Condo Blues: gardening




Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Saving Tomato Plants from End Rot and Friday Favorites 593

The tomatoes on my plants started to ripen with a bad case end blossom rot last month because there wasn't enough calcium in the soil to allow the tomato plant to grow well (this was news to me.) 

I gave my tomatoes a good dose of this exact organic tomato fertilizer to get the calcium party started. I also started watering my tomato plants with a few teaspoons of powdered milk dissolved into my watering can. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 

The only reason I used powdered not fat milk instead of watering down regular milk is I bought the no fat milk by mistake and didn't realize it until I used to make a batch of failed yogurt. Turns out my yogurt's loss is my tomato's gain.

After a week of having more little fails than successes laying bathroom tile and sourcing material for a new costume commission, I finally have a big, fat, huge win! My tomatoes are ripening and there isn't any black rot eating away at the end of the tomato! 

how to save tomato plants from end blossom rot
My tomatoes are on the small side for Roma tomatoes but that probably has to do to the lack of calcium in the soil from the time I planted them. At least I know what not to do next year!

  

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
 Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Blossom end rot!

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

How to Make Easy DIY Compost Tea and Friday Favorites 590

If you garden, one of the best zero waste ways to deal with food scraps is to compost them. 

So what do you do when everything breaks down into a lovely full bin of compost? 

Make compost tea and fertilize your lawn and garden the natural way! My husband and I couldn't have turned the sad chunk of clay pretending to be our yard into dark, rich soil without adding compost to the soil when we plant and compost tea fertilizer later in the season to keep them growing.

 

If you can steep a tea bag in a cup of hot water you have all of the skills necessary to brew compost tea. You can read my How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer the Easy Way tutorial here. Your plants will thank you for it!

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Natural Gardening Hacks and Friday Favorites 589

I spent a good chunk of the week doing plant therapy, although you may call it gardening. I transplanted the sweet fennel that was outgrowing our container garden into the front flowerbeds. Every time I pass them on my way to take Lacey in and out I whisper,"please live" to my transplants. 

It worked when I transplanted my golden oregano earlier this summer. I'm hoping the same good vibe strategy works with the fennel. Well, that, and heaps of compost and all natural gardening hacks and techniques.

You can lean how to make plants grow the inexpensive and frugal way by reading my 12 Natural Gardening Tips for Beginners post here.

 

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Celtic Fest Ohio and Friday Favorites Week 587

Last weekend I got a little bit of normality back and went to a shortened version of Celtic Fest Ohio, a celebration of Irish,Welsh, and Scottish food, music, dance, food, shopping, did I mention food? and drink. 

But I really had to work for it - as a volunteer! 


serving celtic feast at Celtic Fest Ohio
A little peak at the back stage magic it takes to serve patrons all the best food the British Isles have to offer at both Celtic Feasts!

And I worked my butt off - hard.

A huge thunderstorm knocked out the electricity in the area and flooded a section of the park (the water was waste high in that area during the storm) greeted me at volunteer check in. It threw me a curve because my assignment changed slightly due to a bunch of volunteers not showing up like they promised 😠. 

It was nothing I couldn't handle because I used to put on large scale events like this and curve balls and Plan B are the norm. Besides, waiting for power to come back on so I could get my cash box gave me a chance to pop into some of my friend's booths for fully vaxxed IRL tackle hugs. My emotional and spiritual gas tank started to fill and it felt wonderful.

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.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

My First DIY Cold Process Soap Project and Friday Favorites Week 583

I fell in love with using handmade soaps after trying some I bought at a renaissance festival. Every year I'd buy a bar or five. I dabbled with making soap with a melt and pour kit like this one   because I could play with herb add ins, natural scents, and colorants without messing around with lye because lye sounded scary! (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) A soap maker friend encouraged me to keep experimenting because that's how you learn how different herbs and oils interact and influence the final product.

