How to Make Your Own Seed-Starter Mix

seed-starter-mix

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If you live in an area that has cold and snowy winters, the best way to feel like winter is shorter than it really is or that spring is here before it really is is to start seeds indoors. You’ll observe seedlings emerge 4 to 6-ish weeks before you can place seeds in the ground.

Optimal seed-starter mix will allow for the following:

  1. Retention of Moisture
  2. Drainage of Excess Water
  3. Aeration
  4. Emergence of Seedlings (upward growth) and Penetration of Roots (downward growth)
  5. Nutrients
  6. Beneficial Microbes

Seed-Starter Mix Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Parts Pre-Soaked Organic Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss
  • 1 Part Perlite
  • 1 Part Vermiculite
  • 1 Part Vermicompost or Compost

coirbrick

Sunleaves 100% Organic Classic Coco Coir Mulch-Soil Brick – Growing Media & Soil Alternative

(affiliate link)

Coir or Sphagnum Peat Moss

Probably the two most common mediums used for “soil”, moisture retention, and the “glue” that keeps everything together are coir and sphagnum peat moss. (Compost also has these characteristics.)

Coir is the by-product of coconut processing. Other names for coir are coco/coir peat, fiber, pith, or dust. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that “coco” is short for coconut NOT cocoa. :)

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Six Gardening Prep Tasks You Can Do Now … Even if it’s Snowing

six-gardening-tasks_snow

This post contains affiliate links.

Yes, there’s snow outside. Yes, Indiana is suppose to get more snow tomorrow. Depending on where you live, it could be as little as 2-4 inches or as much as 30 inches. (I heard someone say the 30 inches of snow forecast might be a hoax.) Regardless, snow is on its way.

Winter is still here, BUT … not forever! Every day we turn a new page in the calendar. Every day we are closer to spring! If you’re hearing Rocky Balboa music in your head, we’re on the same page.

Maybe we can’t sow any seeds outside, but we can still do some gardening [prep] tasks that make us feel like spring is almost here.

Here are six gardening prep tasks you can do now … even if it’s snowing.

1. Shred and Save Junk Mail.

We have lots of junk mail and old bank statements around our house, but [most of] it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Instead, it gets shredded and set aside for my red wiggler worms.

When you wet the paper the mass shrinks INCREDIBLY! If you think you have plenty of paper for your first worm bin, save about 3-4 times that much. It’s like a big fluffy dog. After it gets a bath, you realize just how much of the dog was simply fluff.

2. Save Toilet Paper Rolls.

Last fall I talked about all the ways gardeners use toilet paper rolls and various cardboard. If you’re planning on starting your seeds indoors, you’ll want to have a bag full of these. They make the perfect seed-starter pot.

3. Have Helpful Resources at-the-Ready.

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Would You Like a Natural Garden?

natural-garden

This post contains affiliate links.

Yeah, for most of us it’s still too early to be sowing seeds outside, but it’s the PERFECT time to plan for gardening. Spring will be here in no time at all.

If you had a neighbor who always had the most beautiful flower garden and bountiful vegetable garden, year after year, and they invited you over for a cup of tea and offered to pour out their brain full of gardening knowledge and tips, would you say, “Nah … but thanks anyway”? Yeah, me neither. I’d be a sponge!

The internet is full of such gardening knowledge, but, let’s face it, we just don’t always have time to be a part-time researcher. I understand. I get up for work at 4:00am, and I don’t get back home until ~5:30pm. That’s almost a 14-hour day BEFORE I get to feed the dogs, start dinner, check on the garden (in warm weather), and blog. I’m so grateful for late nights (when it works out) and weekends!

Your day may look different than mine, but I’m guessing it’s still a long and busy one.

Consider this post an invitation for a virtual cup of tea and a plethora of gardening knowledge and tips delivered to your computer screen or front door.

These authors will share from their own gardening experience or their long hours of internet research.

Here are three books I highly recommend, all of which I own. Look through their table of contents, reader reviews, etc. (where provided), and pick and choose as you will. Or, simply bookmark this post and come back to it later. However, we know how that usually goes. Something we put off for later ends up more like never.

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of

Natural Insect and Disease Control

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control
(affiliate link)
Available in Kindle version and paperback.

If you want a well organized book to walk you through how to identify WHAT is causing your plant problems and HOW to NATURALLY remedy it, THIS is THE book to have.

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Is Jesus Amazed at You?

Is-Jesus-Amazed-at-You

Recently, as I was having my daily devotions, I came across a passage that stopped me in my tracks. I’ve read the passage a number of times in the past, but it still made me pause.

This particular historical account is recorded in the first part of Luke 7. Jesus had been teaching and healing people. A servant who was highly regarded by his master, a centurion, was near death. The centurion heard that Jesus was near and sent servants to ask Jesus to come heal this sickly servant. Then, the passage reads as follows:

Luke 7:6-10

6) Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.

7) Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.

8) For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

9) When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

10) And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

The text above is from the New King James Version (NKJV). Verse 9 in the New International Version (NIV) reads, “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, ….” Thus, the title of this post.

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How to Make a Suet Plug Bird Feeder

suet-plug-feeder_collage

I often pray for ideas for posts, and that’s how this post came about.

While strolling through Rural King (a home and garden store), I noticed the simplicity of the suet plug bird feeders and thought,

“Hmmm … this just looks like a 4-by-4 with some holes drilled through it and some angled cuts. … I bet I could make this, assuming John has the right tools and can walk me through a few things.”

It took me a second, but I realized God had just given me my next post idea. :)

John made a few practice cuts, walked me through how to use the power tools for this project, and then I was set free.

I told John I had to make EVERY cut myself (to provide a DIY post). There was even a moment when he walked over to graciously show me something when I abruptly said, “Don’t do it!” After telling me to take a chill-pill, :) he assured me he was not going to do anything to the board I was working on.

If you’d like to make a feeder like this, here’s how you do it.

First, don’t be intimidated by power tools. Of course, safely operating power tools is paramount. (Be sure a knowledgeable and experienced person walks you through how to safely use the tools.) My point is, I’ve rarely used a power tool, yet I was able to make this nifty little bird feeder. If I can you can!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Safety Goggles
  2. Safety Gloves
  3. 4″ x 4″ Board (approx. 24″ long)
  4. Tape Measure
  5. Pencil
  6. Miter Saw
  7. Folding Workbench with Clamps
  8. Power Drill
  9. Spade Drill Bit 1-1/4 inch
  10. Optional: Sander
  11. Table Saw (Alternatives are described below.)
  12. Regular Drill Bit
  13. Eye Screw
  14. Optional: Water Sealer, Stain, or Paint

Step 1: Practice Cutting, Drilling, Etc. on a Scrap Board!!!

Practice with a scrap board. I learned from mistakes I made on my scrap board, which kept me from making them on my project board.

Step 2: Cut the Board

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How to Make a Gardening Yarn Wreath {Guest Post}

yarn-wreath

This post is a special post. It’s written by my best friend, Amber. Not only did she make this gorgeous wreath for me, but she also wrote the post as an extra surprise gift.

The wreath is NOT hanging outside where it can get rained on, but for some good natural lighting for taking photos, it stayed outside for a short photo session. :)

I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is – at least that’s how she makes it sound :) – to make such a beautiful wreath.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When Holly suggested we make Christmas gifts for each other, I happily nodded and agreed, even though I was thinking, “Make something? I don’t own a sewing machine or even a hot glue gun. What can I make?!” Since then I’ve remedied the hot glue gun void – and boy do I LOVE it! … But, I digress.

I immediately knew that whatever I decided to make, I’d write a post for my (and your) gardening friend. It took weeks before an idea presented itself, but it finally did. While at a new friend’s home, I saw she had these beautiful wreaths hanging from doors and drapes. I thought for sure they were store-bought and was surprised (and thrilled) to hear they were homemade …. A homemade gift idea sprung to life.

Let’s get to it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Wreath (I used a foam one, but my friend uses the less expensive straw ones.)
  2. Yarn (It requires less than a skein – I learned a new term. :) )
  3. Felt
  4. Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Wrap the Wreath

This is just as easy as it sounds. Tie off the yarn around the wreath and begin wrapping. Ensure you keep each wrap tight and close together to prevent sagging. Once you’ve fully wrapped the wreath, tie off the yarn and hide the knot. The whole wrapping process took me a little over an hour to complete.

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