Green bean teepee diy!

During the 2017 growing season, I decided to build my first green bean teepee. I had envisioned my boy enjoying sitting in or hanging out in the teepee.

I saw a couple diys, but they never posted whether or not they grew well! So, here’s how I built it (And the results):

First, I had to source some bamboo to make the beast out of! Lucky for me, my husband works with a guy that has it invasively growing in his yard. So, he told us to come get it anytime we want! (Cost free!)

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Bamboo! They were about 7 feet long! 

Next, you need to really shove those bamboo poles into the ground! Like, about 6-8 inches in the ground. I just pushed mine in the ground and used my body weight to force them to stay put!

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They aren’t going anywhere! 

Then, I continued on with pushing the rest of them in the ground. It was 100% constructed by just me! I used 6 poles placed about 18 inches apart.

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I really looked like a pole vaulter shoving these in the ground! 

Up next, I used paracord to tie the tops together. I just kept tieing them together and knotting them!

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I had to use a stool to reach the top! 

I continued using the paracord to tie knots on each post to give the pole beans something to grow on. I spaced them about a foot apart from row to row. You could do it a lot closer, but I was running low on paracord!

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Green paracord for the beans to grow up!

And here is my finished project! The next step was to plant the bean plants all around it!

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Fully constructed! 

I planted the pole bean seeds really close together because something kept eating the seedlings!

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At first only 1 side really took off! 

Once I put bird netting around the seedlings, the other plants really started taking off! They did make it to the top!

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Beans enjoying the teepee! 

You can see the progression in the photos below!

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Our teepee looking great! 

So, even though I had to fight off pests, I would consider it a success! I harvested a lot of beans! But, will I do things differently next year? Yes!!!! Here’s what I’ll change:

🌱Don’t make it so tall! I couldn’t harvest those ones on the top! Be sure you can get them!

🌱start off with netting to protect the seedlings from the beginning! (We have a lot of rabbits and birds here!)

🌱 place the paracord closer together around the teepee! Then you won’t have them having a hard time growing up it!

We really got a lot of beans from this single teepee! I’d recommend this for anyone, and I enjoyed getting in the shady interior to pick beans! If you give it a try, or have before, let me know how it went for you! Keep blooming folks! 🌱💚

Not a winner, but still feeling great!

Yesterday I found out that my principal took it upon herself to nominate me for an environmental teaching award. Wow! I couldn’t believe it! Someone actually noticed what all I’m trying to do to spread environmental awareness to a younger generation! It’s my passion! I love teaching about all renewable energy, recycling, using less resources, composting, gardening and I especially love starting up new initiatives at school!

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We got plastic recycling in town
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Marker recycling
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Cereal bowl recycling
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Our new glue stick/bottle recycling
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Our teacher’s lounge bin
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We are actually up to 88 lbs of plastic film recycled
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I clean out and recycle the teacher lounge k cups
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Pollinator garden built by my students last year

So, now for the bad news… I didn’t win. I’m not going to lie, of course I was disappointed. But, after thinking about it for a bit I realized that it’s not going to change a thing about me. See, that’s the thing… have you ever met someone who is really passionate about something? I used to be annoyed with people like that because all that they wanted to talk about was what they love doing. Now I realize that those are the best kind of people! The ones that do things despite never being acknowledged. They don’t care that you find them weird or dorky.

That’s exactly where I’m at. So, I’m just going to continue on my green little journey and invite the followers and the ones that find me odd along for the ride. When you run into any student that I previously had, I’m sure they will describe me as the crazy beekeeping, gardening, compost-loving, recycling lady!

I truly hope that you all find your passion and you will understand what I mean! Keep blooming where you’re planted! 🌱💚

Growing sweet potatoes! (In clay soil!)

I have been enjoying growing sweet potatoes here in Western Maryland! They are a longer season crop and I tried something that REALLY helped them grow better! I made mounds with compost rich material and planted the sweet potato slip right in the top!

In months, the vines were spreading so quickly!

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Vines on the mounds
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Up close view of the vines! 

As the season went on, I could just scoop the mounds away to keep an eye on the size of the potatoes!

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An inside look at at the roots! 

Did I mention that they grow gorgeous flowers that all pollinators love!

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🐝❤️

Now on to how much we harvested this year! You will want to harvest them when the leaves start to yellow or before hard frosts. For me, that’s around the middle of October!

We actually were able to harvest a little over 30 pounds of sweet potatoes!

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All these from 1 sweet potato slip! 
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Before and after! 
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Grown in a raised bed! (1 slip!) 
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Grown in a pot

After digging up the sweet potatoes, you have to cure them. They need to be in a hot place for (80-90 degrees) for about 10 days!

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I kept mine in the green house!

After those 10 days, they go into storage in a dark cool place for months.

They are really forgiving plants and with the mounds, I was able to dig them up so much easier! So, these might need to be put on your 2018 list!

