How to Grow Potatoes In a Container


Anyone can grow potatoes as part of their home garden, and you don't need a lot of square footage either.  If you have a large container, garbage can, rubbermaid, whiskey barrel etc. you can grow plenty of spuds, no issue at all.   Use these tips to start a potato container garden this year!

STEPS FOR PLANTING POTATOES IN CONTAINERS


  1. Drill holes about 6" apart in the bottom of your container if it doesn't already have drainage.  You might also want to drill some holes in the side of your container, near the bottom. 
  2. Look for a sunny spot in your yard or on your patio.  Place your container on a few bricks to keep it up off the ground. This will help the water drain properly and allow air to circulate around the container and keep the bottom from getting to warm. 
  3. Add a potting soil mixed with a few inches of compost into your container.              
  4. Buy quality, ORGANIC potato seed.  Keep them refrigerated until you're ready to start planting them. This will help slow decay and keep them fresh.  Realize that some of your potato seeds may have already started to sprout by the time they arrive to your home if you've ordered them online. 
  5. When you're ready to start the planting process, remove them from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.  You can even keep them in an open paper bag in a cool area and out of direct sunlight for a few days. 
  6. Once your potatoes have sprouted, place them in the bottom of your container about 6-8" apart with the "eyes" of the potato seed pointing up. 
  7. Cover your potato seeds with at least 6" of potting soil and compost.  Don't add anymore soil than this for now, you'll add more later.  
  8. Keep your soil moist at all times.  
  9. Take a few more seed potatoes out of the fridge and allow them to sprout in a paper bag.  
  10. Once the potato plants in your container have foliage that is at least 6" high, go ahead and add several more potato seeds that have sprouted in your bag, and then another layer of soil and compost.  
  11. Repeat these planting steps until your barrel is full. Adding more potatoes and soil once the foliage on the plants reach around 6".  This could be every week or every other week depending on what your grow zone is. 
  12. To harvest; wait until your foliage begins to die. This process takes about 16 weeks after planting. At this point, you can knock the container over onto a tarp and harvest all of your potatoes.
Purchase QUALITY Organic Potato Seeds, here! 
NEW VARIETIES FOR THIS YEAR!

31 Signs That You Might Be a Gardener

  1. Argues constantly that compost smells sweet.
  2. Delays vacation travel until after the harvest.
  3. Dirt!  In your house, in the trunk of your car, under your fingernails and on your shoes, even the good ones!
  4. Every vacation has a nursery and /or botanic garden involved.
  5. Favorite color is green.
  6. Gets at least a dozen catalogs in the mail - and they send you into a state not experienced since teenage dating.
  7. Gives zucchinis to friends and co-workers (and sometimes the postal deliverer and UPS driver).
  8. Home Depot and nursery's know you by your first name.
  9. Mountain of plastic pots squirrelled away.
  10. Own one too many floppy straw hats.
  11. People share all their plant problems with you.
  12. Pruning clippers in your back pocket.
  13. Seed collecting materials, plant holders and coffee grounds from the coffee shop in the car.
  14. The yard is in better shape than the inside of your house.
  15. There are plants waiting to be added to your garden.
  16. Trays of seedlings on top of your refrigerator/Cuttings in the refrigerator.
  17. Use Latin words in public.
  18. When you tour a garden you first look for their composting set up. 
  19. Won't let anyone else prune the fruit trees.
  20. You drive by any lawn and think, that could be a garden.
  21. You have more pairs of gloves than earrings.
  22. You live in your Carhartts.
  23. You look at vehicles based on how many tools and how much soil/compost/amendments they'll hold.
  24. You stop talking mid-sentence when you see a plant you don't recognize.
  25. You try to save every puny little plant that should have gone into the compost.
  26. You wake up in the middle of a cold night and wonder if you should go out and cover your succulents.
  27. You water other people's plants when out for a walk from your own water bottle if they look thirsty.
  28. You'd give up a movie to trim and weed the garden.
  29. Your fingernails are the shortest they've been since birth.
  30. Your own garden book collection rivals Barnes & Nobles.
  31. You're in a national park and you have to resist the urge to pull weeds.

