen from Meridian mentioned her Costco store was stocked with landscape fabric. So when I called my store to see if they had it, they told me the landscape fabric hadn’t come in yet, but that was that it was on it’s way.

So basically everyday since then I have been Calling Costco at 9 am to see if my store had received any landscape fabric in their overnight shipment. Yesterday, I got the good news.

As soon as I heard the words YES {you crazy lady now you can stop calling} I jumped in my car and drove to the store, loaded 6 fat rolls into my cart and made b-line for the registers.

gladiolus bulbs pink purple green

And then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a package of pink, purple and lime green gladiolus. What a gorgeous color combination! So I snagged those too. You would be proud of me though, I did pass the calla lilies, clay pots and pruning shears without looking back, so there is some hope for me yet.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is so hard for me. I want to swoop every single bit of color up and plant it in my yard. It makes me crazy. Not to mention the Handsome Husband, because he knows I’ll inevitably ask him to help me with some sort of project.

backyard garden wooded lot

Now I know a bunch of you think I am a total loon for covering my backyard with landscape fabric only to cover it with mulch and garden soil, but I’m telling you, the stuff works like you would not believe. The main reason I use it is to squelch out the pesky salal roots from popping up in my garden paths.

As soon as I get the landscape fabric down {just beyond the white arrows} I’ll start mapping out where the new garden spaces will go. I’ll add some dirt and then some mulch to go around the garden spaces. After that is done, it will finally be time to plant some vegetables. Yee-Haw!

I want to get the landscape fabric installed today. This weekend is suppose to be clear {cold, but clear} so I’m hoping to knock a few projects off my list. But first, I’ve got to go out there and lay down that fabric.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, make it a great day.

~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.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel