Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit Giveaway!

I'm hosting a giveaway on my sister blog for a Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit, to grow your own oyster mushrooms (these aren't always so easy to find at the store, growing your own wil take care of that).  Each kit uses composted coffee grounds that you can use in your garden, potted plants, etc. for great OM.  Each kit will grow between 2-4 harvests, with some growing 5!  Head on over to Thrifty and Frugal by Debbie and enter for your chance to win the Grow Your Own (oyster) Mushrooms Kit.  Hurry, it ends on July 3!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here's my NEWLY expanded garden!!

I know I gave the hubs a hard time about getting this expansion done.  I do that to ensure that it will, in fact, get done.  Some of you know what I mean by that.  Some guys you just gotta 'gently' prod (ie nag) to get them to complete a project they've promised.  But here it is.  A couple weekends ago, I had a load of 'better than last year's' topsoil brought in, for the following days that the expansion was going to be complete and ready for it.  It's getting late in the season, I HAD to get my garden planted.  So, the minions decended and viola! done!

You can see last year's fence, it's the darker, weathe-worn fense, with the newer fense pieces at the left.  The gate is in the center and I had them make it 2 pieces wide so that a truck can back into the garden if needed.  So the center is actually empty (you can see my potato buckets tubs in the center, but we moved them toward the back) so that a vehicle can back in if necessary.  You can't see the pile of dirt, it's off to the right in this pic because the dump truck that brought it was HUGE with 8 wheels!  I had no idea that dump trucks could even HAVE or NEED 8 wheels, lol.  So he couldn't 'thread the needle' well enough with the huge thing to get it dumped closer to the garden.  Now, because of my back and health issues, I didn't do any of the manual labor, I didn't even supervise, lol.  The hubs had my demands in his head and knew them by heart.  So I stayed out of the way, inside the house, brought them tea, made them sandwiches, etc., but stayed out of their way.  Two days later, we had this beautiful garden.  It's planted now, and I just couldn't get use to the idea that I had so much more room to plant.  I was finally able to plant some fun things, like Turks Turbans.  Yellow AND green squash (can't wait until THOSE babies start producing!)

Here's where I got the idea for the potato tubs,, plus I'd seen them in the gardening catalogs that are selling those collapsable tubs for use with root-type plants.  I thought 'EUREKA!'  Why do the tubs have to be collapsible?  Why can't I just use 'tubs?'  So I picked up these used storage tubs at a thrifty store for only $1.23, they had no lids, which was fine by me.  And we began our 'trial.'  They're super big now.  I like the above idea for the potatoes too.  These and tubs are perfect ideas for those that garden in raised beds.  When we build our raised beds, we put a weed barrier at the bottom.  This helps to keep moles out, as well as weeds, but allows for drainage, but it wouldn't be conducive to root plant such as potatoes, because there wouldn't be enough room...hence, the hubs.  When you grow them above ground like this, the heat from the outside environment helps the potatoes mature faster and just as evenly.  The key is to make sure there's plenty of drainage in your tubs.

I thought for sure I had a pic of the my potato tubs, but I can't find it.  But this is what I did:  I took the tubs, turned them over and drilled well over 20 holes at 1/4" in diameter all over the bottom.  I placed the tubs OFF THE GROUND by setting bricks around the edge like 'feet,'  Then, I put some gravel (only about an inch or so) in the bottom of the tubs, and topped them off with soil up to about a couple of inches from the top.  Then I planted.  Normally, when you plant potatoes, you plant them quite a distance apart, but when I planted these tubs, I planted about 8 per tub.  I did this because there's plenty of room for them to grow DOWN, plus from the photo above, it doesn't look like they planted their tators 3 feet apart either.  I may be wrong about that, and that's ok, that's why I'm calling it a 'trial' lol

My Goodwill outdoor lamp craft! Super Fast and Easy!

When we were in Kansas City a couple weeks ago, we stopped in at a Goodwill to pick up my youngest a hoodie...apparently, the hotel room was too chilly, whatever, lol.  Anyhoo, I found this baby.  This beautiful and LARGE amber bottle in square shape.  It was $1.99.  I don't know what it's original use was for, probably made for a decor piece from one of our favorite, expensive decorating stores, lol.  Ok, so I also picked up one of these wicks that go into wine bottles to make them into lamps a couple of months ago for a mere 99 cents at a local Goodwill (they normally run from $3.99 upwards of $6.99...good grief).  When I saw this bottle, I KNEW it was perfect for my wine bottle wick.  So, we picked it up, packed it in along with some clothes in our suitcase, lol and it made its way back to the St. Louis area on the Amtrak with us, all so I can do this:

To make the final $3 product look like this:

This would sell for a LOT more than the final price of $3 at any given store (except maybe the Goodwill or a great yard sale, lol).  Now, when I say this bottle is large, I mean that it stands well over 7" tall.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I just love the amber coloring.  I have some citronella oil that we're going to use in it for outside to keep the buggies away.  What's you're latest craft project?  I'd love to see or hear about them, share it with us.
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