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Archive for the ‘garden crafts’ Category

Yesterday I decided it was time to pull the corn stalks out of the garden. I was hoping for another harvest of corn from the second set of ears but I can see that is not going to happen – I did save a few mini corns and will let them dry and I may incorporate them into a fall craft. I am still waiting to see what the blue corn I planted is going to do. There are 4-5 small ears on a stalk … thing is – they ain’t Blue, so not sure if they need time to change color?

 Mini corns – blue on top

At the beginning of the season I let one of the first ears of corn dry – I left the kernels on the cob and after about 2 weeks they came right off. I will be saving these as seed for growing next year.

As I was pulling the corn stalks I noticed growing up along one of them was a strand of beans! I had planted 2 rows of beans alongside the corn according to the theory of growing corn, beans and squash together as companion plants. I thought the beans never germinated but I guess there was one strong survivor! So I left him growing on the corn stalk thinking I may keep those bean seeds to plant next year.

 

I am Very Happy to report that the spinach seed I saved earlier in the season has sprouted! I planted a few rows just recently for a fall crop and they are growing!! I will plant a few more where I had the corn and should be all set with spinach!

 Spinach growing from saved seed!!

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I looked back and found the first photo of the Tigger Melon on the vine – it was taken July 27th

 Today is August 24th – almost a month later and the melon was harvested.  I could have/should have waited a few more days, but I was anxious!  The melon is rather small … only 3″ across both directions and for most of the month it was a green color.  The past week it slowly turned orange and then really orange today, so I had to have a taste!  It was fresh and crisp tasting and with a few more days I am sure sweeter – there is another one almost ready so we will wait longer on that one!

 

The Swan Gourd finally started producing fruit – it seems it took forever to get going, so not so sure we will have a full size gourd before the freezing weather hits.

 Swan Gourd

The Rio Roma Tomato ripened nicely and is very tasty!

 Rio Roma Tomato

We had the invasion of the squash bugs so I pulled most of the plants and started some fall plantings – spinach from the seed I saved earlier this year and some more peas!

 Squash bugs

This grasshopper sure looks healthy … I wonder what he is eating on ??

I decided to start a website for Gardening and Crafts .. I purchased the domain and I am sure there will be many hours of learning involved with setting this baby up, but I am ready to give it a shot!  TheCraftyGarden.com is the name and you are welcome to bookmark it, but there is really nothing there yet.  I need to focus and do some major brainstorming … any ideas??

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching and each year many of us try to give Mom something unique to show how much she means to us … this year is no different.  Gardening season is upon us and will be in full swing sooner than we know!  The local nurseries are advertising all their beautiful flowers and plants that many will be flocking to purchase  …  and give to our special Mom this weekend.  I start my plants from seed and I have a ready supply to work with for creating this “Companion Gardening ” gift as a thoughtful surprise!  I gathered seedlings that will work well together when planted out in the garden and potted them up all in one big pot.  There they can grow for another week or two or they can be added right to the garden.  If you can’t find the plants already growing, you can substitute with seed packets or even start the seeds in the pot and add plant markers for identification.

 

The companion plants in this plan include Tomato, 2 different Pepper plants, 2 different Basils and Marigold.  Great combo!

Another idea that was easy to put together is this “Birdseed Pot and Flower” idea.  I filled a terra cotta planting pot with birdseed, added a few dried flowers that I had previously dried (and what a great way to use them!) and topped off the idea with a packet of Songbird seeds … any type of flower seeds can be substituted.

 

You can enclose with the clear plastic that you gather at the top and tie with ribbon and a bow so the birdseed doesn’t create a mess.  The recipient can also plant the birdseed and see what type of plants grow …. How exciting!

Lastly, since most gardeners love to photograph their works of art in the garden, you can use some of these to create pictures as gifts.  Add words or just leave blank, print out on 8 x 10 photo paper and frame up.  Gift tags and cards can also me made this way!

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I grew Luffa last year for the first time and I am growing alot more this year – it was interesting, educational and I like growing something that has a “purpose”.  The luffa sponge grows in the garden and not the ocean like many people believe – I always thought that myself until I came across it in one of the garden seed catalogs.  It does require a somewhat longer growing season and quite a bit of space since the vines really take off.  I did read somewhere to cut the vine after a certain point (I think it was 10 ft) and let the energy go to the growing luffas.  I will experiment with that this year.  The seeds are hard so they should be soaked in water for at least 24 hrs. before planting and then nicked (or slightly cut) with scissors to encourage the growth to begin.

 

Luffa seedlingsLuffa flower

The actual luffa looks like a cucumber or zucchini and last year I let them just grow on the ground, this year we will be making a trellis for them to hang – they can grow 2-3 ft. in length.  When they are smaller, they can be eaten but I haven’t dined on any myself.  The practice is to let the luffa dry on the vine (turn brown) and then take it from the vine.  I ran out of time last year and brought them in when still green and let them dry inside.  It took a couple of months for this and then I peeled the skin off and found a luffa sponge inside!  I did soak the sponge and remove the seeds which I am growing this year!

luffa-harvest-3

luffa-peeling-2

 

The sponge can be used as it is or you can craft with it – I will be creating some more luffa crafts this year.  Luffa soap was my fun undertaking last year – just in time for Christmas gifts!

 

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How appropriate and I am glad we finally have some gardening weather!  I will plant out “just a few flowers” since I really don’t trust the weather and its fluctuations as of late.  To go in the ground will be Flowering Sunset Kale, Foxglove, Globe Amaranth – we will see how these do and then add more if the weather continues as it is.  I did make a “Major Bargain” buy this past weekend!!!  Even went back today and bought 2 more …

  $20 clearance at Menards … AND the best part is that I – myself – put this together!  It’s sturdy and does the job … actually, I should have had this a month or so earlier.  It got very, very HOT in there so I had to open it.

                   

It has rope and stakes to anchor it down but I won’t need that here, down south I will with the gusty winds.  So cool purchase!  Then I decided to buy some Roses and start a Rose Garden.  After reading how to plant and care for them, they really don’t seem that difficult to grow.  I did notice alot of Japanese beetles on this one plant we have here last year, and in reading my Companion Gardening I discovered that the flower Four o’clocks is a good trap for the beetles so, of course, I have some growing and all ready to transplant.  Here are the roses and since I know how to dry them they will be a great addition to my dried flower works …

  These are bareroot roses – you can purchase them in containers also, but the planting is the same.  Soak in water 24 hrs. before planting.  Two of these are climbing roses so I will need some type of trellis AND I have an idea in mind!  But the craft project for this past weekend was Garden Stones!  I have always been interested in stepping stones and would check them out at the craft store but was never really happy with the whole design.  So after looking around the yard I stumbled across the border flagstone we have in several areas of the yard.  We have decided to take out some sections and bring them down south with us SO of course it dawned on me to take a few and paint my designs…

  I found 2 different paint brands which are Outdoor and weather tolerant – DecoArt and Folkart.  I decided on the latter since there were many more colors and I wanted to stick with the same brand.  So I penciled in my design and painted away!

  Working on flagstone is somewhat tough since the surface is not smooth but that gives the design and results a dimension that is more outdoorsy and after it weathers a bit it should look Super!  You can paint plant markers, specific garden names, people names ….whatever suits the space.

Have a Great Earth Day ……….

                                    

 

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This is an easy crafty gift that you can make and give as a nice gift – I made this last year for Mother’s Day and made extra herb signs for future gifts.  The basket I picked up for $2 on clearance (bought 10), the clay pots are relatively inexpensive, the other basic items needed – soil to plant your seeds (you can use herb, flower or vegetable seeds) and twine to tie the sign to the basket. To make the herb (or flower or vegetable) sign to hang on the basket you will need polymer clay –

polymer clay for crafting

You can either use a mold to make little items to add to the sign or make them free hand or even purchase already made little items.  For the base of the sign I flattened out the polymer clay and shaped in different forms, then I put the flattened sign and the little molds into the oven according to the instructions on the clay package (they all have clear instructions on how to harden the clay). Before I baked I did punch 2 little holes on the top for hanging. After everything cooled down from the oven, I glued the items on.

Polymer clay herb sign

Then I hung the herb sign on the basket to create this Herb Garden Basket that Mom absolutely adored!

Herb Garden Basket

I did put a sealer over the finished sign and if you plan on doing something for the outdoors make sure the sealer is the right one.  You can be as creative as you want with this idea – put plant markers in each plant, paint the recipient’s name on the sign, etc.  Neat gift!

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I decided to dry the rest of the roses since I will be out of town & their condition will all but fade I am sure.  I was drying two at a time & after a couple rounds in the microwave I noticed the container was melting – egads!  The silica gel does get quite hot & I am guessing it needs to cool down completely before using again.  I did dry some rose leaves also to see the result and they get very very brittle.  What I decided was to dry the remaining roses and leaves by air drying to compare.

The tray of roses in the background are still fresh and will be left to air dry.  I need to construct something so they can hang to dry – so that way there isn’t a flat side.  I did make this herb rack last year but I think I need something different for this type of flower.

Herb rack/sign

I also went crazy with my Excalibur food dehydrator the past 2 days – strawberries & pineapple were both on sale so I overloaded on them & let the dehydrator do its magic – both of these fruits are favorites and they make Excellent snack food!

Fruit for dehydrator

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