Tag Archives: tips

– UPDATED! – How do you do it all, on 1 Income?

Money Savers
UPDATED-Again! We are asked about how we are able to manage our lifestyle with only one income. And do it with NO Reckless DEBT!
– First, the hub works so hard to provide us with the things we are fortunate to have.
– Secondly, we appreciate the value of a dollar. We usually have plans for each, usually each plan putting more money in our pockets in the long run. Most people make the mistake and have more plans for their dollar. Thinking, “Well, we can get this, and just cut here…”. But, never do the cutting. Thus, that dollar was spent twice… Creating a debt.
-We make life Fun, Cheap, and most importantly… Easy! You don’t need to spend fortunes to have great memories. Most people spend way too much money on “Fun”, only to spend their time running, exhausted, and broke for it. In the end, cheaper can be better. I’m not saying don’t splurge here and there, if ya have it. I’m just saying … It’s not needed. Or makes you a lesser of a person, if you don’t. Happy Homes can be made on Pennies!
Here are some Tips, we find Useful. Be sure to check out our added info- Senior/Student/Military Discounts, Kids Eat FREE list, & MORE… That you may not know about! (CLICK “CONTINUE READING”):
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Get Your Kids to Drink Water!


My kids usually love water. I was big on giving them water. Even watered down juices. But, my youngest is head strong against it.
So, I went to the dollar store. Had her help pick out SMALL items. I cut apart the Stickers/Tattoos. Separated Glitter Crayons (If you’re cheap, like me, cut the crayons in half- They fit better, too!)
Every so often I drew lines on a water bottle. With each line I taped an item on. With each line she drank to, she received that item. You can also do other versions of this, having rewards separate from the bottle.
-Also, I sometimes tape these facing in, to not ruin stickers. Also, she loves surprises. (Be sure your kiddo does, too, if taping face down! … Or, just dull the tape’s stickiness by sticking to your shirt, then taping sticker to bottle.)
Another Idea/Version:
YOU CAN EVEN get bracelets and they remove one with each line. (Or the last line, as final prize.)
Or have 8 on a cup and each night they put them away (Back onto the clean cup/bottle.). Then the next day they earn them back throughout the day. SO MANY IDEAS!

CLICK HERE to Check Out What We Have to Offer on FACEBOOK. Then, LIKE Us!

Edited Garden Post

COLORFUL, even on a cloudy day! Got some post tops painted and added to tomato trellis posts. Layers!

COLORFUL, even on a cloudy day! Got some post tops painted and added to tomato trellis posts. Layers!

Garden tips, advice, and designs! For easier reading, I edited it. Answering some questions I have gotten about the reasons why I chose the techniques that I chose, asking what their benefits were. Read and enjoy. I was asked about my 2014 Garden Layout, I will get to that soon, as well.
Here’s the updated link: https://dinkingaround.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/2014-gardening/

Gardening Tips and Designs



With fear of Blight/Tomato disease/Pests on mind, I “Try” to take extra care. Trying to be as close to ORGANIC, as I could. (Within keeping my sanity). And as CHEAP as I can. Gardening is never done. I now know: Every year is a learning, trial and error, process. Each year, better than the last, yet with different failures along the way. Here’s what I’ve learned along the line.

»Planting, Blight/Disease, and Beneficial Fertilizing«:
Tomato varieties that are early producers or disease resistant: Rutgers, Legend, Old Brook, Golden Sweet Grape, Mountain Fresh, Bush Early Girl, Better Boys, Celebrity Hybrid, Brandywine Pinks, German Johnson, Bush Big Boy, Juliette Cherries, and others.

Seed Planters. Our experience, Foam Cups with holes and Grocery Store Plastic Mushroom Containers (I can get up to 8 plants in this one), work for quicker plants that will be transferred sooner. Husk ones are another working option for all plants. For starting seeds sooner, Jiffy’s didn’t work. They stayed wet, or soaked up all the water from the plants (Dried out). Soggy or Dry. No inbetweens. Creating mold. Ruining plants, too. When transplanting, I never plant the planter into ground, unless it’s intertwined with the roots, in which I break up as much of the container as I can, so roots can get established and not be hindered, slowed, by cups. The husk ones were easier to pull and stretch, to get the plant out. Watering and mold/fungus wasn’t a problem like Jiffy’s.

Use Leftover Plastic Spoons, knives, or forks to Label Plants! These are washable and reusable. Wash and put away for next years use! Note: Don’t use those plant pots, use the ones in the photo prior to this one. From experience, I learned they aren’t that great, either dry or too wet.

Weening plants started inside, means to slowly introduce to a new surrounding, to build stamina. If you start seeds inside, they may not be used to harsh colds outside and will shock them. BUT, a lot of people don’t know this, that weening ISN’T only for cold. It’s for Hot Sun, as well. Some people over cover their plants outside. Placing into plastic containers, then into the sun, where it beats down and cooks them, wilting the plants. I usually don’t have problems w/ transplanting. I’m sure to check daily, to open front of green house if too hot, also, to get some wind (Builds stem strength). Check below on how crates can help in transplanting new plants into ground.

