Showing posts with label Garden. Show all posts

Grow Bags

I do not have much of a green thumb but I do like to grow things. Nick will usually build me a small raised bed at the end of the yard where there is a lot of sun all day. I have not had a garden bed in the past couple years. The last one I had was not very successful. Every time a sprig would come up, the birds or squirrels would snap them right out of the dirt. It was not worth the trouble, the money or the dead grassy spots left in the yard. 

This year I’m taking a different approach and decided to purchase some 5 gallon “Grow Bags”. I was not sure how they would do so I only purchased a pack of three. I feel like they are more of just 3 gallon bags instead of 5 but I’ll take their word for it. I headed to Home Depot and picked up two bags of dirt, a few cucumber plants and just one tomato plant. I was shocked at how expensive plants were now days. What ever happened to it being cheaper to grow you own veggies?

I loved how well and sturdy these grow bags held a bag of dirt each. They have handles on each side that make it easy to move them around so there will be no dead spots in my grass. The material allows for natural drainage so I do not have to worry about them being over watered. It’s just like them being planted in the ground. Once they start growing good, I will be adding a tomato cage to both plants. I hope I get a great climbing vine of cucumbers and bushy fruitful tomato plant. 

Right now I have them sitting on my patio. We are expecting a frost this weekend. Since they are in these grow bags, I can just move them inside (placed on plastic of course) or move them under the carport until there is no more threats of frost.

I may add strawberries to the third bag. 
What are you growing this year? Have you ever used grow bags or pot to plant your veggies? 

Growing Mushrooms

Do you like to eat mushrooms? I like mushrooms. They are great in spaghetti, on pizza, in salads and even sauteed and eaten as a meat substitute on a sandwich. You can find mushrooms in a lot of Mexican and Chinese dishes.

I think I am the only one on my side of the family that will eat mushrooms. My brother says they are fungi and he ain't eating nothing like that. 

Nature proved his “fungi” remark correct because I am apparently growing eatable mushrooms in my front yard. As I was finishing up my walk the other day, I noticed my butterfly tree had this funny looking stuff growing up the stalk. 

It looked soft like rose petals and shaped like ears. I hope my neighbors don't think I’m some mad scientist growing ears in my front yard. 

I was curious so I had to snap a photo and do a Google photo search. It came back as a “Wood ear Mushroom”. Also known as a Jew’s ear or Jelly ear. Wood Ears can be found in just about all Chinese cuisine and eaten regularly in China. They do not loo appealing but have a great taste. 
I think I remember seeing something like this in my hot and spicy soup before.

I had to snap a few photos but left it alone. I have no intentions of cutting it off the wood to make any meals with it. I will leave that up to Ku fung chu.

Loofah Reveal

At the beginning of spring I mentioned growing some loofah plants. Now let me introduce you to my loofahs!
Loofah is a natural sponge that grows on a vine. You can actually eat loofah when they are young but once they mature, the inside turns into an all purpose sponge.
You thought all sponges come from the sea, didn’t ya? 

I started off with four loofah plant. These little twigs fought each other in my window seal until the ground was warm enough to plant outside.


Nick built me a little trellis and a planter box in an area where they would get lots of direct sun. I wanted to plant them directly in the ground but for unknown reasons, he was against it. So a planter box it was. I could hardly wait to watch them grow.

Once I transplanted them into the soil, they must have gotten soil shocked because two of them died (They are known to do this). This left me with only two vines, but I figured that was enough for a trial run. It was fun seeing these plants finally take off and climb the trellis. They grew beautiful flowers that attracted some cute bees. 
I have always been afraid of bees, but not these. I somehow felt a friendship with these little stingers. They were working for me so I had to respect them. We got along great. 

I learned there are male and female flowers. The male flowers grow in clusters while the female flowers grow between the branches. 


The female flowers have to be pollinated to produce fruit. A loofah is ready to harvest once it turns yellow and the skin starts to loosen. They house hundreds of seeds that can be planted the next year. 

