Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What to do with a broken pot? (project)

So while transplanting all my house plants back into their outdoor porch pots, I picked up one of my favorite glazed clay pots to find it split in 2. It was an almost perfect split! Now, usually during a situation like this I find myself searching pinterest or google for ideas for broken pots. I've done mosaics, tiled tables, buried them... I even could have gorilla glued this along the seam and it would have been good enough to use a couple more years. No chips or broken pieces... a perfect split I tell ya!!!

I just HAPPEN to look over at my plaster end tables next to my bench that were about to be spring cleaned for the season and thought, well now.... I could REALLY bump up the end tables by planting them too. So I got to work turning my end tables into multi-use planters.

Step 1. - CLEAN everything. We're using adhesive here, and the surface needs to be spotless, dirtless and dustless.

Step 2. Rough up the area on the tables you need the pot to adhere to. Make some grip for your adhesive. Try a low grit sandpaper.

Step 3. Adhesive! In this situation your basic glue, hot glue or caulk won't work. "Water tight" is not ok. If water and dirt pool inside the pot caulk will warp and eventually release your pretty pot. Seeing the pot is clay and the table I have plaster... I went with a cement adhesive/fixer and expandable sealant. This is meant for brick, driveways, stairs... things that are going to get weathered regularly and it will hold even with pooling water for years. Check out the pic for the one I found, Home Depot has it in their cement/mortar aisle for about $6. Make sure to add a thick amount to all the areas that tough. The more the merrier with this stuff!

Step 4. Allow to cure! The can says 6 hours for basic sure... 10 days for FULL cure. I gave it 24 hours before I stood them up. Then 2 more days before I went on to the next step.

Step 5. Time to fill. As you see, my perfect crack was kinda wavy so they don't sit flat. I was going to fill with the adhesive on the sides, but thought better of that. The soil would slip fall out the bottom. So what to do to keep soil retention, and still allow drainage? Metal hanging pot liners!  I just HAPPEN to have a bunch of old ones needing to be replaced so I took 1 out of a long basket, cut it in half and used this to line the pots before adding the soil. Walla!

Step 6. Fill your planter tables! I chose a long growing ground cover vine called Vera. It will spill over the pot to the base of the porch and not grow up so the top of the table is clear to put things on.

So now you have a broken planter idea that is pretty budget friendly. This should work with wood tables as well, but you may have to experiment with the adhesive you use. My original plant with these was to use grout, but they didn't have it in a tube (it is out there though!) so I had to come up with a second idea on the fly.


Monday, March 12, 2012

The Importance of Mulch

Well, I've said it before and I think I'll take this opportunity to say it again!


It's not that 'little' extra... its absolutely VITAL! Not only does it help with water retention at the root of your plant like most people mention... no no... it does SO much more. Gimme a minute to sell you on it.

Before we talk about types and costs... let me explain simply all the whys. This way you'll be ready to run out and get all the mulch you need ASAP.

1.) Water Retention - Like stated above, save yourself some time having to water again and again. Mulching will help hold water in the dirt longer.

2.) Root Shading - Some plants may be hot season plants and enjoy 80 degree weather on their tops, but their roots sure do need some shade from scorching. Some plants are so tender in that sense they couldn't survive without root mulching or at least base planted grasses and such to protect their root, like clematis.

3.) Disease protection - Many diseases that attack your plants come directly from the dirt they live in. Many fungi and bacteria thrive in the dirt, maybe even working in harmony with the roots... but if allowed to get airborne or simply splash up during a heavy rain and get on your plants leaves; well... all H#7% can break loose. Example: Blight

4.) Weed Control - It may not keep ALL weeds out of your precious beds, but it could cut your weeding down significantly. I've seen more then a 80% reduction in the amount of weeds in my veggie beds by simply mulching every season. My back thanks me!

5.) Permanent Paths - So not only IN the garden, but around the garden. You don't want to step on your plants or too close as you can damage the unseen roots, as well as cause soil compaction. This pushes the vital amounts of air in the soil out that the plants need to thrive. So mulch out your walkways so they are easy to stay on, also keeping weeds out of those paths so less need to mow and cause even more compaction and stress on the ground around your growing area.

You know whats sad? I could go ON and ON and ON about how great MULCH is... but I'll take a minute to give you some mulch options... because shoot... it can pretty much be WHATEVER you think of or have on hand at the time. So add to the list!

(I've labeled these with $ as cheapest(or free) $$ mid price $$$ expensive)


Wood mulch $$$
Grass clipping $ (make sure it was before the grass went to seed)
Hay or straw $$
Gravel $$$
Shredded News Paper $
Pine Straw $$
Compost $
Weed Fabric $$$

So, you see where I'm going with all this? This Mulching thing; total amazing! So scream it from the mountain tops... share this with a friend... and don't forget, whatever you are growing, whatever you are planning for your garden.... JUST MULCH IT!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Salmon Faverolles Move In

Introducing Gabby and Cherry, 2 Salmon Favorelle Hens we got at auction a couple weeks ago. One is obviously more red then she should be, so DD calls her the "CHERRY ONE!". They had their beaks clipped and have a hard time eating... but they are royally spoiled with deep dishes and lots of treats. They are skittish of people so were probably never handled much, but I cuddle them when I catch them so eventually they'll accept us.

For anyone looking to introduce more birds to their flock, its important you keep new birds quarentined for at least 30 days. You don't want disease spreading, or mites or anything that may cause stress of an uproar in your flocks health and sanity. Also give new birds a good look over. I found these guys had ticks and mites. I washed them, picked the ticks, dusted with DE(Diatomaceous Earth) and added used vaseline on their legs since they looks dried and scaly. I didn't see mites on their legs, but you can never be too careful. They are in their own coop, and though they can see my other birds... no one is touching and getting aggressive. Just the way we like it around here. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Getting to work - Spring is coming!

Well, reality is the work is never done... you really just get 'caught up' and then you eventually fall behind. There is no in-between. You get a winter break which is only a few weeks here. However, you're fidgety the entire time you're supposed to be relaxing, so what does it matter, right?

So with a gorgeous day, felt like 80 out with a cool breeze (if you call 20 mph winds a breeze) I took a few hours to plan a plant rescue and finish up the garden that was tilled up to be prepared when the corn can go in. (That still almost 2 months away, but I'm just so darn fidgety!)

First the rescue of the rose-

My mother bought this rose many years ago, Jackson Perkins I do believe. I think its a Henry Fonda Tea rose?! It was never in a proper bed and it was at the top of a hill in front of their house so daddy just couldn't manage to steer the riding mower around it. Several years ago he gave up and just mowed right over it. After awhile we just forgot it was ever there. Last year the yard became a weed jungle when the mower died, low and behold the roses emerged and dainty yellow buds graced the front yard scene. I decided to swoop in and get it transplanted here and give it a garden bed of its own. It will never have to fear the blades of a mower again.

First nightmare... get the crown and as much of the root ball out of the ground as I could. Found out the roses was originally mulched with ROCK! Can you say my wrist is killing me right now. So after 30-45 minutes of fighting with the tangled mess of root, grass, weeds and rock I finally got it free. It was about 3 ft tall with some diseased growth, so I immediately pruned it down as much as I could without destroying the new growth. I was a little late getting to it because of this mild winter we've had. 

From here I dusted the root ball with rooting hormone which will help root growth. I've add some bone meal to the potting soil and decided to pot it up for not. The front bed isn't ready and I'd really like to baby it and make sure she'll survive before I give her the place of honor in my new expanded front yard garden bed. I'm sure it was well worth the afternoon struggles. 

And when I thought I had no energy left in my body, I finished raking out the rows for the corn getting 2 more done today. So we now have 7 finished rows for the sweet corn. The one I bought over 200 seeds for! YIKES! We also decided after some time on 'pinterest' I would create 2 bamboo teepees for my daughter to use as play space in the garden. Those will go where you see the round mounds.

And just when I thought I had done more then my fair share for the day, I checked my brussel sprouts which are as done as they are going to be. I planted these last March, even though I took some for the holiday meal I took the last of them today. I only had 6 plants, when 2 never produced any, so I'm satisfied. 

These are now in the oven roasting with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic. Come on dinner!