Tomato TipsTomato Seed Starting TIP*– Start in larger container, fill it about a third of way with wet STARTER dirt. (I mix dirt in bowl with warm water) Once sprouted and taller than a few inches, I keep adding dirt, CAREFULLY. About an inch at a time per about 3 inches it grows. Tomatoes grow roots where the stem hits the dirt, making for good rooting system. Also, adding more starter dirt continues to feed them. Once seeds are sprouted and a month in, I start to fertilize. Using my secret weapon… Fish Fertilizer. 

-When Seedlings Grow. I’ve read Wind is Beneficial. Movement Toughens the Stems. I always rotate plants (They lean toward sun) to create movement. And, as foolish as it sounds, I give a little shake every now and then. Light shake. Fans help, too.

Cheap Small Plant Heater. No need to buy expensive ones. A simple small heating pad works great! Keep on lowest setting. Place plants onto a pan or tray, then onto pad. Be sure to keep moist.

Outdoor Heated Green House. Get those plants outdoors a little earlier. Or to protect from cold nights! We use an outdoor extension cord, hooked up to timer. It goes on a few hours before sundown and turns off morning time (If warm enough outside). I place the ENTIRE heating pad, and cord/plug-in, inside the green house (To protect from snow/rain). Our 1 small heating pad, on high, is enough to keep entire greenhouse/plants warm enough. You can test yours by placing thermostat inside. Turning on. And checking throughout day and night. Sun onto greenhouse keeps it warm, heating pad continues to, through nights and extra cold days. If no pad, try rope light idea with a greenhouse. (Some light ropes give off heat)
NO GREENHOUSE? Easy Greenhouse Ideas in photo gallery below!

Companion planting kept in mind when designed the garden layout. *Companion List Under Photo Gallery Below

Garden Staples / Stakes
– Garden Stakes / Staples can get expensive… Save $ with this cheap idea!

-When planting tomatoes, bury slightly sideways. Helps to grow stabilizing roots. You want to bury most the plant. Only about 1/3-1/4 of the plant above ground. I surround area with weed paper (That allows water to get through) and cut holes for tomatoes. Dig holes. Add 1tsp. Epsom Salt, stir into dirt. Add tomatoes slightly sideways. Add starter soil. Surround stem with Garden Safe Woodchips (Helps splashing and disease spread from rain. Keeps cool and moist.). Follow these tips/info, as well:


Epsom Salt for tomatoes and peppers. At planting time. Then, once a month when flowering.
Reason for Epsom Salt on Tomatoes and Peppers:
Epsom salts can keep plants greener and bushier, enhance production of healthier fruit later in the season, and potentially help reduce blossom-end rot. Also better tasting!
At time of planting, I use starter soil mixed with dirt and 1tsp-1T Epsom Salt (I do tsp), in each hole. Sprinkle every now and then around base (Not touching plants), about every 2 wks. (The weeks I’m NOT fertilizing) … If I’m having Pest Problems… Sprinkling a little around the BASE of plant helps, because, a lot of Pests don’t like going over Salt!

Neptune’s Harvest Organic Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer! This lasted me 2 years. Fertilized every 2 weeks. Adding Molasses to it every other fertilize.
Reason for Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer (Only that brand):
It works! HUGE DIFFERENCE in flowers, fruits, and vegis! Not sure on the science behind it, but it’s awesome. I’ve noticed, as did neighbors, Miracle Grow (Not organic) made plants bigger (If, that). But, not a lot of fruits. (No studies, just experiences). I used Neptune’s Harvest Fish Fertilizer last year and will never do anything else outside that brand. I usually only apply to base of plants, but, apply in evening for burning protection, if any. Cucumbers, I didn’t see as huge of a difference with this, nor potatoes. My pepper plants were small (Started late from seed), it was suggested to add Miracle Grow to help size them… But, with fish fertilizer, we’ve had a huge turn out, even on the little plants. I do like alternating Miracle Grow with Fish for Cucumbers (Our best results). But, for the most part, Miracle Grow seems to help size my plants, but, doesn’t do much for production. Fish does WONDERS!

-Every other fish fertilize, add Blackstrap Molasses (Unsulphered):
Reason for Black Strap Molasses:
1-3T per gallon of water (In my case, I added right to fish fert. mixture). Applied every other fertilizing. It’s a type of fertilizer, fends off pests. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. It contains sulfur and a bunch of micronutrients. It provides plants with a quick source of energy and encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms.

Gardening Fert. Schedule (Click to Enlarge):
garden planner

Chicken Manure Box, in center of garden. Soil sloping out to vegis. Drill holes all around a bin, bury into ground. Throw manure in there, cover with dirt with each time. I place top on mine with a few small holes. When it rains, nutrients seep into garden. A lot of chicken manure added directly to small plants could burn plants. Hence, the box with holes using rain water. At end of year add to soil and till in. Proceed with refilling it in the box. (I also add extra dirt to this bin, as well. After placing manure in, top with some dirt to help with smell.)

Thick plastic over garden as soon as season is done, all the way up til growing, helped with weed and disease. A burning process. Cooking it.

-I built a trellis for tomatoes (The box below), and ONLY watered the grounds of plants (To prevent disease, if any, from spreading). They grew up reg. tomato cages, then intertwined through the 6ft. vinyl fence.
—-NEED TO KNOW—- There are Indeterminate Tomatoes and Determinate Tomatoes types.
Indeterminates vine, and grow, and grow. Usually producing til frost. (Hence the tall support-Which mine overgrew).  Determinates are usually compact/bush and grow their fruit within the same time frame (I believe few wks). They do great in containers or cages. Determinates DO NOT need “Suckering” or much/any, “Pruning”. Like you can with Indeterminates.
How: 2x4s and posts. I did not cement them in. I got treated wood, and used rock in holes for drainage. Then stapled green Vinyl-Coated Fence to top half. Still more decorating this to come!

– X (Butterfly) Trellis– When Planting Cucumbers, or a climbing  plant, use the X shaped trellis. This: Saves room, creates room, allows more walking space. Also, plant in the inner 4 corners. Sunflower/marigolds (For protection) or more Vegis! Decisions, decisions. But, at least I have more room for Decisions! This keeps cukes off the ground and dry (Mildew Prevention). Easy gathering! Used Vinyl fencing and 5-6 snow poles. In this photo I am testing out Cukes in an above ground idea, using Crates and Weed Paper. I did this in the back of trellis and planted cukes in ground up front of this trellis, so when the front grows, it can shade the crates some, to prevent over heating, if any!  In photos below, sloppy red line shows trellis’s shape. Green X’s are where I planted. I could have squeezed more, but, want them spaced this year.   

In between the Butterfly Trellis, I have Pepper plants. (Left/Right of trellis). I used an old chair back, painted it, placed into ground for DECORATIVE Plant Support.

Brussel Sprout TrellisOur Pea Trellis (Look in Gallery for photos of Pea Trellis). In between Pea Trellis Arches, I’m growing Brussel Sprouts. In the chicken wire holes, I slid in Cheap bamboo sticks. To hold the Brussels up (They grew in my aisles last year!). Around the Base of the plant is Cheap PVC cut, placed Cheap Copper Tape around top. Buried about an inch. This will help protect my brussels from Slugs/Snails. Sends a charge through them, they HATE it!

Arch Pea Trellis - Multi UsesArch Pea Trellis (More Photos in Gallery Below)- Multi Purpose Uses. Grow Peas along Chicken Wire Arch. Under arches, plant part shade plants, cooler plants. Space Arches about a foot or so apart, and plant more plants in between arches! I grow Lettuce and Spinach under arches, and Brussel Sprouts in between arches.

Root Watering System. I plant 1 tube in between 2 plants. 2ft PVC piping, one end capped, drill holes throughout, ziptie weed paper around it. Dig into ground, leaving it a few inches above ground, capped side down. Don’t over water with this. Once in a while.

-I trimmed, butchered, my tomatoes that showed any signs of damage. Kept my garden debri free. Blight/disease has yet to be a concern!

-With each trimming, I Copper sprayed where I cut. Copper sprayed scissors in between each cut, to limit any possibility of spreading diseases, if any.

»Pest and Fungicide Control«:
PLANT Pest Repellent Plants and DON’T WASTE those deadheads/Plant Trimmings!!! For our sitting area, I planted a mixture of Marigolds, Petunias, Lavender, Spearmint/Mint, etc. Creates a great balance of height and texture to flower pots and SMELLS AMAZING! Even incorporating Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Grn. Onions, etc…. Looks and Smells DELICIOUS! Note: I got those plants for .50cents. Spearmints weren’t pretty and what paying customers look for, but, spread and grew in nicely! Buy the ON-SALE plants. Most cases, they just need to be placed into the ground to thrive!
Around Cucumbers I planted Marigolds, Garlic, and Chives/Grn. Onions to deter rodents. I, ALSO, use the trimmings of those, Basil… Even, Salvia/Sage seems to work (I have it intertwined with Cucumber Trellis. Seems to be working excellent for flying pests!). Add to the grounds/bases of plants that are bothered. You can look on WIKIPEDIA for List of Pest Repelling Plants. 


COPPER SPRAY!!! Insecticide and fungicide. I Copper sprayed and trimmed up my cucumbers and tomatoes every 10days, if needed.
Reason for using Copper Spray:
Considered an organic treatment used for fungicide and bactericide in fruits, vegetables and ornamentals against mildew, brown rot, leaf spots, blights, scab, anthracnose and rusts. Please use this in the evening as it kills beneficial buggers. Toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms. Also, can be very harmful to humans, use with caution. Wear mask.

Milk Spray! Great for mildew and insects. One part Skim Milk, 5 parts Water, few drops Regular Dawn Dish Soap.

Sticky Unwind Fly traps throughout garden. Even on ground near plants. You can wrap around trees being bothered, too!

Randomly put these in the garden. Some around plants (Not touch leaves), on ground.

Randomly put these in the garden. Some around plants (Not touch leaves), on ground.

