M A Y 2 0 2 1
Memorial Day 2021: The Ultimate Grilling Guide Page 4
Celebrating Mom DIY Gifts for the Special Women in Your Life Page 13
10 Low-Maintenance Flowers for Your Garden Page 8
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May is one of my favorite months of the year. Not only is the real estate market in full swing, but there’s an entire summer of warmer weather and outdoor fun to look forward to. Gardening is an outdoor spring and summer activity beloved by many. In this issue, you’ll find multiple articles geared toward fostering your green thumb! If you’re a gardening novice and want to know some low-maintenance blooms to plant in your garden this month, check out the guide on page 8 with 10 popular varieties and where in the U.S. they can be planted. If you are short on space, there is an entire section inside dedicated to growing produce and herbs inside your home and on small decks/patio spaces. On a related note, if you are feeling the squeeze in your current space, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Lots of beautiful homes are popping up on the market this time of year, and I can help you get into one that will work perfectly for you and your family.
In this issue, you’ll also find some DIY gift ideas for Mother’s Day and a guide to Memorial Day grilling.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
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The Ultimate Memorial Day Grilling Guide
May marks the beginning of the transition into summer, and nothing says “summer is here” quite like a Memorial Day cookout.
10Low-Maintenance Flowers for Your Garden Plant these blooms, and you’ll be enjoying the fruits (or flowers, in this case) of your labor without ever breaking a sweat.
Celebrating Mom DIY Gifts for the Special Women in Your Life
Your Guide to Growing Food at Home Growing Produce in Small Spaces Even if plants aren’t your cup of tea, with a little patience and time, even people with the blackest of thumbs can start seeing green (foods that is). Cultivating an Indoor Herb Garden Bring the joy of spring (and wonderful smells) inside with your own living spice rack.
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The Ultimate Memorial Day Grilling Guide
Choosing the Right Grill Choosing the right grill setup is essential to getting the perfect char on a juicy fillet or cooking mountains of kabobs for hungry guests. You may already have your go-to grill and just want to kick things up a notch for Memorial Day, or you might be looking to finally splurge on the high- end smoker you’ve been eyeing. Whatever your grilling prowess or needs, you’ll want the lowdown on grills and fuel types before you get cooking. Gas If you’re looking for a high-quality, spacious grill to feed a crowd, a gas grill is the way to go. Ubiquitous to backyard barbecues, these are the most common type of grill and will make your Memorial Day bash a breeze. They start and heat up quickly and are easier to clean than most other grill types, though they require propane tank refills. While they do not impart the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill, they cook delicious food reliably well. Gas grills are available in numerous configurations and sizes, and are often equipped with convenient features like built-in thermometers and warming racks. While a more expensive option, gas grills are a good investment to wow your Memorial Day crowd.
May marks the beginning of the transition into summer, and nothing says “summer is here” quite like a Memorial Day cookout.
Get fired up for your Memorial Day fête, whether you’re hankering to throw some flat iron steaks on the grill or to show off your cooking chops with your world-famous pulled pork sandwiches. Impress your guests with these simple grilling and gathering tips, and you’ll be ringing in the summer with ease.
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Charcoal Offering that irresistible smoky barbecue flavor in a portable, affordable package, charcoal grills are hard to beat. Perfect for smaller groups, these are a great option if you’re keeping your Memorial Day get-together small. While well worth it, their smoky deliciousness does come with a bit of maintenance. Charcoal will need to be cleaned out after grilling and replaced the next time you grill. Charcoal grills also take longer to heat up than electric or gas varieties, but it’s also part of the experience. Just have some snacks ready for your guests while you get grilling! Keep in mind that charcoal grills get hotter than gas grills and require more supervision since their temperature cannot be regulated, which means you’ll be shifting briquettes around to get those steaks just perfect. In the end, your guests will be impressed by your charcoal mastery and those smoky, delicious burgers.
Kamado If you really want to elevate your Memorial Day party, a kamado grill is a unique, centuries-old grilling style that will wow your crowd. A grill that also uses charcoal, kamados impart a wonderful smokiness, and with their ceramic walls, they provide excellent insulation for grilling and smoking. Most kamados heat very evenly and will maintain both high and low temperatures, so feel free to expand your menu a bit. Get creative and grill a thin-crust pizza, or wow your guests with a cast-iron cake. Quality kamados are available in many different sizes, whether you’re feeding a large crowd or keeping it small. You can also find kamados in every price range, from high-end professional grade to budget-friendly options, so there’s no need to break the bank for your Memorial Day bash.
Memorial Day, Social- Distance Style Whether you’re grilling for your household or hosting an outdoor socially distanced soirée, there are plenty of ways to bring people together safely while making your gathering a smash. If you’re erring on the safe side, you can still make your guests feel welcome while giving everyone their space.
