acreage renovation: a garden for brother + sister bear

This spring we decided to make a garden for our children. We were wholly inspired by “The Berenstain Bears Patience, Please” after reading it to them. They begged us to have their own garden just like Brother and Sister Bear. One that they could till, plant, weed, and water and grow whatever they wanted. Of course we had to agree to such eagerness.

We used my small corn garden for their new garden. It was south facing and the best location in our yard for one. Geoff ripped out the old and temporary fence we had around it to keep the animals out. Then the kids and I each took a shovel and spread our composted food into it. We also moved all of the rocks and heavy stones from behind the garage. This was all hard work but they did very well. Next, Geoff rototilled and worked the compost into the garden, expanding it by a lot. Finally, he built a new fence to go around it.

I spent an entire spring morning planting seeds with them. I planned it out and made all of the little holes in the dirt. They wanted corn, carrots, cucumber, sunflowers, tomatoes, snap peas, watermelon, and flowers.

The kids meticulously filled each hole with seeds. Then we watered it all. They continued to water on the days where it didn’t rain. Within a few weeks we had sprouts. From there, and with occasional weeding, we had a full (albeit somewhat messy) garden!


They are so proud of their work. I am, too! Mostly everything came up, and we snack on their snap peas daily. I hope to do this with them every year until they are no longer interested. It’s such a special and rewarding thing.

Emory

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the fruits of my labour

With the change of the season came the need to harvest our gardens. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t plant as wisely as I could have. We moved to our acreage in early March and then created two small gardens from scratch. I planted vegetables late in the season in one, only to uproot them and move them all to the second one a few months later. My husband warned me that doing so would mostly likely kill them. It didn’t, but it certainly stunted their growth!

Negativity aside, everything managed to grow. It was just on the smaller side, or cute side as I like to call it. I was still able to get a haul of everything that we use in the kitchen daily.

Remy and I harvested some white onions, green onions, thyme, and bell peppers. We even managed to cut down one massive sunflower that grew from one tiny seed from the children’s festival.

The afternoon was bitterly cold, and our haul was on the tinier side, but it was a summer filled with growth. All of our hard work paid off in the end. I was able to learn a lot from my first two gardens, which will only benefit me next year! I will start my seeds earlier, plan better, and with Geoffrey’s help, build a larger and raised garden bed on the west side of our property.

Trial and error is never a bad thing. I still call this past season a successful one.

For any gardening tips please leave them in the comments below!

Emory

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pork and beans revisited

Pork and Beans - 2Nearly two years ago, I had blogged about my newest and fastest growing succulent, Pork and Beans. These plants are known as Sedum or stonecrop plants. To date, this specific type of succulent remains my favourite of over the thirty types that I am currently growing. Its delicate leaves have fallen off over the years and have turned into several separate and flourishing plants of their own. I thought that I would share some additional information and care tips about the Pork and Beans succulent. Additional facts can be gained from the Balcony Container Gardening website.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 11.35.39 AMIntro: The jelly bean plant, also called pork and beans, is an interesting succulent plant that displays jelly beanlike leaves. In the summertime its leaves change from green to bright red, and it bears yellow flowers in the springtime. This colorful succulent does best in hot, sunny apartment balcony gardens and will look best as a “ground cover” in plant containers underneath tall plants with a small footprint, such as a jade plant pruned to look like a tree. The jelly bean plant will also look stunning in a short, squat container set on a table or in a hanging window frame-like plant container.

Scientific Name: Sedum rubrotinctum

Plant Type: Succulent cactus

Light: Full sun

Water: Water the jelly bean plant more in the spring and summer, but still let it dry out in between waterings. Plant Sedum rubrotinctum in well-draining potting soil and never let it sit in water.

Zone: Zones 9 to 10

Temperature: This succulent plant does best in hotter conditions. Do not keep Sedum rubrotinctum outside in freezing temperatures. Take the jelly bean plant inside and display it in an indoor garden for the winter. Keep it by a western- or southern-facing window.

Fertilizer: Fertilize in the spring and summer once a month with a cactus and succulent fertilizer.

Pests and Diseases: No insect pests or diseases are known to severely attack this plant.

Propagation: Propagate the jelly bean plant by taking cuttings. Cut off leaves from the stem, let them dry, and then place the cutting into the soil. Keep the potting soil moist until the cutting begins to grow.

Misc. Info: Be careful when touching this succulent plant, as it can irritate some people’s skin. Also make sure that no pets or children eat this plant. Jelly bean plant leaves are delicate and can fall off easily.

<3

Emory

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winter succulents : how to care

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 presetBelow is a guide on how to care for your plants during the winter months.

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a location that does not fall below freezing during the winter, many of the most popular and beautiful succulents will need to be brought indoors for the winter. A greenhouse is ideal, but few gardeners have this luxury. Fortunately, most succulents can easily be over wintered indoors.

Succulents encompass a huge assortment of different plants, some of which have very specific needs. However, the tips outlined below will keep most of the commonly grown succulents alive through the winter.

Succulents often have a habit of becoming stretched out and leggy when kept indoors, resulting in weak and ugly plants by spring time. This can be minimized by taking into consideration three important factors when caring for succulents indoors during the winter: light, water, and temperature.

Light is Critical

The biggest factor in keeping succulents alive over winter is light. Too little light will cause succulents to stretch in an effort to get closer to the light source. Succulents, in general, thrive in full sun. This is difficult to provide indoors, but give them as much direct sunlight as possible. A south facing window is best, but east or west windows will work.

Fluorescent lights can be used, if natural light is insufficient. It is important that the plants be kept within 1 to 2 inches of the bulbs. Fluorescent light becomes practically useless to plants at more than 3 inches from the bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are too hot and give off the wrong spectrum of light for plant growth.

Succulents Need Little Water During the Winter

Succulents are always better off too dry, than too wet. This is especially true during the winter when the plants are receiving less than ideal light and cooler than normal temperatures. Keep your succulents on the dry side during the winter. Water just enough to keep the plants from shriveling. In a cool room, you may only need to water once every 10 to 14 days.

Be especially careful to keep the plant itself dry, especially rosette plants like Echeverias. Water will set in the center of the rosette and rot will quickly turn the plant to mush. Remember, the quickest way to kill a succulent is to keep it wet!

Cool Temperatures are Good

Most succulents do not need to be kept especially warm during the winter. The important thing is to not allow them to freeze. 45°F to 55°F is perfect. Keeping the plants cool will keep them in a semi dormant state. A warm location encourages the plants to grow and with the lower light intensity indoors during the winter, results in leggy plants. 

No Fertilizer Needed

Succulents do not need any fertilizer during the fall and winter. You want to keep the plants alive, not encourage them to grow.

These steps have worked very successful for me in over wintering Echeveria, tender Sedum, Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Graptoveria, Kalanchoe, Faucaria, Senecio, and others.

By keeping the plants bright, dry, and cool, they remain in a semi dormant state all winter, with minimal stretching. Once frost-free weather returns, the succulents can be returned outdoors for a summer of basking in the sun.

Words by Josh Spece. Photograph by Emory Ann Kurysh.

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terrarium side table : a beautiful mess

6a00d8358081ff69e201b7c7c396cb970b-800wiOh. Em. Gee. Guys, I have fallen in love and there is no turning back! Just look at this Terrarium Side Table DIY project that was featured on A Beautiful Mess a few weeks ago. Is it not a must-have for all plant lovers alike? Originally inspired from this book, Emma chose to make one and put her own spin on it. I think that it turned out beautifully!

6a00d8358081ff69e201bb08664c51970d-800wiWhat do you think of a giant side table terrarium? Do you think that there’s a way to make it more child-friendly?

<3

Emory

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