Sunday, April 29, 2012

Screen Free Week



Screen free week starts Monday! It is a chance to unplug and reclaim all that time that goes missing.

Dirtiest Kid in the World will be going silent for the week.


What should you do in the mean time? Turn off your TV, Computer, and Smartphone. Turn on your conversations with family members, walks in your hood, home cooked meals and your eyes to the species in your backyard. What have you been claiming you would do if only you had the time? Make a list of those things and make sure some (or all) of them are fun. How many can you do before we internet see each other again in a week? I'm going to make my list tonight and start on Monday.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. Mae West


Friday, April 27, 2012

Rose Filled Cascarones


This fantastic cascarones idea comes from my mother-in-law, also know around these parts as Nana. For those not in the know, cascarones are confetti filled eggs you crack over an unsuspecting victims head at festive occasions. There is a 10 day celebration in San Antonio called Fiesta, and cascarones are a huge part of it. People also enjoy them at Easter and Cinco De Mayo.

These festive eggs handmade by Nana and DKITW are filled not with confetti but with dried rose petals! It is (almost) lovely to get hit over the head with sweet smelling rose petals. Also, they easily compost in place, unlike confetti which lingers on for weeks and you find small pieces of months later in your shoes. Fiesta!

E Garden

 

Let's say you love the keyhole garden or the herb spiral, and you appreciate how much more growing area you can get in a smaller space with these techniques BUT you already have rows. Personally, I like the look of rows too. Once you have spent some time building up your soil in the garden, it is not something you just want to toss aside for a new design. Good soil is most of the way to great gardening. So what should you do? Enter stage left: the E garden!



Building another bed on the edge of your rows will expand the growing area without expanding your need for more path space. Good design can fix anything.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

San Antonio Cash Mob


I read about cash mobs a few months back and thought it was a great idea. What is a cash mob? It is a group of people who commit to coming together on a set day and spending $20.00 each to support a local business.

I recently discovered San Antonio has its own cash mob! I will let them tell you a little more about it themselves: "We are just everyday people that want to buy local and raise awareness of how important it is to always support small business first. Whether it's shopping, eating or needing a service performed, think small and think local. Please join us and meet some great people in the process. We need each of you to truly make a difference."

Love it!

And I love this next part even more! Their next cash mob is at the Quarry Farmers Market on May 6th! Now I am embarrassed to tell you this. It is shameful really. But I have not yet been to the Quarry's Farmer's Market. It is about 2.5 seconds from my house. I know! I know! We used to be Pearl Farmer's Market regulars but it got to the point were between the chickens, our veggie garden and DHITW hunting venison and pork, we had nothing left to buy at the Farmer's Market each week. At the grocery store we look like the least healthy family ever, only buying bread, some fruit and all the junk food in the world. I mean sure its organic, free range, wheat-free Newman O's but you can put as much lipstick on that pig as you want- its still Oreos. Anyways- I digress. I really want to get back in the habit of supporting our local farmers and I am going to start with this event.

Come with us! Friend San Antonio Cash Mobs here. I am in no way directly involved with this but I think its going to be fun. Once you check out a local business in person it is so much easier to keep the habit of returning again when you need something you know they offer.

Also, here is a video of the best cash mob ever- Caine's Arcade.   I am not too proud to say I cried the first time I saw it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stone Keyhole Garden


Let's revisit the keyhole garden. On Pinterest someone asked why we would design a garden like this and why does it not look like the keyhole gardens of Africa. Thanks for asking! First off, the keyhole gardens of Africa have a compost pile in the center of the keyhole and are suppose to be self composting. You build the dirt up high around the keyhole compost pile, dump in gray water through the compost pile and then the nutrients seep out in the garden. That's pretty neat but just not what we were going for here.




We are using the keyhole style because 1. It's beautiful! I just love the look of them. 2. It's practical. According to Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture,"If we wrap a typical 4 by 15 foot raised bed unto a U shape with a small central opening for a path, we cut the path down from about 22 square feet to 6 square feet. Less than a quarter of the ground is surrendered to paths." Less path space = more plant growing space.

You can reach all sides of the garden from the keyhole path or the outside of the garden beds. As suggested by Permaculture design, you can place the low growing plants you wish to harvest often closest to the path(say lettuce) and the taller plants that you harvest less often (say corn), near the back. Viola!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Favorite Hot Tip

 

This silly blog was nominated for a gardening blog award. They asked us to write on a short prompt about our favorite tip for new gardeners. I haven't had a chance to read through all responses but my quick skimming seems that we are all on the same page. Just get started. Just try. Don't get overwhelmed by all the complicated gardening advice out there. It's magical and amazing. Find some dirt and some seeds and do it. Since we all basically said the same thing- here's one more step to my advice.

I planted these Zinnia seeds when I was in early labor with my daughter who was born just a short time two days later!
Buy good seeds. Do not buy the cheap seeds you see at big box stores. Those are the leftover seeds and that cheap price usually comes with poor results. Those seeds (and transplants) make new gardeners think they can't grow anything. Spend the extra dollar and get some quality heirloom seeds.

If you have a minute, you should check out some of these great gardening blogs. I'm hoping to find some new favorites. You can vote for Dirtiest Kid in the World here. Thanks!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Apple + The Tree + Falling

My Mother-In-Law's Magical Wildflower Garden


 My kids come from a long line of master gardeners. You know what they say about the apple and where it falls. Little Munchkin knew 10 of the flowers in the post. Since its my contest and I do what I want - everyone who left a guess is entered in the drawing!

You can find the original quiz here. The answers are: Rose, Dandelion, Larkspur, 4 Nerve Daisy, Poppy, Arugula, Snap Dragon, Buttercup/ Pink Evening Primrose, Bluebonnet, Violas/ Johnny Jump Ups, Dianthus, Lantana, Calendula and Black Foot Daisy.

Thank you everyone for giving it a go! You are all awesome. 

Drum Roll Please...
Otter Planter



As if the judge could be bothered to exit her kiddie pool for such trivial matters.



The Winner Is....


Friday, April 13, 2012

Keyhole Garden

This keyhole garden is a fantastic use of space and another permaculture favorite. You can reach all parts of the garden through the keyhole path or from the outside of the bed. This give you more gardening area than traditional rows and it looks beautiful. This garden was made using only materials found on site. Eco-friendly and free. What's not to like?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spaces

Young Grasshopper Putting In Seeds
Planting Basil
When we first moved into our neighborhood, we saw a sign that said Neighborhood Association Meeting tonight at Triangle Park. We drove all around up and down the streets in our hood and could find nothing resembling a park. There was a playground one neighborhood over so we went there. It wasn't there. We much later realized that the neighborhood was referring to- I kid you not- a triangle shaped median in the cross section of three decently busy streets filled with weeds and nothing else.  

Well someone must have seen more in that median. Someone must have had a vision. The neighborhood association applied for and got a grant from Green Spaces Alliance and another one from the city. They put in an amazing gazebo with benches and a community garden. We got somewhat coerced into taking a community garden plot when the head of the garden came out and dumped worms into her space and let my daughter help. What kid could turn down worms? That was a year ago.

Now this formerly blah median is a wonderful gathering spot for the neighborhood. We take picnic dinners, neighbors practice Saturday Morning Tai Chi, DKITW frolics in knee high wild clover, and we all garden haphazardly together and separately. It is a wonderful space and I wish every neighborhood had a Triangle Park so grand. 


Wild Clover Frolic


These photos are over a month old now. That's because this happened: 

DKITW 2- One Day Old

And next thing you know, I blinked and 5 weeks had passed. 

Welcome to all that is new in your life this Spring. 

* There is still time to enter the giveaway in the post below! It has been shared over 50 times but only 6 people have left comments so far- those are really good odds in your favor! Give it a go. Remember to please leave a comment if you want your share to count toward your entry and please leave your name! Good luck. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Giveaway/ Quiz: Can you name more flowers than my 4 year old?

To thank my friendly readers we have a challenge and a prize! The prize is a super awesome giant package of late spring/ summer vegetable heirloom seeds to get you set for your summer garden! The challenge: I have created a little game I call " Can you name more flowers than my 4 year old?"

How to play- just leave a comment naming as many flowers on this page as you can. Hint: They are all blooming in our Texas garden right now. If you don't know the names but want to research them first- feel free.  I will block the comments from showing until the game has ended so you can't cheat off your fellow readers. Anyone who names as many or more than the Dirtiest Kid in the World will be entered in the drawing.  (To encourage you- she did not know them all.)

Maybe you are think this game is unfair because you really need the seeds more as a beginner gardener and you think the game should be called "Can you name more flowers than my 4 week old?" If so, you can still enter, just share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest and leave a comment letting me know you did that. You will get to enter the drawing too!
If you want to guess and share this post- you can be entered multiple times times!  Game closes April 21st at Midnight. I will contact the winner and send you your seeds in the mail! Good Luck!