Mavis Mail – Teri From Deville, Louisiana Sends in Her Garden Photos

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DIY Raised Garden Beds

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!

Check out these photos Teri from SwampyFarms sent in:

orange nasturtium flower

Our garden consists of 4 – 4 foot square raised boxes. Like you, I have OCD and wanted my garden to be nice little boxes in nice little rows. I plan to have 15 total, but decided it would be best to start with four. This way if it turns out I don’t have a green thumb, I won’t have to find a use for all 15 boxes.

We put chicken wire around the perimeter to keep out the neighborhood dogs and any stray rabbits that may come by for a visit.

DIY garden cinder blocks

The cinder blocks began as a way to hold down the bottom of the fence, just in case someone dared to dig underneath. Then I thought that since they were there, why not put them to use. So, I filled them with dirty goodness from the compost and planted some things that will climb up the fence.

I have a couple dozen mysterious melon plants growing in some cinder blocks on the back side of the garden, that sprouted up from the dirt we got out of our compost pile. We have narrowed it down to either watermelon, cantaloupe, or pumpkin. Though none of us will know for sure until it provides something more than a stem and 4 leaves. I also have green beans growing on the right and tomatoes, onions and sunflowers growing on the left side.

DIY Raised garden beds  potatoes

You wrote a few weeks ago about planting potatoes in your square foot garden and if square foot gardens are effective places for your little spuds. This is the first time I have planted potatoes in a square foot garden, much less anything else really, but I would say that you could with better than average results. The past two times that I have planted taters, those suckers did not grow above a foot tall, and that’s probably an over estimate.

DIY cabbage-in-potato-box

I may be able to add a little more dirt to give them more room to root around. I even have a pair of cabbages playing peak-a-boo in the box. I think the potatoes may provide shade when it gets warmer. I would say the cabbages are pretty happy in their little spots.

DIY Potato tower

I borrowed your potato tower idea, I hope that is ok. Though, I only added pine straw on top once they started growing. I even bought some of those snazzy fabric potato pot that are supposed to be super-duper potato producing machines.

DIY Smart Pots

I am trying the whole “companion planting” thing. I am trying to shy away from spraying our food with loads of pesticides this year. Last year I was over run with cabbage worms everywhere. I planted nasturtium and marigolds with the beans, and dill and onions with the broccoli and cabbage. I hope that “everyone” will help each other to keep pests at bay.

DIY raised Garden bed cabbage-broccoli-box-

I blog about all of my little adventures in the garden and with our 6 Cuckoo Marans and 3 surviving Rhode Island Reds at swampyfarms.

Wow Teri! Everything looks great. I really like the cinder block idea and I might have to try that in the greenhouse this winter. Awesome job.

~Mavis

raised garden beds with hoopsGardening in Tacoma with Lisa

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.

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 Garden Blog – Planting Squash Seeds

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organic gardening grow your own food

I don’t know what the weather was like at your place yesterday, but holy cow, the sun shined all day up here in the Pacific Northwest. I spent most of the afternoon in the greenhouse starting my squash seeds.

recycled potting containers

Normally I want until May 15th or so to plant my zucchini and cucumbers and around June 1st to plant my pumpkins and winter squash. But the weather has been so nice lately I couldn’t resist.

botanical interests seed packets

Are you growing a bunch of squash this year? I am trying 3 different kinds of zucchinis this time around and even cantaloupe. I highly doubt I’ll be successful at growing a melon, but it’s still fun to try anyway. We’ll see what happens.

botanical interests seed packets

How about you? Have you planted your squash seeds yet? If not, when do you plant yours?

~Mavis

P.S. If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, I would totally wait another week or two before planting your squash outside unless you are starting them indoors or in a greenhouse {just to be on the safe side}.

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 – Killer at Large

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Tonight The Girl and I will be watching Killer at Large.  It’s another look at the obesity crisis in America.  I am partly watching it to put to rest any guilt I have had over spending a little more to buy really high quality food for my family, and partly because I love food documentaries, in general.

The documentary is supposed to take a look at the obesity crisis in America, and how the government, schools, and local advocacy groups are either perpetuating or becoming voices of change for the obesity crisis.