32 Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

 
We're noticing that the days are becoming a little longer, and cooler weather is starting to fade. Before we know it we'll be basking in the warmth of the spring sunshine.  With the added heat and sunshine you can bet that those pesky mosquitoes will re-appear with the sunny weather.  Mosquitoes. Our ultimate nemesis here in Florida, next to the Noseeums. They can quickly become a nuisance if you aren't prepared, but don't think that we'll be smothering that chemical laden DEET spray all over ourselves. Nope.  We're planting flowers, trees and even herbs that naturally repel these ugly blood suckers.  Read on for what you can plant to help naturally keep mosquitoes at bay this spring and summer.

  1. Basil 
  2. BeeBalm
  3. Catmint
  4. Catnip
  5. Cedars
  6. Citronella
  7. Clove
  8. Common Lantana
  9. Eucalyptus
  10. Fever Tea
  11. Floss Flower
  12. Garlic
  13. Geranium
  14. Lavender
  15. Lemon Balm
  16. Lemon Grass
  17. Lemon Thyme
  18. Lime Basil
  19. Marigolds
  20. Peppermint
  21. Pennyroyal
  22. Pineapple Weed
  23. Pitcher Plant
  24. Rosemary
  25. Snowbrush
  26. Stone Root
  27. Sweet Fern
  28. Tansy
  29. Tea Tree
  30. Vanilla Leaf
  31. Wormwood
  32. Wild Bergamot

    A Recipe for a Simple Rosemary Mosquito Repellent:
    "A simple repellent spray is made by adding 1 cup dried rosemary to a quart of water, boiling it in a pot for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour a quart of cool water into another container (that holds at least half a gallon), then strain the rosemary water into the container. Pour small amounts of the blend into squirt bottles to apply directly to skin and outdoor pets. Store the unused portions in the refrigerator; discard it when it no longer smells strongly of rosemary."
    - source "SeedsNow.com"

Valentines Day, 2016


Valentines Day, 2016. Our oldest wasn't able to celebrate with us this year, but we made sure to send her an awesome Valentines Day gift via the American Girl Store website.  She was quite excited to receive the new GOTY, Lea


Back here in Florida, we found some nice things left on our front porch from the Valentine Fairy. She's really sweetie! We hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day with your loves. 









Herbal Teas You Can Grow At Home


On hectic days, there's nothing I love more than to warm up with a hot cup of homemade tea. Several years ago I realized how simple and easy growing herbs for my own tea-making was and I haven't looked back. Plus, it's fun to purchase new tea-making supplies! Since most of the herbs I use for tea making can be grown in containers, they make a great addition to my patio garden. Another idea I love? Giving away "herb boxes" or wooden crates planted up with some of my favorite herbs. These make a fantastic gift for just about any occasion. People love receiving them. Here's just 10 plants you can start growing at home to use in your homemade herbal teas...

  • It's sweet and fragrant. Perfect for reducing tension, curing headaches and calming your mind. 
  • Plant in well drained soil, in a full sun location. 

  • Refreshing, slightly sour.  It's strong lemon flavor helps to soothe joint pain, improve your digestion and helps asthma. 
  • Plant in full sun. Does well in subtropical and tropical climates. Hardy to 14 degrees F. Also does well in containers.
  • Fruity and sour in flavor, marjoram helps with poor appetite, liver problems, gas, stomach cramps and gallstones.
  • Grow in full sun, with loose and well drained soil.
4. Mint
  • Easy to grow and helps combat stomach cramps and digestive problems. It's refreshing when served iced or hot.
  • Plant in moist soil, with full to partial sun. 

  • Closely related to mint, but with a strong lemon flavor. Very fragrant.
  • Grows well in partial shade, and dry soil.  Lemon balm will die back in the winter but re-appear each spring. Grow in containers if you're worried about it becoming invasive like mint does. 

6. Thyme
  • Alleviates stomach problems & sore throats.
  • Plant in full sun, partial shade. Incredibly low maintenance. 
  • Fragrant and smells similar to that of an apple. Treats sleep disorders, and calms the nerves. 
  • Grow in sandy soil, in full sun.

  • Commonly overlooked when it comes to growing for herbal teas, however it's aroma is similar to a Lady Gray tea.  When combined with honey it helps with constipation, and clears toxins from the body.
  • Ideal for container gardening and does well in both full sun and partial shade.
9. Fennel
  • Add fennel seeds to your herbal tea if you suffer from any digestive disorder. 
  • Plant in moist and fertile soil in either full sun or partial shade. 
10. Catnip
  • Known as a sedative with calming effects. Helps relieve headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, and exhaustion.  Helps reduce stress. 
  • Plant in full to partial shade, in sandy well-drained soils. 
--Source: "SeedsNow.com"


Diagnosing Sick Plants

Sometimes it's hard to determine what exactly is happening with your plants. From curled tips, yellowing leaves, brittleness or white stripes...you might be confused as to what your plant is trying to tell you.  Below I've outlined some of the most common problems associated with sick plants, diseases and deficiencies.

Pest Problems
The Signs: Insects living on leaves, holes on leaves.
How to Fix: Use an organic insecticide, or try spraying your plant with neem oil.

Over-watering
The Signs: Yellow or wilted leaves.
How to Fix: Improve your soils drainage by either adding sand or better yet, replant to a raised garden bed.

Lack of Sunlight
The Signs: Fading or "droopy" leaves.
How to Fix: Move your plant to a sunnier location, or against a white wall that will reflect more of the sun's light.

Dehydration
The Signs: Dry, crunchy or brittle leaves.
How to Fix: If the plant is in a container, place it in another larger container filled with water. Fully submerge the plants roots for 10 minutes and then remove the plant in it's original container and allow to drain.  Water regularly, insuring the plant receives at least 1" of water weekly.

Potassium Deficiency
The Signs: Edges of the leaves have turned yellow.
How to Fix: Add nutrients to the soil by incorporating compost into the planting site. Bury citrus rinds around the base of the plant.

Nitrogen Deficiency
The Signs: The veins throughout the leaves turn yellow.
How to Fix: Add manure or coffee grounds into the soil.

Calcium Deficiency
The Signs: The leaves become misshapen.
How to Fix: Do a soil test to figure out if your soil is acidic or alkaline. If it's acidic, add lime. If it's alkaline, add gypsum.

Zinc Deficiency
The Signs: The leaves become discolored between the veins.
How to Fix: Spray plant with kelp extract.

Iron Deficiency
The Signs: Leaves become yellow all over with small green veins.
How to Fix: Test the pH of your soil. Use less phosphorus when fertilizing to lower the pH to under 7.

Magnesium Deficiency
The Signs: Leaves will develop white stripes near the veins.
How to Fix: Amend the soil with organic compost, epsom salts, or lime.

Source: "Safer Brand"

Fishing off of Navarre Fishing Pier in Navarre, Florida

We love our mini weekend day trips, and Erick loves his fishing trips! Yesterday we loaded up two cars, all of our fishing gear, and headed east down the Gulf Islands National Seashore until we arrived at the Navarre Fishing Pier.  Navarre has the longest pier on the Gulf, and it's really a beautiful area.  

I love using these fishing trips as a time to reflect on things that are going on in my life back at home. Normally one of these fishing trips will last an entire day so that gives me plenty of time to sit back, soak up my surroundings while reflecting on what's been on my mind lately.
It seemed we had just missed the local Mardi Gras event, and Noahh quickly met a kind woman who gave her a string of beads.  There should be a lot of that "bead stuff" here over the next two weeks or so. It's Mardi Gras season here in the south, and they take it super serious!

After she was gifted the beads, we were met by another sweet couple who gave Noahh two penguin Beanie Babies. Noahh was ecstatic.   She's very much into penguins these days and played with them most of the day.
 Once we got to the end of the pier, Erick and his buddy got their lines rigged up.
We made sure to bring a quilt for Noahh, and packed up all of her farm animal toys that she had recently gotten as a gift for being a super good girl lately.

Noahh kept saying that she wanted to fish! She'd walk over to one of the poles and pick it up quickly looking up for dad's approval. Once he gave her the "go ahead" she'd start reeling up the line hoping to "catch the big one".


Noahh and I spent most of the day with the boys, but just as the sun started to set we decided to walk back towards the car. We watched the sunset dance through the sky, peeking in and out of the clouds as we walked down the pier.   The boys decided to spend a few more hours on the pier hoping to catch "the big one", but had no such luck.  Well, there's always tomorrow!

Want to see more of Navarre Pier? Check out the last time we were here! 


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