Seating. First on the list is a given — place your outdoor seats at least six feet apart from one another, or have your guests bring their own blankets and have a good (albeit, socially distanced) old-fashioned picnic! Invites. Alert your guests ahead of time that your gathering will be of the socially distant variety. Create a fun evite or old- fashioned paper invitation that kindly lets your guests know
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Smokers Another way to get that trademark charcoal flavor is with a smoker— the grill of grills for barbecue enthusiasts. If you opt for a smoker, make sure you plan well in advance of your party, since smokers are the original slow cooker! The long wait is worth it, however — the lengthy low and slow smoking method delivers an absolutely mouthwatering flavor that your guests won’t have every day! Myriad recipes abound online, whether you’re smoking a pork shoulder or a whole coho salmon, so get researching and start practicing your technique well before Memorial Day — your household won’t mind testing the results!
Wood Pellet Grills If you want to add smoky flavor to your Memorial Day spread but don’t want to mess with charcoal, go with a wood pellet grill. Combining the flexibility and flavor of a charcoal grill and smoker with the convenience of a gas grill, wood pellet grills are all the rage, and understandably so. The grill’s large metal bin, or “hopper” heats up and ignites wood pellets, which create heat and smoke and add distinct deliciousness to your food. With the grill’s thermostat, you can set the heat on this electric grill to a precise temperature and let the grill do the rest — it will automatically add wood pellets and ignite them as needed, so you can tend to your guests while the grill cooks up delicious fare. While definitely a more expensive grill (some models even feature Wi-Fi), they are worth the splurge if you’re looking to seriously ramp up fun and flavor for your holiday shindig.
which guidelines will be in place at your gathering, whether you’ll be providing hand sanitizer and disposable masks, pre-made plates of food, or whether they’ll need to bring anything. Make it fun, like an ‘ugly picnic blanket’ party —whoever brings the ugliest blanket wins a bottle of wine! Remember that Memorial Day is about celebrating the ones we’ve lost and the ones we’re lucky to have in our lives — remind your guests that you care! Food and Drink. If you’re staying on the safer side, opt to make pre-made food plates or containers for your guests. A good idea is to pre-assemble containers with your barbecue side dishes — salads, chips, baked beans, etc. — and serve your guests your grilled dishes one by one. You can also pre- make large batches of cocktails such as sangria, martinis, or family-friendly drinks like punch or lemonade and keep several glasses chilled and ready to serve. Use disposable plates, cups, utensils, napkins and bags, and have trash cans readily available. Better yet, ask people to bring their own drinks and vessels, and you’ll cover the rest.
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Electric and Portable Grills
spring weather. Portable grills are a great option for a Memorial Day picnic on the go, whether you’re tailgating or celebrating with some beachside grilling. These grills are super convenient, easy to use, and typically run on 16-ounce propane tanks that can be stashed under the grill cover for easy grilling on the go.
A great option for apartment dwellers, electric grills are smoke- free, compact and easy to clean. An affordable grilling option, electric grills can be easily nestled on your countertop and are a great way to bring the party inside if it gets hit with unpredictable
Grilling Materials and Accessories Charcoal: Lump or Briquettes If you’re cooking with charcoal this Memorial Day, you’ll want to brush up on different charcoal types, more specifically lump charcoal versus briquettes. A hotly debated topic among barbecue enthusiasts, your charcoal choice can make all the difference for your grilling experience and your guests. The ubiquitous bag of bricks found at every corner market, charcoal briquettes are what most people picture when thinking of charcoal. Made from compressed wood byproducts and additives, briquettes are cheap, convenient
Fish Grate = Greater Fish
and reliable. They are also great for smoking, as they maintain consistent heat for long periods of time. However, they do produce a chemical smell when lit, so be sure to let them burn until they are covered with white ash before you add your food to the grill. Additionally, they produce large amounts of ash, so keep this in mind when planning your party. Lump charcoal is charcoal in its most natural form— simply wood that’s burned in the absence of oxygen. Preferred by barbecue purists, lump charcoal burns much cleaner and hotter than briquettes and is easier to light. It is also more responsive to oxygen than briquettes, meaning you can control your grill’s temperature more easily. While more expensive and less consistent in size than briquettes, lump does not give off a chemical smell and produces very little ash.
No matter which kind of grill you’re using, a fish grate is an indispensable grilling tool for “fish heads” everywhere. Just prepare your fish, place it in the grate and secure, and let the grill do the rest. Fish grates and baskets make for easy cleanup, so you’ll be thankful when the party’s over! Fish grates abound in numerous sizes and styles, so pick one that is appropriately sized for your grill (make sure the cover can close fully) and for the fish you’ll be cooking. Grates aren’t just limited to fish, so if you’ll be grilling something delicate for your party, like pineapple rings, vegetables or other kinds of seafood, consider investing in one!
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1. English Lavender
A hardy perennial, dazzling purple-blue English lavender attracts pollinators by the droves, making it the perfect start to a flourishing garden. What this lavender varietal offers in aesthetics it matches in medicinal properties, culinary uses, and a gorgeous perfume. Lavender is difficult to grow from seed, so purchase some starts from your local nursery and get planting! Plant bunches 2 to 3 feet apart — they will grow to be between 1 and 3 feet high. Though English lavender can survive in a wide variety of soil qualities, it will thrive in well-drained soil with some organic matter mixed in. Top soil with a bit of mulch to keep weeds out, and make sure your lavender gets plenty of sunlight. Keep away frommoist areas to avoid root rot.
Whether your thumb is as green as they come or you’re a gardening novice, fewer things are more gratifying than planting a seed and watching it grow. Synonymous with spring, flowers are the most joyful part of the season, and producing a flourishing garden bed is easier than you think. May beckons spring flowers and says goodbye to the last frost of the season, which typically occurs mid-month, depending on region. Plant these 10 low-maintenance blooms, and you’ll be enjoying the fruits (or flowers, in this case) of your labor without ever breaking a sweat. The perfect time to get planting does depend on your planting zone, so you’ll want to consult the USDA plant hardiness zone map at plants.usda.gov/hardiness.html for more information.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 5 to 8
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2. Sunflowers The golden child of easy-to-grow flowers, sunflowers produce large sunny blooms atop sturdy, long stems. Most sunflower varieties are annuals, which are ideal for both ease of planting and an even bigger reward at harvest time — sunflower seeds! Plant seeds mid- to late May and, enjoy giant daisy-like flowers in yellow, orange or bronze that bloom for several weeks in midsummer. Some sunflowers can grow up to 14 feet tall, with some as short as one foot. Sunflowers need plenty of full sunlight and will do best in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter due to their long taproots.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 to 11
3. Marigolds A favorite of the low-fuss flower bunch, marigolds are one of the easiest annuals to grow from seed. Boasting colorful carnation-like blooms ranging from creamy white to golden-orange to maroon, marigolds bring an unmistakable cheer to garden plots and patio pots from spring to fall. Depending on variety, marigolds can grow from 8 to 36 inches tall and will thrive in sunlight and hot temperatures; just keep them away frommoisture or shade. Numerous marigold varieties abound, so you can decide which will work best for your garden. Tall, elegant African marigolds look great in flower beds, while shorter, bushier French marigolds do well in patio pots.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 to 11
4. Zinnias Another easy-to-grow annual, zinnias add joy to any garden with their vivid heads that bloom in almost every color except for blue. Zinnia flowers range from having a single row of petals to having numerous petal rows and are often similar to daisies, dahlias, pom poms and spiders in appearance. A diverse bunch, zinnias are available in different shapes and sizes such as “beehive,” “button” and “cactus.” Like marigolds, zinnias do well planted from seed right in the garden bed, and can grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 6 to 12 inches wide in diameter. Plant easygoing zinnias in full sun, and give them plenty of air circulation to prevent disease. Though zinnias are adaptable to moist soils, they do best in well-drained soil with organic matter.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 3 to 10
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5. Cosmos With blooms of gold, orange, pink, magenta, white, yellow, red and even chocolate, cosmos are an easy way to add a vibrant splash of color to any garden. An easy-to-grow annual, cosmos feature a daisy-like bloom atop a long, slender stem. Seeds germinate quickly, so plant in May or well after the last frost in your area, and you’ll be seeing blooms in no time. Cosmos love full sun and don’t need much water; just scatter seeds in well-draining soil, and the plants will support each other as they grow. A hardy, self-sufficient flower, cosmos can tolerate drought, poor soil conditions, and general neglect (though not recommended!), and will even self-sow.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 through 11.
6. Coneflowers Also known as echinacea , coneflowers are hardy, low-fuss perennials that bring charm and pollinators to the garden. Native to the U.S., coneflowers have a daisy-like flower with a raised center, which attracts butterflies, as well songbirds after the flower goes to seed. Most common is the echinacea purpurea , or purple varietal, but coneflowers are available in a wide range of vivid hues to add all kinds of color to your garden. Coneflowers can grow up to 2 to 4 feet in height and will produce dark green foliage as well as a prickly stem, which is where echinacea comes from— the latin word for hedgehog is echinus . These tough but pretty flowers can tolerate drought and poor soil, but they do best in well- drained soil with plenty of organic matter. For ease and low-key gardening, purchase coneflower starts from your local nursery and enjoy blooms frommidsummer through fall frost. Plant in full sun for optimal blooming.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 2 through 9
7. Daylilies A pleasantly low-maintenance perennial, daylilies are a darling of late-spring planting. These elegant beauties are incredibly easy to grow and can survive drought, uneven sunlight, and poor soil, while resisting disease and pests with ease. Though not a “true lily,” daylilies are as good as such with their gorgeous, vividly colored orange, red, pink, purple, white or yellow blooms that sit atop tall, dark green stems. Daylilies can be started from seed, but it is recommended to purchase root starts from your local nursery. Daylilies thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, and it is recommended that you water your daylilies once a week after they’ve been established. Oddly enough, daylily flowers are actually edible — sauté daylily buds in butter and garlic for a special garden treat.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 4 to 9
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8. Salvia A popular low-maintenance garden border bloom, salvia produces spikes of densely packed tubular blossoms that bloom in dark blue, red, deep purple, pink, white and yellow. Available in annual and perennial varieties, some salvias do better in certain regions, so take care when choosing your varieties. Plant salvia seeds well after the last frost in your area, and enjoy richly hued summer blooms that beckon hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Pest-resistant salvia is heat and drought tolerant and will thrive when planted in direct sunlight and well-drained soil. Some species grow 18 inches to 5 feet tall, depending on the variety.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 5 to 10
9. Morning Glories Arriving in pink, purple, blue, red and white trumpet-shaped flowers that greet the day atop slender climbing vines, morning glories are energetically self-sufficient flowers that bring butterflies and hummingbirds to the yard. Just soak morning glory seeds a day before planting, then plant the sprouted seeds and they’ll take care of the rest, with seedlings emerging within 10 days. Water thoroughly after planting, and see blooms as early as July. Morning glories self-sow enthusiastically, so to help control unwanted seedlings, make sure to mow, rake or heavily mulch under the plant.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 3 through 10
10. Bleeding Hearts Achingly beautiful with its pink and white hearts dripping from arched 3-foot stems, the bleeding heart is surprisingly hardy, despite its fragile-sounding name and delicate appearance. Plant this favorite perennial in the shade after the last frost has passed, and enjoy their sentimental blooms that attract butterflies and birds. Bleeding hearts go dormant midsummer, making them a highly low-maintenance perennial that’s ideal to plant next to other perennials that will fill in when it goes dormant. Plant bleeding hearts in moist, rich soil with a layer of compost, and add a layer of mulch to keep weeds out. Bleeding hearts can be started from seed, but for more laid-back gardening, it is recommended to purchase seedlings or divisions found at your local nursery.
USDA Hardiness: Zones 3 through 9.
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USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Average Annual Extreme Minimum Temperature 1976 - 2005 Temp (F) Zone Temp (C)
-51.1 to -48.3 -48.3 to -45.6 -45.6 to -42.8 -42.8 to -40 -40 to -37.2 -37.2 to -34.4 -34.4 to -31.7 -31.7 to -28.9 -28.9 to -26.5 -26.1 to -23.3 -23.3 to -20.6 -20.6 to -17.8 -17.8 to -15 -15 to -12.2 -12.2 to -9.4 -9.4 to -6.7 -6.7 to -3.9 -3.9 to -1.1
-60 to -55 -55 to -50 -50 to -45 -45 to -40 -40 to -35 -35 to -30 -30 to -25 -25 to -20 -20 to -15 -15 to -10 -10 to -5 -5 to -0
2a 2b 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b 9a 9b
-0 to 5 5 to 10
10 to 15 15 to 20 20 to 25 25 to 30 30 to 35 35 to 40 40 to 45 45 to 50 50 to 55 55 to 60 60 to 65 65 to 70
10a 10b 11a 11b 12a 12b 13a 13b
-1.1 to 1.7 1.7 to 4.4 4.4 to 7.2 7.2 to 10 10 to 12.8 12.8 to 15.6 15.6 to 18.3 18.3 to 21.1
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Decoupage Vase, Pot, or Furniture Decoupage is simply the process of gluing paper, fabric, or other flat materials onto a surface. It takes shape through multiple layers of decoupage medium—most commonly Mod Podge or Elmer’s glue.
The uses for decoupage are only limited by imagination. It’s a technique that transfers
easily from glass to wood, metal, plastic, and terra cotta, so you can personalize a large or small project. Starting with a small bowl, vase, or flower pot will give you the chance to perfect the art form before taking on larger tasks. Simply clean the surface of your item. For glass, wipe with white vinegar or alcohol to remove oils after washing. Next, select your designs. A small, sharp pair of scissors or exacto knife work best. Cut images from photographs, shelf liner, wrapping paper, magazines, napkins, scrapbooking paper, tissue paper, or any other source. You can also print images off the internet to cut out. Just be sure to use a laser printer and not an inkjet printer, or your images may run.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to consider thoughtful gifts to celebrate the important mother figures in your life. There’s nothing more meaningful than a handmade present mom can proudly display, use, and share with friends. Regardless of where you fall on the creativity and craftiness scales, there’s a project that’s just right for your skill set and mom’s tastes. Here are some options to consider.
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Once you master the technique, you can add fabric or paper to basic boxes, add some pizzazz to throw pillows, create a new table top, or decorate a serving tray, as just a few ideas.
will oversaturate paper and allow it to tear. Work in small sections since the glue dries fairly quickly. Add several more layers, allowing the glue to dry completely before each new addition. For added protection, especially for outdoor projects, you can add a final layer of sealant.
Choose your decoupage medium. To use Elmer’s Glue, water it down with 50% water. Other decoupage mediums can be found at any craft store and used directly out of the container. When selecting your decoupage medium, consider whether you want a matte, glossy, satin, antique, or crackle finished look to your project. Apply decoupage medium to the surface of the project, and attach your material. Press out any air bubbles using a flat object like a squeegee or firm brush, working from the center of the project toward the outer edges. Next, apply a consistent, but thin, layer on top of the material. Avoid using too much medium because it Etched Glass Create a memorable keepsake in a few easy steps by etching drinkware or vases. Similarly, you can create an ornament or window decor with etched glass or mirrored surface. The key is in a medium such as Armour Etch, which you can find at any craft store or online. Start with a small container, since a little goes a long way. Next, you will need some form of stencil that thoroughly adheres to the glass, to avoid the etching cream seeping underneath. This can be
unintentionally etch other parts of the glass. The etching cream directions state that it only needs to sit for a few minutes, but we’ve found better results by allowing it to sit on the glass for around 15 minutes. When the time is up, simply rinse off the etching cream, dab the glass dry, and remove the stencil. Hand wash your project for the best results. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can make gifts for friends, clients, and other family members to express “Love,” “Welcome,” “Congrats,” or “Best Dad Ever”.
created with a Silhouette or CriCut machine, or you can create your own design using a shelf liner and an exacto knife. Similarly, stickers will do the job. Adhere your sticker where you want it on the glass, pressing firmly with a focus on the inside edges. Practice safety by wearing a mask and using gloves (the etching cream can be an irritant to the lungs and the skin). Then, using a brush, apply a generous amount of etching cream to the stencil. Dab it on, allowing it to form a blob. More is better than less for this job. Just make sure it doesn’t run off the sides of your stencil, or you will
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Give a Sign Making a sign for mom is a great way to combine interior (or exterior) design and show her your love. The words on your sign can be anything you dream up. “Gardener Lives Here” or “Family is Everything” are examples. Emphasize pets, hobbies, or love and peace. Pick something that momwill love! Start by selecting wood for your sign. You’ll want your board to be about ½” thick. Pallet boards provide a rustic look, or you can clean them up and sand themdown for a more modern appeal. Alternatively, forage through your scrap pile or head to the lumber yard to make a selection. Use a planer or power sander for very rough boards. You may also want to use more than one board to put your message on two lines. An easy way to attach light boards together is using eye and tea cup hooks.
Finally, apply hardware to the sign. Wind picture wire around eye hooks that are twisted into the top of the sign. Another option is to attach a sawtooth hanger or create pocket grooves using a pocket hole jig. Kids’ Handprints on Apron This is a great way to get the kids involved in gift giving. Simply sew or purchase a basic apron. Then, get out the acrylic paint and give the kids their own apron to mitigate the mess. Allow them to press their hands into a tray of paint and stamp their handprint onto mom’s apron. Each child can have his or her own color, or mix it up. Allow the kids to use their fingers or paint brushes to write their names below their handprints (if old enough).
Depending on the finished look you want, choose your paint colors. If you want hunter green on white, for example, start by painting a base coat of white on the entire board. You can also add paint to the natural wood tone without a base layer. For a rustic look, paint the base color, then hit it with a sander to remove some of the paint. Next, use a hand or machine-made stencil for the script and words of your choice. Freestyle writing is another option if you’re comfortable. Remember, you can always sand the paint back off and start over, so have fun with it! If using stencils, make sure they are thoroughly adhered so paint doesn’t seep underneath. Apply a very thin layer moving from the center of the stencil toward the center of each letter to avoid pressing paint beneath the stencil. Allow the paint to dry between coats. When done, remove the stencil andmake touch ups with a small brush. Seal the paint with a topcoat.
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Scrapbook Memories always make for an ideal gift. Use your DIY crafting skills to put together a fun scrapbook for mom, celebrating a special event, trip, or daily life as a mom. Scrapbooking provides a lot of room for creativity and customization. With the newest computer programs, you can even create and print a scrapbook full of memories using software. Stepping Stone Following a similar theme, you can create a long-lasting keepsake for the yard with an easy and fun stepping stone project. Use a basic plastic plant saucer, about 12” in diameter. Mix up a concrete blend, which is just a combination of bagged concrete mix and water. You can also purchase a premixed option. Pour the concrete into the plant saucer. When partially set, press your child’s hands into the mix. You can also add flowers, pebbles, colored tiles or other decorations to your stone for a customized finish. Allow your concrete to thoroughly dry before removing it from the saucer, and your gift is ready!
