Sep 152016
 

kids-garden-herbs-in-containers

Herbs are a great and simple addition to any garden, even this one build for children to explore.  Their various shapes, colors, patterns, textures, and scents all add fun variety without much extra effort.

For those varieties which tend to spread, burying a pot to plant them in often works well.  These pots can either be chosen for their abilities to blend in or stand out.  Imagine if, in the photo above, the post were a bright red or blue.  The burst of color would add visual interest early in the season when the plants may still be on the smaller side.

To help balance out the green of the herbs and attract more insects, various flowers were included in this corner of the garden.  Lest you think herbs have no value in the insect world, you may be surprised to find they actually play a role in helping deter certain pest insects or attracting caterpillars in various stops along the way to becoming a butterfly.  Do not let their homely colors full you into thinking they do not play a major role in the stage that is called your garden.

This post contains affiliate links.

Apr 292015
 

Working in a small space can either be viewed as a challenge, requiring creativity to make the most of what you do have.  Or it can be viewed as a reason to whine about what you do not have.  This is true whether you are talking about your house or your garden.  I choose to view it as a challenge.

Since we live in town and our lot is not a huge one, having a large garden is not something that is possible if I still want to have room for the kids to play.  I have tried to make use of spaces tucked here and there, as well as use raised beds.  The raised bed garden has done okay the past few years, but I knew that it could be doing better.  I was missing something.

With planting season very close at hand, I was looking for some help in taking my garden to the next level.  Enter The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden, grow tons of organic vegetables in tiny spaces and containers.  I have read books on having small gardens, checked out blogs about small spaces, and looked up tips and tricks.  Most have told me things I already knew – go vertical, plant what you like, tuck plants in among your flower beds, etc. Or maybe they mentioned something new, but never in enough detail for me to implement it and work around problems.  The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden takes the concept and layout of gardening in a small space further, giving me details that would help a small garden succeed in growing more in that space.

Growing plants pesticide free was not an intentional decision; it came out of not wanting to spend a lot of money on chemicals and learning just how bad they could be for you.  For a short time, I even worked for a tree care company, applying chemicals to people’s yards.  (I will not being doing that again; it really is not in line with who I am.)  One of the things I learned was that a chemical was not always needed, but of course they would not sell you the service of applying soapy water to get rid of your bugs.

Not applying pesticides to my garden has not always meant there were problems.  I lost parsley one year to caterpillars before I figured out what was going on.  Another time I have had some trouble with squash bugs and lost two of my three zucchini plants.  All together though, it has not been a difficult growing without pesticides.

Along with the decrease and final exclusion of pesticides, came the thought about fertilizers and other things added to the garden.  “Are they really good for the soil?  Should I use them or is there a more natural way to get the same results?”  I began looking into other ways to add nutrients back into the soil, ways to garden that did not require chemicals to be added in large amounts.

I have some favorite websites to look up issues on, but often I am left trying to find someone to ask or searching pictures online to see if I can figure it out myself.  While reading The Postage Stamp Garden I came across a very useful table – The Soil Nutrient Deficiency table.  This will become my quick reference for those times when I am not sure what is going on with the soil.  Rather than applying a general fertilizer or adding more compost in hope the issue will disappear on its own, I will be able to focus on what is lacking.

Another surprise was when I came across multiple garden layout ideas.  Side notes about how you can use the space once certain plants are gone or as they are growing were even included.   What a great way to help those of us who are better visual learners than auditory learners.

The Postage Stamp Garden has several other additions that I really enjoyed:

  • The comparison between various animal manures is something that will be helpful, as I am looking for some right now to add to my garden beds.  It is not all created equal and if I am going to go to the trouble of finding, hauling and applying it, I would like to know that my effort is resulting in what I am actually looking for.
  • When talking about planting, they go beyond cool and warm weather plants and talk about planting with the phases of the moon.  They do not do this to encourage you to use this method, but so that you will have the information if you do choose to use this method.
  • They also talk about planting zones being on a larger scale, not able to represent all the microclimates that exist in that every garden area.  To help compensate, there is a table that gives you clues in nature which you can look for to help pin point even closer when might be a good time to plant.  This will help take some of the guess work out of the date ranges often found in planting dates.
  • A full 93 pages of information on plants to grow!  With each plant there is information included on planting, crop stretching, recommended varieties, typical problems gardeners have with these types of plants, harvesting, storage, and growing tips.  I particularly found the crop stretching and typical problem section useful.  This is information that I feel I have been missing these past few years to make my small garden work even better than it has been.
  • Chapter 8 is titled “Controlling Pests, Diseases, and Critters”.  They even cover the soap-and-water treatment I mentioned earlier.  I have successfully used this to get rid of scale and was glad to see it included in this book.  6.5 pages were used to create a table helping you find the answer to, “What kind of control do you use for what pests?”  No more having to search online in hopes of finding the answer among all the search results.
  • The book ends with a listing of 33 various seed companies ranging from small companies to larger ones.

