Mavis Mail – Melissa From Southern California Sends in Her Garden Photos

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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 next summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

This week we get a peek at Melissa’s amazing garden in Southern California.

growing squash in southern california

Hi Mavis, I love your blog.My husband and I have been married for 41 years and we have always gardened, even when we lived in a trailer in TX while going to college.

growing pole beans with lattice

We have lived in Southern California {right by Disneyland} since 1978 and a year later we bought a house and started a garden. We have a HUGE compost pile that has been really helpful in amending our sandy river bed soil.

bunny eating cabbage leaves

We had indoor bunnies for pets for 12 years and the litter box contents were great for the compost and also to spread directly on the garden.

braided onions

We keep meaning to get chickens but have decided that traveling is more important to us than chickens. :)

squash spreading over the patioThe birds and bees love our backyard because of the garden and our fruit trees and because we are organic (except when the basil is still young – we would never have basil if we didn’t apply Sevin once or twice).

Every year I plant a basil plantation, from seed or pony packs from Lowe’s, and make pesto to eat, share, and freeze.

All the Best,
Melissa

purple flowering bush

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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.



Mavis Mail – Alison From Pennsylvania Sends in Pictures of Her Colorful Garden

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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 gardens. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

This week we get a glimpse {through gorgeous pictures!} of Alison’s amazing garden in Pennsylvania. Wow!

Alison1Hi Mavis,
I love reading your blog. Gardening is my number one hobby. I begin planning my garden in December/January. Usually about the time that my counter-top sprouts just aren’t enough of a garden for me. I hope you enjoy the pictures of my garden (Zone 6a in PA).

I love Swiss Chard and nasturtiums. I must have them every year. My son’s Guinea pig has unfortunately developed a Pavlovian response to my voice because he expects me to bring him Swiss Chard whenever I pass by his cage.

Alison2I love this picture of garden bounty. The tromboncino squash crack me up whenever I look at them. They’re pretty easy to grow and a lot of fun to see the neighbor’s reactions to its unusual shape and size. It has a really nice nutty taste.

Alison3Amber is my awesome garden helper. Her number one gardening tool is her tennis ball. She’s able to toss her ball right where I’m working so I have no choice but to pick it up and throw it for her. When she sees me putting on my gardening hat, she’s off to get her ball. Weeding takes twice as long, but who can resist that face?

Alison4Marigolds everywhere! I have a thing for yellow marigolds. This year I grew 144 of ‘em and lined my main raised beds with them. They wound up crowding my peppers and eggplants a bit too much. Next year, I’ll go back to a sweet allyssum border for the peppers and eggplants.

Alison5Above, is the my broccoli house that I built using free plans from the blog, Bepa’s Garden. I stapled tulle fabric to inside of the frame and voila! For the first time ever, I had broccoli without one cabbage worm. I used sprouting broccoli that’s been going since May producing just enough for a stir-fry meal here and there.

Alison6Yes, I love marigolds.They’re such happy flowers. The above picture is at the edge of my main L-shaped raised beds with a center bed with a knock-out rose and lavender. When I planted the rose, a stray creeping jenny sprout came along. I now have a carpet of creeping jenny that’s turned my center circle into an amorphous amoeba shape. My youngest son loves to come out and walk barefoot on it and has admonished me not to pull it out. I’m afraid next year, it’s going to need taming along with the lavender.

Alison7To the side of my L-shaped beds, I have a line of four diamond beds. Last year, these had tomatoes in them. This year, it was various combinations of greens. This bed has a border of dwarf kale with strawberry popcorn in the center. The kale needs a bit of a trim in this picture, but overall it was a powerhouse plant. I’ve had a constant supply of kale since June. Dwarf kale is now on my must grow list.

Alison8Behind the diamond beds are the 13’ hop towers. And, in case you’re wondering, they are not just for show. My husband harvests the Cascade hops each year and makes a special harvest beer. This year, he made a blueberry saison lager.

Alison9It looks pretty wild because my garden butts up against the wild part of our yard. The garden entrance is covered by a grape trellis. After waiting for three seasons, I have discovered that the grapes that I bought are not what the labels described them as. They were supposed to be seedless table grapes. What I have are seeded and pretty sour. The birds were quite happy with them though. The border outside the fence is all deer resistant flowers and herbs: sage, mint, oregano, calendula, thyme, chives, cone flowers, lambs ears and more. The half-moon herb bed at the front of the picture is new this year.

Alison10Here’s a view of Garden 2012. I use electrical conduit for hoops to put bird netting over the strawberry beds. The birds around here are pretty crafty in doing the limbo under the netting. During strawberry season, I find myself rescuing a least one bird a week from under the netting. They can get in but not out apparently. The plan for next year is to develop a better cover. You can also see that I use electrical conduit for trellises between beds. Arches are such an appealing shape.

Alison12Swiss Chard bed from 2012. The nasturtiums and chard are a great combo. I covered them briefly against leaf miners early in the season hence the conduit hoops.

Alison13Ah, blueberries. I need more of them! They’re under-planted with strawberries and some self-seeded violas. Who has the heart to pull out a volunteer viola?

Alison14Another view of the creeping jenny carpet. Not an edible but the chartreuse color is irresistible. This is from 2012. It’s filled in all the way to the raised beds behind this season.

Alison15Flowers are a must. I usually try to winter-sow these petunias and collect seeds at the end of the season. These originally came from a totally purple petunia basket that I bought three years ago at a nursery. In the back is elephant head amaranth. I originally planted it in 2011. I have not ever had to replant. It self sows every year. I just transplant them to where I want them to be.

Alison16Garden 2014 on their first day hardening off sheltered in my messy garage. My husband started to get a bit weary helping me move the table in and out of the garage until they were ready to go in the ground. I think a new system is in order for next year. The last picture is my light set-up. Yep, all 300 plus plants are grown on a 6 foot 48 in wide shelf unit with florescent shop lights suspended from the shelves.Alison17

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Mavis Mail – Genevieve From South Florida Sends in Garden Pics

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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!

~Mavis

This week we travel to South Florida with reader, Genevieve, who shows us that container gardens can yield some crazy good crops:

gen1Hi Mavis!

I have been reading your blog for a while now and I have been meaning to send in some pictures of my garden. For most of the country, the garden season is winding down, but here in South Florida the best growing weather is just starting!

We just bought our first house in January this year and I couldn’t wait to fill all the spaces with edibles!

[The picture above] is a little space in the back of my house. There used to be a basketball hoop there from the former owner {which the HOA wasn’t very fond of} but now I have it lined with City Picker planters, an Earthbox and a bunch of SmartPots. The two trees on the right are a tangerine {foreground} which has a few almost ready and a Hass avocado. On the left is a lychee tree and behind it is a dwarf peach {that I am desperately trying to keep alive in the wrong zone. Haha}.

gen2Alllll my tomatoes! I have several heirloom varieties including Old German and Yellow Jubilee, and a bunch of small bushy patio varieties since they grow so well in the City Pickers. I even had a couple volunteer tomatoes that just sprouted out of the planter from nowhere, back from the dead after a brutally hot summer.

gen3My lychee in the foreground and my sad little Bonanza Dwarf Peach trying to make it to winter :(

gen4My latest project. Hubby and I ripped out a ridiculous jungle of landscaping {it took a pickaxe and chain saw to get a palm tree out!} and made this nice space for me to plant more veggies. For me, its more cost effective to use planters and raised beds than plant the soil here, which is full of rocks and very sandy. Here I used SmartPots and a SmartPot Big Bag Bed which is 13 cu ft of growing space! Its full of peppers and a couple bush variety tomatoes and a broccoli plant {which I’ve never grown and am very excited about!}. I like to grow things you don’t see in the grocery store, so I have purple bell peppers, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes and a volunteer cherry tomato transplanted from the back patio. :) The big climbing vine is a passion fruit vine. After a vicious battle with caterpillars on it, its finally thriving and I’m looking forward to its wild looking flowers and delicious fruit in the spring and early summer.

gen5The second part of my front yard garden. Since both hoses are on the back of the house, I put a rain barrel up front so I can water the garden. Those three pots used to have Southern Highbush Blueberries, but they didn’t make it through the summer so I put cauliflower and broccoli there, which are doing great!

The last thing I will put up front this winter is my beloved strawberry jars for some delicious Florida strawberries in January! I had a lot more planned for my garden, but its beginning to be too hard to bend over being 7 months pregnant! And I can’t make poor hubby do it all. :)

I hope you enjoy my garden pictures! I love reading your blog, good luck with your new garden and the beautiful renovations to your new house!

A Fellow Green Thumb,
Genevieve

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Mavis Mail – Stacy From Ohio Sends in Pictures from the Farm

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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 year. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

stacy1This week, Stacy from Ohio tells her story, and it is a great one. They live in the coolest barn home too! So jealous. Thanks for sharing Stacy, and keep up the amazing homestead!

stacy6I currently garden in Hiram, roughly 50 minutes outside of Cleveland, Ohio. But my love of gardening began at our previous home in a nearby community, where in addition to renovating a century home room by room, my husband and I added perennial flowers and herbs and fruit, pine or deciduous trees each year to our small lot.

This is also where I started vegetable gardening, building a simple raised bed plot from 2x4s and mail order connector pieces. I worked ashes and sand into the clay soil, adding compost made from kitchen scraps, fallen leaves and horse manure. In that first garden, we grew the basics: lettuce, tomatoes, green beans and broccoli by trial and error, seeking advice from experienced gardeners along the way. In addition, I learned to can, preserving fruits, jellies, and jams from our bounty and that of nearby farms and orchards.

stacy3When our children were born, we wanted to give them the chance to grow up in a more rural setting, to learn and grow and spend more time outdoors. We wanted to move, not just for more closet space, but for more open space as well. Ever since working in a barn-turned-marketing-firm in the 90s, I’ve been in love with the idea of living in a barn.

Luckily, my husband shared this love, so our dream house became, you guessed it, a barn. So we had our barn raised, roughly six years ago. But even before the barn was built, with a preschooler and toddler in tow, we started a compost pile and established our first raised bed at the property using fallen tree trunks as borders and filled the beds with transplanted perennial herbs and flowers.

stacy7Each year, we’ve added more raised garden beds, bordered with tree trunks, courtesy of my husband’s mad skills with the chain saw. We enriched them with compost, manure, leaves, newspapers and cardboard — anything to block weeds and build up the soil. Broken pots become toad and fairy houses, and spring peas climb a rustic trellis crafted from fallen branches and baling twine. Seedless grapes climb up an old chain link “arbor” my husband refers to as Cellblock C.

stacy9During the summer months as I weed, the girls play under a nearby bush-turned-hideout or spot butterflies in the field of wildflowers. In the fall, seeds are saved, cuttings are rooted, and surplus plants and veggies are shared so that nothing goes to waste.

stacey2In our few years here, we’ve added asparagus, rhubarb, red raspberries, and strawberries. We battled poison ivy and invasive thorny bushes, and reclaimed an ancient apple orchard. Last year’s apple crop supplied enough bounty for apple sauce, apple butter and many apple pies — one of which won a ribbon at the county fair. We also forage black raspberries, blackberries, wild grapes, elderberries, and other wild edibles from the untamed areas of our yard. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt — and the rewards are delicious!

