Summer preview weekend!

Last weekend was absolutely beautiful! It was in the 80’s and with temperatures like that, I was able to get a lot accomplished!

We purchased 3 trees from our local soil conservation fundraiser. Thankfully the trees had not broken dormancy yet, so we got them planted as soon as we could! And, of course, we had to put deer netting around them to protect them! We have a major deer overpopulation issue, so it has to be done!

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Yellow delicious and honey crisp 

I’m also doing everything that I can to clean up our hillside  it was so full of weeds and was covered in poison ivy too! I decided to plant wildflowers to the farthest end where black eyed susans and coneflowers come up already. And the rest of the hill is planted with strawberries! I’m not sure how that will work out, but they will give off pretty blooms, possibly some fruit and will spread out! (Hopefully!)

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Right around 100 strawberry plants! 
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No weeds and now wildflower seeds!

I also started removing all of the cover crop that I planted in the raised bed. I separated out the Egyptian walking onions. I am hoping to try them this year!

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Egyptian walking onions

I got the carrots and lettuce planted and hopefully they will pop up when the weather warms up!

By the way, the one beehive that survived the winter is doing great! I love seeing them come and go!

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Honeybees! 

I love being able to share what we are accomplishing around here! We are far from perfect, and I don’t want to ever seem like we are braggers. I am just proud of finding what makes us happy and how we are slowly transitioning to a more self sufficient life! Keep blooming!

What’s growing! 4/14!

It has been so warm outside the past couple days! A gentle reminder that I will soon be up to my elbows in dirt, woodchips, compost and hard work.

Outside we have been planting what can go outside so far, and putting closures around it to keep the excessive amount of deer and rabbits from hurting the plants!

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Tiny blueberry bushes
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Nectarine tree

We also had to relocate the raspberry canes to keep them away from our chickens that could reach them! (And ate every single one!)

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Red raspberries! 
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Rhubarb is growing beautifully! 

And under the grow lights everything seems pretty happy too!

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Common milkweed
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Pepper plants 
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Cucumelon with its first real leaf! 
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All of the tomato seedlings are getting big! 
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Luffa gourd seedling 

And I am also grateful for the kind souls that surround me! From neighbors that always stop and chat it up about life that end the conversation by saying “have a blessed evening.” To others that always go by with a smile and a wave! And then people who share some seeds with me because they know how much I love to garden!

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I’m making room on the trellis for these! 

I’m 100% sure that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and meeting people who teach me about being a better person. I hope that your seedlings are growing nicely and you’re getting excited about this gardening season!

An improved garden door and organizing

Over the weekend, it was very cold for April and we even had snow falling. Since I couldn’t spend any time outside in my garden, where I’d rather be, I spent my time finishing up projects around here and the Mr. was busy working on our garden door!

The door had been falling apart, so we were going to buy a new one. But, instead of wasting money, the Mr. added supports, gave it a fresh coat of paint and replaced the screen with wired fencing! That should keep out the critters!

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Before and after! 

And then he surprised me by using his Blacksmithing skills to create a handle! It is absolute perfection to me! Look at that beautiful leaf on the bottom!

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I ❤️ This handle! 

And before you look at the next picture, don’t judge me  😳 It’s in the garage and this is the dumping grounds for all of the canning supplies, gardening stuff and random odds and ends.

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Definitely the before picture! 

And after a majority of my weekend, I am proud to say that my canning items, beekeeping boxes, baskets, containers and everything else down there is actually organized!

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And the after! ❤️❤️

This month I am taking on the challenge of 30 days if picking up trash here in the beautiful state of Maryland! It’s shocking how much is all around when you are actually looking for it! And here is what I rounded up on week one:

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All only in a week! 😢

Since I didn’t want to leave off this post on a negative, here’s a picture of how wonderful the pepper plants are looking! They are going to get repotted soon!

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Peppers everywhere! 

I hope that you all are getting ready for your summer and using whatever time that you have before the busy season to prep!! 💚

 

No Spend March

We are chugging along with our no spend year. I have spent money on gifts this month (I bought my baby niece some food and not candy for Easter and gifts much deserved to 2 work friends,but that’s it!)

Our big money saver is that we sold our panel truck! It was a hard choice to make, but we were not using it. We are glad to have more money in our savings and one less vehicle to tag and insure!

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Bye bye to the blue beast!

I’m doing my best to keep gardening costs down by using what we have and starting everything from seed! I also save my own seeds and plant mostly heirloom varieties to help with the seeds saving.

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Garlic that came up on it’s own (30 free garlic plants!) all replanted! 
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Pepper plants started from seed
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Saved Roma tomato seeds 

I have also been mending so much around here! We are up to 3 pairs of paints that are hole free and a certain pup decided to tear a hole in his bed, but all are fixed!

The screen door to the garden was ripped and broken and we almost bought a new one, but we used some old paint that we had to fix it up and put some reused wire fencing on it. Good as new!

We also try to do as much as we can around here, instead of paying others to do it for us. I am the dog groomer:

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Our sweet Izzy after her spa day

And we have been doing all of the work on the camper ourselves!

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New seat covers! 

And the pollinator garden is slowly being completed by us mainly using materials that we have!

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Lots of labor, but we are doing it by ourselves 

Instead of buying eggs from the grocery store or an egg dying kit, we used food coloring that we already had and brown and white eggs.

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I ❤️ How they turned out! 

And instead of going out to eat or paying to go do something, the boy and I took a nice walk locally! We hadn’t walked on this trail in a few years!

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Always interested in the rock formations! 

Overall, I’m thinking we are doing well with our no spend year! I’m hoping to continue spending less and gettting this house paid off!

March Update 2018

It’s April!!! That means that we are getting so close to gardening season! March seemed like a blur, but I am always ready for it to pass by and warm weather to appear! So, he’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– it’s finally happening!! The garden has t posts around the perimeter and we fixed up the old screen door to make it rabbit proof!

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View from the bottom up
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View from the top 

2. Fix the camper– We have been fixing up our home away from home! The seats are recovered, shower storage door fixed, curtains all made and vent cover for the top!

3.Travel out west- That camper is pretty much ready for adventure! Before making  the big trip, we have to take it on a trial run! The trial run is going to happen this month!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. The pathways have been created. We made our own birdbath from a log and pan. We put up the hanging basket hooks and the insect hotel is finished!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We have still only created one bag of garbage! But, I’m planning on doing a trash pickup everyday I can make it outside this month. So, that may increase our trash.

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Still only 1 bag of trash! 

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I spread some good! I try my best to stay positive and share t too! I bought my bff teacher an awesome “teacher of the year” shirt because she was just named that! And I picked up another teacher friend a gift to remind her of how strong she is! But, my biggest good deed was shoveling our school playground so that the kids could go out to play the next day! This is about 2 hours if work!

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It was a lot of snow! 

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- At school we are reusing some juice cups for growing some plants that they want to grow! The Mr. turned a railroad spike into a new shovel for me. The pollinator hotel is finished and it is 100% upcycled! And the Mr. is turning some spoons into garden markers for me!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! The  seeds were planted last month! I put some seeds outside and marks where I put them and put the rest inside. So far, nothing to show yet.

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All the seeds are planted! 

9. Build a pizza oven– this is the Mr.’s idea! He built his own Blacksmithing forge, so I’m sure he can do it! I’m definitely looking forward to having a delicious, out of the oven pizza! No real updates yet

10. Grow different produce–  
I will be starting a lot of different seeds this month! So far I have 5 varieties of sweet peppers. I also bought a hardy kiwi plant and I’m hoping to get that growing!

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We’re growing red, green, orange, purple and brown peppers this year! 

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- this month we created almost an identical amount of power as last year!

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1.18 mwh! 

12. Work on garden cart sales– We will be doing some upcoming craft shows this month! I’m hoping to have some extra seedlings to share, along with my lip balm and the Mr.’s blacksmithed items!

Last month rejuvenated my love of growing anything and everything!! Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all at the end of the year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Walk by the grow lights!

In the summer I can do a walk through the garden, but not much is happening out there yet! So, I can do a walk past the grow lights! I have really only started the peppers and some perineal flowers.

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All sweet peppers! 
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We have purple and white coneflowers
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Yarrow and bee balm
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3 varieties of milkweed

In the tiny greenhouse, the kohlrabi is coming up! And around the yard I’m seeing signs of Spring!

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Kohlrabi 
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Rhubarb (they my Granny gave me years ago!) 
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Crocuses 
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Echinacea (coming back!) 

And at school, my students are growing their choice of vegetables or flowers! We only started the peppers and flowers.

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Upcycled juice cup greenhouses

And one of my sweet students gave me these beauties as an Easter gift! I have some pretty fantastic students!

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Tulips!

I hope that you’re seeing signs of Spring all around where you live! And are you starting some seeds now? Keep blooming friends!

Seedlings are popping up!!

It is starting to get more plant-y here! I haven’t put much in the soil yet, but what I did start this early is starting to pop up! I  was so excited to see that my first pepper plant was already up through the soil!

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Golden cal (orange sweet pepper) 

And I had no intentions on growing onions from seed, but when I got the Walla Walla onion seeds in a swap… they just ended up in the soil!

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Onion seedlings! 

This weekend will hopefully not be bitterly cold, so that I can start putting down cardboard and wood chips to kill back the grass in the pollinator area. We are lucky to know lots of tree trimmers!

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Big pile of wood chips! 

And inside the house my African violet has finally bloomed! This baby started off as a single leaf cut from a plant with rooting hormone put on it! Now, it’s a full grown and beautiful plant!

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A year and a half waiting for this bloom! 

Over the past couple days, I have really been wanting to get outside and do something in the garden.  But, I’ve had a nasty cold and the weather has been feeezing! So, I decided that I would work on some seed tape instead! I will have to make a tutorial on that soon! And I will post back how well it works!

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Seed tape! (Carrots) 

And here is a preview of the top portion of my insect hotel:

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Isn’t it beautiful?! 

We used knotweed that is growing by a creek here and some drilled out branches that I pulled out of the woods. A lot of work, but $0!

And lastly, I just noticed this saying on the back of the migardener seeds:

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Grow big or go home! 

Im planning on growing big with the garden expansion that we are working on! Are you planning on growing big this year?! Whether you are or are not, keep blooming!