Start Your Garden Now -Great Tips from an Impatient Gardener: Wall O’ Water and Planting Tomatoes!

Holy Wall O’ Water Batman!

I have raised, above ground, garden beds that I built with my favorite and only son. These are made out of regular scrap lumber that we assembled using 3″ wood screws and filled with run of the mill dirt and compost. By using the raised beds, I can fit more plants in them, and the beds look really neat and tidy. It’s a lot easier to grid out your garden by the square foot, and the lite aerated dirt in raised beds allows for the plant roots to grow rapidly and the dirt to warm faster in the season. Also, being able to get to my beds easily for weeding and sowing purposes is always a plus.

Turns out, at Home Depot and Wal-Mart they sell these things called Wall O’ Water. They’re a plastic tubular Teepee about 20-22″ inches tall that are pleated. Each pleat is a tube that you put water in, about 2/3 full. Fill it up, then let the walls sit in place without any plant inside, to get nice and heated by Mr. Yellow Sun for a couple of days. I then take them off the dirt, dig my hole where it’s been sitting, place my plant, and put my Wall O’ Water back over the top and it sits like a teepee. It’ll extend your growing season about 8 weeks, so you can plant earlier! Genius!! These perfect little green houses will protect your plants from frost down to about 16 degrees F.

Another nice trick I figured out from the folks at Home Depot and Wal-Mart is that their paint stir sticks make great plant markers. For free! Brilliant!

Planting Tomato Plants

Did you know that you need to plant in the ground more of your tomato plant than just the root ball that you get from the nursery? For a healthy strong tomato plant you need to plant at least 2/3 of the plant in the ground. I know, who would of thought?

To do this you have to pluck off the lower most stems and leaves off of the main stem of your plant. That means you’ve just lengthened the stem. All of that extra stem gets submerged in the dirt and will grow strong root shoots instead of leaf shoots now, strengthening your root system immensely. Remember, tomatoes are a vine and they will grow roots off any of their submerged stems. Watch how your tomato plants will flourish. A true night and day difference. I promise!

See?! Dirt cheap tricks and you CAN start your garden now! Why wait? Let me know how your garden grows. I’d love to hear from you!

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Start Your Garden Now -Great Tips from an Impatient Gardener: Seedlings!

Gardening can be dirt cheap! Yup, pun intended here. I live in Zone 5A and I get sick and tired of waiting to get my garden in. The weather in the mountain west is so fickle. I virtually have no patience when it comes to getting outside and getting busy in the spring. I want dirt and grunge under my fingernails now! There must be dirt in my veins or something.

Start Your Own Seedlings

First, thing first, I started my seedlings on my kitchen counter. I picked up a bag of Seedling Starter Potting Mix which you can buy at Wal-Mart or at any garden supply store. I then took some cardboard egg cartons, that I had a friend save for me. Filled them up with the potting mix to the rim, and placed 2-3 tiny seeds on top. Did you know any seed needs to be planted in the dirt twice as deep as it is big. Yup, so I just dusted my seeds with the smallest amount of dirt over top of them, just enough to cover them up, and misted them with water.



Then it’s time to create your own mini indoor green houses. I placed my cartons of seeds into a store bought Bundt Cake container or a plastic storage container with a lid and cut a few slits/holes in the top for some air flow. Then close the lid and put it in a nice sunny location on my counter. I misted them with water everyday. Do NOT let them dry out! Within 7 days I had seedlings sprouting! Such a proud garden mama 🙂

Let your seedlings reach at least 3″ high before planting them outdoors in your garden. I personally like to grow my seedlings 8-12 weeks indoors, transferring them into larger cups/pots/2-liter bottle bottoms as they outgrow their initial home.

See?! Dirt cheap and you CAN start your garden now! Why wait? Let me know how your garden grows. I’d love to hear from you!

Seed Bombs: Saving the Earth One Flower at a Time

Hmmm… Earth Day is a few days away… Mother’s Day is coming, Oh and let’s not forget the end of the school year is fast approaching! A teacher might like a little thank you gift that keeps on giving…

What on earth is a seed bomb? Well to describe them, they are clever little balls of clay, dirt, and seeds that you can make and share as gifts. Kids will love making and using these because it involves getting their hands busy in the wonderful cool clay and dirt, and ‘bombing’. Truth be known, I had a great time getting my hands dirty and squishing the cool concoction between my fingers. It was like I was 5 again. Love it!.

Wikipedia’s gives a bit more insight as to what they are used for:
Seed bombing or aerial reforestation is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation (seed balls). Often, seed bombing projects are done with arid or off-limits (for example, privately-owned) land.

That’ a mouthful. Really these are an ingenious way of helping out the environment. They have been around for a while and have been used with great success in other countries to help plant native grasses and flowers along a vast expanse of land. Here in the US, there is a movement that’s started to help beautify your surroundings -perhaps even in a covert way. For a better grasp of what I mean, I will refer to GuerrillaGardening.org. They ‘encourage gardening without boundaries… and seek to provide inspiration through an exchange of ideas and experiences from guerrilla gardeners around the world and those seeking to become one.’
“Brilliant!,” I thought to myself. “I’m in!”

…Now I am not endorsing breaking any laws here or trespassing, but the thought of making a vacant lot or abandoned eyesore of a building a little brighter and more cheerful, really intrigues me. I think what someone could quietly and anonymously do is go through town and scatter these little seed bombs, let Mother Nature do her part and wait to see what happens. Kinda naughty? Well perhaps a little. It’s sort of fun to think that being a bit sneaky -by the moon’s light- one could drop, sling, fling, punt or shoot via sling shot into a vacant field or abandoned lot, these little balls full of life. Then with a bit of spring rain and a little time -FLOWERS! But really, what harm can come of it as long as seeds that you use are native to your area.

Seed Bombs

You’ll need:
Packs of wild flowers
Air dry red clay
Gardening dirt

These are super easy to make, but are a bit messy so be sure to make these outside. All you need is a small container of red clay, the air dry stuff works best and is so cheap at Wal-Mart. To this I added dirt from the garden. Yup, regular dirt. I did relocate a few worms, but that is the fun of it! I mixed together about 4 parts clay to 1 part dirt, but this was not exact. You do not have to be exact here, we are not baking a cake. Then I took about 10 packs of various wildflower seeds that are native to my area and added only enough water to get everything workable. I believe I only used a bit less than 2 cups water. Then the fun, I mixed and squished and mixed some more until everything was the consistency of thick cookie dough, not too sticky. That was my favorite part!! Then roll these into the desired size. I made them smaller than a ping pong ball and it made about 5 dozen. Then set them on a tray until completely dry. Depending on where you live and your humidity levels, it could take a couple of days. Then package up and give away.

There should be instructions included, something fun and clever explaining what these funny little things are. Somethign like: “Fling me into the wild blue yonder where I will be sure to land on ground that is in need of beauty and color, like a vacant field or abandoned lot. Or plant in a sunny location and water regularly.”

Now when I was all done with this little project, and began to clean up, I passed by the spinach patch I realized that it did NOT have to be just flowers. Think about it -lettuce and spinach and kale! All of these grow well and quick. Deer and other woodland creatures will love this as a treat.

Oh and a side note. After I had finished and hours had passed, my dear Hubby saw a plateful of little round, brown nuggets. He thought they were cake balls and was reaching his hand out to grab one while asking what sort of cake they were. “STOP!!!” I yelled, “don’t eat those! They are dirt!” The craziest look came over him. I then explained and we both just giggled, but oh how we would NOT have been laughing had he got a mouthful of those. Well, I would have laughed… and laughed. And I am actually giggling right now writing this.

Anyways, try them out with your family. Then let us know what you think and how much fun you had dispersing these around town. Maybe take some pictures when your eco-friendly works of art start to appear this summer! Happy Earth Day!