Mavis Mail – Zoe From Pennsylvania Sends in 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 an awesome garden this summer. Keep them coming!

************

Zoe lives in Pennsylvania and is pretty much a rock star when it comes to recipes using real ingredients. She is a cousin of my friend Mama JJ, and she recently sent in some amazing photos of her farm and had this to say:

Hello Mavis!

I was going through some pics and found some garden ones. I remembered you sometimes feature these things on your blog so I thought I’d share…

I’ve been gardening since I was a kid. First I helped my parents, then I got into growing strawberries for 4-H and then eventually had my own little plot on which I grew lots of annual flowers. I loved it.

So when my husband and I got married, we dug up some dirt, and started growing vegetables. Currently we have “the big garden” out back, “the little garden” by the barn, the raised beds, the orchard, and the pea fences and grape arbor.

raised garden beds

We’ve had this set-up for 5 years now. We always get a good grape crop but the orchard and the big garden sometimes don’t do very well.

We have no idea what we are doing when it comes to fruit trees so any fruit is a nice surprise. The big garden is situated where there used to be a tobacco barn and we think the soil has some issues because of that. We are working on slowly building it up. Sometimes crops grow great in there but other times, they are complete bombs. Oh well.

SONY DSC

The little garden and the raised beds almost always perform quite well! We grow about everything…strawberries, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, carrots, kohlrabi, rhubarb, asparagus, onions, cabbage, broccoli, kale, peppers, tomatoes, corn, green beans, various dried beans, garlic, cucumbers, squashes, melons, beets, herbs, and I’m probably forgetting some things.

garden with chicken coop

In the one picture you’ll see my chicken house. We currently have 17 birds. 15 eggs a day is a lot for a small family but I love gathering them, washing them up, and giving them to people.

SONY DSC

There’s also a pic of my husband plowing the big garden. He’s using his grandpa’s little old John Deere H. I love that thing!

SONY DSC

Right now my basement has a grow light in it and I have a bunch of starts growing down there. I can’t plant stuff out as early as you can but in another month I should be able to set out some of the cool weather crops. Can’t wait! I am ready for some summer sun and dirt between my toes!

Well that about covers it!

Thanks! Zoe

To find out what Zoe does with all her fresh fruits and vegetables, visit her blog Whole Eats &Whole Treats. She is awesome, and I wish she was my neighbor.

~Mavis

raised-garden-beds-1{Robin from Columbus, Ohio – Garden Photos}

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.

chickens isle of man{Betty & Margo, on the Isle of Man sent in by reader Angie from The Cinnamon Coach}

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.



Kew Royal Botanic Gardens – Succulents

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Kew Royal Botanic Gardens - Succulents

In order to get to the gorgeous orchid display at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens we had to walk past an enormous collection of succulents. I thought I would share a few of those photos with you this afternoon because the plants were so amazing.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens  Succulents

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens cactus Succulents

kew gardens succulents

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

I don’t know what these plants are called, but they were my favorite.

cool cactus plants

aloe plant

prickly cactus

Pretty awesome if you ask me. Sadly, I don’t think an outdoor cactus garden would thrive here in the Pacific Northwest but they sure are fun to look at when we visit botanical museums.

Are you able to grow these types of plants where you are? Any advise for the rest of us who would like to grow a few but don’t live in the ideal climate?

~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 Fava Beans {Start to Finish}

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packet of fava beans

Yesterday I planted 2 packets of Windsor Fava Beans in front of the chicken coop area.

In a week or so when the beans start to pop through the soil I’ll set out the Swiss chard and kale plants in front of the fava. Fava bean plants can get as high as 4 feet tall, so I think the fava bean, kale and Swiss chard combo will look pretty cool once everything is at the peak of its growing season.

I haven’t grown fava beans in ages, so I’m pretty excited about growing them this year. Now that we have a boatload more garden space carved out in the backyard I’ll be able to try all sorts of new veggies. I’m excited!

If you have never grown fava beans before, here is how to do it:

fava beans

Brief description: Fava Beans are also known as Broad Beans, Field Beans or Windsor Beans.  The beans are sweet, sized like a lima bean, and best when harvested and grown in early spring.

Where to Plant Fava Beans:  Fava Beans are a cool season plant.  They can be planted in garden beds, raised beds and containers.

soak fava beans before planting

Planting Seeds:   Seeds must be soaked for 12-24 hours before sowing.  Then sow seeds 1″ deep.  When seedlings are 1″ tall, thin to 1 bean every 4″-6″.

Growing Tips:  Plant in a full sun area.  Plants do best when temperatures do not get above 60-65 degrees.  Fava Beans do not need fertilizing, so long as they are planted in quality soil.  They like well drained soil and should be watered just before the soil completely dries out.  Do not over water, though.

fava beans
{photo credit}

How to Harvest:   Fava Beans have different harvest times depending on how you plant on using them.  When harvested young, the entire pod can be eaten.  In the middle, they are best shelled and cooked, and finally, you can wait until the shell turns hard and brown  to store the beans dry.  To harvest, pick as you would a snap bean.

I think I’m going to do a little of both this year, eat some fresh, and also dry some beans to use later this winter in soups.

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 are a few Fava Bean recipes to try:

Arugala and fava beans Crostini
Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini

grilled rainbow chard with fava beans and oregano
Grilled Rainbow Chard with Fava Beans and Oregano

Fact:  Did you know that there is a small population with a genetic condition called Favism?  People who have the conditions should not consume Fava Beans.  Who knew?!

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 – 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.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel