Front Porch With Overwintered Ferns
Landscaping With Fake Plants
By Erin Huffstetler | 03/16/2019 | 3 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: Those potted Arborvitae that flank our front porch steps. They’re fake.

Read More
Fern That was Overwintered
How to Overwinter Ferns
By Erin Huffstetler | 03/13/2019 | 17 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

This year, we won’t have to buy any hanging baskets for the front porch because we successfully overwintered last year’s ferns. Here’s what we did.

Read More
Aphid Damage
The Fun Way to Get Rid of Aphids
By Erin Huffstetler | 07/02/2018 | 3 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Battling an aphid infestation? Here’s a really fun (and effective) way to get rid of them, without resorting to pesticides.

Read More
Cucumbers
When to Pick Cucumbers
By Erin Huffstetler | 06/18/2018 | 4 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Have loads of cucumbers growing on the vine, and wondering when you should pick them? Here’s how to tell when your cucumbers are ready to harvest, and how to pick them without damaging the vines.

Read More
Wildflower Meadow
How to Plant a Wildflower Meadow
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/31/2018 | 6 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

This week, when we went up to the cabin, there was a fun surprise waiting for us: the wildflower meadow that we planted the previous spring had started to come up!

Read More
How to Plant Cucumbers
How to Plant Cucumbers
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/08/2018 | 3 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Here’s everything you need to know to plant cucumbers, whether you’re growing them in a container, a raised bed or one of your garden beds.

Read More
How to Grow Potatoes in a Cage
How to Grow Potatoes in a Cage
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/03/2018 | 9 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

I have a small yard, so I’m always looking for ways to squeeze in as many plants as possible. Growing my potatoes in cages is one of the ways that I do that. With this method, I can grow a crop of potatoes in as little as two square feet, and I don’t have to do any digging either. But the real icing on the cake? I actually end up with more potatoes by growing them this way.

Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s how to grow potatoes in a cage.

Read More
Jersey Knight Asparagus Crowns
How to Plant Asparagus in a Raised Bed
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/02/2018 | 13 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Over the weekend, I planted a bed of asparagus up at the cabin. It’s something I’d wanted to plant for years, but had never had the room for. Being a fan of all things simple, I opted to plant my asparagus in a raised bed. It’s by far the easiest approach. Here’s how I’d recommend planting it.

Read More
How to Plant Peppers
How to Plant Peppers
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/01/2018 | 3 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Give your peppers the best start possible by planting them the right way. Here’s what you need to do now to maximize your harvest and minimize problems all season long.

Read More
How to Plant Tomatoes
How to Plant Tomatoes
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/27/2018 | 5 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Plant your tomatoes the right way, and you’ll have a bigger harvest, plus fewer pests and problems to contend with throughout the season. Here’s what you need to know to tackle the job like a pro.

Read More
Homemade Potting Soil Mix
Make Your Own Potting Soil
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/25/2018 | 2 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Did you know commercial potting soil often contains questionable ingredients, like sewage sludge? It’s true. That “compost” listed on the bag could be made from human waste, plus all the other nasties that end up in our sewer system – things like cleaners, pharmaceuticals, motor oil and fertilizers. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to grow your food and flowers in, do what I do, and make your own potting mix. It’s really easy to do, and may even save you some money.

Read More
Sundial
How to Set a Sundial
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/15/2018 | 2 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

If you have a sundial in your garden, and you want it to tell time accurately, today is one of the best days to set it. Go out at noon (1:00 p.m., if you’re currently observing daylight savings time), and set yours to 12 o’clock. Sundials can be set on four dates each year for an accurate read. Those dates include:

Read More
Bowl of Strawberries
How to Keep Birds From Eating Your Berries
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/05/2018 | No Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Sharing your berry harvest with the birds wouldn’t be so bad, if they were actually willing to share. But their idea of sharing seems to entail them taking a bite out of every ripe berry and leaving you with the remains. If you’re tired of battling the birds for your berries, here are some cheap and easy things that you can do to protect them. These tips will work for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and any other berries that you’re growing in your garden.

Read More
Basket of Homegrown Grapes
How to Keep Birds from Eating Your Grapes
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/31/2017 | 32 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Grapes are easy to grow, but hard to protect from birds. The first year our grape vines produced, I decided to hold off on netting our grapes, until I saw the first sign of birds munching on them. Well, the very next morning all of our grapes were gone. Clearly the wait and see approach was the wrong approach to take.

Having learned from the experience, we netted our grapes as soon as they set fruit last year. And that worked brilliantly, until a mocking bird figured out how to get inside of our nets. She had quite the feast at our expense, and we were left with just a few grapes (not grape bunches) to sample.

But that’s all in the past. This year, we will be the ones to eat our grapes. And we’ve taken drastic measures to ensure that it ends up that way …

Read More
How to Make a Solar Chandelier
How to Make a Solar Chandelier
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/11/2017 | 3 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Turn a thrift store chandelier into a solar chandelier for your garden or patio. I made this one from a $5 chandelier that I found at Habitat.

Read More
Homemade Solar Lantern
How to Dress Up Cheap Solar Lights
By Erin Huffstetler | 05/03/2017 | 20 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

You can buy solar lights for less than a buck, but let’s face it: the cute ones cost four or five times that. My solution? Buy the cheap ones; then, dress them up.

Read More
Homemade Codling Moth Trap with Bugs
Cheap Organic Pest Control for Fruit Trees
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/26/2017 | 12 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

We planted a small orchard in our backyard several years ago (tour my garden here), and it’s finally starting to spring into action. Last year our apricot bushes fruited for the first time, and our apple trees produced their second harvest. This year, it looks like our cherry bushes are going to get in on the action, too They’re flowering now.

It’s pretty exciting to see all of our hard work coming together, but with each stage comes new obstacles. The first year our apricot bushes flowered, there weren’t any bees out to pollinate them, so we built mason bee houses to attract early pollinators to our yard. That worked like a charm, and we had lots of apricots last year. I’m sure the pests that ate them really appreciated our efforts.

Just like the codling moths appreciated our first crop of apples and the birds appreciated our first two crops of grapes. It’s enough to make you want to give up, but we’ve stuck with it, and we’ve found ways to address every one of our pests. Now we bag our grapes to keep the birds off, and we stick codling moth traps out as soon as we spot the first leaves on our apple trees.

This year I’m hoping to build on that success by finding a pest control solution for our apricot bushes and a cheaper pest control solution for our apple trees. Here’s the scoop on what I’m trying.

Read More
How to Make Your Own Seed Mats
How to Make Seed Mats
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/24/2017 | 2 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Get your raised beds planted in record time. These homemade seed mats allow you to plant your garden one foot at a time, instead of one seed at a time, and they couldn’t be easier to make.

Read More
Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/19/2017 | 270 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

Read More
How to Make Seed Tape
How to Make Seed Tape
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/05/2017 | 8 Comments
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Seed tape has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. Just lay it out on your garden bed, and your seeds are perfectly spaced – even those teeny tiny ones that are so hard to work with.

The only real downside to seed tape is that it costs more than a pack of seeds, and comes with fewer seeds. Happily those are easy problems to dodge, if you’re willing to make your own (which is just what I do).

Want to make your own seed tape, too? Here’s how it’s done.

Read More