Mawwiage

 

I spent this weekend with my best friends. One of whom, we celebrated as she married an incredibly devoted  and smitten man. It was so joyful. She was drop dead gorgeous. And we all celebrated our butts off.

Literally. I still can’t find my butt.

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect weekend to celebrate one of my favorite women on the entire planet.

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TTFN,

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How Does a Garden Grow: Day 4

 

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We are coming around the bend!! Day 4 is already upon us, and like I referenced yesterday, it is the scariest day of them all!!

Maintenance.

This means you have to have discipline. This means you have to have patience. This means you have to use your intuition.

These are all things that are hard for me. This is why my plants die.

So today, I am going to focus on a few main points of maintaining a ridiculously healthy organic vegetable garden (fingers crossed).

This will be geared towards those of us in Denver, CO – Because that is where I did my research. So, if you live in always humid Atlanta, GA, please adjust accordingly!

This information was mostly gathered from the lovely team over at Colorado State University

  • Water: Remember that high temperatures, low humidity, wind and the sun contribute to the evaporation of water. Water droplets from a sprinkler head or hose nozzle may evaporate before they touch the soil. To minimize evaporation, water the garden when the air is still, in the early morning hours or during the cool evening (*keep leaves dry to prevent the spread of disease). Use a nozzle that produces large droplets rather than a fine spray. As plants grow, they need more water because more leaves equals more loss of water from these leaves. When plants are small, only the soil around their root systems should be kept moist; toward the end of the growing season soil down to 1 foot or more should be kept moist. Avoid frequent, shallow watering because this hinders deep root development. Apply water uniformly and slowly to prevent runoff and erosion. If in doubt about when to water, check your soil by sampling it: dig down carefully, making a narrow deep hole 1 foot or more away from the plant and about 4 to 12 inches deep to where the plants' roots grow. Squeeze some soil into a ball in the palm of your hand. If it holds together, there is enough moisture. If it crumbles, it's time to water. If the hose has been lying in the sun, let the water run for a few seconds on a stone or on a mulched area until the water comes out cool.

  • Mulches will preserve soil moisture. Many types are available. For best results, use landscape fabric, secured with metal pins; then cover the fabric with a wood chip product 4 to 6 inches deep. For an inexpensive mulch use newspaper, dry grass clippings or composted leaves watered lightly to stop the wind from blowing it to other areas of your yard. Mulching the paths between rows not only preserves moisture, but also keeps weeds down (while helping to keep your shoes mud-free).

  • Weeding is a job few people like unless it is a team effort. Mulching will help, but some weeds will persevere and will need to be removed by hand. The key here is to be just as persistent in scouting and pulling weeds as the weeds are persistent in finding spaces to invade. The proud and avid gardener goes out into the garden frequently to check the plants' progress, scout for weeds and insects, see if plants need water and to enjoy being outdoors. * Some vegetables need to be trained to upright structures for best results. These include tomatoes that take up less room when supported by cages. Cucumbers, pole beans and peas also can be trained on fences, trellises or poles. Get this task out of the way early since it is difficult to untangle plants once they are older.

  • Fertilizer generally is needed to keep plants growing strong but use caution to prevent overfertilizing because melons, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes are sensitive to high applications of nitrogen or manure. Excessive growth can delay fruiting in these plants. Rely on an accurate soil test to determine nutrient elements to add.

TTFN,

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How Does a Garden Grow: Day 3

 

So we’ve read a lot. How to plan. How to compost. How to blah blah blah.

But the day has come to learn how to actually plant your veggie garden. Dun Dun Dun…

This is the part that scares me the second most (the scariest part is tomorrow… maintaining it all after you have purchased the stuff and put your heart and soul into it all). So I have read A LOT bout this important step. And now… To share it with you…

plant that stuff

So the most important points that I found, when looking at actually planting your garden, are as follows:

  1. Choose your planting date carefully
  2. Prep your soil
  3. Plant your seeds or transplant your starts
  4. And then water

choose a date

The most common method of choosing your planting date, is to wait until right after the last frost. This date will change, depending on where you are located. You can click HERE to find out what your last frost date is.

Mine is the last weekend in April.

Commence the nail biting now…

prep

I am sticking to an organic vegetable garden (things I have decided along the way… “I will grow a vegetable garden…”  “I will grow an organic vegetable garden… “ bare with me folks), so that is what I am going to highlight here.