When I stumbled upon a liquid hot process soap tutorial online, I realized I had most of the equipment needed and I could buy the soap ingredients at the grocery store. I gave it a whirl and realized working with lye isn't as scary as I thought!  But liquid soap is tricky (at least for me.) The book I have doesn't give a lot of why to the how and there is even less information on line unless you're making cold process bar soap. Cold process soap tutorials didn't seem as scary as they did before I started making soap in an old crock pot. I bought this exact The Natural Soap Making Book for Beginners book and made my first batch of cold process soap!

DIY cold process soap
The color is a little *intense*  and there were some slight bubbling after sequestering but overall I'm pleased with how my first batch of real deal bar soap came out. 

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 20, 2021

Steampunk Dinosaur Decor and Friday Favorites Week 582

I have a bad habit of buying a piece of wall art and not framing it and hanging  because I want to paint a  wall, rearrange a room, or have some grand project that often gets moved down in priority on my project punch list. 

I have bare walls when I could at least have something interesting on them. 

I decided it was time to frame and display this piece I bought at the Columbus Art Festival in the before times. Everybody say Hi to Uncle Morty!


steampunk decorating ideas
Uncle Morty is not the title of the work. I named him Morty, because its a name that brings up the idea of a lovable, life of the party, fun uncle, who miiiiight have a business where he knows a guy and you shouldn't make him mad but probably not because he's always a sweet guy who pulls a quarter out of your ear every time he sees you (maybe.)


Oh and if you are wondering, the friend I went to the Art Festival with when I bought the piece thought I was weird when I bought it and so did my husband when I brought it home.

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

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.


Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Favorites Week 579

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

  

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day with the Rule of Half and Friday Favorites Week 578

Today is Earth Day, although honestly we try to make every day Earth Day around here by refusing, reducing, reusing household items with the goal of running a low waste home.  One useful and FREE way to do that is to follow The Rule of Half whenever possible. The Rule of Half is to try using half (or at least less) of the amount of stuff  you would normally use to get the job done. 

how to save money for FREE with the Rule of Half

A good example of this is toothpaste. Instead of loading up the length of your toothbrush with toothpaste like the toothpaste companies show you, put the dentist recommended pea size to half a length of toothpaste on your toothbrush. You create a little less trash because a tube of toothpaste lasts a little longer. One tube of toothpaste might not seem like such a big deal but if you do the same (or at least measure items instead of just chucking it in) with the majority of items you use on a daily basis it can make a difference in the amount of household trash you put by the curb every week and all for the affordable price of FREE. No fancy eco products required! (Unless you want to.)


Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

I recently read an article claiming that zero waste living doesn’t have to be expensive.

That immediately said to an interviewed college student who said that they couldn’t afford a $20 zero waste made from adopted unicorn tears deodorant that the student just needs to change their attitude because they are buying better and more expensive stuff. Because the superior feeling of spending more money on low waste deodorant outweighs the reality of then not having enough money for school books or tuition, I guess?

The author also said that no one who wants to go low waste (which is a more accurate description than the search engine friendly term zero waste) does it to save money.  It really burns my cookies that when confronted with the reality of price, a zero waste expert ignores it and tells you to buy it anyway. That's how zero and low waste living gets the (wrong) perception that its only for the privileged!

10 ways to make zero waste save money

Save these ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share them with your friends!

My family is practically debt free because we don’t waste things. As I started switching from disposables to reusables the amount of trash we make plummeted and extra dollars accumulated in the bank. For example it cost zero dollars to stop using plastic zipper baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and leftovers and start using the containers with lids (many repurposed) I already had. I had no idea how much money we wasted on that stuff until we didn’t need to buy it anymore - and you could see a serious dent in how much landfill trash it kept out of our bin.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Decorative Rain Barrel and Friday Favorites Week 576

As I type this it is raining. It is pouring. I'm dancing instead of snoring because it is warm enough to  hook up our rain barrel! Right now it is filling with sweet, sweet, organic and free rain water! We use rain water  I use to our container garden and make compost tea. It also keeps a poor drainage spot in our side yard from turning into a mud pit. 

