Gardening

Craziest Spring Ever

Most of us think about spring showers in April then the May flowers. Well it  didn’t start that way here on The Mississippi!!

Rain, cold and periods of snow oh and I almost forgot the Flooding! Levees being built and more rain and cool, so no planting here, this was early March through April.

Now with all this rain we will be right back where the flooding started by two weeks!

This is a picture of where my son works here on the edge of town and has to boat to work daily and this has been for over a month so far!  Its just starting to go down now but we shall see after all the rain the coming weeks they predict!

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Then a break as the waters subsided but the cooler temperatures stuck around. I was so anxious to plant seeds I did anyway and failed! So tried again a few weeks later and now early May I have produce coming up! Sugar snap Peas, green beans, carrots, radishes, Potatoes, Cauliflower and bought some Heirloom plants and planted yesterday also!

Today I managed to plant two rows of green beans in between the rain and still waiting for my seedling plants to harden off, Their not quite ready yet but will be exciting to plant my first raised from seed plants of tomatoes and jalapeño pepper plants!

Garden Boxes

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Thanks to Mary’s Heirloom Seeds!

I’ve never had such a busy spring and excitement!!  Preparing the coop for new chicks, designing the new garden and all the fencing and decorations;  A girl still has to decorate outside even!  Planting flowers in pots for color and to help with insects so I planted the marigolds in the pots for that reason along with the bright colors!

Gardening

Seeds and Seedlings

So finally Spring has Sprung like a Lion as storms and rain continues in between the rain you’ll find me out there with nature and my Ladies ! On my simple living, urban, natural way of life, self sufficient just living like I Love to. 🌱🐥🌻

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What’s With All The Colors?

Color Your Landscapes

Did you ever think where all the many colors come from or how they come about?

Photo by Paweł Fijałkowski on Pexels.com

Especially in nature and the many things that surround us!

There are 7 Primary colors in a rainbow the 7 colors of the rainbow such as Red, Orange, Yellow, green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. In school we learn that there are Three Primary colors that combine to make secondary colors such as orange, green and purple plus some black and white. In the light we see colors as blue, red and green colors. The color theory is truly complicated so I won’t go into it any further, Plus some of it is beyond me!

So what about the colors we see in everyday life, all around us we are surrounded in color and we have become so accustomed to it we really don’t think about it, But when spring hits Mother Nature and all the trees, plants, flowers and bright colored birds appear it truly is a sight to behold!

Brightly Colored Flowers

You wake up on a bright summer morning and see all the colored flowers and nature surround you how do you feel? Think about it, How does it affect you mood, your thoughts, or your surrounding. Colors are important to identify and recognition also.

We have warm colors and cool colors and each of them can create different emotions or feeling. Colors make us feel happy or sad, relaxed or stressed and some colors can make us feel hungry such as a bright red strawberry!

Warm colors such as Red, Orange and Yellow are all next to each other on the color wheel and all of them are warm. Warm colors can give us feelings of happiness, and energy. Red is the warmest and it can trigger opposing emotions and is frequently associated with love and anger or danger. It can even increase your heart rate and gets you exctied ! If you want to draw attention to an object, use Red. Think about some of the fast food chains, You see a lot of red and yellow with them to draw your attention! Use it moderately, It is over whelming.

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Orange, It enhances happiness and also draws attention, Its eye appealing and friendly.

Yellow, Is the energetic one! think of the Sun, warm, sunny and gives hope.

Green, We think about new starts, health and wealth. It’s easy and relaxes us, Think of a new spring day and green grass finally with maybe some starts of plants or flowers, It relaxes us and balances all the other colors around us.

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Blue, makes us think of spirituality, calming and it causes the body to create chemicals that are calming also. It is one of the favored colors! Think of all the jeans, jackets and such denim shirts, uniforms, The darker blues gives a feeling of being professional. Lighter blues are more relaxing and friendly. Think about the blue sky, advertising, internet and such, What colors do they use?

Purple, Has always been associated with royalty and wealth. It is calming and inticing. Walk down a few store isles and see how they use some colors especially in the women’s and cosmetic departments, Think of cologne bottles.

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So these are a few color Tid-Bits to think about and myself I think more of them in my gardens and landscaping especially this time of year. With the green as my canvas and now its time to play with colors and evoke some good feeling for all to enjoy!

So get out plan your gardens, flower beds and think of what colors you will use and for what reasons. God gave us all these beautiful colors to create our own pallets ! Go forth and beautifi your Homesteads!

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Get Ready to Garden Tips

Spring is slowly approaching us here in the mid-west finally.

Are you ready? Let’s gather our supplies and get digging.

Let’s do this! Here’s a few things you will need.

You have your plan down and maybe have planted your seedlings by now and soon to be transplanted, Plus the other seeds or plants to put in,  so what else you might say is needed?

Tools are very important for a Gardner and I have learned throughout the years that it pays to spend a little extra for a strong working tool and not a soft bending cheap tool! Nothing more maddening than trying to dig a hole or plant a flower and your tool bends right in your hand!

There are many quality tools available on-line and in your local farmer supply stores and Hardware stores. Here is a nice set on line for an idea.

https://www.amazon.com/Gardening-Organizer-Included-Accessories-Gardeners/dp/B0735BW934

What kind of tools you ask Well ,here’s a few ideas to get you thinking.

Long Handle Shovel

Iron Rake

Hand Shovel

Hand Spade

Claw

Hammer

Hoe

Don’t forget buckets, hoses, spikes, fencing or rope. Now go out their and mark your garden territory and get to digging and planting!!

Take a tour at your local garden centers and see what you come up with!

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So you have your tools now and I assume your garden is cleared and waiting for the new plants or seeds to be planted or maybe you are going to do container planting, If so be sure your containers are clean and fresh soil in them because you don’t want bacteria and insects destroying your baby plants!  Also make sure they have drainage holes so you don’t drown the roots!

Make sure also that your new plants get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight to promote growth. Don’t do like I did a few years ago and forgot to Label my plants!  It’s hard to tell sometimes what they are until they grow a little.

You have your new hoses so don’t forget to water in the mornings,  It is best to prevent disease and will make the root system grow deeper.

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When it comes to weeding I like to do it in the mornings for one it’s not as hot and the soil is not a dry so they are easier to pull out.  Mulch will help to keep the weeds down also. Gardening

Did you raise your own seedlings?  If so don’t forget to harden them before you trans plant them, which is letting them sit our doors for short time periods each day at least 50 degrees outside is best to get them accustomed to the outdoors and also prevent shock!

I have new baby’s that shot up yesterday!  My seedlings

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Don’t forget to thin out your plants if they become to crowded plus you want to be strong and healthy.

How about some natural fertilizers!  I like epsom salt and vinegar.

Another important thing to watch for are those pesky pests! And how to get rid of them.

One good natural way to plant other plants that will deter the Pest such as Marigolds, garlic, chives, catmint,  lemongrass and thyme.  Also another good one is 1 Tsp of liquid Castile soap to a spray bottle of water, If you want to go Gangster Mad add 1 tsp of hot sauce to the bottled mixture!

Well happy Gardening and hope these few tips will get you started or thinking about a garden and rasing your own food this season!  Think Mean and Green! 

Don’t forget to check out the LInks!  for more Garden Ideas!

Garden Boxes

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Seeds and Seedlings

Seeds Vs. Starts.   Hmmm.  What would you like to do?  Let’s look into this together and I think I would like to do both, Why not?   Let’s go over the information and see what all it involves and make a decision.

When doing seeds we buy at the market we should always remember we may not get what we expected with results!

Start your own Seedlings. OR

Buy your Starts and plant them

 

Open pollinated heirloom varieties are an exception;  they almost always live up to expectation, and  generally have better disease resistance as well.  Local farmers in your area are the best sources for heirlooms seeds of varieties that will do good in your area or a reputable suppliers.

If you have a short growing season , you need to start. your seeds indoors six to eight weeks early and then harden them up before planting outside in your garden.

