Condo Blues: garden




Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why Are My Tomatoes Rotting on the Bottom?

I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in this year’s garden. I say attempt because I haven’t had much luck in the way of getting a plant to give me more than a handful of tomatoes any time I plant tomatoes.

I am determined that this summer will be different. I read everything I could find on how to grow tomatoes. I bought a more mature tomato plant instead of attempting from seed and upped the watering schedule.

I was excited to see more  blossoms than I’ve ever had on a tomato plant. I cheered when they grew into green tomatoes.  I was overjoyed when I plucked the first red tomato. Finally I broke our tomato curse!

Until I turned the tomato over and found this.

how to prevent blossom end rot in the garden
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Blossom end rot!

Vegetable Garden Blossom End Rot What it is, How it Happens, and How to Fix It

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Container Garden Organization Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 586

 Lacey realized that all of the plants in our patio garden are herbs and vegetables and tries to sneak  snacks from the small pots whenever we go outside. I needed a fast (and hopefully less expensive) solution to organize all of the new plants we bought from the garden center.


how to organize a container garden
The white tubes are watering tubes. You read my DIY self watering planter tutorial here

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Edible Landscaping Groundcover Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 584

Last weekend was a long holiday weekend here in the US and my husband and I spent a chunk of it digging in the dirt. We want to add more color to our front flowerbeds which is largely an oasis of black mulch. Wood mulch isn't a bad thing. Mulching protects the soil from eroding and helps keep moisture in the soil after watering. Wood mulch also breaks down over time and add nutrients to the soil - which a good thing for our clay soil but also a bag thing because we have keep buying heavy bags of mulch. Anything we can do to less the chance of the yearly hefting mulch into the landscaping beds is a good thing in our book.

We didn't have to look any further than our own backyard for a practical zone 6 living groundcover solution: transplant the golden oregano overflowing its pots in the container garden to the front yard.  Thyme is another fast growing perianal garden groundcover we could use or mix in with the golden oregano but we don't cook with thyme as often as we do with oregano. We're hopping the yellow in the ground cover will make the lavender blooms pop a bit more.

Please don't die.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Easy Garden Watering Hack and Friday Favorites Week 581

I used to have a hard time not killing plants in my flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. I'd either overwater them or under water them. 

Often I thought a recent summer rain had already watered plants for me because the soil was wet on top but not deep down at the root of the plant. The result? Plant murder. (Unintentional, but it's still death.)

A few years ago, I learned a great little gardening hack on how to know when you need to water a garden that works 100% of the time - use a simple rain gage like this one! (Disclosure: I'm including an affiliate link for your convenience.)


best gardening tip and watering idea
I put my rain gage in a pot in my outdoor container garden.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Growing Vegetables from Scraps and Friday Favorites Linky Party 531

Last year my patio container garden "plan" was Hey, this looks new and interesting. This year I was happily surprised that five pots out of the ten containers grew back since most herb plants don't survive the winter and turn into annuals no matter what. 

Normally when I'm stumped as to what to plants to grow, I just wander through the garden center and see what catches my eye. This year that isn't possible so other than taking our chances on a packet of free basil seeds I had in a drawer, I had no idea until we got a box of vegetables delivered from a local restaurant. Is Pinterest right or wrong? Can you really regrow vegetables from their scraps? We decided to give it a whirl.

how to grow vegetables from scraps
This is what passes for entertainment when you are self distancing from the world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

How to Plant an Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden the Easy Way!

I have more time to grow a garden during the winter and spring than during the summer. Unfortunately it is way too cold outside and I just don’t get enough sunlight inside of my house to grow even a tiny herb garden. Trust me. We tried. 

Also there is the whole I forget plants need water to grow thing. The only reason I can keep a succulent alive is that they thrive on low light and neglect.

I’ve been interested in hydroponic gardening (growing plants in water instead of soil) ever since my husband and I saw an exhibit on aquaponic gardening (similar to hydroponics except fish in a tank fertilize the plants.) I looked at several of them off and on but most of them needed preparatory (and spendy) seed pods that weren’t always what we were interested in growing or eating. Fortunately, on Christmas morning my husband unwrapped our gift and learned that you can use your own seeds to grow whatever you like in an AeroGarden.

how to set up and troubleshoot an AeroGarden indoor hydroponic herb garden
Save this tutorial and troubleshooting tips to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

We set up our indoor hydroponic herb garden and have been enjoying cooking with fresh herbs all winter which feels decadent because up until now, that as been a summer only thing.

How to Set Up an AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

Sunday, November 24, 2019

How to Make Outdoor Scandinavian Christmas Gnome Decorations

I saw a big Christmas gnome decorations on line at IKEA and knew two of them would look perfect decorating both sides of my front door this Christmas. Unfortunately they were already sold out of them by the first few days of November!

I was severely bummed.

It was all the encouragement I needed to shop IKEA for the materials and go with my original plan of making a set of outdoor Christmas gnomes built around tomato cages.  Since storage space is at a premium in my condo, I made my Christmas gnomes (which we Scandinavians call Tomte or Nisser) as a temporary slipcover. That way I can use the cages in my summer garden, clean them, and use them again during the Christmas decorating season.  If you have the storage space you can permanently hot glue the fabric to your tomato cage instead of holding it in place with clothes pins like I did.

how to make outdoor Scandinavian Christmas gnome decorations
Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share this decorating idea with your friends!


How to Make Scandinavian Christmas Gnomes


Sunday, May 26, 2019

How to Make Garden Plant Markers

The theme of this year’s container herb garden is Hey, That’s Different, Let’s See If It Will Grow (and We Need Cilantro.)

Which means I need plant markers to identify what this stuff is once it comes time to harvest it for cooking.  Sure, some of the plants came with a plastic plant label stuck in the pot but I had to split some of those plants up into different plant pots that make up my small patio container garden.

I want a set of plant markers that is cute and somewhat unique.  I turned to my little stash of on deck items to repurpose (or formally recycle in our bin after a given time limit) and made plant markers from recycled aluminum cans. I got four plant tags from one aluminum pop can and put the scrap into my city recycling bin.

DIY Garden Markers from Recycled Aluminum Cans


How to make cute unique  DIY garden plant marker tags
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Monday, April 29, 2019

Gardening Hack: How to Know When to Water Your Vegetable Garden the Lazy Way!

The only reason my first attempt at growing a vegetable garden survived is because my husband and I worked on the project together.

Basically, I forget that plants need water to grow.

Gardening experts say vegetable gardens should be watered 2 to 3 times a week to promote healthy growth and nice deep roots. I start out doing that after I plant my garden but once you throw rain into the mix,  I either accidentally over water or under water depending upon if I wait for a rainstorm.

Either it doesn’t rain enough to water the plants enough or I don’t want to take a chance on the weather forecast for rain failing me again and water the garden only to be followed by a heavy thunderstorm.

So yeah, up until now my garden fails are a result of watering too much or not enough.


how much water does a vegetable garden need
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Photo used with permission by MSI Sakib on Unsplash

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How to Grow Basil Plants From Cuttings

Basil is one of my favorite herbs to grow in my self watering container garden.  It is affordable (especially if you grow basil from seeds,) fairly hardy (since I often forget plants need water to live,) and is the easiest (and cheapest) way to cook with the fancy varieties (opal basil, anyone?) I never see for sale in the grocery store. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links for your convenience.)

But the thing I really love about growing basil  is if you have one basil plant, you can use it to propagate the clippings to grow more basil plants!

Yes, really!

How to Propagate Basil Plants


quick and easy way to regrow basil plants from stems

Sunday, May 27, 2018

How to Repair a Ripped Flag

Last summer, I repaired a rip in an outdoor garden swooper flag a new sewing client flies in front of his business to give it a second year of life. (I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convince.)

I didn’t write a tutorial at the time because I didn’t think there was much of an interest in how to machine darn rips and holes in a garden flag. Based on the number of questions I answered after I did the job it turns out I was wrong.

Luckily, I get a second chance to write a flag repair tutorial because the twin outdoor feather banner has a tear and a hole in the same place where flag sleeve (the part where the flag pole runs though) sits on and pulls against the top of the curved metal pole when the wind blows. The client asked if I would repair Flag 2 like I darned the tear and hole in Flag 1 since Flag 1 is still rip, roaring, and ready to fly.

The blob at the top is the client's attempt at repairing the hole in the flag with hot glue.
 Needless to say it didn't work.

How to Machine Darn a Rips, Tears, and Holes in Fabric

Sunday, May 6, 2018

25 DIY Home Improvements You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

When you think of doing home improvement projects to add value to your home, most people immediately think of the big, long, and difficult DIY projects like remodeling a room or landscaping.

While I agree that kitchen and bathrooms sell houses and are super nice to have, it is often at the expense of those little quick and easy home improvement projects that pile up around the house and if done early, can save you the time and expensive needing to do a big, huge DIY project later on down the road.

Grab your tool belts and Do It Yourself Honey! lists. Be prepared to save a ton of money knocking out these quick and easy DIY projects when and where you can.

25 Quick and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects that Pay Off Big!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

How to Naturally Kill Grubs and Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore

When we bought our condo, the builder planted spirea bushes in front of all of the houses in the neighborhood. Those pretty pink flowers were quite attractive – to Japanese beetles and grubs.

Commercial grub killers from the big box store do not work for me which I only tried as a last resort. I was leery of what the 90% OTHER INGREDNETS listed on the ingredients label actually were since they had a warning about not using the stuff around kids, dogs, and fish ponds.

The only thing that worked was using the all natural, people and pet safe organic grub killing combo of Milky Spore powder and Beneficial nematodes in my flowerbeds. (Disclosure: I am including a few big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience because I couldn’t find any of these items for sale locally and figure you might be in the same boat too.)

