Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Pictures 7/22/14

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fallen tree on garden

Over the weekend a tree fell smack dab in the middle of our pumpkin patch killing two plants. Luckily we were all inside when it happened. Living in a wooded area has it’s perks, but falling trees, isn’t one of them. growing green beans on a trellis

The rest of the garden is doing really well though. The second round of green beans should be ready in a few more weeks and I just planted our third and final round last night. onion braids

Onions. We harvested all of them. Our winter leeks are still growing like mad and with a little luck the chives we have planted alongside the greenhouse should be okay thru the middle of October or so. For some reason plants seem to hang on a little longer in that spot. Not sure if it’s because of the shade or what, but I’m not complaining.
cabbage plant

We are harvesting about a head of cabbage a week. Grocery shipping in your backyard is cool!zucchini plant

Zucchinis. Are yours growing like crazy this year too?harvesting beets

And last but not least beets. We harvested a tray full of beets last night and planted new seeds in the same spot for a late fall harvest. Call me crazy, but I think a 4′x8′ garden box should be just enough to last thru the winter. What do you think?

How is YOUR garden doing these days? What’s your favorite thing growing in your garden right now?

Mavis Wants to know.

This years garden is being sponsored by the folks at BotanicInterests Seed Company. You can check out their website HERE, order their new 2014 Garden Seed Catalog HERE.

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



What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

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What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes

I recently received an email from One Hundred Dollars a Month reader, Kathy in Ohio.  She wrote,

Hi Mavis! Happy Wednesday to you!  Have you ever discussed blossom drop in tomatoes? It’s when the blossoms bloom then drop off tomato plants, with no fruit setting. Someone recently came to me asking about it, and luckily enough, after years of caring for acres of tomatoes when my step father was alive on the farm, I was able to help her.
I think your readers would like to know about this. After all, it has been hot and humid around most of the country lately and that can be a factor when dealing with blossom drop.

It can also affect other fruit bearing veggie plants like peppers, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and other squash, melons and eggplant
By the way, I’m in NE Ohio,  where it’s been near 90 or above, with super high humidity.

Have an excellent day!

Excellent suggestion, Kathy.  Thanks!

Blossom drop can be maddening.  The worst part of blossom drop is that several things can cause it.  It is an indication that the plant is under some level of stress, so you may have to trouble shoot a bit what could be causing it in your specific situation.  First off, blossom drop is when the flowers {that should eventually become tomatoes} wither up and fall off–which means no tomatoes.  Whah!

Typically, blossom drop occurs when temperatures spike very quickly or drop quickly.  Drastic changes in temperature really stress tomatoes out.  As Kathy mentioned, humidity can also do a number on potato plants.  If you live in a low humidity area, it’s an easy fix, you can try wetting the foliage a bit during the day to get a bit of humidity into the air around the plant.  If you live in a high humidity area, it’s pretty darn hard to control.

If the weather isn’t the problem, it may be a pollination issue.  If you don’t have bees buzzing around your garden, you may not have great pollination.  Without pollination, no tomatoes, plain and simple.

blossom drop in tomatoes

Lack of water or nitrogen in the soil can also stress out a tomato plant.  During the hottest months, it’s really best to give a deep water {like flood irrigation} once a week, rather than a daily surface sprinkle.  The water really needs to reach the roots, and if given the change, tomatoes like to lay some deep roots.  If you suspect your soil might not be very nutrient rich, try a quality organic nitrogen based fertilizer.  Follow the instructions on the fertilizer for application.

Inspect your plants regularly for insects or disease.  Again, an infestation or disease will stress out your plant, causing it drop flowers.

heirloom tomatoes

Finally, and this is probably the best case scenario, it can happen when you have a really heavy crop.

Yep, even too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  The good news is that after you harvest some of the tomatoes, it should resolve itself.  The plant only has so much nutrients to go around, so if there is an over-abundance of fruit, it will drop some of the flowers to concentrate on growing the rest of the fruit.

Once you know what is causing your blossom drop, you can easily address the issue {except for controlling the weather, I haven’t figured out how to do that yet :) }.

