Mavis Mail – Lisa From Australia Impresses Again w/ Her Garden Pictures

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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!

~MavisLisa garden

I love hearing from reader, Lisa from Tasmania, Australia {She also introduced us to her adorable Aunt Ruby!}. She has an incredible garden and takes even more impressive pictures {and you know how OCD I am about pictures!} I might just have to add Tasmania to my travel docket next year! Buckle up you guys, here’s what Lisa has been up to:

Hi Mavis…

Lisa garden 1We have had a really great spring and summer! There is still lots of food out there to pick and process but I am feeling a little sad that its all winding down. {That’s why your blog is so great as while I am warming up by the fire with my knitting in hand I can see the gorgeous gardens flourishing up your way!}

Lisa garden 2We did a lot of new things in the garden this year, and tried to emphasize using collected materials rather than dashing down to the hardware shop. We decided to pull out the lined paths in the main vegetable plot and pretty much go with one massive area and just plant areas as needed. Actually it worked pretty well, and also gained some space that was used up as pathways last season.

Lisa garden  3The garlic of course was the first thing harvested… it grew really well over the winter and I was so pleased with my haul! Garlic is a main ingredient in my BBQ sauce as well as my Sweet Chilli sauce.

Lisa garden 4My second veggie patch proved a hassle last year fighting the weeds as I had raided some of the lawn to dig into. We used the timber that we had removed from the main patch and created a couple of raised garden beds… something I hadn’t done before and was dying to try out.
Lisa garden 5We filled them with a mixture of 50% topsoil and 50% mushroom compost and let me tell you, the plants loved it! Lisa garden 6I got countless buckets of tomatoes, huge capsicum, mad basil and a whole bunch of chillies that are about to ripen {I hope}. Was well worth the effort!!

Lisa garden 7I’d also been keen to build a ‘bean arch’ We had lots of apple tree prunings that we pieced together to make a nice climbing frame for the beans. They grew up the structure well, but didn’t quite go all the way over! Still, I planted 7 year beans so maybe next season they will be keen to grow all the way over.

Lisa garden 8A part of the ‘using what you have’ philosophy entailed getting hooked up to solar power! Basically the last bill was half the cost of the same time last year, so got to be happy with that!

Part of the summer is also devoted to collecting a good stash of kindling and pine cones. This lot of pine cones was free, only cost was a bit of my dignity as I misjudged an electric fence, got a severe zap and was sat on my backside with a very girlie scream! I was all about commando crawling to get back to the other side afterwards!!

We also fill up on seaweed from the local beach as mulch {pictured here in the trailer and not yet on the garden}.

Finally, the tanks. We have limited storage {and no town water} but bought the white tanks to fill when the weather was a lot soggier and they have been used on the garden and have helped us survive through the long summer.

Lisa garden 9We were so lucky with our fruit this year too… countless kilos of raspberries, plums, strawberries…

Lisa garden10 And now apples. Its divine to just constantly graze on fresh fruit!
Lisa garden 11Another job that was finally done was the herb garden. The original barrel of herbs was in an area of the property that you needed a cut lunch to take with you on the hike over to get your oregano… Okay, not that bad, but not at all convenient.

This patch is right out the back door, so we made a stick wall to cover the unused hot water system, put Budda’s head back on (he somehow lost it) and built him a little fence, finally used all the driftwood that I had been driving my husband crazy collecting to outline the garden areas and mulched with seaweed. Its been going well and I have used it frequently!
Lisa garden 12Harvesting is always great fun! We dug up about three boxes of potatoes and estimate we will be eating those well into the year.

Lisa garden 13The purple ones do your head in – they just don’t look right but taste identical to the normal ones!

Lisa garden 14 What corn we didn’t scoff is in the freezer and there are still carrots and beetroot in the garden to be pulled up as needed.

Lisa garden 15I love cooking as much of our own produce as possible… stuffed tomatoes are frequently on the menu, pavlova’s become less expensive to make when you collect heaps of eggs every day, and I have made, used and sold countless jars of jam, sauce and relish at the local market.

Lisa garden 16 Lisa garden 17I even bake special cakes for the chickens that they go mad over!

Lisa garden 18It’s been busy with {as usual} a constant stream of visitors {long and short term} who enjoy a taste of the ‘simple’ life, good food and the gorgeous Tasmanian countryside. Now to start planting winter veggies and think of a plan of attack for next spring!

Cheers,
Lisa

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 – You Asked, I Answered {Plus, a Knitting Challenge!}

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

ask mavis

Another round of inbox questions, and another round of answers. First up is one of my favorite emails I’ve ever received from a reader. Sure it’s not exactly a question, but it certainly deserves to be shared!!

Mavis – I want to share with you a challenge I just made to my friends and family on Facebook. I want to challenge all of my friends who craft to knit/crochet/whatever else you do one warm winter hat each month this year and donate it to a homeless shelter in your town.

No matter what winter weather is like where you are, people living on the streets even part of the day need warm hats. And, yes, you can buy them, but having something that another human being made for you warms the heart and the spirit as well as the head. This isn’t a huge investment of either time or materials, so grab your hooks and needles and join me! I’d love it if you were able to share this with your other readers.

~Mary Anna

Oh. My. Gosh. You are my new favorite person! This is the coolest idea ever, and I love that you not only came up with it and are implementing it, but that you are spreading it across the country. I’ll do my part and share away, and challenge my readers to do the same. If you knit, participate; if you don’t, spread the idea. This is one idea that should go viral!

kohlrabiYou are my idol!!! I happened to stumble on your website while looking for recipes for quinoa. Here is my question. I noticed that you grow kohlrabi and wheat grass, and I would love to know how you use it. I didn’t see any recipes for either.