Buying nursery starts can be expensive but are more reliable and can be  planted right in the garden, Also you might be able to buy in bulk.

Where does your  garden grow?

One of the best ways for a healthy garden is to first start with good soil and nutrients.  Double dig and turn over compost and other amendments,  remember no chemicals!  And for those just starting out on their compost (like Me). ask around the local farmers for horse manure, chicken,  and  goat manure are all great to amend with your soil.  By raising your garden bed a few inches with soil you can get better drainage and avoid root run.  You can always dig trenches between the beds and pile up extra soil on the beds to raise them especially if you get a lot of rain like us!

Remember the size and shape of your Garden will matter also.  Long beds more than four feet wide are unpractical and hard to maintain as far as chores like weeding and harvesting.  Round beds five feet wide provide good access all around. Don’t forget raised beds!  If you don’t have the time and patience or just old and not as flexible like me!  These are great and on my to do list within a couple of weeks!  I have a post I  like this too just on raised garden beds.  Garden Boxes

How about growing in containers?  It’s a great idea for small spaces and you can start the crop early in a protected area and move the pots to more exposed locations, also to make it easier add a wheeled platform!   You can use plastic, clay, ,metal or wooden containers for growing vegetables.  The only problem with container gardening is the soil dries out faster and the roots only have so much space to grow in, So you may have to transplant or just start with a bigger pot.   Remember to change your soil from last year, never use old soil from last season!  All the nutrients are gone and may be bacteria, mold, and insects growing in the old soil.

So Seeds or Starts;  I like the fun in trying to do it myself plus the satisfaction of it,  But if its’ not successful then well It’s a lesson learnt.  If you purchase you starts from a quality supplier then you have a good guarantee the plant will grow and survive and a chance to maybe buy in bulk.  So compare, the  seeds are cheaper to start and the out- come is the same as long as you’re starts live and produce.  So you tell me what you want to do, as for me and my little homestead I will be doing both and either way for the majority all Heirlooms!

Happy Gardening!!!

 

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Compost

Growing Organically

It’s time to get your “ORGANIC” on!  Here are some things I love about organic gardening and tips to share with you.

A lot of the most common used chemicals used for non-organic gardening and farming have been linked to cancer, attention deficit disorder, autism, and a lot of other chronic diseases.  By avoiding synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides means my garden is a safe haven for birds and bees to do their work!

Soil provides the nutrients that plants need to survive, and with a healthy nutrient soil you will get a healthy plant that will survive. Drainage is another important factor because many plants don’t like  their roots waterlogged plus it can cause root rot; Then the soil will be too acidic due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other byproducts of bacterial decomposition.

Good garden compost leaf mold, composted bark, and well-rotted manure are vital organic materials that should be incorporated into the soil.  By doing this they increase aeration and drainage in fine compacted  clay based soils.  Also it provides plenty of nutrients and are able to absorb moisture and retain it.

Compost is available purchase , but you can avoid the expense by making your own!

I had been thinking about compost for years especially with our hard sandy soil but wasn’t sure how , where or when so with studying and gathering material the compost pile has begun and I will no longer incorporate nasty chemicals into my garden or yard!

It’s a great way to recycle your house waste and regenerate it into the garden, not to mention reduces our land fills!   Some free organic material would be things like grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds and wood chips and don’t forget the manure!

So you need a proper place for your compost pit and a corner of your garden would be great!  Or an open and closed bin would be easy also.  A good compost  pile would be building your pill with one part grass clippings and two parts dead leaves or other brown matter.  If you don’t want to hassle of transporting your compost to the garden beds or turning it  try  trench composting where you dump all the waste in trenches, and cover it with soil and then plant over it the next season.

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Organic Gardening is all about avoiding chemicals of all kinds and types.   However some plant diseases are deadly and spread quickly through an entire crop and destroy it.!  Diseases may be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses!  Who knew!  It is tempting to use these chemical based solutions, but it’s important to avoid them as they can enter the plants directly through the plant tissue or by way of contaminated air and water.

