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!

Save Seeds From Tomatoes, Beans, & Peas For A Self-Sufficient Garden!

Save Seeds From Tomatoes, Beans, & Peas For A Self-Sufficient Garden!

If you’re a new gardener, chances are you’re wondering how to save seeds.

 

Maybe you want a self-sufficient backyard farm, or loved the taste of this year’s tomatoes and want to try to grow them again next year.

 

On our farm, we try to save seeds so we can have a consistent harvest year to year – I like predictable plants, and over time, we’ve been able to develop varieties that are well-suited to our particular micro environment.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to save seeds so you can have the same!

 

What Seeds Should You Save?

Although you can save seeds from any vegetable you want, you’ll have a more consistent crop if you save seeds from self-pollinating vegetables. If vegetables have cross pollinated (so the seeds would be hybrids), they might not carry the same genetic traits as their parents.

 

Self-pollinating vegetables include:

 

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Beans
  • Peas

 

However, if you do end up saving seeds that are potential hybrids, all isn’t lost – you might enjoy the next year’s vegetables even more.

 

Only save seeds from fully ripe vegetables. Choose the best, healthiest vegetables to harvest from.

Beans, Peas, & Greens (Lettuce, Mustard, etc)

You have a couple choices. You can harvest the pods when they’re mature and slightly dry, and allow to fully dry indoors for 4 or so weeks.

 

A second option I’ve seen farmers use successfully is to allow the pods to completely dry on plant.

 

The downside to this is there’s a chance of mold if it gets rainy or animals can scavenge them before you can harvest them. They could also pop open, spilling seeds on the ground or allowing them to mold.

 

Whichever method you use, be sure to choose healthy, unbroken pods to harvest.

 

Once completely dry, gently rub pods between your hands to reveal the dry beans or peas. Separate the seeds from the chaff and allow to continue to fry for another 2 weeks.

 

Store in an airtight, rodent-safe container.

 

Peppers

Cut open a fully-ripe pepper (if it changes color, wait until after the it’s finished) and remove the seeds.

 

Place on a paper towel and allow to dry for 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container in a cool area, out of direct light.

.

Tomatoes

Tomato seeds need to be treated differently than the other seeds in this article (this process can also be used for cucumber, squash, and melon seeds).

 

They’re covered with a natural germination inhibitor (the “gel” around a tomato seed) and need to go through a fermenting process to remove it once you harvest the fruit.

 

In nature, the fruit rots and falls to the ground, and the rotting process removes the gel surrounding the seed.

 

Since none of us want rotting fruit hanging around in our house attracting fruit flies, we need to ferment the seeds in a shorter timespan, about 5 – 7 days.

 

After choosing the tomato you want to save seeds from, slice it open and scoop the seeds and pulp into a mason jar. Fill with water and let sit for about a week.

 

It will probably smell, and might give an off-smell. That’s ok (you can loosely cover the jar to keep pests away). As you’re waiting for the fermenting process to complete, check to see if any of the seeds have started to float.

 

If so, remove them and toss. They won’t produce strong seedlings, if they sprout at all.

 

Once fermented, strain out the viable seeds and clean them thoroughly with fresh water. Lay them on a paper towel to dry for a few days. Store in an airtight container in a cool area out of the sun.

 

Maximize Space & Get Bigger Harvests With A Vertical Garden!

Maximize Space & Get Bigger Harvests With A Vertical Garden!

What do you do when the place you call home doesn’t have room to accommodate your love of gardening?

 

What do you do when you want to feed your family as frugally as possible without sacrificing nutrition or resorting to frequent fast food meals?

 

How about re-thinking your living space?

 

Vertical gardening is a smart way to enjoy a love of gardening in limited spaces such as apartments and homes in urban areas, and offers an eco-friendly, budget-friendly, inventive way of growing plants, fruits, and vegetables at home.

 

Low on space? Here's how to maximize it with vertical gardening!

 

Vertical gardening has a very minimal footprint because they take up so little space in your home.

 

Back in the day, before we moved to our homestead, I became the master of vertical gardening. I had a very small space to grow, which meant I couldn’t grow in traditional garden beds….but I could grow vertically!

 

We had some great tomato harvests in our 3-foot by 6-foot balcony, and even got to grow cucumbers, zucchini and, one year, we even did sweet potatoes!

 

If we had enough light in our living room or kitchen, I probably would have grown a living wall of herbs in the house as well! An indoor vertical garden can reap a harvest all year long without worry of frost or other outdoor climate conditions.

 

Vertical gardens are much easier to harvest than a traditional garden, and are also in some ways easier to manage and maintain (less weeding). Here are the steps you need to take to create your own vertical garden!

 

How to maximize space in your vertical garden

 

In all likelihood, you’ve already chosen a space for your vertical garden – it might be a balcony, patio, indoor or outdoor wall. You can also create a simple, freestanding wall on your own.  Just make sure your location is easy to get to, easy to water, and easy to harvest.

 

You will need containers – go with something 4 to 6 inches deep at a minimum, depending on the vegetable you’re growing. Any smaller, your plants will have difficulty absorbing nutrients and become root bound, especially as they begin to bear fruit.

 

Hanging planters also let you maximize your space – you can grow down as well as up.

 

For vining plants, you will need trellises. You can buy trellises, or make them yourself out of any material you choose.

 

We used bamboo sticks like these. They’re easy to manipulate and last a while. Be sure to install your trellises BEFORE planting to limit damage to your vegetable plants’ roots.

 

Low on space? Here's how to maximize it with vertical gardening!

Deciding what to grow

 

The location of your vertical garden, the climate you live in, and the amount of sunshine it receives are major factors in what you can grow successfully.

 

We did best with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash/zucchini. Tomatoes grew easily in 4-inch deep hanging planters like these.

 

Whatever vegetables you decide to grow, it’s best to go with bush varieties since they require less space and look tidier (if you’re looking into vertical gardening, I’m guessing you have neighbors – lots of trellises and sprawling plants might make them roll their eyes.)

 

Peas, greens like lettuce, and beans are other safe bets because they do not require deep soil. Choose vegetables that grow well in vertical settings using climbing vines and geo-bags for root management.

 

Herbs are another option, and we had good luck growing them in even shady areas (the exception is cilantro – we didn’t have much luck because the taproot is long and the plant itself is finicky). You can grow herb in pots – we would hang them off a wall, since they can live happily in a 6-inch pot.

 

Don’t forget that you can also grow edible flowers – pansies and violets are two that we love. If you want to grow medicinal plants, roses, dandelions, lavender, and calendula are some easy options (and the nosy neighbors are less likely to object to flowering plants.)

 

Just like with any garden, you should grow the food you actually like to eat – there’s no point in growing zucchini if you don’t like it. If you prefer tomatoes or greens, then grow more of them instead.

 

Remember, as well, that you will need to feed your vertical garden heavily – the plants will have a smaller area from which to draw nutrients. This is easily accomplished by watering with a compost tea – your plants will get water PLUS nutrients.

 

You CAN buy commercial fertilizers, but you’re wasting your money. You can usually source manure for free (you only need a couple gallons to make enough tea for the summer).

 

If you want to take your gardening experience a step further, you can create your own compost with a worm compost bin. It’s easy – we did it for years in a condo, and you can gather the worm castings as needed (and have a place to recycle your scraps).

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Are you a vertical gardener? What are you currently struggling with? Leave a comment below!

Garden In Small Spaces & Get A Great Harvest!

Garden In Small Spaces & Get A Great Harvest!

If you yearn for fresh veggies picked at the height of freshness, but aren’t sure how to garden in small spaces, then by the end of this article, you will have plenty of ideas to get you started.

 

For many years, I lived in a small apartment near Washington DC, but on my tiny balcony, I still managed to eek out some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.

 

Even if you have a small yard or no yard, you can still start a garden in strategic ways, and you can supplement your family’s diet while enjoying the pleasure of getting your hands in the dirt and watching the seeds you plant grow and thrive.

 

Decide on a location

Before you decide what to grow, you first need to consider light.

 

Your location needs to have plenty of sun; most vegetables need at least 6 hours of sun in order to grow and set fruit. If they don’t get that much, you will either have no vegetables or they will be stunted.

 

Does your porch or patio have room for a window box? You can install several planters, and choose attractive varieties such as pumpkins or butternut squash so your surroundings are beautiful as well as functional.

 

Your location should also be out of direct wind, and in an area where your plants will be protected.

 

Also think about how you will water your plants; if you have just a porch, you won’t be able to use a hose, for example.

 

If you yearn for fresh veggies picked at the height of freshness, but aren't sure how to garden in small spaces, then by the end of this article, you will have plenty of ideas to get you started!

Planters

When it comes to planters, you have lots of options. I had great luck growing cherry tomatoes in hanging planters. You can use ones that only cost $1 or ones that cost hundreds, but are self-watering, like this one.

 

Another option is a gardening table like this one, or a planter that aids in square foot gardening. Just be sure your planters drain well, and are spacious enough for your plants.

 

Don’t break the bank gearing up for gardening in your small space. Try galvanized buckets, food-safe five-gallon paint pails, or inexpensive window boxes.

How to decide what to grow

Even your window can support a window box that yields a plethora of herbs like mint, sorrel, basil, and thyme. You might also consider growing tea herbs like chamomile and rosemary. Oregano and parsley can be used in many ways to flavor a variety of meats or bulk up a salad.

 

Most of these herbs can be clustered together in a few window boxes to make the most use out of the least amount of space.

 

Cherry tomatoes, dwarf apple trees, and many other fruits and veggies thrive in appropriately sized containers.

 

Herbs, salad greens, and many varieties of peppers can be grown in kitchens, on window sills, or in the containers. Strawberries and cucumbers fare well in vertical gardens, and so does squash like zucchini or yellow squash.

 

When seedlings arrive at your local nursery, you can purchase some to kickstart your garden. Another more economical approach, is to ask friends and family for cuttings and sprouts or opt for low-cost, high-yield seeds or seedlings.

 

Remember, also, that many fruiting plants, like squash, require pollination to set fruit. If bees aren’t visiting your garden, you will need to hand-pollinate. You can do this easily with a Q-tip, gently sweeping pollen from a male flower and visiting female flowers on the plant, just as a bee would do.

Hydroponic gardening

Another option to maximize small spaces is hydroponic gardening. This is a different type of container gardening that involves no soil. To make starting easier, you can purchase a hydroponic kit that eliminates a lot of the guess work.

 

The frugal foodie in your family will love all the meals that can be prepared with the produce from your tiny gardens. One you have a system, you’ll find it’s quite easy to grow in smaller spaces.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you garden in a small space? Got any advice? Leave a comment below!