How to Start a Neighborhood Garden

How to Start a Neighborhood Garden

How to Start a Neighborhood Garden- If you're longing for a garden but are limited on yard space, a neighborhood garden may be a perfect solution for you!

If you’re longing for a garden but are limited on yard space, a neighborhood garden may be a perfect solution for you! A neighborhood garden is especially a good idea if your neighbors are also sharing these problems and frustrations and wishing for a garden of their own. If you are unsure about how to start a neighborhood garden, take a look at the helpful tips below. You see how simple it can be to plant and maintain a neighborhood garden and reap a harvest that everyone can enjoy.

Step 1: Have a planning session.

Gather all of the neighbors together who wish to participate. It’s ideal to have anywhere from 5-15 neighbors involved. Meet together and discuss a few important details such as where the garden will be and what plants will be going into it. Decide the size of the garden and if it will be a container, raised bed, or in ground garden. Listen to everyone’s ideas and pick a location that is central to the neighborhood. A neighbor may wish to donate space or you can opt for raised beds or container gardens along some shared land.

Once you know what you want to plant, you can create a budget for your garden. When it comes time to purchase the plants, have each participant pitch in a designated amount. Choose together what this amount will be so you can pick an amount that works for everyone. Once money is collected, choose a captain (or two) to take on the task of purchasing plants and supplies.

Step 2: Assign jobs.

Invite everyone to share their talents when taking care of the garden. Assign jobs to each participant so everyone has a part with the care of the garden and earns their share. Jobs will include weeding, feeding and fertilizing, watering, and of course harvesting. Someone should be checking on the garden daily, so create a chart for participants to sign up for days/tasks.

Step 3: Have a planting party.

Once you have your land picked out and your jobs in place, it’s time to have a planting party! Gather on a sunny day and start tilling the land, planting your produce, and setting up any necessary fencing or pest control. This can be a fun day for all involved as you work together to get your garden looking great.

Step 4: Practice maintaining the garden.

Make sure you keep up your end of the bargain by tending to the garden as needed and as designated. Stay in contact with the other gardeners so any issues in the garden can be discussed.

When your garden is ready to be harvested, head on down and start picking! Allow all participants to take part in harvesting and share what is collected. This is a great way to enjoy all of your hard work!

Growing a neighborhood garden takes a little work, but the end result is worth it. Give these tips a try and see how rewarding it can be to grow your own!

How to Start a Neighborhood Garden- If you're longing for a garden but are limited on yard space, a neighborhood garden may be a perfect solution for you!

Free Gardener’s Idea Book from Proven Winners

gardener's idea book

Request the FREE Gardener’s Idea Book from Proven Winners!  The 36 page booklet is full of gardening inspiration.

Click here to sign up to get your free garden idea book.

How to Start Seeds Indoors

How to Start Seeds Indoors

How to Start Seeds Indoors

You might be itching to get your garden going, but chances are the sowing season is still a few weeks away. Well no worries, you can start your seeds indoors several weeks before the final frost of the season! By starting your seeds indoors, you can get a jump on the growing season while saving some money in the process. Here is what you need to know to start seeds indoors.

First, let’s take a look at what you will need:

  • Seed starters (you can use store bought, yogurt cups, egg carton cups, egg shells, K-cups…etc.)
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Spray bottle
  • Cookie sheets or a tray of some sort
  • Wood craft sticks
  • Marker
  • Clear Plastic Wrap

Did you know that you can find all of these items at your local dollar store? You sure can! As you can see, starting seeds indoors is quite budget friendly.

A good rule of thumb for when to start your seeds is 4 weeks before the last frost of the season. This will vary depending where you live, so consult The Farmer’s Almanac to find out when the perfect planting time is for you.

Directions:

  1. Begin by placing the seed starter cups on the cookie sheet or tray. This way, the surface under the cups is protected and you can easily move them if you need to.
  2. Poke a hole in the bottom of your seed starter cups. This will ensure that the plant drains properly.
  3. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full with nutrient rich potting soil.
  4. Add a seed to the cup according to package directions. Consult the package to see how far down you need to make the hole and how many seeds can be put in each hole.
  5. Replace the soil to cover the hole and mist the area with your spray bottle. Misting is easier and cleaner than a watering can, plus it will keep you from over watering.
  6. Use the wood craft sticks and marker to make plant markers for the seedlings so you know what they are once they start growing.
  7. Pull a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the seed starters. This will allow light in but will help the plants retain heat. NOTE: You will need to remove the plastic wrap every few days to mist the soil to keep it moist. Just be sure to return the plastic when you are done.
  8. Place your seed starters in a window where they will get at least 6 hours of sun per day. If you don’t have an area where this is possible, a sun lamp will work.
  9. As soon as you see sprouting, remove the plastic wrap. Continue to water every few days and keep the soil moist at all times.

In just a few weeks, your seeds will be seedlings and they will be ready to get transplanted outside. Be sure the threat of frost has passed and you follow package directions when transplanting.

See how simple starting seeds indoors can be? Give these tips a try and get a jump on the growing season now!

52 Ways To Save: Start a Garden on a Budget (Week 10)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Tips For Gardening on a Budget

9 Tips for Gardening on a Budget

Are you ready to “get growing?”  The arrival of spring has many ready to get outdoors and start planting their gardens, but what if you are working on a limited budget? Well the good news is, gardening doesn’t have to be expensive, and in fact it can be a great way to save yourself some cash in the long run. If you are considering planting a garden this season and want to do so for less, take a look at these 9 tips for gardening on a budget. You will be amazed at how easy it can be to “get growing” for less!

1. Start your seeds indoors.

Sure you can buy seedlings, but starting your own seeds indoors is cheaper! A seedling cost at least $1-$5, while you can get an entire pack of seeds for $1 or less. So start your seeds indoors using seed starters and some basic soil, and you can have your own seedlings in no time. (Watch for a how-to post in the near future!)

2. Check out your local dollar store.

Dollar stores have a great selection of gardening gear for just $1 each. Choose from seeds, flower pots, gardening gloves, fertilizer spikes, watering cans, starter trays, and more! It is a great way to build your gardening stash for less.

3. Use natural fertilizers.

Instead of buying plant food and fertilizers, try making your own! Crushed egg shells and coffee grounds make excellent plant food. You can also use fruit peels to help nourish the soil and keep your plants healthy.

4. Practice chemical free pest repellent.

Again, you can buy your own pest repellent, but why not make your own for less? A simple spray bottle of water and a few drops of Dawn Dish Soap can help keep many pests at bay! This is a great way to save cash and omit chemicals in your garden.

5. Start a rain barrel.

Instead of spending money on watering your garden, catch rainwater instead. A rain barrel is the perfect trick for catching rain perfect for watering your garden with. Even a small barrel or bucket can give you enough water to keep a small garden satisfied.

6. Make your own garden markers.

You can make garden markers out of all kinds of household materials. Try making some from wood craft sticks and markers to get started. This is a great way to keep your garden organized for less.

7. Team up with friends.

Team up with friends and neighbors  to borrow each other’s gardening tools and equipment. You can even share seedlings and thinned out plants you no longer need. This is a great way to get the items you need for cheap or even free.

8. Use a small space.

Rather than tilling up a large piece of land for a garden, try out small space gardening!  Living in a townhouse, we actually don’t have the land for a big garden so I put container gardening to use.  Sometimes that might even feel overwhelming. If so, try growing just a few herbs that you often buy from the grocery store.  Or grow a lasagna garden so you have all the ingredients for a delicious marinara sauce on hand.  Here are a few more ways to grow a garden in a small space.

9. Look into community gardening.

Community gardening could be a great option for those of you that want a big garden but don’t have the space or want the time commitment. Do a little research about the community garden options in your city to see if this might be a good fit for you.

Gardening is a great way to grow your own food and save some cash. Give these tips for gardening on a budget a try and see how easy it can be to grow for less.

See the other articles in this series, here.

Free Organic Gardening Resources

seedstart

Are you looking for some organic gardening resources?  Well, head over to Organic Gardening to find a ton of FREE downloads!

Find things like a seed-starting chart, weekend gardening project ideas, information about bugs and more!

Repurposing Containers for Seed Starting

seed starting

Now here’s a great idea for reusing those containers that grocery store roasted chickens comes in!  Start your garden seeds in them!

Head over to Read Between the Limes for more tips.

Repel Mosquitos Naturally with a Mosquito Planter

Repel mosquitoes naturally with a mosquito planter!

I mentioned in my first container garden update that I would do a separate post detailing the plants I have in the pot I deemed my ‘Mosquito Planter’.  While we don’t get a ton of mosquitoes, we do live by a creek (damp) so we do see them around and they are not my favourite bug to live with.  In one of my Pinterest escapades, I discovered that I could create a container full of plants that mosquitoes don’t like. Namely plants of the citrus scented variety.

Not only does the scent of the plants keep mosquitoes at bay, I can even tear off a leaf and rub it on my skin if I’m finding they’re getting too close.  I may even bring a leaf or two along on any hikes we might be doing!

Here’s what I put in the pot:

  • Citronella Geranium (I would use these leaves on my skin)
  • Marigold ‘Lemon Gem’
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Thyme (can be used in cooking too!)
  • Gazanias (only because I had extra from another flower pot)

I was looking for lemon grass but I couldn’t find any before I got tired of diving to all our local nurseries.

Mosquito planter

I’m excited to see how this works as the summer goes on.  I hope it fills out nicely and that pretty flowers appear!

Have you ever done something like this?  Did it help ward off the mosquitoes?

 

Container Garden 2014: Update #1

I’ve been a little bit of a lazy container gardener this year.  I had grand plans to really use our space to grow a lot of veggies, but… I got lazy or overwhelmed.  I wanted to construct some sort of vertical gardening space that would allow me to plant herbs, radishes, lettuce and strawberries.

