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  • Quick test: is it a weed or a plant? If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
  • read all shaktoids!
    October 20, 2014
    Too Soon To Prune?

    Pruning trees is necessary for their health. It helps them grow larger and faster, while also preventing the branches from getting too heavy. Usually, if a tree branch falls and it’s not because of a storm, it’s because it hasn’t been pruned properly. Fallen tree branches are extremely dangerous- and can cost you a lot if they fall on your home or car. So, to help both you and your trees, here’s a guide on pruning, from Kathy Woodard at The Garden Glove. It tells you when and how to prune your trees:

    - Most trees will come out healthier on the other end if you wait until after the coldest part of winter has passed, but before vigorous growth starts in early spring.

    -For large trees, leave the job to a tree trimming service

    -Here’s what to cut on small trees: rubbing/crossing branches, dead or broken branches, water sprouts, and anything awkward or unattractive.

    Photo Credit: Rosewoman 


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    October 14, 2014
    Cheap Chicken House Ideas

    Last week, I went camping at my friend’s family farm. The s’mores were delicious, the weather was perfect, and the scenery was gorgeous. But, the best time I had that night was before we even got to the campsite. It was when we were visiting her mother at the house….and she introduced us to her new chickens. They were so sweet and loving- especially when you had bread to give them. The best part? They were “easter egg” chickens- and their eggs came in a rainbow of colors. Olive green, light tan, dark brown, sky blue, and pale pink– and they were absolutely delicious when cooked over a camp fire the next morning. Her mother also told me that they are expecting two new chicks sometime in December, and it took every ounce of my willpower to turn down her offer of taking them. One day though, when I have the time and the land, I will have my own chickens. And when that day comes, I’ll be ready! If you are thinking of getting chickens, read this post by Hal Gall at Hubpages for easy and cheap chicken coop ideas:

    -Use recycled materials, like scrap wood

    -Choose the correct size for your needs

    -Always choose long lasting quality over cheap materials to get your money’s worth

    -Build a fence to keep predators out

    Photo Credit: Annie Kavanagh 


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    October 7, 2014
    DIY Plant Food

    One key to being a great gardener is giving your plants the right food and fertilizer. It keeps your plants healthy and helps them grow bigger and stronger. But, commercial plant foods can cost a lot- especially when you already have the ingredients for a great plant food in your own kitchen! What’s more- it’s made out of stuff that most people throw away. Check out this recipe by Keowdie at My Purple Brick Road:

    -Put some water in a jar

    -Whenever you use an egg, put the shell in the jar (crunch them up)

    -Put used coffee grounds in the jar

    -When it’s full, top it off with water, shake it up, then let it sit for a week

    -Now you have made your own “compost tea”!

    Photo Credit: oatsy40 


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    September 30, 2014
    From “Good” Gardener to Great

    Ever wonder what makes people with a natural “green thumb” different? Some may say it’s just a talent you’re born with- like being able to sing, draw, or speak in public. Others say it’s the result of lots of experience- of finding out what works and what doesn’t. In my opinion, it’s a little bit of both. This post by Isis at Little Mountain Haven shares her opinion on “what it takes” to become a great gardener. And, I think you can apply to any situation in life:

    But in my opinion the most important aspect of being a great gardener is your attitude towards gardening failures.

    Gardening will shape a person. Year to year you’re met with all sorts of challenges that need strong perseverance. You will either give up early in the season and see it as a lost cause OR you’ll be ready to meet the challenge.”

    Photo Credit: Heather Cowper 


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    September 22, 2014
    Gourd Growing Guide (Say That Five Times Fast!)

    To complete the Fall superfecta of pumpkins, mums, and corn, you need that other plant….gourds! Nothing screams “Summer is over!” quite like a garden full of gourds. They’re great for using in decorations, or in a handful of delicious Fall recipes. For the best tips on growing gourds, read this article by Dottie Baltz at Gardens and Crafts. I won’t post the entire guide here; it’s extremely extensive. It covers everything from soil preparation, to seed starting, to harvesting techniques. Here are some of my favorite tips, though:

    -The best thing you can do for your gourds, and most of your plants, is to use lots of compost.

