Sunday, December 30, 2012

Garden Prep (What I'm doing to prepare for spring gardening in DECEMBER)

On Friday, my partner and I had a surge of energy, so we cleaned up the yard, organized materials, burned recyclables for our garden so we could start prepping for Spring gardening. Technically, I will be gardening in February since I'll be starting Cabbage and Brussels indoors. In the first three pictures, you will see that I made seed starting trays out of water bottles and duck tape. 

I always suggest to people they should use free, recycled,
re-purposed materials to create your own tools/supplies.

To make these trays, cut off the head/lid of the
water bottle, line bottles in rows, then tape.

Remember to puncture holes in the bottoms of each
water bottle for drainage.

The compost pile is full of leaves that I raked up around the yard.

Compost should be 1(nitrogen):3(carbon) ratio.
Compost needs to contain 1 part food scraps to every
3 parts of wood-based materials
(leaves, sticks, bark, ash, paper)

This past summer I grew tomatoes, peppers, and beans here.
Next Spring, I will be growing Cabbage, Brussels, and Broccoli here,
as seen here.

In the making of our herb garden. We had logs around our
house from a tree we had to cut down.

More free materials!
 As I said, I want to create a HEART-SHAPED FLOWER BED. I want it to look something like this, but with the bricks I have found around the yard:

Photo Source: Romantic Garden

Burning brush and wood from around our yard helps
add nitrogen to our soil, and it also helps us to expand the garden.

The garden, on my Mother's property, is currently 35 ft long and 13 ft wide. We're expanding the garden by another 30 ft for maximum yields!

Below I have posted a video from, where "John goes on a field trip to Orange County Farm supply to share with you their hanging vertical garden made from an old shipping pallet. In addition, John shares with you how to deal with pests in your garden organically without the use of man made chemical poisons. In addition you will learn the most important aspect of a vegetable garden the soil and the best nutrients to add to supercharge your plant growth to grow bigger and tastier fruits and vegetables":

Check out the link below to see specific gardening requirements for each fruit, vegetable, and herb:

Vegetable Gardening Guide from Explore Cornell University

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Free ways to decorate your yard

I know it's December, and planting food and flowers seems too far away to worry about; but thinking about these things ahead of time is very important to me (since I'll be planting cabbage and Brussels Sprouts as earlier as February next year!) December and January are the best months for planning; and hopefully I can encourage you to do the same ;)


I remember before I became a gardener, I wanted to transform my yard into a Japanese-secret-garden-scene. I love the mystery in a Japanese Garden; and actually my dream was (and still is) to be able to get lost in the never-ending paths of lush greenery. Doesn't everyone want to have a yard that looks like paradise?
To me, gardening is much more than growing free food; there is an artistic expression in gardening, in that we're creating life and beauty for everyone to admire...

Your home as well as your yard should be a place that comforts and relaxes you. And you can create this atmosphere in your yard by using free, re-purposed, recycled, and reused materials around you. I have two similar posts "Raised Bed Garden Ideas & Using Free materials" and "What's the best, free material to use for raised beds?" if you're curious to see how I used free materials around my house.

To all of you that want your yard professional-looking, I have listed methods on decorating your yard for free, as well as post pictures for inspiration and creativity:

1. ROCKS (or stones)

Rocks can be found (for free) in creek beds, around your house, and in the woods to decorate your yard. You can literally find big rocks anywhere you go. Rocks are also versatile to use when landscaping because you can create a raised bed (for growing food), rock paths, steps, walls, etc. With free rocks alone, I made a small patio and a raised bed!

Raised Beds made of Stone


Walkway made of Flat creek rock
Here is a walkway my Dad made
Raised bed made of creek rock

Spiral design for garden bed, made with rocks. You can see how others construct spiral raised bed gardens in this video: Building a Herb Spiral in Under 5 minutes.

Photo and post here @ Growing The Home Garden

Raised bed for vegetable garden, made of flat rocks

Photo and post here @ Homesteading on the Internet
Cob home made of rock foundation

Picture from Middle Earth Home

2. WOOD (Free pallets, logs, etc)

My partner and I built this!

Photo and post @ Curtis and Kaye Absher

Source: Instructables
Source: DIY Network
You could also use BAMBOO as an alternative to Wood. Bamboo is well known for growing abundantly and rapidly, and much more sustainable than cutting down 20-50 year old trees.

3. Homemade Ponds

Ponds are a great addition for an exotic appeal, to your yard; but they can also serve as a water source for your plants, veggies, and fruits. 

Photo and post here


Mulch is best used for adding nutrients to plants; preventing weeds from growing around your plants; and trapping moisture. Mulch can also be a very attractive way of landscaping your yard. Also, if you don't want to build raised beds (with pallets) or form a raised bed with rocks, you could PILE mulch in long rows without any materials to hold in the dirt/mulch for planting. 

picture source here
5. Other props (think unique)

Photo and post here @ Under the Table and Dreaming.
Check out Stephanie's post for more unique ways of
displaying and growing food!

Photo and post here @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Find post and photo here @ Miss Thrifty

As I mentioned, I have two similar posts on re-purposing materials to grow food here: "Raised Bed Garden Ideas & Using Free materials" and "What's the best, free material to use for raised beds?"

Remember to use whatever materials are close to hand; and never buy anything new if you can reuse something old. Below I have listed additional pictures of other unique concepts:

Paint Stumps, pieces of wood or stools like Mushrooms. The next photo also features a painting concept, decorating large rocks for display. Paint rocks with colors that match the color schemes of your home and outside decor.
From Twig & Toadstool
From She Moves the Furniture

Grow sunflowers or other tall plants in a circle. Kids will use this niche to hide and get away to a beautiful scene, like in the pictures below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

COB BUILDING (Straw, clay, & Sand for building DREAM EARTH HOME)

Are you interested in a home made of materials from under your feet? Do you want a house that costs less than a car or a computer? Would you rather have a home sculpted from clean, Earth materials than a home made of toxic, commercial products? Of course you do!
Below I have posted some of my favorite videos from Youtube that talk about how to make INEXPENSIVE DREAM HOMES made of the cleanest materials (straw, clay, and sand.) These videos are to urge you to want to build a home of natural materials (rather than toxic plastic walls, fiberglass insulation, and other flammable products.) Homes made of clay (blended with straw/sand) are fire-resistant, bug-proof, earthquake and tornado-safe; and can be mended and shaped easily if it needs restructured. Clay is also abundant and common in most regions.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great November (World Vegan Month); it's time to move on to the pleasures December brings us....

As you may or may not know, I have been practicing yoga for the last five years; and within that time, I have learned many ways to improve my skills. I am not a professional, but I would like to think of myself as a guide for beginners. Consequently, I have compiled a list of my BEST YOGA TIPS that will enable you to master your practice.
Here are my top FIVE Yoga Tips: