And there was light…

Well, almost…

A couple bumps in the road along the way.  First I never bothered to measure how long the light fixture was, I just thought it would fit on my craft table.  Guess what?  It’s too long.  Good thing I had an extra PVC pipe!

So after pulling the craft table out and finding the longer one out in the garage (that overhangs the doorway about 6 inches) I have my grow light stand.

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Very simple to do.  I used 3/4” PVC.  Just measure how big your light fixture and table are to figure how much you will use.  You also need 2 “T” joints and 2 elbows.  Mine stands about 30” tall.  I need to get some more chain as it’s not quite long enough and I want to get some rubber stoppers to put on the leg ends so they are more level because of the “T”.  Then I need to get two light bulbs, one hot and one cool and my grow light will be good to go (just don’t use that doorway for a while).  Winking smile

Until next time – Happy Gardening!  Sun

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The worms are coming, the worms are coming…

Pretty sad if you get excited about worms isn’t it?  Just kidding

I took some time this morning after getting school done to get my worm bed ready.  Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to find some Red Wrigglers at Walmart – my friend found some there so we shall see.

It was very easy to do.  I took some pictures for you to see just how easy.  Total cost – $0.00.  Yep, I had everything on hand for this project.  My only cost will be the worms.  I sort of followed this Video.

Step 1.  Gather your materials:  plastic tub, drill with 1/8 drill bit, shredded cardboard and paper, kitchen scraps, compost or garden soil, spray bottle of water.  You can also use peat moss if you prefer.

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Step 2.  Drill air holes in lid and around top edge of tub.  This went very quickly.

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Step 3.  Drill drainage holes in the bottom.

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Step 5.  Fill it up.  I layered everything, giving it a good spray of water after each layer.  You want everything to be like a damp sponge, not dripping wet.

Torn up cardboard and egg cartons followed by paper.

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Kitchen scraps from my compost bucket I keep under my sink (was getting pretty nasty in there but I’m sure the worms will love it.

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Followed by another layer of paper.  Then I ventured out to my compost pile, dug under about a foot of snow and found some wonderful “black gold” filled with micro-organisms – if they’re not frozen – to give my worm bed a jumpstart.  It’s looking wonderful down there.

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Then finally another layer of paper and egg cartons and a drink of water.

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I put the cover on, then put it down in my basement, setting on a couple blocks that are on top of another lid I had laying around to catch any run off.  Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to find a couple dozen worms that I can put in their new home and they can earn their keep.  Winking smile Will update soon!

Until next time – Happy Worming!  Rolling on the floor laughing

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Winter Break

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted because last week my hubby and I were on our first ever cruise.  It was amazing!  My hubby won the trip through work otherwise we might not have done something like this (at least not in the immediate future).  We basked in the sunshine and 80 degree temps down in the western Caribbean.  Unfortunately we had to return to cold, snow, and a leaking roof.  Crying face

So it’s back to dreaming of spring and all things green.  I am hoping to place my seed order in the next week or so and I want to get my potting soil purchased soon so I have it to start my seeds when it’s time.  I also have to get my PVC pipe for my grow light.  I think that may be my first purchase – maybe Friday.  Open-mouthed smile In the mean time I have my Seed to Seed book and Square Foot Gardening book that came in the mail while I was gone to read along with the wealth of information on the internet.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!  Island with a palm tree

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Love This

I came across The Urban Homestead website yesterday and LOVE, I say LOVE their little homestead.  To think they can produce 6000 POUNDS of produce a year in such a small area.  Yes, they live in California which has a much longer growing season than Northern New York does, but still, that is amazing. 

Here is a video about their lifestyle:  http://www.kcet.org/shows/socal_connected/content/environment/growing-your-own.html

I like this quote from one of their blog posts “Learning by doing is still the best way to learn how to farm and homestead. Such times that we have learned the most about farming/homesteading have been when we were thrown into a situation and forced to sink or swim.”

I am very inspired now.  Time to make a list of what seeds I have and want to get.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!  Bowl

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Frugal Gardening

It seems like every spring I run short of cash when it comes to my garden.  With seed buying, potting soil, containers, and what ever else happens to come up, I try and look for inexpensive solutions where I can.  I thought I would do a post on ways you can save money when it comes to your garden.  I may add to the list as I find more ideas so check back often.  (By the way, this is more for my benefit so I can find all these great ideas in one spot easily.  Winking smile)

Seed Starting (make sure you cut holes in the bottom of your containers for drainage)

Egg cartons – top and bottom.

Milk jugs – cut off the top part of the jug.

Butter tubs, yogurt containers, plastic salad boxes, etc.  You can also use these to make plant markers.  Cut the sides down into strips, cut the ends to a point if desired then write what the plant is in a Sharpie.

News paper – Make a newspaper pot

Line your pots or containers with 6-8 sheets of newspaper to help them retain moisture so they won’t need to be watered as much. (wish I had seen this before starting my herbs)

To test for viability, place 10 seeds on a moist paper towel, and set the towel inside a plastic bag. Put the bag in a warm spot, and check it every three or four days. If fewer than half the seeds germinate, throw out the packet and order more.

Fertilizers

Homemade Fertilizer Recipes

Save the water you cook potatoes and pasta in.  Once cooled to room temperature you can water your plants with it.

Use the water from your fish tank next time you clean it to water plants.

Make tea for your plants by soaking compost, rabbit droppings or worm castings in water for a day.  Strain and water your plants with.

Use crushed eggshells around tender plants to kill slugs and fertilize your soil at the same time.

Use the water from making hard boiled eggs to water your tomato plants.

Stale coffee and coffee grounds make great organic fertilizer. They provide many trace minerals and low, gentle levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.

Compost

If you don’t have access to horse or cow manure, put moist grass clippings into a black trash bag and let them sit in the sun for several weeks.  Use as you would manure in your gardens or let some soak in water for a day to make a tea as shown above.

Make your own Worm Bin.

Shred leaves with your mower and collect in a bag to add to your compost pile.  Layer with grass clippings or kitchen waste.  In the fall you can cover your garden beds with shredded leaves – the worms will love you for it and you will love the presents the worms leave for your garden.  Surprised smile

Keep an old blender on the counter and fill it with veggie and fruit scraps and when it is full, fill with water, left over coffee, and blend until smooth.  Then take it to the garden and pour it between the plants. Compost tea! No waiting for it to break down in the compost pile.

In the Garden

Use old pantyhose or tee shirts cut in strips to tie up your plants on trellises.

Save cardboard tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls to put around your plants at the base to keep cut worms and other pests off your plant.  You can also use them to start seeds.

Use empty milk jugs or soda bottles to water your plants.  Put some holes in the bottom of your container, bury it next to your plants leaving the top open for filling with water then fill as needed.  Simple drip irrigation.

A good soaking of water less often is better than a light sprinkling every day – for veggies and for your lawn.

Share plants with your friends and neighbors.  Many plants can be started by cuttings or by thinning.

Plant marigolds in your vegetable garden. They will attract insects that eat aphids and other pests.

Lay down old carpet or cardboard between your garden rows to cut down on weeds.

If you have any frugal tips to share – please do!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!  Money

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It Is Finished…

My office that is!  I finally took a couple days to get my office re-organized so I can use my craft table to start my seedlings on in a few weeks.  It didn’t take as long as I expected, only a little over a day.  I wanted to take pictures to show you but alas my camera is giving me fits.  Crying face

The craft table will house my light fixture held up by PVC pipe, then I have a card table next to the window for plants that won’t need the light.  My next project will be making the PVC frame but that will have to wait a couple weeks. 

I think I’m going to mix my own potting soil.  I was reading a good mixture is 25% Vermiculite, 25% Peat Moss and 50% Organic Potting Soil.  Need to get out and do some pricing to see where the best place to get these would be.  I also think I am going to get some aluminum pans with clear plastic lids to start my seedlings in.  You can find them at most dollar stores – usually two or three for a buck.   Make some slits in the bottom for drainage, fill with your soil, plant the seeds, water well, then put the plastic lid on until they sprout.  Once they are a bit bigger you can transplant them into other containers. 

If I’m able, I want to make some PVC frames, cover with plastic and put them over my raised beds as soon as the snow is gone then do a trial, plant some seeds directly in the bed once it warms up a bit and compare the results to the seeds I start inside.  Will be interesting to see which do better – if there is even a difference.  I have read pros and cons to both ways. 

Last but not least, my final pot of herbs, the sweet basil, have made their appearance so all 5 pots are doing well.  I plan to start the remaining seeds to put in my outside herb garden.  Oh, did you know you can use the water from your fish tank to water your plants?  My daughter thought I was a little odd when I told her she couldn’t dump the water down the drain anymore from her little fish bowl.  Here are some more ideas for homemade fertilizers.

Until next time…Happy Gardening!  Camera

 

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We Have… Germination!

We are sitting in a deep freeze here in northern New York today.  It was 20 below zero this morning – too cold for my blood.  I was very happy we were able to stay in our nice warm house.

I was over on the other side of the state this past weekend with my three oldest children.  They were at snow camp with the church youth group and I was asked to drive.  We had a good time even if it was a bit on the chilly side.  Last night when we got home I had forgotten all about my little herb garden so this morning while I was in the kitchen cleaning up I was pleasantly surprised to find my other herb seeds had germinated except my basil (however there is one plant that has just about to emerge).

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Thyme                                                       Chives

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Cilantro                                                       Parsley

Soon I’ll be cooking with my herbs!  Nice to see a little green on a cold winter day.

 

Until next time…Happy Gardening!    Island with a palm tree

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