A garden is a love song, a duet betweena human being and Mother Nature.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wagon Garden Camping

I wanted to share how well our wagon garden is doing...Yes, it came with me camping...I have to have something to fuss over.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Composting While Camping

I thought I would share my dirt with you.  Yes I have to have plants while camping and that means I have to have some compost. I brought a bucket full of the compost I had at my home since I have been here I have been adding to it...Coffee grounds, veg that have gone through the food processor.  The food processors turns the veg into mush and it cooks faster.  I also trotted down to the cow pasture and found some manure near the fence line...Trinity went with me and thought I was just crazy!

But the End results of pampering my pots is glorious!  Even Trinity Says So.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trash Picking

Remember when I was complaining about all the junk that was left around the campground from past campers...well...the kids and I went trash picking and we found this swing.
The frame was rusty at the joints and the paint had faded. The swing had lost most of its paint and the rest was flaking off. The chains were rusting out and needed replacing.

But under all this we saw potential. So we dragged it out of a heap of stuff (ruined my shirt) and started giving it some TLC.
We set the parts up on a ladder rack that was left behind...hummmm...with a tarp and some hay bails I see this ladder rack turning into a fort...OK getting of child labor subject. The kids and I got to work scraping and sanding.
Voila we have us a recycle swing. The bails of straw were found as well...good garden of peas! they were heavy. Not sure how long they will last...but they were free.

All the pots, signs, flags and what-knots where from my house. A friend brought me a Mum as a Trailer Trash (house) warming gift. I nabbed another one at the Walmart. I still need to fill the hanging baskets, it may not be my gardens at home but its something I can putter with and get some of natures beauty near me.

I guess we will do some more trash pickin'.I have been eyeing a stove left at another sight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Making of a Wagon Garden

A fellow gardener and online friend inspired this project. She had made an inspiring wagon garden and after Trinity and I stopped drooling we got to work.
Can you see Trinity in the back Swinging?
First we chanced by a sale at Hobby Lobby and got all the neat little miniatures...of course we were just there for the wooden sticks for the fence along with some white paint...and get this the paint was called "Garden Gate."
Trinity was awesome with the moss. She made it all fit together and patted it with her sweet little hands.

Trinity's hands...pat...pat...

She and I had been needing a good Girly project that didn't include glittery nail polish. It took us two days to apply several coats of paint. She was an expert at placement, I kept my know it all adult opinions to myself and let her guide the project...as you can see it is lovely...I guess we adults don't know everything after all.
Found a new use for my bird house barn

To visit Sue and her unbelievable garden...yes I am still drooling...and you will too...visit her here http://suesgardenjournal.blogspot.com/ be sure to take a napkin to wipe your chin.

With all That I Am
Carrie "Forrest-Dweller" Duvall

Friday, June 17, 2011

Drying Hydrangea's

Its amazing how cool these look...when its in the 90's...

My Lovely little hydrangea garden has brought me much pleasure over the years...The flowers Open up in June and go through a myriad of color.

I have enjoyed cutting, drying and crafting with these lovelies...
So I thought I would share the best way I have found to dry them...I like to do things naturally, if I can...so I let nature do the job for me...I just work very close with her.

Drying Hydrangea's

1. Most important, cut them when they are papery feeling. They kind of rustle when you touch the flour and they may be a bit green around the edges.

2. Cut them the day after a good rain or a deep watering.
3. Strip all the leaves off (Hold it at the neck and pull your hand down the stalk will take the leaves off).
4. Take them inside and take off any brown flowers, missed leaves...just spruce them up a bit.
5. Trim the stalk, do not trim them all the same length they are going to need air while drying.
6. Arrange them in a container of water making sure there is good air flow (this is why you trimmed them at different lengths)
7. Place them around the house away from direct sunlight and any AC vents.
8. Do not water again unless you cut them fresh.

9. Now have fun decorating or making gifts.

I would love to show photo's of my house right now...its all Blue! But alas my camera is not working...heading out to camera store for repair!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birds In The GArden

As I was checking out my Grapes I found a special friend moved in.....

Mrs. Robin didn't care for how close I got to the nest. And she has quite upset the squirrels path to the bird feeder as they can go from home to the bird feeder (AKA Squirrel feeder) via the grape trellis. But she doe's have first dibs on the grapes hanging in her nest when they ripen. Such is the life at our little cottage.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pest and Fungus Plant Treatment

Natural and Cheap Bug, pest and fungus treatments
I want to share what I use on my plants both indoor and out.
These sprays can be used in unison with the other.
First the alcohol: It will weaken any waxy protective coat the bug will have, and even dry up a few.
Follow up with the cooking oil a few days later it will finish them off.
I do not spray plants that I see natural pest control going on.  If you see aphids look close is there a black soft beetle looking thing with red spots?  This is a larva to the ladybug and they live off of aphids.  Other great helpers you want to keep an eye out for and not spray.  Praying mantis, spiders and lace wings.

1 Spray Bottle
Rubbing Alcohol
Combine 1 cup of rubbing alcohol to 1 quart of water. You may want to spray one leaf and wait a day then check for damage. You can use less alcohol on delicate plants.

1 Spray Bottle
Liquid dish detergent
Vegetable cooking oil
Combine 1 Tablespoon of the detergent 1.5 teaspoons oil with 1 cup of water. Test this as well.
For cabbage, cauliflower and squash use just soap solution as it will burn. (Killer cooking oil is great on houseplants that have spider mites)

Are my next target...remember "Kiss my grits?" Well that's exactly what you are going to tell the ants. They don't have a digestive system. The Grits expand and well...they explode.
This is just not a one time deal. You can sprinkle this directly on the mound. Or you can put it in the spreader along with sand. My Son loves doing this.

Or you can send the Ants to War with each other. Take a shovel from one mound and put it on the other. They will start killing each other. Ants have a scent that is totally unique to its colony and they smell each other for recognition. Its a little more technical than that, but you get the idea.

Baking Soda! That's it..just put it in some sort of shaker...the powder sugar shakers are great for this. And put a dusting on the plant. This is very gentle.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Painting Mushroom Pots

I wanted to share a project that we did as a family a few years ago that we did as a family.

Mushroom Pots

A wine bucket clay pot  or a tall slim one(I found them at garden ridge for $1.00)
Clay pots that will fit over the wine bucket
Paint in many colors
A clear coat
News Paper

Give everyone a clay pot, brushes and paint...and let them have at it!
After they are finished put a clear coat on and let them sit in a garage or covered porch for a few days to set.
fill the wine bucket pot with sand and place your painted pots on top.

Toadstool Tips 
(extra info)
You can also just make a house and set it on the ground like the one at the left.  
To make it easier to paint set it on the wine bucket base.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Painted Fairy House Pots

These are fun to make and set around the garden.

Terra Cotta pots
Polyurethane water base
Several different colors or crafting paint water based
Paint Brushes
A Big Imagination

1. Start with clean pots...a water bleach solution will get rid of any dirt and grime. Let it dry completely.

2. Coat all pots with polyurethane and let them dry overnight.

3. Gather the kids, and painting supplies and let the imaginations run rampant.

4. Once the kids and you have completed your creative huts and the paint is dry. Apply two to three coats of polyurethane, letting them dry completely. I know this part isn't as fun, but you have to protect these works of art, especially if you are going to place them in the garden.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Espalier

I wanted to share a technique that has been around for hundreds of years.  Espalier is the art of training a woody plant to grow on a flat plane.  This technique creates structure and saves on space as well.

I started two pear trees three years ago.  And I have enjoyed the process of trimming tying and training.  I had to go to allot of web sights and books to collect what little information I could find. There were no direct rules and it was a little nerve racking to get a tree and cut it off. So I will share my knowledge I have collected...but in a simple form so that you can get started with allot more confidence than I had.

What you will need:
Sturdy structure in full sun to grow it on
Tree (dwarf whip)
Plant ties (I like the soft tape)
Bamboo steaks/poles

Structure:  Make sure you have something very sturdy like wood or metal.  I used landscape timbers that were planted two feet in the ground.  And then used porch railing as the cross bars.  Start your first cross bar one foot off the ground.  Then space the remaining one foot apart.

Tree:  Use a tree to fit the size of your structure.  I chose semi-dwarf because I only had a four foot width to work with.  I purchased my whips/trees at Willis Orchards they have allot of trees and great prices. And for this use you must get whips.  For my Espalier I planted Sugar Pear Trees.  When you choose make sure you check if the tree needs a pollinating Buddie.  Some trees will only produce fruit if they have another of the same species, it doesn't have to be the same type, its better if it isn't.

Getting Started:

Rest your tree in a bucket of luke warm water.  It needs a good long drink.

Dig your hole one foot away from the support.  Make sure your hole is twice the size of the root system.

Plant your whip to the knobby base.  Do Not Plant The Knob.  Use the same soil that you removed and top dress with compost.  Make a moat around your tree so that the water stays around it when you water, you don't want it running off.

After your tree is planted cut it off  at the top of the first railing. (I know this is hard to do...its barely a stick)

Water it deeply and give thanks for all the wonderful fruit and beauty it will bring you.

You will start to see little buds that will grow into little tree arms.  choose two that will be your first horizontal branches, remove all the rest.  Attach the bamboo to the support with twine or plant tape.  Attach the branch to the  bamboo.  Your bamboo should be at a slight slant.  Just enough so that it bring the branch down a bit without going too far.  Right now you want it still growing up.  When it is horizontal the growth slows down, so don't bring it down to its support bar until it is almost at the length you want it at.

Allow the tree (center limb) to grow up to the second support bar removing any growth along the way that will not be your next horizontal branches. Cut off the top of the tree again...this will encourage the horizontal branches and the tree will start another bud for upward growth.  Choose branches that are level or close to level with the next support.  And do as you did for the first one.  continue this until you have met your desired height.

Continue shaping the tree.  Espaliers take longer to produce but when they fruit...OH YUM!

I hope I have made this easier on all my lovely gardening friends.  Try not to be as chicken as I was.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Grow Raspberries


Doesn't your mouth start watering at the word RASPBERRIES, I know mine does.

Now is the time to plant.
Even better news is that they are very easy to grow. And in three years you will have more berries than you know what to do with them.

First: Select your sight, brambles like lots of sun. They are related to the rose so if you can plant a rose in your chosen spot you can plant a raspberry.

Second: Condition your soil, brambles are know to like loamy sandy soil. But I live in Georgia and I know you all have heard of Georgia Clay. When I prepared my sight, which was about 15 feet long for three canes. I added a bag of sand (do not use play sand used builders sand) And a wheelbarrow of compost. I worked this in to a depth of 1 foot. Raspberries are shallow rooted.

NOTE: Your berries will need something to support them. My husband put 4 post in the ground and attached chicken wire between them...sort of like a chicken wire wall. As the canes grew I tied them to the wire.

Third: Choose your canes, make sure there isn't allot of scarring and it has healthy buds and is very flexible.

Planting: Only plant them to the depth they are in there container. If you prepared your sight there is nothing you need to add. Just give them a good drink.

The first year you will not get anything. The second year you will get a good bowl full and the third year you will feel you were blessed by the berry faeries.
  This is a pot of Raspberrie Jelly....yum!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Toadstool Tips Rainwater Collection

Toadstool Tips
(extra info)

We use collected rainwater from our roof. We had the contractor cut off our down spouts extra short. He then cut off the bend on the end so we could slide it on to direct the water. We kept the other pieces and in the winter we slip it on to drain away from the house.

Compost Tea Liquid Fertilizer

Making Compost Tea Liquid Fertilzer
Cheese Cloth
Hand Trowel

Cut out your cheese cloth about 5X5 or close to it.
Scoop a shove of compost on it 1/2 to 1 cup. This is not an exact science.
Fold in the corners to make a little sack
Tie a string tightly around the neck of your sack and knot
Drop it in a bucket and add water
Let this sit for two weeks

Remove the sack and toss it in the compost pile

Use 1 cup of compost tea to 2 cups of water use it on everything
You can also put this in a sprayer and spray your plants. But be sure to strain the liquid before putting it in the sprayer or you will clog your sprayer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toadstool Tips Quick Start Seeds

Toadstool Tips
(extra info)

To give your seeds a quick start place the pot in a wagon where they can be kept in a warm garage at night and then brought out in the sun during the day. This will get the sleepy little seeds up and at em in no time.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Potted Butterfly Garden

Not only do butterflies need food but they need a place to lay eggs and have food for the larva. So we have made a garden just for that...plus some sunflowers thrown in for fun.
First, find out what type of food butterfly larva in your area need. This book here "Beginner's Guide to Butterflies" By Donald and Lillian Stokes list them. For us we have allot of swallow tail. So we are planting Dill and fennel (they also like parsley) and some short Sun flowers. And a good night time read is "The Hungry Caterpillar."
Add a really cute helper with a big hat...just for some fun.

These are some pots we bought a few years ago that the kids painted then stamped. We replaced the soil and sprinkled some seed starter soil on top...about an inch. The kids drew a circle in the middle and that is where they planted the sunflowers.

Each of my kids are very different gardeners, one wants to get it done and onto the next and the other looks for perfection. Trinity just sprinkled the dill and fennel all around.  Alex divided up the soil and very carefully placed his seeds. Two very different gardeners showing how really opposite they are.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toadstool Tips

Toadstool Tips
(extra info)

Usually seedling started indoors are susceptible to tummy aches (fungus and mildew). And what better way to fix a sour stomach than a spot of Chamomile tea. Just make a pot as you would yourself, let it cool, and fill your sprayer. This is good for all your plants just give them a mist of tea.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Starting with Seed

For me gardening is as much of a therapy as is meditation itself.
I wanted to share with you all my knowledge, triumphs, lessons, crafts, discoveries and musings on the subject.
Let us begin with the seed. They are wonderful little things, full of life. Allow me to slip in here that most of my projects are suited for children and I would recommend a favorite book of ours at this most appropriate time.

"The Trellis and the Seed" By: Jan Karon. Is an inspiring tale of a timid seed, a friendly lady and encouraging earth. Read this the night before any seed preparation...you'll be glad you did. It will bring about that lovely world of wonderment, questions and inspiration from you children as you work with your seed.

Another book I would add at this time would be a good seed book. I use "The New Seed-Starters Handbook" By: Nancy Bubel. This book is a good reference guide and will help you on your way to great success with seed.

Not only is growing from seed economical it is great fun...what a wonderful feeling when they start popping out of the ground.

OK Sharing time.
Trinity and I got busy with some "Seed Trickery." We got those little things believing that it was Spring in February, of course having an unusually nice day for such behaviour helped.

We started with Nasturtium.

Trinity and I did a little scarifying with nail files. No it didn't include Halloween masks. Scarifying is the practice of scratching the seed coat to hasten germination. Gently file the surface a bit...perfect for little hands.

Then we plopped them in a cup of hot water and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Pre-soaking cuts several days off germination.

While she and I sat busy with seeds, Alex fresh out of the tree prepare our containers. He added a layer of compost (to feed the Hostas sleeping...we are tricking them as well) then he put a layer of a light weight soil, you can get seed starter soil. He pressed the seeds into the soil then sprinkled some more seed starter over the pot and watered.

Another sneaky seed trick. Keep them warm. The wagon holds my big pots, resting in a warm garage at night and sunbathes during the day.

We repeated this with hanging planters.
The hanging baskets keep us company on our sunny school room porch till spring.