Plant Base Pest Protection in GardenCOPPER Base Plant Protection. Slugs/Snails HATE copper, sends a volt thro them. They will not crawl over. Cut PVC, enough room to place tape & bury some. Place around BASE of plant (You can cut down side to allow to open some to fit around stem). Press into ground, about inch or so.  


2 Liter Pest Control + MORE! It’s hard for most bugs or animals to get around, through, the plastic. Add Two Way Tape (Or, Copper Tape!)  for extra protection! Also, great for ORGANIC GARDENING! Upcycles trash! Collects water and directs it to where it’s needed. Easy watering.
Either Cut and place around plant. Burying some. (Can tape back up to secure, but, dirt helps hold it in place.)
Or, Bury some, add in dirt. Plant Seed! Roots will find their way.
USE A RED BOTTLE FOR TOMATOES! Better Production (More on Red in this post!)

Milky Spore
treatment on the yard (Not garden-No reason, just didn’t) last year for grub control. Works in 2yrs. Lasts for years.
Reason for Milky Spore:
Milky Spore is a natural bacteria that infects the grubs of Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore Disease. The disease paralyzes and kills the host grub. The dead grub breaks down, it releases billions of new spores into the soil. Which, in turn, infect and kill other grubs. Milky Spore is harmless to pets, beneficial insects, fish, bees, birds, other animals, plants, or humans, not a poison. Milky Spore is harmless to crops. It is not a chemical pesticide. It may be used in gardens, around pools and wells.
milkysporeapplierMilky Spore Applier DIY-Took a stick/pole about 3ft long. I take a coffee can, poke holes into bottom. I Duct Tape it at the end of the pole (So holes face down to ground). Fill with Spore. Tap the ground to tap spore onto it. Use stick to guesstimate 3ft (Directions: Apply every 3 ft) -Click photo to enlarge-I do realize drawing is off

Velcro Pest ProtectionVelcro Pest Protection. Some pests don’t like the SCRATCHiness of the ROUGH sided velcro. Snugly, not too snug, place the ROUGH side of velcro, face out, around the base of stem. Adjust as plant stem thickens. ALSO, can cut circle/square piece. Slit the radius (From center, out to 1 side), with small x in center (For stem). Wrap around stem, on base of plant, on ground, scratchy side up. May work for some pests on trees, as well. NON TOXIC – REUSABLE

Plant onions and garlic around plants that are bothered by pests. I did around my potatoes.

-Planted sunflowers in garden and marigolds. BIG HELP for pests. Brings pollinators. Also, great looking. EASY TO GROW!
Reason for Sunflowers:
Attracts ants herd aphids onto sunflowers, keeping them off neighboring plants.

-A piece of foil square, slightly wrinkled, shiny side up. Place around base of plant on ground. I only did about 6x6inches. Not sure why or how, but this worked WONDERS for my cukes and other plants getting attacked. Unfortunately, my cukes were blah this year due to other things.

Fish line. Reflective Jems. Bamboo sticks. String jems onto fish line. Making a border/fence, tie to bamboo sticks along the garden beds. I do 2 rows. Adds Reflecting Sparkles to gardens. Beautiful! Also, helps keep my chickens out of the garden!!! Works too. (More photos below)

– If an Organic Garden- Attract Frogs/Toads to the Garden! They eat 10,000 insects in just one summer! Build Frog Houses! Not only beautiful, but beneficial! (Flowers on top will fill-in, beautifying more!) 
How To- Click HERE

Crates and Burlap Bags make for great protection from hot sun and hard rain after transplant. Burlap fits right over cages.

Burlap and crates helps with hard rains (What the above case is), burning sun, and frost. Crates work well, too. Above is case of hard rain. They still get sun, water, but, when burlap is partway on, it breaks up hard rain.

Burlap and crates helps with hard rains (What the above case is), burning sun, and frost. Crates work well, too. Above is case of hard rain. They still get sun, water, but, when burlap is partway on, it breaks up hard rain.

Crates in the garden. (MORE Photos Below)

Herbs did Amazing in Crates. Great for early plant starting keeping moist and warm. Helps break up hard rain and partially shade young plants.

Herbs did Amazing in Crates. Great for early plant starting keeping moist and warm. Helps break up hard rain and partially shade young plants. Lettuce loves crate shade.

Crate Plant Tower. 4 Crates, plus 1 on top. Line with weed paper. Fill with dirt. Using for herbs (Lettuce in back corner). Movable, too! Placing this in center of tomato trellis. Front right crate, I left empty, but, placed tight down into dirt. In holes of bottom of crate, I planted Garlic Chive Seeds. Info below.

chivesincrateThis idea is a part of Crate Tower, above. I’m “Testing” it out. I put the crate TIGHT against the dirt. Placed more dirt inside and rubbed it into the holes, to be sure it was tight and even. In the holes (Not all of em), I (Well, my son) planted Chive seeds. This helps with weeds/grass growing in between. Helps with pests getting to them. And will be more likely to keep coming back each year, vs. being planted in crate. If all else fails… Throw a plant in there, Cilantro! 

