Tag Archives: Gardening

You may remember my post about starting the garden tower in our living room.

prudent living

The Garden Tower

I had great visions of abundant lettuce and herbs this winter, I should have known better. First of all November and December can be very cloudy months in Vermont. Even with a full sliding door facing south the amount of sun coming in the house can be very limited. I probably should have waited until February or March when the days are sunnier.

There is a Garden Tower  Facebook page and the information there is very helpful. Numerous people recommended that I get a grow light of some sort to help my plants. The Garden Tower folks even sell a special attachment for the tower to provide your plants with adequate light.

gardening

Tower Garden Hooded Grow Lights

Unfortunately it is not in my budget.  I think the herbs will do all right and I actually picked some basil last night for a lasagna I was making.

herbs, prudent living

Basil

We made our own lasagna noodles and imbedded the basil leaves within the noodles.

prudent living, gardening

Basil Lasagna Noodles

I’ll have to share that recipe another day! I’m not quite ready to give up on the Garden Tower and I’m sure if my poor plants had sufficient light they would be doing even better. So for now I will enjoy the fresh herbs

gardening, prudent living

Parsley

and hope that my lettuce continue to grow so we can consume it.

prudent living

Baby lettuce

I wonder if the folks that make the Garden Tower would be willing to send me a grow light so I could continue this experiment?

Linked to: MsGreenThumbJean, SidewalkShoes, ASouthernDaydreamer, MindBodyAndSole

Have you ever made your own wreath with fresh evergreens? When I was a child we had friends that lived in a converted barn. Every year they would invite friends over for a wreath making party. Everyone brought various greens and other items to decorate the wreathes with. There would be special activities for all the children such as sticking cloves into oranges. At the end of the day we’d all gather in their home for hot cider and cookies. It was one of my favorite activities leading up to Christmas.

I had great aspirations of making several wreaths and an evergreen garland to decorate our deck. We have been extremely busy the last few weeks and the past two weekends we were out of state helping my mother move. Usually I have my blog written a week in advance but somehow the making of the garland kept getting put off. I had a  romantic idea of heading out to the woods on a snowy afternoon, collecting the evergreens and making a beautiful garland to adorn our deck. Remember the deck we repainted this summer?  Not exactly a small deck! I guess I wasn’t thinking just how long it would take me to make a 50 foot garland! All of a sudden I realized I was running out of time and if I didn’t get out there today and cut the greens there would be no garland and no blog post.

So outside I went today and it was blustery and cold and yes even a few flurries. First I collected numerous branches from various evergreens on our property. I then cut the greens into various lengths from 6-12 inches.

garlands, prudent living

Greens, rope, wire and cutters.

Use heavy green wire or rope as a base, much like you can use a metal frame for a wreath. If you use a light colored rope you will have to make sure you cover every inch of it so the rope isn’t showing through!

Take a handful of your greens and make sure they are all facing the same way. I found it worked well if you wrapped the ends together before attaching to the rope.

prudent living, garlands

Secure the ends together with wire.

Using some small gauge wire wrap the greens to your larger wire or rope.

prudent living

Attach the greens to your rope or wire.

Take another handful of greens and repeat the process overlapping the ends of the previous bunch of greenery. Keep repeating until your garland is as long as you want it to be. When you come to the end you just place the last bunch of greenery going in the opposite direction! If you want to get fancy you can add ribbons or other decorations. I kept mine plain. After working outside for what seemed like hours my hands were cold and covered with sap! I had about five feet of garland made!

garlands

The start to my garland.

Just enough to wrap around the post supporting the deck! I do like the way it looks so when the sun comes back out I am going to go outside and finish this project. Maybe I’ll show you my completed garland next week!

prudent living, gardening

Just enough to wrap around the post!

Handmade garlands are a bit heavier than artificial garlands so plan accordingly when you are hanging it. I plan to use some very large twist ties to secure it to our deck.

Remember to take time to enter my giveaways! You have a chance to win a Vermont Snowflake Ornament or a WonderMill Grain Mill!

Linked to: WeAreThatFamily, ASouthernDaydreamer, SidewalkShoes, BloomingTuesday, MindBodyAndSole, HomemakersChallenge, KatherinesCorner, DelightfulOrder, SevenAlive, BlissfulRhythm, TheBrambleberryCottage, LiveRenewed, TootsieTime, AtThePicketFence, GodsGrowingGarden, NoOrdinaryHomestead, TheBackyardFramingConnection

Here we are in the midst of a busy month. The garden is quiet outside, covered lightly with a fresh coat of snow.

garden, prudent living

On The Home Front winter garden.

Outside may be cold but there is life inside. The narcissus bulbs I started a while ago have been beautiful filling the house with fragrance.

Prudent living

Narcissus

I started another batch so I can enjoy more fresh blooms in another six weeks.

gardening, prudent living

Forcing bulbs On The Home Front.

I was at the Farmers Market the other day and they were giving away African Violets, there is always room for one more. Who can resist a free plant!

prudent living, gardening

My new violet!

My cyclamen is sending up new shoots, more blooms to enjoy.

gardening

Cyclamen

Even the plants in the garden tower seem to be growing, both the parsley and the lettuce are thriving.

gardening

Parsley growing in the garden tower.

The outside garden may be quiet but there is color in the eggs collected daily,

chickens

Our daily eggs.

Color in the acorn squash waiting to be cooked –

winter squash

Acorn Squash

and in the clementine’s we so enjoy this time of year.

fruit

Clementines

I enjoy this quiet time in the gardening year. Won’t be long before the seed catalogs arrive and I’ll be busy planning the next season’s garden!

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean, Sidewalkshoes, ASouthernDaydreamer, BlissfulRhythm, TootsieTime, NoOrdinaryHomestead, CraftyGardenMama, BackyardFarmingConection

Last week I unpacked my Garden Tower and got it assembled.

gardening, prudent living

Tower Garden® set and ready to go.

The day after Thanksgiving I moved on to getting it up and running. The Tower Garden holds about 20 gallons of water! We found the easiest way to fill the reservoir was to use the garden hose.

prudent living, garden tower

Using the garden hose to fill the reservoir.

The directions said to fill to within three inches of the top lid.

prudent living, gardening

The reservoir was filled to within three inches from the top.

We followed the directions and added the correct amount of Tower Tonic to the reservoir.

Tower Garden, prudent living

Tower Garden Tonic.

I then had to check the pH of the solution. The optimal pH is 5.0 to 7.0. The reading was about 6.5, which seemed fine; I did not add any of the buffering solution.

Prudent Living, gardening

Testing the pH.

After the reservoir was filled and the water tested the pump was plugged in and we checked to make sure the water was coming out of the top of the Tower Garden. The lid was then put on the shower cap. There is a dial on the pump so you can regulate the flow of water. You want to make sure the water is not touching the shower cap lid, if it does you may end up with a potential leakage around the shower cap area.

gardening, tower garen

Water bubbles up through the tower.

There is also a timer included with the Tower Garden. This enables you to water on a cycle rather than continuously. They suggest 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. We adjusted it so it was running 15 minutes on and 30 minutes off. We’ll see how the plants do and may have to adjust it accordingly.

Once the Tower was functioning I placed the seedlings in the tower. Each seedling is in a special medium and held in a little net pot. As the water comes down the tower, the roots are moistened with the nutrient rich solution. The plants are fed and the process repeats providing the plants with oxygen, nutrients and water, everything they need to grow.

gardening

Net Pot.

So far they seem to be doing just fine. The medium they are growing in has remained damp and there does seem to have been some growth. I am also starting some plants by seed and will place them in the tower when they sprout and have developed roots.

I was not expecting that I would have to plug the tower in. I never thought about how the water was circulated. The noise of the circulating water is a bit louder than I expected, however we have gotten used to it. It’s like having a fountain in your living room! I had a couple of basil plants that were cut a few weeks ago and placed in a glass of water. Since they had rooted I also placed them in the tower and they are doing quite well!

gardening, Garden Tower

Little seedlings in the Garden Tower.

Next week I will give you one last update for a while. I’ll be sure to let you know when I start harvesting!

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean, SidewalkShoes, ASouthernDaydreamer, BlissfulRhythm, TootsieTime, CraftyGardenMama

 

The week flew by. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.On the Home Front, Prudent Living In case you missed any posts here’s the weekly update!

Do you like Vera Bradley bags? Here is an opportunity to win a purse and wallet combo! Enter to win a Vera Bradley Mandy Handbag and Turn Lock Wallet. Enter here!

contest

Vera Bradley Giveaway

I love gathering with family and friends over the holidays. Here are some tips to enjoy a stress free holiday.

Frugal tips, prudent living

Traditional Thanksgiving Meal

Can you believe I now have herbs and vegetables growing in my living room? For the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my experiment with the Garden Tower. The seedlings are planted and I am looking forward to seeing how they do.

gardening, prudent living

Tower Garden® set and ready to go.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and what better way to enjoy your leftover turkey than a nice bowl of Amazing Turkey Soup! This is my favorite recipe that can be used with both turkey and chicken. Have a great weekend.

soup, prudent living

Amazing Turkey Soup

Several weeks ago I was sent a very large box containing a Tower Garden®.

gardening, prudent living

The Tower Garden arrived in a large box!

The Tower Garden is an aeroponic growing system. This means the plants are growing in an air or mist environment without the use of soil. The directions claimed that after some quick and easy assembly I would be ready to start growing my own fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and more. The Tower Garden is designed to grow just about anything except root vegetables, grapevines, bushes, and trees.

Garden Tower®

The directions indicated easy assembly.

The only requirement is that the Tower Garden should be placed in a relatively sunny place. When we built our house we designed it as a passive solar house. The south facing wall is full of windows and two sliding doors that give us a lot of sun. This seemed like it would be a perfect place to try our experiment.

The space requirement was a three-foot square, seeing the tower set up it seemed a bit bigger. However we have made a spot in the living room, which should work. I imagine we will have to rotate the tower occasionally to give all the plants the same amount of sun.

After reading through the directions it did indeed seem like it would be a quick and easy assembly.

gardening

Tower Garden directions.

The directions had a clear diagram of the tower and easy step-by-step photographs.

gardening, prudent living

Tower Garden Growing System

I tend to work better with something I can look at rather than directions to read!

gardening

Tower Garden step-by-step directions.

Once the tower was assembled I read further about where to locate your Tower Garden. Full sun for a minimum of 5-6 hours is suggested. There should be source of water nearby. You do need an electrical outlet, as there is a pump that circulates the water inside the tower. They do suggest that having an outlet nearby is preferred over using a long extension cord. Make sure your site is level as the Tower Garden must be level to work properly.

Indoor garden

Assembled Tower Garden.

There is a lot of online support for your Tower Garden, including resources and Facebook pages. I ordered some seedlings online to get started and they should be arriving this week. Next week I will share the next step of our Tower Garden experiment!

gardening, prudent living

Tower Garden set in the sun and ready to go.

Linked to: MsGreenthumbJean, SidewalkShoes, ASouthernDayDreamer, NoOrdinaryHomestead, TheChickenChick, CraftyGardenMama, TheBackyardFarmingConnection

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