    -Gourds need a lot of water to grow, but yet they don’t like to remain wet constantly.

    -Gourds flower at night and are pollinated by moths.

    -Placing a piece of white plastic under any gourd that sits on the ground, will protect it from rot and bugs that feed directly from the soil.

    Photo Credit: a2Gemma 


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    September 16, 2014
    Best Fall Plants To Bring Color To Your Yard

    Fall is my favorite season. I love the weather, the colors, the smells, the sights, the holidays, the clothing options, and the flavors (I could live on pumpkin forever and be perfectly happy). One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is to take an afternoon and go on a drive through the country to look at the colors. But, while this is fun, and a great family or date activity, why should you have to drive miles away to see the gorgeous colors of the season? Why not bring them to your own yard? Read this article by Steve Bender at Southern Living for a list of plants that will dazzle you this season:

    -October Glory’ red maple (Acer rubrum )- for spectacular red fall foliage. September is a great time to plant.

    -Plentifall pansies- survive below-zero temps with little damage, so they should bloom for you from fall through spring

    -Moss- If grass won’t grow in a damp, shady area in your yard, grow moss instead. Moss stays green all year!

    -Confederate rose- (Hibiscus mutabilis ‘Plena’) a shrub with late-summer and autumn flowers that change from white to pink to deep rose as they age. 

    Photo Credit: Kanegen 


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    September 9, 2014
    Fall Entry Way Inspiration

    September is here! It’s not quite officially Fall yet, but it’s close enough for me. It’s time for the hot summer months to go away! Fall is here (kinda), and in my mind, that calls for a change in décor. Bring on the pumpkins, the mums, the corn, and the hay bales! If it were up to me, I’d have Autumn stuff out year round. Having season appropriate décor is also a great way to boost your curb appeal, especially if you’re trying to sell. A main drawing point is the front door- it’s extremely important when considering curb appeal. For some outdoor/entry way decoration inspiration, look no further than this post by Better Homes and Gardens. It also contains tutorials on how to make each project:

    -Festive Fall Greenery: An old washtub is new again when you fill it with fall plants such as wheat stems, fir branches, and holly leaves and berries. 

    -Wreath of leaves for the door

    -Use orange paper lanterns on your porch

    -Pumpkins as planters

    -Cozy mum wreath

    Photo Credit: Rachel Kramer 


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    September 3, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Outdoor Living Room

    Photo from TG Interiors


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    September 2, 2014
    DIY Citronella Candles

    Outdoor time is a staple at my home. We have a large porch, a fire pit, and a pretty mean grill cook (my dad). Needless to say, we have a lot of outdoor parties. But, we also live in the country, so pesky bugs like mosquitoes and flies can be a problem. That’s why we go through citronella candles like candy– we have to buy new ones every few weeks during the summer, and it can be a pain. That’s why I was super excited when I saw this post by Jody at Premeditated Leftovers! She has a tutorial for how to make your own! Check it out:

    • 6 cups soy chips
    • drops citronella essential oil
    • wicks
    • pan

    -Melt soy wax chips, stirring constantly

    -Dip metal disk on wick into melted wax, immediately place on bottom of desired container to fix it in place.

    -Stir essential oil into melted wax well, pour wax into pre warmed containers. prop wick up in the center with pencils or sticks.  Allow to sit for several hours until set.

    Photo Credit: Logan Ingalls 


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    August 26, 2014
    Hydrogen Peroxide In The Garden

    I’ve used hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant for minor cuts and scrapes, and as part of a DIY teeth-whitening solution. That’s why I was more than a little surprised by this article by Joe Macho at Hubpages that says it’s also great for gardens. Like, seriously, what? You’d think it’d immediately kill any living thing trying to grow. But, apparently, most plants eat that stuff up! Check out some of the many uses of hydrogen peroxide in the garden:

    -Organic pesticide: feeding a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to the infected plants will rid them of soil dwelling pests like root worms

    -Soil aeration and root rot treatment: it will break down rapidly in the soil, boosting oxygen levels and expelling any anaerobic conditions.

    -Water treatment: it will remove chlorine, and chemical pesticides

    Photo Credit: Adinaplus 


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