You see, I’m really good at deciding  that I’m going to do something, just not so good on the follow through :P  Maybe next year!

I still haven’t planted my lettuce seeds or my potatoes.  But, I was proud of the fact that I scored some free seed potatoes by putting a call out on a local Facebook Buy & Sell site!  I’ll get to planting them this week, promise. :)

Here goes for my first update.

First up, is a picture of my flower pot, mints (chocolate and apple) and tomatoes.  I hope to make delicious teas this year using those mints! (read all about apple mint here.)
mints#1

This year, I found a window box variety of Roma tomatoes and the other cherry tomato is a Sweet 100.

tomatoes#1

I’m not a huge fan of dried rosemary so I bought a rosemary plant that I hope to use fresh in my cooking.  Not pictured, is a basil plant I have at the front of the house.

rosemary#1

Last year I had beans and peas planted in this big container, but they didn’t really grow well.  So, this year, I decided to try something different and create a mosquito planter!  I’ll have more details about it in a seperate post in the near future.

mosquito planter#1

I’ll be back with another update soon because there’s been growth since I took these pictures and I’ll have more planted!

How’s your garden doing?

All About Apple Mint

Apple mint is an herb with many uses you can enjoy. Take a look at everything you need to know about apple mint and how you can grow some yourself.

You may know that many varieties of mint can be grown and enjoyed during the summer months. Spearmint, chocolate mint, and peppermint can all be grown and used in centerpieces, tea, desserts, and even in your crafting. But did you know that there is another mint often overlooked than can be just as fun and useful? Apple mint can be found at your local garden center, and it too has many uses you can enjoy. Take a look below at everything you need to know about apple mint and how you can grow some yourself.

First, let’s explore the basics of apple mint:

Apple mint has a fruity flavor and apple scent, which is not surprising since it is named after an apple, a quite popular fruit! Apple mint looks like most other mint varieties with a green stem and green foliage. What makes it a little different is that it has a light fur on it. It also produces reddish blooms in the late summer months and can be quite attractive. Apple mint likes to grow in full sun or part shade. Like other mint plants it needs well drained soil. It does like having its own space, so be sure to space each plant a good foot apart from the next. Apple mint is a perennial so it will grow back. If you plant it in pots however, you will need to plant a new plant each year.

Now that you know the basics about apple mint, here is how you can use it around the home:

1. Add leaves to your tea. Simply rinse them and add them to your cup. Allow a few minutes for the mint oils to permeate the liquid. Some people think apple mint helps with promoting relaxation and a good night’s sleep.

2. Make your own air freshener.
You can bundle stems of apple mint with a piece of string and hang it from closets. It will add freshness to the space and make it smell great.

3. Find pain relief when you soak an apple mint leaf in water and then place the wet leaf on the wound. This is perfect for bites and stings.

4. You can infuse your water by placing a few leaves in a gallon jug and filling it with water. Let is sit for 24 hours. Strain the leaves and enjoy the cool beverage!

5. Make your own marinade when you add a few apple mint leaves to vinegar and let the meat soak in the mixture for a few hours.

See what a terrific plant this can be? Grab your own apple mint and enjoy all of these uses, and more!

Tips for Growing and Using Basil & Oregano

Tips for Growing and Using Basil & Oregano

If you love cooking with fresh herbs, you will want to make space in your garden for basil and oregano. Both come in handy when making salads, marinades, infusions and more. If you are new to growing these herbs, take a peek below at some tips for growing and using basil and oregano in your own garden. They are easy to grow and practical herbs you are sure to enjoy.

Basil:

When planting basil, you will want to remember these basics:

  • This herb needs 6 to 8 hours of good sun
  • Avoid planting until after the threat of frost has passed.
  • Plant your basil plants a good 12-18 inches apart.
  • Soil should be well drained, and you may fertilize twice during the growing season.

Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy basil at home:

  • Crumble leaves on top of your pizza, garlic bread, or other baked dishes.
  • Add a few leaves to a bottle of olive oil for some extra flavor.
  • Plant basil in your yard to help repel certain varieties of pests.
  • Blend the leaves into pesto to freeze and use later.
  • Add basil leaves to your salad, dips, and even soups.
  • Basil can even be added by the leaf to your pasta dishes.

Now, let’s explore another great herb, oregano!

Oregano:

When planting oregano, you will want to remember these basics:

  • Oregano doesn’t mind shade. Therefore a good 5-6 hours of sun is plenty.
  • Well drained soil is a must when growing this herb.
  • Cut away dead stems and foliage as the plant grows to encourage new growth.
  • Give plants a good six inches in between each to grow.
  • Oregano does not respond well to fertilizer, so just be sure to take proper care of your plants so they thrive.

Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy oregano at home:

  • Add some crumbled oregano to your pizza and pizza sauces.
  • Add a few leaves to your pasta dishes and casseroles.
  • While your soup is simmering add a leaf or two of oregano for more flavor.
  • Infuse a bottle of olive oil with oregano leaves.

So what are you waiting for? Give these herbs a try and your table will never lack flavor!