4 Seed-Sowing Tips


Unless you live in an area that’s warm year-round, you probably just recently got your plants into the ground and direct sowed your seeds, or you’re getting ready to do that.

(Don’t do like I did one year. I sowed my corn in so late that John teased me we’d have Christmas corn. :) )

I know many of you are newbie gardeners, and some of you are still working up the courage to start your first garden. So I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few seed-sowing tips to better prepare you for a successful gardening experience.

1. Read the Seed Packet

This tip may seem a bit over simplistic, but sometimes skipping over simple instructions can be cause enough for failure.

2. Seed Planting Depth is Somewhat Proportional to Seed Size

As with any hobby or passion, you learn or pick up on things through simple observation or common sense. Something I noticed over my gardening years is that teeny tiny seeds barely need any dirt over them, while large seeds need to be planted much deeper.

For instance, the seed packet instructions for teeny tiny carrot seeds may suggest a planting depth of only 1/4 inch, but it may recommend corn seeds be planted as much as 2 inches deep.

I did a quick search online to see if I could find a nifty chart to show this. Here’s an image that shows a few seeds and their planting depth. It demonstrates how small seeds are planted almost on the surface and larger seeds much deeper.

[...Continue reading this post.]

12 Ways to Critter-Proof Your Garden


This post contains affiliate links.

Back in January, I asked on Facebook which specific critters, insects, or plant diseases have been the most problematic to your garden. So many of you chimed in with responses. Most people named one or more adorable but destructive critter; quite a few people mentioned insects; and no one mentioned any plant diseases.

To keep this post from becoming a novel, destructive insects and plant diseases will be addressed as separate posts.

Here’s how I see these adorable but destructive critters:

Nearly all of them will fit into one, some as many as three, category based on how they move about: flyers, tall walkers, short walkers, climbers, and diggers. Many solutions for one animal will prevent all animals in that category from getting into your garden. Of course, that won’t always be the case, but many times it will be.

I’ve included at the end of this post a nifty little table I created of various critters and the category in which they fit.

1. Cinder Blocks


Okay. This idea is not for the faint of heart. If you consider yourself a leisure gardener, this will NOT appeal to you. It will take a one-time big investment of sweat and brawn.

If you’re bound and determined to live off your land and keep persistent diggers out of your garden, here’s an idea I had:

  1. Dig a trench 8 inches wide x 8 inches deep around the perimeter of your garden.
  2. Place cinder blocks – with openings vertically oriented!! :) – back-to-back in the trench.
  3. Bury the cinder blocks with the dug-up dirt.

If you’re up to the physical workout, you could even go two cinder blocks deep. (It only took me about 5-10 minutes to dig one hole for a cinder block, as seen in above photo.)

Don’t get in so much of a hurry that you forget the simple things, like making sure the cinder block openings are vertically oriented. Otherwise, you’ve just unwittingly constructed an elaborate underground tunnel highway INTO your garden. :D

2. Motion Detector Sprinkler System

John is an engineer and an amazing problem-solver.

The first house we lived in, we had a very nice neighbor next door who had a few cats. When our gravel driveway got wet from rain or the late night or early morning dew, the cats would walk around gathering the gravel dust onto their paws, as much as their paws could hold, – oh, yes, it was intentional – and then jump onto our cars and make these *adorable* paw prints all over them.

[...Continue reading this post.]

DIY Easy Fence Gate


The year John installed our garden fence, we were in a hurry. We didn’t think it was a good idea to plant more tomatoes until we had a fence up, since the deer had just finished plucking three young tomato plants right out of the ground, ate pretty much everything except the vine, and then dropped the vines on the ground. “All done. Thanks for dinner.” ;)

We needed a fence gate FAST.

John quickly threw this together as a temporary gate. It’s not glamorous, but it does what it was meant to do: opens, closes, and keeps critters out.

While we use this as a garden gate, it could also be used as an animal fence gate. It would need one more latch, a middle latch, if it were to be relied on for that purpose.

Since we did not take photos during the gate construction, hopefully these photos are mostly self-explanatory.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to build a gate like this:

  1. Wrap your fencing around the corner post.
  2. With wire cutters, at the very end of what will be the gate, remove the ends of the horizontal fence wires. This will actually remove the vertical section.
  3. Cut a board the same height as the gate.
  4. Drill holes in the board. Space the holes according to the fence wire spacing.
  5. Feed the horizontal fence wires through the board holes. Wrap the wires around the board, and twist the wires as seen in the photo.
  6. First Latch (top hook): Bend the very top wire to hook into the loop around the post.
  7. Second Latch (top loop): Drill a single hole (so the latch will pivot). Place a thicker aluminum wire through the hole; bend it over the board (see photo); and create a loop at the other end.
  8. Third Latch (bottom hook): Bend the very bottom wire to hook into the loop around the post.

Below are more photos.

[...Continue reading this post.]

How to GET and STAY Hungry


I debated on what the best title would be for this post. I started with “How to Stretch Your Stomach” but decided on “How to GET and STAY Hungry.” Yes, both titles are equally peculiar, until they’re explained.

As you may have suspected, today’s post is not about the physical body but the soul. The hungering I refer to is that of a Christian hungering for righteousness, godliness, or an intimate walk with God.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

Even though I spend time daily in God’s Word and in prayer, I often feel the pull of the world on my soul. When I become careless or laxidasical in my walk with the Lord the pull feels stronger, and I’m more prone to make compromises. For instance, there are certain things I won’t watch on television, but after a while I start to make exceptions.

I remember as a teenager hearing a sad and sobering spiritual analogy. Supposedly, a frog can be boiled while still alive without the frog even trying to get out of the water. (I don’t know if this is actually true, but it’s what I was told.)

[...Continue reading this post.]

The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil {and Coupon Code}


This post contains affiliate links.

The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil (e-book)

There’s a lot of internet chatter – good chatter! – going on about the brand new e-book by Susan Vinskofski.

She’s a VERY knowledgeable and successful gardener who knows what it takes to grow not just a harvest but a HEALTHY harvest. As she explains in her e-book The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil (affiliate link), nutrient-dense food all starts with the soil.

Having read her book, I can tell you, if providing your family with homegrown, nutrient-dense vegetables is important to you, this is a must-have book. You’ll learn why healthy soil is pivotal to healthy vegetables or any garden, how to encourage and sustain a living soil (and what that means), how to plant and save various seeds, and much more. This book is an easy-read but packed full of gardening knowledge and tips that you can easily apply to your own backyard garden.

And don’t just take my word for it. Some “big” bloggers like Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead, Kris Bordessa of Attainable Sustainable, and Colleen Anderson of Five Little Homesteaders have all given rave reviews of this book.

Read what they have to say about The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil (affiliate link).

If you’d like to

- Read the rave reviews,
- Find out what you’ll learn from reading this book,
- Download sample pages of the book,
- Read about the author,
- See more of the illustrated artwork (by Deb Hamby), and
- Get the limited-time offer COUPON CODE,

then click here (affiliate link).

* The COUPON CODE is valid for only a few more days. *

Writing a book is a huge undertaking, so be sure to click over and take a peek. I’m sure it would mean the world to the author.