Now if I was smart and applied Milky Spore to my grass and lawn when I did the flower bed years ago, the good Milky Spore bacteria would have been fruitful and multiplied in the soil throughout my property by now.

While the flower beds are naturally pest free but I found a grub in the yard recently and where there is one grub there are a dozen or more. Live and learn  should have applied my organic pest killer to the yard too. But my shortsightedness is your gain because I can write you a quick and easy tutorial.

How to Easily Apply Milky Spore to Your Lawn and Garden


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How to a Make Tomato Cage Plant Stand

This year’s Tabasco and Habanero pepper plants aren’t doing as well as they could planted discretely in our front flower bed as they could on the sunny backyard patio. They only way to do that is to eek out space for two more plants on my small patio container garden with  four plant stands.

Which was a fantastic excuse to check out our new IKEA store! I saw a self watering planter and stand on the IKEA website that would do the job nicely.


Until I got to the store and an associate told me they were discontinued. *sad face*

No worries! I swung by Home Depot on my way home to buy tomatoes cages to make into a quick and easy modern plant stand.

Quick and Easy DIY Modern Plant Stands


Pin this idea for later and to share with your friends!

You will need:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer

Every evening as part of my post dinner cleanup,  I try to dump our kitchen compost collector into the big tumbling compost bin outside to keep the little guy from stinking up the joint.

This particular evening I gave the compost bin a crank like I have done so many evenings before only for the half full bin to suddenly become much easier to turn, like it was practically empty – because it was.

The hinges and latch on the door to the compost bin failed and dumped compost all over the yard.
For the third time.

I didn’t have enough finished compost to fertilize my garden but instead of singing the Condo Blues, I used it to make compost tea. Compost tea is an excellent plant food and fertilizer and well earns its nickname – Black Gold.

How to Brew Compost Tea Concentrate the Easy Way

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How to Make a Hanging Self Watering Herb Garden

Husband and I like to cook with fresh herbs and the easiest and cheapest way to do that is to grow them on the patio off our kitchen. Unfortunately for my herb garden to be, most of the patio space has already been claimed by tomato and pepper plants.

No problem -  if you can’t go out, go up!

I made last fall’s hanging flower pots into a self watering hanging herb garden. I hung them on hanging plant pulleys I bought from Amazon here so I can water then more easily using the pulley to lower the pots to Lisa height and then raise the planters so no one else bonks their head on a low hanging plant. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience)

Easy DIY Self Watering Hanging Planter



Pin this post for later! Share this clever planter idea with your friends! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to Make a Self Watering Flower Pot

Last summer Husband and I planted green and Apache peppers in my DIY self watering planter box the Mark 2. Self watering planters are fantastic for nightshades like tomatoes and peppers because they looooooooove being watered from their roots.

There are other benefits to growing vegetables in self watering containers: you conserve water by only watering the plant and not the surrounding sidewalk or patio with the sprinkler (or is that just me?) and may be less likely to kill the plant if you forget to water it every day (also me.)

I built the Mark 2 in the Earthbox style (learn more about it herewith a plastic aeration screen making a false bottom to fill with water. Unfortunately the aeration screen collapsed during the winter under the weight of snow and heavy wet soil. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

There is another style of self wicking planter that creates the water chamber with gravel and allows the water to wick to the plant roots using a layer of  landscaping fabric as a wick. Both water conserving planter ideas work well but I want to to reduce potential spring maintenance of replacing aeration screens that collapse under weight of wet soil or decomposing cloth wicks on a yearly basis.

I combined the two styles to make self wicking and watering tomato planters from pretty flower pots for my container garden.


How to Make a Pretty Self Watering Container Garden

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to Naturally Kill Grubs, Fleas, and Fungus Gnats

Japanese beetle grubs decimated our “easy to care for landscaping” shortly after we bought our condo because our builder planted the entire neighborhood with plants that attract Japanese Beetles.  Our final solution was to rip out every bush and plant in the yard and let it lay fallow for a year. It wasn’t pretty but it worked.

Dang it. They’re back.

Commercial grub killers from the big box store do not work for me which I only tired as a last resort. I was leery of what the "90% OTHER INGREDIENTS" listed on the label actually were next to the warning about not using the stuff around kids, dogs, and fish ponds.  So, yeah. I'm glad it didn't work.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

How to Make a Brick and Pallet Rain Barrel Stand

There is an issue with the French drain in my side yard which leaves my side yard is wet and spongy days after it rains. I installed a rain barrel as a temporary fix until I can get my Homeowner’s Association to repair the poor drainage problem. Not to mention being able to capture and use rainwater to water our flowerbeds. A quick drainage fix, free plant water, and being green – high fives all around.

Originally I planned to hook a soaker hose up to the rain barrel as a lower waste way to water the front yard and garden but it didn’t work as well as I hoped because the rain barrel water pressure was practically nil. Turns out the height of your rain barrel determines how much water pressure flows from it and not what I thought – the amount of water in the rain catch system.

How to Increase Rain Barrel Water Pressure the Quick and Easy Way