Thursday, December 27, 2012

Please check out my kickstarter campaign!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1046199541/tightwad-garden-greenhouse

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Top Ten Countries this year!

United States                            
1809
Russia
79
Romania
24
Germany
18
United Kingdom
15
Canada
13
Kuwait
10
Australia
9
India
7
Czech Republic
5

Where are my visitors from this week?

United States                      
149
Kuwait
10
Germany
2
Indonesia
2
China
1
United Kingdom
1                                                                                                                      

Veteran's Farm-a great idea


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/TightwadGardener

please go to my Facebook page and click the "like" button, I only need 20 more people to like it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jingle bells

Took advantage of the 69 degree December weather and put up the lights and decorations tonight!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bored!!!

I hate this time of the year!! Not in a Scrooge hating Christmas way, more like its a cold baron wasteland outside and there is nothing to grow or do right now. All my cuttings and plants I am saving for next year are in my greenhouse and only need some attention every now and then. My cloner is doing its thing out in the garage and doesn't need me to do anything to it.

I get lazy and fat this time of the year because I can't mow twice a week or go dig some holes in my yard. I just sit inside looking at gardening websites on my Ipad and wishing I lived somewhere that was sunny and 75 degrees year round so I wouldn't have to go through this every winter!

So I just look for inspiration and ideas until February comes around and I get into mad scientist mode and start growing all the things I grow, then after that last frost I can start digging, planting, mowing and burning off all that winter fat that I stored up!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Funny Dave Grohl

One of my favorite musicians out there today. Funny and talented guy.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cuttings and Cloners

Added a bunch of stuff from the yard to try out the new cloner I finally finished making last week. Figured I would try a little of everything I could find in the yard, Hybrid Tea Roses, Smoke Bush, Weigela, Arborvitae and a few others.

I pulled some cuttings that I started about 4 months ago and found that about 75% of them had a pretty good root system started. Above ground they looked like they were almost dead, but below ground they were very busy.
This is one of the Rose of Sharon cuttings I started 4 months ago, I transplanted them into a potting mix now that they had a good root system going,  Hopefully by the spring time I should have a good batch of plants to share with everyone.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Plant Cloner




Above is a plant cloner that you can buy at most hydroponic gardening stores, catalogs or online. The cost between $200 and $800 depending on how big of one you get, the one pictured above runs about $400.

This is the home made plant cloner that I made for $40. No, I didn't forget to add a zero. The tub was a clearance item at Target for $2, the pump I found on clearance for $20, the foam disc on top that hold the plants cast about $12 and the pvc pipes for the water manifold I made were roughly about $7.

You can see it in action here misting the inside container where the roots of the cuttings will form and hang down.
               

Monday, October 29, 2012

A New Look

Thought I would change things up a bit and try a new layout! I was trying to make it easier to navigate and look at older post with out having to search month by month. Let me know how you like the new look and if it is easier or needs to be trashed and start over.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Facebook Page

http://www.facebook.com/TightwadGardener
Just created a new Facebook page for the Tightwad Garden blog to attract more visitors and get the word out. Please check it out and share with your friends and family.

Darwin Hybrid Red Tulip

Got another good deal yesterday, 50 Darwin Hybrid Red Tulips for $5! That is only 10 cents a bulb! The wife suggested we go to Menards because they had batteries on sale, so of course I couldn't pass up a chance to go and look for some good deals!

Since it was sunny and 75 degrees outside today, I got my Awesome Auger out and planted all 50 bulbs around the front Flower beds. Next spring I should have a nice combination of bright red tulips and pink and purple hyacinth bulbs blooming all over the front of the yard!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Red Canna Bulbs

Since it was a nice, sunny day and I had the day off I thought it would be the perfect day to dig up all my canna bulbs and get them ready for next spring. Since the Red Canna plant is a tropical plant you have to dig the bulbs up every fall and keep them in a nice dry and warm spot until it is warm enough next spring to plant them. Sounds like a pain to have to do all that work every year but the reward is these things multiply like crazy if planted in good enough soil. I started out with 6 bulbs that I got for free from my parents, they were growing them out behind their garage and looked really good. I planted mine the first year a little late so they didn't get as tall or bloom as good as they should have, but when I dug them up in the fall, instead of the six bulbs that I had planted I now had 30!

This Spring I planted all 30 bulbs, some were as small as a golf ball while others were the size of a baked potato. To my surprise all 30 came up this year and most of them looked really good. They averaged about 5-6ft tall and had these great looking redish pink blooms on the top. So today when I started digging up the plants, each one was loaded with more bulbs. I would guess that I now have between 200 and 300 bulbs in various sizes. A couple months ago I posted how Lowe's was selling the bulb's for $5 a piece and a single plant in a gallon pot for $15 each. Well I put my ad on craigslist advertising the bulbs for $2 a piece!! If anyone is interested in buying some, leave me a comment and I will send some your way!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

From Raised Beds to Permaculture!


This is what my garden has looked like for the last 5 years, 5 raised bed gardens that were 2ftx 8ft. Easy to till up, plant, weed and water. The last three years Indiana has been hit with droughts every summer, right in the middle of the growing season. Water was always a problem, even with my 55 gallon rain barrel. This summer we went 79 days without a drop of rain, I would use up my rain barrel in about a week. Then I would water the garden enough to keep it going with the hopes that it would rain soon. This summer was the worst crop I have had, so while I waited for rain I did a lot of reading on ways to garden that didn't require a lot of watering. That is when I saw the Back to Eden film and started to read about Permaculture. From what I saw and everything that I read, this was the way to go. So I decided at the end of the season I was going to make the change!
There were a few things I was going to need, the first was mulch or wood chips. Thanks to craigslist I found 3 yards of mulch for free thanks to a mexican landscaper named Juan. He had it left over from a job and needed it gone as soon as possible. Around here mulch goes for about $15 to $20 a yard, son when I found it for free I jumped at it. The second piece of the Permaculture puzzle was composted garden manure(horse poop). I was able to find a horse stable close by that was more than willing to give me a truck load of aged manure.

After I removed all the 4x4's from my raised beds, I covered the area that I would be using with old newspapers to kill off any grass and weeds and act as a natural barrier from future weeds coming through.

I then took my truck load of composted manure(horse poop) and put it right on top of the newspapers until it was about 3 inches deep all over the area I would need for my garden. Surprisingly there was little to no smell since it had been aged for about 3 to 4 months.

After the composted manure(horse poop) was spread, I covered that with about 3 inches of mulch and wood chips courtesy of Juan the landscaper. Now all I have to do is let this sit over the winter and let it decompose some more into a nice rich planting soil. I won't have to till to plant in it, I won't have to water it as nearly as much as the raised bed gardens I had before, weeding will be much easier since it is a looser surface on top and maintaining it will much easier throughout the season. It won't need any kind of fertilizer since the garden manure is below the mulch and wood chips acting as a natural fertilizer. Then once a season I will just need to add a new layer of mulch on top as it continues to decompose and feed the soil below. I will keep posting how it is working throughout the growing season next spring and summer to let everyone know how this way of gardening is working for me.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another Tightwad Deal of the Day!!

Picked up 3 of these  Rododendrom Rosem Elegans today at Lowe's for about $4 each!
I also grabbed 3 of these Candy Drop Red plants for $1.88 each! Added these to the sunny side of my house because I wasn't completely happy with the way some of the other plants were growing. I transplanted my holly, a lilac and a 2 rose of sharon bushes to my backyard to make room for these 6 new plants. Hopefully everything makes it through the winter, then it should look really nice on that side of the house and the bushes I moved to the back should really thrive.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

HIPPIES!


So the other day I was on Youtube looking for some gardening ideas and it seemed like every gardening video I looked at was a bunch of hippies sitting around playing the guitar and talking about "mother earth"!!

Or they were walking through a meadow with the typical hippie "lets save the earth by not bathing" music playing in the background! That got me thinking, am I the only gardener out there that listens to REAL rock and roll? Something like Lynyrd Skynyrd or AC/DC that gets you heart pumping and gets you excited!! Am I the only gardener out there that likes watching Mixed Martial Arts and enjoys a good uppercut or an awesome arm bar submission? Am I a gardening anomaly? Let me know if you are a rock & roll gardener or a hippie gardener! In the mean time enjoy some HELL YEAH!                                                  


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tightwad deal of the day!

So after I lost my Bradford Pear this summer, I wanted to replace it with a Magnolia or Dogwood tree. Unfortunately I couldn't find one in this area this late in the season and being the tightwad that I am I didn't want to order one and pay anywhere from $200 to $500. Today I just happen to be helping my son sell boyscout popcorn at the local Lowe's, when I got bored and wanted to stretch my legs. When it was slow I strolled out into the garden area and found all the trees and shrubs were on clearance. I found a 10 foot tall Eastern Redbud for only $20!!! Normally this would cost 10 times that at a local garden center.
As you can see I didn't plant it exactly where the old tree was, I decided to plant it at the center of the front yard. Next spring I am going to have to adjust the mulch ring around the tree to get it centered and will have to re-seed on the left side to fill in the other parts.


Hopefully by this spring the tree will resemble something like this!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday easy listening!

Watch "Wings - Band On The Run (Original Video)" on YouTube

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tomorrows Tightwad Gardeners

Today I got to spread my gardening Knowledge with all the First Graders at Stephen Decatur Elementary.

They had been learning about composting in the classroom and I was able to bring in some real world examples of composting and explain to them why they should compost and the benefits of doing it. I brought in 2 mason jars, one filled with regular dirt that is common around here, and the other full of nice and rich compost. The kids got to poke at it, play with the worms that were in it and see what the differences between the two were. I also brought in a couple of Geraniums, one planted in compost dirt and the other planted in the regular dirt. Of course the compost Geranium was almost 4 times as big. All the kids had lots of questions and of course lots of comments about composting and gardening.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Around the Yard

Looks like I might have to wait until Thanksgiving for pumpkins this year.

New growth on my Weigela cuttings in the greenhouse.

New growth on the red twig dogwood shrub cuttings after 3 weeks.

Rose of Sharon showing some new growth also!
Planted 12 shrubs and mulched front porch area last fall for only $40, one more season of pruning and it should look pretty good.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Morning Glory

For some reason today my Morning Glory plants bloomed until about 2PM. That is very unusual for this plant because just like their name, they bloom in the morning time. Once the sun and the heat of the afternoon come out, the blooms close up until the next morning.  I am not sure if it was because of the humidity or being cloudy today that kept the blooms open longer, or that due to the drought we had this summer that the plant is really taking off now. Whatever the reason, it was nice to see the color around the mailbox while I worked out in my yard this afternoon. 




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Doobie Brothers


Composting

Composting organisms require four equally important things to work effectively:
  • Carbon — for energy; the microbial oxidation of carbon produces the heat, if included at suggested levels .
    • High carbon materials tend to be brown and dry.
  • Nitrogen — to grow and reproduce more organisms to oxidize the carbon.
    • High nitrogen materials tend to be green (or colorful, such as fruits and vegetables) and wet.
  • Oxygen — for oxidizing the carbon, the decomposition process.
  • Water — in the right amounts to maintain activity without causing anaerobic conditions.

In my yard I took 4 pallets I had left over from building the deck on the back of my house and nailed them together to make an open air composter and stuck it behind my yard barn in the corner of my yard, nice and out of the way. I left the bottom and top open, the bottom so worms could work their way into the compost bin and help speed up the composting process.

I try and have an equal mix of green matter and brown matter in my compost bin to get the right amount of carbon and nitrogen to use in my garden beds. In the open air compost it takes a little longer than some of the compost tumblers you see on the market, but mine didn't cost me a dime.

I try to avoid putting yard clippings that contain weeds, because eventually those weeds will end up where ever you use the compost. Also I never include any kinds of meats or dairy products in the compost. Ideally any plant material like grass clippings, leaves or leftover vegetables from the kitchen are good. Coffee grounds are another great thing to include in your compost for the "brown" part of composting, so if you want to be one of those people that goes to Starbucks and harass the employees for old coffee grounds have at it.

Eventually Applying the compost to the yard or your garden is a great way to improve the soil, it works as a natural fertilizer and it helps reduce waste.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Which one do you think I should plant this fall?

Do you think the pink Magnolia would look good in my front yard?

or do you think the pink Dogwood would look better?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wine and Rose Weigela

Last fall I bought 5 Wine and Rose Weigela for $2 a piece, they were a little wirey and unkept when I got them but I couldn't pass up a deal like that because they Usually sell for between $20-$40. They took longer than most shrubs I own to show any signs of life this spring, but once they did the blooms looked great. After it was done blooming I pruned them back to give them a more compact and fuller look. Once the drought ended this summer and it rained regularly, the shrubs doubled in size and are blooming for a second time this season. I am currently trying to grow more from some cuttings I have from when I pruned them, so hopefully next spring I can add even more of them to the yard.

Propagating plants

This Guy has some really good ideas for growing your own plants for really cheap!




Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to attract hummingbirds

I use a mixture of 1 cup sugar and 3 cups water in my hummingbird feeders. I don't add red food coloring to the mix because the hummingbirds will still come without it.

 

Plants to Attract and Feed Hummingbirds

Trees and Shrubs

  • Azalea
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Cape Honeysuckle
  • Flame Acanthus
  • Flowering Quince
  • Lantana
  • Manzanita
  • Mimosa
  • Red Buckeye
  • Tree Tobacco
  • Turk's Cap
  • Weigela

Vines

  • Coral Honeysuckle
  • Cypress Vine
  • Morning Glory
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  • Trumpet Creeper
Female Ruby-throat and Columbines
Photo © Ann D. Martin

Flowers

Some may be annuals or perennials depending on climate.

Perennials

  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Canna
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Columbine
  • Coral Bells
  • Four O'Clocks
  • Foxglove
  • Hosta
  • Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
  • Little Cigar
  • Lupine
  • Penstemon
  • Yucca

Annuals

  • Beard Tongue (and other penstemons)
  • Firespike
  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Jacobiana
  • Jewelweed
  • Petunia
  • Various Salvia species

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beefsteak Tomato

You are reading that correctly, that tomato weighs almost 2 1/4 pounds. Two years ago I decided to try growing Beefsteak tomatoes instead of the usual Better Boy tomatoes that I usually grow.

Compared to a regulation size baseball.
The plants themselves grew to almost 8 feet tall, producing these giant tomatoes. The only problem is if you like a slice of tomato on your hamburger, this variety was almost the size of the plate and didn't fit on the burgers very well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers-Look Around


Changing Hydrageas colors.




One of the best features of  hydrangeas is their color—pink or blue—and it’s a feature that’s entirely controllable by you.

First, hydrangea bloom color is determined by the pH level of the soil. An acidic soil has a pH level of less than 7, while an alkaline soil has a pH of more than 7. pH level—the measure of how much calcium is in the soil—are important factors in planting because depending on the level, available nutrients will differ. As a rule of thumb, acidic soils tend to populate moist climates, while alkaline tends to populate dry climates.

Pink-colored flowers must be grown in acidic soil without aluminum. A lot of soils contain aluminum, so it’s important to add a fertilizer that contains phosphorus to your soil to help eliminate the metal traces. After you do that, you’ll need to add calcium or limestone (or a combination of both) to the soil as necessary to raise the pH level, but only to the 6.0-6.5 range, as anything higher may result in iron deficiency within the plant.

To change your flowers to blue, add a ½ to 1 cup of aluminum sulfate to the soil at planting time. Keep track of your pH level, because you want to lower it to around 5.5 (it can go as low as 5.2). You can also add things such as grass clippings, coffee grounds and fruit/vegetable peels to help lower pH levels. Fertilizer rich in potassium will also aid in this process.

Changing the color of the blooms on your hydrangea is especially easy to do if you grow them in containers or on the patio. Regardless of the way you choose to do it or wherever you decide to grow them, your hydrangeas are sure to brighten your garden, whether they’re pink or blue.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Secrets to a greener yard



Most of these you will want to use a hose end sprayer attachment, Miracle Gro seems to make one of the better ones on the market.


YARD MAINTENANCE

AID YOUR YARD IN BREAKING DOWN CLIPPINGS
·         USE MULCHER ON YOUR MOWER
·         1 CAN                     COKE
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED AMMONIA
·         1 OZ                       LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         USE EVERY THREE WEEKS WITH 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER
·         DO THIS BEFORE NOON

REGULAR YARD MAINTENANCE OR A JUMP START FOR YOUR LAWN
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CUP                     AMMONIA
·         1/2 CUP                 LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         1/2 CUP                  LIQUID LAWN FOOD
·         1/2 CUP                  CLEAR CORN SYRUP

FOR INSECTS
·         1 CUP                     LISTERINE (OR EQUAL)
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         1 CUP                     CHEWING TOBACCO JUICE
·         50%                        MEDICATION (DURISBAN OR DIAZONON)
·         CHEWING TOBACCO JUICE - TAKE LARGE PINCH (THUMB  & TWO FINGERS) OF CHEWING TOBACCO, PUT IN NYLON SOCK, BOIL IN WATER

FALL FEEDING  (WEEKEND BEFORE HALLOWEEN)
·         1/2  RATE   FERTILIZER AND KIND
·         1LB                        EPSON SALTS
·         SPREAD DRY MIX ON LAWN
·         NEXT - USING 20 GAL LIQUID SPREADER
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CUP                     LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         FILL BAL.   AMMONIA
·         MAKE SURE ALL DEBRIS’S/LEAVES ARE OUT OF GRASS
·         LET GRASS GROW A LITTLE TALLER IN THE FALL

SNACK FOR YOUR YARD
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CUP                     LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         BALANCE   LEMON SCENTED AMMONIA
·         USE 20 GALLON LIQUID SPREADER

