Best DIY Pots and Planters

DIY Pots and Planters 

Just as I promised in my last post, we are going to chat more about recyclable containers to use for pots or planters in the garden or anywhere you want. Now we've already talked about ways to reuse one of my favorite containers "Mason jars". If you missed the post and would like to catch up, you can click here DIY Garden pots and planters.

The possibilities are endless and you will find so many different ways to convert trash to treasure.....well garden treasure that is and we will talk about several today, so without further delay, let's get started.

How would you like to use an old pair of boots for a planter, any kind will do? Or what about a child's rusty wagon, a mailbox, beat up metal wastebasket, an old teapot....oh the list can go on and on. Whew, hold on....so many ideas running through my head right now, I get carried away, sorry!

Seriously, you can use metal coffee cans, paint them any way you want and bam, you have a really cool planter. What if I don't drink coffee you ask? Ok, use a 2-liter plastic bottle, cut it about 1/4 way down from the top, use some paint, put 3 little drain holes around the sides close to the bottom and you have a cute planter....Easy right.

Did you know, lawn tractor tires make a really cute planter? Just put them over a bucket or container (smaller than the circumference of tire opening), paint and decorate. Totally cute and whimsy!

I also like to use old metal wash tubs, they're great for herbs, veggies, and flowers, so look around your house or your neighbor's, (no just kidding about the neighbor's house, unless you have permission, that is) you might be surprised with all the things you will come up with.

Another item on my list is to reuse plant containers purchased from my local lawn and garden center.
The black 3-gallon pots are great and I always save them. So how do you turn a plain black industrial looking pot into something you want to look at? I cover the pot with burlap and tie grass string around the outside rim of the pot, it looks so organic. Also, you could paint the outside a solid color and then free hand whatever design you like, this is super chic!

In addition to all the great ideas we've talked about today, I thought you would appreciate some pictures. I have them for you below.











I hope this will inspire you to create your own DIY planter. If you have some ideas, please feel free to share and if you would like to see more pictures, go to Pinterest and give me a follow.


Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to drop me a note, let's talk gardening.


From my "Dirty shovel to Yours", I wish you all the best,







Mason Jars - DIY herb container

Gardening to me is an expression of creativity, as well as food for my body. One way I express creativity is through the use of recycled materials to create unique pots and planters.

You can make a pot or planter out of just about anything and everything, only your imagination can hold you back.

There are so many different recycled materials you can use to display herbs, vegetables, and flowers however, I have to admit that I absolutely love mason jars and it's a great way to grow herbs, especially this time of year!

Mason jars can be left clear so the planting media shows through or paint them in any color you want. I like to leave my mason jars clear and display the jars by mounting them on a board 3 to 5 jars wide (remember always work in odd numbers when displaying your plant containers, it is more aesthetically pleasing).
I Love this idea!!


What you need:

Mason jars; small gravel
or pea rock to put in the bottom for drainage;
Charcoal layer over the rock to keep everything
fresh and to prevent mold - (you can get this at
your local garden center or you can use briquettes
that are not pre-lit).


If you plan on hanging your mason jars, you will need:
Found on runningtothekitchen.com

Clamps from the HVAC section at your
local home improvement store; Wood - plank
(you can find this at a number of sources - try looking
for scrap wood at your local lumber mill); Stain - a color
of your choice or not. Screws and brackets for the back
of the wood to hang on the wall.


That's it....That's all you need! 
Oh yeah, don't forget your......PLANTS and DIRT! (lol).


All kidding aside, this is a great way to grow herbs. They will always be within reach when you need them. As I said before,  I love reusing mason jars or any kind of jar really.

My favorite herbs in the kitchen are Thyme, Basil, Lemon balm and Cilantro.

Stay tuned and come back to read my next post where we will talk more about the great options available made from recyclable containers.


Thanks for stopping by!!

Be sure to drop me a note if you want to chat or have a question. If you like it here....please share.


From my "DIRTY" shovel to yours, I wish you all the best,





Dividing Hosta - 101

Choose The Right Season

Time is crucial when you decide to divide Hosta. Believe me this is something I know all too well. Many years ago when I was a newbie gardener, I decided to move a few because I didn't like
where I had planted them.....I had the mentality that if I wanted to move something, I would just do it. I guess I thought I had a green arm instead of a green thumb.(lol)

Well, I soon discovered that I couldn't just uproot something and plop it back down if it wasn't the right time or season. It was through trial, error and research from the experts (books) that soon taught me a better way of gardening.

Divide Hosta in The Fall

Spring is when some gardeners divide their hostas, however, this can have a negative effect on plants, especially in hotter climates. It's better to divide in late summer and early fall, preferably 4 weeks before the first frost.

 It's not that you can't replant anytime during a growing season because this is a tough plant, and with enough babying and watering, it can be successful, however it can be a bit stressful for both the gardener and the plant.

Get The Right Tools

Depending on the size of the plant and the condition of the soil you are going to need the right tools at hand. If your soil is humus and or light, and your clump is small, you can use a sharp knife with a serrated blade. A fork with flat blades and a spade or shovel is necessary if your clump is large (10 inches or more across the base of the clump).

Also, you might want to keep the hose handy or water nearby to wash the dirt off so you can see the rhizomes (from where the roots grow) and individual plants. Hosta roots are tough, so don't worry about hurting the roots when you wash them off.

Removing
Cut about 4 inches out and around from the base of a small plant or Dig 18 inches out and around from the base of a large plant.
Remove the plant from the ground using a spade for a small plant or a fork for a larger plant.

Separating 

You can separate the small ones by hand using your thumbs to get in between the individual plant stems, then pull apart, be gentle. To break the rhizome away from the crown, hold the stem and  use a back and forth motion until the rhizome is separated from the crown. If you loose some of the stems, well there's no worries because you will have enough of the rhizome to have a healthy plant.


If the clump is large, use a serrated kitchen knife to cut into desired sizes such as into a half, thirds or quarters. You can do this by spreading the roots and cutting through the crown not the roots, try to keep as many leaves and roots as possible, however if the clump is Ginormous, just cut half way through the crown and rock it in a back and forth motion, trying to pull it apart. If you can't pull it apart then cut a little deeper.

If you think that the clump is too large for a serrated kitchen knife, use a hacksaw, however be careful not to get the hacksaw stuck......remember to use the water to wash away dirt and rocks in the root structure.

Increase The Moisture

Cutting the foliage back at the time of planting will help to increase the ability to retain moisture and minimize shocking the Hosta.
Also, if you can't plant right away, be sure not to let the roots dry out. Put moist peat moss or dirt on the roots and put them in the shade out of direct sunlight, however if the roots do dry out, all is not lost.....just soak them in water for 2 to 12 hours before planting. Do not leave in the water longer than 12 hours because this can cause the roots to rot.

Time To Plant

Now that you have done all that hard prep work, it's time to plant. For plants that are a result of pulling plant apart a nice root balance, plant at original soil level with the white basil part just underground not to be seen. Roots that were washed by water, be sure to fan them out when planted in a nice size hole.

When you are replacing the soil over the roots, take the heel of your hand and tap around the entire plant and water well to eliminate  air pockets.

If you had to cut the clumps with a knife or hacksaw, plant at their same growing level as before or just slightly deeper (about a 1-inch to 1 1/2 inches), remember to eliminate any air pockets by heeling in with your hand and water well.

  • For the first 2 weeks be sure to keep your new plants wet, they should not be allowed to dry out, so water regularly.

Conclusion

This is such a rewarding way of enjoying your hostas for seasons to come and the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in the beauty they will provide.

It's time for me to go.....I have some GINORMOUS hostas to divide!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please drop me a note....let's talk gardening!




From my "DIRTY" shovel to yours, I am wishing you all the best.







Daffodils for September Planting

Think all the fun is over when it comes to planting in September, well think again! Fall is a great time....really the perfect time to plant your Spring flowering bulbs.

Planting in the fall give the bulbs time to develop and grow much-needed roots so that you can enjoy those beautiful golden sweet-smelling blooms in spring.....ahh, just makes me smile when I think about it!

So let's chat about this spring singing flower that announces "I'm here and spring is very near".

The Daffodil


This cheery little girl is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. The beautiful creamy colored flower Narcissus (daffodil) is a very hardy and easy to grow bulb. It is great for beginning gardeners or long-time gardeners alike. 

Spring blooming daffodils have over 10,000 cultivars that are in a variety of luscious colors such as red, orange, yellow, cream and pink. These hardy little beauties are great for hillsides, raised beds, borders and under deciduous tree beds or really anywhere that color is welcomed.

A Healthy Bulb

Ideally, you will want the bulbs to be fat, fleshy and fresh smelling. Try to purchase your bulbs early for the best selection, also be sure to store the bulbs in a cool, dark and dry location until planting, if you leave in a sunny area, it will cause them to sprout prematurely and it is always best to plant these future bloomers in the fall (September is a perfect Time).

Planting 

Daffodils can be planted almost anywhere except beneath evergreen trees. They like moist, slightly acidic soil with a (PH 6 or 7), well-drained soil. Plant the bulbs at a depth of 7 to 8 inches and about 4 to 6 inches apart. Flowers do best when planted in a sunny to partly shaded location that allows for at least half a day's sun.

If you are going to plant just a few bulbs, it is easier to dig a few holes large enough to accommodate a few bulbs each, however, if mass planting is more your style then dig a wide hole for grouped flowers or trench for border type plantings. For better root growth and flower production, mix a little bone meal in the bottom of the holes before laying your bulbs.

Poor soil can be improved by digging an 18 to 20-inch hole or bed and add soil additives such as compost and topsoil. Fill about 2/3 of planting area with compost and topsoil, then plant bulbs on top and cover with the remaining topsoil at ground level. This amendment will give you beautiful healthy flowers in the spring!

After planting be sure to water and do so generously.

Good To Know

Daffodils have a beautiful spring showing but after the blooms are gone, What do you do with the leaves? They can be a little less than attractive, to say the least, they stay around for several weeks and you might be tempted to cut them back.....but don't. Those unsightly leaves are receiving the sun's rays to produce foods for next year's blooms.

Top dressing with compost is a good way to encourage more growth and blooms for next year and can aid to a certain extent to camouflage the leaves. Be sure to not cut leaves back until they turn yellow or brown. Planting daylilies in the same bed will create continuous color and can help hide the daffodil foliage as it dies back.

Over time, your flowers will multiply and that's what we want (right), however, if you notice that they
are not blooming like they should or the blooms are of poor quality, you might need to divide them. Daffodils can be divided every 3 to 5 years and normally about 7 to 8 weeks after blooming, this is usually around mid-June to July. 

A cloudy day is generally a good time to divide due to sun damage that can occur if done on a sunny day. Dig the hole 3 times the size of the original plant's home, this needs to be done prior to the start of the dividing process. 

To divide the clump, simply divide into sections being careful not to damage the roots. You are now ready to plant and then water in. Do not fertilize until after the following year.

There you have it! All you need to know about planting fall Daffodil bulbs, so you can enjoy your beautiful, cheery little rays of Spring sunshine.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post, if you have any ideas you want to share or if you just want to chat, Please drop me a note below. Let's talk, I would love to hear from you:-)



From my "Dirty" shovel to yours, I wish you all the best!





Garden To Do List - For August

August Maintenance - Preparing for Fall

I know it's hot and here in Tennessee it's not just hot but humid as well, however, we still need to get
down and dirty with our maintenance to prepare for fall. Whether you have a vegetable garden or flower garden and if you're like me and you have both, maintenance is all inclusive in the garden regardless of the garden type and is very important!

Okay, I'll address the need to pull weeds first. I know it's the least favorite thing for us gardeners to do......well most of the time, unless you need to let off a little steam, and if that's the case, weed-pullin (pulling) is just the thing to do!(lol)

All joking aside, do you know, every weed that matures and produces seed means more trouble for next year, so whatever you do, you need to get them out right away. Don't throw weeds with seed heads in the compost pile either because many seeds can remain viable and germinate next year when you use the compost.

Also, continue to deadhead and remove any diseased foliage from plants to keep them healthy and to prolong bloom time to keep color in your garden. Take a look at your mulch, make sure it is still at about 3 inches in depth, if not then add more to help retain moisture to keep your garden healthy.

Do you want to keep annuals looking great into fall? 

Here are some things you can do:
  1. Cut back by 1/3 early planted annuals that are leggy or out of control.
  2. Give them a drink of water-soluble fertilizer. You will have one last showing of color.
    Good candidates are Impatient, Salvia, ground cover or trailing Petunias and herbs like basil.
    Be sure to give your Roses one last feeding to encourage flowers for late summer and early fall
    blooms.

    The Bearded Iris

    August is the time to dig and divide your Iris. Here's what you need to do:
    1. Cut the foliage back by 2/3, dig and divide rhizomes
    2. Remove any dead from rhizomes
    3. Plant in a sunny, well-drained location with about 1/3 of rhizome above soil level, water well.
    This is an excellent time to dig and divide Daylilies using a sharp shovel to split into sizes of your choice, remember to cut foliage back to 5 inches and then replant in a sunny part of the garden bed.

    Seed Collecting

    Late summer is a great time to collect seeds from the seed heads of your annuals and perennials for next years garden. Put your seed heads in a brown paper bag and label with the plant name for next spring's planting.

    Also order your spring flowering bulbs now and in September, so you can have them to plant in October and November.


    Pruning

    Don't prune shrubs or trees in late summer. This will encourage new growth that will not harden off before frost. If you prune flowering trees or shrubs now, you will be sacrificing next year's flowers or fruit. Always make sure the plants are dormant before pruning. Late winter is the best time to do any major pruning.

    Also, I would like to add that fertilizing shrubs and trees are not to be done from August to November.


    The Vegetable Garden

    Harvesting is abundant right about now and there are probably plans of canning and freezing. There is
    nothing more satisfying than eating from your garden in the dead of winter and as great as this is, there are a few things to be done to get ready for your fall garden.

    Weeding comes to mind and also getting that part of your garden ready for your fall planting. Now this should have been done by middle August however you still have a little time left and here are the best seasonal vegetables to plant this time of the year:
    • Beets and Carrots
    • Collards and Kale
    • Lettuce and Spinach
    • Turnips and Mustards
    • Radishes (should have been sown before middle of the month)
    Transplants of Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Onions can be planted mid to late August.


    To-Do List Conclusion

    This to-do list is not all inclusive because there are possibly more things that can be done around the garden.The zone you live in will predict what you can and cannot plant. The information I provide in this post is for zone 5b to 7b. Check your local agriculture site for specifics.

    You know I love this time of the year, for me it's like life. We, as they (plants), have made it through hardships for a time and a season, looking forward to the reward of rest, renewal, and to be blessed with a new season and new opportunities. Amazing.....Right?

    Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    I hope you enjoyed this post and if you want to chat, drop me a note and let's talk gardening.:-)


    From my "Dirty" shovel to yours, I'm wishing you all the best!





    COMPOSTING - Made Easy

    What is Compost:


    Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed, it is then recycled and used as a fertilizer or soil amendment. Honestly, compost is the good stuff for your soil and plants. It's a natural way to have a healthy garden, be it vegetable, flower or both, plants simply love it!

    It's also a great way to recycle or reuse green and brown waste (leaves, food waste), and compost is the key ingredient in organic farming. Simply put, it is the process of breaking down brown and green waste into humus in a matter of weeks or months.

    This nutrient-rich soil amendment is beneficial in many ways such as a soil conditioner, fertilizer, increased addition of humic acids (humus), and also as a natural pesticide for the soil.


    Ingredients:


    Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.


    To work effectively, composting requires 4 equally important ingredients.
    • Carbon - For energy. The microbial oxidation of carbon produces heat. These tend to be (brown and dry - leaves, shredded newspaper, wood chips) and they offer a high carbon energy.
    • Nitrogen - That grows and reproduces more organisms which in turn oxidizes the carbon. Materials that are green and or colorful such as grass clippings, fruits and vegetables tend to be high in nitrogen.
    • Oxygen - Needed for the decomposition process, (oxidizes the carbon).
    • Water - Used in the right amounts. Maintains activity without causing anaerobic conditions (Anaerobic conditions affect plant productivity, organic matter and nutrient dynamics in the soil).

      Cooking the compost! Use a good mix of these ingredients, this will allow the organisms to work with the nutrients, and cause the pile to heat up. This process will cause water to evaporate, (steam) will be released, so water will need to be added as well as air (air is achieved by working the compost - use a pitchfork and turn the pile to achieve air).