Getting disease-resistant varieties is best for organic gardens.    Many plant breeders have developed many cultivars that are highly resistant to viral diseases, bacterial -rot and Fungal- infections and not all of them are GMO !  A good solution is to look for Heirloom varieties tat have developed high levels of disease resistance, They may cost a little more but worth it in the end.

Seeds and starts for your garden are best if bought in local nurseries so you know they are suitable for your climate and zone area.  Local varieties are acclimatized to the climate and seasonal variations.  Try to find high yielding and disease-resistant varieties popular in your specific area.

Don’t forget chickens and other farm animals are a benefit in organic gardening!  They not only develop organic eggs but act as a composers eating up anything eatable such as garbage, food, vegetable peels, garden waste, insects, and their constant scratching brings up larvae that live in the soil and mulch!  The best part they can provide you with high quality of organic manure!!  Raising turkeys, sheep goats and rabbits are great choices for organic gardens.  Turkey manure is nitrogen rich while sheep manure is high potash content.   Manure of herbivorous animals is safe added to the soil without any treatment, especially rabbit droppings as it breaks down quick without turning plant roots.

So get your compost going, and if possible some farm animals for some good manure and great organic eggs!

I don’t know about you but we are excited to be going Organic outside as well as we have been going green inside and will be all the better and healthier for making these great decisions plus make some new animal friends along the way!

 

Happy Organic Gardening!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

person holding a green plant

THIS IS WHAT WE WANT OUR SEEDLING TO GROW INTO

 

 

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Garden Boxes

Raised Garden Boxes

Are you tired of the back aches, sore knees, or have physical limitations, But love to garden and grow your own produce; I know I’m !  Well here’s a suggestion for you and a few tips to help you out and give you something to think about this coming gardening season!

Garden Box
Raised Garden Boxes

I approached this topic as the plan for my own garden this year due to poor quality of and lack of soil here on the river.  Our soil is mostly sand and very dry and hot no matter how much watering  it seems was never enough and a lot of  our plants either would not produce in quality or quantity !  So the plans soon is to make our own garden boxes and bring in new soil along with the added compost and such.

So the fastest way to get good deep fertile soil is to make the Raised Beds!  They can yield up to four times more than the same amount of space as in planted rows and  save you money and time!  I’m all for that!  Not to mention less back, knee and stress on the body!

The plants also grow closer together and crowd out the weeds therefore you spend less time and effort weeding plus it makes watering and harvesting efficient and easier.

Did you know that planting in a triangle will yield more?  I didn’t, So we need to pay attention how we arrange the plants AND by doing this you can fit 10-14% more plants in each bed!!  I’m for that!  Just don’t plant them too close to each other.

Weight yield is more important than the number of plants per square foot.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember or think ahead what it will grow into!

Small garden?  No problem, Grow up! go vertical hence Tomatoes, Pole Beans, Melons, can all be supported by fences, cages, or stakes, plus it saves time by going up it provides more air to circulate which means less Fungal Diseases!

Some great ideas for growing vertical are becoming more popular especially small yards, apartments and also for just the great looks!  You can hang a shoe organizer up from a rod and attach heavy hooks through top holes of shoe garment to hang on the rod and fill each pocket up to an inch with compost and plant  herbs, lettuce, flowers and such, the water will seep through the canvas material.  Also you can use pallet boards leaning up against the house or garage and pack with dirt to plant herbs .  I have see large plumbing tubes with drilled holes in them and attached together in shapes where plants are grown in the large holes drilled into them.  Check out Pinterest.com for some great resources and DIY ideas on vertical gardening.

Grow Vining crops along the sides of your beds, You could even place buckets or cement blocks along the sides of your boxes AND have extra plants!  I think I’m going with the cement blocks, and add some marigolds in a few boxes also!   Just use what you have or can find.

Another thing to think about before you plant in your cute boxes is to make sure you have compatible plants such as the “Three Sisters” Corn, beans, and squash.  The corn stocks support the beans and the squash grows on the ground shading out the weeds!  More compatibles include Tomatoes, basil and onions.

