My Garden Plans for 2015

This year I’m trying something different for my garden. Normally I grow my veggies in containers, but this year I’m transforming my flower bed! I’m so excited!

I have an assortment of perennials in the flower bed, but I moved them all over to one side to make room for veggies.  Because it’s still not a big space for growing, I really only want to grow carrots (my daughter loves them raw!). I thought I’d try beets because I love them roasted on salads. Kale because we like to make kale chips.

garden diagram 2015

So the picture shows where I’ll be planting stuff. I might add peas in the back so they can climb the fence.

I will have some containers.  I’ll have my herbs (Basil, tarragon, chocolate mint and strawberry mint), tomatoes and lettuce in containers. They grow well that way.  I’m also trying out these Smart Pots for the tomatoes.  They seem really great!


My mom will have her big garden again this year so I’ll be sure to trade some weeding time for cucumbers, zucchini, blackberries, potatoes, onions and what ever else she grows. 🙂

What will your garden look like this year?  

7 Garden Remedies That Will Save You Money

7 Garden Remedies That Will Save You Money

Garden Remedies That Will Save You Money

Tending to your garden’s needs can be expensive, which is why it’s important that you know about the homemade remedies that gardeners have been using for years. Take a look below at 7 garden remedies that will save you money, time, and will get you the best looking garden on the block. These garden remedies are not only easy and frugal, but you will also love that they are chemical free. Here is how you can get started:

1. Make your own slug trap.

Are slugs becoming a problem? Stop them in their tracks by placing a shallow dish in your garden and filling it up with beer. Any beer will do, and you only need a few tablespoons. The slugs will become attracted to the liquid, crawl in, and meet their demise. No more slugs!

2. Say goodbye to bunnies.

Are bunnies coming in to nibble on your plants? No problem. Just add a few marigolds to your border. Marigolds and their scent are said to keep bunnies from hopping in and enjoying an all you can eat buffet.

3. Banish bugs for good.

Fill a spray bottle up with warm water and a few drops of Dawn dish soap. Shake it up well and spray it liberally on plants where bugs such as aphids are present. It is a natural way to kill the bugs and enjoy a pest free garden.

4. Keep squirrels from digging.

Squirrels love digging up bulbs and plants. Keep this from happening by placing hair clippings along the base of the plants. Squirrels hate the texture and it will stop them in their tracks.

5. Save your egg shells.

Egg shells are calcium rich and perfect for enriching the soil. Save your egg shells, crush them up, and stir them directly into your garden soil. Your soil and plants will love the natural boost.

6. Try some coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds can also enrich your soil and give your plants a boost. Save your coffee grounds and stir them into your soil, your compost, or just add them around the base of your plants. The grounds will enrich the soil better than any chemical alternative could.

7. Keep birds at bay.

If birds want to come and nibble on your plants, lay a light netting over the top. Most home and garden shops carry these nettings and they are so easy to use. Plus, since they are so light they are very visible either, yet they are just enough to prevent birds from pecking.

Enjoy a beautiful garden for less and with less chemicals when you give these 7 garden remedies a try!

Some Vegetable Gardening Books to Consider

Must Have Gardening Books

Here is a list of all the books related to vegetable gardening that I’d love to get my hands on!  I happen to think they’re must-have for my gardening library at home 🙂

guide to Canadian vegetable gardeningThis book by veteran Canadian garden writer Doug Green is full of information that will educate Canadian gardeners in all aspects of planning, installing, planting, and caring for their new garden. Gardeners will learn how to ensure their garden is eco-friendly and how to save money by storing, canning, or freezing the bounty of the garden.  With hundreds of full colour pictures, Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is sure to be the standard for Canadian gardeners for years to come.


square foot gardeningWhen he created the “square foot gardening” method, Mel Bartholomew, a retired engineer and efficiency expert, found the solution to the frustrations of most gardeners. His revolutionary system is simple: it’s an ingenious planting method based on using square foot blocks of garden space instead of rows. Gardeners build up, not down, so there’s no digging and no tilling after the first year. And the method requires less thinning, less weeding, and less watering.


year round vegetable gardenerThe first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.


vegetable gardener's bibleThe invaluable resource for home food gardeners! Ed Smith’s W-O-R-D system has helped countless gardeners grow an abundance of vegetables and herbs. And those tomatoes and zucchini and basil and cucumbers have nourished countless families, neighbors, and friends with delicious, fresh produce. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is essential reading for locavores in every corner of North America! Everything you loved about the first edition of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is still here: friendly, accessible language; full-color photography; comprehensive vegetable specific information in the A-to-Z section; ahead-of-its-time commitment to organic methods; and much more.

organic gardeningRodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening has been the go-to resource for gardeners for more than 50 years—and the best tool novices can buy to start applying organic methods to their fruit and vegetable crops, herbs, trees and shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lawns. This thoroughly revised and updated version highlights new organic pest controls, new fertilizer products, improved gardening techniques, the latest organic soil practices, and new trends in garden design.


verticle vegetable gardeningVertical vegetable gardening isn’t intuitive. Although some vegetables, such as tomatoes and pole beans, have been grown vertically for a very long time, it is only recently that gardeners who are short on space have looked to vertical methods and structures for growing vegetables that traditionally have been thought to require a lot of horizontal space. Vertical Vegetable Gardening provides information on growing all types of leafy, root, and other vegetables vertically, saving space, protecting from insects, and making harvesting easier. Now people living in urban areas can grow produce that used to require sizable plots of land. Also included are ideas and plans for vertical structures.

grow great grubYour patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (, shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere.  Whether you’re looking to eat on a budget or simply experience the pleasure of picking tonight’s meal from right outside your door, this is the must-have book for small-space gardeners—no backyard required.


sugar snaps and strawberries

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Imagine savoring fresh-picked strawberries on a weekend morning, plucking plump figs from your mini-orchard to quarter and serve at a farm-to-table meal with friends, or harvesting and sautéing the edible stalks of garlic bulbs. If the size of your space is bringing you back to reality, here’s the best part: you don’t need a big backyard to grow your own food. In fact, you don’t need a yard at all.


lasagna gardening

Now – with Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces – you can create the garden of your dreams, no matter how limited your growing space is. Pat Lanza’s proven lasagna gardening method produces amazing results in pots and small plots. Even in beds just 4 inches wide, you can grow bountiful, beautiful gardens with no digging, no weeding– no kidding!


Do you have any favourite gardening books to recommend?

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

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!

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.


  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. (Read this how-to post for details on how to start your seeds indoors!)

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


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 😛  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.)

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


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.


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?