stacy4Our garden season begins outdoors in May, as we select the vegetables and flowers to grow from seed in flats on our back patio. When the plants are large enough, and the danger of frost is past, we move plants out to our rustic garden beds a good distance from the house. We’ve grown our own pumpkins, gourds and corn for holiday decorating, as well as buckets of vegetables for eating fresh, freezing, or canning.

stacy12Although the girls aren’t big fans of weeding, they help with the planting and harvesting, and are more inclined to eat what we grow (except for asparagus and beets!). But more importantly, they like spending time outside catching bugs, climbing trees, riding bikes and hanging out their furry siblings (our dog and cats).

stacy10

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Ask Mavis – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know {And More}

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ask mavis
You have burning questions, I have some possibly helpful answers. I love your questions. They are so diverse and cover the entire spectrum of what I blog about on the site {and what I don’t!}. Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they make me have to use my brain. All good things. Here is the latest round of questions. As always, if you have an answer or some insight, pretty please share away. Sharing is caring.

seattle greenhouse gardenHi Mavis!!! We are looking to buy a new greenhouse, and I just LOVE yours! Can you please tell me where you bought it? Thanks, in advance!

~Brooke

I bought my greenhouse at the Glass Gardener in Tacoma. I freakin love it. I have a Magnum Glass Greenhouse with a British green finish. I would highly recommend the company to anybody looking for a greenhouse {and really, I’d recommend it even if you aren’t looking for a greenhouse. Because greenhouses are awesome, and everyone should have one. Or two).

Walton-Mountain-Museum-Earl-Hamner-HouseMavis, I missed reading about your new East Coast Vacation spot? What!!!!!!!!!!! Where can I read all about it and how did you convince the HH?

~ Barbara

Okay truth time. I might give my husband a hard time for buying me boxes of corn or shopping at Fred Meyer for an anniversary gift, but this year I got the coolest present on the planet. My 20th anniversary gift was a vacation home on the East coast!  I think it might be impossible to top that. I am in love with it. In. Love. I promise I will bombard you with so many pictures soon that you’ll be sick of seeing and hearing about it in no time. Because did I mention I love it. Another thing about being on the east coast that makes me giddy: you are pretty much within 5 hours of anywhere. And you know how I love to travel. But back to that vacation home. Buckle up kids. A slew of pictures are on their way… {Okay, okay. So maybe not the house pictured above, although that one is totally on the East Coast too!}

grow lightHi Mavis, I recently moved to Tacoma and I’ve begun my journey as an urban chicken farmer and gardener with gusto. However, I’ve run into some snags and was hoping you could shed some light on a matter. I would like to save money by starting my own seeds for my winter garden and next year’s garden. The instructions for seeds starting I’ve been finding online indicate that the trays will need up to 6 hours or more of sunlight in order to grow. Here in the PNW, especially in the winter there’s not much sunlight during that time of year. So does that mean I have to buy grow lights? I plan to grow my seed trays in a Garden Igloo, so they’ll be protected while outside as there’s no space in my house for the seed trays. I’d rather avoid the added expense of grow lights. Am I over thinking this? Do the seed trays need sunlight all day, every day? Help?

~Jessica

Okay so you’re in luck. While it’s pretty common knowledge that grow lights help your little seedlings, standard fluorescents will work just fine {Watch for end-of-season sales on growing supplies around mid-summer to keep costs down if you do go with actual grow lights}. Because we live in an area that gets pretty limited sunlight, any extra help you can give them during the winter months is great. Many will survive without any additional light, but you’ll be much more successful if you give them a boost! I use the larger version of this system and it’s awesome: Hydrofarm 2-Foot Jump Start T5 Grow Light System.

mavis butterfield Rodan + FieldsHowdy! Love your blog! Are you going to finish your review for Rodan and Fields, I’m dying to know!

~ Mari

Sadly, you’ve been on pins and needles for no reason. I only lasted 10 days after I quickly realized I totally suck at sticking to a routine. So it might have been the best thing since sliced bread, but I’ll never know. But I’m super curious to hear your results if you’ve used it and loved it!


With all those mushrooms you dried, I wondered if you have a homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup recipe. Would you share it, if you have one? Thanks!

~ Tifany

I don’t, but I totally need a good recipe. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

mavis butterfiled heirloom tomatoes
I have been wanting to know if I should do a big garden, I have lots of seeds and the space available to me. Good soil, sunlight, and 3 acres of land. I’m a Girl Scout, and my troop was thinking of ways to fund-raise. I was thinking of doing my whole back yard with almost everything I can think of. Do you think that would be possible? We have 5 people in our troop and plenty of volunteers to help weed, plant, and water. Would it be cost effective, by that meaning would we actually earn enough money? I love to garden and I love all the ideas I get from you.

~Hope

Oh my goodness, DO IT!! You have all of the ingredients to grow an amazing garden. And here’s what I have to say about that: You’ll probably earn some money if you are diligent about selling your produce. But what you {and all the girls in your troop} will gain by spending time in the garden and learning to grow your own food is priceless!! I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try. It won’t be easy, but it will totally be worth it!

~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 Mail – Melissa From Maryland Sends in Her Chicken Coop Pics

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image080A 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!

Dear Mavis,

I wanted to share with you some pictures of the new coop that my wonderful husband built for our girls. We are fledgling suburban homesteaders who are blessed to live in a small town in Maryland that desires to stick to its agricultural roots. We are allowed to keep livestock within the town limits as long as they have enough land, proper housing and are well kept.

We got our first flock of 4 chickens almost 4 years ago and fell in love. We lost 2 due to illness and cold weather over the past couple of years and decided to add 5 more this year. Our original coop had been damaged when a tree branch fell on it and was not big enough for the new flock anyway. So my husband set out on a quest to build us an awesome coop. He did a fantastic job and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! He found an old play house at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore that he decided to re-purpose for the girls.

1This is what it looked like on the truck the day we brought it home. It was missing some parts and some parts were not attached correctly. He found a spot for it in the garden and built a platform to anchor it down.

2He removed the countertop and play sink and added bracing and roosts. He also filled in some of the spaces to make it more air tight lower in the coop. He water proofed the inside, cut a hole in the side for the door and built the nesting box out of the side opening. He also painted the roof with waterproof paint and attached the gable correctly. Re-stained the outside and painted the platform and nest box on the outside.

image042He purchased an automatic door opener but we could not find a piece of metal thick enough for the door so he used epoxy to laminate several thin layers of metal together to get the thickness we needed.  Since the door was intended to up and close vertically and we needed it to work horizontally, he rigged up a counter weight with a water bottle to allow it to open and close correctly.

He attached and stained the front door, put hardware fabric on the windows and ventilation opening at the top and trim around the side door stained. The north facing windows have plate glass on the outside of the hardware cloth to protect from the rain and wind that we usually get from that direction.

image038You can see the old coop in the background and my garden (which needed a lot of attention when this was taken). We re-used the run for the new coop.

image044The ramp to the inside and the addition that was built to tie the coop in with the old run.

image050The poop hammocks that I made from canvas I purchased at the Goodwill.

image068Move in day! Everyone having fun and enjoying their new home!

Thanks for letting me share and thanks for a great blog!

Melissa

What an awesome coop, Melissa!! I bet your girls LOVE it! Way to re-purpose that playhouse.

~Mavis

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Mavis Mail – Ann From Eastern Oregon Sends in Garden Pics

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unnamedA big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other people’s pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

This post finds us transported to rural Eastern Oregon where reader, Ann, gives gardening another go:2

Hello Mavis,

Ann from Eastern Oregon here. I have been enjoying your blog for about 8 months now. After gazing longingly {and, I must admit, a bit enviously} at your beautiful garden and green house, I have been inspired to take another stab at vegetable gardening after a long hiatus. Thank you for the gardening tips, the DIY products, the recipes and the leads on good reads from Amazon!

So here’s my story:

When I mention to out-of-the-area folks that I am from Oregon the typical response is: “Oh, I’ve been to Oregon! It’s sooooooo green and Portland is such a cool city!” Well, my stomping grounds are about 300 miles east of the lush greenness and the metro area. Here in rural Eastern Oregon we have wide open spaces, beautiful rugged mountains and an abundance of wildlife, cattle and farm land.

3We are blessed with ample opportunity to harvest and preserve a variety of produce {both wild and domestic}. We have had a bumper crop of huckleberries this year and through the generosity of friends and friends-of-friends I have also been able to harvest and preserve bing cherries, sour cherries, apricots and {soon} apples!
3In my particular corner of the state {the far NE corner} we have high desert conditions with sage brush, mountains and large working cattle ranches. The 4-season weather can be a challenge and it’s important to heed the advice of the old-time gardeners: “Don’t plant your pots until after Mother’s Day. Don’t put your garden in until the snow is off of Lookout {a nearby mountain}.” The weather challenge doesn’t just involve temps, but also wind {the strong, gusty kind}. This causes a gardener to contemplate plant types {no wimpy, tender types need apply} and location, location, location {the sheltered-from-the-wind type of location}. In addition to weather conditions, I am particularly challenged by soil conditions {the chalky, alkali-type}. Needless to say it’s taken some creativity, tenacity and just plain bullheadedness to get things to grow and thrive on our little 5-acre slice of Terra firma.

1As you will see from the before and after pictures things look pretty bleak in the spring.2 Miraculously, with a little {okay a LOT of} soil enrichment and selective placement of plants {i.e. containers and raised beds} and selective selection of plants,things will eventually grow and bloom! I have learned {through trial and error} which plants will tolerate the conditions and have been pleased with the results.

4Sunflowers are particularly happy here and I’ve enjoyed growing a variety of sizes and colors. My family and I enjoy not only the bright, cheerfulness they bring, but also the abundance of insects they attract: ladybugs, honey bees, in particular.

6We have big plans next spring for a REAL garden. Because we own horses, chickens and our 2 oldest children have pigs for 4-H projects, we have accumulated copious amounts of terrific organic material. Over the past 2 years, as we clean pens, we’ve created a LARGE compost pile that we are tilling and turning and should be ready for spring planting.

5This year we had to settle for corn and lettuce grown along-side flowers in the raised beds.

Although the weather and soil conditions make gardening in our area a challenge, we feel so blessed to live where we are surrounded only by mountains, cattle and terrific people!

Sincerely,

Ann from E. Oregon

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Mavis Mail – Heidi From Vancouver Island Sends in Garden Photos

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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 the incredible garden Heidi from Vancouver Island is growing:

1I am a long time gardener. We live on a 1/2 acre and have super sandy/gravelly soil, so after fighting with this for years, we started building raised beds. My husband put in automatic watering with soaker hoses and some mini sprinklers, so it is nice to not have to worry about watering all of the raised beds located all over the yard. The garden in the front is doing well because of our decision to use fall rye for the past 3 years, so we will leave this one as an in ground garden. I can’t believe what a difference it has made to the soil to put the fall rye in.

We have a fairly large family {5 kids} and are growing our own produce because we love to garden, but also because it costs a lot to feed 7 people with organic produce.

You can see from how dry the lawn is that we have very poor soil and a lot of trouble keeping things watered. This is one of the main reasons we started making raised beds.

Pictured above is the back garden that we converted into raised beds. There is a fence because we have very friendly rabbits in our neighborhood. Our newest friendly creature is a raccoon that ate all of our Beauty Plums! We have a live trap, and have relocated 3 raccoons this spring, but the last one doesn’t seem to want to go! In this bed, we have lemon cucumbers, spaghetti squash, onions, leeks, celery, peas, bush beans and Warba potatoes that I am going to harvest any day now! Surrounding the garden is a jungle of raspberries that love our soil {I think that they are the only thing that loves our soil}. This was an excellent year for raspberries!