Karen Newcomb has made the most of the 200+ pages in this book.  Within those pages she has create a great guide to gardening when you do not have a lot of room for trial and error, but want to make the most of what you do have.

I am very glad that I took the time to read through The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden and will be keeping it within easy reach during my gardening this year.  In the next few weeks I hope to get the garden planted.  Keeping this guide on hand will help allow me to make better use of all my spaces and to think outside of what has become ‘normal’ for me.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 212014
 

Here are links to several places concerning gardening that I have been to recently.  I haven’t had a lot of time to focus on gardening these past few weeks but have found these places to be worth the limited time I did have.

The Free Mulch Program by AboutTrees.com is an easy method to potentially receive free wood chips at your home.

I love using wood chips around the yard.  The problem I face is that my source is the local city’s yard waste disposal site … and I have a car.  To get wood chips currently I have to drive there, shovel wood chips into conatiners, put them into my trunk, bring them home, dump them and do it all again.  All this while usually taking a couple kids with me.  Let’s just say it takes a while, though the kids have fun sliding down the piles.

When I was sent the link to this site I was thrilled.  I’ve tried calling tree companies on my own, but have yet to actually hear back from any of them.  Yesterday I drove past a tree company who had a large sign out in front of their yard – FREE MULCH. A tree company, or even a large municipality like one I have worked for previously, produces a lot of wood chips and can find themselves in the situation of not having anywhere to dispose of them.  Good for us gardeners, though, if we can find such companies. Unfortnatnly the company I saw yesterday was about 30 minutes from me or else I would be visiting them asking if they would deliver.  Even though a truck load of wood chips is a lot, I would very easily use it throughout the yard.  Added that it is free and it is even better. (The link to the sign up page also had a video showing you what the mulch will look like, if you have never seen wood chips straight from a tree company before.)

When I saw the Free Mulch Program website I knew immediately that this would be a great resource if any of the local companies in my area also participated. It took less than 30 seconds to sign up. Click here to a wood chip mulch delivered free of charge!

 

Unsure of which growing zone you are in?  Check out the Hardiness Zone Finder map on the National Gardening Association’s website.  Enter your zipcode and it will bring up exactly which zone you are in, as well as some other local links relevant to you.

 

 

Apparently you can use almost anything as a container for your garden, even a shopping cart.

 

How to get free seeds from the government seed bank. Checking on a common gardening plant – tomatoes, resulted in a listing of plants from many different countries.  The link is to billy and anuttama’s blog, as they gave a great description of how to use this resource.  I really could spend all day on the government site, so you may want to set a timer.  

Mar 152014
 

Garden Update 2014

This past week has seen me doing very little in the way of gardening.  I was able to take a few minutes here and there to thin out the seedlings I have already started.

So what was I doing instead of gardening?

  • Catching up on over a week’s worth of laundry – something that is possible now that it isn’t 5 degrees outside
  • dental appointments
  • having required home visit for our foster care license
  • finished patching kids’ jeans
  • making the spare bedroom visitor friendly again.  It had become a catch-all room plus a DIY project in progress.
  • making our bedroom visitor and kid friendly (chose to place these visitors here due to the work we are doing in the spare bedroom.  It is very much not kid friendly right now.)
  • making meals for the freezer
  • finding an outfit to wear to court
  • updating my wardrobe (if I was going to toss out clothes I needed enough left to actually have something to wear, by choice I don’t have a lot of clothes – I decluttered 9 shirts)
  • setting up and going to MOPS
  • entertaining 2 different sets of overnight visitors
  • watching a friend’s kid (my kid loved the impromptu play-date and lunch out)
  • going to an all-day conference

Oh, yeah and ADOPTING OUR KIDS!!

I was hoping you all would understand why this just wasn’t the week to be doing a lot of gardening and why my posts have not been my normal schedule.  It has definitely been a full week, and the house looks so much better for it.

picked up bedroom

This upcoming week has a lot more free time, very few required places for me to be or things to accomplish.  I  plan on making the most of it while I can.

Gardening and Home Goals for the week of March 16, 2014:

Call school to inform them this will be the last week in preschool for my youngest.

List all the start dates for the seeds I have.

Start seeds that should already have been started.

Work on removing 2 lilac bush stumps.

Plant peach tree? – I may hold off on this one for another week.

Add mulch to areas around the yard, if the mulch pile is no longer frozen on top.

Declutter 49 items.

Cook and freeze pork roasts in refrigerator.

Create more omelette kits for freezer.

Plant 200 – 300 onion sets – if ground isn’t still frozen.

green onions in raised bed 2I am very ready for the 2014 gardening season.  However, if I don’t start now with my garden jobs, soon it will be an overly busy time and I’ll get behind.  The warmer weather will appear before we know it – though I’m not convinced we are through with snow storms or freezing temperatures.

How are your gardens or garden preparations coming along?

Feb 142014
 

Small Space Garden IdeasMy past experience with garden idea books is that many of the projects they contain require one or more of the following: specialized materials, expensive materials, hard to find materials or things that I may need to special order.  The projects themselves are not always something I would have a place for in my garden.  Sometimes the projects are just not my style, or anyone else’s that I know for that matter. And other times I find that the projects contained are just variations along one theme.  None of those descriptions fit the 40 plus projects described by Philippa Pearson in Small Space Garden Ideas.

The first 5 chapters of the book (Micro Garden, Let It All Hang, Grow Up, Contain Yourself, and Go Wild) help divide the projects into categories.  The choices cover a wide range of skill levels, time requirements and are for both inside and outside locations.  Once you figure out the kind of project you are wanting, you will find that each project begins with a list of materials, including suggested plants.  Please note: the author is from the U.K.  If you are located elsewhere you may have to find comparable plants to those listed in the book.  Some will work well in various locations, while other may need to be substituted.  This in no way takes away from the book, if anything I enjoyed seeing the ideas from a gardener across the pond.  Variety is the spice of life after all.

Following the list of materials are the projects steps.  These are written very clearly and pictures shown, of which there is not a lack.  A section about Care Advice is given at the end of each project description to help maintain what you have just created.  This last section was something I greatly appreciated.  Taking care of what you have made is sometimes tricky, so knowing ahead of time what to do will help you continue to enjoy your creation.

Personally, I’m looking forward to decorating my terracotta pots with both paint and decoupage, two of the projects contained in Small Space Garden Ideas.  What a great solution for the random pots I have in my basement.  These will be used on my back deck this summer.

My kids would love to take on the portable Kid’s Miniature Barnyard Garden, complete with tiny plants, sown seeds, a pond, a fence and other features.  Philippa Pearson even describes how to make a scarecrow with twigs, hot glue and scraps of material.  The two items on list of materials I don’t have can easily be acquired at one of the local department stores.

The last chapter of Small Space Garden Ideas, Plant Practical, has no specific projects but does contain a lot of useful information.  The focus of this chapter is on small spaces and containers, which often present unique trials of their own. Watering, composting, plant selection, and tools needed are just a few of the things you have to consider.  I appreciated the thoroughness taken with this chapter.  Pearson touches on some of the unique challenges small space gardeners face, giving suggestions and idea of how to address or overcome them.

Remembering to water my pots is something I struggle with.  Often I remember to water when I realize the plants are on the verge of dying.  At that point either the plants can’t be brought back or if they do come back they are never reach their fullest potential of color or production.  This is one area of concern that she covers in the last chapter, including several solutions.  One of Pearson solutions is to make my own irrigation system, which should only take half an hour or so, after I have the supplies on hand.  The supplies themselves are things I already have around the house – an old hose and a bucket.  In seasons past, I have just over watered with a hose, hoping the plants would make it to the next watering.  Often the potting soil is so dry by then, the water would run between the pot and the dirt, not watering the plant at all.  Going with the suggestion Pearson gives, the pots should get a slower, more thorough watering.  My plants thank you.

If you are a gardener who is looking to spiff up your small space, or a gardener who has a small space they are looking to do something with I suggest checking out Small Space Garden Ideas by Philippa Pearson.

I received a copy of this book for review.  

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Jun 292013
 

Here are some ebooks that are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.

I am able to read these on my computer, even if I didn’t have a Kindle.  Go here to download the free application that will allow you to do the same.

Blueberries in Your Backyard: How to Grow America’s Hottest Antioxidant Fruit for Food, Health, and Extra Money (Booklet)

Backyard Aquaponics Made Easy

The Ultimate Gardening Guide Top Tips:Inspiration and Helpful Advice to Help You Make the Most of your Garden

Create your dream garden (52 Brilliant Ideas)

Jalapeno Peppers

How To Plant Roses Perfectly

Retaining Walls – Plan Design and Build Allan Block Residential Landscape Walls up to 6 ft. High (1.8 m) – A Complete Installation Guide

AB Courtyard Collection Installation Guide – Create Outdoor Patio Walls, Ponds, Kitchens, BBQ’s and More

Healing Herbs for the Ornamental Garden (Herbal Medicine from Your Garden or Windowsill)

Container Gardening: The Beginner’s Guide to Planting a Vegetable & Herb Garden without a Backyard (Quick and Easy Series)

Chrysanthemums and Marigolds

Gardening In The City & The Country

May 302013
 

 One of my weekly goals last month was to divide my aloe plants and dead head my other house plants.  Here is what they looked like before, they were starting to take over this area.

DSCN7315

DSCN7314

This plant was looking wimpy.  Some leaves had died and not fallen off, while others had been torn and battered by little hands.

DSCN7313

I had picked up a box of pots from a store that was going out of business.  It was a discount store to begin with, so these were very affordable.

box of potsI started on one of the house plants as it was in front of all the aloes.  This vining plant had leaves and sections of vine that were either dead or looked dead.  I had almost given it up as un-salvageable.  Glad I didn’t follow through with just throwing it away.

DSCN7320

First, I pulled off all the dead leaves.  This allowed me to see which sections of vine were dead.  Those sections were cut off, as were the parts where a large section of vine had no leaves.

Ah, looking much better.

DSCN7321

I did a trial run of getting roots to grow from sections of cuttings.  So far no luck, but two of the three jars are still sitting in a sunny location to see if the stems will grow roots.

DSCN7322

The aloe plants came next.  I placed all the current plants on the table. Some were so full and large they were not able to stay standing up without something to lean on.
DSCN7323

Little hands wanted to “help”.  I gave scissors and allowed them to cut up leaves and stems I had removed.

DSCN7324

Here is a closer view of the aloe plant pots.

DSCN7325Here is a plant that was in a different window.  It was in such a place that I often forgot to water it.  The aloe plant was still alive though you can see how different the color is.  I find that aloes plants this dehydrated can still be brought back to a nice green color with regular watering.

DSCN7332

Here is the root ball of one of the aloe plants when pulled out of the existing pot.

DSCN7327

I loosened up some of the soil around the roots…

DSCN7330

DSCN7328

Once I had them all removed from the pots, I sorted them.  Plants that were not growing straight, missing parts, or too small were discarded.

DSCN7331

The remaining plants were sorted by size …

DSCN7334

This plant was easily removed from the parent plant by pulling it away.  The roots of the aloe plants are not extensive, which is what made it so easy to separate them.  Even this section will grow and reproduce.  Aloe plants reproduce, or create new plants, via root sprouts.  I found root sprouts in the bottom of some of the pots, starting to grow off the roots there.  It has been just over a month and some of the newly potted aloe plants already have sprouts sticking up out of the soil.

DSCN7337

Most of the newly potted aloe plants are being sold on the produce stand.  Another great example of using what you have to make a few extra dollars.  This helps offset just a bit of the cost of gardening.

Also, aloe plants, if left to grow long enough, will flower.  Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture when mine did so this last winter.  It really was a lovely delicate looking flower, one I hope to see again this year.

The ficus tree was saved till last as it was the largest of all the plants and took the most time.

DSCN7341

(Above) Since I was working on our dining room table, I put the tree up there too.  It made a convenient height and was close to where the plants had been and were going.  I had a bad of potting mix and a pitcher of water.  You can see the pile of discarded aloe plants towards the bottom of the picture.

