Monday, May 26, 2014

Neem - The organic insecticide

Neem is one of my favorite things to use when it comes to controlling disease and pests. Its Organic, and as you all know when growing your vegetables, why use anything that wasn't organic.

You want to get a 70% Neem Oil Like this one!

As Mike McGrawth, Host of "You Bet Your Garden" says,  "I like [to] use neem oil as the oil form of this plant seed is a very effective anti-fungal. (In another, harder-to-find form, neem acts as an anti-feedant; and if pest insects eat anyway, they die. You go, neem tree seed!) 

Anti-fungal! Do tell you say!

Neem oil can be used to treat a number of garden ailments, including:
  • Insects: Neem oil kills or repels many harmful insects and mites, including aphids, whiteflies, snails, nematodes, mealybugs, cabbage worms, gnats, moths, cockroaches, flies, termites, mosquitoes, and scale. It kills some bugs outright, attacks the larvae of others, and repels plant munchers with its bitter taste.
  • Fungus: Neem oil is also effective in preventing fungal diseases such as black spot, anthracnose, rust, and mildew.
  • Disease: As if that wasn’t enough, neem oil also battles viruses that can harm plants.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fairy Garden DIY: Picture Frame

Fairy gardens are my favorite things to look at. Last year I did an article on fairy gardens that I saw at the garden centers. They were so fun. I have started to collect my own supplies and I will be doing a series on creating your own Fairy Garden! To start us off nice and easy here is how I made Fairy Garden picture frames that are made from plant tags.

The Great thing of using plant tags is that you never have to worry about the pictures turning bad since they are plastic. We all have these things that we have laying around and end up throwing them away. I don't know about you, but I think they look pretty good.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Garden Plan 2014

Hey Kids, this year is fun, we are redesigning the garden, and it's overdue. It was a large 12x12 garden. Which means that you have to walk through it, which compresses the soil and makes it hard (no oxygen, or water). Last year I wanted to break this big bed up into a couple smaller raised beds and viola we are doing it. I did a lot of research  on designs and found that the ideal width of a bed is 3-4' wide. This will give you plenty of space to reach the middle of the bed from all sides. Here is my board on all of my raised bed designs form Pinterest.

Follow Zachary's board Raised Beds Ideas on Pinterest.

So here is my new design for the garden 2014.

Let me know what you think. I made the bed on the far right only 2 feet because I can only reach it from one side since it rests against the neighbors fence. Otherwise I think it is pretty good looking.

Here is the design from 2010

Friday, May 9, 2014

What's New

Okay Kids, So I talked last spring about what is my favorite place to shop at for such a large variety of vegetables and flowers. Again I went to Baker's Acres and got some NEW Varieties. (Click here for last years new veggies).

Juane Flame, Big Zac, Ananas Noire, Abe Lincoln, Tomande, Lipstick

Ive never seen these varieties at my other nurseries so I had to get them. Notice the 'Big Zac' tomatoes! I got three of those! I mean, they named it after me so I really had to. I am still waiting on the beds to be done with the remodel before I can plant them in the ground. Hoping to have that all done by next week. I am deciding to use the EarthBoxes only for peppers. The tomatoes just get too big and unmanageable in them.

I hope all you kids got some new and different varieties... Try something that you never have...I double dog dare you to! Here are some of the different varieties that Baker's Acres had that I liked.

Black Magic Viola: truly a black flower!
Look at these guys, Grafted tomatoes! I don't know if you have heard about these guys yet, but way cool, also Way expensive! A grafted tomato is a combination of two tomato plants. Normally they are one Hybrid and one Heirloom variety. The rootstock is the hybrid and the scion is the heirloom. This makes the heirloom variety more vigorous and immune to soil born diseases. It does not protect it form air born diseases however. Still pretty cool. I know that you can do it yourself too. Maybe I'll try it next year.
Grafted Tomatoes

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vegan Dandelion Pesto

Okay Kids, what about those dandelions? They are beautiful...okay take a second look and really look at their beauty. Right you see it now! I was weeding the garden and looking at all of the dandelions that I was throwing away. I am sure that I can do something with all of this "waste". What about Pesto, ever heard about arugala pesto? Here is the low down... I was so surprised at how unbitter this pesto was, really it was so delicious that I just had to make it again... and again! So surprised!

Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Makes Makes about 2 cups


  • ¾ cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
  • 4 garlic gloves
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 6 cups, loosely packed)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to tasted


Place pumpkin seeds in a large skillet and roast over medium heat. Stir consistently until golden brown and you can hear they pop a little. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.
Add nutritional yeast, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after awhile — that's ok.
With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process. Add the water a little bit at a time until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Here is a tip for you all, when using your Cuisinart, the most difficult thing about the Cuisinart is having to clean that silly lid. So a way I fix that is to wrap the lid is plastic wrap. Then when I am done I just unwrap the lid and viola!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Seeds this Spring - Cucumbers

Hey Kids, last year we had so many cucumbers. They were prolific. More than I knew what to do with them. Pickles were made out of them, relishes, salads. Even though I have never been any good at zucchini, my cucumbers produced more than my zucchini ever did. Unfortunately, with all the wet weather we had last year, the cucumbers got mosaic virus, and mildew. I tried treating them with fungicides like Neem, but it was so wet that I couldn't keep up. We had some really fun varieties last year, check out the list of veggies that I go last year, HERE. This year though I am going to stick with one. It will make it easier for picking, this way they will all look the same and I wont have to guess when they are ripe. 

I picked up Marketmore 76. According Johnny's Seeds, this variety was selected because it is resistant to many diseases such as cucumber mosaic virus, downy mildew and powdery mildew. 

I also wanted to try a process called scarification, which is supposed to reduce germination time by allowing to seed to experience water absorption faster.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Okay Kids, spring is one of my favorites. I love taking pics of the yard because it only happens once.
Here in Ohio, we have had a strange one. Everything is so Late 3 weeks ago we got SNOW!

And things were just starting to come  up too. look at these baby radishes! Just covered with snow!

My helleborus looks so beautiful with a drop of melting snow on it.

The tulips also took the snow well. but look at the backyard!

Finally I had to go to the nursery and relieve my winter blues! Dills Greenhouse, is a great little nursery that is locally owned and has such genius little ideas, plus Look at all of these summer tropicals!