Monday, October 30, 2017

Growing Ghost peppers in PA! here is my experience with it

This was my first year growing ghost peppers, I was a little scared because I herd they are really hard to grow here in PA, but we ended up with a big healthy plant and many peppers to harvest. I do not know tons about ghost peppers plants but here is what I did, what I used and a little of what I do know.

~My ghost pepper plant was bought as a sprout from a local store. I was so surprised to see them I quickly grabbed one. It was about 5 inches high when bought.
~It was planted in May but for the first few months it did not grow really because a huge tomato  plant was blocking it from the sun. I did not know the tomato plant was going to get that big but the little sprout never died and once I pulled the tomato plant it grew quick.
~ I use old soil, soil for raised garden beds, and this was the first year I used compost from my bin. Other then that I threw in a little fertilizer every now and then.
~To be honest it wasn't a plant I expected to grow so I gave it little attention :/
~ I did not have any pest problems and never used any bug spray on this plant.

What I learned threw this growing season~
~Ghost peppers are great repellent, any peppers that  started to rot I just threw back into the garden. So squirrels digging this fall...
~They love heat and humidity...some people grow these plants in containers so they can easily move them around but that can easily kill a plant....a green house would be perfect but sadly  I do not own one :/
~Plant as early as you can or start indoors. These plants take a long time to grow peppers and then the peppers take a long time to turn red on vine.
~From my experience with my peppers is that no matter the color all are hot BUT the hottest ones are the ones left one the plant to turn red.
~WEAR gloves!! I can not express this enough, these peppers are hot and washing your hands after handling will not clean all the pepper oil me...
~A plant can grow to over 3 feet tall once full grown..make sure to check out my video linked at the end to see how big mines got this season.
~They are originally from India and are also called Bhut Jolokia.

Either way if you want to try to grow these then do it! You never know what can happen.~

Here is a short video of my ghost pepper plant and small harvest.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Using pine needles to freshen up dishes!

This is something I am very happy I tried. We have a dishwasher, a old dishwasher that most of the time doesn't work really well. I always end up having to go over many of the dishes and that is just a waste of time and money. My dishes wee starting to look old and stained and becoming hard to get clean. So instead of throwing them away I decided ...after collecting some pine cones... to try this idea. After  I was done soaking my dishes with some soap I put clean water in and added the pine needles. I let it sit while I brought my son to school and when I came back I used the pine needles to scrub down the dishes and then just rinsed them off. Yes it is a extra step but a step that doesn't take long and had great results! My dishes came out very clean and some even smelled of pine, witch I did not mind. Just keep in mind not to cut any branches that have sap or bugs. lol I do not use pine every time my dishes need to be done but when ever I have a pot to scrub or my dishes need a little extra tlc it has become my first go to thing.
Did you know pine needles can also be used for tea? and is even a antibacterial.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I failed.....

Man this growing season has been a problem sense day 1...pest after pest after...yep you guessed it ..PEST! For awhile I was able to keep them at bay but once my corn started growing the pest problem went from handled to crazy in what seems like over night. I was very proud of my corn crop this year and was excited to have corn like last year. This year I planted a little over 80 seeds and most grew into full plants, but I guess it was my lack of attention that resulted in a outbreak of  sap beetles right after a outbreak of ear worms. After researching and trying different things I could not get rid of them as they moved from plant to plant and decided I would not feel OK feeding the corn to my kids after it was done growing.
So off I went with a knife cutting down every single corn was hard...all the time spent on growing it, to have to messed up by my lack of attention...sucked! Now I am left with my pumpkins witch have mildew(I am treating with milk )and 3 different kinds of peppers that are all growing good. Last year the growing season went so well, wish me luck as this one comes to a end, we go out with a bang and some hopefully big pumpkins!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dollar store fall wreathes and more!

These are all crafts made with things from the dollar tree. Hope you enjoy and become inspired to make our own.
Materials needed~
wire werath
red burlap
fake leaves
picture (the card bored piece in the middle)
hot glue(I used hot glue in all of these, I found it holds better then he wore and tape)

Materials needed~
wire wreath
fake leaves
picture ( the piece at the bottom)
fake bird
burlap to hang it up
leaf lights
below is a picture of it lit up

Materials needed~
burlap(I hot glued this one to the back so I could easily lift it and move it without things falling)
fake pumpkins
little scare crows
fake leaves
pine cones(found outside, did not buy these)

Materials needed~
Something to decorate
fake corn
fall decor balls

Friday, June 23, 2017

Growing baby broccoli

This was my first year with growing broccoli but man it was one heck of a experience. I planted my 5 plants in late March. I got them as sprouts from as local store mainly because my son who loves broccoli asked for it. As a first time grower I decided why not.....Anyway I never expected it to grow as well as it did. Our plants grew about two feet high and once  I started harvesting it grew back pretty quickly. Here is some things to remember when growing broccoli, some tips and tricks I learned. 
~They grow tall, though none of my plants needed support, I could see that happening growing this in the future.
~I grew baby broccoli because we like stir fry but there is different and bigger kinds of broccoli you can grow, each has different needs.
~They need full sun light(I read they can grow in shade but unsure how well, ours was in full sun) 
~They take about two months to mature, but again once they do they produce pretty quick.
~They need well drained soil, We added compost to ours that helped with keeping the soil well drained and gave the soil a extra boost for a healthy harvest.
~This is something I did not know before hand but found out as tempters reached 90 here...Broccoli does not like low temperatures or high heat. Our broccoli grew smaller and in time when  the soil got to hot it bolt.  I herd about laying straw down to keep the soil cool but it was to late for my plants.They grow best when temperatures are between 65-75.
~Keep your eyes open for pest like cabbage worms.
~A main head will form but also side shoots, both are of course edible. 
~ Harvest when heads are tight, size doesn't always means it is time to harvest. 
(in the picture above the bottom right shows heads that were not picked in time and most say they are not nice to eat after that but we still ate them with no problem, tasted fine.)
~Harvest with a clean sharp knife. Harvest the main head when it is about 2 inches and the side shoots when they are about 6 inches.
~Best when eaten fresh.
~If you do not harvest in time the broccoli will flower, I had one plant that really flowered. It looked so beautiful and once I removed it I become a great treat for our pup. 
~It can grow in both spring/fall, again just keep a eye out for temperatures. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Peach and nut pancakes!

One of the favorites here is these delicious peach and nut pancakes. They are simple to make and yes I do take one little short cut...I know, I know shame on me....The short cut I take when making these pancakes is using shake n pour pancake mix. Yes the one you simply add the water to, shake it and use it....with two little kids it makes breakfast easier BUT if you hand make your pancakes I give you credit this recipe would be even better with them!....did  I say recipe... I guess this is a recipe but really its as easy as just topping the pancakes you would normally make with peaches and nuts but remember some of these tips to style it your own...
Try honey instead of maple syrup 
Try fresh peaches instead of canned but canned also saves time if it is a busy morning..believe me I understand just not having the time some mornings but still wanting a homemade breakfast 
Add the nuts into the pancake batter instead of on top (I like this for my kids who are kind of picky)
Add cinnamon to the pancake batter...not a lot is needed but sure is a good added 
Try different kinds of nuts and fruit

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Growing Petunias and a updated on the lavender plant planted last summer!

I will admit I use to dislike Petunias....they always seemed like they died easy and really never looked to pretty in the stores but sense they have grown on me. :) I have learned to enjoy these plants and like the saying goes "never judge a book by its cover". Once home and planted in correct soil these plants just come to life! There is so many colors and patterns to choose from and they for sure can make a garden. So here is some tips and tricks I learned when growing these beautiful plants, enjoy! 
(please note, I only share tips or tricks that I have learned and tried myself, if there is any more please do not be afraid to comment, I love to learn more!)

~First off is choosing the right plant. Like with any plant you do not want one with many dead flowers or leaves. One that looks sick or has ripped flowers.  I have never personally seen one of these be sold as beautiful as they look once they are replanted so do not be discouraged if you end up with a plant that looks droopy at first.(then again I get most of my plants at Homedepo....)
~you can grow this plant from seeds! It is hard but do able.
~Find a sunny spot, Petunias can grow in shade and I have a pot of them in shade but they grow slower and produce fewer flowers.
~Water every few days, I keep it to about once every 3 days unless I can see that they really need it.
~Keep fertilized
~Keep in well drained soil
~There are four different groups of Petunias..the two I know and focus on are theses~ (Grandiflora) Witch is better for pots and (Multiflora) Witch is better for beds. The difference is the way they handle a lot of rain when it does rain a lot.
~Remove dead flowers to keep the plant blooming for longer. This is called deadheading and you must make sure to get the base of the flower where the seeds are.
~Break up the soil before planting
~Watch out for pest, know that deer and rabbits will eat these plants if hungry.
~They are great to grow with vegetables, they help repel certain pests from plants.(also great for grape vines)
~They attract bees, butterflies, and moths witch can be beneficial to a garden. 

...and last the update on the lavender plant....Last fall I was asking around to see how to keep this thing alive during the winter so it would grow back. Many said just let it be, few said to cover it with leaves or small branches. I did end up covering it with small branches and here it is late April. It is turning green again!...very green....the ones in the pots that I kept inside did not make it but this one did and I couldn't be more happy it did....So THANK YOU to everyone who helped!!