Plant Crate Tower. Great for Strawberries! Keeping em off the ground to prevent disease. OR a Beautiful Flower Tower. Flowers fill in to cover entire area. 3 Crates, stack. Lined with Weed Paper. Filled with good Dirt. Cut holes. Plant Flowers/ Strawberries /Both / Etc. Watering can be small holed PVC, Drip Hose intertwined, etc. Be sure it’s secure (Metal rod through center into ground, etc.- Especially, with lil ones!) Note: You can cut to make bigger holes, or use bigger holed crate, etc.
Plant Crate Tower
Crate on Crate GreenhouseCrate on Crate Planter AND Greenhouse. I wanted to test some Cucumbers above ground. This keeps them warm, protects from pests. Great for Early Starting! Opens and Closes for your control. Poke holes on top for rain water to benefit plants. 2 Crates. 1 Plastic Bag. 1 Ziptie.


– HANGING Upcycled Flower Tower:
Reused a Soil Bag. Rolled, tightly, one side- To size of desire. I just heavy duty clear taped it on top, bottom, and center… Worked fine. BE SURE TO PUFF IT OUT AS YOU TAPE, you don’t want to tape it flat! Adding Dirt Helps! I also taped where I was going to cut it at, to reinforce the cut, help it from ripping. For flower openings, I made cuts in it, like this:
I, also, sliced a handle in top, being sure it had enough room from the cut to the top of bag. Taped handle cut to reinforce that. I placed flowers in, filled it rest of way with dirt, hung it up.
Now, I think I’ll work on my spacing a little better, for cuts. We will see how it goes!

Reflective Wind Fan Decoration things near plants. SHINY tails off kites, one end tied off. Wind blows to move them, reflecting light and making noise. In turn, keeping pests away. Birds don’t care for the sudden reflective shine. Our problem was momma birds taking seeds. Upside down crates help, too.

»Extra Useful Tips«:
-I over watered Corn during fruiting. Just opened first one! Delicious!

-PICK YOUR PEAS AND GREEN BEANS! More picking, more producing. Beans best stored dry in ziploc bag, in fruit drawer of fridge.

-It just might work!
I’ve broken quite a few plants in my gardening life. As a joke, a bandaid was placed around a green bean plant. It worked! Thrived. Duct taped my tomaters too. Pictured is broken limb of orange pepper plant, from storm. Taped it and the wilted leaves spruced right up, as if never broken. So far so good, like other plants I’ve tested out.
It just might work…

In SOME cases it actually works. So, before giving up on them... Try it out.

In SOME cases it actually works. So, before giving up on them… Try it out.

Potatoes (Grown in ground): Once plants are a foot or so, throw more dirt onto them. Helps keep them cool and prevents sun getting to those close to the top of soil and spoiling them. Do this a few times in the growing year.

Try New Things.  Our newbie is a Potato Tower! I’ve wanted last few years!

– Potato Towers! This year we are gonna try our hand at a few. Along with what we know works (Our Russets in the Good Ol’ Ground). Only downfalls I’ve read about successful towers- The amount of dirt you need!
A few options about potato towers that most people don’t realize. There’s Indeterminate (Usually later season) and Determinate (Usually early season) Potatoes. Indeterminate, with longer lifespan, continue to produce. They are able to vine (To an extent), producing more stolons (Horizontal shoots). If provided it’s nutrient needs. Determinate, usually have a limited lifetime (Early season producer) and will usually set one layer of stolon growth outward with limited produce. Most people have fails with towers, not realizing this info! Using WRONG POTATOES!
I’ve read that INDETERMINATE (Later Season Types) type potatoes do BEST in towers that grow up (Not out sides).  For highest yield. They continue to grow and produce. Once a stem is above ground for so long, it will stop producing tubers. So, continue adding dirt to increase productions. (I’ve read about 7-14days, or sooner, above ground can stop em.) We are trying our hand at Fingerlings (Later seasoner) in 1 tower this year. It’s Late Season and Indeterminate. Also, I’ve read some can remove bottom potatoes when ready, as needed, as they grow up. I will test that on one tower. Also note… Too high of temps will limit production (Towers can heat up, so use straw to help shade some)
My INDETERMINATE Potato Tower Plans (One w/ fence support and one w/o extra support-DIRECTIONS IN PHOTOS-CLICK):

Another Tower Type is one for, mainly, Determinate Potatoes (Usually, shorter season types). These will grow out the SIDES of this tower. (Indet. Potatoes CAN be grown here, too. But, you won’t get it’s yield potential.) DETERMINATE UPDATE: I’ve had MORE success WITHOUT the Burlap! And, I did vertical layers of Hay and Dirt (Using MORE HAY than Dirt, to not over weigh down on the seeds/plants)!
Determinate Potato Tower Plan (Click to Enlarge & Read More):

Red MulchAnother tester for this year is:
Red Mulch Plastic. Creates light wavelengths that bounce up to tomato plants. The phytochromes tell fruits to grow more, and fast. Thus, increasing ripening time and bigger fruit. Studies show more yield. Better ground heating. And Helps against Nematodes. Other colors are proven to help in aiding growth. BLUE is ANOTHER great color for tomatoes! Here’s a great link about more: Click Here Tip: You want the mulch a few feet out from each side of plants.

produce soak– We soak our produce in the sink w/ water and vinegar. It helps to remove/kill some bacteria. Also, with doing this, our produce seems to last longer. When harvesting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, peas, beans, etc. We noticed they all lasted longer when soaked in vinegar water vs. not.(Some people also amp this up by adding lemon juice, even baking soda in with water- I have yet to try that.)