3We built some raised beds 2 years ago so that we could have asparagus {which is the big fern looking thing in the second bed}. We also have brussel sprouts just coming up in the closest bed, and beyond that there are zucchini, carrots and peppers. On the left is my herb garden, and behind that is a garden that my girls have planted.

4Our raised beds, phase 2 have New Zealand Yam, Swiss Chard, and in the back that big plant is Jerusalem Artichoke. Beside it some kale that is just getting big enough to harvest. The Jerusalem Artichokes have been banished to this planter that is made out of cement because I hope that it will contain them. They took over in the last place that I had them, and I have spent many hours digging them out… I am still digging them out! The garbage can with the piece of plywood is full of my comfrey tea that is almost ready to be used as a fertilizer.

5This is my most exciting plant of this year…Watermelon! I put trays under the pots yesterday with the hopes that more access to water will result in bigger watermelons.

6This is the garden in our front yard that we will keep as an in-ground garden. In it we have potatoes, tomatoes, beets, cabbage and pole beans. We also put some everbearing raspberries in here as well. The big bush in the middle on the right hand side is a huckleberry bush. It was there when we cut down the trees and made the garden, so we decided to keep it because we love huckleberries! The beets are being attacked by a leaf miner bug, but I can’t decide whether I should do something about it or just leave them.

7These are my strawberry beds, and my neglected flower garden in front!

8The spaghetti squash plants have gone crazy! I tied them onto poles so that they would have more room, and they must have about 10 squashes per plant. One of the poles broke from the weight of the plant, so it’s kind of a mess back there!

We also have a bunch of fruit trees, some more berries like blueberries and currants, and have recently planted blackberries and kiwi. This year I am trying some winter gardening. I showed you the Brussel sprouts, and have also started cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower and a flat of peas for a fall crop.

And, that is my garden! Thanks again for the inspiration, Mavis,

Heidi

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

Bob and Sherle Share Their California Vegetable Garden Photos

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beans growing in a cage

Bob and Sherle have one of the most amazing gardens on the planet. Last year Sherle sent in photos of their garden {see them HERE} and shared pictures of her husband standing next to their tomato plants that were over 10 feet tall. Wowza!

Well we are all in for a treat because Sherle just sent in photos from this year garden and let me tell you, they are just spectacular. I hope I can have a garden that will look as good as hers someday.