Heating Pad After a long day at the office or taking care of the house, mom will appreciate a heating pad to soothe aching muscles. These are easy to make. Simply select a fabric safe for the microwave (flannel is a popular choice). Cut two panels of fabric in the same size. They can be square, round, or rectangular. Sew the two panels together while inside out. Then, turn the project right-side out, stuff with long-grain rice or other grain, add essential oils if you choose, and hand stitch the final open side. You can make an additional outer bag that is removable for washing if desired. Make sure you follow the heating
Spa Basket Dig into traditional candle making for some DIY fun. Melt beeswax or soy wax in an old pot or tea kettle. Use any mold you have around the house, from an empty milk carton to a cut-off OJ jug. Other options include tin cans and canning jars. Secure a wick (or multiple) in place, and pour the melted wax in to set. Next, mix up a sugar scrub by combining one cup of brown or granulated sugar with ½ cup softened coconut oil, plus an extract or essential oil of your choosing. Finally, place the candles and sugar scrub into a reusable container such as a metal bucket, photo box, basket, planter, or mixing bowl and add a personalized note letting mom know howmuch you appreciate her.
instructions for your specific material (you can find them online).
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Your Guide to Growing Food at Home
How to Plant Produce in Small Outdoor Spaces Benefits of Growing Your Own Food Now, if you aren’t yet sold, let’s just talk about a few of the benefits of growing your foods at home. First — it encourages you to eat healthier! When you have fruits and vegetables right in your own backyard, you’re more likely to eat them. The pride of having grown them also adds to the experience. Another benefit is the cost savings. At any big-box grocery store, dollar store, or home and gardening store, you can get almost any packet of seeds for less than a dollar. Meanwhile, just one zucchini or squash is over $0.70! Stock your pantry full of your own hard work, and save yourself some money in the process. If you live in an apartment or simply don’t have any real gardening experience, growing your own foods might seem like an intimidating venture. In this article, we’ve
With so much time spent at home over the last year, many people have embarked on new experiences and ways to pass the time. People who might never have considered doing so before have started growing their own foods.
Even if plants aren’t your cup of tea, with a little patience and time, even people with the blackest of thumbs can start seeing green (foods that is).
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otherwise wouldn’t be able to grow in your area. So while you may live in a region that doesn’t support certain foods you want to grow, creating your own soil mixtures allows for you to grow all kinds of foods right outside your door. As a bonus, it’s also quite affordable and easy to keep up with container gardening. You can buy 5-gallon tubs at any local big box store for under $10. Or you may even be overlooking objects around the house you can use as planters — coffee cans, laundry baskets, storage tubs, even Tupperware containers. Just make sure you drill holes for drainage in the bottoms to prevent root rot and promote healthy growth. Getting Your Garden Growing By now, you’re thinking —OK. I’ve got my containers from around the house; I’ve scoped out a good place with lighting for my garden. Now, what can I grow? There are all kinds of fruits and vegetables you can start growing right now for the summer season that are easy andmanageable. So let’s talk a few specifics about different foods you can start growing this summer that will be easy andmanageable for any beginner gardener.
provided tips and tricks to help you grow your own produce, no matter how little experience you have or where you live!
Tomatoes are so easy to grow, and the speedy results and easy maintenance will leave any beginner gardener
Planting Your Garden
feeling proud and satisfied! Just remember that the bigger the tomato you want to grow, the bigger the container you will need. In these early summer months, it is the perfect season to get your tomato plants outside in the sunshine — tomatoes do not like the cold, so it is important to make sure they will be warm. Pop your tomato container in a full-sun area on your balcony or outside on the steps with a tomato cage or some staking, and watch those babies grow big and full! Just be mindful — tomato leaves are toxic if ingested by dogs or cats, so make sure your tomatoes are in a place safe from the reach of your furry friends!
If you live in an apartment with only a small balcony or you share a backyard in a duplex, you are not excluded from the home-grown foods experience. One of the best ways to get your garden growing — whether you have gardening space or not — is container planting. Container planting is a simple and easy way to manage a healthy garden that can travel with you even if you have to relocate. But bringing your garden with you isn’t the only benefit of container gardening. Containers allow for easier upkeep for busy homeowners and renters alike.
Because your foods are all placed in individual containers, you save time planting and weeding a full garden! You can also more easily protect and save
Squash is another easy-to-grow veggie that will make any beginning gardener excited with the results. One of the awesome extra benefits of growing squash is that squash plants grow beautiful blossoms that will make any outside container
your seasonal plants in the winter by bringing them inside. Container gardening also allows you to control soil mixture and grow produce you
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Cultivating an Indoor Herb Garden Staying indoors on a rainy day isn’t so bad when you can grow beautiful herbs in the convenience of your own home. Bring the joy of spring (and wonderful smells) inside with your own personal indoor herb garden, whether you have grand ambitions of growing a verdant vertical garden or you want to try your hand at an aromatic windowsill kitchen garden for fresh flavor at your fingertips. No matter what the weather is doing outside, you can grow herbaceous, delicious greenery inside and cultivate your green thumb at the same time. Just give your herbs some love, and they’ll love you back all year long. Growing Herbs Indoors Parsely, sage, rosemary, or thyme — no matter what you choose to sow and grow, your herbs will need plenty of sunlight, high-quality soil, containers with good drainage, and just enough water to thrive.
garden look that muchmore eye-catching this summer (and you can even eat them— great for garnishing any colorful summer dish). Squash needs space to grow, so make sure you use one of your bigger containers to get your squash growing. Place in a well- lit area, keep your soil moist and fertilized, and watch your squash bloom and grow!
Strawberries If vegetables aren’t your thing, strawberries are an easy fruit you can start growing right now! A huge benefit to growing strawberries in containers is that little critters can’t as easily sneak in and steal your freshly grown berries! The great thing about strawberries is that you can grow them in a variety of containers, and they don’t require a lot of space at all! You can go to any local home and gardening store — or even a dollar store — and grab a basic hanging basket to get your strawberries growing like crazy! Be mindful of which variety of strawberry you are getting started to make sure those varieties will provide the results that match your growing goals. Ever-bearing or perpetual varieties produce fruits twice a year; alpine varieties produce smaller strawberries but can thrive in small window boxes or containers indoors. Just make sure your strawberries are in a well-lit area, sheltered from any heavy winds, with good draining soil for fresh strawberries this summer or even early fall.
Love to spice up your summer
dishes with a spicy pepper? Or maybe you love to cut up some fresh sweet peppers with ranch dressing for a refreshing, cool summer snack? Well, the good news is that peppers are another easy-to-grow summer veggie you can grow right now in your container garden! In fact, most hot and sweet peppers thrive in containers! Grab whatever containers you can find and throw in some regular, good drainage soil and plant your pepper seeds. Peppers need consistent watering but do require a little more attention to make sure their soil doesn’t get too dry or too wet. However, any thriving peppers can be brought inside and placed in a well-lit window area.
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Best Herbs to Plant Indoors The following herbs make the perfect culinary companions to grow indoors and are hardy enough to survive year-round. Consult your local nursery for high-quality, non- GMO seeds, starts and herb varietals to suit your taste.
Sunlight and temperature
Fertilizer Don’t forget to fertilize! Most herbs do best with seaweed extract or fish emulsion, both of which contain ample amounts of nitrogen. During the warmer months, spritz your herbs with fertilizer once a week; in the colder months and during slower growth, fertilize once a month.
A good rule of thumb is to give your herbs at least six to eight hours of bright light per day. Herbs prefer indoor temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees and will do well in most indoor environments. Many herbs love a sunny window, but take care when you place them— if the leaves are touching the glass, they can burn as the window heats up with sunlight. Alternately, herbs can get too cold next to drafty windows, so consider insulating your windows or placing a towel between the window and its screen.
Who can resist the refreshing aroma of fresh basil, let alone the taste of fresh-picked leaves atop a margherita pizza? Basil is easy to start from seed and loves sun and warmth. Place in a south-facing window, and prune the leaves regularly to encourage growth. Chives A perennial herb with pretty purple flowers, chives are part of the onion family and lend a sweet onion-y flavor to dishes with their long, green stems. Chives thrive in full sun and partial shade and prefer moist soil. Their compact growth habits make them the perfect addition to a small kitchen herb garden.
Most herbs do best with slow, infrequent watering. Let containers dry out slightly between watering, while periodically testing the soil with your finger. When the soil is dry a couple inches from the top, water your herbs. Make sure to water slowly and thoroughly so that your herbs will fully absorb the water.
Don’t skimp on soil—spring for the high-quality stuff, and you’ll get high-quality herbs in return. Opt for an organic, non-GMO pottingmix whenever possible, andmake sure it is pottingmix, not potting soil. Specially suited for indoor plants, pottingmix is lighter and will allow for plenty of drainage with your herbs. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also make your own special pottingmix with coco peat or peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand. Consult your local nursery for tips onmaking the best blend for your herbs.
Your herbs will need plenty of fresh air to thrive. Avoid crowding your plants, and rearrange them occasionally. This will get the air flowing and will give them room to breathe.
