Mavis Mail – Robin From Columbus, Ohio Sends in Beautiful Garden Photos

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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 this story and the amazing backyard garden photos Robin from Ohio sent in:

Four years ago my partner and I bought a foreclosed abandoned sprawling ranch on an acre of land in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.  We kicked the raccoons out of the attic and started working on creating a sustainable suburban mini-farm.

brown tan rain barrel

Our biggest surprise to date was finding a 16,000-gallon cistern under the house!  We’ve renovated it and now water the acre with rainwater collected off our roof.  All the gutters on the property either go into the cistern or rain barrels.  We’ve put a hand pump on the original well (we have city utilities).  We built a dry creek bed and rain garden to put the sump pump run off to good use.

purple clematis

There was nothing here in the way of landscaping except for a few “Charlie Brown” type Christmas trees.  We’ve added hundreds of perennial flowerbeds, emphasizing native-Ohio plants.  On the edible side, we have veggies from March through December.  We’ve added perennial fruit (strawberries, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries) and apple and peach trees.

red zebra tomatoes

This year we will finally harvest our first asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes.  We have herbs of all kinds, and every veggie you can think of – from a corn patch, potatoes, cold weather crops, peppers and tomatoes out the wazoo.  We are 100% organic and use a lot of compost and aged (free) horse manure.  The soil has improved dramatically. Where there was only dead dry earth, you can now find a million worms.

When it rains, if you’re quiet, you can actually hear the little dudes working their hearts out for us.  Ohio-native plants like Joe Pye Weed, Goldenseal and Black-eyed Susan attract beneficial insects, birds, butterflies, bees and bats.

greenhouse with solar panels

This past year, we added our first set of solar panels on a back shed and built a greenhouse (with the help of our friends).  I plant my veggies in seed trays and put them under lights on my homemade grow table in winter.  Then the cold weather stuff goes out to the hoop house and the less-cold tolerant plants (tomatoes/peppers) go to the greenhouse.  The greenhouse is passively heated via 55-gallon barrels of water.  The food grade barrels I bought on the cheap from the Pepsi plant.

purple lilac

Holy Canolies Robin. You have done an amazing job and I am in LOVE with your fenced vegetable garden {and the wood chip paths too}. Awesome stuff!

~Mavis

Want to see more Garden Tours from around the World? Go HERE.

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.



Blueberry Bushes, Fruit Trees, Strawberries, Rhubarb, Raspberries, Roses Now in Stock!

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apple trees

Yesterday I picked up some fruit trees at Wilco that were on sale for $14 each. Even if you don’t have a Wilco {they have stores in Washington and Oregon} now is the time to stop by your local nursery. Stores are beginning to get their new stock in for the year, and now is the best time to buy if you want to get the pick of the litter.

dwarf fuji apple tree

Costco also has combination fruit trees in stock right now for $15.99 each, and regular fruit trees for $11.49 {call your store first} to make sure they haven’t sold out}. I thought about buying my fruit trees online, but I really like the staff at my local Wilco. They are incredibly knowledgeable, and really take the time to help you select the right plant for your yard. That kind of help, is something you just can’t get from a big box store in my experience. So buy local if you can.

rhubarb crowns

Another thing to be on the lookout for is rhubarb. Last summer I made some Rhubarb Cinnamon Jam is was so stinkin’ awesome, I decided to pick up a few more rhubarb crowns when I spotted them yesterday at Wilco too.

wilco blueberry bushes

Now is also a great time to purchase blueberry bushes. Even though I already have 12 blueberry bushes, I think I might pick up a few more for the garden.

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. But it can be dangerous, all those plants? I wish I could have them all. Hmmm. Maybe I need to find more land.

Will YOU be buying and new fruit trees this year? If so, what kind?

I don’t want to miss out.

~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 – 2013 Garden Tally

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mavis garden blog

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

mavis butterfield

February is turning out to be the official month of grunt work. Which is fine really, because at least the weather is on my side. I know some of you out there still have snow or below freezing temps. So I’m not complaining, I just wish I could start planting vegetables outside right now.

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

The chickens found these for me a few weeks ago.

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

Carrots! In February? I was walking past the raised garden beds yesterday and noticed wee bit of orange popping through the soil. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen it before, but sweet diggety dog, 2 carrots. I’ll take ‘em!

egg count 2013

Egg Count – 101 {2.8 per day average}

We are still waiting for all the chicks we brought home last fall to start laying. I am especially curious about Hilda, Matilda and Peanut. They are all Easter Eggers and we are hoping they’ll lay blue and green eggs for us.

mesclun lettuceLettuce – 4 ounces

We harvested our first harvest of lettuce yesterday! I started the lettuce in early January and there was enough mesclun salad mix for us all to have a small salad with dinner last night. I trimmed the lettuce down to the nubs so hopefully we’ll get another crop in about 2 more weeks. I’ll keep you posted!

cool kitchen scale

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

We found these beauties in the garden a few weeks ago and made potato soup!

bean sprouts

Sprouts - 8 ounces -

I’ve got more growing in the kitchen right now! Sprouts are great in stir fry and sandwiches.

cut wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 5 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 4 pounds 11 ounces

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 101

Have YOU drawn out your garden plans yet? Are you trying anything new this year? If so, what?

~Mavis

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more. I have this book and it’s great!

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.

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

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Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

This afternoon I harvested our first crop of mesclun lettuce. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow of course to find out exactly how much it weighed {don’t hold your breath}. I wanted to share my favorite recipe for balsamic vinaigrette with you because it’s so simple to make. In fact once you start making your’re own, you’ll probably never go back to store bought dressing again.

Here is my basic balsamic vinaigrette recipe:

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons to your salad and toss. Enjoy! Store any extra dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

botanical interests mesclun lettuce

Want to grow your own salad mix this year but don’t know how? Head on over HERE to learn how to grow lettuce from start to finish.

 

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 Microgreens {Start to Finish}

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botanical interests micro greens seeds

This morning I planted a flat of micro greens under grow lights in the office. I’ve grown Micro greens in the past and the thing I LOVE about them is that they can be harvested in as little as 10 days. Pretty stinkin’ awesome if you ask me. How’s that for a little instant gratification?

If you are surrounded by snow, or it’s too chilly to grow anything outside right now, try some micro greens. They’re easy to grow. I promise!

Brief description: Micro greens are the tiny form of edible veggies and herbs.  They can be added to salads, sandwiches, and used as a garnish.  They are très chic right now in upscale restaurants.

Where to Plant Micro greens:  Micro greens can be grown indoors in containers all year long.  For a continual crop, you can sow them every 2 weeks.

micro greens seeds

Planting Seeds:  Plant 1/8″ deep, with 1/4″ to 1/2″ spacing.  Thinning is not necessary.  Plant seeds into large shallow containers.  They like a lot of light, so place in a sunny location or use a grow light.

microgreens{photo credit}

Growing Tips:  Micro greens pretty much grow themselves–keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy.

How to Harvest:  Plants should emerge in 2-5 days, they are ready to harvest when they are 1″-2″ tall and leaves have unfolded.  Pick at the base of the plant, close to the dirt, wash thoroughly  and eat fairly immediately.

Here is a cool Micro Greens recipe to try:

baby greens with roasted beets and potatoesBaby Greens with Roasted Beets and Potatoes 

Micro greens are not the same as thing as sprouting.  Micro greens are harvested above the soil and grown in dirt.  Sprouts are grown entirely in water and the entire plant is consumed, including the seed, root, and under-developed plant. Learn more about how to grow sprouts HERE.

Looking to buy some Micro Greens? I’m growing the Savory Micro Greens Mix from Botanical Interests. You can find the seeds HERE.

microgreens book how to grow

Want to learn more about microgreens? Check out the book Microgreens: A Guide To Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens. It’s awesome!

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.

Giveaway: 3 Readers Each Win The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food

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The gardener's guide

One of the questions I get asked all the time is Mavis, what is your favorite gardening book? So today I thought I offer a giveaway for 3 copies of my all time favorite gardening book: The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Foodby Tanya L.K. Denckla. I was given this book a few years ago at Christmas time and have been using it every year since.

The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food is packed with 6 big chapters covering everything from vegetables, fruits and nuts, herbs, organic remedies, and allies and companions. The book is easy to read, and there are tons and tons of organic remedies included to prevent or help control plant diseases and garden pests

In a nut shell, this book rules, and I love it.

All you have to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment below and let us know: What’s your favorite day of the week and why?

Rules

1 entry per person/ip address. If you cheat, you will totally be disqualified.

This giveaway ends Sunday, February 10th, 2013 @9 pm PST and the winners will be announced in the February 11th, 2013 edition of Mornings with Mavis.  You will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim your prize. If you do not claim your prize within 48 hours the books will be donated to my local library.

Good Luck!  I hope you win!

 

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 – Repotting Artichoke Seedlings

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artichoke seedlings 1 month 4 weeks

This morning I re-potted my artichoke seedlings I started on January 4th. I tried direct sowing some artichoke seeds late last summer, and they were off to a good start until the chickens gobbled them up. Bad chickens.

I have high hopes for this batch though, and if all goes as planned, I’ll have an entire 8×4 raised garden bed full of gorgeous artichoke plants by the end of the summer.

1 month 4 weeks artichoke seedling

If you have never transplanted seedlings from a flat to individual pots before, here is how I do it.

For starters, I try and re-pot the seedlings once they have a couple true leaves {which is actually their second set of leaves, not the first set that emerge from the soil}.

