Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Last week, I posted an entry about our new container garden.  I must say, it is thriving. 

Our potatoes have needed soil twice and are continuing their quest to overtake the half barrel.

The string beans are making me go out to purchase a trellis soon. 

Our tomatoes, specifically the Early Girls, are already flowering. 

Today, I noticed the pepper plant has a wee tiny pepper growing.

Our carrots just got thinned out for the first time.

As did the radishes.

And the summer squash plants…

are in a race with the cucumbers.

Happy Homesteading,



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Jon and I decided early this year that we wanted to use every available bit of space to garden this year.  Living in a townhouse community, our actual land ownership is quite limited and, as I’ve told you before, it is governed with an iron fist by our homeowner’s association.  This meant that our garden was going to have to be housed in containers on our patio.  Enter an impulse purchase from BJ’s…

I have a big problem walking past large tables of books that are on sale.  I have an even bigger problem walking away from said tables without books to purchase.  On one such experience at BJ’s, I discovered The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible by Edward C. Smith.  This book has been a great resource for us and really got us yearning to make our own self-watering containers.

As I mentioned in my potatoes in a half barrel post, we had already bought a few half barrels.  Our next feat was to make them into self watering containers, which we accomplished last week.  I held off writing this post until we found out if they worked and… eureka!  They work beautifully.

DISCLAIMER: I hesitate to call this entry a tutorial as we are new at this ourselves.  Please just consider this the steps we took to create our half barrel self-watering containers.


Wooden half barrel

Plastic tarp

3” PVC piping

1” PVC piping

Rubber stopper

Quart size yogurt containers or Ziploc containers

Weed prevention fabric

Heavy duty stapler



The bottom of our half barrel had a diameter of 20”.  Our first step was to cut our tarp in a 30” circle. 

We placed the tarp flat on the bottom of the barrel and stapled the extra to the sides. 

Jon drilled holes throughout the pipe using his largest drill bit and then cut it into 8” sections.

Meanwhile, I cut the quart size yogurt containers to 3” high and poked holes throughout.

In the bottom of each barrel, we place 3 section of pipe in a spoke design and 2 yogurt containers for water wicking.  In the remaining space, we put 1 small Ziploc storage container to provide extra stability.

Next, we cut the 1” pipe to the height of the barrel, then cut one side on an angle.  The angled side got place into the side of the barrel.

We cut the landscaping fabric in a large circle, roughly 30” in diameter, and placed it on top of the pipe and yogurt containers.

I cut an X in the fabric above the 2 open yogurt containers.

We then filled the yogurt containers with soil then filled the rest of the barrel.  We also forgot to keep taking pictures.

Once the soil was in, we filled the water in the basin by pouring it in the 1” pipe.  We used the rubber stopper the plug the pipe to prevent mosquitoes from moving in.

To date, our garden is flourishing and we’ve only had to refill the barrels twice!

Happy Homesteading,


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Immediately after college, I found a job in my field.  I was ecstatic and virtually unable to pay my bills.  After a year of struggling to make my used Cavalier payments, I quit and got a job as a receptionist at a doctor’s office.  My favorite part about that job, other than my paycheck, was the people I got to meet.  I met everyone from judges to painters and everyone in between.  There was even one retired landscaper who used to bring me homegrown roses every time he visited. 

His roses were beautiful.  Unfortunately, he never shared all of his secrets with me, but he did share his recipe for a banana peel & coffee grind slurry.  He added this to his roses 2 or 3 times a month and swore by it.

Combine 1 torn banana peel with ½ cup water in a blender.

Puree until the banana peel and water are well combined.

Add 1 Tbs. of today’s coffee grinds.

Using blender, combine coffee grinds into banana peel mixture.

Apply to base of one rosebush and cover with soil.  Reapply every 10 to 14 days.

Happy Homesteading,


Tips and Tricks:

This “recipe” is for one rosebush.  As he had quite a few bushes, he saved his banana peels and made this slurry in a large blender.  I only have one rosebush, so I find that using my stick blender is perfect.

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Our seed potatoes sprouted plants overnight! 

We have 5 little sproutlets who are not quite 1 inch tall.

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Our first rosebud of the season.

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