February 26, 2012

Simplify Your Life Series: In the Garden

If you're looking to simplify a little bit of your life or achieve a major overhaul then join me for our ten part series as we work alongside Country Living's Simple Country Wisdom: 501 Old-Fashioned Ideas to Simplify Your Life by Susan Waggoner.  I pick a few points in each chapter, expound upon them and share some of my own tips.  Grab your favorite cuppa and join along!  (Start at the beginning HERE.)

In the Garden

"Country gardens conjure up images of tree swings and trellises, hollyhocks and pole beans, vine-ripened tomatoes and dewy grass tickling sleepy bare feet.  It's a user-friendly setting, perfect for quiet afternoons in a shaded hammock, boisterous holiday celebrations, and easy-living family suppers at the picnic table.  Even if a busy schedule leaves little time for a full-blown vegetable patch, wildflower gardens, ivy, and shrubs are low-maintenance alternatives.  Whether we have an acre to call our own or no more than a window box, the pleasures of getting one's fingers in the wet earth and seeing what comes up has an irresistible pull."  -- Susan Waggoner

A Big Bouquet of All-Purpose Tips
Draw a scale grid of your yard -- front, back, and sides.  Draw in anything that's truly permanent and work with it!  We're working on adding some fruit trees to our homestead this year so we'll be making a grid and trying layouts!   Keep ground plans, notes and inspiration pictures together in a garden notebook.  I print out a grid of our garden and make notes of where everything was planted and where our drip irrigation system pipes were placed. I also keep the shipping list from where we ordered our seeds.  I also keep a list of what types of fruits we bought to can and freeze, amount, how much, and where we bought them along with any other thoughts.  Keep a garden calendar.  If you start from seed it's helpful to know what time of year to do that. I visit Margaret Roach's blog A Way To Garden for tips on what to do when. She has wonderful monthly to-do lists when it comes to yard work, pruning, gardening, etc.  Try planting in the rain!  It's cooler that's for sure and you won't shock your seedlings with the rays from the hot sun!

Natural Pest Control
There are a lot of natural things you can do to repel bugs and critters.  First, use yellow bulbs in porch lights since they don't attract bugs.  To repel ants plant borders of spearmint, peppermint, and pennyroyal.  To keep aphids at bay use a slow-release fertilizer, and plant the same repelling vegetation for ants.  To keep deer from eating vegetation mix two raw eggs and put them in a clean, empty spray bottle.  Fill the bottle with water and leave it in the sun for an afternoon.  Spray whatever the deer are eating.  To repel mice sprinkle some pure, strong peppermint extract around the areas they frequent.  Mosquitoes dislike the smell of marigolds.  Plant them around the yard to keep them away.  Add a few drops of salad oil into bird bath water to make a film to keep insects from laying eggs (don't worry, it won't harm the birdies).  Slugs and snails dislike ashes, sawdust, and beer. Press a jar lid upside down into the soil so that the lip is even with the ground, fill with stale beer, and give them a pleasant farewell.  You'll have to replace the beer every three days. 

My budding ornithologist teenager agrees that the author has a wonderful section about attracting birds and butterflies to the garden!  She shares tips to get you started, what kinds of food to prepare, and what types of vegetation are right.  Try my recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar  HERE.

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Join me as we unwrap the present that is our lives.  The last chapter in our series is A Greener Life.  Please share this series by placing the button in the side bar of your blog or share on Facebook by clicking the button at the very bottom of this post.

* photos courtesy of Country Living

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  
It ends this Wednesday, Feb. 29th!

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This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop.


Clint Baker said...

Thanks for posting. This is some of the thins that I try to talk about on my blog. I have been trying to keep everything as organize as possible. I hope you will stop by, share and follow my blog as well!

Pam said...

Love that book. It has some wonderful ideas and the pictures are very inspiring.

Rene said...

I am always looking for new recipes to try! I absolutely love your blog. And I have recently began my journey to a greener, more self-reliant life. I would love this recipe book. Thanks for all of your inspiration. porter.rene@gmail.com

Stephanie at Grateful Heart Acres said...

Love the post! So many excellent ideas I am excited to try! The book is also a good one. So grateful I stopped by.
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