Archives for January 2015

How To Companion Plant In The Vegetable Garden

Now is the time to start winter sowing flowers for your kitchen garden.  So start planning your seed purchases for outdoor or indoor sowing so you can transplant them in your garden.  I use companion planting in my kitchen garden.  Companion planting is the pairing of flowers and vegetables.  It’s a must in my garden, so I wanted to share my flowers in the garden and how I pair the with vegetables.  You can also check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips.

Next, I purchase the majority of my flowers from the local garden center off the clearance rack. Flowers don’t have to go into your garden immediately, which will allow you time to find bargains on what you want to plant. Just save a spot in your garden for them and start looking for sales around Memorial Day or the clearance racks around early or mid-June. 

Here’s my list:

  • Marigolds (scented)  – The number 1 flower in my kitchen garden. I plant a combination of scented yellow and orange marigolds with my tomatoes and throughout the garden.
  • Petunias – Great with tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers and beans.
  • Cosmos – Great for attracting bees, which you need for pollination. I usually find a good deal on Cosmos at my local nursery.
  • Sunflowers – These are a must in my garden. I plant them to feed the Gold Finch, but they are also great for pollination. I use them as a trellis for my cucumbers too. The cucumbers will grow up and wrap themselves around the stalk of the sunflowers.  Direct sow your cucumber seeds at the base of your sunflowers when the soil is warm enough. I winter sow my sunflowers.  You can see my post here, How To Make Bottle Greenhouses
  •  Sweet Pea – These are climbers and are great to plant with pole beans.
  • White Geraniums –  Great with tomatoes, corn, peppers and cabbage.  They keep Japanese Beetles away, so place them randomly in your garden.
  • Basil –  Although Basil is not considered a flower, it can planted with tomatoes.  I actually plant basil with my tomatoes plants as well as in my herb garden each season.  Using basil in my sauces and in my chili is a part of my recipes, so I must have plenty.  I also freeze it in ice trays. So, it’s a must in my garden.  I can never have enough.

Likewise,  I also do companion planting with my vegetables, especially tomatoes.  In addition, planting compatible vegetables help ward off insects that can destroy one or the other plant.  Most importantly, make the most of your space and make use of your plant’s ability to help the other grow. Here’s my list:

  • Tomatoes – Plant with basil, carrots, chives, garlic, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, or peas. Do not plant cabbage, kale, collards, cauliflower, broccoli or turnips with your tomatoes.
  • Peppers – Plant with basil, cucumbers or eggplant. (See the Do not plant list above).
  • Squash – Plant with bush beans or peas.  Do not plant with potatoes.
  • Cabbage – Plant with melons, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, or tomatoes. Do not plant with sage or peppers.
  • Cucumbers – Plant with peppers or sunflowers. Do not plant with potatoes.
  • Bush Beans – Plant with or near cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, or strawberries.  Do not plant with garlic, onions or any vegetables in that family.
  • Garlic – Plant with cabbage or tomatoes.  Do not plant with peas or beans.
Last, you can plant your companion plants together or in the same vicinity.  As a result, consider the pairs when you’re planning your garden layout.  Also, if you have questions about this list or other gardening questions please send an email to The Mailbox using rhonda@mother2motherblog.com.

You may also like: Winter Sowing

Sunday’s Best Linkup – #4

 

Welcome to Week 4 of  Mother 2 Mother’s Sunday’s Best Linkup. I’m happy to be the host of this fun and new linkup. Each month we will feature a theme, this month the theme is Baby It’s Cold Outside. Brrr! Please share your favorite winter posts old or new, cold weather recipes, crafts, winter scrapbook layouts, Christmas photos, anything that has a winter/cold weather flavor. 


                                                           I’m  Rhonda –  Your Host


Don’t have posts that fit into the theme, link up whatever post you would like to share. Anything goes here. You may link as many posts as you would like. Each week I will select my favorite post(s) and feature the blog on the link-up the following week.  An image from your post will be used on my blog the following week with a link back to your blog.  Be sure to check back to see if you’re the Sunday’s Best featured blogger of the week. 






February’s theme is Love Is In the Air.  We’re looking for loving memories of you and family, love stories, Valentine crafts, DIY, recipes, anything that you love and would like to share. 

I would love to connect with you on social media if we’re not following each other.  Please like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter,  Google+,  PinterestBlogLovin or subscribe/join my blog on the right before you leave.   


Mother 2 Mother
Mother 2 MotherOne last thing, please grab the Sunday’s Best button above and place it on your sidebar or Tweet the linkup using the hashtag #SundaysBest. I appreciate your help in promoting the linkup with Re-tweets and shares.  



The Sunday’s Best Post is:

 


Of Mice and Ramen – Year of the sheep.

All of the posts were great, and I appreciate each of you linking up.  Take a minute to visit this great blog and connect with Veronica.  Her cookies alone are worth the visit. 

Now, lets link up those posts and be sure to visit a few other bloggers who have posted while you’re here. This is a great way to meet and connect on social media.  Be sure to PIN or share any posts that you like, we all appreciate a little love.     


 

Why I No Longer Use The Word Weak




This is a guest post did I for the blog A Peek Into My Paradise.  I’ve decided to no longer define who I am by Strengths and Weaknesses. Here’s Webster’s definition of weak:  

    WEAK. 1 : lacking strength: as. a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated. b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain.

I have spent years defining what I have perceived to be my Strengths and Weaknesses.  There are areas that I wish to improve, but when I assessed my skills and qualities I had a hard time finding weaknesses.  Here’s why:

  • I have raised a daughter as single mother and college educated her
  • I’m helping to raise 2 grandchildren
  • I manage a home 
  • I clean my home
  • I prepare the meals
  • I do the laundry
  • I work outside out the home 40 hours per week
  • I budget the income and pay the bills
  • I spend time blogging
  • I guest blog for other bloggers
  • I grow my own vegetables
  • I can summer produce for winter use and saving on the grocery bill
  • I maintain the outside of my home with the exception of mowing the grass ( I have lawn service)
  • I find time for family and friends 
  • I take the car in to be serviced after I negotiate a deal on the vehicle I’m purchasing

I could continue my list, but you get my drift. Weak, how can I be weak. It takes strength and endurance to do all of the above on a regular basis.  Now I do have a few things that I have a hard time passing up like chocolate, coffee, and chips. These just happen to be things that I like to indulge in, they don’t make me who I am. Life beats us down enough, why contribute to the negativity by placing unflattering labels on yourself. 


I have accepted that I am a work in progress and ever evolving.  Because I don’t always meet my goals or I’m not perfect doesn’t mean that I lack strength. There are many factors that contribute to how much I can accomplish and what I accomplish. I have found that if I set goals and continuously working toward them, it reduces the stress that I place on myself. I think as women we try to accomplish too much and often end up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. When we can no longer bear the weight we see ourselves as weak or society sees us as weak.  


Because I’m not as physically strong as a man doesn’t mean that I’m weak.  That’s just the way I was made. The majority of the time, I don’t want to open the jar, hammer a stake in the ground, change a dirty tire or haul heavy items. I simply don’t want to break a nail, have back pain or prove how manly I am, ha.  Now don’t get me wrong, I can hammer, change a tire, shovel the driveway, and haul heavy items. I’ve been single for many years. I can get it done.          
I have found that setting priorities has helped me meet my ever changing goals. Nothing is more important to me than my family, so whatever goals I set they come after my family.  If I don’t achieve them during the year, I continue to work on them the following year. 


I’m adding weak to the list of items that I’ve tossed because I will never wear or use it again. Join me ladies, you’ll find that you will have a ton lifted off your shoulders and you will feel much better.  Replace the word Weaknesses on your list with  Things I Wish To Improve!  
   

Crockpot Recipe: Pork Chops

crockpot recipes

Looking for a delicious crockpot recipe for pork chops?  I have an easy, but delicious one for you.  And it only uses 3 ingredients.  Delicious and simple!  So, how can you not want to try this crockpot recipe.  Furthermore, it uses 3 ingredients.  And the end result is a moist, tender chop that is perfect for dinner.  Also, it’s a perfect recipe to pair with rice, potatoes, or a salad and crusty bread.  Go ahead, wipe the sweat off your brow.  Oh right, this one didn’t require you to work up a sweat.

And crockpot recipes are a great go to turn to when your time is limited.  Put the ingredients in the crock and head off to run errands or do other chores around the house.

This is a simple recipe.  Here’s the ingredients that you will need for this recipe:

  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 packet of Ranch Salad Dressing mix (The picture actually shows 2)
  • 3 – 4 thick cut pork chops

First, spray your crock with PAM to keep the ingredients from sticking.  Next, layer the pork chops on the bottom of the crockpot.  Spread the Cream of Chicken soup over the chops. Be generous, you want the pork chops to be thoroughly covered.  Be sure to lift the chops and spread the soup over the bottom of the chop too.  You may have to place a part of one chop onto the next chop.  If so, that will fine.  They will all cook thoroughly.  Pour 1 packet of the Ranch Dressing over the soup.  Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.  I prefer to cook mine for 6 hours.  The chops practically fall off the bone.

Last, the end result is a moist, juicy and delicious chop.  As a result, be sure to Pin this crockpot recipe.  Because you will want to make them again and again.  So, serve this dish with your favorite sides and vegetable.  Enjoy!  

Wordless Wednesday – Strut Your Stuff

This picture was taken at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach, VA during one of our trips to their petting zoo with my grandchildren. 

Great Grains Granolas and Snack Mix Review

One of my goals for 2015 is to get healthy. As 2014 was rolling out and 2015 rolling in, I thought about how I would accomplish this goal. I knew I was done with fad diets and the prepacked diet programs. I had tried several of them over the course of the years, and I was not successful on any. I knew the first step toward my goal to get healthy was accepting the fact that it would require a lifestyle change. 


It’s funny how things work out, I was contacted shortly thereafter and asked to join Great Grains and the Fad Free pledge. I gladly accepted, it had never worked for me anyway. Another incentive for taking the pledge was Great Grains donates $3.00 for every pledge taken to AmpleHarvest.org. This is a non-profit organization that empowers home gardeners to donate fresh produce to local food pantries. This is a great incentive for me to plant more veggies in the garden this year, eat more veggies and help families that can’t afford fresh produce.  


In addition to taking the pledge, I reviewed Great Grains granola in Blueberry Flax and Super Nutty. The timing for this review was perfect. It was a great addition toward my healthy eating change. I’m now eating fruit and yogurt for breakfast instead of sausage biscuits, doughnuts and croissants. I sprinkle the granola on top of my Greek Yogurt and it is delicious. I actually like both flavors. Once these bags are gone, they will be added to my grocery list as they will become a staple in my home.  

Next, I tried out the snack mix. I received them in Dark Chocolate Nut and Cranberry, Nuts and Seeds. I love both. Vending machine junk food has been replaced with trail mix and granola bars, so the boxes of snack mix were perfect. It’s actually a healthier replacement for the trail mix. I like both flavors, but I love the Dark Chocolate Nut. 






The snack mix comes in these convenient packets. They’re great to throw in your purse when you’re on the run or take to the office for those mid-morning or afternoon hunger attacks. I’m glad I took the Fad Free pledge and I encourage you to take it with me. 


I will be giving 1 follower an opportunity to try these great products from Great Grains.  Here are the rules:


Take the pledge to be Free of Fad Diets and come back and leave me a comment letting me know that you’re committing to healthier eating.  The give away ends February 1, 2015 at mid-night. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted by email, and will receive the granola and snack mix shown in the review.  Good Luck!

Disclaimer – I received the above products for review; however, all opinions are my own. 

Turn It Up Tuesday – #71

Welcome to another week of Turn It Up Tuesday! Last week, we had so many amazing posts! Thanks for sharing with us!
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Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Second Chances Girl
Ida is a mom of one, step-mom of two lifestyle blogger from Miami. She blogs about her second chance at life, love and family!
Are you looking to get your blog or website in front of numerous people per week? Do you enjoy Turn It Up Tuesdays? Interested in having your blog or website featured for an entire month?
Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month by clicking here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!

 

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

TUT Hosts 1.25.15 (1)
(from the top – left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | April from April Noelle | Ce Ce from A Chicago Mom | Yolanda from That’s Mashed Up | Kelly from Making-More | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Cindy from Mom Maven | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Nancy from Afro-Chic Mompreneur | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Jillian from Baby Doodah | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Tenns from New Mama Diaries

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for January!

This is the last week for our January guest hosts…but we loved having them join us this month! Hope to see you all again soon!
TUT Jan 2015 (1)
(from the top – left to right)
Brittney from His Wife. Their Mommy. | Chantale from Virtually A Teacher | Tianna from Love and Laughter | Zografia from Bisozozo | Stacy from Anastasia Vintage| Elaine from Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess | Nancy from The Family Bucket List | Rose from What Rose Knows | Tina from The Happy Creations

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.  We’re now accepting guest hosts for February and March.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

Red-Velvet-Bundt-Cake-1
Tina chose Red Velvet Bundt Cake from A Simple Pantry. “Looks stunning and yummy, a perfect cake for Valentines Day. Thanks for sharing.”
Autism
Mari chose Why I Tried to Fight Autism (But Learned to Accept it) from Amber Kristine. “Amber, thanks to her for sharing her honest feelings about something a lot of people still don’t fully understand, including me. Thank you for the light education.”
Skinny-Raspberry-Cheesecake-Cups-13
Mari also chose Skinny Raspberry Cheesecake Cups from Annie’s Noms. “Thanks to Annie for sharing such a cute tasty treat. I love cheesecake and this seems like a good way to share the love.”
Natasha also chose this post. “I am so incredibly addicted to cheesecake…and this recipe looks absolutely delicious!”
candy-wrapper-coin-purse-1
Ce Ce chose DIY Candy Wrapper Coin Purse from My Newest Addiction. “Love this DIY, it’s a great project to work on with the kids!”
Introvert
Nancy chose Living Life as an Introvert from Amber Kristine. “As an introvert myself, Amber Kristine really captures the essence of what it’s like to live as an introvert.”
ValentinesCraftswithjars1
Cathy chose Chocolate Time!/Hershey’s Mason Jars Valentine’s Day Gifts from Chocolate and Sunshine. “Adorable jars! These are perfect for special friends, co-workers and teacher gifts!”
Blogger-to-Wordpress
Zografia chose How To Make An Easy Transfer From Blogger To WordPress from Barbie Bieber and Beyond. “I finally decided to move to wordpress and this is a piece of advice i will keep in mind during the transfer.”
Homemade-Buffalo-Sauce-collage
Rose chose Homemade Buffalo Sauce from Growing Up Gabel. “I had no idea that buffalo sauce was so easy to make at home. Now that I’m no longer afraid to eat butter, I’m going to try this recipe with some grass-fed butter! Buffalo sauce is my favorite condiment so I imagine I will be making this on a regular basis!”
english-muffins-2
Elaine chose English Muffins from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us. “I love English Muffins and with my new obsession of bread making it seemed the perfect choice.”
open-letter-daughters
Rhonda chose An Open Letter to My Daughters from Barbie Bieber and Beyond. “As a mother of a daughter this letter brought back memories for me. I have spoken these words to my daughter on many occasion and I too hold them deep in my heart.”
Decadent-Brownie-Trifle-by-Wanda-Ann
Stacey chose Individual Decadent Brownie Trifles from Memories By The Mile. “As many know, I am a huge brownie junkie! These look absolutely divine! I could seriously make and hog the whole batch, and keep them all to myself! Thank you so much for sharing!”
teachyourchildempathy
Tiffany chose Teach Your Child Empathy in 3 Simple Ways from Simply Lindsey Loo. “I love this post because this is something I am trying to teach my children daily. To feel for others and not only themselves. LindseyLoo gives some really great and simple tips to help any parent get there.”
Do-you-need-a-Homeschool-Planner
Jillian chose If You Need A Homeschool Planner If You Are Figuring Out Your Own Curriculum? Dynamic Reader Question from Lina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. “My son will be leaving day care to stay home with me, soon. I want to be sure he continues learning as much as he was in the classroom, while he’s home with me. I’ve been wondering about curriculum for his age and this post starts taking me down that path.”
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Tenns chose Valentine’s Day M&M Mason Jar Gift from Three Kids and a Fish. “I love this idea for Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day! Its sweet, simple, and oh so cute. These little favors are so versatile, the perfect little something to give some on the day of love!”
CraftRoomOrganizationIdeas
Chantale chose 10 Creative Ideas for Organizing Your Craft Room from Typically Simple. “I can relate to the walking into a craft store with the intention to buy one thing and walking out with so much more! What a great collection of organization solutions and ideas for craft supplies!”
matchingsign
The post with the most clicks is Matching Sisters from No Bohn’s About It.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
Epic Mommy Adventures
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And the Best of the Best is…

Decadent-Brownie-Trifle-by-Wanda-Ann
Individual Decadent Brownie Trifles from Memories By The Mile
CraftRoomOrganizationIdeas
Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details for the free ad space!
Epic Mommy Adventures
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Our very own lovely and amazing Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise is hosting a great giveaway this month and some of us are co-hosting, so we’d love to feature it here for all of you! Enter to win cash in the Romantic Cash Giveaway – you could win up to $500! Three winners will be chosen! There’s only a couple more days left – so enter today!
Romantic Cash Giveaway
So now that you’ve met our Sponsor for the month, our hosts and guest hosts, our Featured and the Best of the Best, and the Romantic Cash giveaway,

let’s get started!

*Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.

*Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!

*Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!

*Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!

**Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.**

Never miss another Turn It Up Tuesday! Sign up for reminder e-mails!

Interested in reading all of our favorite posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays – past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

The Benefits of Family Meals

Do you eat as a family? Research has shown that there are benefits to eating together as a family. I believe it. When I was raising my daughter, I made it a point to prepare a meal and we sit at the table as a family. Sometimes it would breakfast, but the majority of the time it was dinner. I used it as an opportunity to discuss the events of the day, and to exchange other pertinent information. I remember my daughter having a guest one week-end. We decided to order pizza. When the pizza arrived, her guest opened the box to have a slice. I explained to her friend that we didn’t eat out of the box, I set the table and we shared the meal.

It was a beautiful day, so I decided to make use of the deck for the meal. The young lady seemed shocked and at a lost when I set out dinner plates, glasses, forks, knifes and napkins. I had prepared a salad and ice tea to go along with the pizza, so I placed the salad and pitcher of tea on the table as well. She explained that they didn’t eat that way in her home. Everyone eat when and what they wanted, and I could find her mother with a beer in her hand any time of the day or night. Once we sat at the table and I started the dinner conversation, she became at ease and joined in. I realized how differently things were done in her home and family dinners were truly a benefit. Family dinners allowed me to:

  • Be a role model and set an example for my daughter
  • Find out what was happening with her in school 
  • Find out what was happening with her friends
  • Discuss outside activities and the news
  • Discuss what was happening with other family members
  • Make plans for the week-end

A study at Cornell University has shown that having family meals also prevent:

  • Youth drug/substance abuse
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Developing a disconnect with parents
  • Failure in school

Because of family meals, my daughter grew up eating healthier and knowing the importance of family, school, planning and setting goals. Do you plan family meals? Leave me a comment and share how your family has benefited from family meals.

Kitchen Garden Questions – #1

I’ve had several questions sent to The Mail Box on kitchen gardening and thought you may find the information useful:


Question – I plan to plant Kentucky Wonders this year in a raised bed,
and I don’t know how many to plant for canning purposes. Will one teepee produce
enough beans to can, or do I need to have more? (Check out my post building a bean teepee). 



Response – If you’re going to pressure can your green beans, I would suggest that you
plant bush beans instead of pole beans in your raised bed.  If you plant bush
beans you will be able to harvest enough from the bushes to fill your
canner with 6 – 7 quart jars per load. Planting pole beans gives you a gradual
harvest throughout the planting season. I’m sure you don’t want to spend time
canning 1 or 2 quarts of beans. I use pole beans because I freeze my harvest and
can put them away a quart at a time. 

 
You didn’t mention the size of your raised bed. A 4 x 4 raised bed should
hold about 32 plants if you space the seed about 6 inches apart. You may be able
to plant about 4 inches apart and get a few more plants in the bed. Using
a gallon bucket for your harvest is a good way to determine how many quarts you
will be canning.  Five gallons will yield around 18 quarts. 
 
There is a disadvantage to bush beans, you have to bend over to harvest
them. 

Question – I am tired of procrastinating with this container garden! I am ready to get
started! My plan is to purchase organic, nonGMO seeds from SeedsNow. I’ve been
doing research but I feel like I’m overthinking things and I need to just jump
in and give it a try. I think container gardening is the best start. I’m
concerned about planting a garden in my yard because my hubby uses a lot of
pesticide to control fleas and other pests. I plan to buy the following seeds:
lettuce, spinach, bell peppers, collard greens, and tomatoes. I would appreciate
any advice you can give me. I also have a few questions.
1. Should I use organic potting soil so that my veggies are truly
organic?
2. What should I plant that can grow year round?
3. Can I start planting now?

Response – Glad to hear that you’re ready to jump into container gardening. I think
you’re wise to use containers if pesticides are being used in your yard. They’ll
grow just as big and delicious in a container. Lettuce, spinach, peppers and
tomatoes grow well in containers. I’m not sure about the collard greens, but
give it a try.  I’ve been gardening for years, and I’m not always successful
with everything that I plant. Here’s a few tips: 
 
  • Use deep plastic containers for your tomatoes and peppers, and make sure
    your container is large enough for a stake. Paint buckets from Home Depot or
    Lowes work well for tomatoes and peppers. Remember you will have to drill holes
    in the bottom for drainage and come up with a staking system. If you can find a
    large, plastic flower pot with good drainage that’s even better. 
  • While choosing your tomato seeds, select the Indeterminate tomato variety.  
  • Old wash tubs, basins, flower pots, window boxes, whatever you can locate,
    will be great for lettuce and spinach.  These are cool weather crops, but
    can grown from spring until a hard frost hits in shady areas. If you have a cold
    frame, you can extend your growing season.    
  • Using organic soil in your containers is a good idea.  Do you plan to start
    you seeds inside under grow lights?  If so, I use Miracle Grow Seed Starting
    Mix.  You don’t want to use regular potting soil for this step.
  • Plant according to the zone that you live in. I’m in zone 6B, so I plant
    what will grow in this region and the planting times states for that region.  
Have questions?  Send an email to The Mail Box using rhonda@mother2motherblog.com.  I will respond.  


How To Make Newspaper Seedling Pots

gardening tips

 

Last week I posted a seed sowing schedule that I use to help organize and keep me on track with sowing my kitchen garden seeds and suggested that you use it to help organize your kitchen garden too.  I hope you found it beneficial. I had also mentioned taking inventory of your peat pots, you will need them to sow your seeds indoors if you want to get a jump on the growing season.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips.  You will become a frugal vegetable gardener too.

To help cut down on the expense, I make newspaper seedling pots to sow my seeds indoors if I miss the boat on finding peat pots on clearance at the Dollar Store or Big Lots. I thought I would show you how to make the pots to cut down on your expense too.  If you have children that can handle making the pots, let them spend the afternoon making them for you.   

What you will need:

  • Newspaper (single sheets folded in half)
  • Pint jar 
  • Duct or scotch tape

In the above picture, I’m using 1 single sheet of newspaper folded in half.  You will want to fold the paper across not length wise. Next,  I used a pint size canning jar, leaving about a 1/4 inch of the mouth of the jar out of the newspaper as shown below. Roll the jar until all of the newspaper is used. Make sure the newspaper is rolled evenly.  Tape the ends of the newspaper together.  I actually used scotch tape, but duct tape will work too.    

 

Turn the jar upside down. The opening of the jar should be face down.  Fold the bottom of the newspaper as if you’re wrapping Christmas gift.  Tape the folds down. 

 

 

Remove the jar from the newspaper, and you have a newspaper pot.  These are great for starting herbs, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, melons etc. Fill the pot with seed starter mix (I use Miracle Gro) and you’re ready to plant your seeds according to the package. Don’t use potting soil to start your seeds indoors.  The soil is to heavy for the plant to emerge through.

Once the seed has germinated and has grown 2 – 3 inches tall, I transplant them into plastic cups to give them more room to grow.  You can leave them in these newspaper pots if you’re leery of transplanting.  If you leave them in, I recommend removing the newspaper before you place them in your garden or containers. I’ll discuss transplanting seedlings in a later post.  

When you start your seeds you will want to water from the bottom up so you won’t displace your seeds.  I also recommend planting 2 or 3 seeds in your pot.  You have better odds of germination using 2 or 3 seeds.  Once the plant(s) has grown 2 – 3 inches, you can leave the strongest seedling and discard the other plants.  

Just pinch off those you don’t want and discard them.  If you’re feel brave transplant all of them.  Sometimes plants will suffer transplant shock when you pull them apart at the root so don’t be disappointed if all don’t survive. 

I use a tray to hold and water my seedlings.  You can purchase the trays at your local dollar store.  They usually come with cells of 72, but I remove the cells and just use the trays to hold my water and seedling pots.  

I don’t like the cells because they are so small and you will definitely have to transplant if you use them.  I prefer to let the plant have room to form a nice root ball in a newspaper or peat pot, and if I’m short on time I don’t have to worry about transplanting. Efficient and cost effective is my goal.  

 

I germinate my seeds on heat pads under grow lights.  You can start them on top of your refrigerator if you don’t have heat pads or in your laundry room on a shelf. Seedlings really don’t need light to germinate, they need warmth and moisture. Once they germinate, you will need to place them under a grow light immediately. The light should be no more than 2 inches above your seedlings or they will get leggy. You must raise the light as they get taller.

 

This is a picture of my tomato and pepper plants that I started last season in peat pots and the watering tray that you will need. See how the pots are soaking up the water from the bottom. Fill the tray half way with water and allow your pots to absorb it. If you need to add more water add a little at a time. You don’t want your pots sitting for days in a water filled tray I cover my peat pots with Saran Wrap to help keep in the moisture when I’m germinating the seed. Rubber bands are used to keep the Saran Wrap nice and tight. This step is not necessary, but I find it helps with germination.  I remove the Saran Wrap immediately once the seeds have germinated.  Unfortunately, I can’t use this method with the newspaper pots.
 
You will need to check your pots several times a day. You can have no germination in the morning and sometime during the day they may germinate. As soon as I see green stating to come through, I remove the Saran Wrap. Tomatoes have a tendency to jump up, so you may want to remember that if you have them covered with the Saran Wrap. I also use plant markers so I will know what I’ve planted.  Stay tuned I will show you how to make your own markers to cut down on expense.
Now start making those newspaper pots or your peat pots so you will be ready to sow your seeds and remain on schedule with your kitchen garden. If you have small pots that your purchased flowers in last year, you can use those too.  You will need to clean them in a bleach solution before using.
 
If you have questions about this post or other gardening questions feel free to send an email to The Mail Box using rhonda@mother2motherblog.com and I will respond.  I may share your questions with other readers, but I won’t use your name or email address.  They may have the same question or find the information useful too.
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