Your Gardening Friend is Now on Etsy!!!

Cedar-Birdhouse_0595

It’s been awhile, 8 months to be exact, since my last blog post. A lot has happened in that time, but I’ll stick to one topic today:

Your Gardening Friend is now on Etsy!!!

While I did not “open shop” until this month, I’ve been diligently working on the business as a whole since last September. For the first few months I was searching for and getting materials needed. The past 4 months I’ve been creating my inventory – albeit a slow process.

I really wanted to have a larger inventory before making this announcement, but I’m too excited about it. I had also told a couple people they would see this post this week. So … here we are.

Reel-Birdhouse_0413

If any of you followed Your Gardening Friend in the past, you might remember a DIY project from a little over a year ago.

[...Continue reading this post.]

A Canning Tutorial DVD (& COUPON code!) AND Pantry Paratus EXCLUSIVE Sale!!

affiliate-link_learn2can

This post contains affiliate links.

Depending on where you live in the world, you’re either at the beginning or middle of canning season. Or, if you live somewhere that’s perpetually warm with an almost never-ending growing season, you get to enjoy canning even longer.

Kendra Lynne at New Life on a Homestead created an easy-to-follow canning tutorial DVD called At Home Canning for Beginners & Beyond (affiliate link). She’s now offering a $5 OFF sale (if you use the coupon code).

I purchased this video recently, and I’ve watched it almost in its entirety. Because of that, I can say first-hand it’s a must-have video.

May I digress for just a moment?

Here on Your Gardening Friend you learn about gardening, foraging, garden recipes, garden critters, landscaping, and faith and encouragement. Here is a sample of posts:

- How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix
- Compost Worms 101 series
- How to Sprout Mung Beans
- 12 Ways to Critter-Proof Your Garden
- Mulch Do’s and Don’ts
- Sautéed Cucumbers
- Creamy Apple Pie
- How to Make a Suet Plug Bird Feeder
- Attracting Bats to Bat Houses
- DIY Decorative Engraved Stepping Stones – Easy Peasy!
- A Hobby, A Passion … Or An Idol? {My Story and Help for Others}

Okay … this is where I share something personal and a bit embarrassing. I thought long and hard as to whether or not I would share this, but in the spirit of transparency here we go.

[...Continue reading this post.]

DIY Sprouting Lid

diy-sprouting-lid

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m not sure if I had ever seen a sprouting lid prior to seeing one on a Botanical Interests mung bean packet (see below image). It looks like a wire mesh might be attached to the underside of the Mason jar band.

The mesh sort of looks like what you’d see used for a front porch screen door. So … that’s what I used to make a sprouting lid. :)


Supplies Needed to Make a Sprouting Lid:

  1. Front Porch Screen Door Mesh*
  2. Scissors
  3. Mason Jar Band (Ring) (wide mouth for better air circulation)

*The screen mesh comes in at least two types: some kind of metal wire or aluminum cloth. I chose to work with the soft aluminum cloth.

[...Continue reading this post.]

3 Tips You Gotta Know When Using Suet Plugs

3-tips-suet-plugs

This post contains affiliate links.

If you use suet plug bird feeders you know how incredibly messy they are to fill.

[A quick note to those who don't feed birds or use suet bird food - Suet food usually comes in either bricks or plugs. The binding agent for the bird seed is suet (animal fat or partially solidified grease.)]

I’ll say this, what suet cages lack in beauty they more than make up for in ease of use. Suet plug feeders, on the other hand, provide a certain almost rustic appeal, but, boy, oh boy. By the time you get all the feeder holes filled with suet plugs … Have you ever seen a 12-month old baby that’s been handed a HUGE slice of birthday cake – loaded with chocolate icing, of course! – and the birthday baby is encouraged to have at it?! Well, when you’re done filling suet plug feeders you end up looking a little like that. Granted, your face is clean, but your hands are unfit to touch ANYTHING.

The reason for this mess, aside from the fact that you’re dealing with “grease,” is because the plug holes are a bit snug, which requires pushing the suet plugs through the holes.

Recently, as I finished filling my suet plug feeder, I thought, “There’s GOT to be a better way to do this. The plugs are simply too soft and slimy, something that doesn’t happen with … frozen food.” :) Light bulb!


1. Freeze the Suet Plugs

Freezing them made a huge difference.

Freezing bird food suet plugs makes the job of filling the suet plug feeders a WHOLE lot easier for two reasons:

  1. Nearly everything, except water, contracts in its frozen state. This makes the plugs ever so slightly smaller; and
  2. Pushing the plugs through the plug holes doesn’t become a mushy mess when the plugs are hard.

[...Continue reading this post.]

Sprouting Mung Beans {And a Gardening Coupon Code}

sprouting-mung-beans

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’ve never sprouted beans you’re missing out on a lot of fun, yummies, and nutrition!

As gardeners, we don’t expect instant gratification. No, our gratification timetable falls somewhere between the time it takes to grow a Chia Pet to that of aging fine wine.

We wait months for the complete transformation of a tiny lettuce seed to a ready-to-eat stalk or head of lettuce. That’s pretty much the case for any vegetable. However, with sprouts, the seed-to-table time is accelerated exponentially. Of course, that’s only because we’re not waiting for the seed to become a mature plant producing its fruit. Instead, we help the seed START to grow, and then … toss it in our mouth. Pretty sneaky if you ask me. The little seed doesn’t see it comin’.

There are so many beans you can sprout and toss into dishes. Most often you hear of sprouts being used in salads or stir-fry dishes. I love salads loaded with goodies, and sprouts give my salads variety, extra crunch, additional nutrition, and a little whimsical presentation.

5 Reasons to Sprout Beans

  1. Sprouts Are Nutritious.*
  2. Sprouting Allows You to Eat the Beans NOW.
  3. Sprouting Aids in the Digestion of the Beans.
  4. Sprouting Provides Winter Cabin-Fever Reprieve.
  5. Sprouting is SO Much Fun!
  6. *You’ll need to do your own research on this. Some believe raw sprouts are a nutrient-dense food; others believe eating raw sprouts may be the cause of some illnesses and death outbreaks.

I’ll have to elaborate on these reasons in a future post. There is so much that can be said about sprouting beans; I just can’t easily fit it all into one post.

How to Sprout Mung Beans

[...Continue reading this post.]