Monday, March 2, 2015

Calling All Crafters 2015: 9th Edition

Welcome to the 9th Edition of Calling All Crafters 2015! 
Yay! It's March! Time to change our clocks back, time for Spring, and warmer temps!
Calling All Crafters is a place where you can share your craftiness!
Each week, I ask my readers to link up what they have been up to!
Recipes, Organizing, Crafts, and more!

I love checking all the links, and seeing what you are creating!
 This week I am loving...

Vacuum Packed Lettuce 3

Pickles and Peppers'
Vacuum Sealed Lettuce
Now I need a vacuum sealer for jars!!!!!

Here are the "rules":

-I want YOU to stop on by, and share what you are up to, cooking, cleaning, crafting, you name it!
If you can copy and paste the link, I want to see it!

-If your not a follower, please become one, this let's me easily find and visit your blog too!
Don't like to follow? Prefer Facebook?  Like Me! 
Want to see what I am pinning? Follow Me!
Do you google+? Follow Me!

-Tell your friends to stop on by, pin it, link up or just visit!!

-Come back next week to see if your great idea has been featured!

Friday, February 27, 2015

{Grows} Winter Sowing 2015

Last year, I did a little Winter Sowing Experiment. 
I took a sample pack of tomato seeds, so it was about half a pack of seeds and threw them in a milk jug, watered, and threw the jug in my garden in February.

I was very skeptical. I thought there was no way this would produce plants. 
So skeptical I didn't take pictures, or blog about it. Until now. 

The experiment went so well, that I will never plant my seedlings in my window again!
Normally I do the little mini greenhouse in my window {2013, 2014}, with mixed results.
Winter sowing is the ultimate lazy gardeners way of getting great results!
You put in a little time up front, and end up with amazing, hardened off seedlings without any work!

You seriously won't believe the process!
First up, gather your supplies. 
Milk jugs, seed starting soil, and seeds. Duct tape.
You'll also need a knife, and scissors.

Once you have a couple milk jugs saved up, cut them in half horizontally. 
I found it was easier to start with a knife.

Then, cut around with scissors.
Leave about an inch near the handle, to create the hinge.
The bottom half will be where you fill it with dirt and seeds, so make sure it's not too short.

Using a knife, poke a couple holes in the bottom for drainage. 
If I remember correctly I didn't even do that last year, and still had success!

Fill with some dirt! 
I used a seed starting mix, so it was light and fluffy.
Also, I used two cupfuls to fill the bottom of my container. 
I purchased two 12 qt bags of seed starting thinking each jug would use a quart. 
Well, I have 8 jugs started and about half my bag left! 

Add seeds, add a little more dirt over top. 

Lightly water and duct tape shut.
Label! I wrote on my jug and also my tape since these will be out in the elements.
I labeled the name of the seed and how many seeds I planted.

So far, seems normal right? Here's is where you will be skeptical. 
Place your milk jug greenhouse outside. 
Yes. Now. In the snow. If you are inundated with snow like us, you may have to get creative.  
 As the snow melts the jugs might fall over disrupting the plants, so I put mine on my front porch. 
They wont get much sun, but for now it's more about the cold. 

Your jugs will freeze and thaw, and this essentially creates a "survival of the fittest" atmosphere.
When the temperature is right, the strongest seeds will begin to sprout.
Hopefully by then, some of the snow has melted and I can move my jugs.
Last year I placed my jug in my unheated back porch from February to the end of March. 
Then placed in the garden. 

Once the jugs are outside. We wait. 
Can you believe it?
A garden full of homegrown seedlings without all the work!
Yes. Please!

As we get closer to planting I will post an update about how my seeds are doing!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{Grows} Garden Plan 2015

Ah, garden season! 
By far my favorite time of year!
The kids get to play outside, I get some time in dirt.
I sometimes call my garden my happy place. 
It's quiet, and so rewarding!

Last year I began pressure canning. Which changed the way I thought about gardening.
Last year I great 94 lbs of tomatoes, and canned lovely jars of rotel, salsa, pizza sauce and pasta sauce. Would you believe we have 1 jar of pasta sauce, and quite of few of the others left!
Amazing I tell you!

Cucumbers? We got a lot of those too, so many I still have gorgeous jars of pickles to eat!

So this year, I want to increase my tomatoes, and keep my cucumber quantity the same.
Another reason I love my journal and map! I can look back at if we used it all, wasted it, or just enough.

So far, this is my plan for the garden. 

Each square on my plan is a square foot. 
So if you count the boxes for Tomatoes I plan on planting 44 plants!
Last year I planted 40, 20 cherry size, 20 regular size and 12 of my regular size died. So I don't want to grow too many even though I will can.

Some of my garden is in containers, but most is right in the ground.
For my beds, I use those cheap metal fences you can pickup anywhere from the dollar store to a big box store. They are perfect! They hold my landscape fabric down on my walkways, so I have less weeding.  For the most party I don't need to have borders on my beds, but when I plant the seedlings my kids have a tendency of not noticing and trample. So the little fence is perfect!  

Now, your probably wondering how I am starting seeds, since I am going to need quite a few of each plant.  Don't worry I sharing that Friday! So stay tuned! 

Have you planned out your garden?
Don't forget it took me years to get this "big"!