Grow Your Own Food

Grow your own food

Yes I think you should grow your own food if you have the chance! Fruit trees, vegtables and herbs it’s all possible even if you don’t have a green thumb or a lot of time.  And it all tastes so much better, plus who doesn’t luv it when you can walk out to your garden and pick something to eat.  When you grow your own food you feel like you’ve tamed the wild west, become expert at foraging and living off the land…just don’t actually leave me out in the wild. I’ve been hit and miss on my own vegtable garden and this year tried using just two raised beds.

Had this horrible creature invade my tomato plants, a tabacco hookworm, which I’ve never seen before and hope I never ever ever ever see again!

Tabacco hookworm

Even with the creature, we had a few decent Roma tomatoes and a first for me, a great harvest of potatoes! Yes I did just call my dozen or so potatoes a harvest and makes me feel pretty green thumbish.  Who know you could grow potatoes in Southern California! Yes, that is also a sweet red pepper.

home grown Vegtables

A fruit luver? I decided to add dwarf fruit trees in our front yard.  I haven’t yet gotten a harvest, but I was pretty excited to get just this one absolutely delicious peach!  I also have apple, mandarin oranges and pear trees, all dwarf varieties so I cross my fingers each year hoping to at least get just one.

homegrown peach

 

Hope you give it a try to grow your own food. It’s pretty darn satisfying even if you start with just herbs.

Garden Pots Re-Imagined

teapot Garden Pots

Yes you can use the standard garden pot in all it’s usual varieties like clay, wood and plastic or …you can re-imagine ordinary containers as garden pots! Keep them for yourself or give them as gifts. I’ve tried tealights, votives, vases and books all with great success! Click on the photos to jump to the source

Teapots and teacups make great garden pots!
(Top photo source: Architextureartdesigns.com)

Concrete blocks are a great garden pot, wall and table all in one!

Concrete blocks as garden pots

Source: Shelterness.com

You can DIY your own garden pot from your lastest food and beverage container (aka the milk jug, yogurt or OJ container)

DIY Concrete pots

Source: radmegan

A succulent garden planted in an old boot.

Have a unique lighting fixture

Industrial light fixture becomes garden pot

Source: Sunset.com

Yes you can even put your silver items to a new purpose- and you don’t even have to polish it…tarnish makes it chic too!

Silver Cup Garden pot

Source: FactoryDirectcraft.com

Enjoy re-imaginging your garden pots…anything can be used!

DIY Garden Gazing Treats

 

 

 

DIY Garden gazing ball

Since I shared the dresser turned DIY potting bench thought I’d keep heading down the garden path this week. So… on to sharing DIY garden gazing treats! Every garden spot – even if it’s a container deserves a little extra surprise.  Don’t have a garden or the green thumb? These still make great indoor decor too! These are all based on transforming and old bowling ball.
Click on each photo for the source.

DIY Garden Gazing Ball (top photo)- yep it’s a bowling ball underneath all the sparkle (Source: HGTV)

DIY Garden coin bowling ball

DIY Coin Gazing Ball  (Source: Garden Web)

DIY Critter Gazing Ball

DIY Critter Gazing Ball (bowling ball, glue plastic lizards and spray paint hammered bronze Source: Pinterest)

And of course I won’t leave you non- DIY’ers hanging without an option – here’s a great mosaic version on Etsy you can have arriving on your doorstep!

Gazing Ball Mosaic Garden Sphere

 

(Source: GardenandCrafts on Etsy.com)

Enjoy creating your own DIY gazing garden treats in your spare time!

Dresser to DIY Potting Bench

dresser for potting benchDIY Dresser potting bench

Take one rickety old dresser (free from garage sale) with great pale turquoise chippy paint and repurpose as a DIY Potting Bench!  I’m not going to claim this DIY Potting Bench is glam but for me it’s part of my reclaiming and repurposing plan.

I’ve been wanting a small potting bench for a long time and found this dresser that fits my outdoor space perfectly! The drawers were falling apart and the dresser top was so warped and dry that my drawers filled with rain. Which is when I learned not to store garden stuff, especially seed packets in the drawers-luckily nothing sprouted!

On a scale of easy to hard I’d say this project falls about a medium if you feel comfortable already using a few power tools. So here’s the DIY repurposing plan:

Materials:

  • 3 – 24″ pre-cut pieces of wood (I used Poplar wood)
  • 1 box of brad nails
  • 1 box of galvanized wood nails
  • Paint (spray or latex)

Tools:

  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer

1. Remove all the drawers and the board from the dresser top

2. Using brad nails reinforce -aka- add more nails to the entire dresser frame (mine was so rickety the entire frame sent sideways after I removed all the top dresser boards!)