Plants need love, too! Give your herbs a little pep-talk and they’ll get a boost from the carbon dioxide you exude. Running your hand over your herbs will also simulate wind and help strengthen their stems.
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Sage You won’t want to leave sage out of your indoor herb garden! With its heady, almost mint-like flavor, sage is an irreplaceable herb that goes well inmeat dishes, stuffings, creamy sauces and even desserts. Grow your sage from a starter or a cutting and place in a south-facing window. Sage loves full sun, but it does best in a cool, dry location.
your pots have adequate holes for drainage, andmake sure to place saucers beneath them to catch runoff water — you don’t want to damage your furniture or the floor! If you’re venturing into a vertical garden for your herbs, make sure it is set up with an adequate drainage system. Vertical Gardens If you’re looking to spruce up your home with a wall of green, a vertical herb garden is the way to go. Not only do you get the health-boosting, eye-catching benefits of having fresh greenery in your home, you get delicious and healthy herbs at your fingertips. Fromdecorative wall-mounted planters that double as chalkboards to modular vertical walls that make a statement, endless options abound for going vertical with your herbs.
Another savory favorite, fresh oregano adds unmistakable flavor to fresh pasta sauce with tomatoes from the garden. Oregano does best when grown from a starter or a cutting from another plant; just plant your starter or cutting in a well-draining pot with high-quality potting soil, then place in a south- facing window. Parsley Lending fresh flavor to all kinds of cuisine, parsley is a dream to have among your indoor herb collection. Parsley is easy to start from seed; just be sure to soak your seeds overnight for much quicker sprouting. You will want to plant your parsley in a larger pot to accommodate its long tap roots. Parsley does well in a south- or east- facing window with full sun, though it will tolerate cooler temperatures. Rosemary With its unmistakably resinous, pungent fragrance, rosemary will double as an air freshener while adding deep, sweet herbaceousness to your cooking. Purchase a starter plant or a cutting and place in a south-facing window, as rosemary thrives in full sun. If using a cutting, start it in a moist, soilless mix until it roots.
With its versatile savoriness essential to poultry, stews and vegetables, thyme is an absolute must for any herb garden. Thyme is remarkably lowmaintenance and can be started indoors with a cutting or a starter plant. Thyme does best in full sun but will also grow in an east- or west-facing window.
Types of Indoor Gardens
Whether you have ample space for an expansive wall of herbs, or you’re looking to maximize a tiny New York apartment with a cheerful windowsill planter, myriad options abound to craft the perfect herb garden for your indoor setup. No matter what you choose, know that a successful herb garden is only as good as its container. Make sure
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Whatever your vertical garden aspirations, just be sure it’s situated to ensure that your herbs get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. Get creative, but make sure your herbs have room to grow and breathe and that they can drain properly.
The material of your pot also plays an important role and should be chosen based on the humidity level of your home. Ceramic pots are ideal for a drier environment, as they keepmoisture in, while porous clay pots will dry out faster. This doesn’t mean that your pot choices should be limited — get creative and use repurposed containers for your herbs, or hit up garage sales for vintage planters. No matter what containers you choose to amp up your aesthetic, it is recommended to grow each herb in a separate container. Herbs vary in their preferences of sunlight, temperature, environment and soil, so this will allow for flexibility and long-term success in your herb growing. Whether you have your sights set on a simple pizza herb garden, or you’re hankering to take on a creative DIY vertical garden of grand proportions, an indoor herb garden is the perfect way to enjoy flavorful, fresh herbs all year long. Gardening season is here, so get planting and creating!
Old shipping pallets or wooden crates make great DIY projects to create your own personalized vertical herb gardens with a few tools and a dash of creative flair. Plenty of options and ideas for pallet gardens abound online, so do some research for what will best suit your needs, and consult your local nursery or home and garden center for any additional materials you may need to get started. For more repurposed wood creativity, secure some oldmason jars on a piece of old barn wood, thenmount it on the wall. Or, mount a piece of driftwood on the wall, and hang your herb pots from there! Wall-mounted pots and planter boxes are another fun way to go vertical. Depending on your decor, you can go modern with hanging frame planters that make your herbs look pretty as a picture, or go rustic and shabby-chic with wall- mounted buckets. To maximize a sunny kitchen window, mount a couple shower curtain rods horizontally within the inner window frame, then hang your herbs in decorative buckets on the rods.
Countertop Pots & Planters
If you prefer to keep things traditional with countertop or
tabletop planting, you’re in good hands. Pots are a straightforward, classic way to start your indoor herb garden, especially for beginners. Purchase quality pots with enough holes to allow sufficient drainage for your herbs, andmake sure to place saucers underneath your pots to catch excess runoff. You will also want to consider size when choosing a pot; make sure it is large enough to accommodate the root system and growth of the herb, while not being too large that it swallows your plant.
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