Monday, March 31, 2014

Stop buying peat pellets and start your seeds in toilet paper rolls

If you're crafty you'll like this idea. If you're looking to recycle and are finding ways to save on gardening this is an excellent replacement for those little peat pellets. One of the great things about looking at other people's gardening blogs and videos is that you get great ideas you never thought about; or you thought about it but never knew how to do it. I usually watch several videos before trying something myself but when you come down to it, you just need to jump in. 

Seed starters made out of toilet paper or paper towel cardboard replaces expensive peat pellets. 
Save money, recycle and get free dirt/compost from your local landfill and it's all free! Even the foil container was something people usually throw away after using it or your can buy tin pans 2 for a dollar at the dollar store, they even have 8 pound bags of potting soil for a dollar at the Orlando Dollar Tree stores. In the photo above I'm growing three varieties of beets. This is my first time growing beets so I'll be posting more about this later. On the far right of the picture I have one row of organic tomatoes that are coming up nicely.

There are some people who don't fold the bottom like the video here shows, but I prefer folding the bottom and filling it with compost soil or potting soil, sift out the large pieces so the seeds have room to sprout and then I place a bunch of these little containers in a foil pan or plastic container as you see in the picture and fill with water so all the seed starters now have water from the bottom up and you won't disturb the seeds. Folding the bottom also allows me to pick the entire planter up and easier to transplant.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Back to Eden Film - How to Garden with less water, save time and money - Watch the Trailer here!

I recently wrote an article for YCN (Yahoo Contributor's Network) on my review of the Back to Eden Film method of gardening. I was impressed with the documentary I had to read more about it and try it myself. The simplicity of the method is to use wood chips to layer various types of compost that you could get for free if you're resourceful and no back breaking rototilling and little to no watering. To read my article click here: Gardening the Back to Eden Film Method Saves Time and Money.

You can watch the trailer of the Back to Eden Film for free right here on my blog.

Click on the video to watch the trailer.

To watch the entire Back to Eden Film for free on Vimeo just click on the link. Let me know what you think in the comment section below, it will change the way you do gardening.

I'll be posting more about my gardening adventures, thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Worms are a gardener's friend - How I built my worm bin at home

Why spend a hundred plus dollars for a worm bin when you can make your own for a lot less. Here's a video I did of my worm bin I made also known as vermicomposting. The worm castings or worm poop, and the worm tea or moisture from the little wigglers make a great addition to your garden as natural fertilizer and also a way to break down your vegetable waste without throwing it down the garbage disposal or in the trash to add to landfills.

This is all I needed to make my own Worm Bin at home, if you don't have something borrow it or ask around someone's usually giving things away or like a drill are willing to loan it to you:

2 - 10 gallon Rubber Maid containers,or any size that you works for your space, solid color not see through bins (worms don't like light)

1 - drill and a small bit - be sure the holes aren't so large that the worms will crawl out when they first arrive they are very skinny and dehydrated, after sprays of water and some food they fatten up

1 - bag of shredded paper (free from work or friends if you don't have a shredder or rip up old newspaper or ripped up cardboard and shredded paper combo as the worms eat the paper as well as vegetable scraps.

500 tiny, skinny new Red Wiggler worms from online at Uncle Jim's worm farm

1 - bottle sprayer to spritz on the shredded paper and give the new worms a drink, don't down the paper in water as it won't evaporate quickly once you cover the bin and it will create mold and mildew.

A couple of tablespoons of dirt.

Here's GardenGirlTV's video on how she made her worm bin - however I thought the quarter inch drill holes were a little too big for the new worms I got in the mail. If you have red wigglers that are bigger than you won't have a problem with them escaping. However if you're purchasing your Red Wigglers for the first time, use a smaller drill bit. Also be sure to do your research on worms. There are only a few types of worms that are good for eating your veggie scraps and Red Wigglers are best for vermicomposting. You won't get the same results if you go out into the yard and start digging up common worms.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My homemade aquaponics system

A while back a couple of coworkers were excited about a hydroponics system they purchased. This peaked my interest however I wasn't going to roll out $500+ to get a water tower so I decided to do some research. I decided I wanted to do a aquaponic system which adds fish to the mix and produces natural fertilizer. I mentioned that my dad watered his plants from a koi pond that we always had and always had great success. You can read that post here: Where my roots come from.

Here's a video I did of my first try on creating my own aquaponic system at home on our enclosed patio.

I put this system together last year, around June 2012. It took a lot of time to go through many videos on how others created their systems and the challenging part was probably the siphoning part of the system. The video ends somewhat abruptly but it takes so much space to upload you get the main parts of the system so don't worry you didn't miss anything.

The black containers were purchased at Costco for $8 and I highly recommend these types of hard plastic to hold the weight of the water cause it won't 'bow' out as it does in other videos I've seen. You can also get these same containers at Home Depot they should be under $10. My mistake as it was a trial and error in figuring out the pvc tubing and connections was that I didn't document all the pieces and I would say the entire system with rocks, pvc, containers and the pump I got on ebay for less than $20 was over around $125 to $150. It was more than I expected to pay but it was less expensive then building a large system that some of the other videos were suggesting, or buying larger containers specially made for aquaponics. The main difference in the containers I used are that the sides are higher than what's needed but for my first project I think it's working okay. As you come back and visit my site you'll see I like to build things by watch I watch on youtube I've built a bunny condo and some self watering containers from buckets that I got from the dollar store - works great.

When I have more time I'll post the various steps that I took photos of but most of my time is going to my community garden project and doing container gardening using the Back to Eden Film gardening method to reduce the maintenance and water usage. Check back to this blog and I'll be posting more of my discoveries. Thanks for visiting.

Where my roots come from

Mom and Dad were the green thumbs

My parents were always in our yard growing things when I was a kid and although mom is now gone and dad's living in a small apartment, I can still remember the fruits, vegetables, flowers and trees that their green thumbs would make greener and our table would be filled with.

That said, this apple did fall from the tree but it took longer to root. I never really learned why my parents did what they did for the plants we had but I know from experience how resourceful they were. They used water from the kitchen sink that only had water and dish soap go straight into our water taro patch back in Hawaii.

Japanese Koi Pond
They used to raise fish, mainly large Japanese koi. My dad was a mason and would build cement koi ponds (makes me think of the old sit-com 'the Beverly Hillbillys' where they called their swimming pool a 'cement pond' but I digress. Dad was and still is pretty good about thinking through the logistics of things and rigged the water pump for the fish to a garden hose and would water the plants with water and fish stuff which was great fertilizer. I don't remember him ever having a bag of fertilizer, it was all natural.

In this day when we're trying to use many of the methods our ancestors used for generations and renaming it as if it were something new, for example aquaponics is basically what my dad was doing as he also had plants above the pond - but he enjoyed the tranquility of watering his plants. I think for him after a long day or week of physically demanding work he was most quiet and content when he was out in the yard watering his plants, chewing on his cigar.