Growing Vegetables in a Greenhouse – Spinach, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Strawberries and Tomatoes

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Magnum glass greenhouse

I snapped a few pictures of the greenhouse over the weekend and thought I would share.

daffodil flowers

The tulips and daffodils are still looking good. I’m been trying to decided what I’ll plant once the flowers die back. Ideally I’d like to have something tall in the flower pots. Something that will last all summer long.

What do you think would work well?

grow food in gutters gardening

Check out the gutters. Don’t they look cool with all those veggies growing in them?

spinach seedlings

Spinach seedlings.

swiss chard seedlings

Swiss chard {I’ll have to start thinning these soon}.

lettuce seedlings

Mesclun salad greens. They should be ready to harvest in about a month or so.

romaine lettuce

The heads of romaine lettuce are doing AWESOME. I was going to transplant these outside, but they are doing so well in the gutters I think I’ll leave them in there until it’s time to harvest.

grow strawberries in gutters

The strawberry crowns I transplanted into gutters are thriving as well. If you’ve never tried growing strawberries in gutters before it’s a piece of cake. Just remember to make sure they have plenty of room to spread out and you’ll be fine. If I remember correctly I planted the strawberries about a foot apart.

strawberry blossom

First strawberry blossom of the season.

Chinese cabbage seedlings

Even though the Chinese and purple cabbage is thriving in the greenhouse, I think I’ll plant the starts in the main garden this weekend. I need the room. My goal over the next week or two is to re-pot all the tomato plants we have growing inside under grow lights and move them out to the greenhouse.

Typically I plant tomato plants outside in the main garden around Mid-May. They need a week or two to harden off and placing them in the greenhouse for a few weeks should help with that.

How about YOU? When do you plant your tomatoes? Do you grow them for seed or are you happier buying tomato starts instead?

~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.



Succession Planting – Grow More Vegetables in Your Garden

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Succession PlantingDo you do succession planting in your garden?  If not, it is totally worth the bit of extra planning.  Succession planting is basically staggering your plantings so that you get a continuous harvest of a particular fruit/veggie, rather than all at once and then you’re done.  It’s also a great way to fill those spots that previously harvested food left behind {i.e. in the transition from early spring crops to summer crops}.

burpless-cucumbers

When it comes to getting a continuous harvest from a particular type of veggie/fruit, certain plants work better than others.   Here’s a basic guide on succession planting for a continual harvest:

Green Beans – Plant every 10 days
Beets – Plant every 14 days
Cucumbers – Plants every 3 weeks
Kale/Colloards – Plant every 3 weeks
Lettuce – Plant every 10-14 days  {this is my favorite thing for succession planting.  It’s impossible to eat it all at once, so having different types of lettuce that will produce every couple of weeks is perfect}.
Melons – Plant every 3 weeks
Radish – Plant every 7 days
Spinach – Plant every 7 days
Summer Squash – plant every 6 weeks
Sweet Corn – Plant every 10 days
Carrots – Plant every 2-3 weeks {as weather allows, stop when it gets too hot and resume in late summer/early fall}
Cauliflower – Plant every 2 weeks {as weather allows, stop when it gets too hot and resume again in late summer/early fall}
Turnips – Plant every 7 Days

dinosaur-kale

If you decide to try square foot gardening, succession planting is an awesome way to make sure you get the most out of your space.

What are your favorite crops to stagger planting?  How do you space them?

~Mavis

vegetable gardening
Vegetable Gardening: From Planting to Picking

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.

Testing the pH Level of Soil

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Testing the pH Level of Soil

Have you ever had your soil tested?  I recently tested mine with this super simple Luster Leaf pH Soil Testing Kit.  Basically, you just need soil samples and distilled water.  To do the test, dig a couple of holes {the test comes with 10 capsules for testing} in your garden about 6″-8″ deep, collect some dirt, and put it into the provided test kit, as per the instructions.  Top it off with distilled water, and voila:  the pH of your garden.

luster leaf Testing the pH Level of Soil

pH testing your garden soil can save you tons of money.  It basically tells you exactly how to amend you soil so that you don’t have to guess.  You can waste a lot of money on fertilizers, etc. with zero benefits, because all you needed to do is change to pH of your soil.  Raising or lowering your pH is a fairly simple and cheap task, to make soil more acidic, add finely ground limestone.  To make soil more alkaline, add gympsum or ground sulfur.

