Building Healthy Garden Soil

This weekend if  you lived near me you would have thought summer had arrived completely skipping spring.  I was itching to get into the garden and had to satisfy myself with cleaning up the beds and checking how the sections I buried my compost turned out.

The first flowers found and picked for me this year.

The first flowers found and picked for me this year.

There are a lot of so-called rules for composting.  Getting the right mix of brown and green, what can be composted and what cannot.  These rules have scared many off from trying to make their own.  I don’t follow too many rules in my compost and what rules I use are a combination of my own thoughts and safety measures I’ve learned. I never worry about the right mix of brown and green, for example.  What I have is what goes in.

Continue reading

Friday Faves, Spring has Arrived

Spring has finally arrived and with it the first tips of the daffodils are showing.  Yesterday was our first day of really gorgeous weather, I was outside all day, until the sun disappeared with a good book in the field! Yes, the ground dried out enough I was able to get into the field without fear of getting stuck. I even had a bit of sunburn, faded by morning.

The warmth from the sun had been missed.

The warmth from the sun had been missed.

 

The garden beds are looking good, especially the two sections where I used a small amount of soil as the foundation for a compost bed.  The soil there is rich and so beautiful.  Nothing like the beds of some of my neighbors who only have soil and store bought  compost.  Theirs look dry and hard.

No flowers yet here but I can't wait.

No flowers yet here but I can’t wait.

Now that I can safely get to the beds while I can’t begin to plant anything I can start another compost section with the food scraps I froze all winter waiting for this day.  By the time the soil is warm enough to plant in these scraps will be decomposed and ready for planting.

 

I won't see any tulips as the deer ate all of my bulbs.

I won’t see any tulips as the deer ate all of my bulbs.

sustainable gardening

  1. I made a huge mistake and purchased peat moss after reading several sources that suggested it in my first raised beds.  Since then I’ve learned we are destroying a delicate ecosystem by using peat moss.  This is another of those situations where I try to vote with my dollars so no more peat moss.  To learn why this is not an eco-choice and what you can use as a soil amendment check out this post by Learning and Yearning.
  2. Jean experiments with straw bales as raised beds  So simple and a good use of a renewable resource as a growing medium.
  3. With climate change we have no idea what our weather will be like from one year to the next so it’s important to take all precautions to conserve water. Anne gives us 20 reasons why we should mulch our garden beds.
  4. Children used to work along side the adults in the daily chores, this included the gardens.  Our children need to experience in seeing how their food is grown and will be more willing to try new foods if they have a hand in growing them.  Eartheasy has a wonderfully complete garden list on how to garden with children and even includes how-to plans to make a child’s wheelbarrow.   If you don’t have children but want to learn how to grow your own food this detailed list would be the place to start.
  5. Last summer I finally had a carrot crop that grew!  I was so excited I started a second crop, total failure they never even sprouted. This year I am going to pre-sprout some varieties of seeds and see if this helps. I thought you might enjoy this article I found on pre-sprouting as well.
Spotted the first crocus flowering on a walk.

Spotted the first crocus flowering on a walk.

diy your garden

  1. Looking for inspirational ideas for the best garden yet?  These ten diy garden hacks will get you started.
  2. Don’t spend a ton of money on bird feeders, make your own.  Last year I made a simple bird feeder from orange peels with the grandchildren.  They loved seeing the birds sitting on their half of the orange rind to eat seed from.  But there are many other fruit peels you can use such as grapefruit used in this tutorial. What’s better than zero cost or when finished you can compost the feeder and hang a new one?
Bees are back and have been pretty aggressive, normal for spring.

Bees are back and have been pretty aggressive, normal for spring.

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

 

Have a wonderful weekend

Friday Faves, Lend a Hand

moon-at-night_w725_h544

Earlier this week I told you NASA is currently accepting applications from businesses to mine the moon for Helium 3 and rare earth metals needed for our electronics, fuel sources and many more, if you missed it you can read it here.  I did my best to hold my feelings in check while writing that post but I was scared and angry about this prospect.  The company who is selected for this job will be notified mid March of this year.  There isn’t much time to prevent this but Linne@A Random Harvest  took action and started the petition Don’t allow mining on the moon. Please  share this with everyone you know, on blogs, social sites and to friends and family.  We’ve done enough damage to the earth please help save the moon from us.

Continue reading

Simplicity in the Making; Guest post and giveaway

Today I have a very special treat for you.  When I chose to open the blog up to guest writers I had hoped to have both individuals and bloggers who wanted to share their stories of finding their path whether that would be in simple living or by choosing an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, or something along those lines.

grass-203683_640

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Roland, who blogs with his wife at Handcrafted Travellers.  If you haven’t visited Roland and Cheryl’s blog before here are just a small sampling of what you have been missing.  In You have to start somewhere, Cheryl reminds us we don’t have to know the destination to begin our journey;  in Look he’s naked I believe I read this at least 3 times smiling each time that a father took the time from one small comment from his daughter to rethink societies views of what is appropriate for each sex. And if you follow their blog you won’t have forgotten how Roland created his first pair of shoes.  What I like the best about Roland and Cheryl’s blog is that they live by example.

`

Let me introduce you to Roland who has a very special treat for you.

Continue reading

Change the World Wednesday, for the birds

While Small Footprints is on vacation, I have tried to come up with a few things of interest.  This week I want to challenge you to reconsider items you might toss out.  We can help those less fortunate, such as our visiting birds.  Encourage them to build their homes near you with this simple idea.

source: Pinterest

source: Pinterest

If you don’t have a suet cage you can make a container from plastic bottles, or other items you have around the house, by cutting holes around it in various places.  Throughout the rest of winter  you can save these scraps for the birds who will collect and use them to make nests with.  These include:

  • pet hair
  • biodegradable string
  • non-toxic paper
  • yarn
  • small scraps of fabric, just make sure it’s not synthetic

A word of caution, do not add human hair which can tangle around the baby birds causing harm.

Just before spring arrives hang your cage filled with the collected scraps.  This will save the landfill and assist birds in quickly building a home for their young.

What do you do to help birds?

A Little Exploring and a DIY gift

This past weekend we had some really nice temperatures mid 40s to high 50s, but with it came rain.  It didn’t matter to me I grabbed the umbrella and headed out. The air was fresh, and the sights were amazing.  The streams were overflowing and moving rapidly. Some of the sidewalks and areas of the roads were flooded due to the combination of melting snow, yes we had that much, and two days of rain.  Here are my favorite pictures from my outing.

Continue reading

Friday Faves,

I can’t believe November is nearing an end already.  Next week we in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I have purchased my bus tickets and will be visiting my youngest son for most of the week. For now I am busy putting my house in order as there is nothing better than coming home to the serenity of a clean home, or nothing worse than walking back into a home that needs straightening.

As I will be leaving on Tuesday my posts next week will be cut back.  I will travel with my computer to be able to keep in touch and respond to comments.  You can expect to have my regular Monday Frugal Christmas post, a Change the World Wednesday post of another piece of good news but Friday will be a bit different.  I won’t be posting a typical Friday Faves, but something I hope you will enjoy just as much to welcome the holiday season.

It’s time to share with you my favorite posts of the week, you will find some real surprises this week, hope you enjoy them.

Continue reading

Friday Faves, October 17th

This week the temperatures have turned cooler and we’ve had lots of rain. I really hope the rains won’t diminish the colors of fall.  I am already missing the hours I spent outdoors and being stuck inside with the rain hasn’t been fun.  I’ll get used to it again as always but find it strange how long the adjustment of being disconnected from nature takes me each year.  I wonder how those who spend most of their time indoors, rarely getting outside, can stay centered.

10_17_2013 10_29_13 PM_jpg


A few things I will miss

My parts for my chair have arrived and are awaiting final approval to be installed, I received a call yesterday informing me to expect to have them later today, so I am happy about that.

This week everyone outdid themselves, I had a very hard time choosing which posts to share with you in today’s Friday Faves.  :-)

Continue reading

Nature entertains

We had a lovely weekend of almost summer-like temperatures.  We took every opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy it while we could.  The little ones stopped by several times to check the garden and play in the field.  As I was watching them I realized how much money we, as a society, waste on toys and things to entertain the children when they don’t need it at all.  Nature will grab their attention every time.  Today it was a wooly bear that “popped” on my grandson which he found hysterical, but his mother was grossed out by it and sent him packing to wash his hands.  Saturday it was a praying mantis.

10_14_2013 11_42_51 PM_jpg Continue reading

The Beauty of Nature, One Last Look

The weather has turned to full on autumn, so I thought I would like to take one last look at the beauty that surrounds me here at my home.  I was inspired by a few blogging friends and a promise I made to share this picture.  Some days it feels as if the damage mankind has done to the planet will never be repaired, then I look outside and see what we create isn’t as resilient as what was intended to be here.  This plant is growing in a parking area next to the road, the tiny space between the power pole and the black top was just enough for this to take root and thrive.

WP_20130925_002 Continue reading