Green House

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This is what my husband did for me this weekend. We found this green house for sale at Tractor Supply Co. Aarron knew I have wanted one for a while now so when we saw the price on this one we had to jump at it.

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If I remember correctly, Aarron said it was about 6ft l x 10ft h. Now I just have to fill it…lol. Of course that is going to be the fun part. I’m just not sure if I want to start from scratch on all of the plants or just order some from Burpee. I like my second choice better, but I don’t know if we will have the money to do it right now.

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Something I will have to talk over with Aarron before doing either though. I am just so happy to have this! And I think Aarron was happy to be able to do something this weekend seeing as he has been down pretty much since breaking his leg.

Have a great day!

Renee

6 Backyard Tips for Thinning Out Mosquitoes

I know everyone hates mosquitoes so this guest post gives some tips to help thin them out a bit.

Mosquitoes are not only uncomfortable insects that suck your blood –they are carriers of terrible ailments and conditions –the most recent being the Zika virus.

In the wake of this worldwide epidemic –there were three reported cases of Zika in the US last week- and the fast approaching summer in Florida, it has become imperative to keep our yards mosquito-free.

After all, we all want to hang out around the fire pits in the evenings of the summer, participate in the 4th of July picnicking and fireworks and have an all-round good time without having to worry about the little buggers. How can you do this?

Cut Your Greens

Spring typically brings such lush greenness and life to plants. As a result, you might have more bushes, grasses, and vegetation in and around your home. These are excellent hiding places for adult female mosquitoes which hide under that vegetation during the day and come out to play and feed at night.

It’s even worse when you have dense vegetation in dark areas. These create the perfect hiding spot for these critters. So, trim your hedges, mow your lawns, cut your brushes, and prune surrounding tree branches.

Eliminate All Standing Water

Standing water provides the right breeding conditions for mosquitoes. So, check out all standing containers and empty them of stagnant water. Check your drainages and make sure they are flowing. Stagnant water is the enemy.

As long as the water is flowing, the mosquitoes wouldn’t be able to settle and lay their eggs. Check your gutters too for standing water. Most people typically overlook this part and only check their gutters at the end of the year. Drain out any stagnant water by clearing out piled up gutter debris.

Invest in Insect Zappers

Insect zappers work like magic. The mosquitoes are attracted to them, they make contact and are killed by the UV lights. Depending on how big your yard is and your home, you should invest in between 3 and 10 of those. Ensure to keep one inside the home –out of the children’s reach of course- in case the buggers get in the house.

Invest in Pesticides and Insecticides

Fumigating your home and the environment with an eco-friendly insecticide will keep them at bay for at least a month. Then, have some insecticide in the house to repel or kill them.

Spray these at night with all doors and windows locked while everyone is outside, leave it be for 30 minutes, then aerate the house. You can also buy and use mosquito coils, although these don’t last long and the smoke gets blown away too quickly.  

In addition, pest services can assist in eradicating these problems. Heron Lawn and Pest Control can mitigate these problems by evaluating the state of your lawn and then offering a solution to effectively solve it.

Mosquito Repellent Plants are important

There are plants with odors that mosquitoes find repellent. These include citronella grass, lemon grass, catnip, lavender, and basil. These plants are effective at reducing the mosquito population in your backyard. They are also good for repelling other insects too.

Treat Your Ponds and Keep them Moving

If you don’t want to drain your still pond because of its landscaping features and qualities, you might want to consider taking some measures. These include reducing the population of water lilies as they tend to create avenues for standing water.

We all hate to deal with mosquiteos so my guest post gives you some tips on how to thinning them out.

If your ponds are clear, you should consider installing water aeration systems. These could be in the form of aeration pumps, water bubbler, and turning the pond into a temporary fountain. These will help keep the pond moving –a condition that is not conducive to mosquitoes breeding.

These tips should get you started on preventing and eliminating them. If you need more help, get in touch with Heron Pest to eliminate mosquitoes and all other insects on your home.

Fairy Rings

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Have you ever seen a fairy ring? I did, once a long time ago. Do you know what a fairy ring is? Supposedly it was created by the fairies as a way into the fairy realm. They were supposed to have come up seemingly overnight. Some see these as a bad omen and will go no where near them. Others  can feel the magic in the area.

One of the first things you will learn as a Pagan is that all you do should begin with casting a circle. This is a barrier to keep negative vibrations out of the area one is working in. Pagans deal in positive energy so negative energy just wouldn’t be a good thing to get into an area you are working in.

fairy ring

The fairy ring is a place of power. I know that many think it is a bad omen or dark forces at work, but in reality it is just Mother Nature doing her thing. For some Pagans this is simply a natural circle for working with positive energy. However, I do not know if all Pagans feel this way.

Anyway, this came up on my feed on Facebook and I thought it was beautiful picture of what Mother Nature can do.

Have a great day!

Renee

*Images from Google Images*

Garden Success!

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Do you see that? I have Strawberries! After checking this morning, I have 4 strawberries growing, I have flowers on my cucumber plant and on the pumpkin plant. I am so excited! Other than the lettuce I have not been able to grow anything until now! I knew that talking to Grandpa would help. Even our tree is growing really good.

Although I can’t take all the credit, my daughter has helped (before she moved out) with some of it – especially the lettuce. And I got a new tool to use, because I thought I was over watering – which I was. But I picked up this nifty hygrometer.

 

It’s amazing how well it works. I am hoping that now that I know how much I am watering that my plants will do better. I know that I feel better about it now because I am not guessing on whether they need to be watered or not. I know if they need it or not. So hopefully, on my next update on the garden, I will be able to show beautiful, healthy plants (maybe with a little fruit or veggies on them too).

Have a great day!

Renee

Why You Should Use Organic Seeds in Your Garden

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So, I’ve talked about organic fertilizer and why we should go organic now it’s time to talk seeds. I know that seeds seem pretty insubstantial in the grand scheme of things, but if your garden is only as good as its seeds. I think the main reason I would suggest organic seeds is this, regular seeds are retrieved from plants that had chemicals and pesticides used on them. BUT, organic seeds have a better chance of being done in an organic environment too.

I get all my seeds through Burpee. I’ve dealt with them for a few years now and everything they sell is good quality and their customer service is good as well. They have a whole section on their site dedicated to organics and you find it right here. They have just about anything you could look for as far as seeds are concerned, but they also sell starter plants too.

http://www.burpee.com/flowers/sunflowers/sunflower-autumn-beauty-mix-organic-prod000381.html
Organic Sunflower Seeds

Anyway, back to the reasons for organic seeds. When plants are grown with chemicals and pesticides, the seeds will carry these chemicals as well. While regular seeds will probably still do well in a garden (even an organic one), these chemicals will still transfer to the plants grown from the seeds. So, for a truly organic garden, one needs to start with organic seeds.

http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/lettuce/lettuce-gourmet-blend-organic-prod000744.html
Organic Gourmet Blend Lettuce

Starting with organic seeds means that your garden will truly be an organic garden. No chemical, no pesticides that have leeched into the seeds because they were grown that way. In other words, you will know what went into your seeds and you will know what is coming out of your seeds.

The best organic gardens start with the best organic materials. This would be seeds, soil, fertilizer, and pest killers (yes there are organics for that too, we’ll get into that next time). All organic materials will provide an all organic garden, which in turn will provide all organic fruits and veggies for you and your family.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

 

 

Garden Success

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Today is all about success! The picture above is the lettuce that we planted back in January. As you can see, it did amazingly well. I actually cut it back last month before adding fertilizer and it is in the process of growing back now. When I cut it back, I cut it back to the stalks. It looked like this:

 

Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/16/16

Then I added the fertilizer and now it looks like this:

Taken 04/27/16
Taken 04/27/16

As you can see it is starting to come back. That is why this is my success story for today. I’ve always heard that with certain vegetables such as lettuce and onions, you can replant the roots. So I figured if you could replant them, then why couldn’t you cut it back and have it regrow.

When the lettuce first started growing, it was amazing. There are actually supposed to be 5 different types of lettuce in this mix that we used. You could taste each one and every bowl was different. I would definitely recommend this blend of lettuce. Of course there are also other blends or you can purchase just the types you want as well.

I am hoping that as this grows back, it will taste just as amazing as it did before. The full plant was so pretty, especially once it bloomed. Plus, I was able to collect some of the seeds so I can plant it again  if needed. I guess I just need to wait till it grows back a little more to try it again.

Have a great day!

Renee

Planting times in Arizona

Growing much of anything (with the exception of cactus) in Arizona can sometimes be a challenge. Because of this, I had to go searching for planting times in the state. Apparently I did not consult this chart before planting because according to this I shouldn’t have started my pumpkin until later this month.

Since the average elevation of Arizona is about 4000 feet, I went with this chart for planting times.

Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6
Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6
Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6
Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6
Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6
Photo from: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions46.html#4-6

 

Actually, really looking at the charts, I see that there are several that I should have waited to plant. Of course this year has already been warmer than most, so maybe this isn’t a bad thing. I get the feeling I will just have to wait and see. I planted everything around the first part of April, so I’m almost a month in and so far all seems to be going well.

I think the only difficulty I am having so far, is knowing how much to water. I think I am watering too much right now but I am not sure. I need to get a hydrometer to check the soil for moistness to determine if I am over or under watering. I think this will be my next garden purchase.

Planting times depend on the temperatures to be accurate. Because we have been very warm so far this year, I think most of these dates probably need to be moved up at least a month. Which seems to say that I planted at about the right time.

I still have a few different seeds that I am hoping to get in the dirt very soon, like within the next couple weeks. I look forward to sharing that with you as well.

Have a great day!

Renee

Garden Progress

So, I got the fertilizer for the plants but I can’t really tell how well it worked. I purchased it through Burpee here. The fertilizer is this one:

So, I am going to try to post the before and after pictures together and maybe you can tell me if you see a difference in growth. Here goes:

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Taken 04/16/16

 

Taken 04/27/16
Taken 04/27/16

The pictures above are Tomato, bell pepper and Jalapeno.

Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04-27-16
Taken 04-27-16
Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/27/16
Taken 04/27/16
Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/16/16
Taken 04/27/16
Taken 04/27/16

Hmm..Ok looking at the pictures this way I can see a bit of a difference in the first shots (when I added the fertilizer) and the second shots (only 10 days later). The plants do look bigger, but at the same time, they seem to be yellowing a little bit. Maybe I am watering to much. I water daily and if I don’t water daily the plants wilt because it is getting hotter here now.

I would have to say that the fertilizer does work. It says to use it once a month for best results so I will again take before and after pictures to see if there is yet more of a difference. So far I think I am impressed with the results of the fertilizer and would have to say that it does work.

Another thing I have noticed is that I have not started to see any fruit or veggies on them yet. Not sure why this is the case but it is so far. However, on the tomato plant I am starting to see where they will come in at. I do need to get a tomato cage though so that they have something to hang onto as they grow.

I will continue to post updates on how the plants are doing over the coming months. I hope they produce enough that I won’t need buy these fruits and veggies from the store any longer as that is my ultimate goal. Once again you get the fertilizer through Burpee.com and it is called Garden Tone (pictured above). The link that will take you directly there is: Garden Tone.

Have a great day!

Renee

Garden Progress

Well it’s been few weeks since I planted my fruits and  vegetables. So I figured it was time for an update. So far, everything is growing really well (which is surprising with my black thumb and all).

Bell pepper and Jalapeno
Bell pepper and Jalapeno
Tomatoes, Califlower
Tomatoes, Califlower
Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli
Cilantro
Cilantro
Pumpkin, Strawberry, cucumber
Pumpkin, Strawberry, cucumber
Strawberry, cucumber, pumpkin
Strawberry, cucumber, pumpkin
Cilantro, Basil, Parsley
Cilantro, Basil, Parsley

Some are having some issues, but in the next week I will be getting the organic fertilizer so hopefully this will help them along. The fertilizer I purchased through Burpee is this one: Organic food for plants

I am, however, very encouraged at this point in how things are going. I truly believe that I can do it this year. This will be the year I am successful with gardening. I have been getting a lot of information from my grandfather on this, as this is what he does for a living (well landscaping, not gardening). We are all very excited to see the outcome.

I think I will need some way to keep the critters out pretty soon (once things start to bloom). I still have to do some research on this one. I don’t want to use harsh chemicals on the plants. The whole reason I planted my own was to try to get away from this. So I’m thinking maybe some no kill traps, but I will let you know on that later on.

At the moment, I am just trying to enjoy the success I am having with the garden so far. I am really finding that I enjoy learning about how to make things grow and it can be pretty relaxing too (which is a plus when one deals with anxiety). So I guess that’s it for today. I look forward to letting you know how things are going.

Have a great day!

Renee

Items for Gardening

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Strawberry Plant

In every task, hobby, or special project you take on, there are always things that can and many times will make it easier to do. This post is about things that make gardening easier. Most of what is on this list are things that I either already have or plan on purchasing.

Because of where I live, the ground is not the easiest place to grow, so I do mostly container gardening. I try to pick up my containers from the dollar store, or yard sales, or use things around the house to make my own elevated planters. We have so many used tires around the house, that project was a given. However, tires aren’t the only thing that makes good planters, I have seen people use shoes, buckets, and many other items most of have around the house already. Really anything that will hold soil and release excess water will work.

So, where to start with this list of things we need to make gardening easier. I guess the best place to start is with the planters. So, if you don’t want to make your own I would suggest the dollar store. They have so many sizes and different types.

  1. Whiskey Barrel types
    Photo from: Dollar General
    Photo from: Dollar General
  2. Hanging Planters
  3. Plastic planters

Just to name a few. For soil, one could go to the nearest Home Depot or Loews, but I prefer organic and there I usually go to Burpee’s for my soil, fertilizers and seeds because they seem to have the best selection.

4.  Starting soil

Photo from: Burpee
Photo from: Burpee

5. Fertilizer

6. Seeds

Some of the tools you might want will include items such as:

7. The seed sower or others listed here.

8.Garden Carts shown here

9. Other organic supplies shown here.

10. Starter kits to get your plants going.

Photo from: Burpee
Photo from: Burpee

Of course there are so many others things that will make gardening easier too such as kneeling mats, however, this is just a short list for starting out. I hope this has been helpful to you and let me know if there are other tools or things that you like to use in gardening. I look forward to talking to you.

Have a great day!

Renee

 

Why Should We Go Organic?

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According to Anup Shah, Is GE Food Safe?, Global Issues, Updated: January 20, 2002 there is still so much that we do not know about genetically engineered foods. I think this alone is reason enough to go with organic foods. However, some feel that genetically engineered foods will be the cure to world hunger. I’m not sure this is true.

46H

The article above also mentions that GE food crops have been smaller than regular crops. Some feel that this is just a way for the food companies to make more money rather than help anyone out of hunger.  Because we do not know the long-term effects of GE food, would it be better to go organic instead? I would have to say yes!

89H

Organic foods are produced with natural fertilizers and do not use pesticides. Pesticides leave a residue on produce that can be harmful to humans, however, according to some, these levels are low enough not to. I will let you decide whether this is fact or fiction. I personally prefer organic because of this.

179H

Yes, organic foods can be more expensive than non-organic but for me, the cost is worth it. For some, this may not be the case. Either way, I think this is a personal decision that everyone needs to make. If you can grow your own, then you’re even better off because you know what you are putting into it.

corn

This is one of the reasons I have started my own garden this year. I figure this will help to cut down on costs for buying produce. I just hope that I can actually get them to grow. Another way to get organic produce at a lower cost is to look for farmer’s markets in your area. Not only is this a good way to buy organic, but it also provides money to your local economy.

There is a list here that names the 12 (or more) produce items that contain the most pesticides. There is also a list on the same site that names the clean 15. These are those items that do not have to purchased organic as they contain little to no pesticide residue on them. This list is updated every year to show which produce items to buy organic and which are ok to buy non-organic. I hope this helps in your journey to feed yourself (and your family) better.

Have a great day!

Renee

Planting Time!

I’m so excited that it is starting to get warmer. This means that I can start my planting. I have always had a black thumb. I mean seriously, the plants at the nursery generally all wilt when I walk in the door! I have been working on trying to change this and so far I have some luck with lettuce and strawberries. Here is my lettuce now:

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In the pot next to this is the strawberry plant. These both made it through the hard freeze we had a couple months ago. So, I am hoping the curse of the black thumb is getting better. I usually purchase my seeds through Burpee because they have such a good organic selection (And I get cash back through Ebates). Last week I planted:

[col3 ] [/col3][col3 ] [/col3][col3 ] [/col3]

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I can’t wait to see how they do. My grandfather has given several good pointers that I hope will help with this. I would so love to have fresh veggies and spices rather than those bought at the store. Also we plan to do this with no chemicals. Have you heard the scary things the chemicals can do? It’s crazy that we actually eat this stuff!

As you can see we started these in pots. I did this because we are actually starting these a bit early. Most should not be planted until April or May. I put them in pots so that if we do have really cold nights still I can bring them into the house.

So far, that has not been the case. They have been outside since I planted them. I will post update over the next few months on how they are doing and if my black thumb may actually be turning green. Hopefully, (fingers are crossed) they do well and we will have fresh veggies and herbs to go with the fresh eggs we get from the chickens. Please if you are the praying type, pray for my garden. Thankfully you can’t get arrested for cruelty to plants yet. Cause I tell you what, that is where I would be for all the poor plants that I have killed in the past.

Have a great Day!

Renee

Failure!

 

Well once again I have failed at gardening. I’m not sure why I continue to try as most times the outcome is not very good, but I do. I try and I try and I try. And I fail.

I think the reason I keep trying is because I learn something new each time I fail. I do some more research to find out why I failed this time, then I try again. I think I have learned this time that I cannot re-pot a plant…lol. It seems that every time I try to do this, I get this result

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Although I have to say that there is some green there. The basil and the cilantro are trying to grow. I have not given up on these two as I know they are still trying so I will continue to try as well. I have always wanted a garden to be proud of and one day I will have it!

When I begin my planting season this year, I am going to make sure I start them where they will grow. This way I won’t have to re-pot anything and will give it a better chance at survival. Instead of planting in the ground (as the dirt here doesn’t seem to do well for plants) I am going to try pots this time around. I have some of the pots already and will use more the tires around the yard to make more planters like these.

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In the next few weeks, I will be posting about the new planting season here. I know that with what I have learned this time, I hope to have a more successful season this year. I am going organic and will not use any chemicals on the garden at all. I am trying to provide more healthy meals for my family and hope that this will help to make it easier.

I look forward to keeping you updated on my successes and my failures in this endeavor. I know that I will learn a lot more from this season and I hope that I can provide useful information to you as well. Of course as always, if you have any suggestions to help me along I will gladly take them. I have had a black thumb rather than a green thumb for a long time, but I am working to change that. And slowly, but surely, it is getting better. So, I will continue to work on it and on myself to get better.