How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

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How to Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

Have you ever made your own newspaper pots before? If you haven’t, they are are super easy to make. Some people use tin cans, but I prefer to use the Pot MakerI’ve found I can whip out a batch of 50 pots for my seedlings in about 20 minutes or less.

pot makerHere is a quick tutorial on how to use the Pot Maker.

newspaper

Cut newspaper strips 4″ by 9″ each. {20 pots = 20 strips of newspaper}how to make a paper pot

Cover pot maker with newspaper and roll.
make your own paper pot

Make sure your paper is wrapped tight around the pot maker.how to make a paper pot

Fold the bottom of the paper inward.how to make a paper pot

Place the newspaper wrapped pot maker in the stand that’s included with the kit and give it a little twist.how to make a paper pot

And a jiggle.how to make a paper pot seedlings

Then slowly remove the newspaper from the wooden pot maker. how to make a seedling paper pot

It’s that easy.
paper pot for seedlings

Add potting soil, seeds and a little bit of water and you’re good to go. DIY-paper-pot-seedlings

These pots are not only easy to make, but pretty thrifty too. Free newspaper √ Free labor √ {have your kids make them} Life is good! Bontanical Interests has the Pot Maker on sale right now for $12.98.

Do you make your own pots or just buy them at the store instead?

~Mavis

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How to Plant Raspberry Canes

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raspberry canes

We’ve been growing raspberries in our backyard for 4 years now. 2 years ago we had a bumper crop. Last year, not so much. But after a recent inspection of the canes, things are looking good for this year and we are excited. If you have never grown raspberries before, give them a try. They do take a few years to really get going, but trust me, they are worth the wait.

Brief Description:  Raspberries are a sweet delicate fruit.   An established raspberry patch pays for itself very quickly, as they are typically super expensive to buy.   {If you decide to buy them in bulk as I did, they will look like this.  Basically a bunch of roots.  You can place an order online or simply go to your local feed or hardware store to pick some up.  Individual canes run about $1-4 depending on the variety.  3 years ago I placed an order for 100 Cascade Delight canes I purchased from Spooner Farms in Puyallup, Washington.}

Where to Plant:   Raspberries require 1-2 inches of water per week during the growing season, so plant in an area with adequate access to water.  They need full sun and good air circulation, so avoid planting them next to a building or fence.  

Growing Tips:  Once established, raspberries must be pruned.  Consult with your local nursery on how to prune, as different varieties have different needs.

How to Plant:  I created  7 rows of raised beds each about 8″ high.   I filled the rows with a mixture of old compost and topsoil and covered the roots with about 2″ of dirt.  I then planted the canes about 1′ apart {the experts say plant them 2′ apart, but I’m a rebel}.

raspberry cane how to plant

My raspberry patch  has 7 beds with each bed about 12 feet long.  I left 2 feet between the rows for walking.  I also installed 6′ posts at the end of each row and stung string {you are suppose to use wire} at 3′ and 5′ heights to support the canes.

raspberry patch

How to Harvest:  Pick the berries when they are a deep red color {or whatever color is appropriate for the variety you chose.}  They should be soft, but not squishy.  You should be able to pull them from the cane quite easily, if you need to tug, they are not ready.

My Favorite Raspberry Recipes:  

summer dessert recipes raspberry buckleRaspberry Buckle

how to make raspberry sorbetRaspberry Sorbet

Little Known Fact:  About 90% of all the raspberries sold in the United States come from Washington, Oregon, and California.

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How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

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How to Plant Fruit Trees in Your Backyard

Fruit trees are best planted when they are dormant–in most locations that means somewhere between November and April.  The key to getting a great crop of fruit from your fruit trees is to have more than one tree, because most fruit trees require cross pollination.  If you don’t have enough space in your yard for more than one tree, try drafting off of your neighbors–think beyond the fence, another fruit tree next door will still provide pollination in your backyard.  Keep in mind, too, that most fruit trees take a couple of years to bear fruit.  So, while you might not get a crop this year, they are an investment in the future {shall we all hold hands and sing at that thought?}

After you have decided on a variety that will thrive in your climate, it’s time to put that sucker in the ground.  Most fruit trees prefer a sunny, well drained area.

how to plant a fruit tree in your backyard

First, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball.  It should be deep enough for the bud union to be slightly above the ground and the root ball to be covered completely.  Fruit trees have varying depth requirements, though, so use this as a guideline and check with your nursery for individual depths.  Depending on your area, you may need to amend the  soil.

Next, place your tree in the hole.  You can throw some bark and mulch into the hole around the root ball to deter weeds from invading your precious little tree’s turf, but it is not absolutely necessary.  Remember that the tree will settle a bit with time and water, so plan placement accordingly.

basket of apples

Finally, back fill the hole with dirt.  Break up back fill dirt as you place it around the tree.  Once you have back filled completely, you can compact the dirt back down with the back of your shovel.  Stake your trees for the first year while they are developing a strong root system.  Dwarf trees typically require support permanently, as the heavy fruit on their small frames can be too much.  Water your newly planted tree thoroughly.

Fruit trees {most trees, really} need religious watering as they establish themselves.  Water thoroughly every 7-10 days in the warmer/hot months.