For your soil composition, you want a little bit of the following:

1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost which is well rotted

You can try and find an organic potting soil that includes all of these things, or you can mix it yourself. I myself will be investing in some organic fertilizer instead of the mix, because I haven’t had my compost pile up and running long enough to actually use during my first planting sesh.

The soil needs to be damp, but not wet.

seeds or starters

If you are reading this blog now, you probably haven’t prepped a bunch of starts for your garden. I was lucky enough to inherit a nice group of starts from my good friend Rachel over at Reckless Abandon, but other than that, I will be purchasing some seedling plants as well. So, I am going to focus on transplanting starts or seedlings. This was really well outline by the folks over at Country-Farm Lifestyles.

  • When you transplant your seedlings, no matter how careful you are, your plants will always suffer an element of shock. Therefore, when transplanting your seedlings the aim should be to minimize the shock as much as possible, because if you don't, you could end up losing some of them.
  • Most seedlings are ready to be transplanted when they are about 75 - 100 mm in heights and usually between 4 and 8 weeks old. That is unless you are transplanting onions and leeks as these will be 150-200 mm high before they are ready to be transplanted. Reduce watering your seedlings 10 days before transplanting (this seems really extreme to me, please take it with a grain of salt).
  • However, on the day that you are going to plant them out, you should water them thoroughly 6 - 12 hours before hand. Make sure that where you are going to transplant them to has also been well watered.
  • The best time to transplant your seedlings is late afternoon, early evening when the heat of the sun has gone. This then allows your plants the night to re-establish themselves before the next day. Choose your seedling wisely. Although you will be tempted to plant them all out, only choose those that are strong, and discard the others.
  • Lift your seedlings out of the seed box with a garden trowel and lay them at the recommended intervals given to you on the original seed packet. Dig a small hole and carefully place the seedling inside. Make sure that it's not too deep or that there is a space between the ends of roots and the bottom of the hole. Firm the seedling gently by pressing down around the stem. When you have finished, water the transplants well.
  • As a rule transplanting plants means that the leaves and roots are untouched. However, there are some plants that seem to benefit from having either their leaves cut or their roots cut, or sometimes even both. Onions and leeks can be trimmed both at the top and bottom without much ill effect. Beets and Swiss chard also get off to a better start if their leaves are trimmed slightly.

 

water

The greatest importance in regards to watering, after much reading, is consistency. This will produce the best results. I am currently considering drip irrigation because consistency tends to not be a high-point for my green thumb. This can also save you up to 60% of the water used by sprinkler systems and will ensure that your plants are watered without getting their leaves wet, which will help prevent disease problems. So if you are curious, you should look into it to!!


You'll know if you've over watered if the soil around the plant stem is soaked. Mold or moss growing on the top of your soil is another dead giveaway as is plants with wilting, yellowing or dead leaf margins.
Too little water has a different set of symptoms: wilting of plants, brown or dead leaves, stunted growth (see Watering Guidelines).

If you're watering newly planted seeds, be careful to gently sprinkle water on them. Don't use a torrent from a hose or a bucket that has enough force to mistakenly wash away seeds or cause them to clump together.


What do you think, guys. Do you feel prepared enough to get this going on your own?

I have to say… I just might!!!

TTFN,

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How Does a Garden Grow: Day 2

Today we are diving into the wonderful world of waste.


I guess diving is a poor choice of words… Unless you are into that… And if that’s the case… Well… that’s different, but good for you! Way to be true to you.


I think that EVERYONE should compost. Composting is super easy (I started mine on Sunday) and makes you feel like a baller. Those are the two main reasons. Every time I take my vegetable/fruit ends and throw them in my compost bin, rather than the trash can, I feel like a super hero. So after you read this, you should try it!

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The needs of a compost pile are so simple, because it is a natural process, that you are simply expediting. It’s decomposition y’all!
So there are three main factors:
  1. The containment
  2. The ingredients
  3. The monitoring
containment



There are two main ways you can contain your compost. In a container, or outside within some kind of boundary.
Either way you do it, you need to make sure there is plenty of oxygen getting to your pile, and that all of your ingredients are compacted together. So, if you choose to compost in a container, drill holes in the sides for oxygen circulation. If you choose to to compost outside of a container, make sure you place some type of boundary around it so that it does not loosen over time.

ingredients
A good compost pile has a mix of three main ingredients:

  1. Green Materials
  2. Brown Materials
  3. and Moisture
Green materials are those that are high in nitrogen. These are usually the ingredients you will add straight from your kitchen ( coffee grounds, peelings, fruit cores, and eggshells). Any materials that are not greasy or meat, from your kitchen, should be suitable.

Brown materials are usually the dry materials that you will find outside (Paper, sawdust, small branches and twigs, and straw). Ok, paper doesn’t come from outside per say, but you get the idea. Oh yes… and make sure you shred the paper. Also folks, Dog and cat poop do NOT go in your compost. I know they are brown, but that is not what brown means in this case. If you have barnyard animals, GREAT! But not your house pets. That is just gross.

Moisture is the third ingredient, and is very important! If you live in an area with average rainfall, you should be good to go, as along as your compost is easily accessible by rain. If not, you may have to throw a bucket of water on that sucker once a week or so, to make sure that it keeps moving right along. The pile should stay damp, not wet. The center of your compost pile should also be pretty warm… That’s how you know that you have a good balance of all three ingredients. If it is not, you are probably low on moisture.

monitoring
herbardens.about.com says it perfectly…
You will turn your pile from the outside in about once a week. This doesn't have to be anything major, simply shovel the outer portion of the pile towards the inside and continue moving in this way around the pile until you have rearranged it so that fresh compost is now exposed. This way, all the beneficial organisms can have a chance to work on all of the pile's ingredients.If your pile heats up, gets moisture, and gets turned regularly, you should have dark, wonderful compost in about one to two month's time.

Tada!!! Decomposition!

herbgardens.about.com didn’t say that… I did. That last part. That “Tada!” part.




Here is a quick and easy go-to list for your Green and Brown ingredients that are OK. These follow organic compost guidelines, so if you are not into that, you may want to find another list. This list comes from OrganicGardening.com
Greens
  • Aquarium water, algae, and plants (from freshwater fish tanks only) add moisture and a kick of nitrogen.
  • Chicken manure has high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Dead houseplants add a dose of nitrogen, but don't include thorny or diseased plants.
  • Fresh grass clippings should be mixed with plenty of drier, brown material, or you'll risk creating a smelly pile.
  • Green garden debris, such as spent pansies, bolted lettuce, and deadheaded flowers, can all be recycled in the compost bin.
  • Horse manure contains more nitrogen than cow manure.
  • Manure from pet rabbits and rodents (e.g., gerbils and hamsters) can be composted with the accompanying wood or paper bedding.
  • Vegetative kitchen scraps (carrot peelings and the like) should be buried in the pile so they don't attract animals. Eggshells are okay, too.
  • Weeds can be composted! No joke. Just remember never to add weeds that have set seed or weeds that root easily from stems or rhizomes, such as field bindweed and Canada thistle.
Browns
  • Brown garden debris, such as corn and sunflower stalks, dried legume plants, and dried potato and tomato vines, adds bulk to the pile.
  • Hedge prunings and twigs help keep a pile fluffy but should be chipped first so they decompose faster.
  • Leaves are an abundant carbon source and full of nutrients. Stockpile them in fall so that you have them on hand in summer.
  • Pine needles decompose slowly. Add only small amounts to your pile. Use excess needles as a mulch.
  • Straw bulks up a pile, but it should not be confused with hay, which often contains weed and grass seeds and shouldn't be added to compost (unless you want to deal with the potential consequences).

And there you go, folks! This is compost at It’s finest. I pulled info from a lot of different sources to help me figure this whole thing out… so here is my mad props to them:

TTFN,
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How Does a Garden Grow: Day 1


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Here we are. As promised. Day 1 of this journey.


And I promise you, I have no idea where we are going to land.


My mind is already reeling with information and ideas for my garden this year. And I hope these pieces that I pass along help you to do the same!!


From everything I have read (reports, encyclopedias, almanacs… you know… the usual) I think I have found out that one of the most important parts of the planting process is planning.



  • You have to know where the sun hits your yard and for how many hours a day.
  • You have to know which plants will be taller than others to make sure that you know which ones to plant on the east and west sides of your plot.
  • You have to know which plants need to be near other plants of their kind in order to thrive.
  • And 1 million more things…

So today I’m going to zoom in on on thing.


Helping you… and me…


plan that plot


Let’s get started.


I am really good at checklists. I love to make them. I love to cross things off of them. I love to give them to Burley. They seriously make like so much more… direct. They take all of the fogginess from your head and put them onto paper in an organized fashion.


If I am cranky, or aloof, and Burley can tell, he will ask “babe – can I get you a something to write with so you can get that stuff out of your head and onto some paper?”


He knows how I roll.


So… Naturally… all this to say… let’s start with a planning checklist!



  1. Decide WHERE your garden will be
  2. Decide HOW you are going to grow your garden (pots, raised bed, traditional bed?)
  3. Decide WHAT you are going to grow
  4. Determine your garden’s layout

First, Let’s focus on #1. WHERE???


The biggest factor when deciding where to plant your garden, is sunlight. Most spring/summer plants will need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. So, monitor your yard. Take note of where you can maximize your sun hours. Make sure there are no large trees/bushes/buildings that cast shadows for a large part of the day. See how many square feet you can get out of that delightfully sunny spot, and plant there! A few other factors to think about are…


Is this place easily accessible for water?


Do I have a enough room to walk around the whole perimeter of the garden in order to pick weeks and vegetables out?


Will my neighbors easily be able to see and be impressed by the a** kicking bounty I am about to be growing right here? Oh they can? Good.


Next, Let’s focus on #2. HOW???


This is honestly up to personal preference for the majority. I am still going back and forth on this one.


The only reason you would NEED to plant in pots is if your soil is horrible (to far on the clay side, too high in acidity, etc). Other factors to consider is the look, ease of access, and how much space you have to work with.


I think I have decided on a  small raised bad, accompanied by a few large pots.


See? You can do a combo too. I just made that rule.


Now, Let’s focus on #3. WHAT???


This question is a little bit more in depth. This is the one that stresses me out… So, I have pulled in a miracle resource that you can use to help you with this one, as I also need help.


This miracle’s name is Smart Gardener. This site is ridiculously amazing. Mae Mae over at Two Hoots & a Holler turned me onto this one. This is definitely what I am going to use to plan out what veggies I will be growing.


Check out these screen shots.


Smart Gardener Screen Shot


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This miracle site basic sets up your garden for you by asking you where you live, where you are planting, where the sun rises and sets… all the important questions. Then it gives you LISTS OF RECOMMENDED VEGETABLES based on your cool/warm growing months. It is just amazing. Go try it out!


Oh yea.. It also generates a to do list for you every week… Say what?!! That just tickles my fancy.


And lastly let’s focus on #4, The layout.


There are a few things to think about when choosing where to plant your selected vegetables in your garden.


- What plants will grow very tall and possible cast a shadow on the other plants in my plot?


- Does this plan grow BETTER in a pot or a bed?


- Does this plant grow better in groups of plants just like it? Some plants (like tomatoes and beans) do better when planted in groups.


- Will this plant need more or less water than the plants around it? Different plants will require different amounts of watering. Take this into consideration, as you will be the one watering. And you DON’T WANT TO SCREW IT UP THIS TIME!!!! so sorry… I think I just took out some of my own anger on your and I apologize.


And that, folks. Is day 1 of our gardening journey.


I realized halfway through writing this post that I should have told you in the beginning, I am researching vegetables gardens. Not flower gardens. If you found yourself wandering the internet looking for answers about flower gardens… I apologize. You won’t find those here.


Baby steps… baby steps.


Please tune back in tomorrow!! We will be chatting about TRASH! aka compost.


AKA burley and I kicked off our compost pile yesterday, and got all of the makings for our chicken coop!!! Get pumped!! That will be next week…


TTFN,


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New Series: How does a garden grow?


Hey Thriftarians!


It’s been a while since I have done a weekly series… So its about DARN TIME!


Confession: I will be posting about something I know nothing about.


Gardening.


Every attempt I have made, I have failed at. And that is NOT an exaggeration. I literally fail every time. So why would I deem myself worthy of posting about it?


Well, I’m glad you asked!


I am going to do some DOWN AND DIRTY research for you. For us. Because I am SO DETERMINED to keep a plant alive. More than that, I want a freakin’ garden! I want to pull lettuce from my back yard and put it in my bowl for dinner. I want to eat a fresh tomato. That I grew. Myself.


I even added this goal to my list of goals this year! Remember -----> ?


So like I said. I’m doing the work. I am collecting all the information we need to plan a garden, create a compost pile, organize a plot, buy the right fertilizer, do a rain dance, call on the sun gods, etc…

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Please join me!!! And if you want… You can stick this cute little button on your blog to tell others in need of this very important information, to join us!

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See you next week! Bring a pen and paper. It’s about to get real.
TTFN,
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Matha’s Vinyad

 

No – I didn’t’ misspell that. That’s just a little taste of how the locals call the place that I had the best weekend of my life.

I can finally share one of the greatest secrets of all time.

My mom has been planning a secret getaway for my sister’s 30th birthday (sorry Linds, the cat’s out of the bag!) since Christmas. I have NEVER been able to keep such an exciting secret to myself. But this one was just too good to spoil.

And then… three weeks before the big weekend getaway. MY SISTER GOT ENGAGED!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!!? THIS COULDN’T GET ANY BETTER!!!

It was planned perfectly (kudos mom, major kudos).

Lindsay would be surprised on her birthday with a ticket to Boston, where she was told she would enjoy a lovely mother/daughter weekend.

Once she arrived, my other sister and I would surprise her at the airport in some extravagant way… (one of the ideas we had was a small flashmob – two of us - where we would paint each other like the Gotye video and just confuse the heck out of her… I don’t know why we didn’t do this…)

She would then think that would be the only surprise.

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!!!

The next morning we would go to breakfast with my dad, when our secret agent aunt Sue would then pack all our bags and pick us up, saying we would be going on a day trip.

We would then head to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry… and BAM!!! GIRLS WEEKEND ON THE ISLAND!!!!

Glorious.

Well… my poor sister missed her flight out on the first night due to a monster that stole her license and car and money and clothes… so she ended up arriving on Friday morning instead of Thursday night. (I could tell you the real reason, but I promise its not as interesting as said monster).

So…. QUICK!!! PLAN CHANGE!

My aunt and sister and I headed to the ferry by ourselves (pictures to follow… spoiler alert… WE DROVE OUR CAR ONTO A BOAT!). My mom went to the airport to get my sister.

Heretoforeto… The surprise ended up being better than anticipated. I mean… once my sister got on the ferry, all possibilities of other people joining her were out the window.

Little did she know we were on the island, at a restaurant, waiting for her arrival in full birthday hat/sunglass attire, crouching in a corner, because fate lead my mom and sister right past the picture window we were sitting in front of (close call!).

The surprise was glorious. The weekend was glorious. It will forever be a most precious memory in my heart.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure…

The Suprise

Yup… That was the moment that all the secrets came out. I get giddy just looking at pictures. Take me back!!

The Ferry

Like I said… we drove our car… ONTO A BOAT!! It was unreal and everyone should have this experience at least once.

The Sisters

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This shop had very loud latin music playing. Not just one song. Like… a whole album. How can you resist? here I was teaching my mom some moves. The narration went something like this…

“Linnnnnnnnnnnnnger, step! Linnnnnnnnnnnnnnger, step!”

And now… Some more highlights…

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The shop owner took this photo for his website. I don’t see it up yet, so you should probably go email him and tell him that you want our photo posted.

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I mean… I have the cutest mom in the whole world. Just sayin’

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My Pepere built this coop… It was so inspiring. He is like a machine that never stops building. He saved us some eggs so that we could get the thrill of picking them out of the coop when we got there. Thanks Pepere! Love you!

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This is where we stayed! So quaint and perfect… There are many stories to tell but we just don’t have the time… and I would have to censor them which is never fun.

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Some may say I have mad ups.

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Some may say I love my mother.

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There was also a big surprise party for my sister on Sunday night at my Aunt Jen’s house. She blew this party out of the WATER!!! Amazing cocktails, gorgeous decorations, and delicious apps. She knows how to throw one MEAAAAAAAN party. Thanks aunt Jen!

And that’s all I have for today guys. I don’t think I could do this weekend justice via a MILLION photos and a MILLION words. It was just the best. Glorious.

TTFN,

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Blog Design: Love, Life, and Louboutins

Hey Thriftarians -

Suprise! with all the flight time I have gotten in the past two weeks, I was able to wrap up a super fun and chic blog design, for the ever fun and chic Danielle of Love, Life, and Louboutins.



Go on over and check it out!! Meanwhile... Show Danielle some love becuase she is an amazing writer, is a fellow jet-setter with a million stories and photos to boot, has a super cute cat, and at the risk of being obvious, wears really, really, REALLY cute shoes.

If you are bored with your blog, or have been considering starting a blog, email me! I would looooooooove to help you bring your design vision to the interweb. It is just the most fun in the whole entire world for me.

You can check out my rates HERE.

TTFN,

Insta-Update

Happy Friday, y'all!!

I thought that I would take this time to fill you in visually on the many travels and tales of Thriftary as of late. Most of the time I don't think to grab my camera, but in some special moment, I may remember to take a shot with my phone.

Heretoforeto, Here is a list of said shots.


















Yes. I am now sending you off with a picture of cabbage. AKA my dinner last night. AKA a nightmare for anyone I came in contact with for the better part of today.

Have a great weekend friends!!! Let's catch up on Monday, K?

TTFN,
Maddie