How To Build A Green Bean Teepee Trellis

home gardening, vegetable gardens, bean trellis 


Last year I used a teepee trellis for my pole beans and it worked well. This year, I decided to modify it to maximize my harvest. Several bars were added to the teepee so I could plant beans completely around it.  However, one side was left open. I wanted my grandchildren to have a seat inside of the teepee while I’m gardening.  An adorable miniature chair will be placed inside the teepee for them to sit.  

Making a bean teepee can be simple and inexpensive.  I used the bamboo poles from last season and cuttings from my bamboo squash trellis from last year as well.  I found left over string from other projects under my sink and  used around the teepee.  String is great for the tendrils of the plant to latch onto. Lowes and Home Depot sell bamboo poles that won’t break the bank if you can’t found a resource locally. The Dollar Store sells string.  My brother has a yard full of bamboo, so I luck out. 

The poles should be 6 – 8 feet tall and you will need 4 pieces.  I used (4) 7 foot poles and 5 bars across.  Be sure to secure the poles tightly at the top and get them deep into ground before you tie on the horizontal poles.

 

 

Here’s the steps again:

1.  Tie your 4 poles at the top securely.
2.  Your poles should look like A-frames.
3.  Place the frames in the ground deep enough to secure them.
4.  Tie the smaller pieces (20) across the bars to form 3 sides.  Leave an opening to place a chair for the kids or spacing for growing lettuce through the summer, which requires shade.  The leaves of the beans will provide the shade.
5.  Plant your choice of pole beans completely around the bottom of the teepee and watch them climb.

 

I use Blue Lake pole beans. They are more flavorful and less stringy.  Planting Jade Bush Beans along with the pole beans will prove beneficial.  They were recommended by a fellow gardener.  Can’t wait to try them.  Green beans can be used as a companion to tomatoes and cucumbers.  Do you plant pole beans or you a bush bean gardener.  What’s your favorite green bean?

You may also like:  Using Eggshells In The Garden
Leaning Tower of Pole Beans


 

Summer Activities: Gardening With Your Child

 

gardening with your child

 

My grandfather had a garden when I was growing up, and I remember how different the vegetables taste from the store brought veggies today.  With that in mind, I planted a vegetable garden.  My father was an avid flower gardener, so it’s in my blood.

I decided to involve my grandson when he was little.  He lives near the beach, so backyard gardening isn’t a common theme in that area. When he visits in the summer he helps me with my garden.  He enjoys playing in the dirt and watering my plants.

Most importantly, he is learning about growing vegetables and flowers.  It’s a great way to get him outside and moving.  He loves it so much when he hears the back door open, he is on my heels.  In the photo above, he’s picking peppers.  Hot peppers are big in my family, we love them on everything.  Xavier loves hot peppers on his nachos, he’s a kid after his grandmother’s heart.  I pickle hot peppers, so we have a fresh supply all year and freeze Belle peppers for cooking.

gardening with children


Next, he’s learning the importance of watering the plants, weeding and waiting to reap the benefit.  How do you like his garden boots?  They’re Disney cars.  He loves splashing in the water after he makes puddles in the yard.  I can’t say that he’s learned to love everything he’s nurturing in the vegetable garden, but he’s having fun helping everything grow.

My grandchildren do love carrots, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes.  I use them in pasta salads, and the tomatoes for sauce for spaghetti and pizza which they both love.  I also can tomatoes for chili and soup in the winter.  Yum!

gardening with children

 

I’m a petunia lover too, so I make sure they’re the star on my deck in the summer.  Xavier was 2 when I started involving him in my gardening.  I thought I would share this picture of him sucking his binky and watering my plants.  It’s one of my favorite pictures of him.  I purchased a little watering can, rake and shovel for him too.  He remembers watering the plants, and now wants to water them each summer.  My granddaughter is old now, hopefully she will take an interest as well.

 

gardenng with children

 

Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  I start most of my vegetables and flowers from seed that I save.  I also purchase plants off the clearance rack at Walmart or Lowes.  The planter above is filled with Walmart clearance items. I purchased the planter from the Dollar Store.

Most importantly, if you don’t have a yard use your balcony or patio to grow a few plants.  Get your child involved. Better yet, let them plant a few flowers or vegetables of their own.  It teaches them responsibility and also gets them involved in nature. Try a perennial, they come back each year.

Next, when you expose children to different experiences, they will be open to different cultures, music, foods and other experiences as an adults.  Their formative years are in our hands.  They may not model everything that we do in their adult years, but they will have the memories and experience.  Last, you can’t place a price tag on that.

How To Make Bottle Greenhouses

bottle greenhouses, mini greenhouses, winter sowing

                                                      
I increased my sunflowers this year.  I used make shift greenhouses made of 2 liter soda bottles, milk containers or any bottle that is clear and set them on my deck to germinate.  I grew my sunflowers using this method last year and they did great.  The American Goldfinch picked every sunflower seed off the flowers last year.  They’re such beautiful birds, I couldn’t get mad.  I decided to plant some for them and some for me to roast and store for the winter.   I have marigolds and Blue Buttons planted in the tray.  Here’s my list of sunflowers:  

  •  Lemon Queen Sunflower  (My fav)
  •  Autumn Beauty Sunflower
  •  Evening Sun Sunflower
  • Mammoth Sunflowers
  •  Mexican Sunflowers
  •  Marigolds (French Dwarf mixed)
  •  Blue Buttons
  • Cosmos

 

winter sowing. mini greenhouses, bottle greenhouses


If you want to try this method this is what you will need:

  • 2 liter or other large bottles that are clear
  • a box cutter
  • seed starting mix  ( I use Miracle Gro, just make sure it’s quality) 
  • selection of sunflower seeds
  • duct tape
bottle greenhouse, winter sowing

Bleach your bottles to ensure all liquid has been removed and the bottle is sanitized.  Allow to air dry. Cut the bottle at the half way point all the way around with the box cutter leaving a small hinge. Leaving the hinge will make it easier to tape the bottle closed.  Once you have your seed starter mix ready, place a few inches in the bottom of the bottle and plant the seed the depth recommended on the package.  Use the duct tape to close the bottle and mark the bottle with the name of the sunflower with the permanent marker.  Place the bottle in a location where it will receive sun, rain and close to your house to help shield from wind gust.   You may have to gently water the seeds if you don’t receive enough rain.  

Once the seeds germinate and reach the height of the cut, remove the duct tape and top from the bottle by cutting the hinge.  You may need to add potting soil to the bottle once the plants takes off to ensure that the roots are covered.  Just remove the tape and add the soil to the bottle. 

Make sure the last frost has passed before removing the top permanently.  It serves as protection from those cold, frosty nights.  I’m in Zone 6B, so it’s usually early May in my area.  

Attract Backyard Birds With Birdseed Pine Cones

feeding backyard birds

I started bird watching and feeding my backyard birds several years ago.  It is a hobby that I have come to love, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I started making birdseed pine cones, and the birds are loving them.  They literally pick the pine cones clean.  They’re easy and fun to make with kids, so I thought I would share the recipe if you can call it that.

 

feeding backyard birds

Pick a day to gather pine cones with the kids from yours or a neighbor’s backyard.  If neither of you have pine trees, locate an area where you can gather a few without trespassing.  They are essential to your project.  I use a medium or large pinecone.  The larger the pine cone the more seed it will hold.

You will also need the following items:

  • peanut butter (Purchase store brand)
  • twine or yarn (You can purchase twine from the Dollar General)
  • birdseed  (You can purchase seed from the Dollar General)
  • a paper plate
  • plastic knife
  • plastic spoon

 

feeding backyard birds

Next, tie a piece of the twine or yarn around the top of the pine cone leaving the ends long enough to hang it from a branch as shown.  Spread the peanut butter over the pine cone (be generous) with the knife. Place the pine cone on the paper plate and sprinkle the birdseed over the pine cone with the spoon.  Cover the birdseed pine cone thoroughly.  You can use the spoon to press the seeds into the nooks and crannies.  Be sure to do this around the entire pine cone.

This is a fun project for kids.  And they’ll love watching the birds eat the seeds on cold, snowy, rainy days.   Furthermore, if you need visuals, you can get the instructions here.  Have fun watching our feathered friends gobble up the birdseed pine cones.  I guarantee you they will devour every seed.  Place them in a location where you and the kids can watch them enjoy the feast.  Especially, on cold snowy days.  They need the protein to keep warm.

Tip:  Freeze the pine cones before placing them outside.  Place them in a gallon baggie, and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use. 

 

How To Make Homemade Salsa

gardening, canning, salsa recipes, fresh garden recipes

 

I decided to make a batch of salsa for the winter.  It was delicious.  This recipe can be eaten fresh or canned for later use.  I thought it would be a great dish during the holidays while watching movies or entertaining, and wanted to share my recipe.

I used ingredients from my garden to make this batch, but you find the ingredients at your local grocery store or Farmer’s Market.  Farmer’s Markets in warmer climates are usually open during the holiday season and still have fresh produce.  Take advantage of the fresh produce if you’re lucky enough to have a farmer’s market near you.

Here’s what you need:

  • 5  – 6 lbs. tomatoes skinned and chopped  (I used whatever variety I had that was ripe.  I suggest allowing them to drain in a colander after chopping to get rid of some of the water).  Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh home grown tomatoes.  Roma and Amish Paste are great tomatoes to use.
  • 3 cups chopped onion (I used yellow, red and white from my garden)
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped peppers (You can use a combination of Belle Peppers. I like my salsa spicy so I used a combination of chili, jalapeno, and belle)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  I like mine chunky. If you like yours cook down,  cook it longer. Water batch for 15 minutes if you’re canning.   This recipes makes about 8 pints of salsaIt can be served fresh, and it’s just as delicious too.  I couldn’t resist eating the salsa while I was trying to get it into the jars.  I only managed 7 pints.

Grow your own tomatoes, peppers and onions next season.  Paint buckets or tubs on your patio, balcony or deck are great ways to grow tomatoes and peppers during the summer.  I will doing a post on how you can start your seed inside to give you a head start on the growing season and planting your tomatoes in a small growing area in March.  Stay tuned.

You may also like: How to Pickle Peppers
Heirloom Versus Hybrid Tomatoes

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardeners

gardener gift ideas, holiday gifts, gardener gift ideas

 

I’m into gift baskets this season.  I’ve found that my most memorable gifts have been homemade items and gift baskets that I’ve put together for my family and friends I’m an advent gardener and bird watcher.  If you have one on your list, a gift basket would be perfect for them too.  We have put together a list of holiday gift ideas for gardeners. Check  it out:
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Birdseed Peanut Butter Pine Cones

feeding backyard birds

 

Our feathered friends need our help finding food during the cold months.  Insects are scarce and most berries are gone.  One way that I feed the birds is to make birdseed peanut butter pine cones.

 

peanut butter pine cones for birds

 

This is an activity that is fun to make with your children or grandchildren.  You will need the following ingredients:

  • Medium – large pine cone(s) with a strong top  (Take a walk with your children and let them pick the pine cones)
  • Peanut Butter (Store Brand or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 birdseed
  • string/twine
  • newspaper
  • Paper Plate or cutting board
  • Freezer bags

Step 1 – Spread newspaper to work on if children are assisting.

how to attract backyard birds

Step 2 – Wrap a piece of string or twine around the top of the pine cone.  You will be using the string to tie around a tree branch, so make sure the ends are long enough to tie around the branch.

 

feeding wild birds

 

Step 3 – Use a plastic knife to spread the peanut butter over the pine cone.  Normally, I use store brand peanut butter because it’s cheaper.  Unfortunately, I was out of the store brand. So I used my Jiff for this demonstration.   Spoon the peanut butter onto a paper plate.  Take this step to avoid dipping the knife that is being used on the pine cone back into the peanut butter.

Step 4 – Spread the peanut butter over the pine cone.   (Do not put peanut butter at the top of the pine cone near the string).   You don’t want the birds peaking at the string. 

 

 

wild bird feeder

 

Step 5 – Cover the peanut butter with the bird and/or sunflower seeds by spreading the seed on paper plate.  Spread it evenly on the paper plate and roll the pine cone until covered.  You can also use a plastic spoon to help fill in the gaps by spooning the seed over the pine cone.  Use your fingers to push the seeds into the peanut butter if needed.  (This can get messy with children, beware).

Step 5 – Next, place the pine cone(s) in a freezer bag for 1 hour before hanging outside.  If you’ve made more than 1 pine cone, leave the additional pine cones in the freezer until ready to use.

Step 6 – Last, hang the birdseed peanut butter pine cones in a place where you can watch the birds enjoy the treat.

Finally, keep plenty of birdseed peanut butter pinecones on hand.  They will devour the treat in a few days.

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bird Lovers

 

gift ideas for bird lovers

This post contains affiliate links.  If a purchase is made, I may be compensated.  All funds will be used to maintain Mother 2 Mother Blog.    

The holidays are around the corner.  Have you started your holiday shopping?  If you have a bird watcher on your list, why not make a gift basket for them.  Gift baskets don’t have to be full of toiletries, candles, and food.  Here’s a few ideas that you can place in a gift basket for a bird lover:   

  • Binoculars – Every bird watcher needs a pair of binoculars.  I purchased a pair of Bushnell Falcon’s binoculars. I had a wonder time watching the American Gold Finch eat my sunflower seeds in the garden. They devoured every seed.  These binoculars are great for beginners, but also getting good reviews from advanced watchers.  
  • A subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine – Each magazine contains articles filled with beautiful photos of birds, butterflies and flowers.  What bird lover wouldn’t want to curl under a cozy blanket this winter browsing the magazine for gardening and bird attracting ideas for the spring and summer.  Click on the link, they’re offering a 2 year subscription for a year’s price, $20.00. 
  • Birdhouses –  I would suggest that you do a search to determine the backyard birds in the gift recipient’s area.  Make a selection based on your finding, different birds like different types of houses.  No need to purchase a bird house for a bird that doesn’t habitat in the recipient’s backyard. 
  • Bird Feeders  – Check out your local Lowes, Tractor Supply or Home Depot.  Different birds like different feeders.  Buy according to the birds in the gift recipient’s area.   
  • Gift Certificate – Great for purchasing seed, suet, a bird book or magazine subscription. 
  • CD with bird calls – Bird calls are fun to listen to when gardening or working in the yard.  Great gift for beginners who are just learning the calls. 
  • Book to identify backyard birds – Mine sure has come in handy.  I enjoy studying their habits and becoming familiar with the color and markings.  I bird watch from my bedroom window during the colder months while I’m watching TV or blogging.  It’s nice to flip through a book or Google to identify the birds. 
  • Packs of sunflowers – Birds love them, they’re easy to grow, and they’re so pretty in a garden.
  • Coffee Mug with the recipient’s state bird and a package of coffee or tea bags.
  • A Hummingbird Feeder and Nectar – I would suggest a feeder with an ant guard they love the nectar too.  It may be difficult to find  a feeder this time of year in colder regions.  Try on-line if unsuccessful locally.

You can purchase a basket, filler, ribbon and holiday cellophane bags from the dollar store.  Put the larger items in the back and work forward with smaller items.  If you need to hold items in place, use clear packaging tape.  Use a twist tie to close the bag and finish with a bow.  You’re done, and your bird lover will thank you.

 

Winter Sowing Vegetable Seeds

 

I have the winter blues!  I decided to start my vegetable seeds over the week-end.  Planning my garden takes the blues away and gives me a head start with strong, healthy veggie plants.  Last year I used heating mats and grow lights.  I had a 90% germination rate, but it takes lots of time and space to nurture the seedlings. 

This year, I decided to try winter sowing.  I’ve been saving plastic liter, juice and milk bottles.  Anything that I can cut and punch holes in the bottom for drainage.  I started about 20 bottles over the week-end.  Tomatoes, dill, zucchini, squash, sunflowers and petunias.  Tomatoes, dill and petunias reseed and grow.  Research showed that the squash and zucchini will also do well.  l will continue winter sowing through-out February.  I’ll do a few tomatoes, cukes and green beans inside.  Just in case I don’t have a successful germination rate from the winter sowing; however, gardeners swear by this method.  I’m sold!

 

 

If you’re wondering how I create these miniature greenhouses, here it goes.  Wash your bottles in hot soapy water and rinse well.  I used a box cutter to cut around the bottles.  Leave an inch on the bottle for a hinge.  Add drainage holes in the bottom of your bottle.  To accomplish this, I use a glue gun on the milk bottles.  However, I was unsuccessful using the glue gun on the liter and juice bottles.  The gun wouldn’t penetrate.  I used the box cutter to make slits on the bottom.  If you have another method of punching holes, bring out your equipment and punch holes in the bottom of your bottles.

First, mix your seed starting mix as directed on the package.  I use warm water when mixing the soil Mix it thoroughly.  You want it wet; however, not soggy.  Next, add 2 – 3 inches of the mix to the bottom of each of the bottles or container.  I use Miracle Gro Seed Starting Mix, which I purchase from Tractor Supply.  It’s a little expensive, but I have a great germination rate each year with the mix.

Second, place your seed on top of the soil and cover lightly.  Wrap the bottle with duct tape.  I purchased my duct tape from the dollar store.  Mark the bottles with a permanent marker, which I also purchased from the dollar store.

You can discard the bottle tops.  I moved the bottles and containers to the deck to ensure they get rain. Let them go until spring.  At that time you should have sprouts that will need water.  As they grow, you will have to remove the top of the bottles.  These little babies will already be hardened off, which is a step you will have to take if you start seedlings indoors.

Stay tuned for additional posts on winter sowing.  Finally, if you are a gardener and use the winter sowing method, please share your experience.  You may also like My Winter Sow Seed List.

Easy Recipe – Fresh Salsa Recipe

recipes, party recipes, salsa recipe

I made 5 pints of fresh salsa this week-end and it was delicious.  Trying to get the salsa into the jars was quite endeavor.  I kept eating it.  This recipe can be water bathed or served fresh.  I decided to serve it with chips at a party that I was having.  I placed the salsa in bowls and chilled for several hours. It was delicious.

If you have tomatoes, fresh peppers and onions that you want to use, I urge you to try it.  Head to your local farmer’s market if you don’t have the ingredients.  It’s great if you’re having company or if your children are salsa lovers too.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Ask for seconds at your local farmer’s market.  They sell them at discounts because of a blemish, discoloration,  or deformity.

For this batch I used:

  • 15 – 20 tomatoes, chopped (I used a mix of yellow, purple and red tomatoes)
  • 2 large red onions finely diced
  • 15-20 chilies, remove the veins & seeds, finely chopped
  • 5 chilies with the seeds if you like spicy
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
 *NOTE:  I didn’t include the lime juice.  If you’re going to can it, please include all ingredients.
 salsa recipes, fresh salsa
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving.

If you want a smaller batch, cut the recipe in half.  Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes are best used in this recipe.  I used a mixture of Roma and slicers this time, the salsa was quite watery.  The problem can be solved by placing the salsa in a colander and allowing it to drain for about 30 minutes. You can gradually add the liquid back in until you reach the desire consistency.  When I’m serving salsa for a party, I like for it to be chunky and to have very little water.