Monday, December 26, 2016

Easy home made fire starter using things around the house

empty egg carton

I started by just collecting all the needed things. I have a cereal box near my dryer to collect lint and a jar under my sink for wax pieces. I filled the egg carton with lint and melted the wax over a stove before pouring it on top. This worked great as a fire starter and was what we used to start our fire this Christmas. It is also a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ways to reuse wrapping paper

It is that time of year again where wrapping paper is everywhere. This year instead of throwing it away try to reduce, reuse, and recycle it! Here are some ideas to try~
~shred it to use as fill in future gift bags
~festive book  covers
~make small gift bags
~wrap wall pictures and add a bow to make a gift look on a wall
~art projects(wrapping paper collage, paper wreath)
~scrap booking                                                                                                                                         
~filling for packing boxes
~Line the box of bookcases or draws
~line the bottom of bird cages

Side note~never burn wrapping paper in a fireplace!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Extension cord protection for outside lights

To help lights stay dry this winter cut two holes into a storage bin and place the cord inside. This help keep the wires from shorting and having to be reset. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

2 week meal plan

This is one of our two week meal plans. I try to always change them up every two weeks so it is never the same but this is one we recently used. Now of course you can changed it up to be your own, I know some nights will be busy for me so I plan to make them as simple as possible.

2 Week meal plan~(Dinners)

Day 1~ Loaded baked potato bar
Bake potatoes and set out things like cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, mushrooms, cut up ham or anything else you enjoy
You can also wrap up the potatoes in foil and then place them in a slow cooker to cook, making this dinner even easier.

Day 2~ Meatball sandwiches
Homemade or frozen meatballs  place in rolls and top with cheese. Heat in oven till cheese melts.

Day 3~Grilled cheese and soup
If you use tomato soup you can add topping for it like goldfish and cheese

Day 4~  Stuffed Pasta&  gravy with garlic bread

Day 5~ Pizza night! Frozen if busy or homemade if not. My kids like plain~ dough, sauce and different kinds of cheese

Day 6~  Chicken, broccoli and rice casserole
Start by cooking the chicken and shredding it, stem the broccoli and cook the rice. Then mix it all in a big bowl add cheese and one can of cream of chicken soup. If you need to make this quicker use frozen broccoli. Heat in oven(set to 350) for about 10 mins.

Day 7~ Meatloaf night

Day 8~ Hot dogs and beans

Day 9~  Quesadillas~ filled with cheese and chicken but you can ad beans and salsa too

Day 10~ Shepherd's pie
Cooked ground meat, with veggies over mashed potatoes and topped with cheese

Day 11~ Fish & chips

Day 12~ Sloppy joes

Day 13~ rice and veggies
My kids love rice so we just make some and add cooked veggies to the top

Day 14~ Tater tot casserole
this one is a new one for me and I am still trying to perfect it

Day 15~  Eat out day, normally this is the day we do food shopping and get anything else that we need to get done, done

For breakfast we normally do cereal on week days and weekends we do one of these~
~toast topped with avocado and egg
~toast & eggs
~ hash brown and egg omelette
~veggie omelette
~pancakes or waffles
~corn beef hash and egg

Lunch is the hardest thing for me to plan but some we love are~
~Peanut butter, jelly and banana wrap
~netalla and banana sandwiches
~lunch meat sandwiches
~yogurt and fruit
~bacon, lettuce and tomato wraps topped with blue cheese dressing

Monday, December 12, 2016

Benefits of wood ash in a garden

If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, cleaning out ash is a job. We normally do it after every few fires here.  It sucks but worth it for our garden (or compost pile!).  Ash changes the pH in soil.  This can be good for some plants or even your lawn.

What plants benefits from wood ash~

Avoided adding it to~
potato plants
most annual garden veggies

Other uses for wood ash~
melt snow
de-skunk pets
repel slugs and snails
control pond algae

do not add when planting seeds
only use ash from untreated wood
always wear eye safety glasses and a mask (wood has a high pH level.  It is so strong it should be treated the same way you handle bleach) 
store ash so it stays dry until use
do not apply when it is windy

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What is meal planning and why is it important?

Meal planning is writing out every meal you will have for each day of the week, though some do it for a whole month. I started meal planning awhile ago now and I do it for every two weeks. I only do it for dinner and sometimes lunch because we are set in what we eat for breakfast with my two little ones.  It has saved me so much money when food shopping. Besides meal planning I also look for deals at my local stores. I am not a couponer and dont have the time for it but  I have cut my bill almost in half by just being papered. Most food shopping places have the store set up to where you are looking at something you dont necessarily need but looks good enough to buy at every isle and by the time you are  checking out you realize you bought way more then needed. So next time you get ready to go shopping set out some time to write down at least the dinners you  will be having, you will be surprised how much money you save. I will soon be sharing my meal plans monthly but I want to make sure I have the right measurements before I share. I am one of them people who go by dashes, and pinches then 1/4 cup lol

Monday, December 5, 2016

ways to reuse a Christmas tree when Christmas is over

~Chip it an make mulch
~throw into the woods or in water to make homes for wild animals
~use branches to make wreaths and garland
~cut pieces off to make fire starters 
~recycle it, check with your local town to see if there is a drop off center
 ~DIY coasters made from the tree trunk
  ~Fire wood
~cut off branches to cover a perennial bed and help protect it from the snow
~make it a nature tree, add bird feeders and things for the animals before placing it outside (here is ours form a few years ago
~add shavings to bowls of potpourri
~use pine needles to make tea..Yes it is do able!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

4 ingredient easy Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a easy recipe for busy people out there. It's quick and delicious! 
You will need~
Pie crust (of course you can make your own or buy all ready made)
1 pack of cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar
1 can of pumpkin
2 eggs

First mix the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Then add in the pumpkin and cream cheese.(make sure the cream cheese is soften, it will be easier to work with like this) Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 45 mins. Let it cool for a hour and place in fridge. I topped mine with a little bit of cinnamon before baking but not needed. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A good reason to save your fallen leaves

We are all about reduce, reuse, recycle and it bothered me so much to see my neighborhood doing leaf pick up. They go over and behind to collect the leaves in everyone's back yard and even going some what in the woods. From what I herd it gets burned  in this area...that is sad...So here is some reasons why you should keep the leaves and what to do with them! 
~Compost~ It is a organic material that adds carbon witch is a plus. Try shredding them before adding. Helps it break down quicker.
~Mulch~Shredded leaves help insulate plants and breaks down on its own. We also add it over our garden in the winter when growing is done. (also great to go over garlic plants for the winter)
~Chicken bedding and stimulation. Gives them a place to dig and search. Make sure the leaves stay dry though and this could be added to a compost pile when you clean them out of the coop. 
~Bug homes! Pile leaves in a place away from the home and let it be. Many bugs call leaves home.
~Craft! There is many craft ideas on google to reuse leaves. We have done a few in our home and always have fun.
~Add to the bottom of pots when you plant next season.

 I am sure I did not even come close to listening all the ways you can reuse leaves, so if you know more feel free to add in the comments!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Biscotti Recipe with ideas

As a first time baker of biscotti I love this recipe. I tried few different things and wanted  to write down the recipe to share. So to make regular traditional biscottis you will need~
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of anise extract
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour

In one bowl mix together the oil, eggs, sugar, and extract. In another bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. Then add the flour baking powder mix to the egg mix and mix till dough forms. This is where I almost broke my  hand mixer....I suggest using a kitchen aid if you have one but if not use a big medal spoon. It doesn't become sticky and tough to mix.  Now I did not see this anywhere but let me say the dough should be sticky!! Do not add more flour! If you want you can place the dough in the fridge before the next part for 15 mins. should make it a little easier to work with. 
then next step is to spray your cooking tray with a non stick spray, then split the dough into two parts. Roll out the dough so it is as long as the tray and press down till it is about a 1/2 thick. Then bake at 375 for about 30 mins. Once done let it cool then cut it into 1/2 slices. Lay the pieces one side up and bake again for 8 mins each side. 

Other ways to add to this recipe~
If you like fruit in your biscottis when you mix the egg and things into the first bowl add in dried fruit of your choosing. (You would add at the same time if you wanted to add any kind of nuts)

If you want chocolate dipped biscottis it is way easier then people make it seem! In a pot melt some chocolate chips over low/med. heat. Make sure to stir often so it does not burn. Then just dip or drizzle the chocolate over the biscottis....or dip the bottom in the chocolate so you have  chocolate the whole time you eat :) 

*Make sure to let the chocolate cool before storing away...I did not that is why mines look so messy...I was hungry....*

For the holiday time, try adding white chocolate drizzle with colorful sprinkles.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Chicken rice and broccoli casserole. Feeding a large family for cheap

This has become a new favorite in our house. 
All you need is~
Cream of chicken soup (we used 1 can)
cooked chicken(cheaper to buy raw and cook yourself, we use boneless, skinless chicken breast and we use 2)
steamed broccoli
shredded cheese(we add about 1 cup to the mix and then top it all with more)
cooked rice (we use 1 cup uncooked, witch makes 2 cups once cooked)(we always buy bulked white rice bags, but others work fine)
(we are a 4 person home, for bigger families just double the recipe)

Once rice, chicken and broccoli is cooked just mixed together everything and place in a baking dish and top with cheese. Cook @ 350 for 10-15 mins. or until cheese is melted.
Easy, cheap one dish meal!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Crushing peppers for seasoning

This is some thing that was recommend to me and I can't say thank you enough for it. This year we grew way to many peppers and even after freezing and giving away a bunch had a lot left over. Someone told me to let them dry out or use a dehydrator and dry them then crush them, store them away and use them for cooking. Just sprinkle over food to add a bold flavor. So I used a chopper and my chopper does suck but it still did the job. Great idea for when you have to make a quick dinner, no worries about chopping any peppers. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why I garden with my kids and neighborhood kids

This year was the first in our new home and with our new garden. As I planned out what I wanted to plant I had many kids asking what I was doing and taking interest. My answer was planning the garden out but time and time again I kept getting this question. So no surprise when the day came to plant and transfer I had many kids at my feet watching. It was then I kind of threw the plan out the window gave each kid some seeds and they went to work making their own little space  to plant the seeds. It was amazing to see the kids take to it like little pros. 
At the end of planting it gave me a great feeling to hear them say they never get to do things like this and how much they would love to when they are grown. Maybe next year if money allows I can find some small pots and have garden party so each kid can bring home their own plant. Above was harvest day for the carrots, as you can see not many made it inside after the kids ate but it was well worth it! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

A list of easy fire starters

We keep a bucket in our kitchen to help collect things that could go in the fire and stay out of the trash. Sense we started a compost pile and a fire bin it has made a big difference in how much trash we end up with each week. We really enjoy it and its been a huge learning experience. These are the things we keep out of the trash and put in our trash bin to use when we build fires both inside the home and outside. 

~paper towels
~toilet paper rolls
~scrap paper
~dryer lint
~wood shavings (we shaved this from cutting wood and we also use this in our compost bin)
~left over chips my kids don't finish
~left over birthday candles (for some reason in our house every birthday we end up getting new ones if you get the trick ones that don't burn out when its windy)
~birch bark (we have a few of these trees around so when we are out and see any laying around it comes home with us)
~wine corks(helps that husband works for a wine company ;) )

Feel free to add what you use, I woudl love to know what else I can  save and use!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

How to choose, cut, and freeze Mango

The first thing is to choose the right mango. A good mango doesn't have anything to do with the color but more with the feel. A ripe mango will be soft. (think of avocados, same thing) You can choose unripe ones if you plan on using them later. That is what I did this time, they were on sale so I grabbed a bunch. Mangoes also have a fruity smell that happens near their stems as they ripen. Over ripen mangoes have more of a alcohol smell and they are the ones to avoided. 

Two different ways to cut a mango~
1. This one I find harder, First you peel the whole mango. Then  cut off pieces avoiding the pit.
2. This one is way easier to me, Slice the mango with the skin. Then  use a knife to cut around the skin.

To freeze~
Cut all the mango into cubes and place on a pan that fits in your freezer. Cover the top and bottom of the pan with plastic wrap and freeze for a day. Then place mango cubes into a freezer bag and done! 

we put any thing not used into our compost bin, witch I know needs to be mixed lol

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Home made compost bin from a storage bin

I love the idea of having a compost bin and for awhile now been looking around online for ones that my HOA would not freak out over. This means it could not be big or "open". Days of searching and pricing out ones I finally decided to make my own. I started with a small storage bin and poked many holes in all sides, top and bottom also. This helps air flow around the compost to break it down. Then place the bin in a spot that works for you and get sunlight.(some keep them in a shaded place to help keep it moist but personally I like sunny spots better and just add water when needed)  If your bin is not near your house you might want to keep a small bin in the kitchen to collect scraps to be thrown in.

Fill your bin with tons of things like~
old soil
fruit/veggie scraps
grass clippings
egg shells
tea bags
coffee grounds
shredded newspaper(this also helps if it starts to smell)
kitchen/toilet rolls
old flowers
evergreen needles
small twigs/branches

Do not add~
nothing with salt or butter
dog/cat waste
lime (carries a lot of acid)
dairy products

Remember to keep the compost moist, add water when necessary but remember it should be moist but not soaking.  Also make a habit of every time you add something to shake around the box to mix up the compost. With smaller bins it should only take between 4-6 months for compost to be ready. Use in a gardens or sprinkle over lawns to help keep both healthy!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Growing Cosmos sulphureus..Yep that's the name!

I got these flowers in a mix of wild flower seeds and after much research I finally found the name "Cosmos sulphureus"! I had to write about these flowers cause they are beautiful and really easy to grow. This is my second batch above.^ I pulled the first ones when I planted corn, but the seeds stayed behind and now I have tons of these flowers and more showing up each day. I don't really mind as the garden is starting to end so they add a last color burst before then.  

There is many different types of cosmos plants and many colors. (mine grow in shades of yellow, orange, and red) They need full sun to grow and sadly are unscented. They produce many flowers and can grow over 3 feet tall. Also known as golden cosmos this plant attracts butterflies and birds. The leaves remind me of ferns when they start growing. Cosmos flowers can be cut and used fresh or dried and used for crafts. This plant is a annual but the seeds are easy to collect for the next year. Once the peddles fall off of the flower and once the flower turns brown the seeds come out and look like a spiky ball. Just gently place one hand under the seeds and use the other to take the seeds out. Place in a air tight bin for next year. Some other kinds of cosmos plants have a pod with the seeds inside but this type the seeds show up right after the flower dies. (I will add a picture of that once mine start to die off but they can grow into Nov. so it might be awhile)

The seeds got around my lawn too! but sadly they will not make it here :/

Friday, October 14, 2016

Growing lettuce & find the toad???Plus a small harvest

I think I grow to much lettuce every year..I seem to not plant that many seeds and end up with way more then needed. Lettuce grows quick and can live threw a light frost so you can plant few seeds threw out the growing season and always have a fresh harvest when needed.

