Friday, May 31, 2013

Don't Throw Those Eggshells Away

Save them for your garden!  That's right, your tomatoes will love them.  Grab a container and save them throughout the year.  I recommend drying them first and than storing them; otherwise, you could end up with a rotten egg smell.  I sit mine outside on sunny days to dry or stick them in the oven after cooking a meal to dry out.  They don't need to be in the oven long or on a high temperature.  Once cooled, crush them and put them in a plastic bag or container and store them in your freezer or the refrigerator.  You can use a rolling pin to crush them.

Once garden season arrives, crush a few aspirin or calcium tablets and sprinkle it along with the crushed eggshells in the hole when you plant your tomatoes.  I also sprinkle some around the soil once I get the tomatoes in the ground.  I actually do this throughout the growing season.  The eggshells will help give your tomatoes a calcium boost, and help fight off blossom end rot.   It's also suppose to be a deterrent for slugs, cutworms and snails.

Do you use eggshells in your garden?  How do you deter blossom end rot?


Monday, May 27, 2013

Brew A Coffee Fertilizer

I'm a big coffee drinker, so I decided to save my coffee grounds throughout the winter to use in my garden and compost bins.  I'll be making liquid fertilizer for my garden by adding 2 cups of coffee grounds to 5 gallons of water and allowing it to sit overnight.  Five gallon buckets are great for preparing the fertilizer and having on hand when you're ready.  Be sure to place a piece of screen over the bucket and keep it close to your garden.  This liquid fertilizer is great on tomatoes, peppers,  and cukes.  You can also sprinkle a light layer around plants to ward off slugs in the garden too.  This container will be used in the compost bin.   

Coffee grinds can be used on all acid loving plants like strawberries, other acidity fruits, azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas.  Simply sprinkle a thin layer around these plants.  Worms love coffee grounds.  We all know that worms in the garden are heaven sent.  Coffee grounds that you will be using in the garden should be dried and stored in plastic bags since coffee has a tendency to mold.  A weekly dose of the liquid should suffice in the garden this season. 
If you're not a coffee drinker, give Star Bucks or The Daily Grind a call.  They give away coffee grounds by the bag full to gardeners.  Dunkin Doughnuts seems to have a problem giving away their stash.  They may be different in your area, but not so much in mine.   Coffee grounds can be mixed with eggshells for plants needing calcium too.   Last year, I used eggshells and my mother's old calcium tablets.  You can check out my post here.   My tomatoes did very well.  I'm hoping to make them even bigger and better this year.  I decided to grow Tiffen Mennonites this season.  Hopefully my seedlings will survive.  They're known to get close to 2 pounds.   I should be able to get quite a few BLTs out of a 2 pounder.

Do you use homemade fertilizers?  Please share what you use if you do. 


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!  Hope your gardens are sprouting.  Here's a picture of my brother in law's goat relaxing on his farm.  He's enjoying the sun and festivities.  Oh what a life!  That is what little bit of sun we have.  It's quite chilly in my part of the world.  No pools opening today, but the grill will be fired up.  Hope you have a great week-end and I'll be posting again soon.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lighting Strikes Twice


Lighting Strikes Twice is not only a movie, but a fact at my home.  We had a storm come through yesterday that damaged two trees on the property.  One in the front yard and one in the back.  The tree in the front yard was split in half.  Half was left standing and the other fall across the development road.  What's amazing is that it fell between my mailbox and fence.  We called 911 since neighbors were unable to get in or out of the development past my home.  Up to this very moment, I haven't heard from our emergency services.  I've lived in this county for 30 years and pay taxes, but I'm not thought enough of to even receive a phone call to ask if anyone was hurt or if there was property damage.  Not a word of concern.  

Fortunately, I have good neighbors.  They came together in the rain and chopped the tree up and removed it from the road for me.  I feel so blessed to have neighbors such as these.

The other tree is my shade tree that I use when entertaining.  It shades the swing and picnic tables.  It's huge and about 50 years old.  I'm grateful that it can be saved.  Just needs to be topped and broken branches removed.  I guess I'm becoming sentimental in my older years, I like to preserve things. 

