Gorgeous DIY Cedar Garden Markers In 15 Minutes!

Gorgeous DIY Cedar Garden Markers In 15 Minutes!

It’a gardening season, y’all. And these gorgeous cedar DIY garden markers are so easy to make! They’re also functional, and should last you years!

 

I invited my friend Amy from 1905 Farmhouse to show us how she made these beautiful diy garden markers using cedar stakes and a wood burning kit!

 

Her tutorial is really easy, and even I can do it! (If Larry would let me touch his circular saw, that is!) And I NEED to to do this year – last year, I couldn’t remember half of what I planted nor WHERE I planted it – has that ever happened to you?

 

Well, this year, I can keep it straight thanks to Amy’s easy to follow DIY garden marker plans!

 

If you’re looking for a beautiful but functional way to keep your own garden straight, you’ll love the directions below. Enjoy!

DIY garden markers tutorial

How To Make Your Own DIY Garden Markers With Cedar Stakes

Hi Everyone! I am Amy, it is so nice to “virtually” meet you! I’m here today to share a fun DIY for your garden or raised bed.

 

But first I wanted to share a little bit about myself. I am a life-long Oregonian, currently residing near where I grew up about 30 miles west of Portland.

 

My husband and I recently moved into a 1905 farmhouse on two acres and on my blog www.1905farmhouse.com you can find DIY home renovations on a budget, gardening ideas, and simple and easy DIY projects.

 

For as long as I can remember my parents always had a garden where we would grow beans, corn, tomatoes, onions and much more. When we moved in there was already a big open spot near our orchard that would be perfect for our garden area.

 

I enjoy growing the normal staple vegetables I mentioned earlier but unlike my parents, I like to branch out with my growing options and try new plants and seeds each year.  

 

Last year I used small flimsy wooden plant markers that I found in the Target dollar spot. They came with a white chalk marker to write the names on.

 

They looked cute at first but after all the watering and sun exposure those markers soon became lost and broken as all the plants grew taller.

 

This year I decided I wanted to create something that would withstand the elements and be easily seen. I am so excited to share this easy and fun project with you!

 

If you don’t have a large garden space you and definitely make these custom to a size that would work for a raised bed or even a large pot.

DIY garden markers for garlic

Materials Needed to Make Your DIY Garden Markers

  • Wooden stakes (preferably cedar)
  • Screws and drill or a hammer and nails
  • Wood Burning Kit
  • Table saw or hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper

 

Step 1:

You can buy a pack of grade stakes at your local hardware store, or you can make your own. We had a pile of 3-foot cedar trim pieces that we had from another home improvement store that came in a bundle that was already the perfect size and only needed a little tweaking.

 

I first cut a 1-foot section off of each piece for the plant name to go on to. The other 2 feet would be used for the stake that will be going into the ground.

 

Step 2:

If your stakes don’t have a pointed end like mine did already that will be your next step to create. The pointed end will help them go into the ground more easily.

 

I used our table saw to cut a 45-degree angle to create the point. If you don’t have a table saw you could definitely use a hand saw or even a skil-saw.

 

Step 3:

This step is where you can become creative. I wanted to make sure the name was permanent and didn’t want it to wash off or fade from the sun.

 

I’ve had a wood burning kit for years now and thought this would be a great project to bring it out of storage. Instead of free-handing the name on, which was my original thought, I hopped on my computer and pulled up a Word document and typed each name that I wanted on stakes.

 

I used a font called “Berlin Sans FB Demi.” After printing out the names I used tracing paper to transfer the names to the stakes to be my guide when burning.

DIY garden markers are easy to make

 

If you have never used tracing paper just lay the tracing paper down on your project and then put your pattern over top.

 

Then trace over your letters with a pencil or pen. The tracing paper will leave a mark anywhere that you trace and press down on.

 

Step 4:

Most wood burning kits will come with several types of tip options. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you.

 

I would suggest practicing on a scrap piece of wood first. I chose the slanted tip, also known as the universal tip, as I liked the way it wrote the best over my tracings.

 

These tools can get very hot so make sure to do this out of reach of children or pets.

 

Then just let the tool heat up and then slowly burn your outlines until you get the desired look you want. I noticed that if I was trying to rush the wood didn’t burn as well and I had to go back over it.

DIY garden markers made from cedar

Step 5:

Now to put the stakes together! I used screws to attach the names to the stakes but you could definitely also just use nails.

 

I pre-drilled a hole through both being sure not to go all the way through into my nicely burned label. Then just screw the two together and you are done!

 

I can’t wait now for our weather to be better to get our garden tilled and ready to plant for the summer! And these stakes are going to make a great addition for years to come!

Get The Most Out of Your Garden: Your Early Spring Planting Guide

Get The Most Out of Your Garden: Your Early Spring Planting Guide

Get out the compost and make those raised beds, because spring is almost here.

 

wpid-cymera_20150125_214214.jpg

My raised beds are ready for dirt and compost!

I’m starting my tomato and squash seedlings indoors, and even starting some crops outside (potatoes, anyone?). Now, before you think I’m jumping the gun, here’s the thing about me.

 

I love kale, and I’m not afraid to say it. 

 

Mix it with some homemade butter and straight-from-the-garden garlic, and I’m set. I start growing it as soon as I possibly can.

 

I can even get my husband to eat it on occasion.


Getting your garden started? Want to reap a better harvest?

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I’ve never been a big fan of radishes and arugula, but I’m starting them soon for the animals, with the hope it will even further reduce our grain expenditures.

 

I’m starting to get the winter blues, so focusing on spring is helping me beat them. And I’m increasing my self-sufficiency at the same time!

 

Here’s a starter guide to the crops you can grow in early spring, for both people and animals.

 

The most important thing I’m doing at this stage (aside from planting!) is using mulch to cover the garden. The last thing I want is late-winter scavengers to snap up the seeds I spent so much time planting!

 

wpid-cymera_20150210_134455.jpgArugula – Sow in the garden as soon as your soil can be worked. They’ll germinate in about 7 days, and ready to harvest in about a month.

 

For a continual supply, succession plant every 2 weeks until high temps will cause the arugula to bolt.

 

Beets – Sow seeds in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Plant in well-drained, sandy soil. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers as this will encourage top growth at the expense of root development.

 

Aerate your soil for uniform, healthy development. Keep consistently moist. Mulch to suppress weeds.

 

Broccoli – Sow broccoli directly in the garden 4 weeks before your last frost date. You can set out transplants 2 weeks before the last frost date when day time temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees.

 

Give your plants a boost 3 weeks after transplanting.

 

CabbageSauerkraut anyone? Direct sow in the garden immediately after your last frost date, or plant transplants in the garden 2 weeks before your last front date.

 

Start seeds 6 to 8 weeks indoors before your last front date. Cabbage plants require soil rich in organic matter and consistent moisture.

 

Carrots – Plant seeds about 2 weeks before your last frost date. Carrots need deep, loose soil to form a strong, straight root. Keep the bed mulched to avoid competition from other plants.

 

Avoid forked roots by limiting nitrogen and keeping the bed stone-free. When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, thin them so there’s 1″ to 4″ gaps between them.

 

You can also use alternate planting to increase your harvest and cut down on thinning. I use pre-planted seeds I created over winter to cut down on thinning.

 

Collards – Collard transplants can be planted 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Plant in fertile, well-drained soil. Soil rich in organic matter will encourage tender leaves, great for microgreens.

 

wpid-cymera_20150210_133242.jpgKale – A favorite here! You can plant kale about 3 to 5 weeks before the last frost date. Plant in soil rich in organic matter, and cover with cold frames during hard freezes. Great for flavorful microgreens!

 

Kohlrabi – Put out transplants of this funky looking plant 4 weeks before your last frost date. Kohlrabi is related to the cabbage, and can be eaten in similar ways.

 

Mulch or use protection against severe temperatures, and the cool temps will enhance the flavor.

 

Lettuce – The ideal day time temps for lettuce are between 60 and 70 degrees. Lettuce is more sensitive to cold than other cool season vegetables, so be sure to cover during freezing temps.  

 

Fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Lettuce will grow in partial shade, and does better sheltered from the hot afternoon sun. Romaine is a favorite here (I finally steered my husband away from iceberg!)

 

wpid-cymera_20150210_133359.jpgOnions – Onions can be grown from sets, seeds, or transplants. This year I’m trying both sets and seeds.

 

Plant in early spring as soon as the soil is workable. Mulch to protect from hungry critters and freezing temperatures.

 

Peas – Direct sow in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. They will germinate in soil temperatures as low as 40 degrees F.

 

Seedlings will survive a late snow and short periods of temperatures down to 25* F.

 

Potatoes – Plant potatoes when temps rise (if you want a permaculture indicator, plant your seed potatoes when grass begins to grow).

 

I cut my potatoes into 1” pieces with 2 to 3 eyes, you can also plant the whole potato. Soil should be loose, fertile and well drained. Mulch to protect from hungry critters and freezing temperatures.

 

Radishes – This year, I’m doing daikon, french  breakfast, and regular radishes. Sow radish seeds in the garden about 4 weeks before the last frost date in your area.

 

They are ready to harvest as soon as they are of edible size. Succession plant for a continual supply until temps are too high. Try one more than one variety, and see which does best in your garden.

 

wpid-cymera_20150210_134258.jpgSpinach – You can transplant spinach 4 weeks before the last frost date in your area, or you can sow seeds into frozen ground. They will germinate as the soil thaws.

 

Transplants can be set out 4 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Spinach prefers very fertile soil, so plant in soil enriched with compost, or fertilize when the plants are about 4 inches tall.

 

Swiss Chard – There’s nothing better than the gorgeous colors swiss chard brings to your garden. Direct sow seeds 2 weeks before your last frost date.

 

Use pre-made seed tapes, or thin to 6-inches apart when seedlings are 3-inches tall. Water regularly and mulch to protect.

 

Tatsoi – Extremely cold hardy, tatsoi can withstand temperatures down to -15 degrees F. Tatsoi likes rich soil and plenty of moisture all through the growing season, so mulching is best.

 

It’s a very pretty ornamental, so consider growing it in your landscape. Space the initial planting very densely, then harvest entire plants for baby greens, but leave the final survivors to grow to maturity at about 12″ spacing.

 

wpid-cymera_20150210_134358.jpg

Turnips – Plant 2 weeks before the last frost date. Any well-drained soil will do.

 

Consistent moisture is key for healthy root development. Although it is not necessary, the greens will be the most tender if you plant in a fertile soil.

 

Wheat – We’re going to try wheat for the first time this spring. Be sure to use a spring variety (winter wheat won’t produce without some hard freezes) so check that label.

 

Plant when the ground can be worked and after your last frost date. It’s best to use a seed drill, but if you can’t, you can broadcast the seeds and rake them into the ground, making sure to cover with hay or mulch to keep critters away.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which of these cold weather crops will you plant? Leave a comment below!

What To Do In Your Garden In March Zones 3-10! [Planting Guide]

What To Do In Your Garden In March Zones 3-10! [Planting Guide]

March is one of the best times to start getting your hands dirty in the garden, and I’ve created these “to do” lists by USDA planting zone to get you in the garden and enjoying spring!

 

The weather in your area is likely starting to warm up a bit, and now is a wonderful time to get your seedlings prepared to grow.

 

Click here for the exact seeds we use on our homestead!

 

When starting your garden, the very first step is to garden based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone that you reside in.

 

With this information, you can easily determine which plants will thrive in your area, and which ones may require some additional work to keep healthy (such as a greenhouse or cold frames).

 

The activities in this article will focus primarily on zones 3-10, as these zones cover approximately 99% of US gardeners.

 


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Zone 3

Even though it’s probably still a bit chilly in your area, there’s lots you can do. Start planting your onion, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprout seeds under lights. (For a detailed article about how to do that, click here).

 

If you’re planning to grow flowers (we are!) now is the time to plant stored bulbs in pots and get them under lights.  

 

Outside, you can prune overgrown shrubs (but avoid shrubs that flower in spring – otherwise you might not get any flowers at all).

 

Zone 4

Now is the time to start all of the veggies listed above PLUS your pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights.

 

If you’ve had any fruit trees effected by fire blight (a bacterial infection in fruit trees) now is the time to prune them back to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

Make cuts 1 foot below the diseased area, and make sure to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts with a 10% bleach solution to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

Zone 5

If you plan to include marigolds in your garden this year to prevent pests, now is the time to start them indoors under lights.

 

You can also start your tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights. As your tomato seedlings grow, you’ll need to transplant them into larger pots. Make sure to bury the stems deep when you transplant so they develop a good root structure!

 

If they’re tall enough at the end of March, you can transplant them outside, making sure to bury the step deep again, keeping 1-2 inches of plant above the soil line. Before transplanting put some compost in the hole to promote growth.  

 

At this time, you can begin planting potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots in your vegetable garden outside, making sure to use cold frames to protect against any unexpected frosts..

Trim back dead or damaged branches from trees, shrubs, and roses.

 

Zone 6

So long as the weather is mild, you can start planting your roses, trees, and shrubs.

 

March is a good time to plant your tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds indoors under lights. If you’ve already started broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, they can be moved outdoors to a protected area, or under a cold frame.  For a detailed article about how to do that, click here.

 

Plant your potatoes as soon as the garden soil is workable or in containers in a protected area.

 

Zone 7

In more milder areas, you can plant your hardy vegetables around mid-month.  Carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, leaf lettuces, and turnips all love cooler weather, and will grow well as long as they’re properly watered.

 

Around this time, you can also plant Swiss chard (we like the rainbow variety packs). Late spring, tender stalks will be ready to harvest and the plants will keep producing all summer – and your rabbits & goats will thank you! (I don’t personally like Swiss chard, but they do!)

 

Transplant onions, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, white potatoes and asparagus crowns to the garden. You can also place your herbs out, such as rosemary, chives, and thyme, making sure to bring them indoors if in pots or cover them if the weather suddenly turns too chilly.

Zone 8

Don’t hesitate in getting your cool-season crops into the garden as soon as possible – if you end up waiting too long, it will quickly become too hot for them. That being said, the nights can still end up getting rather chilly, so make sure to have row covers or windbreaks on hand.

 

You will also want to start planting the last of spinach, turnips, mustard, beets, carrots, and broccoli early in March for an earlier harvest than the other zones. Nothing is worse than planting these vegetables only to have them turn bitter!

 

By mid-month, you can start planting corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, and cucumbers.

 

Zone 9

Like zone 8, zone 9 is also quite a warm one. Get started with cabbage, broccoli, spinach, radishes, Asian greens, lettuce, and parsley as soon as possible.

 

Once the threat of a late freeze has passed, move your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants outside under a cover or in a cold frame. Prune away frost-damaged areas on citrus, and feed your roses with an organic blend of cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, and composted manure.

 

Zone 10

For this very warm region, how is the time to start okra, sweet potatoes, mustard, collards, cucumbers, and melons. Side dress new plants and trees with compost.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Which zone do you live in? What will you start to grow this March?

We Used These 2 Easy Seed Tricks Before Planting & Got A Bigger Harvest!

We Used These 2 Easy Seed Tricks Before Planting & Got A Bigger Harvest!

Nothing is more frustrating than planting seeds only to have just a few (or none) actually sprout (we’ve all been there).

 

We used these 2 super simple hacks to help our seeds sprout – and ended up with more veggies than we can harvest!

 

And these are two tricks you can easily repeat at home.

 

Want to learn more about starting specific vegetable plants? Grab a copy of my bestselling book Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening on Amazon!

 

Want to learn what they are?

 

So, you know how seeds such as beans, peas, watermelon, and tomatoes are so hard?

 

Well, those hard shells protect the seeds…but it also takes more energy for life to emerge from them BECAUSE of those hard shells.

 

And if you don’t also have the right growing conditions? Forget about it!

 

In this article, we’re going to show you how soaking seeds and scarification can help your seeds germinate easier – and give you a bigger harvest!

 

Why does this work?

As we’ve said, some seeds have hard shells – good for protection, makes germination a little tougher.

 

Soaking the seeds helps loosen the hard shells, making it easier for tender young seedlings to sprout.

 

It also gives seeds a little more hydration before dropping them in the soil – which hopefully is moist, but might very well dry out in the weeks between planting time and when they’re scheduled to emerge from the ground.

 

Similarly, scarification helps by weakening the hard outer shell a bit before planting. Water can be easier absorbed by the seed, too, kickstarting the germination process.

 

What is scarification?

Scarification sounds worse than it is. All it means is chipping, scratching, or nicking the exterior seed shell so it germinates easier.

 

In nature, scarification takes place when an animal eats a seed and it passes through the digestive tract. Seeds are also naturally scarified by the freeze/thaw cycle of fall, winter, and finally spring.

 

There are some seeds that NEED to undergo scarification before they’ll germinate, such as morning glory seeds.

 

In other cases, scarification just helps your plants sprout.

 

Avoid scarring soft seeds or seeds that are very small (such as lettuce seeds), or if the seeds are easily crushed. Because of their size, they’re unlikely to withstand the scarification process, and you might end up crushing or damaging the seed so it can’t germinate.

 

To scar seeds, you can rub them with fine sandpaper, microplane like this one, or nick them with nail clippers. If you nick them, you want to be sure to penetrate the tough outer shell.

 

Another option is to put seeds in hot (but not boiling) water, and allow to cool to room temperature. Let sit for another 48 hours then plant immediately.

 

Soaking

If you plan to soak your seeds, fill a cup with room temperature water and add your seeds. If any of the seeds float, remove them since they won’t sprout anyway.

 

You can soak them for 24 hours in room temperature water. Plant immediately (so, don’t soak them a week before you decide to plant – do it just 24 hours ahead of time).

 

You can also soak your seeds in compost tea so they’ll have extra nutrients when planted.

 

A second option is to thoroughly soak two paper towels with room temperature water. Place your seeds in between both sheets for 24 hours right before planting. Be gentle in case any seeds have already started to sprout.

 

Some veggie seeds that can benefit from soaking are peas, squash, beans, okra, lettuce and other greens, and herb seeds, particularly parsley and fennel.

Grow Free Food For Rabbits & Chickens! Here’s How We Did it!

Grow Free Food For Rabbits & Chickens! Here’s How We Did it!

Buying grain for your livestock can add up – ask me how I know.

 

This year, we decided to do something different – we planted a garden to grow greens for our rabbits and chickens.

 

It’s been a success and now we have enough free food for everyone to have an extra bite every day – and it’s lowered our overall feed bill.

 

(Want some help with growing a garden? Grab my #1 Amazon best-selling book about organic gardening, Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel’s Guide To Backyard Gardening – now available in paperback!)

 

 

We even have one rabbit who is picky about his feed – if it’s not exactly the right brand, he won’t eat it.

 

With the help of all the greens he’s been getting, his weight has picked up – and even on his snootiest “it’s not perfect so I won’t eat it” day, he’ll still chow down on fresh greens.

 

We’ve been using 5-foot by 10-foot raised beds similar to this one, which allows for 50 square feet of space devoted to growing. You can easily replicate this amount of space in your own backyard.

 

What should I grow for free food?

Glad you asked! We’ve had the best luck growing greens – they don’t take that long to mature (30-60 days, depending on variety), and you can grow a lot in a small space.

 

This year, we’ve been growing:

 

 

Some other options include arugula, carrots, and chard. Since rabbits can’t digest cabbage that well, avoid feeding it to them – use it for sauerkraut instead.

 

Bear in mind that you can’t necessarily replace ALL of your rabbits’ or chickens’ diet with greens, unless you can grow a large quantity. You will still likely need to supplement their diet with pellets and hay.

 

For your chickens, you can just bunch the leaves together and allow your hens to peck at the treat as a form of entertainment.

 

For ducks, your best bet is to tear the leaves up and toss them into a clean pool water for your flock to dig out – they’ll love it! Ours look forward to their “treat” every day (shhh….don’t tell them it’s good for them!)

How much space do I need?

 

In a 1-foot by 5-foot area, we’ve grown enough turnip greens to feed our 30 rabbits a healthy supplemental meal every day.

 

The amount of space you will need depends on what species of animal you’re feeding as well as how many – it’s best to start small and build up from there. You can experiment, weigh your harvests, see how your animals do with it, and scale up from there.

 

This fall, we will be devoting about 200 square feet to growing and overwintering greens for our rabbits.

 

Even if you have just a small space, for example, a table like this, you can still grow something – and anything is better than nothing! It adds up after a while.

 

Trust me when I say that getting their greens is the highlight of our rabbits’ day – they look forward to it, and it provides some excitement during an otherwise dull afternoon.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you grow greens to feed your rabbits and chickens? What are your best tips? Leave a comment below!