Killer at Large is available on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99.

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

killer at large

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, Radishes, Onions, Broccoli, Garlic Beets and More

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raised garden beds

Look at all the green goodness growing in our backyard garden beds! Spring has finally sprung and it’s so nice to see boatloads {I mean raised garden beds} filled with leafy greens.

french breakfast radish

The French breakfast radishes are in tip top shape! My German neighbor Hudula  has been eyeing these since she stepped foot in my backyard and I may have to check her pockets the next time she comes over to help.

organic broccoli plant garden

I had to rip out the old broccoli starts and put the last of my homegrown ones in. I hope this set of broccoli does better than the last. If they don t’t make it we won’t be harvesting any broccoli this spring.

organic cabbage garden

The cabbage is looking freakin’ awesome! Charlie Bucket’s mom would be so proud.

organic cabbage raised garden bed

Cabbage and radishes. One cabbage decided not to cooperate. The only other cabbage plants I have available to stick in that spot is a red cabbage the is about a month behind. I’m not sure if I’m just going to leave the cabbage bed that way or stick the red cabbage plant in there. What do you think Martha would do?

organic swiss chard garden

Swiss chard. We will separate this next week and plant the extras over by the chicken coop.

organic baby bok choy

Baby bok choy. Yum!

square foot gardening

The square foot garden is looking great.

beet seedlings

The beets are coming along. I’ll thin those once their true leaves are a couple of inches tall.

what do carrot seedlings look like

And look who decided to show up for work. The carrots! I don’t believe it. If you’ve every had to wait for carrot seeds to germinate before you know it can be total torture. But they are finally here and it’s time to celebrate.

young artichoke plant

And one last close up.

I wasn’t sure the artichokes were going to make it but they are bouncing back now that I am watering them a bit more. Sometimes it’s hard for me to find time to water all the vegetable beds so it’s kind of like survival of the fittest in the backyard garden.

I really need to get some sort of sprinkler or low drip set up going in the backyard but it seems like an awful lot of work and I’m not sure I’m up for it.

How do YOU keep your garden watered? Do you have any special tricks?

keep calm garden on

Keep Calm and Garden On!

~ Mavisatlas gloves

If you are looking for a pair of garden gloves, Atlas Gloves rule. I use them everyday in the garden and I especially love the textured fingers a palms. Not only are they great for gardening but also if you have prickly weeds or thorny bushes that need pulling.

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.

Seattle Tilth Plant Sale May 4th and 5th 2013

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Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale

If you are a local, this Saturday and Sunday, May 4th & 5th from 9 a.m.-3 p.m the Seattle Tilth will be hosting their annual May plant sale. The Girl Who Thinks she’s a Bird and I went last year and found lot’s of goodies. Not only will there be plants to purchase but there will also be cool booths, authors, yummy food and more.

Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale

I plan on being there bright and early at 9 am when the gates open! Yee- Haw, I love a good plant sale. Maybe I’ll see you there! Visit the Seattle Tilth’s website for more information.

Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale

May Edible Plant Sale 2013 Schedule

9 a.m. Music by Same Day, Different Accompaniment
10:30 a.m. “Grow Spinach!” – presentation by Seattle Tilth’s Lisa Taylor, author of “Your Farm in the City”
11 a.m. “Sylvia’s Spinach” – book signing and talk by author Katherine Pryor
Noon “Free Range Chicken Gardens” – book signing and talk by author Jessi Bloom
1 p.m. “Grow Basil” – presentation by Seattle Tilth’s Falaah Jones
2 p.m. Nyamuziwa Marimba, joyous dance music from the ancient mbira tradition of Zimbabwe

SUNDAY, MAY 5
9 a.m. Music by Tinker’s Dram
10:30 a.m. “Cool Season Gardener” and “Edible Heirlooms” – book signing and talk by author Bill Thorness
11:30 a.m. “City Goats” – book signing and talk by author Jennie Grant
Noon “Grow Tomatoes” – presentation by Seattle Tilth’s Carey Thornton
12:45 p.m. Music by the Mighty Tiny Band

seattle tilth

Seattle Tilth Plant Sale
Meridian Park
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103

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 Gardens – Lettuce, Celery, Strawberries, Bok Choy, Spinach and More

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DIY Recycled Wood Pallet Garden

I thought I would share a few photos and update you how our wood pallet garden is coming along. As you can see the romaine lettuce we started from seed under grow lights is doing great. Lettuce is a great cool weather crop and is perfect to plant in the spring.

DIY Wood Pallet Garden Lettuce

The mystery deep red lettuce and bok choy are also growing well. I did notice a few little bite marks in the boy choy though. I’m not sure if it was Lucy the Puggle Dog or a squirrel.

DIT Wood Pallet Gardening Celery

We grew celery in pallets last year and it did great. It looks like this year is off to a good start as well.

DIY Recycled Wood Pallet Garden spinach

If I had to guess this spinach should be ready to start picking in another 2 weeks.

DIY Wood Pallet Gardening lettuce

The Endive lettuce is looking great as well. This is my first time growing endive so I’ll have to find out how big the heads get and when I’m suppose to harvest it. Does anyone know?

DIY Wood Pallet garden Strawberries

Our wood pallet strawberries are also doing great. Last year I planted strawberries in a vertical wood pallet. This year I am growing them flat on the ground. I wonder if there will be a difference in the yield because of this. What do you think? I think I’ll get more with the pallet laying on the ground because they’ll be more evenly watered. We’ll see.

DIY Wood pallet garden

This is my second year using wood pallets and although it’s a little different than your traditional garden, it’s still a lot of fun.

Have you ever planted a wood pallet garden before? How did it go?

Mavis wants to know.

heat treated wood pallet

Want to learn more about wood pallet gardening and how I put mine together? Click on the pallets above and they 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.

Container Gardening with Andy the Plant Whisperer – The Steamy Greenhouse

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greenhouse gardening andy the plant whisperer

Yesterday my German neighbor Hudla stopped over for a little garden tutorial.  In the middle of my Gardening 101 Lecture, Andy popped out to introduce himself, and “provide good Juju for the plants,” whatever the heck that means.  He looked a little, crumpled.  I asked him if the basement was meeting all of his needs.  He assured me it was, but he just had a little jet-lag.  I’m not sure how that happened since he drove up in an old VW Van, but okay.

I turned my back for one minute and Andy started teaching Hudla how to gently massage the stem of the plants—hmmm, a bit unorthodox, but who can argue his methods, when his passion for the plants is clearly steaming up the greenhouse windows.  Plus, he came so highly recommended, I am going to let it go.

greenhouse gardening grow lettuce in gutters

After Hudla left, Andy told me to go about my business while he introduced himself to my greenhouse plants.  First, he introduced himself to the lettuce, “Hello my beeeautiful baby salad.   How do you feel today?”

kissing strawberry plants andy

Then, I caught him talking to the strawberry plants, “Sweet succulent little strawberries, I will kiss you with my mind.  Mwah, mwah.”  Well, I put an end to that right away—let’s keep it G-rated, alrighty Andy?

greenhouse gardening puggle andy

After awhile, Lucy found her way into the greenhouse.  Andy swept her up and Lucy began licking his face. Luckily he likes to communicate with each living thing by “speaking their language”.

Let’s just hope a bear doesn’t wonder into the yard.  Still, I must admit, Lucy really took to Andy.  Do you think he could he be related to the pet whisperer Cesar Millan?

~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 Your Own Food – 5/1/2013 Garden Tally

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DIY Raised Garden Beds

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

*******

What a great time to be a backyard gardener! This past week we collected 80 eggs, fresh spinach, fresh basil, fresh chives and also grew some fenugreek sprouts as well. Being able to walk out your back door and collect a few ingredients to add to your dinner is pretty rad if you ask me.

I have a feeling that from here on out the weigh in’s will start to increase and I could not be more excited.

Yee- Haw. Let’s get farming!

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh organic  basil

Basil – 2 ounces

First basil harvest of the season. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

grow your own chives

Chives – 5 ounces

fresh eggs blue and brown

Egg Count – 936

Not only are chickens super low maintenance, but they lay magical eggs too. This week our gals left us 80 fresh eggs. We could not eat them all so we gave a few dozen to our German neighbor Hulda as a thank you for helping us re-pot some seedlings in the greenhouse. Bartering with your neighbors is rad!

romaine lettuce
Lettuce
– 10 ounces

microgreens
Microgreens 5 ounces

oregano container herb garden

Oregano - 1 ounce

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

fresh organic spinach

Spinach – 3 ounces

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -1 pound 2 ounces

We harvested a bunch more sprouts this week, I’ll be posting about those a little later, but if you don’t already grow your own sprouts, they are super simple to grow. Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

Rainbow-Swiss-Chard-picture

Swiss Chard 11 ounces

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 7 pounds 8 ounces
Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 936

little house in the suburbs
Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient living

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 – Amazing Garden Photos from Central Florida

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amazing garden photos florida

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!

raised garden planters container gardening

Here is what Nanette had to say about her garden-

My husband Bob and I live in Central Florida – DeBary and started gardening about three years ago. Well, it’s become our favorite past time. A freezer was purchased last fall and is constantly replenished with our harvest. With three growing seasons a year, we’re always, cooking, freezing or preserving!

Bob has discovered that he’s a bit talented when it comes to woodworking, too.

raised garden beds bean trellis

Last summer’s project was our greenhouse/shed. This spring he added more raised beds and a pole bean pergola and now he’s adding my outdoor sink and potting table! Needless to say, I think he’s great! {So do I!} I love your blog and always look forward to your new ideas and recipes

DIY greenhouse build your own

Our greenhouse/shed built from heat treated 2 x 4 wood that was being tossed where I work….of course, like your chicken coop project, we had to buy add’l finishing wood, but the “garbage wood” and the “trash” windows from our neighbor were the backbones (literally) and the inspiration.

We have been considering chickens (hens only!) for next year and your swing set chicken coop has my husband planning!

garden vegetables beans and onions

All I can say is OH MY WORD… Bob you are a freakin’ wood working rock star! Nanette, I cannot believe you two have only been at this for 3 years. You both must have the greenest thumbs on the planet!

Awesome Possum.

~Mavis

raised-garden-bedMelinda’s Garden Photos from Portland, Oregon

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.

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.

How to Choose a Good Tomato Plant

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 How to Choose a Good Tomato Plant

I was at a local store the other day and noticed a lady selecting a few pretty crappy looking tomato plants. I wanted to tell her not to buy them, but the sales clerk was standing right there so I didn’t {shame on me!}.

In case you are buying your tomato plants this year, here are a couple of things to look for to make sure you get a healthy plant:

  1. Choosing your variety:  Determinate, Indeterminate, or Heirloom?  For the first two, check out my post on determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes.  Heirloom tomatoes are from seeds that are passed down from generation to generation.  They usually have more flavor, color, etc. but they are more susceptible to disease.  
  2. Next, I know this seems counter-intuitive, but go smaller.  I’m not talking itty-bitty, but 4″-8″ is a great place to start.  They seem to do better when transplanted, because they are still small enough to develop a strong root system in your garden with relatively little transplant shock.
  3. Examine the leaves.  Look for leaves with uniform color {no yellow or brown spots}.  Choose plants with 4-6 leaves.
  4. Check out the stem.  It should be straight and sturdy, like Forest Gump after his leg braces.
  5. Check the soil of the container–make sure it isn’t dried out {indicating that the plant has probably endured some level of stress while at the nursery}.
  6. Choose a reputable garden center–sometimes the little extra money can make a lot of difference to the overall tomato yield. Plants that have been cared for by knowledgeable professionals can give you a nice big jump start.

Taking a little care up front in choosing your plants can totally add to the success of your garden {though, nothing is full proof, believe me, I have killed what started out as perfectly healthy plants}.

Do you buy your tomato plants?  What varieties will YOU be buying this year?  What do you look for when your are choosing your plants?

~Mavis

These are the tomatoes I will be growing in my garden this year:

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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