Use your transplants that already are a month or so old when you plant them and they will mature faster, plus the pride you have from seeding them yourself!

Remember no pressure treated wood is allowed to grow “Organic Food”  If you want to meet these high standards choose a different wood material.  The EPA recommends use naturally Rot-Resistant woods like Red Cedar, Black Locust or Red Wood.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know this or thought about it!

Check out some local lumber yards for Raised Garden Kits also if your not into building.

Lowes.com

menards.com

Raised Beds can also be used on a cement patio if you don’t have the yard space or want it closer to your house; keep in mind your plants need sun  at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive,  Also Remember to block up one end of your box a little to allow for drainage if you chose this option.

farmers almanac     Another great source for planting, and  when to plant by the moon forecast and more.

 

You may ask ok what kind of soil do I use?  The best is Homemade soil blend of 50% Topsoil made of healthy loom, 50% compost which can be manure, animal manure or fish compost.

The best Premium soil is :

1/3. Peat Moss

1/3. Vermiculite

1/3. compost blend

I really like the idea of mulching the paths between the boxes it gives it a finished look and will keep the soil cooler, plus keep the weeds down! As you can see my Old Garden lacks any structure!   Lay a landscape cloth on your path and cover with 2-3 inches of mulch or sawdust, Also when laying the fabric down allow it come up 1′ against the bottom board of box and staple it in place.  The much will cover it.

 

One of the most important things to know is your plant zone which will tell you when you can plant according to each state.  Here is a USA Zone Map to help you decide.

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.USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2012. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed from https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov.


Now that you know when to start planting, Think ahead and start your own seedlings!

If you really want to start your own plants from seeds I think thats great!  And what better satisfaction than doing it all your self .  Here are some  Tid-Bits  from the ( Good Ol Farmers Almanac )  I read and  you might enjoy!

person holding green cactus on pot
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Try using some things you may have around the house instead of purchasing seedling trays such as, Toilet Paper roll,  Cut four slits in one end and fold in edge and fill with compost and your seeds plus you can plant the container and all!  It’s Biodegradable.

Ice Cream cones are also great to start seeds in as well as 1/2 of an egg shell and what about empty egg cartons the paper ones.

Do you live in the country or farm and bothered by deer eating in your garden?  You should  try this DIY Deer Repellent.  Mix 3 Tab hot sauce, 3 Tab minced garlic and 3 raw eggs, blend all together in blender and add to 1 gal of water and pour into spray bottle to spray your plants with and respray after a rain.  Insects are always a pest for gardeners and here is a few natural ideas without the chemicals!  Try planting Basil near your windows or doorways to repel flies and mosquitos, Plant some Dill near your tomatoes  to prevent tomato hook worms .( Oh speaking of that , Did you know a tomato hornworm (also known as a tobacco hornworm) is like a humming bird !  it grows into a type of humming bird moth!!  yup you heard me  they are brownish 2-2.5 inches with no beak just a long roll out tongue and sucks nectar from flowers just like a real hummingbird!! ) Go figure. That’s Sci-Fi for ya!   THAT I read in the Farmers Almanac!!

10 Fascinating Facts About The Hummingbird MothPinterest.com/moth

And what about those pesky weeds!  Try your own homemade weed killer, Mix 5 Tab of dish washing soap per 1 quart of water and add to a spray bottle to spray the plants with, Oh an it works great on Aphids too!  I use it every year!

Hopefully your plants are in the garden now or soon to be and you have all your garden tools, aprons, buckets or baskets to make things go smoothly and water nearby for your growing season!  Stay tuned and in a few months it will be time to talk about how we preserve all your garden harvest.

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Well this is just a little information I gained while researching the Raised Garden Beds of how and why I chose to go this route and sharing a little information on how to get started with your own seeds or seedlings with  you.

Happy Gardening and stay green and dirty Gardners!

Old Garden
My Old Garden ! Of No More!

Soon to have my New Garden Boxes

  Happy Gardening All !

 

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