Friday Night at the Movies – The Secrets of Highclere Castle

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Tonight The Girl and I are going to watch The Secrets of Highclere Castle.  It is a PBS documentary on the true past and present of the castle and family Downton Abbey is based upon.  It’s supposed to be a pretty interesting look into the English aristocracy.  Plus, I LOVE my Downton Abbey, and think it would be kind of cool to know the basis.

The Secrets of Highclere Castle

It first aired on PBS in January, so some of you may have already seen it, I’m going to suck it up and pay the $1.99 to rent in on Amazon Instant Video, though.  I figure $1.99 for a night of entertainment for me and The Girl is more than worth it.

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.



How to Grow Fenugreek Sprouts {Start to Finish}

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fenugreek seeds botanical interests

Do you grow your own sprouts? My online boyfriend Ryan from Botanical Interests Seed Company asked me if I had tried fenugreek sprouts before {I hadn’t} so I decided to give them a try. The verdict? Delicious!

Have you tried them?

Brief description:  Fenugreek is a legume typically used as a spice.  When sprouted it provides high levels of vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants.

Where to Plant Fenugreek Sprouts:  In glass jars or sprouters indoors.  Keep out of direct sunlight, and make sure you keep them in a place with good air circulation.

victorio seed sprouter tray

Planting Seeds:  Fenugreek seeds must be disinfected and soaked prior to sprouting in order to minimize potential E. Coli.  To do this, simply soak in 1 tsp. bleach to 1 cup hot tap water for 15 minutes.  Then, rinse thoroughly.

I use a Victorio 4 Tray Kitchen Sprouter, but you could also use a canning jar to sprout.  Once you have disinfected seeds, soak them in plain old tap water for 6 hours.  This softens the exterior of the fenugreek seed.  Finally, spread your seeds out in the sprouter trays {or in the bottom of your jar}.  Fill the top tray with 2 cups of water and wait for it to trickle through.  Repeat the process every 12 hours using fresh water.  For a jar, rinse seeds and drain completely every 3-4 hours.

grow your own sprouts

Growing Tips:  Once sprouts are ready to eat, you can slow down their growth by placing them in the fridge, giving you a longer time to enjoy them.  Also, make sure during the rinsing process, you don’t let your seeds dry out completely–it will make them very angry.

How to Harvest:  When sprouts are ready, you simply rinse and eat the whole thing.  Fenugreek sprouts are best eaten before green leaves appear, though.

Cool Fact: Fenugreek is a widely used spice in India, especially in curries.  Fenugreek sprouts have an equally desirable flavor, with all of the nutritional benefits.

seed sprouter botanical interests

Because I’m all pumped up about sprouts these days, I just ordered the new Botanical Interest Seed Sprouter. I like the design of this one a little better than the one I have right now, plus it has 4 see through compartments which I think is pretty cool as well.

I’ll let you know what I think about it once I get it and try it out.

Peace Out Girl Scouts.

~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 Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

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 make your own hummingbird nectar
{
photo credit}

I am always so happy when I see a hummingbird in my yard.  Do you feel that way?  Like your garden is so hospitable that it attracts the most delicate little birds–like you’ve somehow arrived in the gardening world?  Okay, so maybe it has something to do with providing them with food, but whatever.  You can EASILY and CHEAPLY make your own hummingbird nectar.

You’ll need {brace yourself, this is an extensive list}:

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Cups Boiling Water
  • A container to store it in the fridge

That it–just mix the sugar to the boiling water, stirring until it dissolves completely.  Then, put it in the fridge to cool.  When you are ready, pour it in the hummingbird feeder as needed.  Easy right?

***Did you know hummingbirds’ heart rates are about 1200 beats per minute?  They typically weigh less than a nickel, and they can’t use their feet to walk or hop–only to scoot sideways if they are perched.  Crazy.

Want to attract more birds to your garden?  Check out my how-to post.

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 Wisteria and Sprucing up the Window Box

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trimming wisteria garden arbor gate{My garden gate – Fall 20012}

As soon as the Handsome Husband built a fence and garden gate with an arbor, I planted wisteria asap. In fact I’ve planted wisteria at every house we’ve ever owned {except the first one}.

For those of you who don’t know, wisteria is just about the easiest vine you can grow. The purple and white flowers are intoxicating and usually bloom twice a year. Once in the spring and again in the fall.

front porch flower garden

When I was at Watson’s Nursery recently I walked by a new shipment of wisteria plants and decided to purchase two of them. I couldn’t resist. We moved into this place about 5 years ago, and I wish I would have thought to have planted then at the front of the house then.

My hope is the wisteria vines will climb up the stone walls and cling to them. We’ll see. If it works, I think it will look amazing.

potato vine

While I was planting wisteria the other day I also went ahead and replanted my front window box. These sweet potato vines will look awesome this summer hanging down from the window.

pink geranium flowers

Bright pink geraniums. A total must have for any window box.

purple pansies

And my beloved purple pansies. The HH doesn’t care for them, but I do.

window box flowers

It’s hard to believe summer is just 2 months away, especially on chilly days like today. But I’ll tell you what. I can’t wait for all the flowers and vegetables to start growing like crazy. I don’t know if it will happen or not, but I’m hoping for an Indian summer. Bring on the heat! I’m ready.

Peace out Girl Scouts, make today beautiful.

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.

Garden Tips – How to Thin Seedlings

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how to thin seedlings

Every time I see little green sprouts start to pop up in my seed trays, I get excited.  Which is why I am always sad when the day comes that I have to thin my seedlings.  I know I have to do it, but each time, it is hard–like I am being forced to choose a favorite child.  Do you feel this way?

If I don’t thin them though, they will compete for water, nutrients, etc.  So, I have to suck it up and face the cold hard facts of gardening.  Ha.  If it is time to thin some of your seedlings {check yourseed packet for when to thin}, there are two basic ways to do it:

radish seedlings

You can pull out the excess seedlings, much like you are pulling a weed,  {if you choose this method, be very careful not to disturb the root system of the plant you are trying to keep}.  Occasionally, with plants like peppers and tomatoes, you can replant the pulled seedlings in a new location, but in all honestly, with varying results.

tomato seedlings under grow lights

The easiest way to thin seedlings is to use scissors.  Just trim the excess seedlings off at the base of the plant, as close to the soil as you can get.  The roots will die back and leave your remaining seedling undisturbed.  If you are growing your seedlings in trays, make sure to remove the trimmings and toss them {if your seedlings are already in the garden bed, you can just leave the trimmings in the bed}.

So how do YOU thin your seedlings? Do you pull, or cut?

~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 – 4/17/2013 Garden Tally

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How to grow your own food{Summer 2012}

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

*******

Well, it was another snooze fest {harvest wise} in the garden this week. Chives and eggs. That’s it baby. The weather is starting to warm up though so we will be direct sowing seeds soon as well as setting out more broccoli, cabbage and lettuce  starts. I love working in the garden this time of year, even when it’s sprinkling outside.

Will you be planting seeds this week? If so, what?

Mavis wants to know.

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:


beets

Beets - 14 ounces

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

chives growing in spring

Chives – 4 ounces


fresh eggs

Egg Count – 722

Last week we collected 82 eggs. We are giving them away to the neighbors like crazy these days. It’s kind of fun too.

microgreens
Lettuce
– 6 ounces
Microgreens 5 ounces

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -11 ounces

Rainbow-Swiss-Chard-picture

Swiss Chard 11 ounces

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 6 pounds 6 ounces

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 722

Get out there and grow!

~Mavis

Urban Homesteading Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living

Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable 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.

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.

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