~Allison

First, we need to talk about how you choose your idols! Ha. I feel like Mary Anna above would be much better suited for that title! Second, kohlrabi and wheat grass are fun to use. When it comes to kohlrabi, I like to roast it {my family’s favorite!} or add it to soups {it’s delish in any vegetable soup}. I know people who eat it raw or make some type of fritters out of it, but I’ve always just kept it simple.

Wheat grass is a whole different beast, though. The only way I’ve ever used it is to juice it in a juicer and add it to smoothies. It’s a great nutritional booster but if you don’t have a juicer, I wouldn’t recommend growing it!

035_optI was wondering how your strawberries did/do in the gutter year after year and whether the metal gutters get too hot in the summer sun?

~Brian

So this is tricky for me to answer because I didn’t grow my gutter strawberries outdoors, I grew them in my greenhouse. They thrived and grew like mad inside the greenhouse! I’m not sure how they would have done outside all year, but I do know that if you live in climates with extreme weather {super duper hot or super duper cold}, they normally don’t make it. Anyone out there have experience with gutter strawberries?

powder-room-remodle-before-and-afterFor some reason I stopped getting your daily blog last spring. I checked your blog online and realized I’ve missed so much from a blog I like a lot. How can I go back and catch up. I don’t see anyway to go to past blog postings? Particularly information on your move and remodel…..and your reasons…your garden. Wow, a lot to catch up on. Anyway to do that? Thanks.

~Paula

There are a few ways you can search the archives. On the right sidebar, you’ll see a lot of category option, from recipes to my Mornings with Mavis posts. If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, you can throw a search term into the search box in the upper right hand corner. Let’s say you are looking for all my posts on my remodel. Just type in “remodel,” hit enter and all the my posts on the remodel will pop up there. You can also find category and tag links at the bottom of each post. Click on the “kitchen remodel” tag for instance, and all the posts about my kitchen remodel will be there. Pretty neat stuff, huh?!

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.

Great Aunt Ruby’s Garden in Tasmania, Australia

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

This past summer Lisa from Tasmania, Australia sent in pictures from her garden. Well, she’s back, and this time she is telling us about her Great Aunt Ruby… :) :) :) :) :) :)

aunt ruby

Meet my Great Aunt Ruby!

Ruby turned 98 last September, still lives by herself and tends to this amazing garden.

tasmania beach
She lives in a little town called Wynyard in Tasmania and her home is a stones throw from the beach.
Ruby trained as a nurse and has spent a lifetime taking care of people.

Right up until the last few months, Ruby has pretty much sorted out the garden by herself, with a bit of help here and there from her daughter Margaret who lives almost next door. This season she decided that she may need a bit of help with the heavy digging, so that’s where I come in!

using wire guards in the garden

This plot Ruby dug herself and planted carrot, beetroot and lettuce seeds, then used the high tech method of cat-digging prevention by covering the area with any and all wire guards!

vegetbale garden

And it worked! A few months later there was a lush garden happening. The peas were well on their way as well as the potatoes (destined for the Christmas dinner table).

beets

In her garden there are usually potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, beetroot, carrot, lettuce, peas, beans, cabbage, broccoli, artichokes, parsnip, strawberries, pumpkin, cucumber, silver beet, garlic and herbs. Plus probably other stuff I have forgotten!! Enough to feed a small army if one happened on by!!

aunt ruby sitting on milk crate

Often when I go to visit, I’ll find Ruby sitting on her milk crate, wearing her gardening hat and pulling up weeds.

weeds in garden

The before…

weed free garden

And after efforts of the other days weeding! Not bad for someone who is almost 100 years old!!

aunt ruby in the garden
If she is pottering about the garden she will most likely be using an old mop to lean on, not as keen on the walking stick because if people see that, they might think she is “old.”

ripe tomato

There is always a bit of a competition for the first ripe tomato of the season. I thought I may have been first past the post this year, but nope… here is Ruby “skiting” (as she would say)(boasting) about the first red tomato in her hothouse!

aunt ruby in kitchen

Ruby is very used to feeding herself out of what she grows. There is always a big feed of vegetables and fruit on the table. Because she is nearly blind, it gives her a lot of independence to be able to go up into the garden and get what she needs rather than continually having to rely on someone else to shop for her.

aunt ruby scones
I might add that her scones (I think you call them biscuits in North America) are superb! (home-made jams to go on top of course!!)

purple hydrangea flowers

What I love about Ruby’s garden is the way she has pretty flowers here there and everywhere right throughout. You are never really sure what to expect to see blooming at different times of the year.

using seewee mulch
This plot of flowers is now covered in a seaweed mulch. Advantages of living by the ocean!! The council here allows residents to collect what they need from the beach, and apart from being free, it doesn’t introduce any unwanted weeds! In her younger years, Ruby would just take the wheelbarrow across the road and help herself!

old mother Hubbard

Ruby is adored by all her family, she is a wealth of information on gardening and cooking among other things, has great stories , she has a great sense of fun (for example: dressing up as Mother Hubbard for me when I needed a ‘Nursery Rhyme’ photo) and is always happy to put the kettle on for a cuppa when we drop in and I might add its nearly impossible to escape without an armful of food of some kind!!

aunt ruby

Well… there you go.
Cheers,
~ Lisa

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 – Melissa From Southern California Sends in Her Garden Photos

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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}

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

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.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel