Arcadia Farms

  (Portage, Michigan)
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Gardening Gadgets for Kids

Wish List Wednesday | Gardening Gadgets for Kids

Welcome to another Wish List Wednesday! This week Owen will begin sowing seeds for his 4’ x 6’ raised garden, located next to his swing set in the backyard. Last summer I enjoyed watching him pick and share fresh cucumbers with his friends in the neighborhood (and they all enjoyed it too)! This year he’s growing sunflowers, dragon egg cucumbers and a watermelon plant. Since now is a great time for little ones to start getting involved in the garden and pre-garden work, I thought it would be fun to do a Wish List Wednesday featuring tools and gadgets for kids. To make the list, I consulted my resident expert on kid-friendly gardening. Here’s what he came up with.

 

Watering Cans

Fancy Pants Watering CanPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Lucky Elephant Watering CanPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Verdie Chameleon Kids Watering CanPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Kid-friendly Compost Bins

Children's Compost BinPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

DIY Kids Compost BinPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Garden Gloves

Kids Garden GlovesPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Harvest Baskets and Buckets

All-purpose bucket for the gardenPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Metal harvest basketPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Twigz Kids Garden BucketPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

A Garden Border Fence (To Keep Pets Out)

Garden Border FencePinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Garden Boots

Garden Boots for KidsPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Garden Boots for KidsPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Garden Boots for KidsPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Garden Tools

Morgan Cycle 6 pc. Junior Garden Tool Set - Kids Gardening Tools at HayneedlePinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Mini-Greenhouse

Mini GreenhousePinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Super simple mini greenhousesPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Mini Greenhouse from IKEAPinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

Kid-Sized Wheelbarrow

A wheelbarrow for the wee ones.Pinned by Arcadia FarmsOnto In the Garden

 

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.    

 
 

Planting Herbs in Upcycled Tin Cans

This winter I shared with you that I want a beautiful, traditionally styled, super-sized tea garden full of straight-up tea plant (Camellia sinensis) hedges and oodles of herbs. Despite my grandest dreams, our micro-farm only has room for a micro tea garden. So instead of having something like this…

formal garden

{Image Credit}
www.dnalandscape.com

I’m going to have something like this…

tin can herbs

{Image Credit}
http://fotofraulein.blogspot.com

I’ll be growing herbs for tea in upcycled tin cans which will hang from the posts of our garden fence. I’m also hoping to add some herb containers closer to the house. This weekend I got started on planting my first herbs – stevia.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with stevia, it is a natural sweetening alternative to cane sugar. I’m going to use the leaves in tea but you can also use it in powder form for baking. (Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the aftertaste it leaves in baked goods.) I’m starting small with just five containers. Here’s what I did.

I’ve been collecting an assortment of tin cans all year. I grabbed five of them and used a drill to make holes in the bottom. Because stevia likes well-drained soil, I wanted to add a little something to the bottom of each can to create air pockets for drainage. What better to use than some of the myriad twigs lying around my yard? Cleans my yard up a smidge (ok, a very tiny smidge), makes good use of what would otherwise be yard waste and creates a mini-hugelkultur climate in my herb containers. Win win win!

holes in tin can planter for herbs

I started by drilling drainage holes in the bottoms of my tin cans.

tin can herb planters with twigs for drainage

Next I added a layer of fallen twigs. These will aid in drainage by creating air pockets and will also add a hugelkultur effect to these tiny planters.

planting stevia in tin can herb planters

I’m planting stevia from Seed Savers Exchange in these mini-planters.

I’ve never grown stevia before… can’t wait to see (and taste) what lies ahead! And I’m super excited about all the other tea-worthy herbs that are yet to come.

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.  

 
 

Garden Apps Wish List

Wish List Wednesday | Garden Apps (from seed to table!)

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s nothing organic or sustainable about apps for your mobile device. At first glance it may seem a little off-center that a website about living sustainably is featuring a Wish List of Android and iPhone apps, but please, hold the phone! Our take on sustainable living is a wee bit different than you might expect. In this recent post about the topic of sustainable living I mentioned that “the beauty of sustainable living is that we can (responsibly) enjoy the comforts of modern resources without worry for what we’ll do if or when they’re gone. Living sustainably does not mean utterly forsaking modern resources, but it does mean that we have a plan for living well should we need to live without them.”

So in the spirit of smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, I give you this month’s Wish List Wednesday! There’s a whole world of nifty apps out there just waiting for you to discover them! Check out these neat programs that can be accessed from your mobile device and can make garden planning, planting, watering, harvesting, local eating, cooking and recordkeeping one step easier.

Square Foot Gardening Spacing

Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing Cheat Sheet. Its written to be easy to read from your mobile device so you can check it on your phone while you’re in the garden. {Arcadia Farms}

 

Gardening Toolkit
The Gardening Toolkit – The app that loves to grow! Organize your plants in multiple gardens. Advice on what to grow and when to grow it. Data and photos for 1000 plants and vegetables.

 

Gardenate
The garden calendar shows the vegetables and herbs you can plant every month. A detailed guide to growing the most popular garden vegetables, with local planting information for the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

 

Green Drop
Green Drop is a full featured garden/plant manager. – Organize your plants into gardens with locations – Monitor and get reminders when plants need water, food, or are ready for harvest. – Keep notes on your plants. – Manually adjust watering, feeding, and harvest dates if needed. – Keep a gallery of pictures of each plant with notes and date picture was taken (to track growth).

 

Herbs+
Herbs+ gives you images and information on the most popular herbs in an elegant, fun-to-use application. Each herb offers gardening tips, culinary ideas, medicinal uses and a crisp image to help you identify the herb.

 

Bugs in the Garden
Quickly ID common North American insects in your vegetable garden. Includes realistic illustrations and photos of both adults and larva (caterpillars and grubs). Gives basic advice on management and damage assessment. If you have seen while gardening: * Beetles * Moths * Aphids * Caterpillars * Grubs This app will help identify them. 33 pictures of 23 bugs all on one page to swiftly pinpoint the bugs in your garden.

 

Mother Earth News
The new MOTHER EARTH NEWS app acts as a virtual library of our electronic resources, conveniently bringing them all together in one handy tool. You can browse through our resources and download those that most interest you. Our How to Can and Food Garden Guide tools, previously available only as separate apps, are offered for free within the MOTHER EARTH NEWS app and together will guide you through growing a great organic garden and preserving your fresh harvests.

 

Garden  Guide (Mother Earth News)
The Food Gardening Guide from Mother Earth News is a one-stop gardening app from America’s leading magazine on organic gardening. The app provides expert advice on Crops and Techniques, plus a Resources section to find even more helpful information. Shown with beautiful illustrations, the Crops section includes planting and harvesting instructions along with recommended varieties, pest control advice and extra tips to improve your garden’s yields.

 

How to Can (Mother Earth News)
This app explains how to can fresh produce using both water bath and pressure canners. Complete basic instructions plus timing details for over 20 crops make this free app a must-have for anyone who cans or wants to learn how to can. Incorporates advice from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Ball brand home canning products company. The Basics section will fully equip even the most novice of canners with all the information needed to get started.

 

Harvest Plan
Harvest Plan is a neat little application for your mobile device that lets you keep tabs on your garden. With a library of more than 200 popular plants at the start, harvest plan will keep you abreast of what’s where and when it’s going to be ready. Keep track of plantings, losses, and yields – even attach a picture of your plants to the entry. When it’s time to check on your plants, Harvest Plan will post a notification to your device’s notification panel so you won’t miss it.

 

Taste of Home Recipe App
Taste of Home’s recipe app brings provides tons of recipes featuring the season’s freshest flavors right to your phone. Each season brings a new collection of recipes for fresh fruits and veggies. Recipes have photos. Allows you to browse by course, cooking style, cuisine, ingredients or holidays. My favorite part: You can find which locally-grown ingredients are available in your state this season—just choose your location, browse the ingredients, and find hundreds of recipes!

 

AmpleHarvest
While America has more than 50 million people who are hungry or are at real risk of being hungry (“food insecure people”), more than 40 million Americans grow food in home gardens – often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends. It doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you deliberately planted an extra row of food or just harvested more zucchini (or any other fruit, vegetables, herbs or nuts) than you can possibly use, AmpleHarvest.

 

Honorable Mentions

Fooducate
Don’t Diet – Eat Healthy with Fooducate! Featured App on Android Market Dec 2011. Scan and choose healthy groceries. Over 200,000 unique UPCs! As featured in Oprah’s O Magazine, USAToday, NYTimes, WSJ, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and on ABC, FOX, NBC and more… Instead of trying to decode nutrition facts labels and ingredient lists… …use your Android phone to: ? Automatically scan a product barcode ? See product highlights (both good & bad) ? Select better alternatives

 

Locavore
LOCAVORE: It’s your seasonal, local food network. Locavore makes searching & sharing in-season, local food a breeze by mapping farms and farmers’ markets, and what is in season based off your location. Features: 1 – Share photos about local, in season food & sellers 2 – Locate farms and farmers’ markets near you 3 – Browse what’s in-season and soon to come 4 – Find who is selling it and where 5 – Get details about your local farmers’ market 6 – Post what you ate locally to Facebook

 
 

A Micro Tea Garden

I want a tea garden. And by ‘tea garden’, I mean a garden with hedges made of true tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and tea-worthy herbs that I can harvest at my leisure (<— said with my best British accent) then steep for a delicious homemade tea minutes later. On top of that, I wouldn’t mind sitting in the midst of all those beautiful hedges and herbs while I sip said tea. The ideal tea garden would be very near my back door. I have visions of something marvelous and much like the following:

Source: flickr.com via Arcadia on Pinterest

Source: mydeco.com via Arcadia on Pinterest

Source: everythingfab.com via Arcadia on Pinterest

 

 

 

Source: ripe6.net via Arcadia on Pinterest

 

 

But the unfortunate reality is that there just isn’t a great space available for my fantasy tea garden. While I do plan to incorporate some herbs like chamomile and mint into the main garden this year, the bulk of the garden space (Main Garden and Fenceline Garden) is rightfully set aside for growing vegetables to support our CSA. I considered planting around the perimeter of the house (that would be pretty and practical!) but I know that there was a previous application of insecticide for termintes applied here and I’m reluctant. (Apparently this treatment bonds to the soil and stays put so its not an issue for the rest of the property – the garden is at the complete other end of our acre – but I’m not taking a chance of growing edible plants right above or next to it.)

What’s a tea loving girl to do? How about this: I intend to have my tea garden in containers. I’ll be reusing (up-cycling, if you will) tin cans as planters which will be affixed to the posts of our garden fence. They’ll get plenty of sun out there, they’ll be conveniently close to our water source and they’ll just be pleasant to look at and smell as I work in the garden. After drilling a few drainage holes in the bottom and filling them with compost, they should be well-suited to growing little bits of beauty. I’ll have several cans of yarrow, thyme, spearmint, sage, rosemary, peppermint, lavender, lemon grass, fennel, chamomile and anise. Those herbs with fragrant flowers will hopefully also attract more bees and butterflies. I’m not 100% sure yet what they’ll look like or how I’ll secure them to the fence (maybe just nails?) but here’s a gallery of inspiration that the final product is sure to come from.

 

What do you think? Any suggestions for how to hang them? Or suggestions for tea-worthy herbs to grow in them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.  

 
 
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