Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Outdoor Fireplace

This photo is for inspiration only since the article I originally linked to on Pinterest has been removed from the website.  I hate when that happens!

There is something about this backyard scenario that is so cozy and inviting.  From my experience, even a small terracotta fire pot chimney in my back yard sets that cozy environment.  There is something about an outdoor fire on a chilly night that is so inviting!

Click here for an article on the Better Homes and Gardens website that features 20 outdoor fireplace ideas that will get your inspiration going if you are ready to add that cozy mood to your back yard.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Plant a Spring Container Garden . . . Lettuces

It is never too early in the season to start thinking about spring plantings, especially if you live in a subtropical climate as I do.  

I found the following article very interesting since I love container gardening and have been meaning to give growing lettuces a try.  You may want to try growing lettuces this spring after reading this article!

Growing Gourmet Greens
Of all the planting I do each year, I think my spring container kitchen garden is my favorite. Maybe it’s because the containers are conveniently placed right outside the kitchen door or maybe it’s because it’s so easy to plant, maintain and harvest.
Whatever the reason, I look forward to the first cutting of container-grown spring greens. I prefer to plant and grow baby lettuce mixes because they grow quickly and a packet of seeds yields enough for many salads or sandwich toppings. They’re also inexpensive, too. These are the same pricey gourmet blends found in up-scale grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmers’ markets.
I buy packets of mesclun which are mixes of small salad greens that vary in color, textures and flavors. Traditional mesclun salad mixes include chervil, arugula, lettuces and endive, but they can also include dandelion, mizuna, m√Ęche, radicchio and sorrel.
Look for salad mixes that offer assorted colors, textures and flavors. I like combinations that include bronze and lime-green leaves, curley and leafy textures and flavors that are tangy or peppery. Baby leaf spinach is also a good choice.
The tender leaves will grow quickly and can be cut and recut several times. For a continuous harvest, sow successive batches until the weather gets too hot.
In addition to planting from seed, consider adding small transplants, like chives. The chives in my container are perennial, so they’re the first greens to appear in my container garden each year.

Planting is Super Simple
One of the advantages of planting in containers is that you can plant 4-6 weeks before the last killing frost in your area. Another advantage is that you don’t have to wait for the soil to warm before planting. Just fill a container with new potting soil and you’re ready to plant.

Planting Instructions
  1. Fill a container with soil to within 2 inches of the rim.
  2. Tear open a small corner of the seed packet.
  3. Sprinkle seeds lightly over the top of soil, with seeds landing about a half inch apart.
  4. Cover with a thin layer (about 1/4 inch) of soil.
  5. Pat down the soil gently.
  6. Water with a fine spray to keep seeds in their place.
Grow the plants by placing the container in a sunny spot and keeping the soil moist. When leaves are about 5 inches tall, grab a small section and use scissors to make a clean cut; leave several inches of plant remaining. New leaves will sprout from the roots you’ve left behind.
Wash greens carefully and blot dry. Use immediately in a spring salad or to top sandwiches. Refrigerated greens can be stored in a plastic bag for several days.

Disclaimer about photo and article source . . . In the past, I have given websites the courtesy of not cutting and pasting their articles into my blog posts and just providing a link to the article.  In going back through all of my blogs, it occurs to me that most websites reconfigure their websites often and wipe out articles all together or change the url, making it impossible to find the article again.  That is a major waste of time and lots of valuable information lost!
I would prefer to preserve the entire article and give the website credit for the article and promotion for their website.  In the case of this article, it comes from VegetableGardener.com, one of my favorite blogs.  An email subscription is available for their newsletters which is the source of this article.

Photo and article by Jodi Torpey

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tin Can Man . . . trash to treasure project

Trash to treasure yard art is one of my favorite crafts.

This little guy is so cute and seems like a relatively easy project to put together.

Here are the materials used in the project:

  • 1 medium vegetable, fruit or coffee can (head)
  • 1 large can (torso)
  • 2 medium cans (upper arms)
  • 6 small vegetable or fruit cans (forearms & legs)
  • 5 lids cut from cans (ears, nose, hands)
  • 4 tomato paste cans (ankles, feet)
  • 5 round bottle caps (eyes, buttons)
  • 11 screws with bolt backings
  • heavy gauge wire
  • Epoxy glue or clear-drying caulk
Tools needed include drill, hole punch, hammer or mallet, metal cutters, “church key” can opener, duct tape, screwdriver.
Click here for instructions

Please note!

The original instructions are no longer available, however, I will leave the information up in case the page becomes available again.

Some other pages that include instructions for a tin can man:





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