I was hoping to focus on the garden this week-end.  Looks like yard clean up will go to the top of the list.  Through it all, I realize my problem is minor compared to those who truly experienced devastation in Oklahoma.  Sending up a prayer for those who lost loved ones and their home. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Preparing My Garden Soil


Last year I struggled to get one sunflower to grow in my garden.  I didn't have room to start them inside and tried direct sowing, but my endeavors were in vain.  I decided to try winter sowing and look what I have, sunflowers.  At least they're on their way.  They germinated and they are progressing toward showing their smiling faces. They are growing quite nicely on my deck in the containers that I originally planted them in.  I have Lemon Queen, Velvet Queen and Evening Sun growing. 

I'm really into winter sowing, I will be trying it again for my flowers and a few veggies that I was successful germinating.  Didn't do well with the tomatoes, they germinated but failed to grow.  I hope to give all a new home shortly.  Hopefully the new soil will help them alone.   I'm excited, as sunflowers are a favorite.  Do you grow sunflowers in your garden?  Please leave me a tip if you do on how you're successful.  


Our last frost date was 5/15.  We had a few chilly days afterwards, but I think we're ready to go in Zone 6B now.  I lost 2 tomato plants, a few bush beans and 2 sweet potato plants that I had planned to use in containers to frost.  I guess I didn't have them close enough to the house to avoid the hit.  This my fellow gardeners is why I wait until Memorial Day week-end to plant out.  I'm not one to run to the garden and scrabble to cover everything due to frost.  Patience is a must as a gardener. 

I did cover my garden with about 4 inches of aged manure this week-end.  I had planned to do this a month ago, but my resource didn't come through so I'm a little late.  I have reconnected with a school mate who owns 10 horses, and she is allowing me to get all that I can carry.  Her husband loads the truck for me and I'm off.  I call in the man power when I get home and assist in spreading it.  So glad, I invested in a pair of Wellies.  I plan to till this in over the week-end, and than add another 4 - 5 inches in the fall.  As you can see it has straw mixed in with it, but it should be okay since it is aged manure.  I'm going to allow it to lay on the garden for a week, and than work it in to a depth of 4 - 5 inches.   Hopefully, mama's babies will love their nourishment.     

My onions are doing well.  I didn't put any manure around them since they really don't need fertilizer.  I put in yellow and white.  I need some spicy red for my salsa.  I'm going to focus on tomatoes, cukes, and peppers this year with a few squash, zucchini and green beans.  I'm going to grow lettuce in my shady areas.   My dill is doing well too.  I need this for my refrigerator pickles.  I have white belle and a few mixed as well as mixed cayenne to plant out and basil to go with my tomatoes.  I'm going to dry my basil this year since I like to use it in my Italian dishes.  My pickled peppers were a big hit with the family last year.  So good my daughter wanted me to ship jars to her, ha.  I hope that I can do it again, lol.  If I don't get the plants off my deck soon, I won't be able to get out the door.  I found geraniums on clearance that I want to add in and my marigolds. 

Did you notice my garden cart in the background picture above.  It's actually a cooler where the lid had cracked, I converted it to my garden cart.  It's a perfect transporter for my garden supplies!  Have you planted your seedlings/plants yet? 


Dave Barry Quote


Sunday, May 19, 2013

My New Perennial Garden

Greetings!  It's been awhile since I posted.  I lost one of my Aunts recently, so I've been spent so time reflecting on my life's journey and ensuring my priorities are in order as well as getting some rest.   

I feel that I'm at a good place in my grieving process, and I'm ready to return to other things that I love.  I put in a new perennial garden.  I planted a few Knock Out Roses, Yarrow, Chicks and Hens, and Dianthus.  Added a few rocks and a new bird feeder. 

The pictures don't do it justice.  I love how it turned out.  I need to mulch and edge, but for the most part its done.  I'll add a few more perennials when I find a sale or a few that need some TLC on a clearance rack to fill in some gaps. 

I did get a few containers planted and the boxes for my deck.  I decided to go with deep purple and red petunias accompanied by Creeping Jenny for trailers.  I usually go with Vinca, but I found the Creeping Jenny for $.50 each on clearance.  I filled a few pots with trailing petunias, Spikes, Moss Rose, and Celosia. 

 A co-worker gave me a bunch of raspberries.  I cleared a 300 foot fence row that I plan to fill with birdhouses, wildflowers, adirondack chairs, an assortment of berries, and whatever else that I find, lol.  Now off to rest, pull weeds from the shrubbery beds, mulch and plant out the vegetable garden.  How's things growing in your garden?  Any specials projects that you're working on?