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Make an Easy, Cheap Square Foot Garden Grid (& Fall Gardening Update)

It may seem like a weird time of the year to be posting about how to make a garden grid as the majority of people are probably winding down their gardening for the year. But with our move earlier this year and all that has been going on with that, we really didn’t have time to much of a garden this spring. I’ve heard that out here in Northern Texas fall gardening can actually be the best of all, so I’m giving it a shot!

I just got our new raised bed built according to the principles proposed in All New Square Foot Gardening. The basic gist of it is that you build a frame at least 6 inches deep, install weed cloth and fill it with a mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. Once that is done you’re supposed to make a grid to divide the bed into 1 foot square sections. With square foot gardening there are no rows and there is also little to no weeding! :)

In the past I’ve always stapled string onto the frame of the bed to make my grid, but eventually the string rots away and then you’re left with a bunch of useless staples. While waiting in line at our local Sprouts I was thumbing through Texas Gardener and saw a raised bed where they used arches and simply tied their grid material onto the little arch. I was able to get a box of about a bazillion of them for about 3 bucks with the nails at our local hardware store. Now,when it needs to be replaced you can simply cut the string and tie on new string for an easy, quick and cheap square foot garden grid. I used yarn since its what I had on hand, but it would also work well with garden twine and I was even thinking of trying to use fishing line as a longer lasting alternative.

The garden seems to be coming along so far. There are some small broccoli plants we bought…

 

beet seedlings of 2 different types. Ironically only 1 kind has sprouted.

Some spinach…

Kohlrabi sprouts of both the purple and green variety. If you’ve never had kohlrabi it is a crazy looking plant that is shaped like a ball with leafy sprouts growing out. This one is fun to grow simply for the cuteness. But, in my opinion it is delicious peeled and cut into wedges and served with a veggie dip. (See a picture of grown kohlrabi)

Itty bitty carrot sprouts of the tender sweet and red cored chantenay varieties

And one of my personal favorites- sugar snap peas!

Texas gardening is so different that what I’m used to! We’ve got some pretty succulents growing in the midst of a barren place. Isn’t it amazing how plants can flourish in all different conditions? These grow in such dry and parched conditioners and yet they are known as the icicle plant :)

One of the everbearing strawberry plants is turning out flowers in the midst of 100 degree temps…

 

I’ve been pinching off all the flowers to let the plants root, but decided to go ahead and let this little fruit form :)

 

Do you have square foot gardens? What do you use as a grid material?

 

 

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Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap

Making your own foaming hand soap is so easy and cheap! Foaming hand soap is kind of expensive for what it is. Somewhere on the web a while back(probably Pinterest), I found a post where somebody used castile soap to make their own foaming hand soap. I can’t remember which blog I originally found the recipe on, but I’ve used the recipe from Little House Living.

It is so super easy that you won’t even believe it! 1 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of castile soap equals your own foaming hand soap. I buy the cheap container of soap from Walmart and dump out the chemical soap, saving the container to use for my homemade version. I like using castile because it is made with organic oils and doesn’t have all the funky detergents and unpronounceable chemicals you’ll find in standard liquid soaps.

And, the icing on the cake is that you can make a cup of foaming hand soap for about 18-23 cents!! I found a 32 ounce container for only 11.99 so that equals 18 cents per cup of foaming soap.You can order castile online or find it in health stores. Our local Target even has it! Be sure to check the clearance section as I have found it there marked down.

Have you ever made your own foaming hand soap? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

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Lunch Box Boredom Busters {healthy lunches part 2}

 

Image: Christian Cable

Healthy lunch boxes can be more challenging to pack than they may seem! It is not that hard to come up with some ideas, but what is a bit more challenging is creating something new each day and not falling into the rut of packing the same lunch over and over. Bless my son’s heart, he probably ate PB&J with carrots sticks and some kind of fruit for 90% of his first grade career and he never even complained! Here are a some luncbox ideas to try to spice things up and keep your lunchbox from falling into a rut:

 

Entree Ideas Wraps: tortillas can be filled with leftover beans, chopped up meat or chicken and cheese for a yummy wrap to turn those left overs into something new Nut Butter sandwich- pair nut butter (coconut PB is yummy for coconut lovers) paired with jelly, raw honey or even apple slices. I usually use homemade sourdough for bread Hard boiled eggs Kabobs- mix up cubes of meats, cheeses and berries or cubed fruit and stick them on toothpicks for another great way to use up leftovers Grilled cheese Egg Salad, tuna fish Meat and cheese roll ups- thin slices of meat and cheese rolled up and stuck in a muffin liner or held together with a toothpick Cut up hotdogs without fillers/nasty stuff added (we love Applegate Farms) Breakfast for lunch- leftover breakfast meats such as sausages or bacon, with leftover pancakes, waffles or toast spread with plenty of butter or cream cheese Snacks and Sides Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, balled melons, apples, peaches, pears, plums, cuties, grapes, sliced kiwi etc… Veggies: sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, ants on a stick (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins or chocolate chips), mini peppers or colorful pepper slices, baby carrots etc… Cheese cubes Popcorn with butter sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan or a bit of salt or even a tiny sprinkling of salt and sugar for a salty and sweet treat Yogurt with berries, vanilla or honey Coconut Chips Trail mix: make your own with nuts, dried fruit, coconut chips and maybe throw in just a few chocolate chips once in a while as a treat

 

Sweet Treats Homemade popsicles- I’ve had my eye on these silicone molds for a while to make homemade ”Go-gurt” type yogurts or freeze as a popsicle treat Cookies Fruit and nut bars such as homemade Lara bars 5 Minute Candied nuts Fruit Roll ups (you can easily make your own! or find nice ones at a natural foods store) Coconut Macaroons Cookies, bars or muffins (lots of recipes)

What are your favorite items to pack in the lunch box? Please share them in the comments below!

Inspiration from: Pinterest

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Remove Hard Water Stains from Refrigerator Water Dispenser Naturally

I don’t know about your house, but in all the different states we’ve lived in we always end up with that nasty, white hard water stains in the tray on the fridge door that don’t want to rinse off. I am all about the natural remedies and was delighted when I discovered that all you need to do is pour white vinegar in the the tray and set it sit for a while and then it wipes of super easy! If you have the stains on the dispenser part that you push on with the cup, just put on vinegar on a rag, wrap the rag around the stained area and let sit for a while and then it will clean of very easily.

Before: Nasty Dispenser with hard water stains

 

After: Simple Soak and Wipedown with White Vinegar= Nice, Shiny Dispenser!!

 

What is your favorite natural DIY cleaning tip? Share it in the comments below.

Ridiculously Easy Basil Pizza SauceHomemade Flax Seed Hair Gel (made monthly)Lunch Box Boredom Busters {healthy lunches part 2}Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap