Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trash to Treasure: A Sewing Table Facelift

Remember this little orphaned sewing table I found sitting on the curb a few weeks ago?

I finally had time this weekend to turn my attention the little guy. After a little bit of sanding, a few cans of Heirloom white spray paint, and a repurposed metal pull, he now sits proudly upstairs in our soon-to-be office space. Take a look! 

Not too bad for about $6, eh? And it truly is the perfect size for our home printer. 

I'm noting this as a curbside victory! Here's the proof again if you don't believe me. :) 

Don't judge! :) 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Ceramic Planter Makeover

Do you remember a few Thrifty Thursday's ago when I came home with these sad, sunflower planters that needed a bit of love? (If not, by all means take a peek!)

I finally found the time to turn some attention to them - especially with summer right around the corner! And look how presentable they look now! 

This project was easy peasy. I just sanded and spray painted them ... 

and voila - they were finished!

You can't beat $10 for two large, ceramic planters. 

I planted my ranunculus in them, so hopefully in a few weeks I can report back with big, blooming pots of flowers! 

Have a Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Lesson on Square Foot Companion Planting

So, yesterday I showed you how we made our fantastic raised beds, which we think turned out pretty great if you must know. :)

Today, I wanted to show you how they look planted and explain how we layed out each section. Why? Because if you're a visual person like me, it may take a planted, sprouting bed to give you an idea of how this will all work out! 

First and foremost, we figured out how much we wanted to grow. Our plant list is below: 

Summer Squash

Whew! In case it isn't obvious, we wanted to grow quite a few things. And since plants are like high school students- they don't all get along-there needs to be a rhyme and reason for where they are planted. Think of them like little cliques - preps, nerds, band geeks, jocks, etc. You wouldn't plant your jocks next to your nerds! Hence the concept of companion planting. 

My go-to resource for this portion of our garden planning was this color-coded PDF from Emily at mysquarefootgarden.net. IT. IS. FANTASTIC. Period. it was such a help in figuring out what to plant where - tomatoes next to corn? Don't even think about it! Below is a little glimpse of how to go about your planting - green means good, yellow means not terrible, and red means don't do it! Seriously, all credit goes to her - such a big help. 

So ... with that in mind, we needed to figure out where to put everyone! The last thing we wanted was a food fight! Here's what we came up with for our beds: 

Once we knew where to put everything the next step was to plant. And again Emily came to the rescue with her guidelines on how many seeds/plant you can fit into each square. You wouldn't be saving space if you only planted one seed in each space!!

So we planted away! You'll see above that our garden plan is color coded according to the date we planted everything whether it was plants or seeds. I'm so glad we did this and I'd highly recommend it to others as well. Now we know when to expect everything ... and there's proof of sprouting below! The picture below is of the bed in the top left of the excel sheet. Our lettuce, broccoli, spinach, onions and pumpkins are all coming up already! We planted the zucchini from plants rather than seed so you can see how big they are compared to everything else. 

And take a look below for a demonstration of how to fit more than one plant into a square - below are our sprouts of lettuce and spinach, which can be planted four per space. 

Here are the broccoli sprouts - these guys were limited to one per square. 

And here is our bed of all peppers and tomatoes - everybody still looks happy, so we're taking it as a good sign!

 Our bed with the corn, peas and beans isn't sprouting yet because we just planted it this past weekend - but stay tuned! I'll make sure to post updates! And feel free to pass along any good salsa/sauce/jelly recipes - there's lots of canning on my horizon, but I couldn't be more excited! 

Hope inspires the green thumb in all of you! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Raised Bed Garden Tutorial

The past few weeks have been filled with several outdoor projects in our neck of the woods! And we're loving every minute of it! From blooming bushes to these beautiful irises we didn't know we had ...

... we've been busy bees, and spending every minute out in the yard soaking up all the sunshine we can get.

Most exciting, for me at least, is that our raised bed gardens are now fully constructed and planted! Though they're nowhere near the size of the acres of soil I grew up planting and harvesting, they will certainly do for this girl!

Take a look at our take on the raised-bed, square-foot gardening craze.

We're pretty proud! Hubs has a tendency to make things looks easy, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that this project wasn't too painful. Nevertheless, here's how we did it. 

Each bed is composed of 12 four foot pieces of pretreated lumber, 9-ish bags of topsoil (depends how full you want them), compost, and 12 eyelet screws. You'll also some twine, or whatever you want to use for the grids. 

Let's start by saying that when Hubs when off to the store to buy supplies for these beds, I had absolutely no question in my mind that he'd come home with 2 x 6s, stakes and deck screws. The plan was to recreate something like I had seen in this awesome tutorial from The Pioneer Woman.

So you can imagine my surprise when he pulled up hauling 12 pretreated, four foot landscaping timbers .... ummm .... what???

But then he explained - each piece was only .79 cents, they were treated to prevent rotting, there was no cutting involved, and we only needed 12 to create one bed. Always thinkin' - that's why I love him. :) Do note that if you decide to use a similar plan, or this same layout, the length of these timbers caused the inside of the bed to be just slightly smaller than 4 feet - each of the squares in our beds is about 11 inches exactly.

So we went with it! We stacked the lumber two high, screwed the pieces together with deck screws, and then laid the final layer and screwed that one to the middle piece.

We also designed the beds so that the layers were somewhat interlocking, like so ...

Once we had each layer together, we moved them to the spot where they were going to permanently sit, and tried to make sure they sat level on the ground. This took a little trial and error but it wasn't too bad. 

Dutchy was a big help as always :)

Once we had them where we wanted them, we filled each bed a third of the way full with a compost mixture, and the rest of the way with topsoil which we hauled home bag by bag from Menards.

Once the beds were full, we measured off each square (remember, 11-ish inches) and placed eyelet screws at each mark to create the sideline grids for the squares. (excuse the poor phone photos)

Then ran twine from one side of the bed to the other at each screw to create the gridlines for our squares, tying off the twine at the eyelets.

Tada!! Ready for planting. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see how we layout our plants and for some insight on "companion planting." 

Thanks for stopping by! 

I'm linking this project up to these great parties: