Mavis Garden Blog – Barktopia 2013

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orange bark

This picture is for all you wonderful people out there who left me encouraging comments about my bark snafu telling me not to worry, that the orange bark wasn’t really that bright and don’t worry Mavis, it will be okay, the bark will fade in a few months.

Really? After seeing this updated picture do you still believe everything is under control here in Mavisland?

I can’t stop laughing it’s so bad.

~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 10 of 52

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raised garden bedsWeek 10 of 52 – Mavis’ Backyard Garden Plot

Grab a pair of sunglasses, because you are are going to need them.

Holy crack is this bark orange or what?

fence potting bench

I wonder how long it will take the bark to fade? On a positive note, the techno colored bark does make everything else POP.

pallet garden

Now that the pallets are in place, all I need is for the weather to warm up a bit and I’ll be able to set my lettuce starts out.  I’m thinking about installing 2 or 3 potato towers to the right of the pallets. Last year they kind of bombed, but I think it may have been because I didn’t water them as much as I should have. If I place them in the main garden, I think they’ll have a better chance.

bean teepees

 There will be no missing the bean teepees, that’s for sure. We didn’t get the bark until late yesterday afternoon, and this is where Monkey Boy and I ran out of steam.

raised garden beds

Hopefully by this coming Friday all the bark in the driveway will be moved and I can order one more load for next weekend. If all goes as planned, we will only need a total of 30 yards to cover the entire area as opposed to the 75 yards Bark Guy said we needed.

pallet garden

You can’t really see it in this photo, but the poppies are starting to some up. Also, we planted around 20 artichoke starts in this area as well. I thought they might look cool mixed in with the poppies. What do you think?

glass greenhouse

In the next week or two this area will look a little different. More transplants will make their way out to the greenhouse and it should start to really fill up by the end of the month.

wood pallet compost bin

A whole lot of nothing going on here.

wooded backyard garden

I would like to add 2 more raised garden beds somewhere on top of the landscape fabric. But where?

Do you see all the bulbs popping up under the cedar tree? Pretty cool if you ask me. I’ll take some pictures this week. The Girl is counting down the days until she can create some spring bouquets for her teachers.

omlet chicken coop

A couple of you have suggested I plant some hosta plants alongside the log and I think it’s a great idea! As soon as I can find some I’ll grab a few and get them planted.

omlet orange chicken coop

See the new little island of soil? I’m not sure what what I’ll plant there, but probably a cool weather crop because the area is pretty shaded. As for the chicken’s garden, I’m now thinking about planting some fava beans about a foot from the fence and kale and Swiss chard in front of the fava beans.

backyard garden

The pumpkin patch won’t be planted until mid June.

grey hose

I’m such a slob. Can’t even get the hose picked up for pictures.

HERB GARDEN

And last but no least, the herb garden that’s not quite a herb garden yet.

How is it going at YOUR place? Has the snow melted yet? We didn’t get any this year {booooo} and now it’s too late {I hope} so it’s time to get this garden started.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, get some sunshine, 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.

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

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How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

I love the sound of the birds chirping as I tool around in my garden–it’s such a tweet, ahem, treat.

If you want to turn your backyard into a bird-lovers paradise, here are a few sure-fire tips to ensure that you are a good bird hostess:

  1. Provide plenty of fresh water for drinking and bathing.  This is especially true in the winter, when birdie resources are a little more scarce.  Birds will stay close to a consistent, clean water source.  
  2. Provide a variety of feed.  Since variety is the spice of life, providing a couple of different feeders with different types of bird seed will increase your odds of lots of types of birds.
  3. Plant pine trees.  In the winter, quite a few types of birds seek the protective qualities of pine trees.  They can hide easily from predators and pines provide a little more shelter from the elements.
  4. No pine trees?  No problem.  Put a pile of branches and twig in the corner of the yard.  A lot of birds prefer to make their homes on the ground in the safety of thick brush trimmings.
  5. If possible, provide running water.  The sound of running water will attract birds from miles away.  Obviously, this is easier to do in the summer, when fountains, etc. are on.
  6. A lot of birds dine consistently on bugs, but will supplement with fruits.  Cut up apples or shrubs with fruits {think holly, elderberry, honeysuckle, etc.} provide another supplemental food source that will draw in the birds.
  7. Clean out bird houses {if you have them} yearly.  Birdhouses can foster bugs and parasites, so for the safety of any new inhabitants, it’s best to give them a good cleaning once a year.

How do you bring birds to your garden?

~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 Create a Spring Flower Basket Using Moss

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How to Create a Spring Flower Basket Using Moss

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is put together spring flower baskets. Luckily we have about as much moss as one could ever want growing in our backyard, so putting a few pots together is a snap. If you have never put your own spring basket together, here is how I do it.

metal flower baskets

First grab a few containers.

moss for garden baskets

If you don’t have moss in your backyard, you can purchase fresh moss from a flower shop or bags of dried moss from home improvement or craft stores.

garden basket moss

When I’m using moss, I like to use pots or baskets that have a few openings {or in this case many} so the moss will seep out and add a cool textured look when it’s all put together.

moss lined flower baskets

Gently line the baskets with moss. Make sure your moss goes over the edges of the container a bit, that way after you are done placing all your flowers in the container, you can fold the moss back  in to the pot a bit for a cool look.

tan puggle dog

Wrestle your garden tools from your helper, and find a few plants.

spring flowers

Last fall I planted oodles of spring bulbs in the backyard. Luckily, I reserved about 100 bulbs or so and planted them in plastic trays to use in my spring flower containers.

spring blooms

The tiny pink primroses, violas and hot pink ranunculus flowers came from The Home Depot.

tulip bulbs

I always like to set the bulbs in the center of the container. For this basket I am using tulips and daffodils. Sadly I forgot to tag the little pots of tulips so I have no idea what color they will be.

Once the bulbs are set in the basket, fill in the rest of the space with your other flowers. When you are finished, fold the moss back into the basket for a bit of a more natural look.

DIY spring flower basket with moss

And there you have it. How to create a spring flower basket using moss. C’mon spring!

How about YOU? Are you ready for spring yet?

~Mavis

spring flower baskets tulips and daffodils

Update: Here is what the flower basket looked like 1 month later.

container gardening

Looking for more container gardening ideas? Check out Easy Container Gardens by Pamerla Crawford. It’s a great book!

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 – The Neon Bark Bomb

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orange bark

Late last week I went to the place where they sell topsoil and bark. Normally I would have placed an order  over the phone, but instead, I drove out there so I could make sure I was ordering exactly what I wanted. You know, not that horrible neon orange bark you see in everyone’s yard when you drive through suburbia.

shades of bark

The only problem was, it was raining heavily when I was out there and it was kind of hard to tell which variety I was suppose to order.

I mean, wet bark looks totally different than dry bark, right? Right?

brown puggle dog 10 weeks

Now maybe you live in a town where you can get bark for free. Or you know someone with a wood chipper, or your local road crew will deliver it to your house for a small fee after clearing brush and downed trees. Sadly, I do not live in such a place.

I have to buy my bark to keep my yard looking like everyone else’s. A lot of the neighbors use a bark blowing service. So I called the guy and basically he said I needed 75 yards of bark and that he was going to charge an arm and a leg. I thought he was crazy. So I politely declined his professional opinion and will now be spreading my own bark thank you very much. I think I only need 30 yards, he says 75, so we’ll see.

mavis butterfield

The only problem is, I ordered the WRONG FREAKIN’ SHADE OF BARK.

It may not look like it now, but just you wait. I’ll be posting my backyard garden tour pictures this afternoon, and you are going to pee your pants  it’s so awful.

And there is nothing I can do about it either.

Now I’m stuck with this neon orange crap because I couldn’t exactly ask the guy with the big truck to shovel it back in his truck once I  realized I had made a MAJOR ERROR.

~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.

Money Saving Tip – How to Find Free Containers For Your Garden

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I posted this story last Spring but I thought it was worth posting again in case any of you are looking for some free containers for your garden.

Yesterday, I went to the Home Depot to pick up a gallon of stain for the garden boxes.  As I was waiting for my order to be processed, I headed over to the flower section to see if there was anything I was interested in.  On the way there I passed by a  man who was carrying a black 5 gallon plastic pot.  The kind of plain Jane pots trees come in when you buy them at a nursery.  Knowing I needed to find a bunch for my greenhouse, I excitedly asked him where he found the black plastic pot.

“Over there” he pointed, as he walked by, “and they are only $9.42 each”.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  Did he just say $9.42 each?  For a plastic pot?  I thought I must have heard wrong so I went to take a look.  Sure enough, Home Depot was selling the common black plastic pots for almost $10.  Holy canolies Batman, who on earth would PAY for a black plastic pot I thought.  What a dip. I smiled, let out a little laugh and then headed outside to the nursery area. After all, I had 15 minutes to burn until my stain was ready so I took my time walking past the tables and carts of flowers and shrubs .

And then BAM!  I found gold. Did you know the Home Depot has a “recycling” program?  Oh yes, yes they do Bob.  Of course this is all news to me, but apparently if you purchase a tree, plant, flower, yada yada, at Home Depot, you can bring the growing container back for recycling.  Wowza!  There should be a press release on this for the cheapskates like me out there. Not to mention “I’ll happily pay $9.42 for a plastic pot” guy in his brown leather shoes and pressed chinos.  Not that he would want to necessarily put a used {dirty} container in his sports car or anything, but still, knowledge is power.

So in stealth like fashion I quickly scooped up all the buckets I could carry {I didn’t want to leave the pots unattended to look for a cart} and headed over to the cashier stand.  Yada Yada Yada, “Can I have these?”  “Suuuuure” she said, obviously unaware of the riches I was holding in the form of black plastic pots.  “Knock yourself out.”

Wahooo what a find!  Not only did I get a boatload of large black plastic pots for the greenhouse from the Home Depot, but I also stopped by the Albertsons bakery department and asked if they had any cookie or frosting buckets they wanted to get rid of.  Mr. Master Baker {who has seen me before} simply pointed to the back of the bakery and said “Take whatever you want.”  And so I did.

You know what they say…

One mans trash is another man’s treasure.

How about YOU?  Have you scored any awesome freebies lately?

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 Peppers {Start to Finish}

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grow peppers in a greenhouse

I just planted a flat of pepper seeds under grow lights this morning. I’m so excited!  My goal is to grow enough peppers for canning homemade salsa.

pepper seed packets

This year I am growing

Brief description:  Hot Peppers are typically used to add a little “heat” to a variety of dishes.  They can be stuffed or used in sauces and salsas.  Their flavor ranges from mild to hot, depending on the variety you choose to grow {the seeds inside the fruit are typically where most of the heat resides}.

Where to Plant Hot Peppers:   Plant in a sunny spot, in a container, raised or garden bed.

what do pepper seeds look like

Planting Seeds:  Plant seeds 1/4″ deep.  When transplanting, plant seedlings about 2 ft. apart.  Peppers, like tomatoes, are very cold sensitive, so if starting indoors, make sure they have a nice warm place to grow.  Avoid transplanting outside until temperature is at least 65 degrees.

Growing Tips:  Don’t over fertilize peppers, it will cause them to get more leaves at the expense of the fruit.  Also, don’t allow them to go through any sort of drought–they are not very tolerant of abuse.  Most peppers will require some sort of support.  Cages work great.

How to Harvest:  To harvest, cut pepper off at the stem.  Wear your garden gloves when you harvest these guys, a broken pepper can cause absolute warfare if you unknowingly touch them and then your face!

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

Here is one of my Favorite Hot Pepper recipes:

Recipe Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

LKFLKU {Little Known Fact, Little Known Use}:  Hot Peppers actually make foods safer.  They naturally reduce harmful bacteria on foods.

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.

Pallet Gardening 101: Creating a Pallet Garden

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wood pallets

This year I will be planting a large salad garden, and I thought it would be fun to grow my lettuce and other greens in pallets to change things up a bit in the backyard.

All you really need to do a little pallet gardening is a wood pallet, some good soil and a few seeds. Using a wood pallet to start a garden can be a great space saver, plus as a bonus, there is no soil to til or weed. This is exactly the kind of project young children would love, especially if they could have their own wood pallet.

heat treated wood pallet

What to look for in a wood pallet:

If you live in the Tacoma area you can purchase new pallets from Girard Wood Products in Puyallup, Washington for about $9 each. We purchased our pallets here for this years wood pallet garden. The photo you see above is a picture of some recycled wood pallets we found behind buildings last year.

Personally, I suggest using a new, clean, fresh pallet.

But  if you like to live life on the edge, 

Here are a few pointers when looking for recycled pallets:

Look for a pallet that has HT stamped somewhere on the pallet. This means the pallet was heat treated, or kiln dried as opposed to chemically treated.

Because you can never be sure that chemicals were stored on an old pallet or that there is some sort of bacteria lurking inside the recycled pallets, I would scrub the wood down with some bleach and soapy water and let it dry out before using it to plant anything.

Also, watch out for old, rusty nails or staples.

how to make a pallet garden

When I first pictured my wood pallet garden, I thought I would only use 3 wood pallets. But every time I walked by something about it didn’t look right. So I decided to expand the pallet garden to include 6 wood pallets.

pallet garden

One of the cool things about gardening, is that there are so many different ways to grow food. So many containers to chose from, and more growing methods than I care to imagine. Everybody has an opinion, and there own way of doing things. And I think that’s the best part.

pallet garden DIY

No two gardens will ever been the same, or have the same growing conditions, but the desire to try new things is something we all have in common. Wouldn’t you agree?

DIY Wood Pallet Garden

So here we go. This is my new pallet gardening area.  I planted more lettuce seeds this morning, and I’m ready to get started. Next on the agenda is getting the area mulched so it looks a little more put together and like it belongs in a suburban backyard.

pallet garden lettuce

If you an apartment or condo dweller and want to “grow up” a vertical pallet garden might be the way to go instead. Anyway you look at it, garden is about the coolest hobby on the planet.

Will you be using any ultra-creative methods in your garden this year?

If so, please let us know in the comment section below.

~Mavis

Looking for a little more inspiration?  Small Space Container Gardening by Fern Richardson is a great place to start.  Amazon currently has Small-Space Container Gardens in stock and ready to ship.

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 – The Real Dirt on Farmer John

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Tonight The Girl and I are watching The Real Dirt on Farmer John.  It’s a PBS documentary about a man, who after years of struggle {it appears both internal and external}, is able to rally and evolve from traditional farming into a thriving Organic CSA Food Co-Op farmer {sheesh, that’s a mouthful}.  Farmer John is described as quirky and unique–hmm, I don’t know where I’ve heard that before?  Ha!

The film, although, a little bit older, got great reviews, and apparently, Farmer John has gone on to write a cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables, which is also getting great reviews on Amazon.

the real dirt on farmer john

Amazon Prime Members can watch The Real Dirt on Farmer John 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

 

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 – Transplanting Artichoke Seedlings

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artichoke transplant 8 weeks

Practically ever garden center has had artichoke seedlings out for a few weeks now. So yesterday I decided it was finally time to get my artichoke bed planted. I went ahead and took the seedlings out of the greenhouse and set them along side the glass panes for a few days just to be sure they were ready.

8 weeks artichoke seedlings{This picture shows only half of our artichoke seedlings}

The doors to the greenhouse have been open for the past week, so I wasn’t worried about shocking them, but I still wanted to play it a bit on the safe side.

Generally, I like to plant my starts out a few weeks AFTER I start to see stores selling them. More often than not, big box stores {and some nurseries} sell their vegetable starts way before they are actually ready to be planted, which of course just sets new gardeners up for failure. It makes me crazy.

artichoke raised garden beds

My goal is to somewhat duplicate the gorgeous artichoke bed I saw in the French Laundry Gardens in Napa Valley last year. They were spectacular. I don’t even know if I’ve ever tasted an artichoke before, but for some reason I feel compelled to grow them.

How about YOU? Have you ever grown artichokes before? Are they pretty easy to grow?

~Mavis

How to Plant Artichoke Seeds

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