3. Disassemble the dresser drawers with your hammer- yes this is a great task to take out all your stress! Save the wood pieces that aren’t too warped or rotted

4. Use your jigsaw to cut out the dresser drawer bars in front

5. Put on your ” I’m an architect” and bring back all those memories of building with Lego or maybe you just played King Kong on your brother’s Lego creations!

6. Replace the boards on the top of the dresser and nail to the frame. If you are wondering how to figure out where to nail I’d suggest measuring from the edge of the board to the frame and then plotting your line of names on the boards.  I apparently acquired the “eyeball it straight” gene so this piece was just eyeballed – Yes I know, I hate people like that too!

New wood top to planting bench

 

7. After saving just the drawer fronts I had enough of a ledge at the bottom of the dresser to add a shelf.  I’m sure you have a carpenter friend they could whip up a shelf anywhere you want it and even make sure it won’t fall.  P.S. I don’t have a carpenter friend so I did my own version.

The bottom 3 boards have a brace (piece of wood) going down the middle,  they are all nailed to keep it shelf like.  Yes, I’m going to share my very ghetto picture of the ‘underneath’ of my shelf which is proof I’m not a carpenter! You’ll also notice I forgot to flip one of the boards so all the painted sides were together.

DIY Potting bench shelf

 

8. Install shelf and admire handy work!

DIY Dresser to potting bench

9. Paint dresser top if you choose and voila a DIY Potting Bench using reclaimed wood!

DIY Dresser potting bench

Enjoy creating your own DIY Potting Bench or enlisting that carpenter friend to build one for you!

DIY Garden Box

DIY Garden box with vegtables

First let’s start with the obvious – I’m not a carpenter!  This is my most ambitious project and it all started when the handyman we usually use, didn’t get back to me and I was antsy to get it done NOW!   How did I get my new-found carpenter skills that you can have too?  Be a bit adventurous – yes you can use power tools and not lose a limb and be ok with good enough but not perfect!

After checking out a couple websites talking about how to make garden boxes from ready to go materials I was ready to give simple garden boxes a try.

There are simple 6 inch tall boxes from cedar fencing wood and precut redwood stakes.  Yes I was impatient with my hardware store and did the wood cutting myself – oh yes a power tool moment with a circular saw – but you can ask the hardware store to make the cuts for you no problem!  Here’s my supply and tool pile – pretty sure I’m going to need a tool belt soon…

DIY Garden box supplies

 

Yes, this is all it takes for 2 DIY Garden Boxes that are 2 feet wide by 5 feet long!  Here’s how the corner posts look all put together.  All the holes for the screws were pre-drilled and I did make sure to check that screws on each side were offset from each other.

DIY garden box corner

 

The assembled DIY Garden Box…I fully support the rule to “measure twice cut once”.  If you’re like me, I think I measured way more than twice at each step just to be sure…part of my not being a carpenter approach!

DIY Garden box

 

These corner legs were originally 12 inches and after putting it together I cut them down by 4 inches – so if you do this project go with 8 inch legs!

At this point I did a little dance and congratulated myself on new-found carpenter skills and also vowed this would be the biggest project I ever did – but maybe you’ll want to do more!

The final steps are the most fun because it will actually look like you have DIY Garden Box and you’re new name will start with “Farmer”. After flipping this box over, I used the hammer to pound the corner post into the ground.  Fill with good growing dirt and insert plants!

Based on the 1-square- foot planting grid approach, I was able to fit 10 plants in each garden box- tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, basil, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, cilantro and edamame (have never seen this as a starter plant before but super excited to find it)!

DIY filled garden boxDIY lettuce garden box

 

I’m hoping my new DIY Garden Boxes with their extra special dirt will produce an even better garden! If not, I’ll at least admire my new garden boxes.

Enjoy working with tools and trying new skills in your spare time!

Parklet an Oasis on the Street

San Francisco Parklet in Misson District

 

What’s almost as good as great as a city park? A parklet on the street!  If you luv green space or at least something other than cement and pavement, parklets are an oasis on the street. Not new, but quickly growing in numbers, city’s are allowing business and residential owners to reclaim parking spaces and recreate them as small parks. Some businesses use them for outdoor dining, residents often use to a bit of pride in their city and provide literally a breath of fresh air in a city of traffic.

The parklet above was a fabulous residential oasis on the street in San Francisco’s Mission District. A parklet with personality.

So are you wondering if other parklets might be worth the spare time to hang out for awhile?  Here’s a few photos to consider the possibility of an oasis on the street…

Divisadero Parklet rendering
http://sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/divisadero_parklet.html

 


http://logancdc.org/key-programs/logan-parklet/

 

Parklet on 4th Street, San Francisco

http://www.intuitionhq.com/blog/2011/12/city-usability-and-the-rise-of-the-parklet/

 

Oxbow Organic Farm and Gourd Art!

Oxbow Organic Farm Duvall WA

What started out as a quest for a pumpkin patch ended up being more than pumpkins on a visit to the Oxbow Organic Farm in Carnation, WA. Besides being a great learning farm for kids with a “living” playground that included a gourd tunnel and giant green bean teepee it also had a great organic art and inspirational outdoor space!

What a great picnic spot in the grape arbor!  I’m not sure what I luved finding more, the actual grapes which looked amazing or the vibrant colored gourd art decor hanging on the inside of the arbor!

Gourd Art Grape Arbor Decor

With gourd art like this, who wouldn’t start thinking this would make a great gift idea! Plus it  looks like something that wouldn’t take much spare time so sign me up.

Gourd ornament

On a parting note, I couldn’t resist passing the most unusual play feature I’ve seen at a farm for kids and adults to find that inner farmer…The Climbing Tractor!

The Climbing Tractor

Enjoy your spare time!

DIY Mini Succulent Garden Creations

bird bath succulent garden

If you read my earlier post this week I love succulents gardens! They are really easy to start and maintain.  In fact most of my DIY succulent gardens are simply cuttings from existing plants with nothing more than good old cactus soil and sticking the cutting straight in the soil.  Yep it really is that easy!  No seed starting, no root growth first, just a cutting in the soil and then a little TLC to get it going.  The other great part of succulents is they generally don’t need gallons of soil especially to keep them mini sized.

Having been inspired from other mini succulent gardens I created many of my own. This former bird bath, a flea market find, ended up with a large crack in the basin. A perfect opportunity to try a mini succulent garden.

Mini succulent potted garden

Brightly colored pots also make great mini succulent gardens. This fabulous pot was rescued from the alley on trash day.

Candle holder mini succulent garden

This is my experiment in progress to see how succulents would do in a former candle stand. There are actually 3 of these candle stands in varying heights each with its own mini succulent garden. This size is a bit more work since I actually do need to stay on top of the watering but a total success so far.

What other vessels make great mini succulent gardens? My votes are for small candle holder, ramekins, ceramic vases, incense burners or even cereal and soup bowls.  Here are my mini succulent gardens that ended up being great hostess, teacher or even co-worker gifts. It’s the perfect time of year to get them started so they are established before you hit the holiday season.  For a special touch to each of my mini succulent gardens I always add-on top a few great shells, polished rocks or even beach glass.

DIY mini succulent potted gardens

DIY mini succulent garden pots

 

My favorite so far of ways to create a DIY mini succulent garden is in the center of a book! This was a thrift store book that someone had painted the entire outside cover, so it was already looking to be re-purposed in a new way.

succulent garden in a book

 

There are many “how to” articles on the web, but here are my quick tips and a special decorative soil cover.

1. Glue around the entire book page edges so the pages stay together in big chunks (crafty glue seems to work well)

2. Measure out the shape you will cut from the core of the book pages. Mine was relatively small about 3 x 4″ since I wanted to leave some of the words.

3. Using an exacto knife, start cutting through the layers.  Cutting worked best for me when I cut in large chunks.

4. Line the inside of the shape with 2 layers of parchment or freezer paper. I used parchment paper since it’s what I had on hand and it worked great.

5. Add soil and succulents.

6. Decorate and cover the soil and there you go – fabulous!  Here’s my insider’s tip: the decorative soil covering I experimented with is dried beans. I found mine in the 99-cent store and there were many colors to choose from. I added a few polished rocks with a contrasting tone then watered lightly.  In case you are wondering, the beans have not sprouted or spoiled! I tend to water close to the plant and not all that much water since it’s a succulent!

Enjoy your spare time creating your own DIY mini succulent gardens!

Mini Succulent Garden Inspiration

5 Feet From the Moon succulent table

Living in Southern California has given me the chance to get to know succulents, grow them and have them actually live – sometimes thrive!  Originally, I’m from the Pacific Northwest, and succulents don’t really hit the top ten list for garden items – but I’m certain the variety of mosses is on par.  Spending spare time walking the aisles of a design trade show just for fun (by the way, I’m not a designer but highly recommend attending one if you are ever in need of inspiration – a sure-fire way to get out of any rut!)  is where I found my new succulent garden inspiration.

This mini succulent concrete table is one of the most unusual ways I’ve seen succulents used and is now on my wish list.  5 Feet From the Moon from Santa Cruz, CA uses mini succulents as living art!  Here is their amazing concrete table with a waterfall into a succulent pool and a great wall hanging which only makes my wish list longer!

5 feet from the Moon waterfall table       5 Feet From the Moon succulent wall hanging

Even these simple vibrant blue pots makes succulents look more fabulous! I’ll definitely be on the look out for pots with color.

potted succulents

Why succulents? In my book they not only have great texture and color, but they also save me time.  They are low maintenance and they always look good! In my next post, I’ll share how I’ve used them in traditional and non-traditional ways. Plus how to use them for unique one of a kind gifts. Enjoy your time!