(Below) The new pot for the ficus tree allowed the roots to spread out.  Previously they had been starting to circle the root ball.  The tree looks much healthier now and is able to sustain itself between watering.

DSCN7342

This was one project I put off for a while, to the detriment of my house plants.  Once I decided to do it, it took me a few hours one afternoon.  And that counted stopping to explain things to little minds.

Is there a ‘quick’ project you have been putting off?  Go do it today, then come back and let me know if it took as long as you had thought.

 

May 012013
 
Round 5x5 logo
 
The 5 x 5 Garden Challenge started a few weeks ago.  The main goal of this challenge, according to Chiot’s Run blog, is to learn and encourage gardeners, especially new gardeners.  Please join us in the challenge and see how much you can do in a small space.
I decided that if I actually want to plant this bed to the best of its abilities, then I should have a plan.  This past weekend found me with a piece of paper, ruler, pencil, and my copy of Square Foot Garden.  After a few re-dos I think I have a plan.  We’ll see how things actually turn out once I’m putting them in.
The green onions are looking great.  Here is what they looked like last week:
green onions in raised bed 3
And this week:
DSCN7494
Garden Update
I have to admit that I am already experiencing some garden envy.  My friend has had a great garden these past few years, while mine has been, well, let’s say there was a lot to be desired.  Two years ago I barely got anything in.  the tomatoes I did get planted grew lots of leaves but produced  nothing edible.  Same for last year.  I realized my beds were way too shallow, and I had used landscape fabric as a barrier.  Not the best growing medium for tomatoes.  This year, they are in the taller bed and the “barrier” is newspaper, which their roots should be able to do through if needed.  Same results and changes for the peppers.  Anyway, this friend is able to not only have a small garden in her back yard, but also three separate plots in the country.  Three different people have offered her space in their large country gardens.  I am happy for her, but wish someone would offer me space.  Then I realize that I would rather spend my time in other ways and am happy no one has offered me space in their country gardens.  It also challenges me to use the space we have and be creative.  Containers on the deck, raised beds in the yard, making flower beds serve a dual purpose, and growing cucumbers from hanging containers are just a few of the ways I’m doing this.
The reason this all came to mind was due to the green onions above.  Since I am planting in raised beds, rather than the ground I already have a great crop of onions coming up while my friend has yet to till her garden.  I”m not actually sure what the onions look like right now, but the tops look great.  I didn’t have to worry about flooding – the beds are raised.  The snow didn’t even hurt the crop, the soil is a bit warmer than the ground.  I don’t have to wait for the ground to dry up for a person to come till the garden.  I already have the beds ready to go, I don’t even have to wait till I get some mulch/ground cover down.  Yes, I still need to work on fencing/protection of some sort, which should be done this week.  Otherwise my garden is off to a great start.  I am by no means tooting my own horn.  The 2013 Gardening Season has a long way to go and you never know what it might have in store: squirrels, plant diseases, heat, wind, too much water, kids being curious, etc.  It is all unknown.  What I do realized is that I shouldn’t be envious, but thankful that I am able to garden at all and that I have options to make up for lack of space.  I’m not trying to grow melons this year, but I do have three different berries added to my garden spaces that will hopefully result in fresh fruit this year, or in the upcoming years.
I saw two lettuce seedlings finally sprout in a 4×4 garden bed.  I had planted four seeds in one square and was afraid the bird had gotten them.  This made my day yesterday.  Perhaps I’m not a complete failure at this.  My husband also lifted my spirits by reminding me that we had a drought last year and the year before my focus was very much not on gardening.  Amazing how quickly one forgets.
Three trellises are also up, as is part of the fencing.  I finally decided to stop trying to find the ‘perfect’ solution and just do something.  I also realized that what I do this year is probably going to be temporary and shouldn’t be something that will take a lot of time or money.  Here is what I finally decided on:
DSCN7495
There are ‘T’ posts at the four corners.  Between these I am adding chicken wire and smaller posts.  I was shy on some wire, so I stopped around the first bed.  Today I went to buy more and then realized, after looking at it, the wire I bought today is a foot taller than what is up there right now.  🙁  Oh well.  As long as it does the job I don’t think anyone will be able to tell form the road.  Thankfully my neighbors and I are on good terms and I don’t think they’ll care much.  I contemplated returning the wire I got, but since I used a coupon to buy the roll, it would end up costing me more money.  It isn’t worth it.
Apr 202013
 

Today is going slow and easy.  I’m not rushing through anything and have found myself enjoying the lack of guilt I have about it.  🙂

This also means that I’m stopping to enjoy time to play or talk with my kids rather than telling them to “wait a minute while I finish XYZ.”  Not every day can be like this, some days really have to be more time sensitive due to what needs to be done those days. Today isn’t one of them, neither was yesterday for that matter.  I really need to work on having more days like these past few have been.

A side effect of this is that the posts I have in my head have not gotten written.  There have been several websites, posts and links I’ve come across that I wanted to share with all of you.  Instead of making each a separate post, like I started to do with the Gardener’s Idea Book, I decided to put them all in one place.  Some have to do with gardening, some with Earth Day, and some have absolutely nothing to do with either.  Grab a cup of your beverage of choice and peruse through them.  Make sure to stop and smell the roses along the way.  There isn’t much that “absolutely must be done today or else the world will cease to revolve around the sun”, though there are days that contains items like this.  Been there, done that.  Still there some days.

Enjoy.

Insects Printable Pack

Gift of Curiosity has an Insect Printable Pack that can be downloaded for free.  This is geared for ages 2-7.  This pack contains so much information.  I was very impressed when I looked through it.

You may also want to check our Gift of Curiosity’s showing their experience making “Earth Day Crayons“.

handful of crayons

Project Noah was a find this morning that was made completely by accident.  I had told one kid that there was going to be no t.v. this morning.  One thing led to another and we ended up on the computer looking up pictures of scorpions.  (Doesn’t this ever happen to you?) This led us to Project Noah.

From their website: “Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.”

Scorpions were quickly left behind as we found more and more things to look at.

Bug Printables Update

3Dinosaurs is offering a free printable Bug Pack that goes along with three different book about bugs.  The Bug Pack is geared for ages 2 – 7.  I’m seeming a summer activity here. What a great way to take the reading of a book and expand upon it.

Speaking of reading here is a unit study around the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, that may interest kids who are a bit older.

Confessions of a Homeschooler has a unit study on Animal Classification.  I love how she has taken all the beautiful photos and put them into a check list you can take with you to the zoo.  Field trip anyone?

Bible Based Homeschooling on a Budget has compiled a list of Bible Based Gardening Resources.  I thought this a very timely with Spring being here and gardening in the beginning stages in a lot of Zones.

Previous experience has shown me that a summer with no schedule is tough on a mom. Our morning routine involves ‘getting ready for the day’, eating breakfast, Bible Time and then some sort of learning activity or field trip or errands (can also be a ‘field trip’). This is where all of these resources come into play.  If I can keep a few library books in the house and a some field trips on the schedule, boredom can usually be staved off.  It also helps keep the skills learned during the past school year fresh in their minds.  So, even if you don’t homeschool, these resources can still be used.  Kids home for the summer, scout group working on a badge/patch, book reading group, VBS and more can use these.  Please, don’t be limited by the label “homeschool”.  Think creatively.

MarthaStewart.com has several Small Space Gardening Ideas.  I am going to be looking at these again as I work on containers for my deck.

I have been searching for a trellis idea for a front bed of mine.  The plan is to put beans and zucchini here, but I need something for the beans to grow up.  This search result produced quite a few images of trellises to give me ideas. My mind had a picture of what I was thinking of doing.  Here is an actual picture of what I was thinking of.  My only concern is that these would be situation so that one side would be taking the brunt of all our winds.  My other idea was something a bit more 2 dimensional that could be put close to the house..  I already use this same concept for my raised beds and was hoping for something a bit more … free to use this year for the beans.

Giveaways:

Hip Mama’s Place is hosting a VeggieTales: Bible Heroes Triple Feature DVD giveaway.  This ends 4/22.

Sugar & Spice by Celeste shares not only a great recipe, but also a giveaway – Quinoa with Pork, Parsley & Bell Peppers + A Gourmet Garden Giveaway! Giveaway closes at midnight (CST) on 4/30.

Enter for a Chance to Win a $50 Gift Certificate PLUS a Seed Library Membership on Horticulture’s website.

C.R.A.F.T. is giving away a $50 American Express gift card.  END TODAY! So if you are wanting to enter, go do it now.  Then after you enter, or before, take a look at her post about the raised bed she ‘found’ at  her new house and what she did to reclaim it.  (She turned it into a salsa garden.  What a great idea.)