      Optimal composting occurs when you have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of c10.1 to n20.1, so just add a good mix of your greens, your browns and add some moisture and you are on your way to composting.


      Containers:


      Bins can be stationery (made from a wire fence or a wooden create. Either will be fine as long as they are well ventilated). Tumbler bins (easy to turn bins with a handle. Compost will be ready in weeks instead of months).
      Compost bins don't have to be fancy, but one thing is important, the placement of the bin, "put it in the sun" for optimal results. If the sun in not an option for you, it can be in the shade, however, the process will take longer to break down.


      Conclusion:


      Ok, we have talked about "what is compost", "ingredients" and "containers" and now that you have all the dirt (LOL) on compost, it's time to start your own.


      Decide on your bin, put it in the sun, heap on your mix of dry brown and your greens, moisten with
      some water, and get it cooking. Add more when it's available and don't forget to turn it.


      As for me, my compost is cooking up a storm! I have a small bin (actually it's a big plastic green trash can with air holes punched in the sides that I rock back and forth and it works fine, but I think I will upgrade to a stationary wire bin because I need more compost). I plan on a BIG veggie garden next year.



      Hey, it's been a lot of fun talking about compost today and if you want to chat, just drop me a note.



      From my "Dirty" shovel to your's, I'm wishing you the best!




      DIY Raised Beds - Waist High Beds

      Raised Bed Gardening

      Gone are the days where it is necessary to have a large lot or a farm to grow vegetables, herbs and
      flowers. Thanks to various forms of containers and raised beds, gardening can be enjoyed by everyone.

      This form of gardening is great. It allows for creative gardening that otherwise could not exist for smaller spaces, however, there are two important reasons why I use them. It allows me to get a better harvest due to the benefits of raised beds and it reduces the strain on my back and knees.

      Microclimate and other Benefits

      The benefits of having a raised bed are phenomenal. Why do you ask? They create a microclimate which suppresses weed growth and conserves moisture, also raised beds are not walked on, so there is no compaction of the soil, allowing the plant's roots to grow easily producing a higher yield.

      The vegetable or flower plants are spaced closer together rather than in a conventional bed. Plants are planted in sort of a geometric pattern or (block pattern) and the spacing is done as to allow for plant maturity (ie., beets 4-6" by 4-6"). 

      When this is done properly, the leaves just slightly touch each other. This creates a microclimate which suppresses weed growth and conserves moisture. 

      A good thing to keep in mind when filling your planter is to use only weed-free and compost rich well-drained soil. This will give you beautiful healthy plants and delicious vegetables for seasons to come. Speaking of seasons to come, raised beds are also a good way to extend the growing season.

      In addition to the healthy benefits, they are used to control erosion by building them along slopes, which in turn will both recycle and conserve water as well as nutrients. 

      Materials and Construction

      The raised beds should be three-to-four-foot-wide (1.0-1.2m) beds and can be in any length or shape
      you choose. In these type of beds, the soil is raised above the surrounding soil anywhere from (six inches to waist-high) and is enclosed by a frame made from wood, rock, concrete blocks, and you may even want to integrate the use of metal in your construction.

      Choose the materials carefully for your vegetable bed construction due to the concerns with pressure treated wood (pressure treated pine that has been treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCC), a toxic chemical mix used to treat wood that can leach into the soil and be absorbed into the plants that are then eaten. If you want to use wood, Cedar is best, it is rot resistant and safe for plants.

      Concrete blocks are a safe alternative, inexpensive, and easy to use. They may not be aesthetically pleasing.....but you can put your whimsy on it.

      You can also use pavers, stepping stones and recycled plastic.

      Waist High Bed

      Determine the height by measuring from your waist to the ground with a tape measure, this will give you a waist height that is appropriate for you. Decide what length you want and the typical width is 3 to 5 foot.

      I have included this link for instructions - DIY Waist High Planter Box -  This is an awesome planter box by MidnightMaker.


      I hope you enjoyed this post today and if you have any ideas on raised beds, please share. I would love to hear from you.


      From my "Dirty" shovel to yours, I'm wishing you the best.