I read that just one vine will give you up to 20 loofahs. That was not my case. I was rather disappointed in my harvest this year. I only got six loofahs off two plants. Though I had many start to grow, they simply were eaten by some kind of critter or dried up and died before maturing. I plan to give it another shot next year and have a larger trellis and deeper dirt. I hope to plant them in the ground next year instead of a box. 

What next? I plan to cut them into pieces and make loofah soaps something like in this.... 

Below is a video showing the timeline of my loofahs. Hope you enjoy 

Loofah Garden

I mentioned earlier in the year that I was wanting to start a loofah garden. 

A loofah is a natural sponge grown on a vine. They have the shape of a cucumber but are in the gourd family and grow really large. In order to grow these things, it requires a trellis for them to climb. In the Fall they will dry out and then you peel the skin to find a nice natural sponge inside. I'm pretty excited.

I ordered some seeds from a garden in the mountains of North Carolina. I had read where it takes a while for the seeds to sprout. I started them in February and they sprouted in just two weeks!

Afraid they would die before I could plant them, I started some more seeds in March. They have already started climbing the windows and are begging to be planted. I can hardly wait to get them outside.

I came home from work the other day and my sweet husband had built me a frame and trellis. He did a really good job. The next day he had me some fresh dirt. After our afternoon walk, I could not wait any longer so we put on our garden gloves, poured the dirt and planted the tiny plants. Now my loofahs are ready to grow. 

I contacted the nursery where I purchased the seeds and she said one plant will get big and will produce lots of loofahs. She said each plant will give me 10 to 12 loofahs, so only 3 or 4 plants is all I need. I hope this works. I have never had any luck growing things. I’m actually thinking about taking up two of them. I am just waiting to see if they thrive without being eaten by squirrels, bunnies and birds. 

I added some string to train them to grow up the trellis. They started grabbing hold within 15 minutes of planting them. 
Now we wait. I hope they do not get shocked from being transplanted outside.

Loofah plants will produce large yellow flowers before the loofah gourd begins. These flowers will attract lots of bumble bees, butterflies and humming birds. The plants will need them for pollination.
I will keep you updated on the progress. This is going to be fun.

On My Mind

Hope everyone is enjoying April so far and the beautiful weather it's brought with it. We saw snow on Tuesday and it was 74 degrees on Wednesday. That's what we have to deal with here this time of year.

I have loofah plants started that are itching to get out in the yard. I can not plant them until the threat of frost is gone. I had read where it takes them a while to sprout so I actually started some in February. They were 2 inches tall in 6 weeks! Afraid they will die sitting in little planter cups, I started a few more seeds the first of March. They are all doing good. I have already thinned them out to only 6 plants. The first ones I started are as high as the window and are trying every way they can to get their little twigs through the cracks. “Sorry guys but those are insulated windows”. 
I plan to get a trellis and plant them sometime in the next two weeks. 

I have a bit of bloggers block so I have been slow at writing any new post lately. I think its because I actually have a lot on my mind right now. I get overwhelmed really easy. I’m trying to learn not too.

We had two friends loose their wives last week. One lost her battle to cancer and one lost her battle with dementia. Both only in their 60’s and both very sweet ladies. I did not know the ladies as much as I knew their husbands as they were more friends of my Husband. Any friend of his is a friend of mine. 

I have written a crochet pattern I am anxious to try. It’s for wash clothes. If they turn out as I expect, they will not be ordinary and quiet funny. I can't wait to see and share the results. 

Then here comes the overwhelming part, It's been on my mind all week on top of other things.
I have a video interview with Nutrisystem this afternoon. It’s to answer a few questions and share my weight loss story. I do not know what it is about me, I can talk to a stranger like I have known them forever. I can act a part if I am told what to say, and I can pose for a photo, but if you put me in front of a camera to speak my own words, I freeze up. I am not a good speaker. I draw a blank. You can put a camera in my face and ask me where I live and I'd forget what to say. Seriously! Then I see others doing so well with speaking from their minds in front of a camera and I get intimidated. I beat myself up over these things. I need to just chill and go with the flow. I think that I "over think" and that's where I mess up.

I have a phobia of public speaking.
I need to just breathe in and breathe out, relax and go for it.
I love sharing my success with everyone and I think the more I do this, the better I will get at it.
Wish me luck..My daddy says I'm just as good as the rest of them. 

Whats Been Growing in My Garden

I will be the first to tell you I do not have a green thumb. I can kill a plastic plant and that's the truth.
Every Summer I try to grow something. I wish I could grow some tomatoes and cucumbers but every time I get a plant growing, something comes out of the wild and eats it. I'm not sure if its rabbits, birds or squirrels. Though I have seen some raccoons and fox around. Trying to succeed in growing any kind of plant is a struggle for me but I did manage to get a few things growing.

At the beginning of Summer one of the managers at work gave me a sunflower plant that was already about a foot tall so I stuck it in the ground and it grew a couple inches each day until it reached about 8 feet tall and made a beautiful sunflower. Now the petals have fallen off and I'm waiting for time to harvest it so I can give some seeds to my sister and save some for me to replant next year.

Knowing my luck, I will wait too long and the birds will have eaten all the seeds but so far nothing has bothered them. They need a few more days to dry.

I also purchased two egg plants this year. I chose a purple one and a white one. Something keeps eating at them but when I came home from vacation last week, I had a white egg plant!

It's not quiet ready yet. It needs to get a little bigger. I see a few buds on the purple egg plant so I hope they give me some fruit too.

And last but not least, last summer I took a seed from a lemon slice and planted it just to see if it would grow. This is how it looks so far.

I kept it inside all Winter and put it out on the patio during the Summer. It seems to be happy in the sunshine. It also smells wonderful! I'm so afraid it will wilt when I bring it in again this Winter. This is my little buddy.

That's all I have. But of course I didn't break my back or have to use any mules to get this hard work accomplished.

Flowers on a Rainy Day

We have had our share of rain here lately. I’m not going to complain though. We needed it. My favorite rains are the afternoon thunderstorms after a hot sunny day and I love hearing rain or thunder at night while I sleep. The past few days have been rainy during the time we like to do our walk. One afternoon when we saw the rain had stopped, we threw on our walking shoes and took our chances on getting our walk completed.

Just when we had only a block left to go, the rain began to fall again. We just kept walking but decided to take a short cut home. The short cut lead us over a small bridge that stretches over a ditch between our yard and the neighbors yard. This also led us to the back door instead of the front. I’m glad we came in that way because that is when I noticed my sunflower, I planted a few weeks ago, had opened into a beautiful sunshine flower.

I have been keeping an eye on it every day, but as of earlier in the afternoon, It had not opened yet. 
Despite the rain, I had to pull out my phone and snap a photo. It contrasted well with the cloudy sky. 

Once we got inside and cleaned up, we headed back out to by brother in laws house to check on things while they were out of town. He had a lot of beautiful Hydrangeas in his front yard begging for my attention. So, Nick handed me his pocket knife and I cut a few. I’m sure my brother in law wouldn’t mind. You can’t even tell I stole cut any.

I love how they look in my vintage tea can. I placed a plastic container inside the square can to hold water. 

I had a few left over and used a glass vase to put them in. I wanted the Hydrangeas while they were in this ivory color. They also have a greenish tint that the camera really reflected on. They will eventually turn blue. 

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers but my most favorite flowers are wild Daisies. 

What are your favorite flowers? 

Cactus Rocks

Well what do ya know? I found a plant that I can’t kill. That's right. I do not need to water it or feed it. It’s cactus rocks!

I saw this cute little idea of painting rocks on Pinterest the other day and since I like to paint and do crafty stuff, I thought I’d give it shot.

Francilina stole three rocks from the Wendy’s parking lot and the fun began. 
(Name has been changed to protect the guilty).

I took these rocks outside one 98 degree day and painted away. I never even broke a sweat. (I ran a 5k a few weeks ago and didn’t break a sweat then either, but that's beside the point). Our large dogwood now hangs over the patio enough to give it a nice afternoon shade. I enjoyed my time alone painting rocks. However, it was not easy! 

The base color was easy but trying to paint the tiny prickly hairs that cactus have was ridiculously hard. Oh and by the way, don’t use paint brushes from the dollar store. The bristles kept coming off in my paint making them look hairyeeeee....Wait, I just had an idea. I should have just glued the tiny brush bristles onto the rock to really give a prickly look. Oh well, it’s too late now.

I know, I know, they look terrible, but from a distance I think they are ok. Sort of adorable actually. I think I will take them to work and put them up on a shelf in my office.

This would be a great idea for moms, teachers or babysitters. You can create many cactus rocks of different sizes and shapes. Purchase some small planters or cups along with some pebbles from the dollar store. The kids can have fun creating their own little cactus gardens over and over. I mean, it’s not like they will break. They are rocks! Just make sure little Johnny doesn’t stuff the pebbles up his nose. 

Dandelion Tea

Yes. “Dandelion Tea.

I will no longer call these little bright yellow yard flowers “weeds”.
My yard is full of them. The neighbors yards are not. They keep weed killer on their lawns but little do they know, they are killing something that is beneficial to your health. 

Did you know you can eat every part of a Dandelion? I always heard about the green leafy part being edible but I always thought the yellow flower was poison. As a kid, I can remember other weeds we put in our mouth. Most were by dare, but we did it and we lived. 
We sucked the juice from Honeysuckle, chewed on sour grass, ate wild blackberries and attempted to smoke rabbit tobacco. 
But Dandelions? Umm never. 

After seeing several recipes online using dandelions, I did a little investigating (aka Googling). I found out that these little sunshine flowers were good for you and have lots of health benefits.
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Has fat metabolizing enzymes and natural diuretic to eliminate water weight- both aid in weight loss.
  • Rich in Fiber and antioxidants.
  • High in vitamin K, A, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
  • Cleanses the Liver
  • Minimizes stress
  • Boost immune system
  • Balances blood sugars
  • Reduces inflammation....

And the list goes on. I will have some links at the end of my page where you can read a little about them. It will surprise you. 

I am from the South and we like our tea sweet and cold but I just had to try some Dandelion Tea. 

So, out to the yard I went carrying a little bowl, hoping my neighbors were not watching, and began picking dandelions. I felt like I was six again. There were no threat of pesticides or weed killers ‘obvliously”. Ha.
The bees would beat me to a few so I made sure to leave them plenty to work with. 
There are many recipes for Dandelion flowers, and I plan to make Dandelion bread soon, but for now here is how I made Dandelion tea. 

Dandelion Tea:
(1 cup Dandelion petals for every 2 cups water.)

1. Wash and pat dry. 
2. Pinch off the yellow petals removing the green best you can as the green can be bitter. (A little green wont hurt)

3. Place the petals in a pot of water and bring to a starting boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. It will begin to have a yellow tint.

5. Using cheese cloth, drain the petals from the tea. 
6. Pour into your favorite mug , add a teaspoon of honey or other flavor of your choice and Enjoy.

The tea alone was rich in flavor. It had sort of a honey taste even before adding the extra honey. It was actually good. I would make this tea again before going out and buying some overpriced weak tea from the store.
"Well, it was all good until the next morning when I saw some cats messing around in the yard". 

Warning: Dandelions are closely related to other plants such as Daisies, Marigolds, Sunflowers, etc which some people are allergic to. If you have allergies to such flowers, do not attempt to eat Dandelion without consulting a doctor first. 



I’ve linked to these great parties

DIY Rain Chain

I don’t know about you but I am ready for Spring to show up! We have warm days, then we have days that feel like the middle of January. Mother nature can’t seem to make up her mind. But, then again, it’s not unusual that we completely skip Spring and jump right into Summer. It’s crazy.

Do you like the rain? I love those short rain showers in the Summer time that bring thunderstorms along with it. You know, the short lasting ones that once they water the gardens, the sun comes back out.

Speaking of rain. I have been wanting  a “rain chain”. 
What is a rain chain you ask? 
Rain chains are a creative, beautiful and functional alternative to gutter downspouts. It guides the rain water visibly down chains from the roof to the ground. It can change the look of a plain down spout into a whimsical piece of art. 

Since I do not plan to actually use a rain chain for a down spout, I chose to add one on a shepherds hook near my patio for fun. 
I knew I did not want to actually buy one as they are expensive and looked too easy to make myself. The options to making these were unending. You can just use a chain alone and it will be pretty or you can add extra charm to make it one of a kind.

I wanted to make mine using vintage tarte tins.

First, I priced out some chain. It was outragious for a 6ft piece. So what did I do? I went to the craft store and purchased some split rings (key chains). You have to do the math on how many it will take depending on how long you want it. I needed about 6ft. I used 34-1 1/2 inch rings and spaced them with 24-1 inch rings. 

Then the search was on for some old tarte tins. I caved and bought some from a seller at Tin Roof Porch on Etsy. The lot of tins were more than I actually needed but his prices were great. You should definitely go check out the other vintage items he has for sale. I only needed a few to use on my rain chain. I plan to clean up the other ones and keep them. I’m a sucker for old kitchen and bakeware.

I cringed as my husband drilled tiny holes in the bottoms of these tiny tins for the chain. They were just so darn cute! I can’t believe I actually ruined them to hange outside. 

I had no idea how I was going to get the tins on the chain. I ran to my art closet and pulled out some beads and wire. I played around until I found a solution. The cups were a bit wobbly on the wire, so I dabbed some hot glue on the top beads to hold them straight. I really did not want to do that.

Now my rain chain is ready. I love how it turned out. This will make watching rain even more fun.
I can see the chain from my kitchen window. 

Once I decided on a spot to put it, I anchored it down into a small rock pile. It’s also in a spot where my husband will not have to worry about cutting around it, so that made him happy. I’m sure I will be adding some additional looks around the bottom of the chain. Maybe a pot of flowers or a fairy garden. 

Note: It cost me less than 20.00 to make this one. How cool is that?

I've linked to these fabulous parties:
dishing digging it link party at
totally terrific tuesdaylink-party at
great ideas at

Lemon Seeds

I had no idea I could actually grow a lemon tree. I read on the Internet that you can actually grow a lemon tree from lemon seeds. Really? Ha! Okay, I knew that but wasn't sure it would work for me.

I read that the seeds need to be from a fresh organic lemon. My lemons were NOT organic. In fact, they had also been in the fridge for a week.
The truth is, I rarely buy anything organic unless its on sale and that's only because of the price. I’m not a big believer in the whole organic craze. Organic to me is right out of my garden. I call bull on any of the organic claimed items in the store. Personally I’d rather have my foods grown protected from insects and diseases. But that's just my thoughts.

Ok, back to the lemon seeds. 
While cutting up a lemon for Nicks water, I managed to scoop out some seeds. I didn't follow the instructions on how to get them ready to plant. I just stuck them in some dirt. Two weeks later, I had lemon sprigs! 

I was tickled. I did read that once they have a couple leaves to them, I can transport them to a larger pot, so I did and they have mature just a bit.

Now I wait. The weathers is going to turn cold soon so I plan to bring the plant inside and keep it by the bay window for sun. I really hope it continues to grow.