6 To-do's for Spring

6 To-do's for Spring

Who else is super excited for a new season? Our winter was entirely too long and unpleasant this year, so hearing the birds chirping and finally seeing the sun has been a game-changer!

For me, Spring is always a time for change. Time to turn over a new leaf…to grow and renew. So I thought I would share with you my favorite things to-do to usher in Spring. Perhaps you’ll even discover something to add to your own Spring to-do list.

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Adventures in Growing Food

I'm pretty excited as this is our first year with a proper vegetable garden.  This time last year we had just moved to our new home in small town Southern Ontario and even though our new yard was perfect for planting, we just didn't have the time.  But this year I was on a mission!

A mission to grow food for my family!

My husband and I decided on a perfect spot for the garden that would allow us to enclose it (read: keep dogs & rabbits out) and still have some big open spaces for romping.  We decided that some raised beds would work best given we live on a giant sand dune and I really didn't want to spend days tilling and trying to make our dirt suitable for veggies.  And then it was on to finding materials to build our beds.  We definitely didn't want pressure treated wood given all the toxic chemicals that would leach into our homegrown veggies and cedar was super expensive.  So what then?

But as luck would have it we managed to find a much more environmentally friendly and frugal solution.  We had a dead tree taken down a few weeks before and the guys that did the work live on a farm right around the corner.  Their property is gorgeous and littered with piles of lumber and boards!  So hubby headed over to ask them if they had any planks for sale.  Talk about perfect...not only did that have wood, but gorgeous 12 ft aged ash boards that they would deliver for us!.  I don't even remember how much wood they brought, but it was way more than we needed and it was only $50!  And even cooler was the fact that these brothers also have a small sawmill so that had made the planks themselves from other trees that had taken down in the area.  So cool!

So then we built the beds, or rather my handy husband did.  We decided on four 12x5 beds with walk-ways in between. We lined the area with heavy duty landscape fabric and installed the beds.  And then it was shovelling and more shovelling.  We ordered 4 yards of triple mix soil and had to lug it all from the front yard to the back.  And then wood chips to fill in the paths and make our garden area complete.  All I really remember from that week was shovels, calluses and sore arms.

raisedgardenbeds.jpg

But wow, did they ever look good.  We then needed to protect the area from rabbits, and our dogs who would tromp through all my seedlings. Talk about good karma, our neighbour had 2 large rolls of chicken wire she didn't need and happily donated it to the cause.  And my crafty husband then found some awesome metal trellis/fencing that someone was getting rid of and that's how we crafted our enclosure.

Then of course it was on to planting.  I had started all kinds of seeds inside in the early Spring and couldn't wait to get them in the ground.  I had everything just about planted the weekend before Victoria Day.  In hindsight, it was way to early, but I was just sooo excited!  So after having to cover up all my plants multiple times over the following 2 weeks due to frost I was home free!  Let the garden grow!

Everyday we take a tour through our new little plot.  The kids love checking out whats popping up and all the veggies that are getting bigger each second.  We've already started picking some of our veggies including kale, lettuce, spinach and radishes.

I remember being sweaty and cranky and in the thick of building and filling the boxes and my husband saying "wouldn't it be easier to just go to the grocery store?"  And initially, there were times when I definitely thought so, but now, watching my plants grow and seeing my kids get excited about picking food for supper I know that growing our own food may not be easier, but it sure is way more fulfilling AND delicious!

Have you got a garden this year? What are your favourite things to grow?

10 Reasons Why You Should Get Dirty

The past couple weeks have been a fury of raking, shovelling, digging and planting around here.  I LOVE Spring and all the outdoor work that comes with it.  Cleaning up the yard and gardens, getting rid of all the winter messes and prepping for all the growing and blooming makes me happy!

Did you know that there's actually some pretty good reasons to get outside and get dirty? Yup, all those days as a kid making mud pies weren't for nothing!  Check out these amazing and healthy reasons why you should get your dirt on!

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10 Reasons Why You Should Get Dirty

  1. Fresh Air - after months of being cooped up over the winter, nothing feels nicer that that clean, crisp air in your lungs.  A few deep breaths and you can already start to feel energized.
  2. Sunshine - gotta love some natural Vitamin D!  Just be careful as your skin is probably not used to those rays and can burn quickly.
  3. Physical Activity - playing in the dirt can be a great work out.  Whether is digging holes for new plants, weeding or cutting the grass you can work up a good sweat with some yard work.
  4. Immune Building - yup, playing in the dirt is great for your immune system.  See... kids knew it all along.  Ditch the antibacterial soaps and sterile environment and make mud pies instead.  Kids who play in the dirt are less likely to develop allergies and develop stronger immune systems from exposure to all those little microbes and bacteria compared to those kids who aren't allowed to play in the mud and dirt.
  5. Stress Relief - playing in the yard is a simple way to de-stress.  Combine a little exercise, fresh air and stepping away from whatever is bugging you and you'll start to relax in no time.
  6. Self-Esteem Boost - talk about feeling good...how about that feeling of pride and accomplishment from nurturing a plant from a little seed to your very own fruit or vegetable?!
  7. Connect with the Earth - digging in the dirt is a wonderful way for adults and kids to connect with Mother Earth.  It reminds us how interconnected we are and that in order for us to live and flourish we need to love and respect our planet.
  8. Grow Your Own Food - one of my favourite parts about gardening is that I can actually provide nourishing foods that I selected, planted and nurtured to my family.  I know exactly what went into them and what we will then be eating.  It's all about planting love!
  9. Get Happier - did you know that getting dirty makes you happy? For real! Mycobacterium vaccae is a beneficial bacterial naturally found in soil.  And it's been found to trigger the release of Serotonin which boosts your mood!
  10. Why not?!

Do you love playing in your yard or garden?  Hands up if you have dirt under your fingernails!

Awesome #Frugal #Garden Haul

So I just had to share this little story as I still can't believe my amazing gardening score! Last week I had stopped by the local garden centre at Strathroy's Great Canadian Superstore.   To my surprise practically everything was marked down by 40% - 60%!!  Woohoo!  I quickly grabbed a bunch of plants for my new garden I was putting in and headed home to tell my husband the awesome deal I had just got.

A few days later I was in the city doing some grocery shopping and stopped at a different Superstore location.  I decided to hit their Garden Centre to see if they had anything else that might be of interest.  There was this Hardy Fig Tree I had debated on purchasing that I was hoping might be there.  And to my surprise, there was a huge table of them!! On sale for $11!  Perfect.

I grabbed the Fig Tree and a couple other plants and headed to the cash register.  When the lady rang me through she said "That will be $4.40 please."

Huh? So silly me asked if that was right.  She then coldly replied "I can charge you more if you want."

That's when I saw the tiny sign and those people with huge carts full of plants finally made sense.  The garden centre had been put on notice that it was to close THAT day for the season and all the plants were being sold for $.50, $1.00 & $2.00!  I couldn't believe it!  I put my 4 little plants in the car and grabbed a cart and started to stock up!

Bushes, trees, perennials and annuals....you name it, I got it! The selection wasn't the best but it was more than enough for what I needed.  By the time I was done there was barely enough room in my car for me, let alone any groceries.  My husband was gonna kill me!  Luckily, when I showed him my huge flora haul and told him what I paid, he was AMAZED!

I had purchased over $250.00 worth of plants for......

wait for it....

$16.50!  

 No seriously! $16.50!  21 plants for less than $20!  

I'm still kind of in shock!  Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is if you looking for a bargain it pays to wait for sales or the end of season.  They may not have the selection, but the price can't be beat!  Now to plant all these lovelies!

What's been your best summer sale score?
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My 3 Wishful #DIY Homestead Projects

Time for more moving procrastination! With a month before we move I find myself daydreaming of all the wonderful things I'm going to do in our new house.  Paint, colour, furniture and design ideas are dancing in my head.  And since we will be moving in the Spring it will be the perfect time to do something with our ample, sun-drenched yard.  Here's a couple things I'm dreaming of doing once we move in, just might have to work on convincing the hubby to help me build them!

3 DIY Homestead Projects

Who doesn't like potatoes? This easy DIY potato box looks like something I could manage and I love that it is vertical and has it's own built in Critter prevention!  And it will be fun to dig out our own taters!
 
Build Your Own Potato Box

Chickens! I'm pretty excited that we can have backyard Chickens! I've always wanted one so I think I'm gonna give it a go.  Just need to convince my husband that it'll be a great idea.  


Backyard Chicken Coop

Raised garden beds are an easy and inexpensive way to transform your lawn into a vegetable producing plot.  I love the idea of using cinder blocks and planting flowers or herbs around the edge!

Raised Garden Bed

Have you got any DIY daydreams?  What's on your Spring creation list?

Cheers,
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3 Gorgeous Bulbs to Plant Now

The snow has finally started melting and I can even see the tips of a few of my tulips peaking up from the Earth.  I planted a ton of bulbs over the past couple years, but with the extended Winter, I really can't wait for them to come up! So I thought I'd take a look and see what other bulbs I could get in the ground in the next couple weeks to add to my collections.

Check out these 3 gorgeous bulbs I'm going to plant. They can planted in the Spring and will bring loads of lovely Summer colours to my garden!


3 Bulbs to Plant in Spring for Summer Colour

Asiatic lily

Asiatic Lily: one of the hardiest Lilies, you can plant them in the Fall and early Spring.  They'll bloom in the Summer with a fantastic show of vibrant blooms on tall stalks. They come in a rainbow of colours and will certainly add beauty to your garden. 







Dahlias: they're easy to grow and make for wonderful cut flowers.  They can be planted now and will bloom from Summer to Fall.  The beautiful blooms come in a variety of colours and sizes.  Depending on where you live you may need to bring them in for the Winter.  I'm going to try planting these in pots and putting them in my garden and come Fall I can bring them all in at once. 
 

Gladiolus: now these are some serious blooms! These bulbs can be planted in the Spring once the frost is gone and will bring spectacular colour to your garden.  They make great cut flowers and will bloom from Summer until the frost starts.  Again, these bulbs may need to be brought inside for the Winter depending on your climate.  But they do well in containers to so perhaps this will be another potted one for me!





What's coming up in your garden?
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Getting Ready for Gardening

With Spring just a day away, I started to get excited about digging in the dirt and getting my garden going.  This year will be a little different than usual as it looks like we'll be moving in May.  So for now, it will be wishful thinking until things firm up with the sale of our house and hopefully a purchase in the near future of a new home .

I really want to grow some veggies this year. I had plans for turning my front yard into a vegetable garden but not sure the new owners would be so keen.  I'm thinking I'll start some seeds and then transplant them to our new home.  But I can't go overboard as we're looking at downsizing and I know I won't have a giant yard.

Here's a great info graphic for starting seeds and when to transplant them.  I need to check out my seed stash and see what I've got so far.  Anything in particular you want to grow and eat this year?

Sow What?

Since our living arrangements are uncertain at the moment I've been looking for creative ways to garden with limited space.

  I love the look of pallets and I have my fingers crossed I can make this in the Spring - small yard or not, I just love it!

Pallet Garden in 7 Easy Steps

And this would be perfect for my Herb Garden!

Vertical Gardening, Clever!

DIY Vertical Planter

And don't forget a little pop of colour too!

Unusual Vertical Garden

Vertical Garden

I can totally see this hanging on the front porch!

Love this

DIY Hanging Planter

Have you started dreaming about Spring?  What's on your To-Do list for your garden this year?  If you're looking for more ideas, check out my Gardening Board on Pinterest!

Tip Tuesday - Seasonal Gardening

With Labour Day fast approaching and summer slowly slipping away, I thought it would be fitting to discuss seasonal gardening tips.  I have to admit, this summer I did not tend to my garden as much as I had hoped.  That being said I'm getting all geared up for my Fall planting.  I don't do too much to the gardens this time of year but here are two of my staples that I do at the end of each summer.

1.  Mums....yup...Mums - I love them!  So many gorgeous colours and they just never seem to stop blooming.  I have two cast iron urns on the front step that I like to fill will plants each Spring and Fall.  This Spring I thought I would plant my herbs in them. It was great in the Spring, but once the sweltering heat and unrelenting sunshine on the front of the house started it was all over.  I think all that's left standing is my Rosemary and Curry.  There might be a few scraggly bits of Basil and Parsley hanging on for dear life.  So this weekend I will be switching over my dried herbs to some glorious mums.  What a quick and beautiful way to welcome in the Fall by changing over your pots.  Now...just to decide on colour?  Perhaps I'll let the kids decide...what do you think?

2.  Clover.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I plant Clover.  I try to do it twice a year, but this year being so busy with adjusting to life as a family of 4 I will only get to it once.  Why you ask?  Well, Clover is green...in the colour sense, but also in the eco-friendly sense.   Clover requires much less water than traditional grass and is much more drought tolerant.  And an added bonus, if you let it flower it's great for the bees!  Plus it will crowd out the other unsightly weeds that we try so hard to eliminate. Clover also puts nitrogen nutrients back into the soil - bonus! So we sow it in the Spring and Fall into our lawns.  I don't have time to worry about pulling weeds or how perfect my sod looks.  But love the look and feel of Clover and so happy my kids get to see actual honey bees.  I still remember the first time I asked at a Big Box store if the sold Clover...they looked at me like I had 2 heads and the lady behind me offered me hers from her yard.  So spread the word...Be Clever...plant Clover!

Do you have any end of summer gardening musts?  What plants do you use to make the season change?

Planting love...and Clover,

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