When re-potting your seedlings try and avoid touching the roots as much as possible to avoid stressing them out too much.

how to transplant seedlings potting soil
Place a bit {about an inch or two} of potting soil in the bottom of the new container, place the seedling in and and enough potting soil to cover the roots. Press the soil gently around the plant to hold it in place.

artichoke plant seedling 1 month

Give the plant a drink.

artichoke seedling picture

Even though these artichoke plants were ready to move to a larger container, they are not ready to be transplanted outside until after the last spring frost date {around April 15th in Western Washington}. Since I am going to be running out of space soon in the office, I plan on purchasing a small heater for the greenhouse this week so I can slowly start to move my seedlings out to the greenhouse one at a time.

artichoke seedlings

When I’m ready to move my starts out to the greenhouse, I’ll start with leaving them out in the heated greenhouse for an hour the first day, then two hours the next day, and then a few more then a few hours, until they are ready to reside in the greenhouse until mid-april when I’ll be able to plant them in the raised garden beds. It’s a process for sure, but a fun one at that.

Has the garden bug hit you yet? Got any dirt under those fingernails?

~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 – Rocks, Rocks and More Rocks

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mavis butterfield

Today I hauled rocks, rocks, and more rocks. And I’m still not done.

rock border

Moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other isn’t exactly fun, but at least I’m getting my exercise in. Which is probably a good thing because the Tacoma City Marathon I signed up for is in exactly 90 days.

Do you think gardening counts as cross training? I think it should. Especially since I have been seriously slacking off in the “walk/jog/run” part of my training program. If I at least have the cross training {gardening} part covered, I should be fine. Right?

mavis butterfield

Oh well.  I’ll still have another 75 feet of cross training shoveling dirt and moving rocks to go. And then I’ll be done. Yep, then I’ll have time to get some exercise in. Unless of course I find something else to do in the backyard.

rock border mavis

What did you do today?Exercise? Shovel snow? Watch the game? Party like a rock star? Do tell, because I bet it was more exciting than moving rocks.

~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 Endive {Start to Finish}

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endive seed packet

This morning I planted a flat of endive. It was the first time I have ever planted it and I’m pretty excited. I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to more, it’s funny leaves or to actually eat it. All I know it that it looks cool, and therefore probably tastes cool too.

endive seed

Brief description: Endive is a leafy green that classes up any salad.  It also dresses up flower beds and gardens, as it is considered an ornamental edible, as well.

Where to Plant Endive:  Plant in cool weather {early spring or late fall}  in containers, beds, or raised beds.

endive{photo credit}

Planting Seeds:  Start indoors 10-12 weeks before last frost and transplant outdoors 4-6 weeks after starting.  Plant seeds about 1/4″ deep and thin to 1 plant per seed pot when plants reach about 1″.

Growing Tips:  Care for endive much as you would lettuce.  It does not need a particularly fertile soil to thrive and it tends to like cooler climates.

How to Harvest:  Plants are ready to harvest when they reach about 10″-15″ tall.  The entire plant can be harvested, leaving only the base.  Tear off with your hands at the base of the plant.

Endive Recipes to Try:

endive saladMixed Greens with Mustard Dressing – Bon Appetit

Fun Fact:  Endive is a cool weather plant, and its taste actually improves after exposure to a frost.

Have you ever had endive before? What did you think?

~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 6 of 52

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raised garden beds

Week 6 of 52 – Mavis’ Backyard Garden Plot

Things are moving right along in the garden. I am finally starting to see a dent in the rock border {left side of the picture} and think I’ll be done moving the rocks I need for my last rock border pretty soon. When I’m finished, I’ll have Monkey Boy move the rest of the rocks to the front yard for me.

rock garden

It’s official, I have decided to plant sunflowers and zucchini along the fence. I’m hoping the sunflowers will attract some bees, but I’m not exactly sure how I am going to keep the birds away from pecking at the seeds. Any ideas?

bean teepee

I haven’t decided if I’m going to move the bean tepees yet. I really like them, but I want to do something else with the area. I’m not sure where I would move them though.

garden bed logs

This log garden looks a little shabby right now, but I have BIG plans for this space. It’s going to be awesome!

garden pictures

I still have not figured out what I am going to do here, maybe flowers?

magnum glass greenhouse

I’ve had the doors of the greenhouse open for the last few days to air it out, and once I scrub the roof panels and breathable fabric flooring, I’m hoping to move some flower and vegetable starts out there pretty soon because I’m running out of space in the office for my plants.

wood stump

This area behind the greenhouse is VERY shaded and I’m not sure what I’m going to grow. Maybe some greens?

backyard garden

Burn baby burn! The backyard garden area is starting to take shape. We still have about 7 stumps to burn, but I think this area is going to be pretty darn awesome once we get it prepped for growing vegetables.

omlet chicken coop eglu cube

This is the latest rock border I’m working on. I’ll post some more pictures of it in a little bit.

cascadia raspberry canes

I had thought about moving the raspberry patch, but in the end decided to leave it where it was. We need to reset the posts at the end of the rows and prune the canes.
raspberry patch

This year instead of dedicating an entire garden box to a herb garden, I’ve decided to plant chives along the sides of the greenhouse and grow mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and a few other herbs in containers. I’ve never really grown herbs in containers before, have you? Any advise?

Alright, that’s about it. How are YOUR garden plans coming along?

~Mavis

098

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.

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