Seed saving, tiny harvests and a new anvil

This is the time of year to be working on saving some seeds, preserving the last of the produce and starting to dream about a new garden next year!

I picked a bunch of cucamelon seeds out of a melon and then pulled the green coating off of it. They did so well this year, so I’m hoping for more next year too!

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Cucamelon seeds

The Paw Paw tree seeds that we ordered arrived, so I made sure that they were not dried out and put them right in the fridge. They won’t be ready to plant in soil until almost March!

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Paw paw seeds

I pulled the pole beans down from the top of the tee pee and saved the seeds.

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Pole beans for next year! 

Since we got a hard frost that killed everything, I brought in all the luffas and peeled/washed them. They are now drying in the basement!

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My line of luffa

And a few tiny harvests! I pulled the last itty bitty zucchini and I was delighted to find some more winecap mushrooms!

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Tiny zucchini
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Winecap mushrooms

Since it turns out that winecap mushrooms are so delicious, we are going to try to grow them in more places next year!

The Mister was busy picking up his new baby:

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80 pound Vulcan! 

It’s a nice smaller anvil that he will definitely put to use!

I also got to work over the weekend making some hooded towels. I’m hoping to get more orders for the holidays!

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Hooded towels

And I’ll leave my boy’s Halloween costume photo here!

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Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy! 

Enjoy the last day of the month and I’ll be posting our end of the month updates!

 

Grow your own garlic!

If you want to grow some garlic, this is the time of year to do it! Garlic started in the fall helps the bulbs grow to larger sizes. I just put mine in the ground this weekend and I’m sure they will sprout up a bit before winter fully arrives, but that’s ok! So, if you want to grow some garlic, here you go!

Step 1: get your bulbs from a reputable company. I save mine every year, so I already know that the variety that I grow does well here! (You could always buy some from your own farmer’s market!)

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I got about 30 of the better sized cloves from these 3! 

Step 2: separate out the individual cloves for planting. Leave the paper coating on them! I don’t plant the smaller sliver pieces, I save those to cook with!

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Ready for planting! 

Step 3: make sure the soil has plenty of compost mixed in, and dig a nice little trench. The garlic gets planted about 2 inches deep.

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Ready to put garlic cloves in! 

Step 4: place the garlic cloves 2 inches down with the flat end down and pointed end up!

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It goes in the ground this way! 

Step 5: place the cloves 4 inches apart and the rows (I only did one row) should be about 12” apart.

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A beautiful row of garlic! 

Step 6: cover over all the cloves and make sure you leave a marker or something to remember where you planted it in the spring!

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That stick is my marker! 

Step 7: cover the row with something! You could use straw, wood chips, or you could use leaves like I did. (They were right beside the raised bed and free!)

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Leaves to insulate those cloves! 

Come spring time, you will see little sprouts poking up through the soil and by around June, you will be harvesting some garlic!

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Garlic from last spring! 

You will know that it is ready to be harvested when about half of the leaves are dying back and turning yellowish-brown.

Then, you will need to dry it out. This year I learned to braid it and hung it in my basement to dry out!

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Braided and ready to dry out! 

So, get out there and plant that garlic! It really is that easy! If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer!

First frosts, harvests and a touch of Blacksmithing

It finally happened this week… our first frost. It wasn’t the hardest of frosts, but enough to make us realize that the season is slowly fading towards dreadful winter. But, happy thoughts for now… garden harvests tonight! I started with the gardens around the house and we have cucamelons galore:

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Harvesting from the yard

Then, I dug up the last of the sweet potatoes!  (14 pounds more to be exact!!)

Before I ran out of daylight, I also harvested as many jalapeños and popcorn that I could find!

Since I was already close by the big garage with the forge, I decided to see what was being created!

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I’m still so impressed that my husband built this himself! 
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Making a dinner bell
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Working on the anvil
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Finished products! 

And since I have not had anytime to do much crafting, I thought I’d share the chicken doorhanger that I made with some coworkers at a paint night!

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She’s beautiful! 

I hope that you’re still getting some goodies from your garden! Only 2 more days in this working week!!! Come on weekend!

A glimpse of the garden 10/13/17

Although we have been running ourselves ragged with craft show prepping and creating,

we have also had time to spend in the garden! I harvested my first luffa! They are a good bit behind this year, but I’ll take any free scrubbers!

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Luffa! 

A few of our chickens are molting, but we are still getting some eggs!

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Yay! Eggs! 

Last weekend I found our Crimson clover seeds that I misplaced, so I put them out in the bald spots on the 2018 garden expansion area!

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Clover seedlings!

The nasturtiums are still blooming and are beautiful!

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Nasturtiums 

Since we have had some warmer-than-normal weather, the peppers are still doing their thing!

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Jalapeño peppers 

I’m hoping for a great weekend and I really hope to make some good connections and spread the zero waste movement! Have a wonderful weekend!!