Testing the pH Level of Soil

pH levels in soil affect how well your plant can absorb nutrients.  Most garden plants {but not all} prefer somewhere between 5.5-7.0 pH level.

You can order the Luster Leaf pH Soil Testing Kit from Amazon or pick on up the next time you’re at your local home improvement store.

Here’s a nifty little guide for the most common garden fruits and veggies, in case you decide to test your soil:

Ideal pH Levels

Asparagus 6.0-8.0
Beans 6.0-7.0
Beets 6.5-8.0
Blueberry 4.0-6.0
Broccoli 6.0-7.0
Cabbage 6.0-7.5
Cantaloupe 6.0-7.5
Carrots 5.5-7.0
Corn 5.5-7.5
Cucubers 5.5-7.0
Eggplant 5.5-6.5
Grapes 5.5-7.0
Lettuce 6.0-7.0
Onions 6.0-7.0
Peas 6.0-7.5
Peppers 5.5-7.0
Potatoes 4.8-6.5
Sweet Potatoes 5.2-6.0
Strawberry 5.5-6.5
Radishes 6.0-7.0
Raspberry, black 5.5-7.0
Raspberry, red 6.0-7.5
Rhubarb 5.5-7.0
Spinach 6.0-7.5
Squash 6.0-7.0
Tomatoes 5.5-7.5

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.

Can You Grow Potatoes in a Square Foot Garden?

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square foot garden

Yesterday was an amazing day with lot’s of sunshine. I was able to work on a few garden projects and one of them was planting a few more vegetables in our square foot garden.

square foot garden peas

As of today we have 14 of the 32 squares planted. The sugar snap peas and celery we planted 2 weeks ago are doing great.

square foot gardening strawberries

Mr. Gnome Guy has been able to keep the baby slugs at bay in the mini strawberry patch.

red seed potato eyes

While we were cleaning out the garage over the weekend I found a few more seed potatoes. Against my better judgement I went ahead and planted 2 squares with 1 seed potato each. Carrots may love tomatoes but potatoes sure don’t.

I should probably pull them up and plant them somewhere else. We’ll see.

cheddar cauliflower

When I attended the Seattle Tilth Edible plant sale last month I picked up a cheddar cauliflower plant. I’ve never grown  orange cauliflower before so I’m pretty excited.

snow peas 1 month

I also transplanted a few snow peas {which are great in stir fry} I had growing in tiny pots in the greenhouse.

square foot gardening

So far we have peas, celery, radishes, carrots, onions, beets, Swiss chard, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes growing.  Maybe some kale too. I can’t remember. Ha! Luckily I am pretty good at identifying leaves, so I guess I’ll just have to wait a few weeks until and see what I’ve I planted.

This exactly why using plant markers is such a good idea.

Okay, so what do you think? Should I remove the potatoes? Or just go for it. I mean really, how much damage could 2 little potatoes do anyway?

~Mavis

All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author 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.

Mavis’ Top Garden Books – Real People, Real Stories

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How-to-build-an-arbor{Spring 2009}

In spring of 2008 we built the house we live in now. Over the summer, I created our first garden bed {12′x20′} and filled it will tons of tomato, cucumber and zucchini plants. Even though we had moved to a wooded neighborhood,  it still never occurred to me the deer who roamed freely up and down the street would bother my t garden.

Until the day came I looked out the window and spotted a lone deer in my garden. She had just finished off my last tomato plant and was smiling at me. I was beyond peeved. Gardening season was over for the year as far I was concerned.

Animal_Vegetable_Miracle

Over winter, I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Lifeby Barbara Kingsolver. It changed everything. All the sudden I didn’t just want to dabble in gardening, I wanted to grow it all. And I was going to need a very tall fence. {This was also around the same time the Handsome Husband starting talking about wanting to move to a condo.}

I spent almost the entire winter of 2008/2009 reading up on gardening, food miles and simple living. Which in hindsight was pretty funny because we had just built this big house in the suburbs and now all I wanted was to move to a small farmhouse to grow vegetables and raise a couple of chickens. I was ready to downsize even before the paint was dry.

Tomato-plants raised garden beds{Spring 2009}

Books are funny that way. They change you. And sometimes if you are really lucky, hidden beneath the pages you’ll find what you were meant to do. What makes your soul happy.

For me that was gardening. Growing more than just a few tomato plants here and there has given me some sort of purpose over these past few years, and I can’t help to think it’s because I found the right books to read, at the right time.

Here is a short list of my favorite books about gardening, home life and everything in between.

I hope you like them as much as I do.

~Mavis

See You in a Hundred Years- I learned I never want to plow a field with horses.

Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet - I learned I need to live within 100 miles of a sugar cane field.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer - I learned I never want to live near gang members or have a goat.

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love - I learned having a CSA would be a tremendous amount of work and I am happy just growing enough food for my family, friends and neighbors.

The Amish Cook: Recollections and Recipes from an Old Order Amish Family-  If could could have internet, and a washer and dryer, I think I could totally live like the Amish do. The Handsome Husband however, is another story. Ha!

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 Poppy Flowers {Start to Finish}

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poppy seed packets

I don’t know about you, but I love poppy flowers and I just can’t get enough of them. This year I planted 3 varieties:

Brief description: Poppy flowers are absolutely gorgeous.  They are very heat and drought tolerant, so they require almost no care {yay!}.  They are technically an annual, but have been known to overwinter, even in colder climates.

Where to Plant Poppy Seeds:  Plant in raised beds, garden beds, and borders in full sun to part shade.

poppy seeds

Planting Seeds:   Start seeds outdoors 4 weeks before average last frost.  To sow, scatter seeds and then gently rake them in.

Growing Tips:   Deadhead fading flowers to encourage new growth throughout the summer {unless you plan on harvesting your poppy seeds for later use}.


red poppy picture poppies{photo credit}

How to Harvest:  To make poppy flowers last longer in a vase, cut them and burn the poppy stems.  Since their stems bleed a milky substance the second you pluck them, poppies quickly wilt if the ends aren’t sealed. Burn the cut stem ends immediately with a lighter, match or candle, then plunge them into cool water for a lasting display well worth the work.

Facts about Poppies:  Poppies are a narcotic. They are used to make Codeine, Morphine, and Opium.  Poppy seeds are also a treat to many birds, so if you choose to let your flowers dry out and harvest the seeds, try mixing them in with your bird seed.

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

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 16 of 52

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RAISED GARDEN BEDS

Week 16 of 52 – Mavis’ Backyard Gard

potting bench with flowers

Wow! What a great day for gardening. The temperature outside right now is only about 45 degrees, but the sun is out and with no rain in the forecast for today I plan on spending all day outside.

RAISED GARDEN BEDS

For mid spring, I think the garden is looking pretty good. 9 of the 16 raised garden boxes have been planted and the sugar snap peas we have growing along the fence and up the teepee poles are doing great.

RAISED GARDEN BEDS

The potatoes I planted about a month ago still have not broke through the soil yet. I’m hoping it will be any day now. I may have to go out and take a peek if I don’t see green popping up soon.

glass greenhouse  wooded backyard

The poppies and rhubarb we planted in the perennial garden are starting to leaf out and before too long the artichokes should be catching up to them.

glass greenhouse

Yesterday I planted some extra seed potatoes along the sides of the greenhouse. Over the winter I transplanted our perennial chives along the edges along with some extra seeds. Hopefully the potatoes and chives like each other. I checked my companion planting chart first, so I should be okay.

potato towers garden gnomes

The potato towers are holding up and so far Lucy the puggle dog has not tried to pull the straw out of the wire cages. Fingers crossed she continues to stay away from them. I think having the gnomes nearby helps distract her a bit. Although she does love to run in and out of the wood pallet compost bin quite a bit these days looking for treasures.

wooded backyard

Here is the view from the back deck.

omlet chicken eglu coop

Nothing is growing in the future pumpkin patch yet but weeds. Pumpkin seeds won’t be planted until June 1st.

raspberry patch

The raspberry patch is growing like crazy!

raspberry plants western washington

Here is a view from the kitchen window. I can’t wait to see what it looks like about mid-June.

container herb garden

And last but not least, my herb container garden. All the pots have been planted and we are ready to grow, baby, grow!

Peace Out Girl Scouts, get out there and 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.

Ask Mavis – Beneficial Flowers for a Vegetable Garden to Deter Pests and Attract Good Bugs

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Beneficial-Flowers-for-a-Vegetable-Garden-to-Deter-Pests-and-Attract-Good-Bugs

I have the most amazing readers, and most of the time, it is me learning from you, but every once in awhile, someone sends in a question that I think, “Hey, I bet lots of people would love to know the answer to that.”  So, I am going to try to feature some of your questions and answer them, the best I can.

Michelle writes:

Hey Mavis, do you have problems with rabbits? Anything to deter them without an ugly fence? I just remembered the cute furry things love my yard but this year I want them to stay out. I see marigolds are good for bugs, but what other flowers/plants do you suggest to grow with veggies to help deter pests (worms) and attract the good insects (bees/ladybugs)??

First, let’s start with the bunny issues.  How is it something so cute and furry can be so stinkin’ destructive to a garden?  Though, I’ve had toddlers {they weren’t furry, thank goodness}, so I don’t know why it comes as a surprise.  Really hungry rabbits can be a bit difficult to deter, you can try surrounding your garden with plants that  give off a fragrance that animals find offensive.  Lavender and Geraniums are probably the best choice–plus they are both pretty, so they will not be an eyesore like the fence you mentioned in your question.

fresh-Italian-basil

Attracting the good bugs with plants is much, much easier than deterring rascally rabbits.  As you mentioned, Marigolds are good.  Herbs are also great for attracting bees and ladybugs.  Specifically, high nectar herbs, like borage, dill, yarro, lovage, mint and fennel {plant fennel on the exterior of your garden though, because it can diminish the growth of other plants}.   The good guys also love certain flowers:  Anise Hyssop, Calendula {which have edible petals}, Cosmos, Sunflowers, and Zinnias.

companion planting

Companion planting is a great way to deter unwanted bugs/pests.  Certain plants play nicer with others, so be sure to check out my companion planting chart to make sure that you compliment the veggie or plant you are trying to protect.  Examples of companion planting to deter unwanted pests/bugs would be planting basil near tomatoes.  This union not only deters bugs, but brings out the flavor of tomatoes.  Planting garlic, thyme, and chives around squash gives off a smell that is repugnant to whiteflies, aphids, etc.

I hope that helps, and thanks for your question Michelle!

~Mavis

Update: Reader Romy had this to add – The easiest and totally effective way to keep rabbits out of the yard is to use blood meal. They will not go anywhere near the smell of blood meal. All you have to do it put it around your yard or the area you plant in. They will stay far-far away…

You do have to re-apply as needed but highly effective. Thanks Romy!

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.

Backyard Gardening – Raised Garden Bed Pictures

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raised garden beds

Today is going to be another wet and soggy day here in the Pacific Northwest but here is the view from the back of the main garden. A few years ago we installed 16 raised garden beds and ever since then I just can’t stay out of the dirt.

gnome sugar snap peas

Mr. Gnome Guy #9  is from Miami, Florida and he has been doing a fantastic job guarding our sugar snap peas. The pea vines should begin climbing up the teepee poles any day now.

garlic bed in spring

The garlic is coming along nicely and should be ready to harvest in late June or early July.

artichokes raised garden beds

Artichokes. Lucy has a horrible habit of running though the artichoke bed and tearing off a leaf as she passes through. What a total stinker!

square foot garden

The square foot garden so far has 9 of 32 squares planted. I think I’ll try and get outside this weekend and plant a few more. Every time I walk by I stop and stare and wonder where on earth I am going to place the tomato plants. I still have not figured out how many should be planted or which ones I’ll stick in there.

raised garden beds onions radish

Onions and radishes, companion planting is cool!

radish leaves

Radish leaves. I wish I could remember which variety this is. I planted 5 different types this year.

raised garden bed cabbage

Cabbage and radishes.

raised garden beds home gardener

On days like today, I wish there was some sort of fast forward button I could push and it would be June. The plants need sunshine and warmer temperatures to thrive, not this wet and windy weather we’ve been having lately.

Growing food is cool, there is no doubt about it. But waiting to plant all your seeds is tough!

How is YOUR garden growing? Have you planted any seeds lately? Do I dare ask if you have harvested anything yet?

~Mavis

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

Friday Night at the Movies – Fresh

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Tonight, I am going to watch Fresh.  It’s another food documentary that looks at our food production methods.  It also shows farmers and businesses that are trying to make changes that would have a positive impact.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of these.  It always invigorates my gardening goals.

If you decide to watch it, let me know what you think.

fresh

Amazon Prime Members can watch Fresh for free.

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.

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