Here is what Sherle had to share…

compost surprise

Compost Surprise: We dug up and flipped the compost bin this spring to get planting soil and when we turned it we realized we hadn’t watered it well enough to cook everything down so we still had bits in there. After putting what hadn’t cooked down back in the bin things began growing.
pumpkins growing in the compost heap
I didn’t hold out much hope for the plants but they took off and I have pumpkins growing everywhere. There is also purple sweet potatoes growing from the bin. We’ll have to dig up the bin this fall to see if we get any sweet potatoes.
tomato plants
Garden #1: This is the main garden at the house, where we are growing 7 varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, tatuma squash, cube o’ butter summer squash, jalapeno’s, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, potatoes, tomatillos and sweet potatoes.
purple tomatoes
Everything is so tall and I have to climb a ladder just to get some type of a picture. Sometimes I wish I was comfortable enough on the roof to get a picture from there.
growing vegetables in tires
Garden #2 Tires: This is my raised bed garden. Since I couldn’t afford any wood to make my raised bed garden and since my sons work had tires to spare and I had read about using them I decided to give it a try.
growing vegetables in tires
I gave it a go last year and it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped it would be. This year I tried a couple of different things and having drip irrigation has helped a lot.
green beans
I still need better soil in the tires, but it’s producing really well. I will be planting more beets very soon, for a winter crop.
watermelon
I’m growing or have grown, garlic, beets, watermelon, three types of green beans, 4 or 5 different types of peppers, (some hot, some sweet,) eggplant, and an unknown melon (I think), from the compost used in the soil that popped up amongst the yellow green beans.
corn
Garden #3: We grow our corn here, planting each row one week apart. I don’t know exactly how effective this is, but it works great when processing the corn. We gather just enough to get them processed in one afternoon with all four of us working. This year, HH calculated how we might try for two crops in one year.
cork stalks
We planted in the holes we pulled the corn from, definitely not the best idea, since the nitrogen is a bit poor, but with a nitrogen supplement we have hopes for something reasonable. It’s an experiment, the corn looks great, so far and we’ll see what the end result is.
white summer squash
Garden #4: This garden is, in part, a thank you to the folks who let us garden at their place. We planted summer squash, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, zucchini and some plants that popped up in the compost. It turns out that these seem to be a cross between zucchini and butternut squash, we call them zucchinuts, lol.
mulching squash plants
They cook up like zucchini but they have light orange flesh. We also planted winter squash out here, large pumpkins, sugar pie pumpkins, pink banana squash, sweet meat squash, honey boat delicata squash, my first time trying several of these, but I’m always up for adventure. Oh yeah, we have potatoes and butternut as well.
purple potato flowers
I tried sweet potatoes here but we missed a week of watering so they died before they could get started. There are two big problems this year with this garden, one being the soil needs treatment so we are going to try and solve that with horse manure and compost in the fall. The other issue is the ground squirrels or gophers. We don’t have a solution for those yet, if you or any of your readers have suggestions, I’ll take them.
pinto beans
Garden #5: This garden is actually a cover crop for the corn garden next year. Though we are still planning on picking a bunch of pinto beans when it’s time. The beans help to introduce the nitrogen into the soil that the corn will need.
pinto beans growing up twine
We had to build something for them to climb on, HH and son made the uprights and cross pieces while I and our daughter hung and tied all the strings for the beans to climb up. The beans have taken to climbing quite well, though I don’t have super recent pictures.
purple sunset
I’ve included a sunset picture that was particularly spectacular last month.
~Sherle

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

A Small Garden from Virginia Packs a Lot of Vegetables into a 6×8 Foot Raised Bed

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raised garden boxes

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!

growing squash in a raised garden bed

Check out these photos Susanne from Virginia recently sent in of her 6×8, 24″ high raised bed garden. This is her second year with it and it just goes to show you do not need a huge amount of space to grow some veggies.

Here’s what Susanne said about her garden:

Kale, romaine, spinach and radishes were first and are about gone now.

Basil, and chives… Both onion and garlic in opposite corners! All have been ready for a couple months at least. Chives were perennial and survived last years crazy Virginia winter. Many things didn’t make it through that normally do.. My fig tree and large gardenia are still in recovery.

growing tomatoes in raised beds

Currently, in addition to herbs, we have HUGE Beefsteak tomatoes, tons of cherry tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. My 4 foot PLUS marigolds are blooming.., FINALLY! There are only 3 tomato plants in this garden. Two Beefsteak and 1 cherry! I have topped all over and over. They just get bigger… AMAZING. I will need a ladder to get all the cherry tomatoes… Literally.

squash growing in a garden box

My greatest challenge is to maintain good airflow and keeping it open and inviting to bees. I started everything from seed except the tomato plants and brussels sprouts. The sprouts are a failure. I have since learned they should be a fall planting… I guess the “grower” missed that point too!

All are growing in topsoil from a natural pond/runoff in the back corner of our property. This great natural dirt is amended with chicken poop compost from my chickens. The chickens live in our backyard. This garden bed is in our front yard!

raised garden

The table and bucket on the side are to keep my dogs from picking squash! They are starting to grow outside the box so we will see if they can restrain themselves!

~ Susanne

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

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!

~Mavis

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 & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

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.

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