Plan to Eat talks about Harvesting Your Kitchen Garden and is giving away a copy of the book ‘The Kitchen Garden Cookbook’.  ENDS TODAY!

Story partnered with several other are giving away a half bushel full of items, literally.  The prize pack includes: basket, hand tools, plants, planting labels, soil amendments, 20 gardening books, Inkling enhanced digital editions, and an interactive garden planning app.  Entry is easy and ends April 30.

Good Reads is having a Book Giveaway For Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs.  Unlike many of the other giveaways, this is open to residents of US, CA and GB.  The giveaways ends April 30.  (I’m not sure what it is about bugs today, but between this and some of the printable packs and unit studies above I think today is just a ‘buggy’ day.)

Well, this post spilled over into the night/morning.  I woke up in the wee-hours of the day and couldn’t sleep.  There was also quite the bird chorus going on this morning before the sun was even up.  Now that the sun is up, they are almost all quiet.  Another reason that getting up early is a good idea.

I hope you all have a great day and enjoy some of the links posted here.  If you know of anymore, even ones you have posted, please share them in the comments below.

Mar 042013
 

 

After having gone through the book “21 Days to A More Disciplined Life” several times and complete a few larger projects, it has come to my attention that I have smaller projects around the house.  Yes, I am glad the flower bed out front has been redone and the bathroom is complete. (Okay, almost.  I’ll post more when it is daylight as there is currently no electricity in there … I’ll explain later.)  However, the smaller projects keep being put back on the shelf to do later, only later never comes.

I have decided to tackle these projects this month.  Below are 21 projects to complete within the next 30 days.

  1. Spackle Stairway
  2. Prime spots to be painted (from previous replacement of door and window frames)
  3. Paint spots around door and window frames
  4. Repaint Horse post by street
  5. Strip vent covers in bathroom and kitchen
  6. Repaint bathroom and kitchen vent covers
  7. Add outlet cover for washer/dryer
  8. Add outlet cover for outlet on front porch
  9. Install switch for back deck light Check credit reports
  10. Replace light fixture in stairway
  11. Remove weeping cherry (to create a place for blackberry bushes)
  12. Put out a birdbath
  13. Buy new kitchen trash can
  14. Organize and label kitchen pantry
  15. Move clothing totes to back of crawl space (instead of right in front), add shoe rack and rod to hang winter coats
  16. Divide out future clothing sized into clear totes, label
  17. Put camping stuff in tote(s), label
  18. Clean bathroom grout
  19. Seal bathroom grout
  20. Make and freeze 4 different soups, 3 months worth each
  21. Seal pots and paint with chalkboard paint (to be used with herb plants on the deck)
#9 was changed due to knowing we were going to get an electrician to come to work on installing a vent for the bathroom I’ve been working on.  After thinking about it, I decided it was worth the extra few dollars it would cost to save on time and headache of me having to figure out how to add a box to an already installed light/wire.  Soon after coming to this conclusion, I was reminded that we haven’t checked our credit reports in some time.  So that made it to the list in the light switch’s stead.

As you an see, not all the projects are equal.  That isn’t the point.  The point is that these are projects that have been put off and put off.  They are mental clutter that I see every day.

The list could be longer, my ultimate to-do list is much longer.  However, these are the 21 I thought would be a great start to dwindling the list down.  Will it take less than 30 days?  Maybe.  By building in an extra 9 days I allow for things to go wrong and distractions to come up.  I have also tried to list projects in groups.  If something comes up so that a particular project can not be down at that time then I am okay with doing something else.  Maybe an appointment that days limits my time.  So instead of project that may take an hour, I only  have 30 minutes to work on it or a smaller project.  That is fine.  The order is not set.

For those joining me in doing this: Today, make a list of all the items you will need to complete all your goals.  This will range from the obvious to the less obvious.  For me that would mean from clear totes to ingredients for the soups.  Whatever you might need to buy will be listed out.  This will decrease the trips to the store for these items, as you will know ahead of time if you need several things from one store.

Are there projects you would like to get accomplished but which kept getting put off?  If you could do one today, or tomorrow, what would it be?  What is keeping you from doing it?

Feel free to link up to your blog about your progress or the current project you are working on. Please keep links to the topic at hand.