Creating a New Garden Door

Our old garden door has seen better days, but it served its purpose – it kept out the deer and other critters from entering our garden. But, it needed to be changed out to a newer looking entrance!

If you know me, I always put my heart into all of my projects, and this garden door was no different. We made a trip to Home Depot and got some nice flat pieces of wood, a box of screws, a can of mahogany gel stain, and some outdoor polyurethane. (I already had some leftover black netting to use in between the door slats, phew)

The first thing that I needed to change with our new door, was the width of the entrance to the garden. The old door was just exactly wide enough for the lawn mower to wiggle its way into the garden area, and that was a pain in my neck. The new door was definitely going to be wider to allow me to get the mower back there and the wheelbarrow too.

I decided to do a “slats” look for the door because I fell in love with this look, as it is all over Pinterest right now. If you look up any fences, garden fences, or privacy fences, the new look are the horizontal slats, instead of the regular vertical ones. Love it!

So, with that in mind, I went to work. Measure twice, cut once! This is definitely a good motto to remember when working with wood. I cut the strips of wood for the height of the door, then two for the top and bottom. Basically, at this point, you are just making a frame for your door, then I measured the door frame to see what size of slats I will need to cut to use across the actual door.

The photograph below shows the garden door before I attached it to my wood pole with hinges. Our new door is over 30+ inches in width, well wide enough to get the mower in the garden area now!

Garden Door 3

The photograph below is the new mahogany stained door with the black mesh attached to the inside of the door to keep the smaller critters out of the garden area. This look definitely matches the rest of the garden fence nicely.

Garden Door 1

Here is a photograph showing that I definitely used enough polyurethane on the door, eh! I took this pic right after it rained.

Garden Door 2

Now, I am working on building the little area next to the entrance so it matches the door. Two poles and more wood slats cut! Each slat has to be leveled too, so this process was never rushed. Each slat had to be screwed in place too.

Garden Door 4

The new addition next to the door is all stained and polyurethaned.

Garden Door 5

But, as you can see from the photograph below, I had to add the black mesh netting to this section to keep the small critters out! Now, everything matches just perfectly! Can you only imagine if I kept going all around the front of the garden area and did this? Boy, would that look so beautiful! (maybe next year!)

Garden Door 6

So, what do you think of our new garden door? What have you changed in your garden this year?

Growing Container Corn

I can definitely say that we stepped a little out of our boundaries this gardening seasoning, but not out of our comfort zone. If you have followed along with us through the years, you have read all about our successes and failures through our gardening adventures. Some things worked, some things grew & some did not, but that is what gardening is all about…the learning process, and to get fresh home grown veggies (of course).

Like I mentioned in the last post, we wanted to try to grow Container Corn (and yes, that is what the name is) from Burpee Seeds. We got a nice sized huge container, drilled lots of drain holes in the bottom of it, and placed it up on top of a few landscaping stones to level it a bit in the garden area. Then, we took a lot of soil and filled that container to the top. We only planted nine seeds because we wanted to follow the directions for growing container corn exactly as directed.

Guess what we got from all of that? We have corn stalks (nine of them) growing in our huge container! And, on each stalk, we have actual corn cobs growing & forming too! I know that we sound waaaaaay too happy to see corn growing on a “corn stalk” (but what else would you find on that stalk, eh?) But it is our pure excitement to see corn growing when we never ever grew it before in our backyard!  Another sweet success for sure! And, we should be getting two corn cobs on each stalk too!

The photograph below is from June, so you can see how short the stalks were. By the time Fourth of July rolled around, well….you know the old saying “knee high by the Fourth of July” and our corn stalks were at that & more!

6-15-15 Container Corn

The photograph below is from current day! Each stalk has at least one corn cob on it, and the second cob should  be starting to form shortly!

Container Corn

Growing container corn has definitely been fun to watch! In a million years, we would have never guessed that we could grow corn in our small backyard, but to our surprise, anyone can! As long as you have a huge container & good drainage, you can do it too! (perhaps you can try it next year too!)

Ear of Corn

Have you tried to grow anything different this gardening season that you have not grown before? I would love to hear what you have tried!

Gardening: Trying Something Different

One thing about gardening, is that you never know what will happen from day to day. This is such a true fact.

We are trying a few new things this year in our garden that we are excited about. One, we are trying to grow Container Corn from Burpee Seeds, and so far, we are having phenomenal success, as the corn is growing so well & getting taller every day.  Number Two, we are growing celery for the first time and started it from seed indoors and it has also taken off and has grown by leaps and bounds, and last but not least, Number Three, we are growing Loofahs!

Yes, you heard that correctly, we are attempting to grow Loofah Sponges, ya know those things you use in the bathroom for exfoliation.  For every person we have asked “where do you think Loofahs come from?”, they all answered “the ocean”.  Wrong!  Loofah’s grow from a black seed!  We have four Loofah plants growing in our garden right now! We have a friend of ours that thinks that we are telling them a fib about the loofah, because they don’t believe that a loofah can be grown in a container, as they too said that they come from the ocean. Well, all we want (to prove them wrong) is for one loofah to grow and produce a nice sized loofah.

L1

If you take a close look at the small growing loofah, it has an interesting texture on it. A loofah is from the squash family if I am not mistaken, and it needs to be pollinated for the loofah to produce & grow. The tip of the ones shown are waiting for the flower to open up. Once the Loofah is pollinated, it will grow into a nice sized Loofah where we will have to cut the skin off the outside of the Loofah, then hang it to dry outside. All the black seeds will then at that time be removed so we can use them to grow more next year, once they are dried properly. Interesting stuff, eh?

Since we have planted four seeds, each vine is starting to produce quite a number of loofah’s on each vine, which is a good thing, since I would love to have a few of these actually grow into a loofah. All in all, gardening is truly fun and we are so glad that we tried something new this year in the garden, as it makes it fun heading into the garden each morning to see what has happened over night!  These are just a few closeups of the Loofahs, but there are little Loofahs popping up all over these vines right now!

L2

I will be slowly starting to get back into my garden posts, as I have taken a much needed break from blogging, so get ready for some awesome stuff!

How To Repair A Lawn

So you want to know how to repair your lawn to look lush and green? It’s easier than you think, and does not take that much time to do. Follow these simple steps and your lawn will look nice and green again!

First of all, I love dirt. I love digging my hands into a good pile of dirt and feeling it crumble between my fingers. It must be a gardener thing, ya know. The other reason I do this is because I can break up the soil by hand so there are no clumps when I lay the soil before I seed.

You all remember the mess I had in the backyard in the Poop Pit after our long Winter, and I was left with lots of lawn damage. I deal with this every year, but it is rather easy to get your lawn back to “green” again.

If you have any spots in your yard that need some extra attention, you too can get your lawn green again by following these simple steps.

STEP ONE

Remove any dead grass in your yard either by raking it up or by sliding an edging shovel over the area.

POOP PIT NEEDS FIXING

STEP TWO

Get your topsoil ready and start laying it down in the area. This is where I dump a nice pile of topsoil down and then break it up by hand. I used to use a garden rake to distribute the soil, but then I can’t see how much topsoil was laid, so I just choose to move the topsoil around in these spots by hand. (I know what you are thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot of work”, but it’s not) You want your soil to be loose, but not too loose. (after you water it, it will compact)

SOIL AND SEED

STEP THREE

After you have completely filled in all the areas with a nice layer of topsoil, it is time to seed! But before you lay your seed down, this is the time to check to make sure you have enough soil laid down. My rule of thumb is, lay just enough soil down so that it does not rise above the blade of grass in your lawn. This is also the time to fill in those dips you might have in your lawn too, and all you will have to do is lay a little more topsoil in those areas to make your lawn nice and flat. (tamp down those areas that you are filling in, but make sure the surface is scratched up so that the grass seed has something to grab onto when the seed starts to germinate)

LAYING SOILOnce you feel that you have completely covered all the areas you need with the topsoil, it is time to spread your seed. You can lay your grass seed in two ways, or however you are comfortable with, but you want an even distribution of your seed. Either throw the seed by hand if you are comfortable with this way or if you have just a few spots in the lawn that you are fixing, or use a seed spreader which is what I am going to do because I have a larger area that I need to seed.

SOIL

Make sure you use the correct seed for your growing zone and also make sure you use the right seed, either sun or shade seed too! You can also lay a light layer of straw over the top to protect the seed from the birds.

SOIL2

STEP FOUR

Now that your seed is laid, it is time to water! Fresh seed should never be allowed to dry out, or it will not germinate. Make sure that you don’t walk over the area that you have just seeded, so if you have dogs you might want to move them to another area when they head outside. You want to give your seed a chance to grow before anyone walks over this area.

SOIL3

Getting your lawn back in shape is easier than you think, and now is the time to head outside and tackle your lawn problem spots!

Wordless Wednesday

Today’s garbage day, and one thing that we do well around here is rip up our recycles first before the garbage man gets them.

NIKITA LUCKY CHARMS BOX

Bella inspects the Lucky Charms box in case there’s a piece left in the bottom of the box.

BELLA LUCKY CHARMS BOX

What do you do to your trash before the garbage man gets it?

You’re In The Digital Age, Baby!

One of the fun things about digital photography, is that you get to see immediate results of your photo. You’re in the digital age baby, so no more using those old film cameras, finishing off a roll, rewinding, then taking them to get developed, then wait to pick up your pics. Boy have a lot of things changed since I was younger.

Popart Effect Used

Popart Effect Used

This is the normal photograph

This is the normal photograph

I love it how I can take a photo, plug my USB cord into my laptop and upload my pics within seconds. Now that is satisfaction!

One of the other great things about being in the digital age, are all of the photo editors that are available to us online. I use quite a few of them to enhance my photographs, and they are free to use. The majority of them do have subscriptions that you can pay for that give you access to more awesome effects, but most of the time, you can get the effect & enhancement you are looking for without having to pay a dime.

The one photo editor that I am currently using is called BeFunky. As with all the other photo editors out there, BeFunky gives you a plethora of choices to enhance your photo, add text, photo frames, and much more.

Using a photo editor gives you lots of options that you can use on your blog:

  • Enhance your photo from normal to black & white, or sepia to give it that nice aged look
  • Special effects can be added to make your photo look like an oil painting
  • Got a blemish? Your photo editor can erase that!
  • Want a tan without the harmful rays of the sun? Yep, your photo editor can give you a golden tan too!
  • Want to make a header for your blog? You can do so with a photo editor
  • Ever want to create a widget for your blog? You can resize a photo to 300 x 300 and add it to your sidebar as a widget
  • Adding text to a photo is a breeze too
  • Ever want to create a watermark to add to your photos with your blogs name? You can use a photo editor to do this too
DSC_0195

This is the normal photograph

 

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

Now, with all of these great enhancements you have at hand, why are you still placing thumbnail sized photographs on your blog? Show off your photographs on your blog!! When you upload them for your posts, use the LARGE size option (584 x 388), and center them on the page!

I have seen so many blogs still using those thumbnail sized pics and while yes, we are actually reading what you write in your blogs, we also want to see the photographs too! So ENLARGE them on your next post, everyone will thank you!

The one last thing that I want to touch on is how do you store your digital photographs? I used to just have a file folder on my laptop where I saved, well….every photo I ever took. Then came the day that I was looking for a specific photo and could not find it. I needed to do something about that! I pain-stakingly went through each and every photo by date and moved them into a) year folder (2015, 2014 etc.), and then inside each of the year folders I created b) by month folders (January, February etc.).  Now, if I needed to find a photograph that happened last July (like my birthday pics), I can find them in a flash! (all I would need to do is click on the 2014 folder, then open up the July folder)

So there you have it, my quick down & dirty photo editing tips for the day! What are you going to tweak today?

A Is For Answers

Here are the answers to the little gardening plant quiz in my post “G Is For Gardening”, just in case you were wondering if your guesses were correct or not!

A IS FOR ANSWERS

If you head back to my “G Is For Gardening” post, and look at our plants, the answers are as follows in correct order:

  1. Tomatoes (Juliet and Big Boys)
  2. Romaine Lettuce
  3. Marigolds
  4. Cilantro
  5. Celery
  6. Flat Dutch Cabbage
  7. Zucchini
  8. Cucumber

So, how many of these plants were you able to identify? Yes it is true, that some plants like the pumpkin, do look like the zucchini, so it can be hard to identify those that are that close to being identical. I added the marigolds in there to fool you a bit, but marigolds should be planted in your garden to ward off bugs on your plants. So by planting a row of marigolds around your garden, you will be helping out your plants, not to mention the beauty of the marigolds blooming will look beautiful around your garden!

I hope you had fun with this little garden plant quiz, so look forward to some more interesting quizzes as the gardening season continues!

Fixing Winter Messes

When one season ends, another one starts. Hopefully our Winter has finally left us and Spring and regrowth can start, although we woke to find the ground lightly covered with snow on Saturday. But the good news is that we can see that the grass is slightly getting greener day by day and the temps are slightly climbing.

With the arrival of a new season, there is always things that need attention from the aftermath of the prior season. With no doubt, we had a horrible winter and we are so happy to say a final farewell to it. With Winter finally behind us (I hope), I can finally start getting out in the yard to get it all fixed up.

FIXING THE LAWN

The first thing on my agenda is getting the lawn back into shape. Since my infamous poop pit was dug out in the snow for the dogs, it left me a huge spot in the backyard that is crying for my attention. The nice green grass that was once so nice and plush, is now burned out and dead. I know that this is what I have to deal with when Spring arrives, so I am not overwhelmed by this task, rather all I need is a few bags of good soil and a huge bag of grass seed to get the job done, not to mention my handy rake.

FIXING WINTER DAMAGE

Getting the lawn back to “normal” doesn’t really take that much time at all. I spread the soil all over the spots that need it, fill in any dips in the lawn to level it out, then lay a good layer of grass seed over it. Then I wait. I don’t have to water the seed normally at this time of year because it usually rains enough so I don’t have to waste our garden water. And, before you know it, you can see the seed germination in process and then one day you walk outside and notice that the once yellowed pee spots are now all nice and green.

BACKYARD LAST YEAR

Here’s a photo of how I got our backyard back into shape last year after our Winter ended. What a difference, right? See, it can be fixed!

FIXING THE GARDEN GATE & FENCE

After I fix the lawn, the garden gate and fence is in dire need of my attention. With the melting of our snow and rain we have had, it has made the ground really soaked, so the garden poles that hold up the gate and fence have moved quite a bit.

GARDEN DOOR AND FENCE

I am planning on building a new garden door and make it a bit wider. I found out the hard way that I could not get the wheelbarrow through the door of the garden after I made the door a few years ago, so I am going to fix that problem this year.

I have done extensive research on Pinterest for garden fences and gates, and I think I know what I am going to do. I will keep you in the dark though on what I am going to do!

One thing for sure that I am going to be using this year to fix our garden fence are these things called EZ Spikes from Home Depot. They are long metal spikes that go into the ground and then you insert your wood into the spike and secure it with screws. These will hold the fence in place nicely.

EZ SPIKES

Check out a few of my Pinterest Boards here for inspiration:
Privacy Fences
Garden Fences
Flower Containers

FLOWER CONTAINERS

After working on all of the above, my next fun project will be creating new flower containers to add some height and interest in our backyard. I saw on Pinterest where you can purchase some nice flat stone or slate pieces, glue them together with some sort of cement adhesive, then just fill them with dirt and plants! I would have never thought of this idea ever before, but what a great idea it is! Since these would be heavy, I would suggest that you build them where you want them in your yard first because I bet you won’t be able to pick them up afterwards. Aren’t they just beautiful?

SLATE FLOWER CONTAINERS

We only have to wait to get the right weather conditions so I can head outside and get to work on the backyard whipping it back into shape. In no time at all, all will be good in the backyard and harmony will resume. Just in time for grilling season because I know my Sweetie can’t wait to enjoy his time in front of the grill!

What plans do you have on your plate to get your yard back into shape? What have you been putting off fixing in your yard that you should put on your to do list?