Water Softener and PlantsWater Softener Owners!!!: After some years, we turned our Water Softener on. I do enjoy the benefits of it… BUT, noticed my Once Thriving Baby Plants were starting to do horrid. Dying. I couldn’t explain it! Only new thing, was watering with Softened Water (I started plants using UN-Softened Water. But, after using it, they started doing horrid). Now, there is NO science behind this. Maybe a Co-Wink-A-Dink. But, once I switched back to non-softened, they did great. (Ones that didn’t see too much of a difference- Peppers. They were good whole way thro.). I did some research of reviews with same problems. Tho, most stated, YES! Ruined my plants! A few stated, no effect. Or, can’t affect plants…
So, for your own determining whether to use or not softened water on your plants… Here is a quote I’ve read (Going against what I believe to be happening- That water softener affected my plants), “The salt is only used to clean the media and is never mixed with or released into the home water feed. Any salt that may still remain in the resin beads after the rinse cycle is infinitesimal at best unless you’re using a totally generic softener system….After the saltwater bath, the beads are rinsed thoroughly to remove any remaining salt residue and this rinse water is discarded. Then, and only then, the softener stops diverting the water and the water is directed back through the resin beads to be softened and then out to the rest of the house.”
My newbies have done horrid since watering with softened water, now better without softened water… Sure, could be altering reasons. May be due to being baby plants. I will be RE-TESTING softener soon. I’m not a scientist. You determine, with your own testing! If you’re using softener and your plants suck… Switch the softener off (Or something similar to that- So, water does NOT run through softener when using.)… Then water plants.

– For all those extra Zucchinis… Try this! Vegetable Candy! CLICK HERE for Recipe  

Other’s junk is my greatest treasure. Keep that crap! Almost all of our decorations were free or dirt cheap at a yard sale. I love a colorful garden. Just spray paint blah decorations. Some I used an old paint brush and stroke another color over the base color to give aged look. Also, to tie in all the colors. I used some ugly wood shelf supports and painted for corner decorations. LAYERS is my rule of thumb. Just keep adding stuff. Added post tops to top of tomato trellis posts. etc.
– Add Sparkle to your Yard and Garden! Cheaply Beautifying your Garden! Tie/Knot Reflective Jems onto Fishing Line. Hang randomly throughout garden. Shimmers and Sparkles. Kids think they’re Fairies! Jems also help to keep chickens out of gardens (Photos of this in Gallery below). Photo Above shows what we have NOW. Multiple sizes and color.  Here’s a Video Example (Only a few SMALL clear beads hung for video- About 1/4 size of finger nail! And, this is through a Dusty Window Screen! CLICK HD Button!):

gardenjune2015layout(Pictured “Starting” 2015 Garden) Garden Decor (This isn’t even all of it!). Upcycled junk, painted. Back of chair, painted and treated for plant support. I love our idea of Colored Stones around the Tomato Trellis, making a CANDYLAND Game for the kids (Miss Pea, Mr. Tomato). Have 1 dice that states Go Ahead, Go Back, Lose a Turn… And another dice that has the color of the stones! !

»Check out the below photos for gardening«:
 Sign ideas, decoration ideas, layout ideas, color scheme ideas, pest control ideas, etc.
»Companion List is Below these photos!«

Companion planting, in gardening, is the planting of different crops in proximity for pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing use of space, and increase crop productivity.
*Companion Planting:
aster flowers, dill, tomatoes, parsley, basil, mints, marigolds AVOID onion, garlic, potatoes
Beans Legumes Phaseolus and vicia
beets, cukes, cabbage, cauli., potato, lettuce, squash AVOID Tomatoes, chili peppers
bush beans, onions, catnip, garlic, lettuce, mint AVOID runner or pole beans
Bush Beans
celery, strawberry AVOID Alfalfa soybeans, dry beans
Pole Beans
radishes AVOID sunflowers, beets
tomatoes, lettuce, beets
Brassicas (broccoli, brussels, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, radish, turnip)-
beets, spinach, chard, aromatic plants, celery, chamomile, marigolds, sage, peppermint, sage, rosemary, onions, potatoes, geraniums, alliums, nasturtium, thyme, beans AVOID nightshade, tomatoes, peppers, pole beans, STRAWBERRIES
sage, thyme
marigolds, dill, onions, beets, lettuce, garlic AVOID grapes
lettuce, onions, shallots, sage, beans, flax AVOID dill, parsnip, radish
spinach, peas
daisies, snap dragons, leeks, tomatoes, cabbage, bush beans AVOID corn aster flowers
Corn (Maize sea mays)-
Sunflowers, legumes (beans, peas, soybeans), peanuts, clover, morning glory, parsley, potato AVOID tomato, celery
Cucumber– radishes, marigolds, sunflower, peas, beans, beets, carrots, dill, onions, garlic, celery, spinach AVOID potato, aromatic herbs
radish, beets, onions, beans, carrots, cukes, strawberries, broccoli, thyme, cilantro AVOID celery cabbage cress, parsley
carrots, beets, strawberry, tomato, lettuce, chamomile AVOID lentils
garlic, turnip, cauliflower
beans, tomatoes, marjoram, okra, geraniums, petunias, sunflowers, onions, basil AVOID beans, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts
horseradish, beans, peas, onions, garlic, clover AVOID carrots, cukes, pumpkin, raspberries, squash, sunflower, tomato
Pumpkin– catnip, radishes, nasturtiums AVOID potatoes
lettuce, pole beans, nasturtiums AVOID grapes
strawberries, peas, beans, cauliflower
beans, catnip, radishes, marigolds, nasturtiums
Sweet Potato
asparagus, basil, oregano, parsley, marigolds, alliums, garlic, leeks, celery, geraniums, petunias, nasturtium, coriander, corn, dill, barley, carrots, eggplant, okra, flower strips? AVOID alfalfa, corn, fennel, chili peppers, peas, dill, potatoes, beetroot, rosemary
Apple- AVOID CEDAR, walnuts!!!
bush beans, caraway, bush lettuce, beans, onions, spinach AVOID tomatoes, potatoes, egglpant, peppers, melons, okra, mind, roses
apples, carrots, roses, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, etc.  AVOID beans peas
cabbage, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas AVOID dill
cabbage, corn, lettuce, onions, cukes AVOID carrots, tomatoes, cilantro
roses, tomatoes, cukes, lettuce, celery, peas, CHINESE cabbage, potatoes AVOID cabbage, grapes
Lemon Grass
Asparagus, corn, tomatoes, apple, rose AVOID lettuce Alliums
Sunflower helps Peppers, corn, cukes, tomatoes AVOID pole beans ::: Was grown as a companion for corn(maize) before modern Europeans arrived in the Americas, supposedly increases their production, ants herd aphids onto sunflowers, keeping them off neighboring plants. Works as a trap plant for thrips keeping them off of bell peppers
Most plants, especially tomatoes and peppers, cucurbits (cucumbers, gourds, squash), alliums, brassicas, zucchini ::: Marigolds are a wonder-drug of the companion plant world, invoking the saying “plant them everywhere in your garden”. French marigolds (T. patula) produce a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone.
Mexican marigolds (T. erecta) do the same, but are so strong they will inhibit the growth of some more tender herbs. Stinking Roger (T. minuta) has also been found effective against certain perennial weeds.

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Garden Ideas, Etc. (2013 into 2014)


2013 was my, I thought, prime year of gardening. What I’ve learned about gardening is… A gardener’s job is NEVER done, nor figured out. From the first year of knowing nothing. Learning from my mistakes. Research! I’ve come the furthest, last year, in all my years of success. A lot of things we tested out. A lot of things we’ve learned from mistakes. I’m excited for our 2014 garden! Now, if this snow will stop coming and melt.
Check out our Updated 2014 Garden Post: https://dinkingaround.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/2014-gardening/

2013 Garden consisted of:
Weed Paper (On Sale). I only weed papered around the plants. Cutting out area directly around plants, the rest of garden I took a rake to. This worked GREAT, but, being the cheaper end of weed paper… Some stubborn weeds came thro. That was easier to pick, than a whole bunch of weeds. Next year I will try heavy duty, maybe even landscaping plastic (Tho, I fear what may seep into the soil from heat???) Top left photo is green beans. I slit into weed paper, held slits open with stakes. This worked WONDERS. Did same for peas.

Crates for herbs. These grew GREAT! Best thing is, you can move them anywhere, EVEN bolt on top of your garden fence post, to save space. I weed papered around inside walls. Filled with dirt. They boomed quickly and lasted even into the beginning of snow, and some. I’m not sure if it’s the air flow? Or what?

-Bottom Left. Now this is tricky. Kids are kinda hard to grow. Plenty of water and food… Kidding. Behind my kiddo with green shirt is a compost bin in the ground. With holes drilled into it, for worms and water seep. I had this in slight hill in center of garden box, dirt sloping down to plants. I fill this with my chicken manure. Cover with little dirt. If it rains, the water will fill bin and seep out holes. Also, worms can come in and help compost it. Not sure on this. But, my tomatoes did GREAT! Except late blight, which is my fault for not having high trellises- Lesson learned, 2014 trials begin. More learning.

-Snow Poles and chicken fencing. Cucumbers can grow up them. I thought about doing arches and growing something, shade loving, in center of rows. But, that’s still in deciding…

-Not greatly pictured. But, used my art skills to draw it out. You’re welcome. Pea Trellis. Worked great. We have split rail fence around outside of garden. We stapled chicken wire down it. Put in one row, a few feet out and running along split fence, of bamboo poles. Tall ones. We stuck the poles into chicken wire holes, we staples wire to fence, or tied. We then tied bamboo tops together, making a row of arches. We planted along the wires. You can plant part shade plants under each arch!!!

-Not pictured. In between each tomato plant is a buried 2ft PVC pipe, with holes drilled up and down it. Wrapped in weed paper, using zipties. Bottom covered, but one hole. I covered this with a cap or rock when not in use. I would water this, every so often for root watering. This worked great to manage late blight. Root watering vs. plants getting wet and spreading blight! Easy to remove and clean.

-My circle rock garden. These were new plants and I don’t have picture of later, but, it filled in beautifully! Our Hydrangea grew wonderfully with pink, purple, and blue! Piled up a circle of rocks, filled with dirt. Dug trench, laid weed paper into it, filled with river rocks. Now, can’t wait til spring, because I filled in that whole line with perennials.

-In back left of garden, I have 2 zucchini plants. I used upside down tomato cage to help circulate air. STAKE DOWN! If you’re anything like me and don’t pick frequent enough they will get HUGE and knock cage over. Lesson learned.

I will be posting more of our new ideas to come. Testing of things. Multi-uses for areas, my routine for my garden, etc.
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Already Started my Zone 4 Garden

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With the Late Blight we had last year on Tomatoes, I’m trying something a little different this year. Tho, I did get a huge crop last year, I could have had much more! With each year I’m learning more and more with great old way advice, materials read, and trial and errors of my own. This year I’ll better choose my plants for better disease tolerance or early developers for getting good crops before blight even hits.
-I’m starting seeds earlier.
-I’m choosing from varieties that are early or disease resistant like Rutgers, Legend, Old Brook, Golden Sweet Grape, Mountain Fresh, Bush Early Girl, Better Boys, Celebrity Hybrid, Brandywine Pinks, German Johnson, Bush Big Boy, Juliette Cherries, and others.
-AS SOON AS snow melts, or lower than 1,000 ft deep!, I’m cooking the soil. Laying plastic on garden, allowing it to heat in the sun. After some time, tilling it, re-cooking it. Cleaning all garden utensils thoroughly.
-Adding better trellises, for air circulation. Now that I realize indeterminate plants that are fed well, grow SEVERAL FEET HIGH… Or through the garden! AT LEAST 8-10ft high. Nicely spaced.
-Other ideas to come, with pictures. Follow us on our journey of gardening.

My growing season begins with:
Testing out seeds. I abandoned mine outdoors last year in the heat, left them in the cold of winter… Wasn’t until I remembered the seed prices, did I regret this! haha So, I test away.
I started: Tomato varieties. Pepper varieties, watermelon, canteloupe. Others I just wanted to test too. (*I don’t waste too much dirt on others tested… Like beans, peas, cukes, etc. You can use damp cloth, or label and put 4 diff. types (Peas, cukes, beans, etc.) into one container with dirt. It’s too early to start these, but, want to test to get ideal list of what to purchase.)
I get starter dirt, fill large bowl with it. Spray it with warm water. Mix til all’s perfectly moist.
Add to individual containers. Planting 3-4 SAME seeds in each. Set on low setting heating pad.
Tomato TIP* – I start in larger container, fill it about a third of way with wet dirt. Once sprouted and taller than a few inches, I keep adding dirt, CAREFULLY. About an inch at a time per about 3 inches it grows. Tomatoes grow roots where the stem hits the dirt, this will make for good rooting system. Also, adding more starter dirt continues to feed them.
After about a week or so, if no sprouting, I replant same seeds. In case of duds. To quickly get them going. As they sprout, I carefully transplant to 1-2 per container.
In about 2-3wks, I rebuy seeds not sprouted. I quickly plant those. Repeat process.
Once seeds are sprouted and a month in, I then fertilize. Using my secret weapon, other’s as well… Fish Fertilizer. Not just the crap from any store. Mine was $30, but, well worth it. Lasted 2 years. Will post picture of it later. I plan on using the large amount left over from last year, that froze over winter. I read it’ll still work, just may not be 100% potent, which is ok, as I’m using it on tender sprouting. Or you can use a nice Chicken Manure Fertilizer. Careful to not burn. I dilute it nicely. I always dump my chicken manure into dirt, till around, throw more dirt on top. I use this old chicken crap to place into tea bags, throw some (About 3-4T) into a quart of water, shake well a couple times a day over 2 days. Throw tea bags. Dilute about 1 part fertilizer to 6-10 parts water. I water soil of plants, not plants. Test on few plants first. to make sure it’s weak enough to not hurt them. Last year I did Chicken Manure, before I knew about Fish Fert., and it worked great. This year I’m trying Fish Fert.
No tea bags? No problem. Place manure onto coffee filter. Fold up all sides. Tie off TIGHTLY with twine. Just shake gently!
Note: Don’t use blight infested dirt FYI.

CLICK HERE FOR MY UPDATED Gardening Tips and Ideas: https://dinkingaround.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/2014-gardening/

COLORFUL, even on a cloudy day! Got some post tops painted and added to tomato trellis posts. Layers!

COLORFUL, even on a cloudy day! Got some post tops painted and added to tomato trellis posts. Layers!

CLICK HERE FOR MY UPDATED Gardening Tips and Ideas: https://dinkingaround.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/2014-gardening/