Now, sit back and enjoy the “fruits of your labors”–ha!

~Mavis

 

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How to Grow Lettuce {Start to Finish}

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mesclun lettuce seed packet botanical interests

This morning I started a flat of  Valentine Mesclun Lettuce and placed it under a set of grow lights in the office. The cool thing about lettuce is you can grow it year round, and you can grow it inside too. Which is awesome in the winter time when the weather pretty much stinks.

picture of lettuce seeds botanical interests

Lettuce seeds are super tiny, and if you are careful one packet of seeds should be enough for an entire season of salad. But, if you are a salad freak like I am, then I would grow as many varieties as I possibly could.  My favorites are Romaine, Buttercrunch, Mesclun, Gourmet Baby Greens, and Oak Leaf lettuce.

romaine lettuce starts{I started this flat of Romaine lettuce I started about 7 weeks ago}

Where to Plant Lettuce:  Lettuce can be planted in garden beds, raised beds, or pots.  It likes cooler temperature and can be planted in a shady area.

recycled wood pallet garden

Planting Seeds:  Plant 1/8″ deep, with 1/4 to 1/2″ seed spacing.  Space rows 6″ apart.

Growing Tips:  Lettuce thrives in milder temperatures, so it is best planted in early spring.  It can be started indoors anytime of year.

picture of lettuce grown in a garden

How to Harvest:  Snap off mature leaves, but careful not to pull up the whole plant.

recipe bbq chicken salad

 My Favorite Lettuce recipeBBQ Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, and Apples

Did you know the average American eats 30 lbs of lettuce per year?  Holy cow!  How do you think you compare to the average?

Looking for more delicious salad recipes? Check out the book Super Salads: More Than 250 Super-Easy Recipes for Super Nutrition and Super Flavor By Reader’s Digest.

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: Planting Radish & Spinach Seeds

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With sunny skies and temps in the mid 50′s, Sunday was a perfect day for planing spring crops.  This time around I planted French Breakfast & Crimson Radish seeds as well as Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach from Botanical Interests Seed Company.

The French Breakfast Radish is a new one for me.  I’ve seen these yummy radishes at the farmers market before but I have never tried them.  According to the package I should expect to be pulling up radishes in about a month.  I can’t wait.

And the spinach… Well let’s just say the Handsome Husband will be excited when the leafy greens are ready to be harvested.  Ever since he bought The Girl a blender for her birthday he has turned into a smoothie freak.  The HH intends to make spinach smoothies {oh yum} as soon as it’s ready to be harvested.

Is it just me?  Is he weird?  Have you tried a spinach smoothie before?

My new garden assistant: Big Martha.

I still have about 45 days until the tomato plants are ready to go into the garden boxes {Mother’s Day is the best time to plant tomatoes in the Seattle area}. So I went ahead and planted both the radish and spinach seeds in my raised garden boxes.  Just to be on the safe side though, I planted the seeds about 6″ from the edges as well as down the center of the garden beds.  Although the radishes are supposed to be ready to harvest in 28 days, the spinach can vary from 28- 50 days.

By planting the seeds near the edge of the garden boxes and down the center, if the radish and spinach are not ready to harvest by the time the tomatoes need to go into the ground, everything will be fine.  There will still be plenty of room for my tomato starts.

Planning ahead is key when you are dealing with a limited amount of growing space.  There is nothing worse than planting to much of one item and running out of room for the next.  Tomatoes, potatoes and squash are my first priorities this year.  But with a little planning, I think I’ll be able to fit everything in I want to grow.

Ye–Haw!  Now we’re farming!

Did you get a chance to work in the garden last weekend?
What’s on your to-do list?

 

Botanical Interests Heirloom Seeds

 

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How to Grow Your Own Food: Repotting Tomato Seedlings

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I spent yesterday morning repotting 120 117 of my heirloom tomato plants.  I had 3 casualties.  Not bad.  Repotting tomato seedlings really gets me excited about gardening. There is no greater taste on earth than biting into a real, sun ripened, heirloom tomato grown right in your very own backyard.

Caution: Growing your own tomatoes can turn you into a tomato snob.  Once you have  had a real tomato, you’ll start to walk past the pathetic, gassed, unripe, mushy ones they sell in the stores.  Getting back to the land, and growing your own food, does something to you.

It gives you back your taste buds.

You slowly start to remember what real food used to taste like when you were a kid.  Memories of picking vegetables from your grandmother’s garden and sitting on the porch steps eating fresh onions and tomatoes, raw out of the garden, start to come back to you.

If you want to eat real food, you’re going to need to grow it yourself.  Or at least live next door to someone who does.

A few more weeks under the grow lights and these re-potted heirloom tomatoes will be making their way out to the greenhouse to harden off.  Wahoo!

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit

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How to Grow Your Own Food: Planting a Perennial Herb Garden

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Yesterday I was able to spend almost the entire day in the backyard.  It was pure bliss.  When I woke up this morning my hands were all rough and dry from playing in the dirt.  Ahhh yes, we are getting close.  Pretty soon I’ll be heading out to the garden at the crack of dawn to fend off slugs, water the crops before the afternoon heat and to spook the squirrels out of the garden.  I can’t wait!

