Make Your Own Mulch With A Wood Chipper

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Thursday, April 9, 2015


I recently discovered that there’s a variety of affordable wood chippers for the home garden. I was excited because I’ve wanted a wood chipper for ages. The idea of being able to chop up your own debris for free mulch was very appealing to me.

So we splurged, and now I own the Eco-Shredder. It can shred brush, leaves, chips, and limbs up to 1.375 inches thick.

Recently, we chopped down a tree that had become invasive in our yard. For months I’ve been looking at a pile of branches that needed attended to, so I decided to try my wood chipper out.


So far, I’m pleased. The chipper works great and has been making a nice mulch that I am planning to use in the walkway behind the garage.


The drawback is that it takes a long time to feed a tree branch-by-branch through what is essentially a high-powered shredder.


This is about one-third of the tree, and an hour of work. In the end, mulching all the branches should take about three hours.

In the future, I’ll be able to use the wood chipper every spring when I clean up my yard.

10 Garden Projects For Kids You Can Start Now

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:34 am on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gardening is Good For Kids. Here’s 10 Garden Projects For Kids That You Can Start Now.

Grow A Bean Teepee

[Image Courtesy]

Grow A Fairy Garden In A Container


Or Grow a Fairy Ring


Make A Dinosaur Park In A Tire Or A Container

[Image Courtesy]

Grow Some Food From Kitchen Scraps

Grow A Sunflower House


Plant A Butterfly Or Hummingbird Garden


Grow An Entire Miniature Village


Maybe Just Give Them Their Own Space To Garden


Or Build An Enclosed Garden That They Can Use For Years To Come

Three Seed Catalogs To Check Out

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:58 am on Friday, March 6, 2015

It’s time to plan this year’s garden. And right on schedule, the seed catalogs are appearing in the mail.

Have you ever noticed how the majority of these catalogs have the same plants in them? In every magazine, there are the same broccoli, tomatoes, beans, and carrots seeds you can get anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can get boring, especially when you start to realize the swath of edible plants out there just waiting to be tried out.

Luckily, several seed companies do go out of the their way to provide access to a more interesting variety of plants. Here are three see I like:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This company, which goes out of its way to “promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage”, provides vegetable seeds that you don’t normally see in the hardware store–purple carrots, white eggplants, peppermint tomatoes, striped beets, purple bell peppers. They are “non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented seeds.” Order Baker Creek’s free–and rather beautiful–catalog here.

One Green World. While this company doesn’t offer vegetables, it does offer other fascinating-sounding trees, vines, and fruits. What exactly is a Tasmania Vine (pictured above)? What does a silverberry taste like? When I finally get around to planting honeyberries or a tea bush, I will look here first. Request a catalog here.

Bountiful Gardens. This is a great seed company that offers “untreated open-pollinated non-GMO seed of heirloom quality for vegetables, herbs, flowers, grains, green manures, compost and carbon crops.” Not only do they have the usual vegetables, they have categories like “mushroom kits” or “unusual hot-weather heirlooms” or “grains, fibers and oil crops.” You can get the Bountiful Gardens catalog here.

What is your favorite seed company? Why?

My 2015 Vegetable Garden

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:55 am on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It’s that time again! What am I going to plant in my garden this year.

New experiment this year: Eggplant! I’ve never grown it before and I’ve recently learned to love it. Plus the plants are gorgeous.


One Hop Plant (total of three now)

6-8 Asparagus (starting a new bed)

6 Strawberries

3 tomato plants: (Early Girl, Beefsteak, and some kind of heirloom wild card)

4 Sweet Bell Peppers (2 red, 1 purple, 1 yellow)

1 other sweet pepper

(No spicy peppers this year. I grew so many last year, which I canned, froze, and dried. I won’t need spicy peppers for quite awhile.)



2 Zucchini Plants

2 Acorn Squashes

2 Melons (Perhaps another Ananas D’Amerique Melon.)

2 Cucumbers


Some Other Kind Of Lettuce


Jerusalem Artichokes (if I can find them. People around here don’t seem to sell them.)



French Green Beans

Stringless Green Beans





That’s it! What are you planning?

A Plant That Grows Both Potatoes And Tomatoes

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:45 am on Monday, February 23, 2015


How crazy is this? The Ketchup ‘n’ Fries Plant grows both potatoes and tomatoes. One plant grows about 500 cherry tomatoes and over 4.5 pounds of white potatoes.

It might sounds like crazy GMO stuff, but actually a much more natural process–both tomatoes and potatoes are nightshade plants, meaning they’re related. So, this is a cherry tomato plant that has been simply grafted onto a white potato.

Sounds pretty fun to me. This plant would be great if you had limited space in a garden. I’m wagering it would do pretty well in a container, too.

4 Clever Vegetable Gardening Products

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:52 am on Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Strawberry Supports

This set of six supports raises plants and berries off the ground. They’re supposed to decrease mold and mildew problems, especially during wet growing seasons.


Melon and Squash Cradles

Last year, bugs kept crawling under my melons and eating from underneath. These melon and squash cradles might help with that problem–or at least I would see it happening. From the site: “these ingenious cradles allow air to circulate, promoting even ripening and minimizing rot. If you’ve been disappointed by misshapen melons and squash, or fruits that rot before they ripen, these cradles are for you.”


Gentle Plant & Flower Clips for Supporting Stems

I started using these clips last year, and I love them. They loosely hold stems to trellises, eliminating the use of ties. They come in two sizes, small and large, for different sized stems.


Tomato Tray

“Helps protect all vine crops against droughts and cutworm – brings earlier, tastier harvests.” Hmmm…

Thinking Of Getting Chickens This Spring? Here’s A Round-Up

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:36 am on Friday, February 6, 2015

Yesterday I went to the chicken coop and came back with a dozen eggs. I really like keeping chickens.

Are you thinking of getting chickens this spring? Here’s a round-up of posts about raising your own chickens.

Homegrown VS Store Bought Eggs

Which Chickens Lay The Most Eggs?

A Year Of Owning Chickens

5 Recycled Chicken Nesting Boxes

Does Having Chickens Save Money?

From Playhouse To Chicken Coop

From Cabinet To Chick Brooder

From Sofa To Chicken Tractor

Peace of Mind at Breakfast

Sweet-Smelling Flowers For The Garden

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Between the herb garden and vegetable boxes and chicken coop, my yard is pretty utilitarian looking. This year, I’m going to put in some flower beds and shrubs to make things look prettier–and part of that includes fragrant flowers. I love it when a pleasant fragrance wafts over you from a nearby garden bed. Here are some sweet-smelling flowers I’m thinking of this year.





















What is your favorite fragrant flower?

Colorful Houseplants

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Friday, November 21, 2014

I was looking at my Christmas Cactus, which is in the middle of blooming lovely pink and red flowers on my kitchen sink. It gives me a lot of pleasure to look at.

It occurred to me that the reason I don’t have a lot of houseplants is that I associate them with the 1970s. I can’t get it out of my head that houseplants go in spaces that look like this:

Of course, that’s ridiculous. I know that.

I decided the way to cure my houseplant problem is to buy colorful ones. Here are some options I’m considering:

Red: Solenostemon ‘Glory of Luxembourg’

Purple: Oxalis

Pink and Green: Polka Dot Plant

Yellow: Croton

Purple and Green: Purple Passion Plant

Red and Green: Caladium

Purple And Pink: ‘Kingswood Torch’ Coleus

Growing Cover Crops On Raised Beds

Filed under: Gardening — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:43 am on Wednesday, November 5, 2014

That is one of my garden beds. The plants your see are my cover crop, also called “green manure.”

Cover crops are plants that are grown over the winter to protect the garden bed and enrich the soil.

In this bed, I used a Green Manure Mix, which “contains 50% Conventional Bell Beans, 25% Organic Biomaster Peas and 25% Organic Purple Vetch. Peas cover the ground, while vetch climbs up the beans.”

In another bed, I’m trying out red clover.

Here’s how a cover crop works: you plant the seeds in the fall and it grows all winter. About 6 weeks before you’re ready to plant your spring garden, you dig the cover crop into the dirt and let it decompose. The organic matter enriches the soil and leads to a happier vegetable garden.

Someone once told me that soil doesn’t like to lie barren. In a forest, patches of dirt are soon covered with plants. Growing a cover crop in your raised beds is to simply put beneficial plants into your garden before weeds can sprout.

So what’s beneficial about green manure/cover crops? They

    * Fix nitrogen to your soil, a major nutrient all plants need.

    * Improve the structure of the soil.

    * Keep rain from washing away your good soil.

    * Stop weeds from sprouting in your garden.

    * Keep soil from compacting.

    * Encourage beneficial insects.

    * Discourage pests.

And, for me, there’s the added benefit of keeping my cat from using my raised beds as a litter box.

Here’s a list of cover crops. For most of us, now is the time to get them in the ground.

« Previous PageNext Page »