SPRING
·         CLOSE CUT YOUR GRASS IN THE VERY EARLY SPRING
·         NEVER CUT YOUR GRASS BEFORE 7PM IN THE EVENING
·         NEVER WATER AFTER 10 AM IN THE MORNING
·         WATER 1” PER WEEK

CRABGRASS PREVENTION - IN LATE FEBRUARY
·         1 BAG                    CRABGRASS PREVENTER
·         1 CUP                     LAUNDRY DETERGENT
·         APPLY HALF RATE - NORTH & SOUTH
·         APPLY AGAIN SAME RATE - EAST & WEST IN MARCH



DROUGHT - SOFTEN SOIL
·         1 OZ                       CHILDREN’S SHAMPOO
MIX WITH
·         ORDINARY TONIC
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CAN                     COKE
·         1 CUP                     LIQUID SOAP
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED AMMONIA
·         1 CUP                     APPLE JUICE
ALSO
·         ANTI-DESICCANT STOPS LOSS OF MOISTURE
·         APPLY ORDINARY SUGAR IN DRY SPREADER TO DROUGHT AREA SETTING #3
·         THEN APPLY TONIC OVER SUGAR: AND ONCE WEEK UNTIL DRAUGHT

FLOWER FEEDING (EVERY 3 WEEKS)
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CAN                     COKE
·         1 CUP                     APPLE JUICE
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED AMMONIA
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED LIQUID DISH SOAP
·         1 CUP                     LIQUID LAWN FOOD

THATCH PROBLEM - DO ONCE IN SPRING AND ONCE IN FALL
·         AERATE YARD
·         1 CAN                     COKE
·         1 CAN                     BEER
·         1 CUP                     LEMON SCENTED AMMONIA
·         1 CUP                     THATCH BREAKER/BUSTER - COMMERCIAL

GARDEN SOIL
2-1/2 GAL BUCKET      
·         50%                        PALLETIZED GYPSUM
·         50%                        LIME
·         HANDFUL   OATMEAL
·         1-1/2 CUP   SUGAR
·         1 CUP                     DOG REPELLENT
·         1 CUP                     DOG FOOD - GROUND UP

GOOD FOR 100 SQUARE FEET - SPREAD EVENLY - TILL INTO SOIL


PERENNIAL PLANTING
·         BEST PLANTED IN THE FALL
·         CUT PLANT IF TO BIG IN STARTER BOX
·         BUY THE SHORTEST PLANT NOT THE BIGGEST (MORE POTENTIAL)
·         BEFORE YOU PLANT IN THE GROUND
·         1 PINCH           EPSOM SALTS
·         1 PINCH           SUGAR


WATERING

·         1” OF WATER PER WEEK IS ALL A LAWN REQUIRES
·         DON’T WATER LATE IN THE EVENING




SLUG BAIT
1 LB. BROWN SUGAR
1 ½ TSP. DRY YEAST
WARM WATER

MIX SUGAR AND YEAST IN 1 GALLON JUG.  FILL WITH WARM WATER AND LET SIT FOR TWO DAYS UNCOVERED.  POUR IN SLUG TRAPS TO ATTRACT SLUGS.


GREENER GRASS JUMP START
1 CUP FISH EMULSION
½ CUP AMMONIA
¼ CUP BABY SHAMPOO
¼ CUP CLEAR CORN SYRUP

MIX IN 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER AND SATURATE SOIL.  WAIT SEVERAL DAYS BEFORE SOWING SEEDS.

WILD WEED WIPEOUT TONIC
1 TABLESPOON WHITE VINEGAR
1 TABLESPOON BABY SHAMPOO
1 TABLESPOON GIN
1 QUART WARM WATER

MIX TOGETHER AND PUT IN HANDHELD SPRAYER.  DRENCH EACH WEED.

BLOSSOM BOOSTER TONIC
1 CUP APPLE JUICE
1 CUP GATORADE
½ CUP AMMONIA
½ CUP PEDIALYTE

MIX IN 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER.  OVERSPRAY FLOWER BEDS TO POINT OF RUNOFF.

FLOWER DEFENDER TONIC
1 CUP DISHWASHING LIQUID
1 CUP TOBACCO TEA*
1 CUP ANTISEPTIC MOUTHWASH
¼ CUP HOT SAUCE
WARM WATER

MIX IN 20 GALLON SPRAYER, FILLING REMAINDER WITH WARM WATER.  DRENCH FLOWERS.
*PLACE ½ HANDFUL TOBACCO INTO NYLON STOCKING AND SOAK IN ONE GALLON OF HOT WATER UNTIL DARK BROWN.