Garden project #1 on my list yesterday was to spruce up the perennial herb garden.

This year I will be growing:

Chives {planted 3 years ago}
Sage {new this year}
Rosemary {died last year, planted again this year}
Oregano {planted 3 years ago}
Mint {planted 2 years ago}
Thyme {I’ll pick it up at the Farmer’s Market}

This year I also planted about 100 green onion bulbs in the herb garden.  I figure they’ll be ready to harvest around early June, just before the oregano & mint take off, overwhelming the raised herb garden.

I’ve also started a tray of cilantro and basil under grow lights . My plan to move those out to the greenhouse in a few weeks as soon as the temps average about 70 degrees in there.

Plus, I have a ton of chive seeds I collected last year. Once the weather stabilizes a bit I’ll be looking for a nice patch or two of land near the greenhouse to plant them.  I can’t wait!

Is it finally starting to feel like spring in your garden?

What kind of herbs will YOU be growing this year?
Am I missing something?

The Cook’s Herb Garden

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: How to Plant Rhubarb

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This rhubarb crown is the ugliest thing I have ever planted.  A face only a mother gardener could love.  As with several plants in my garden this spring, I had no idea I was going to plant rhubarb until I spotted it at a local nursery. A few years ago I had picked up 2 rhubarb plants at a local farmers market.  I planted them and everything was going well, until the chickens found them.  The chickens somehow managed to eat every last bit of the plant {down to the ground} and the rhubarb never came back.

So, when I spotted rhubarb for only $3.99 per crown, I couldn’t resist.  I bought a pair.

I choose a garden location rich in natural compost {the old chicken coop grounds}. I then loosened the soil about 12″ deep by 12″ wide, set the crown in the hole and covered it.  I buried the top of the crown about 1″ deep.  Since I’m not into using store-bought chemicals or fertilizers, {although I do use Miracle Grow about twice a year} after planting the rhubarb I simply added a plant marker and walked away.

My view on pest control and fancy fertilizers is this:  Did the pilgrims use them?  No.  So why should I?  I truly believe all you need is good soil, water and sun.  That’s it.  That is my secret.  Oh… and a fence to keep the chickens away {that’s a biggie}.

Peace out Girl Scouts.  As soon as I get the kitchen cleaned up, I’m off on another project.  Have a great day!

Mavis

 

Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden

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How to Grow Your Own Food: Planting Onion Seedlings

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Out of all the vegetables I use, onions would be ranked #1.  I use onions in stir fry, soups, pot pies and practically anytime I cook meat in a crock pot.  In fact I can’t imagine cooking without them.

So in an effort to reduce our grocery budget, and to try to grow 2,000 lbs of vegetables in my backyard this year, it should come as no surprise that I will be planting a boat load of onions.  I think transplanting 300-500 seedlings should be enough.  This includes, Sweet Onions, Red Onions, Shallots and Leeks.

Yesterday, it stopped raining long enough to transplant the Walla Walla Sweets and Red Onions I started back in January out in the garden.  A few years ago I had success planting onions at the base of  our raspberry canes, so I decided to do it again this year.

Intercropping {planting two or more crops in the same space, at the same time} is not only a great way to save space in the garden,  but it cuts down on time & money spent on watering as well.  Onions are more of a cool weather crop, so they will benefit from the shade of the raspberry plants as they begin to fill out.

What’s on my agenda for today?

Well, it’s not raining at the moment so I think I’ll dash out to the greenhouse, grab the leeks, and get them planted.  I’m thinking about planting them between the rows of strawberry plants.  I hear the the two plants are compatible.

What’s on your to-do list today?

The Complete Guide to Companion Planting

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How to Grow Your Own Food: How to Plant Raspberries / Raspberry Canes

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If you don’t have a raspberry patch of your own, or you simply want to add new canes to your existing patch,  here’s a great how to guide on raspberries.

If you decide to buy them in bulk as I did, they will look like this.  Basically a bunch of roots.

You can place an order online or simply go to your local feed or hardware store to pick some up.  Individual canes run about $1-4 depending on the variety.  3 years ago I placed an order for 100 Cascade Delight canes I purchased from Spooner Farms in Puyallup, Washington.

Once I got the canes home, I created  7 rows of raised beds each about 8″ high.   I filled the rows with a mixture of old compost and topsoil and covered the roots with about 2″ of dirt.  I then planted the canes about 1′ apart {the experts say plant them 2′ apart, but I’m a rebel}.

My raspberry patch  has 7 beds with each bed about 12 feet long.  I left 2 feet between the rows for walking.  I also installed 6′ posts at the end of each row and stung string {you are suppose to use wire} at 3′ and 5′ heights.

The first spring I planted raspberries, I also planted onion starts along the rows.

 

This is a picture I took of my raspberry patch last summer.  As you can see the neighborhood kids are barely able to walk between the rows of foliage and berries. Wowza!  What a difference 3 years makes.

What do we do will all the berries we harvest?  We eat them fresh, make jam and then typically freeze the rest to use throughout the year in desserts and smoothies.

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

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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