Things to remember when growing lettuce~
~Make sure soil is loose and well drained
~If you want a early harvest you can start seeds indoors and transplant them later(water thoroughly when you do)
~Plant seeds about 1/2 inch down
~Plant seeds about every 2 weeks for a continuous harvest
~Roots of a lettuce plant are shallow so be careful when weeding
~Other good plants to have around lettuce is corn and tomatoes or even flowers
~Best to harvest in the morning
~Pick before the plant becomes mature
~Can be grown in pots
~Grows best in full sun but can grow in a little bit of shade too(remember to water regularly in hot weather.)
~Two different ways to harvest are either picking the whole plant or just picking the outside leaves, leaving the middle to grow more.
~If your plant bolts(witch happens in warm weather) harvest it, at this point the lettuce is bitter
~Mulch is a beneficial add on to this plant (helps keep it cool and weed free)
~I found lettuce does not store well and is best once picked, so we only pick what we need at that time

Other notes~
Lettuce can be grown indoors
Lettuce is apart of the sunflower family
Lettuce is known as a care free crop and rarely gets any pest. So unless you have a rabbit problem just keep a eye out for cutworms or slugs. 
Plant a few different kinds for a great salad 

So this is our latest harvest. I did not expect to get any corn this year but ended up with one so far!! It gives me hope lol Beside corn we got few different kinds of pepper, few snap peas, few sweet potatoes, lavender, and of course lettuce. 

Now for the question...can you find the toad? I didn't till he jumped onto a flower and then it took what felt like forever to find him again for a picture. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Growing my little orchid

This is one flower I am not good at growing...I have killed many, but determined to keep this one alive and after finding out some simple tips and tricks it has been successful! Mine is a Moth orchid and is one of the easier ones to keep alive they say. It is in bloom right now for the second time and it is just as pretty as the first time. I kept it in a my kitchen window and love seeing it every morning. So anyway here is some things I learned that helped me keep this alive and blooming!

~Cattleya orchids are very easy to grow.
~Do not use potting soil! There is orchid soil sold in stores or you can try to make your own using bark chips, coconut husk, moss, styrofoam pellets, and charcoal. The mix needs to be breathable and that is why regular soil does not work. 
~Choose a snug pot for your plant.
~Make sure the pot has plenty of holes, over watering is easy and will kill the plant.
~Some other kinds of pots they can be planted in are net pots, clear plastic pots(these let the sunlight get to the roots easier), and rot resistant wood pots(just line with sheet moss before hand, coconut fiber will not be breathable enough). 
~They can take awhile to grow from seeds, and need to be placed almost right on top of the soil. In other words do not put the seeds to deep, they will not grow.
~This is something I didn't listen too and should have...If you re pot the plant cut off any dead or rotted roots first, then only add a little bit of soil. Normally you need to re pot when the plant becomes top heavy. (do more research on when to change the pot your plant is in, some are yearly and others are every 3 years)
~They need plenty of indirect light but I found having it outside harm the plant..way to hot... In a window worked best for me..They can burn in direct sunlight.
Rule of thumb
If leaves are dark green they need more sunlight, if they are yellow, reddish, or brown they are getting too much. A healthy orchid plant should have even light green leaves.
~Water once every week.(Cattleya should be watered a little more often)
~Do not fertilize often. 

Other inserting facts about orchids~
With many different types Orchids are the largest family of plants in the world.
Good air flow should keep the plant pest free.
Orchids can bloom in winter, giving much needed color to t his time of the year.

Remember every kind of Orchid is different and many need different care from another kind. Always do as much research as you can before or after buying a plant. There is about 30,000 different kinds so giving a general care sheet is not really doable.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wish list for next spring....things I want to grow and get

Feels like this spring and summer passed by so quickly and even though gardening and growing is not over just's time to start planning for next year!

 Next year I would like to grow~
Ghost peppers (never seen the seeds for sell in stores but online)
A assortment of tomatoes(I love a colorful garden)
Watermelon (this year the one we had growing was attacked and did not make it :/ )
Onions (every year I try and fail at this, for sure need more info. in this area)
Garlic (It will be a first but some will be planted soon)
still on my maybe list~
batwing pumpkins
blue moon pumpkins
goose bump pumpkins

I would like to get~

More of these city pickers kits. We all ready have two and they are amazing to work with and have space to grow many things. I normally get mine at local stores but I see online there are many more styles and colors to try.

A watering attachment like below. Never used either but the one I have now doesn't do too well.

Compost bins, something I would for sure like to try 

Thursday, October 6, 2016


We now have two new little members to our house. Meet Mario and Mia 
Now  I could say I grew this catnip for them but to be honest I been growing it way before they came along lol. I thought it would be something fun to grow so I did. Now it finally is coming to use. We have made catnip pouches and gave them it fresh. Happy to say they love it. 
We grew our catnip in a small basket lined with coconut fiber and filled with miracle grow soil. 
Some things to keep in mind to have a successful plant~
~Plant in full sun
~Water frequently at first
~It is known to repel some bugs and spiders
~Not all cats are attached to catnip (our older two before we got these two did not but these two are)
~Catnip can take over a garden, even if you start with only one plant
~If your cat is a indoor cat, try planting a few plants in pots and bring one in at a time and rotate them.
~Pinch off flower buds as they grow to keep the plant looking full
~Catnip also spreed by underground runners.
~Use bamboo sticks to keep cats from laying on the plant and flatting it.
 ~Harvest leaves by cutting stems, scent stays better when air dried
~Catnip can grow to 3 feet
~Catnip does well in any soil really as long as it is well drained 
~Catnip is a perennial

Remember the plant needs to grow to a healthy size so try to keep pets away till it has. Catnip is apart of the mint family and the seeds can be easily carried to other places. So if you have one plant expect another to pop up. I have also herd of people using catnip for tea but that's a whole another story. 

These are the catnip bags we made from fleece. We glued together almost all of the sides, leaving a small opening to put some dried catnip and replace it as needed. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeño Peppers  are pretty easy to grow and make a great addiction to any meal. 
This year we grew ours in a half of barrel, last year it was in a city pickers pot.
(this year is to the left, last year is to the right)
We grew it along with 3 other pepper plants this year witch I know is a big no no for some people, but we had no problem and they all looked beautiful together.  I used the plant stand just so it would not lean over as people who came to my door are not careful and would hit it.  

Things to remember when planting Jalapeño Peppers~
~Keep watered, especially when it is hot out. Do not wet the peppers though and do not over water.
~Keep in well drained soil with full sun
 ~Check daily for pest. Worms and caterpillars are common and can be easily picked off.(We had this problem when they just started growing but not anymore, thankfully)
~You can start seeds inside and transfer them outside when they are around 11 weeks.(Just rememebr to keep them in a sunny spot)
~A full grown plant can grow up to 3 feet
~You should space them at least a foot apart. I noticed sense we did not this year it did not grow as big as it could have, but still gave plenty of peppers!
~Give plant food, and keep weeded.
~Jalapeño Peppers can be grown in planters but might need a bigger one has it grows.
~They are named after a town in Mexico and are the most popular chile pepper in US.

When picking Jalapeño Peppers try to pick before they start changing colors. I like to pick mine and let them sit in a window. This year we got some red ones! You can also freeze them. Every year we always end up with tons. We donate a lot and freeze a lot. The hotness of the peppers vary form plant to plant and threw out the different color stages.
The color of Jalapeño Peppers goes from bright green(this is when you should pick them) to dark green then black and finally red. A Jalapeño Pepper can grow anywhere from 2 inches to 3.5 when full grown. A mistake I always make when cutting these peppers is not wearing gloves! Really you should. Even after washing my hands multiple times I still have the juice form the peppers still on them and I countless numbers of times rub my face after and burn myself. lol

Monday, September 26, 2016

Snap peas

Last year I tried to grow these but got them in too late and they did not make it. Again this year I tried and so far we got some success along with some learning opportunities. While we have some peas growing it seems like something effected few leaves. Snap peas need support to grow, I foudn after they grew a certain height  the support was only need for the bottom of the plant. As you can see from the picture below I have simple support and the plant is now standing the top half on its own. When planting snap peas mulch is a great tool. It helps keep the plant drained of water that can cause the roots to rot and helps keep the plant cool in the hot sun. I am thinking this is where I went wrong. At times when I could not water the plants I had other people do it and at times it was hot and sunny and I am pretty sure it burnt some leaves. 
Other things to keep in mind when growing snap peas~
~Fertilize before planting but not much, a little will do
~They are a low maintenance plant
~Do not over water and do not water in the hot sun
~They get to be about 3 inches long
~They can be planted in containers
~Plant directly, do not transfer
~Snap peas are meant to be eaten all together, (pod and peas)
~They hold lots of iron and vitamin C
~You get more peas if planted in spring but you can plant for a fall harvest
~Can be eaten raw or cooked
~Best to water in early day to prevent fungal disease
~Pea plants do best in temperatures below 70 and can stand a light frost 
~Rotate pea crops every year or two

Good rule of thumb I found with many plants is the more you pick the more the plant will produce.   

When harvesting snap peas the best way to know if they are ready is trial and error. You want the pods to be swollen but if you want to long they can become tough and not good to eat. Pick one a day till you find what size is good for you. You should eat or freeze peas shortly after picking. To freeze just place them in a freezer bag. If you do pick them to late you can shell them and use the peas inside for soups.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Visitor in our garden...can you guess what?

This is a first for me, I have never seen a leaf bug in person but this morning when going over everything in the garden I seen this not so little one sitting on one of my pepper plants. He was so neat to look at and very well camouflaged. Real name for this one is "Katydid" and they live almost everywhere around the world. It is a kind of grasshopper and can be light or dark green. Living only a year these  grasshoppers can not only jump but fly. The leaf like part of them is in fact their wings. They also have 6 legs and long antennas. There is rare pink/yellow ones out there that come form a rare mutation. They eat grass and leaves so I am not worried about this one roaming my garden, I am actually happy. It was a great learning chance for my kids and when I called them out to show it to them they couldn't even find it. 
People do keep katydids as pets and it is actually easy to breed them also but this one will remain free outside. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Growing corn on a small scale

Yep this year we even tried corn. We got it planted much later but we still tried. Above is how they looked just recently,  but this joyful experience did come with many learning opportunities. Early on we had pest problems and I ended up just pulling one of the plants. We had  a cutworm make home deep down in one of the stalks. At the time when I pulled the plant it just looked unhealthy, it was not till after I pulled it did I found this worm hiding deep down in the plant. Other pest to keep a eye out for are wireworms, flea beetles, and corn earworms. Hand picking and destroying them is best as soon as you find them. Other then that rodents will also feed on corn. Many years ago we tried and squirrels took all of the stalks down. Traps or fences will help with that problem...or a dog. :)  

Some things I learned about corn while still growing it, feel free to add any of our own knowledge.
~Corn is shallow rooted
~Keep weeded to avoid competition
~Do not grow corn in a long row, instead grow in groups to help with pollination
~Water regularly
~Corn grows fast in hot weather
~Fertilize regularly
~Best planted in spring
~Plant corn in full sun
~ Corn is a member of the grass family
~Sizes normally ranges from 7-10 feet

Good companion plants are~
beans (not pole beans)

Corn plants have both male and female parts one on plant. The male part is the top, it only shows on mature plants and is called the tassel. The pollen grains that come off of this are what contains the male sex cell. As seen above
The female part of the plant is the silk. When a grain falls onto the silk it germinates pretty quickly.
Now this is something  I am still looking into and finding mixed things about. 
 One stalk has red grain and even red silk. (seen above and below) I know  I did not plant them at the best time but I felt like even if we got no corn they would give the house some decor, and my neighbors love seeing corn outside of someones house growing.(I know weird but no one near me really has a garden that they grow food in) I read that this could be something wrong with the soil. I also read that this happens, either way I really got no answers. I would love to know if anyone knows why this happens? Any info betters me for growing them next year.