Oh and it is pretty too. I looks like a giant boulder!


how to install a rain barrel
You can find pretty rain barrels similar to my Water Stone here (affiliate link for your convenience.)


I showed you my project, now you show my yours! Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Monday, March 22, 2021

DIY Compost Station

When someone asks why we started composting, my husband and I say it’s because we had to because all we had for garden was clay and zero topsoil. We sang the condo blues over how very little would grow in that pretending to be soil, researched how to amend it, and experimented with composting in a DIY compost bin.

I made our first compost bin by drilling a bazillion holes in a black plastic trash can. We loaded it up with food scraps and paper from our paper shredder and in about a year we had compost! We added the homemade compost to our soil and after awhile our tan clay soil started to turn black with nutrients. I practically dance the first time I dug a hole and found an earthworm – it is another indicator that the soil is improving!

 

We take our composting very seriously. Why do you ask?

 

And we’ve been composting ever since.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

DIY Bottle Cap Bees and Friday Favorites Linky Party Week 568

February is almost over and we are inching towards Spring which brings warm weather, flowers, and happy little bees! Bees are going to be this year's craft and decor trend. Why not get started a little early and recycle a few bottle caps into cute little bees?

I made the recycled bottle cap bees and little trinkets to trade with children when I do (someday) children's theater. It's a versatile craft project. You can glue a magnet to the back to make them magnets, a pin back to make them into pins, or punch a hole and make it into a necklace. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!


Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts! 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Quick and Easy Popsocket Makeover and Friday Favorites Link Party Week 539

Last October on vacation I broke the door on my  wallet phone case. I fixed it with a small piece of decorative duct tape on the fly and didn't get around to replacing the case until recently because the duct tape fix didn't work anymore. The flamingo Popsocket I made over while still useful, is dirty and worn from use and could use a quick and easy makeover. 


I replaced this phone case that only holds 2 cards with a similar wallet phone like these that holds at least 3 cards since I broke the purple one by trying to stuff my room key, ID, and debit card into the wallet part. (Disclosure I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

How to Water Succulents the Lazy Way!

Two years ago I was given an echeveria plant. Up until that time I had no idea  how to keep a succulent, well truthfully most indoor plants, alive. Fortunately it came with watering instructions, an eye dropper pipette thing that looks like this, and a little bamboo pokey stick. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) The instructions said to poke the stick in the soil. If the stick is damp/wet the succulent doesn’t need watering. If the stick comes out dry, water the echeveria with one graduated pipette full of water. I followed the same instructions (with slightly more water because it is a bigger plant) with the aloe vera plant buddy I bought the echeveria so he wouldn’t get lonely.


 And whaddaya know? Both plants not only lived but they grew so much I had to repot them after I found an even easier and lazier way to water but not over water my succulent plants. 

How Much Water Does a Succulent Plant Need to Grow?

How to water succulents the lazy way

Save this plant hack to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Soapmaking and Friday Favorites Linky Party 538

Well, there is one thing I have to say about our social distancing summer, I'm getting a lot of projects done that I've been putting off (repeatedly.) For example just this morning I finally played that game of Sock Concentration (although you may call it  matching up and reorganizing your sock drawer) in a desperate attempt to find a pair of matching no show socks to wear today.

Although I briefly considered wearing a pair missing mates, because no show socks, amiright? But hey, it's done, I'm wearing matching socks (also I'm wearing an actual shoe that requires a sock) and in a Marie Kondo fashion that I revised after the first go round to work a little better for me - I hope.

My last batch of liquid hot process soap came out with the consistency of Flubber and I've been putting off trying again since its failure. Projects have been keeping me sane since this whole mess started and soap making was the only thing left on this list. Also, the summer heat in the garage already melted my coconut oil for me and since melting my oils at too high a temperature was Step 1 in my last comedy of errors, I gave it another go.

melted coconut oil
Soapmaking is easier when the summer heat melts your oils for you!