Category Archives: gardening

Refrigerator Pickles

Pickels

I have decided to take up canning this year. Especially since I’m going to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, soon. In order to get the motivation going, I made the hubby’s Grandmother pickle recipe this weekend. It’s super easy.

Refrigerator Pickles

By: Hubby’s Grandma

Ingredients

6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers {about 2 pounds}

2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

3/4 cu sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Preparation

Place 3 cups of cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups of cucumber and remaining 1 cup of onion.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month

{Changes I made- I used onion powder instead of fresh onion. I also used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. I store them in mason jars.}

How to Save On Garden Plants

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The last few years, I’ve waited a few weeks into June before purchasing any flowers to plant for the summer. One time I found annuals marked down to 80 cents for a six pack at Wal Mart. Did they look a little rough? Sure, but nothing a little pruning and water couldn’t fix. In fact, I used those same flowers in my Tin Can Planters. I also purchased a bush that I’ve had my eye on for years for $3 at Lowes in May after it had bloomed for the season.

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This year, the weather has been crazy in Ohio. We were having frosts up until the last week of May. I’m always afraid to plant anything to early into the season for this reason. The second year I put in a garden, I ended up planting it twice because the first time got hit by a frost. For this reason, I waited until the second week of June to purchase any flowers {I purchased my garden plants the week before from the farmer’s market}.

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A local green house has huge mark downs on all of their plants the second week of June as they shut down after the sale and won’t reopen until fall for mums. I went a few days into the sale when everything was 60% off. I had never been there before, so I was very overwhelmed by the amount of plants they offered.

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I also wasn’t sure what some of the stuff I was purchasing was. I tried to read the tags to make sure the plants fit the planting criteria that I was looking for and didn’t attract bees {the husband is allergic}.

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This is the back of my SUV when I left the green house. I got 41 individual plants for $31. I was surprised by the total when I checked out because I was just throwing things in my cart, not really keeping track of the prices.

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I was able to get two hanging baskets that were really full for $3 each. These baskets at retail stores probably sell for $16 or more.

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More views of the plants once I got home.

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My total before the sale was $73.69. After the 60% off sale, I paid $31.47 with tax for all of these plants.

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I picked up the white planter on clearance at Target. I put a combination of pink flowers around the spike plant.

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I love sweet potato vines. I just think their colors are so pretty. The day before I got all the plants at the nursery, I scored 5 sweet potato vines from the farmer’s market for $4. I had no clue where I was going to plant them. Then I ended up with the hanging basket and thought it would look neat to have the vines grow down the basket, so I planted one vine in each basket.

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I also found these planters at Target that attach to your deck railing using either zip ties {brilliant for those living in apartments} or by screwing them into the deck. I have two of them and planted a sweet potato vine, and two other plants in them.

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The big reason for purchasing all of these plants was for the new flower bed we were putting in. Last fall we had to dig up our foundation {a post on that is coming soon} in order to water proof it, so what used to be grass had become a pile of dirt. It’s always been more of a pain to mow this, plus the way we park in the driveway, I usually end up driving in this area. I thought putting in a flower bed and the putting gravel up to the landscaping bricks would be a great idea.

The majority of perennials that I purchased got planted here. I purchased the landscaping bricks on sale at Menards. After using a rebate I had, I only paid roughly $2 for them.

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This is one of the flower pots sitting on the front porch.

Because I knew when flowers would be going on sale at various garden centers and retail stores, I was able to purchase enough plants and landscaping bricks to add a new flower garden for under $50.

When you’re looking to add to your landscaping, remember to watch for the sales. Most annuals and spring/early summer perennials go on sale the first week or two of June depending on your area. Also watch at retail stores, as I’ve noticed most of them have a clearance section where they mark down ones that may be able to be saved with a little sun, water and TLC.  By knowing when these sales happen each year, you will be able to save possibly hundreds of dollars on plants each year. I wish I would have known this tip the first few years we were home owners and added new landscaping.

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Tin Can Flowers

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Our front flower beds needed some color but the beds are built up higher and I knew if I planted the flowers in the ground that they wouldn’t be seen from the street.

I came up with a plan! {scary, I know}

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While shopping Wally World one day I noticed they had their flowers marked 50% off. I went back and got a punch of flowers for $14. I finally got everything planted yesterday!

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With the help of my MIL and her friend, I collected some restaurant size tin cans.

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I used the end that had been notched out as the bottom for drainage and cut off the other end.

I spray painted the cans with some spray paint I had on hand from the herb containers from a few years ago. Then I had the hubby drill some holes in the sides to attach wire to hang them from.

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I planted the flowers (about four per can) and hung them on Sheppard’s hooks in the flower beds in the front of the house. They looked really pretty until the hooks couldn’t hold the weight after the rain. Now I have them sitting on the front steps.

This would be great with stronger hooks. I just used what we had in our garage from our wedding three years ago.

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I’m linking up to these parties this week:

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The Garden On Steroids

We came home from Iowa Sunday night to find this…. Tomato plants almost as tall as our six foot tall fence!

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I determined that the random plant growing in the driveway was actually a weed! That sucker was the first weed to get pulled last night!  Notice all of that grass mixed with the gravel? Yeah, I’m sure it’s not normal to have to mow you’re driveway! We have tried everything, including vinegar to kill the grass but it just won’t die!

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And yes, that’s the cucumbers making their way across the garden and to the neighbors! The hubby got a little happy with the clippers and started cutting up the plants to thin them out, since they were about to make their way into the garage.

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We got about 11 cucumbers and a handful of  yellow pear tomatoes. Apparently they are like cherry tomatoes just in the shape of a pear and yellow.

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The purple Lilies are what bloomed from the last garden post found here. I waited two months for these to bloom and they finally bloomed while we were in Iowa late last week. The other flowers are from my grandfather’s funeral on Saturday that survived the trip back, thanks to my grandmother’s wonderful tip: wrap the steams in a wet paper towel and put them in a Ziploc baggie and then place in water as soon as I arrive home. They still look good five days later.

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This year we purchased our vegetable plants from the local farmer’s market.

Before vacation it was pretty tame. I had just put the tomato cages around the tomatoes as they were starting to get bigger. In fact, I was afraid that I might have killed them in the process. We came home from vacation and holy cucumbers!! Garden

My cucumbers are taking over the garden, the tomatoes look like they are on steroids and the banana peppers are slowly catching up. Oh, and there’s the random tomato plants between the peppers and cucumbers and next to the garage, not even in the garden bed. We had these last summer too. We believe it’s because the year before we didn’t till up garden at the end of the summer, so when we did last summer, the seeds from the tomatoes that were left got spread around.

Oh and I can’t forget the random plant growing in the driveway (I think it’s green bean)! It’s a jungle out there! And in all the grass that’s growing in the driveway and I have no idea where to even start to look to see if there is veggies growing yet! And then the herbs in my cute paint cans have died! I read in the newspaper yesterday that there is a disease going around this part of the state attacking basil plants. Before vacation it was thriving very well. 

I’ve been waiting for months for this flower that my mother-in-law gave me last year to bloom and it looks like any day now! I can’t wait!

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I don’t know what’s going on, it seems like all of my other flowers that usually stay in bloom throughout the summer are already dying off.

If you have any suggestions for my cucumber issue, please let me know as I’m sure they are going to take off even more this week. The weather is calling for rain ALL week! Ugh!

Herb Planter

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Last summer I decided I wanted to plant some herbs, but wasn’t quit sure where to plant them out. Then I was reading the Lowe’s Creative Idea’s magazine (love it) and discovered this idea.
Supplies needed:
New paint cans (you can buy these in the painting section)
Primer & Spray paint
Power Screw driver
One coat hook for each can
A piece of scrap wood
Potting soil & herb plants
First paint the scrap wood any color you’d like… This is a good way to use up left over paint from other projects. Then attach the coat hooks approximately four inches apart (use the cans to help you determine how far apart you’d like them). Attach this wood piece to a fence or garage. Next prime the paint cans with a primer used for metal. Once dry spray paint any color of your choice. Then drill four or five holes in the bottom of the can to allow for drainage.
Next put potting soil in each can and plant your favorite herbs.
I used four cans when I did this project last summer, but never had success for some reason, so every but the chives died. To my surprise, the chives came back this year. So far I have basil which is growing like a weed, parsley and chives. I’m still deciding what to plant in the last one. I have mine hanging on the fence above the garden due to our small yard and limited gardening space this works wonderfully.

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(Not sure what I did went editing to make this pic tiny)

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Hanging Flower Basket

I’ve been looking for a hanging flower basket to hang on the front porch. I’ve had a wind chime there for the past few years, but I live by a golf course and sometimes those golfers don’t exactly know how to keep the ball on the course. By early spring the thing had rusted some and the glass had been broke from the golf balls hitting it too many times. The first year here, I had a hanging basket up but was always flimsy in the wind and heavy rain.

Over the weekend we went to one of my favorite stores, The Flower Factory. I could seriously spend all day there and find a ton of craft projects if my husband would let me. For his sake he is usually with me when we go there so, I had to control myself this time. I love to get my scrapbook stuff there and it’s cheap!

I knew I was in love when I found these hanging baskets at the front of the store for $1.85 each!

Pair them with the $.88 flowers I scored at Menard’s and I have less than $8 invested into this flower basket. I was not about to pay the $17 that one local store wanted for a hanging basket. I think they turned out great and you’d never know that I put it together myself. It even endured the heavy rain and winds we’ve had the last few days (it doesn’t seem to want to stay warm or dry very long here in Ohio this spring).

Now I just have to buy more flowers for the front flower pots that these were originally for since I purchased the flowers before finding the basket.

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