How to Grow Your Own Food – 6/19/2013 Garden Tally

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one hundred dollars a month mavis

This year I’m on a mission to grow 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. In 2012 I was able to grow 2,028 pounds, and in 2013 I’m going double or nothing. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to achieve my goal. But, as with any adventure, half the fun is getting there.   ~Mavis

*******

sugar snap peas

This past week we harvested nearly 19 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from our backyard garden. The peas were the big winner this week along with broccoli, Swiss chard and strawberries.

We’ve had to battle a ton of slugs this year and trying to keep Lucy out of the garden this spring was a little challenging so I feel like I am off to a bit of a slow start. But there will be pumpkins and potatoes and all things squash to harvest this fall so I need to keep that in mind so I don’t get discouraged.

After all, anytime you can feed your family with fresh fruits and vegetables you’ve grown right out your backdoor, it’s a good thing. No matter how much you grow.

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh organic  basil

Basil – 7 ounces

Our second round of basil is poking through the soil in the greenhouse. I LOVE making fresh pesto.

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

I planted yet another row of beets over the weekend. Looks like roasted beets will be on the menu this fall, that’s for sure.

bok choy leaves

Bok Choy – 4 oz

Check out this Asian Noodle Salad with Bok Choy I made. It’s pretty awesome.

head of broccoli

Broccoli – 11 ounces

Our lone head of spring broccoli. Hopefully it will do better this fall.

giant cabbage

Cabbage - 3 pounds 4 ounces

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

I’m happy to announce our carrots are FINALLY popping through the soil. Hurry! This is the first time I can remember having to plant them so many times. Note to self: seriously amend the soil asap.

chives

Chives – 13 ounces

We are picking about an ounce a week to use in recipes.

broody chicken

Egg Count – 1,450

We collected  65 eggs this past week. What a bunch of slackers!!! ;) We still have 3 hens sitting on eggs and they practically growl at us every time we try and collect eggs.

kale leaves

Kale – 9 ounces

We harvested a boatload of kale this past week and I can’t wait to share the recipes with you!

recycled wood pallet gardens lettuce

Lettuce – 21 pounds 6 ounces

Note to self: The romaine we have growing in the pallet garden needs to get harvested!

microgreens

Microgreens 5 ounces

I need to grow some more of these. My favorite way to eat microgreens is with egg salad sandwiches.

oregano container herb garden

Oregano - 4 ounce

sugar snap peas

Peas – 13 pounds 8 ounces

Over the past week we have harvested 10 pounds 9 ounces of peas! And we are not done yet. We still have another round of sugar snap peas to pick and our green arrow peas are just now flowering. We’ll shell the green arrow peas and freeze them to use this winter.

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 11 ounces

While I was out weeding I accidentally pulled up a volunteer potato plant that had 2 wee potatoes growing. Since they only weighed about 2 ounces I couldn’t exactly make a meal with them so I just fried them up in some bacon and had them with eggs. New potatoes are like gold, aren’t they?

Radish bouquet

Radish - 22 pounds 2 ounces

I won’t plant radishes again until the fall, but they were sure nice when we had them.

fresh organic spinach

Spinach - 15 ounces

The last of the spring spinach was pulled up from the pallet garden last week. I’ll plant some more in the fall.

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -2 pounds 2 ounces

Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

The Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Strawberries 4 pounds 1 ounce

Last night we had strawberry shortcake for dinner for the third time! How crazy is that? Dessert for dinner? Heck ya! When it’s in season, eat as much as you can I say. :)

rainbow swiss chard

Swiss Chard 2 pounds 15 ounces

When my parents came for Father’s Day my mom went home with a sack full a Swiss chard and kale {thank goodness!}.

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 89 pounds 13 ounces

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 1,450

If you are new to gardening or just want to learn more on the topic of organic gardening, my #1 favorite book is The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food By Tanya L.K. Denckla.

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.



Mornings with Mavis – FREE Schick Razor, Luscious Berry Desserts, Brawny Coupons, Camping Lanterns, New Balance

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pumpkin starts

Hello Wednesday! Last night I went to check on the pumpkin patch and I noticed a bunch of seedlings popping up. Finally! I was getting a little worried there for a bit. Normally I plant my pumpkins on June 1st but I was a little behind this year so I was happy to see the little bits of green dotting the mounds of dirt. Now, if I can just keep the slugs away long enough for these t grow everything will be good.

I don’t know about you, but I am having a heck of a time keeping those slimy critters out of my garden this year.

Oh well, everyone has to eat, right? ;)

Have a great day everyone. I’ll be back in a bit with my weigh in Wednesday update.

 ~Mavis

51MsuNjmj8L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-29,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

If you have a bunch of berries and you don’t know what to do with them, Amazon currently has the Luscious Berry Desserts ebook available for $2.5. The reviews on this book are outstanding!brawny double roll coupon

Print a coupon good for $1.00 off ONE (1) Brawny

camping lantern

If your summer plans include camping, the Rayovac Sportsman Lantern is on sale for only $14.92 right now. seed sprouter how to sprout seedsAmazon has the Victorio 4-Tray Kitchen Seed Sprouter on sale for $15.12 right now and the How to Sprout Raw Food eBook is currently FREE. If you have never grown your own sprouts before, I show you how to grow sprouts HERE.

joes new balance outlet

Joe’s New Balance Outlet has a sweet deal on this pair on woman’s running shoes, only $19.99! What a deal.

free schick hydro razor

Snag a Free Schick Hydro Razor while supplies last. *Thanks Susan. :)

clogs with patterns

Zulily has Sanita Clogs on sale today with savings up to 60% off. These are awesome!

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal

weight watchers magazine

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine for only $4.50 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 6/13/13 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

10 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide money saving tips

Got a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and don’t know what to do with it? Check out my post on 10 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide.


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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.

Do Mice Have Rabies?

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puggle puppy killing mice

Last week Lucy the puggle dog walked through the back door with a chicken leg. Or rather the leg of a chicken that had been buried last year. The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird nearly passed out. It was horrible.

dead mouse

Today Lucy brought us three mice. One right after the other. The first time we distracted her with some doggie treats to get her to drop the mouse. But as soon as we got her inside {and away from the mouse} she started whining. Like we had just taken away her new bff. She wanted to play with her new friend.

Then this afternoon while I was pulling weeds in the pumpkin patch, she found another one. Again, I traded doggie treats for the dead mouse and brought her inside.

And then it happened a third time.

Now what?

How Do I get my dog to stop killing mice and playing with them? Is this normal? And more importantly, do mice have rabies? Does anyone know?

~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.

Strawberry Kiwi Jam Recipe

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Strawberry Kiwi Jam Recipe

A giant thank you to One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Melanie who suggested I make a batch of strawberry kiwi jam with all those free kiwis I picked up from Mr. Produce Guy last week. Yumm a licious is how I would describe this jam.

What are you waiting for? Go make some!

strawberry kiwi jam

Ingredients Recipe Credit – Taste of Home

6 cups fresh strawberries
3 medium kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger {Bulk Foods section}
1 package {1-3/4 ounces} powdered fruit pectin
5 cups sugar

weck canning jarDirections

Bring a boiling-water canner, 3/4 full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Place the strawberries in 8 quart stock pot, mash and add kiwi, lemon juice, pectin and ginger. Bring to boil on high heat.

Slowly stir the sugar. Bring to full rolling boil {a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred} on high heat, stirring constantly.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars {I used Weck jars}, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads, cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands on {if using traditional jars, if using Weck jars wipe rims, add rubber gaskets and glass lid and clamp on both sides}.  Place jars on elevated rack in a canner. Lower rack into canner. {Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.} Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

canning cupboard

Looking for a few more canning recipes?

Search my Full List of Canning Recipes

Want to start canning, but don’t know where to start?  Here’s a guide to help you get started.

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.

Food Waste In America – What Should I Do with Kiwis and Red Bananas?

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food waste in america

Last week I hit the motherload of free produce. It was nuts! You can definitely tell when things start to pick up in the produce section and people start to buy more fruit.

Although the free produce boxes from Mr. Produce Guy were overflowing again this week, the pickings were kind of slim when compared to last weeks findings.

bruised pears

There were lots of bruised pears, a few apples and one lonely banana as well.

wrinkled avocado

Wrinkled avocados. :(

soft watermelon

Squishy unwrapped watermelon. Good for chickens, not so good for people.

red bananas

Red bananas? I don’t think I’ve ever had a red banana before. Do they taste any different than the yellow ones? Does anyone know?

food waste in america pictures

After everything was picked over, this is what we saved to eat ourselves. Not to shabby if you ask me. I have no idea what we are going to do with all those kiwis or red bananas, but I’m not complaining. Free is free, no matter how you look at it.

I’m just happy I’ve been able to save my family thousands of dollars over the past 14 months from the reclaimed produce boxes we pick up each week.

If you have any great kiwi recipes, please leave me your recipe {or a link} in the comment section below.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

To read more on the topic of food waste.  Check out the book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal By Tristram Stuart.

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.

Mornings with Mavis – Awesome Workout Shorts, Cool Kites, Eating Well Magazine, Swimming Pool, $1 Movies and More

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pink poppy flower

The poppies are blooming like crazy in our backyard. I’m tempted to cut a few and bring them in the house but I think I like looking out the back window to much to cut a bouquet. Is that weird? To grow flowers but never pick them?

Happy Tuesday everyone, I hope you have a great day!

 ~Mavis

amazon local deals

Amazon Local is offering a Personalized Stamper with Custom Faceplate for $29 shipped. Not only are these great to use, but they make great gifts too!

the best workout shorts

The REI Outlet has the Sugoi Verve Shorts on sale for $25.73. These are great for working out and I LOVE the wide waistband.

41isLpAE2wL

Did you order the SODIAL- Magic Hair Bun Sponge Maker for $0.48 shipped the last time I posted it? I ordered one for The Girl who Thinks She’s a a Bird and I and we have been wearing them non-stop.

cool kites

Zulily has a bunch of great kites available in their Get Outdoors Backyard Fun sale.

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal

beach umbrella shelter

Get the Texsport Calypso Cabana Beach Shelter for only $34.86 shipped. Perfect for a day at the beach.
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Print a coupon good for $1.00 off 2 Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereals.

eating well magazine cover

Amazon has a smokin’ deal on Eating Well Magazine right now. Purchase a one year subscription to Eating Well {with the auto-renewal option} and you’ll receive a $5 Amazon gift card which you can use on any items {their are some limitations MP3s}. Sweet diggety! That’s like getting a subscription for free!

Regal-Summer-Movies-Kids-$1 Movies

Looking for something fun {and inexpensive} to do with the kiddos this summer? Regal Cinemas is hosting the Summer Movie Express on Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am for nine weeks. Admission is $1 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute. Go HERE to see movies listings in your area.

Intex Easy Set Round Pool Set

Beat the heat this summer with the Intex Easy Set Round Pool Set. Amazon has it on sale for $77.99 shipped.

how to make sidewalk chalk paint

If you have younger kids check out my post on How to Make Sidewalk Paint. It’s super simple.

amazon deal of the day

Today’s Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day is 50% Off Select Fisher-Price Favorite Toys!

$0.50 off one New York Brand Garlic Knots product$0.75 off one (1) New York Brand Ciabatta Rolls$3.00 off ONE AmeriGas Propane Cylinder Exchange

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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 Lighter Version of General Tso’s Chicken

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A Lighter Version of General Tso's Chicken

I like the taste of General Tso’s chicken, but I don’t like my chicken battered in flour so I prepare our General Tso’s chicken a little differently. I also like to jack up the vegetables quite a bit. The sauce is the same, but this version is a little lighter {and happier}.

I hope you like it, we sure do.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces {I use Zaycon chicken}
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, sliced and drained
1/2 cup water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sesame oil

classic stir fry

Directions

In a small bowl whisk together the water, soy sauce, corn starch, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet or Wok heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken until it’s cooked thoroughly and lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the last tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet, add vegetables and saute for 3-4 minutes. Return the chicken to

Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken back to the skillet add the soy sauce mixture. Toss to coat, saute another minute and serve over a bed of rice.

jamie oliver stir fry pan

Looking for a new stir  fry pan? Jamie Oliver has the highest rated stir fry pan on Amazon.

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.

Square Foot Gardening – The Big Harvest

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square foot gardening

In this episode of how the square foot garden turns…

Mavis harvests a giant head of broccoli, picks some peas and checks in on her lettuce plants.

sugar snap peas

Ha! Having a big garden that’s broken up into small sections really is like living in a little soap opera, isn’t it?

Well this week was a great one in our 4×8 square foot garden. For starters, we harvested sugar snap peas and snow peas 3 times. Although there wasn’t enough for a meal from the tiny little garden bed, there was enough for Lucy and I to snack on, that’s for sure.

lettuce leaf letuce

The oak leaf lettuce we cut a few weeks ago is growing back nicely and I think it will be ready to harvest next week.

kale leaves

The kale is doing pretty awesome too {of course it is!}. My parents were over yesterday and my Mom went home with 5 giant leaves for smoothies and I picked a few this morning as well. Madam Chow left me her recipe for sauteed kale a few weeks ago and I’m going to try it tonight. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow if it all works out. No pressure Madam Chow… no pressure. ;)

square foot gardening carrots

Carrots, check.

tomato blossoms

Tomato blossoms, double check. I planted 3 of my favorite Black Trifle tomato plants in the square foot garden and they are just now starting to blossom. With a little luck, we should have tomatoes in about 6 weeks.

head of broccoli

And check out this giant head of broccoli. Ain’t she pretty? I chopped her up into bits and made a delicious stir fry {I’ll post the recipe later today}. That’s what’s growing in my square foot garden, what’s growing in yours?

I’d love to know.

~Mavis

2013 Square Foot Garden Harvest: 2 pounds 7 ounces

Broccoli 11 ounces
Kale 13 ounces
Lettuce 2 ounces
Peas 5 ounces
Radishes 10 ounces

Read more about my adventures in Square Foot Gardening.

Are you thinking about putting together a Square foot garden? See the how I built a square foot garden grid HERE.

All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author, Mel Bartholomew is basically the king of square foot gardening.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Concrete Planter

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how to make a star shaped concrete planter

The HH and I were cleaning the garage out the other day and came across 2 bags of concrete {left over from when we built the chicken run last summer}. I thought it would be fun to use the extra concrete to make a couple of unique concrete planters for the backyard.

If you’ve never made your on concrete containers before, it’s SUPER easy to do.

First, choose two containers to use as a mold.  You’ll need a smaller and a larger one, so that one can nest inside the other. I found these flexible plastic containers at my local garden center.

Make Your Own Concrete Planter

Now, use a paintbrush to  coat the inside of your larger container with cooking oil.

DIY Make Your Own Concrete Planter

Next, oil the outside of your smaller container, using the same method as above.

Make Your Own Concrete Planter Tutorial

Now, grab some garden gloves and mix your concrete. Fill the larger mold up to about 1 inch from the top.  Shake the container to allow the concrete to settle and get rid of air bubbles.

DIY Make Concrete Planters

Press the small mold into the large mold.  Don’t press it too deep, remember, you need enough concrete to have bottom to your planter.

Make Your Own Concrete Planters

Next put a rock or some other weight inside the smaller mold and let the concrete set for 24-48 hours.

how to make concrete planters

Finally, gently remove the molds.  You may want to smooth the rough edges with a stone or a file.

how to make a star shaped concrete planter

That’s it, easy peasy!

DIY How to Make a Concrete Planter

Want more ideas on concrete projects?   Amazon has Concrete Garden Projects and it is getting great reviews.

 concrete garden projects

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.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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amazon grocery deals

This was one of those weeks where there were so many different ways to save, that creativity definitely came in to play. Although there were no double coupons like the old days, it just goes to show show you there are a ton of different ways you can save on your grocery bill.

Amazon Grocery – FREE

I redeemed some of my Swagbucks for an Amazon gift card and went shopping in Amazon’s Grocery Department. If you want to learn about Swagbucks, head on over HERE.

red peppers

Fred Meyer $6.72

My neighbor Hulda and I got together and did some canning last week and my contribution was canning jars, lids, pickling salt, spices and peppers. I had originally stopped by Safeway to get my peppers for $0.50 each but they were all sold out. They suggested I get a rain check but I needed the peppers for the next day so I went to Fred Meyer and asked if they would price match. It was the first time I think I have ever asked Fred Meyer to price match another store and much to my surprise, they said yes.

The cashier did say that the decision was up to each store manager, but I thought it was pretty cool.
office depot ink cartridge refund program

Office Depot – $1.99

What do you do with you old ink cartridges? I hope you don’t just toss them in the trash because Office Depot {and a lot of other stores} have recycling programs and some of them will even give you a store credit when you recycle them.

I’ve been taking our empty ink cartridges to the Office Depot for a couple of years now and each time I turn one in I earn a $2 credit with their office rewards program {you can recycle as many as 10 a month}. Then each quarter, they mail you a voucher and you can pretty much spend it on anything in the store. There wasn’t anything I really needed, so I picked up some K-Cups for the HH. We don’t have a food tax so I only had to pay $1.99. Not to shabby for 18 cups of Joe if you ask me.
albertsons shopping trip

Albertsons $5.40

Albertsons had a gift card promotion going on, buy $100 in specific gift cards and get a coupon good for $20 worth of free groceries so I went ahead and picked up for gift cards for Father’s Day that I was planning on purchasing anyway.

The only down side to the $20 gift card coupon is that you cannot use it on liquid dairy products so I did have to pay for the milk. If I could have bought milk I think I would have stocked up and used the whole $20 so I could stock up and freeze milk for this summer.

Philadelphia cream cheese

QFC – $2.00

QFC has a buy 4 save $4 deal going on right now where you can score cream cheese for only $1 a block. Plus there is also a $0.50/1 Philadelphia Cream Cheese printable coupon available too. Use 4 coupons and get 2 pounds of cream cheese for only $2. Weeeee!

omaha steaks

Omaha Steaks – FREE

The HH received a Father’s Day box with Omaha Steaks, bacon and beef jerky from his parents. Saweet! The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird claimed the bacon as soon as the box was opened. :)

Food waste in America pictures

I LOVE free produce!! Seriously, who needs to BUY food when you can grow it, or get it for free? Life is good!

How did you do this past week?

Total Spent This Week $16.11

Total Spent This Year $1,041.68

Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $893.99 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

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