Thanks again for the suggestion, Kathy!  I can’t believe I haven’t thought to address the topic before.

~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.

One Grocery Store’s Solution to Food Waste

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A big thanks to my friend Heather who shared this video and article about a grocery store in France on a mission to reduce food waste with me.

Intermarche, a large grocery store chain in France, is taking food waste into their own hands.  Instead of only buying the “perfect” looking fruits and veggies {which as any gardener knows, leaves a lot of “imperfect” waste}, they are buying up the stuff the farmers would have thrown out.  They mark it down, give it its own showcase in the store, and then watch as people buy it up.  They also create in-house juices and soups with it, which apparently fly off the shelves.  Genius, I tell ya.

mutant carrots

I wish they would do something like that here in America {Maybe they do?  Does anyone know of a grocery store that sells the ugly fruits and veggies?}  In America, the average family wastes about 25% of the food they throw out.  That roughly equates to $1500 dollars a year just getting tossed into the trash.

food-waste-in-America-Saveitsunday

Click HERE and check out my food waste experiment.  Trust me, if you haven’t read about it, your mind will be blown.

Food waste is one of those things that just kills me–especially quality, nutrient packed food.  I go to some pretty serious lengths to make sure food doesn’t go to waste around here.  For one, I organize my fridge so that things don’t get lost in the abyss.  Fruits and vegetables that are about to go bad get pureed and frozen for smoothies, soups, etc.  And while I am terrible at meal planning, it DOES cut down on waste.  Plain and simple.  {Check out my tips on reducing food waste for more ideas.}

Preventing Food Waste - Freeze Extra Juice and Make Smoothies

I thought this was another genius solution to a HUGE global problem.  I would totally buy the misshapen fruits and vegetables–especially at a discount.  How about YOU?

~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.

Free Kindle Books, Labeler Machine, Foodsaver, Keen Shoes, Hunter Boots, Recipes, Coupons and More

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lucy the puggle dog

Lucy wasn’t at all convinced it was time to get up this morning. :)

Have a great Tuesday everyone,

Mavis

kindle fire tablet

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day - $100 Off Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 4G LTE

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the kindle app on your other devices. It’s easy!

Brother Personal Labeler Machine

Gone! :(   Amazon currently has the Brother Personal Labeler Machine on sale for just $9.99. This is a great way to label all your kids back to school supplies {or your own stuff!}

Deals on Sharpies

I LOVE Sharpies!!!

How-to-Infuse-Oils-for-Cooking

If you’ve never infused oil for cooking before, check out how HERE or Pin it for later. It’s so good! Find more cool tips on my Easy Kitchen Tips Pinterest Board.

FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealing System

If you’ve been thinking about getting a Foodsaver Machine Amazon has the FoodSaver V3240 Vacuum Sealing System on sale for $86.97 shipped. The reviews are excellent on this machine!

 

keen shoes on sale

Today Zulily Keen Shoes for the Whole Family on sale today with savings up to 65% off! Now is the time to stock up for back to school!!New to Zulily? Go HERE to Sign Up then HERE to get the deal.

hunter boots for kids

6pm currently has Kids Hunter Boots on sale for $45.99 shipped! Wowza!

tiny prints thank you cards

Through 7/28/14, you can create $1.99 personalized 5×7 folded cards, and Cardstore will mail them for FREE when you use code CAJ4106 at checkout! Wahoo! What a deal!

canvas people

I love me some Canvas People. They are still offering their FREE 8×10 offer. You just have to pay shipping! Get your FREE 8×10 from Canvas People HERE.

saveur-magazine-coupon-deal

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Saveur Magazine for only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 7/22/14 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

Easy-Crock-Pot-Recipes-Chicken-with-Orange-Marmalade

If the temperature is so hot outside that you don’t want to turn on your oven, try this oven-free Slow Cooker Chicken with Orange Marmalade recipe. Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for later.

strawberry pop tarts

Check out these New Printable Coupons:

Find More Printable Coupons

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 Basil Salsa

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Strawberry Basil Salsa

I made this and ate it with some tortilla chips. It was good. Then I made this and ate it with a thin layer of cream cheese on a toasted baguette {a few Triscuit crackers, too} and hold-the-phone, it changed everything. So that’s how I brought it to the next BBQ we were invited to and everyone scarfed it down. This salsa is a slam dunk.

holding-fresh-strawberries

Ingredients

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 cups chopped strawberries

how to grow organic basil

Directions

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper. Add onions and basil, and stir until combined. Add strawberries and toss to coat. Enjoy.

Strawberry Basil Salsa

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.

Remember When Your First Car Meant Freedom?

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Remember When Your First Car Meant Freedom

I was on cnn.com the other day and spotted an article about the thrill of owning your own car as a teen in the 1960′s.  The article described how one teen worked at the grocery store, delivered papers, and sold ice cream just so he could buy his own car by the time he turned 16.  Not only did he save enough {$200} to buy a car, but he also WORKED before he ever even turned 16.  The car meant freedom to him, in a time where most households had only one car, and 1 out of 5 households had none at all.

Back when I was in high school you were cool if you just had a car, but these days it’s less about having a car {any car} than what kind of car. My first car was a 2 door Ford Escort and I drove it into the ground. I literally had to stop on the side of the freeway because the engine was smoking about 5 miles from where I was trading it in for $500 {which was a gift let me tell you, that thing had run it’s course}.

Now cars, smartphones, and jobless teens are just kind of a given.  Part of it totally has to do with how much we expect from them academically and with their extracurricular demands, but still, it seems sad–like they are missing out on an earned right-of-passage.  The first set of bought-with-your-own-money set of wheels used to be a tell-tell sign that  you were transitioning into adulthood.  Maybe it’s our fault?  We buy them their first set of wheels so the WE can gain a little freedom.  They can drive themselves to and from practice, or whatever other commitments that have given us mini-van butt over the years.

Whatever the reason, it’s totally a cultural shift.  Don’t you ever just miss the good ol’ days?

So, what was your first car? I bet it wasn’t as sweet as a pale blue 2 door Ford Escort. ;)

~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.

Canning 101 – How to Can Green Beans

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Well, I did it. I succesfully canned green beans in a pressure canner, and I didn’t blow up the house either. I totally feel like Olivia Walton right now.  In fact I might even go cut up some fabric and sew me a quilt this afternoon too. Ha Ha Ha!

So because I am a visual learner, I decided to take a boatload of pictures for you just in case you want to give this a try too.

Step 1 – Fill a pressure canner with 4 inches of water, place the rack in the bottom of the canner, and then place the canner on the stove and bring the water to a boil over low heat.

While the water in the canner is heating up, wash and cut your beans.  I used just under 8 pounds of beans and I ended up with 12 pint jars of green beans.

Fill clean, dry, sterilized jars 1 inch from the top with cut green beans.

Cover the beans with boiling water within 1 inch of the top of the jar and remove any air bubbles.

Carefully place the jars in boiling water, on the bottom of the canner rack. The water level in the canner should be at 3 inches by now.  If not, add more boiling water until you are at 3 inches.

Raise the temp to med- high and place the lid on the canner.  Set a timer for 10 minutes to allow the steam to escape. DO NOT put the weight on the canner yet.

After 10 minutes of venting, tighten the side clamps.

Put the 10 pound weight in place and make sure any openings are now closed and allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds.

Once the pressure canner reaches 10 pounds, set your timer for 20 minutes {see chart below}.  You may need to adjust the heat {I did} to maintain 10 pounds of pressure.

Once the 20 minutes are up, turn off the heat.  Walk away, go find something to do until the pressure in your canner drops to zero {my canner made a “ping” noise when it hit zero.  Do not attempt to open your canner until it is at zero.  Big No No!

Once the pressure in the canner has dropped to zero, remove the clamps, and remove the lid. Carefully place the jars in a draft free area {I always place my hot jars on a towel}.

photo credit

 Check seals {they will be indented if you canned the beans properly} and after the jars have fully cooled down, wipe clean and store in a cool dark pantry {or cupboard} away from heat.

Viola!  That is how you can green beans. See, I told you it was easy.

 

Christmas of 2008 my Mother in Law gave me an All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner.  Now, I’m all about saving money, but a pressure canner is not something I would buy used.  But that’s just me.  So you do what you like.  But if you are interested in getting a new one,  Amazon has a ton of different sizes to choose from and the All American company has the highest ratings.

 * I am not a pressure canning expert, this is simply how I canned my own green beans. Can at your own risk.

 

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 I Feed My Family for $100 a Month – Week 28 of 52

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haagen daz bars

Costco $8.49

A big thanks to Nicole who shared last week Haagen Daz ice cream bars were $3.00 off at Costco. The HH was so happy! The vanilla chocolate almond bars are his favorite! :)

target market pantry pasta

Target $5.89

I tried a new recipe last week that called for V-8 juice, it’s not something I normally buy the my husband likes it so I figured why not? Remember the Pretzel Cookies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chips I made last week? Well luckily I can get a few more batches out of the bag peanut butter chips I bought at Target because man are those expensive!

tyson chicken breast tenderloins

Target $11.98

Chicken! I had to buy chicken. :( Let me tell you Bob it’s always a sad day around here when I run out of my bulk order of Zaycon chicken. I have plenty of chicken freezer meals I can use but we are officially all out of single chicken breasts and the next Zaycon deal doesn’t come around to my neck of the woods until around the middle of October. Boo!

chicken stir fry dish

During the summer months we probably eat stir fry about 2, maybe even 3 times a week. I mean really, how can you go wrong with fresh veggies, rice and a little meat? It’s the easiest dinner ever if you ask me. {Get the recipe for my chicken stir fry HERE}

smith brothers milk

Smith Brother’s Milk Delivery - Sponsored

I realized I needed to add butter and whipping cream to my milk delivery but the cut off time to change your order online for the next days delivery is 6pm. Luckily the old school way of leaving a note in the milk box still works. Yay!

With the garden in full swing now I’m not having to stock up at the grocery as much as I usually do during the winter months which is pretty sweet if you ask me. How about you? Have you seen a dramatic reduction in your grocery bill? Or are you sending those extra dollars in ice cream like me? ;)

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $26.36
Total Spent This Year $1,011.22 {Eeek! I’m way over budget!}
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $38.98

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

Smith Brothers Farms Logo

One Hundred Dollars a Month is proudly sponsored by Smith Brother’s Farms, my family’s favorite milk. Check out their website HERE and learn about the over 100 top quality products Smith Brothers Farms can deliver to your porch box.

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.

Free Kindle Books, The North Face, Luggage Set, Puma Clothing Deals, Coupons, Recipes and More

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artichoke flower

Happy Monday everyone I hope you had a great weekend. The weather here in Western Washington was ridiculously muggy this weekend but despite the weather we were able to get a bunch of projects done around here.

I can’t believe we are already half way thru summer… can you?

Holy cow man!

Mavis

air filter

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day - Up to 51% Off Select Filtrete Healthy Living Air Filters

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the kindle app on your other devices. It’s easy!

luggage set

Get the 2 Piece US Traveler Rio Expandable Carry-On Luggage Set for as low as $39.99 shipped {blue}. The reviews are great and there are 4 colors to choose from.

Easy-Kids-Crafts-Chalkboard-Paint-Jars-for-Back-to-School-Storage

School is just around the corner {where did summer go?}. Check out these awesome chalkboard paint jars for easy school supply organization. Find the craft HERE or Pin it for laterFind more cool crafts on my Kids Stuff Pinterest Board.

The North Face RDT Momentum Jacket

REI Outlet Deal of the Day - Men’s The North Face RDT Momentum Jacket 50% off

bedside-caddy

Okay, so maybe I’m getting old, but these Bedside Storage Mattress Book Caddies look kind of cool They are only $8.89 and look like they’d come in handy.

pantene-pro-v-shampoo-conditioner-coupons3 new Pantene Coupons just popped up!

Screw300x250

Calling all wine lovers! Take the Palate Profile Quiz from Club W. They’ll ask you 6 simple questions about the flavors you like, and then based on your tastes, Club W will recommend wines just for you. No credit card required unless you want to have those recommendations shipped right to your house {you’ll pay for 2 bottles and get the 3rd FREE!}. Take the quiz HERE to get started!

natural health magazine

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Natural Health Magazine for only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 7/21/14 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

puma clothing deals

6pm has oodles of Puma Clothing and Shoes on sale right for the whole family. Here are just a few of the deals for kids I spotted:

earthwise tiller

Amazon has the Earthwise  11-Inch 8-1/2 Amp Electric Tiller/Cultivator on sale for just $72.25 shipped and the reviews on this are crazy good! This is the lowest price I’ve ever seen this before so nows the time to grab it if you’ve been thinking about getting a tiller for your garden. :)

Garlic-Herb-Beef-Kabobs1

Fire up that grill and throw these Garlic & Herb Beef Kabobs on it. So easy, so yummy. Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for later.

dinty moore beef stew coupons

Check out these New Printable Coupons:

Find More Printable Coupons

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.

Weekly Meal Plan – Menu Plan Ideas Week 28 of 52

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weekly menu plan ideas

Even though I don’t make a weekly menu plan, I still love the idea of having a bunch of recipes right in front of me to choose from. Here are a few recipes from my recipe collection I thought you might like:

baked oatmeal recipeBreakfast Ideas 

Blueberry Cinnamon Buttermilk Waffles – These are a perfect way to enjoy fresh blueberries while they are in season. {Pin for Later}
Strawberry Banana Muffins – This is a great way to use up some of those over-ripe bananas.  {Pin for Later}
Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries - I love that oatmeal sticks with me all day, top that off with some blueberries and it’s the perfect breakfast.  {Pin for Later}
Savory Crepes with Ham, Spinach, and Egg - These are an awesome Sunday morning treat, and a great break from “normal” breakfasts.  {Pin for Later}

Hobo Bean and Bacon ChiliSlow Cooker  and Freezer Meal Ideas

Crock Pot Honey Baked Chicken – Serve this on a bed of rice and you have a whole meal with very little effort. {Pin for Later}
Slow Cooker Hobo Bean and Bacon Chili - I think about this chili for days sometimes after making it.  {Pin for Later}
Ground Beef Pot Pie Freezer Meal – Now is the perfect time to start stocking up the freezer for back-to-school meals. {Pin for Later}
Chicken with Rice Pilaf - Make some to freeze and some to eat this week.  {Pin for Later}

Long Grain Rice SaladSoups , Salads and Main Dish Ideas

General Tso’s Chicken – This is a great lighter weeknight meal.  {Pin for Later}
Roasted Chicken Salad w/Cranberries – This salad makes a great lunch or dinner, and is a light meal in the dead heat of summer. {Pin for Later}
Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Spinach Quinoa - It’s too hot to cook indoors sometimes, so fire up the grill and throw on these kabobs. {Pin for Later}
Long Grain Rice Salad – This goes great with simple grilled chicken.  {Pin for Later}

blackberry cobbler recipeCookies,  Snacks and Desserts

Raspberry Sorbet – The raspberries are still comin’, so I think a batch of raspberry sorbet is in order.  {Pin for Later}
Blackberry Cobbler – These individual desserts will knock your socks off.  {Pin for Later}
Lavender Lemonade – This stuff is soooo refreshing, and it is a great twist on your standard lemonade.  {Pin for Later}
Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies – These combine two of my favorite things:  peanut butter and nutella…into a cookie.  I really shouldn’t need to explain any further. {Pin for Later}

how-to-can-green-beans-y

Canning Recipe of the Week

Green Beans – Don’t let pressure canning scare you!  Canned green beans are a great way to put up your harvest.  {Pin for Later}

What are YOU planning on making this week?

~Mavis

Looking for more recipes? Check out my recipes boards on Pinterest

Also, be sure to check out:

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