DIY Landscaping – Weed Prevention

I read once that if you lay down newspaper in your garden, and then place soil on top and garden as usual, you will prevent weeds in a natural way.  Since I don’t subscribe to the local newspaper, I figured I would just use magazines that were in the recycling.

DIY Gardening 1

I am adding pea gravel between the garden boarders and the walking path stones.  I plan on planting some succulents next year on the pea gravel within the boarder stones.

DIY Gardening 3

It’s going to be winter in no time so I am trying to get my landscape ready for hibernation and getting the perennials in so they acclimate enough prior to dying back.  My garden is very rough right now as I only really have an outline of where the flowers will go next year.  But I have a vision.

DIY Gardening 2

Above is a photo of the whole space I am updating.  It is very narrow and long.  Awkward for a lawn so I tore it up to create a garden.  I am getting the hardscaping installed this week and more perennials as well.

When ever I work on a garden I use green or natural materials.  I use homemade compost, I dig up my garden with old fashioned gardening tools like a hoe or rake, use magazines or newspaper as weed repellent.  I don’t use pesticides or chemicals on my flowers.  I love spending time in my garden and am excited to see how it comes together next year.

Lavender Extract

Today I was due to pull out all of my dead flowers for winter.  It’s said to snow this weekend so I wanted to make some lavender extract before the flowers went bad.

All you need to make lavender extract is the flower heads of lavender and vodka.

Separate the flower heads from the stalk and place them in a container with a lid.

Cover with just enough vodka and let sit for a couple of weeks.

Shake once every other day.

Then use it in cooking.  I have never used lavender extract in any cooking before but I look forward to experimenting.

Homemade Lavender Extract

DIY Composter: Take 2

I blogged in 2012 about making a homemade composter.  But I made one on such a small scale it didn’t make sense.  I am moving up in size ladies and gentlemen!  I am just going to use a garbage pail, one that is small enough to roll around on the ground, but not large enough for it to be bulky and difficult to hide.  I have seen a lot of cool composters people have made and designed it with a door, and on 2 by 4’s so you just have to turn a knob to mix it:

composter 1With my vacation coming up I don’t have the time to make this so I made a simpler one.

This is what you will need:

Round Garbage Pail with a lid (one that locks in place if possible).

Food Scraps/Yard Waste (I will get into more detail below on what you need here).


Electric Screwdriver

Soil or finished compost

In order to make good compost you need a good combination of green ingredients, brown ingredients, water and air.  Green ingredients are things like, fresh cut grass, fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, plant trimmings, coffee grounds and filters and hair (I had 3 cats so I have an abundance of cat fur)  Brown ingredients are dead grass (if you need to rake, this will give you a lot of brown ingredients you can stock pile), saw dust, newspaper, pine needles and straw.   I mixed mine in layers.  I started with brown, mixed in some green, soil, greens and brown.  Add just enough water so it’s as wet as a damp sponge that has been wrung out.

Make sure you drill enough holes in the lid to get good air flow.  This mixture should create heat, but you don’t want it to get too hot.

Pop on the lid and secure and you are done.  I will keep adding food scraps and yard waste until it is full.  In the mean time I will ensure it is properly mixed every few days by rolling it over the ground on it’s side.  This will be easy that the garbage pail is round.   I will update on the progress as it gets closer to complete compost.

Gardening Inside? Why Not?

There is not much that I love more than being able to grow my own veggies.  Except my cats…and definitely my husband.  I do love to travel quite a bit too…BUT, I think it says quite a bit if you grow your own veggies, AND cook with them.  Eating fresh and organic veggies is not only healthy, but green.  And I am on a mission to be as green as possible.

I pinned something not long ago and I had to see how easy it was.  You can start growing your own celery from kitchen scraps.  You just start with what is left over after you have used all of your celery, place it in water for a few days, then replant it in soil.

You can also do this with green onions too.

This would be awesome, to grow your own pineapples.

And Romaine!  This is so cool!

If you are like me and do not have garden space to plant your own veggies – OR – you just love having fresh veggies when it’s snowing outside, try planting some of these veggies in a a small planter.  If you have enough space, or a sun room, you could literally keep yourself fed all winter long just by planting these veggies inside.

DIY Compost Maker

Sorry that it has been a while since I posted.  With it being so hot this summer I haven’t had any energy/motivation to make anything.   I have been trying to sell my beads and gift tags on Etsy too.  If you are interested in checking out my shop, please do, but it is still sort of new and I am trying to figure things out.

Something very cool that happened recently in Fargo, is the city is now taking more waste as recyclable.  I read this in our local newspaper and was SO excited.  This type of stuff makes me happy.  Less garbage headed to our landfill is good.  They are taking all plastic with a recycle symbol and numbered 1-7 and all cardboard.  It always bothered me that we couldn’t recycle cereal boxes or yogurt containers.  But we can now!

I have had composting machines before, that worked okay for a while, but were either too loud or stinky.  I like the idea of making my own compost from food and garden waste but I didn’t want to make a compost heap in our back yard for the rodents and bugs to get into.  Plus, we didn’t have much of a back yard to do this in anyways.

I am going to try to make compost in a coffee container.  Anything with a solid cover would work.  The more coffee containers I can collect the better.  I have more laying around our garage I am sure but will start with one to see how it goes.

Make sure you use brown and green waste.  Brown waste is yard waste: leaves, small twigs, newspaper, dryer lint or straw.  Green would include food scraps: grass, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and veggie scraps and plant trimmings.  Combine a good mix of both of these things and put in the coffee can and put the lid on it.  It does need heat to compost so I will just leave it outside.  I will shake it once in a while and check to make sure it’s moist.  You do not want it wetter than a rung out sponge.

I normally take our food scraps to the recycling center and dump it in the garden waste bin they have there and let the city make compost to share.  But I wanted my own to keep.  Now that I have roses and a garden I want to make sure I am taking good care of it.

I am hoping that in a few weeks we will see some progress.  I will update this blog post with how it turns out when it is finished and the time frame to expect good compost.

Gardening Inspiration II

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.  It has been hard to do anything outside since it’s been cold and rainy.  And actually, I think that it is too early to be doing any gardening.  Last weekend I went to Lowe’s and a specialty garden store and they didn’t have any lilac bushes or lavender.  Those are the main things I am looking for.

I have started the garden process by having the City of Fargo come to our house and mark off where hidden electrical and plumbing so I can do some digging in our yard.

Once I get motivation to work hard in the garden, I intend on digging up all of the grass you see.  I want to remove all of the square concrete step stones, if that is what you want to call them.  Towards the right side, all the way to the back is where I plan to use the most colorful plants….roses, lilies etc.  A combination of all types of plants, perenials, annuals, bushes and grasses are what I am looking for.

Here are some more inspirational pictures that I have taken ideas from:

1.  I love the choice of colors in this picture.  I want all of the different colors and heights of plants in this picture.

2.  I love the use of a archway with flowing colorful plants covering it.  I am not sure if I can fit one like this on my garden due to space, but I may have something for plants to grow on.

3.  I may not have a table and chairs like this in my garden, but I would like to have a little vignette, or even more comfortable seating with a little end table.

4.  I must have lots of lavender and plants that smell good.  They not only smell good, but look good too.

As you can see…I have a lot of work to do.  If it would get warm and stay warm long enough to get started I will get this project started.  I will post my progess as I start in case you need some gardening inspiration.


Gardening Inspiration

Now is the time of year that you start to think about getting your garden in.  I have been able to find a few projects that I want to make that includes adding some green to your indoor and outdoor spaces.

1.  I went shopping at Anthropology and was inspired by their succulent displays.  They were using different size milk cartons and filling them with concrete.  The rough exterior of the concrete mixed with softness of the succulents is a nice juxtaposition for a garden.  I found this on pinterest so I may use some combination of square and round.

2.  I have been collecting different styles of wine bottle and beer bottles and wanted to cut them for either vases or like this outdoor lighting.  This looks like a cool project for those of you who entertain outside.

3.  I always wanted an herb garden for inside but since we have 3 cats we could never figure out how to keep them out of it.  I am going to try this for our most popular herbs like basil, cilantro and chives so we don’t need to go out in our garden when we are cooking.

4.  Finally, I am going to plant some succulents.  I just love the look of them when you have several colors and sizes next to each other.  We have a large porch that I will plant some of these to add interest to our otherwise boring porch.

I hope these ideas have left you inspired to add a little green to your garden.  If you have any other creative crafting or gardening ideas I would love to hear about them.