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Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 | 0 comments

My Herb Spiral Garden, One Season Later

My Herb Spiral Garden, One Season Later

In the spring, I wrote about my first attempt at creating an herb spiral, a permaculture structure created of stone or brick in a circular pattern. As a reminder, here is the “before” shot of the garden. How did it work? Take a look! Overall, I’m pleased with the results. Parsley was the clear winner, but sage, cilantro, and dill also did well. I noticed that placement of the herbs seemed to affect growth — the herbs on the sloping side of the spiral thrived, but thyme and rosemary on the top seemed to struggle. I may move these herbs to a different spot next year. One issue I had was with the soil at the top settling — after a watering a few times, the soil sunk into the structure. Since I had already planted the seeds, I didn’t add soil. At the end of the season, I added more soil to the top and I will do so again in the spring to ensure that there is...

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 | 3 comments

Planting Your Native Garden in the Fall

Planting Your Native Garden in the Fall

I’ve had a native garden for about five years, and each year my plants come back bigger and more beautiful. Native plants have an advantage over non-native plants because they are naturally prone to thrive in their existing ecosystem. Fall is really the best time for starting new plants in the garden — their roots will develop during winter dormancy allowing the plant to emerge bigger and stronger. Spring rains nurture the plant and spring provides the ideal temperature. Native plants are better for the earth. They reduce water costs, protect the soil, and provide habitats for wildlife. Below is a picture of a native butterfly weed plant in my garden last spring. I get most of my native plants at the annual native plant sale on Quaker Lane. This year, my daughter and I returned to buy hydrangeas. There were many beautiful plants there. Right now, they don’t look like much, but there is usually a good photograph of what you will see in the spring. I got...

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 | 0 comments

Easy Fall Gardening: Arugula

Easy Fall Gardening: Arugula

If you’re a relatively new gardener (like me) looking for something easy to grow this fall, arugula is the answer. My friend Catherine (whose amazing garden you can see here) encouraged me to grow arugula from seed and I’m happy to report, it was just as easy as she said it would be. First, I made sure my garden beds had good quality soil in a sunny area (I used Leaf Gro mixed in with the existing soil). I dug two shallow rows, about 2 feet long each, sprinkled in the seeds, covered the seeds with dirt, and kept them well-watered for the next week. Sure enough, about a week later, the seedlings started to peek up. I watched the seedlings for another week before I starting thinning them out to give them more space to grow. After about 3 weeks total, the arugula was sporting some nice big leaves and it was time to enjoy the first harvest. Catherine says the leaves will fill back in as you...

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Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 | 2 comments

Belgium’s Crazy Bicycle Museum

Belgium’s Crazy Bicycle Museum

Have you ever seen a bike that also doubles as a drum set? Or a bike so tall you need a ladder to climb on? During my recent bicycle vacation to Belgium, my tour guide Evan from Beercycling brought us to this wonderful and whimsical place, The Crazy Bicycle Museum, also known in Flemish as Gekke Fietsen Museum. We found the wackiest, weirdest and most wonderful bikes. Best of all they were all built by hand using parts salvaged from the trash. The owner, Wim, repurposes bikes he collects during the annual day when people put their old bikes on the street for trash collection. Wim has been collecting and repurposing bikes since he was ten years old. He was inspired by bikes he saw at a theme park as a young boy. Wim gets most of his ideas from the Internet and events like Tour De Fat. He made this drum set from old bikes. The bicycle/drum set is rideable. There’s the kissing bike… And so many more…...

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Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 | 3 comments

From Cinder Blocks to Mosaic Tile Planters

From Cinder Blocks to Mosaic Tile Planters

We have big plans this summer to add a mosaic to some plain cinder block steps in our backyard. Before we embark on that project, my kids and I practiced by sprucing up some cinder block planters. I headed to Restore to buy tile. They did not have colorful tile in stock, but in the dishware section, I found several plates, a vase and a platter to smash for the project. My kids, Miles and Vivien, were more than eager to get started. Vivien chose a green vase, a blue plate, and a white tile for the color scheme. We started by cleaning off the cinder blocks. Then, Miles smashed the blue plate with a mallet. The smashing of the plate made a mess. We decided to wear protective goggles and smash the next object inside a paper bag. This worked perfectly, no mess and much safer. Next up, we arranged and secured the pieces with liquid nails (from Home Depot for a little over $2). When they were done...

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