Tag Archives: Gardening

Plastic Free July – Our Successes & Failures

by Tammy Taylor~

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I’d never heard of plastic-Free July before, but I’m willing to jump on the bandwagon to eliminate as much extra plastic from our lives as possible.  Now I hate plastic and I shun it every day anyway.  But for me, it’s all about balance.  If I stumble I don’t obsess about it, life’s just too short.  But I’m usually pretty successful in eliminating lots of plastic with super-easy changes.  Come see ways I’ve been able to stop lots of plastic from coming into our home.  Maybe you can pick up a few tips.  We’d love to hear your tips too, be sure to share in the comments.  We can all learn from each other!

Plastic Free July is going great. There are a few stumbles, but many successes. How do YOU eliminate plastic from your home? #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Repurposing An Empty Coffee Canister: Dried Herbs

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we love our coffee.  We prefer Folgers to other brands of coffee.  Although I hate that it’s sold in plastic, at least the plastic canisters are convenient.  I’ve used them for simplifying Garden Weeding Chores.  And we’ve stored chicken feed and dog food in them too.  I’ve Painted Canisters for a cute planter for our back porch. (and also a cute way to share plants with friends).  And I even FINALLY figured out how to Remove The Print from canisters so I can use them for cute decorative pieces in my kitchen (more on that later).  But since this canister is food-grade plastic, I’m able to do even more with it.  I can store large quantities of dried herbs in them.

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Vegetable Garden Update: July

by Tammy Taylor~

Whelp, we made it to July, y’all!  As is typical, it’s feast or famine with the rain.  Although much rain has fallen in the area it always seemed to miss us.  But then?  Oh then my friends, the rain fell!  We got almost 3 glorious inches while we were away visiting relatives.  The garden responded with a hearty rebound.  Now I know here in NE Texas the rain taps will typically turn off about now and will stay off for the rest of the summer.  So we may get a little ole 1/4″ inch or so every now & then, but we can count on manually irrigating the garden from here on out.  But let’s stroll through the garden and see how it’s doing, shall we?

NE Texas Zone 8 Garden. Summer is here, y'all. July promises to be hot & dry here in NE Texas. But the garden has provided quite nicely. Come check it out! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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How To Harvest Mammoth Sunflower Seeds

by Tammy Taylor~

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I love sunflowers!  As a matter of fact they may be my absolute favorite flower.  I mean, what’s not to love?  They’re super easy to grow, they bloom prolifically and I’ve always said “Yellow is a HAPPY color!”  I plant a row of Mammoth Sunflowers at the edge of my garden every year.  I love the look of the cheery yellow blossoms.  And my mom always comments about how beautiful they are when she visits.

This year I planted the sunflowers along the chicken fence side of the garden.  Those huge sunflower plants offer shade during the heat of the day for my chickens.  Oh, and our bees love them too. That’s a lot of bang for my package-of-seeds buck! But now it’s time to harvest those sunflower seeds.  Come see what I did.

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Fresh Garden-Veggie Pico de Gallo in Minutes!

by Tammy Taylor~

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RancherMan & I love pico de gallo.  That zesty mix of tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapenos is one of our favorite ways to enjoy garden veggies.  This year RancherMan even requested that I plant a pico de gallo garden to assure we can enjoy that culinary delight whenever we like.  I was, of course, happy to oblige him!  I always have onions and garlic planted anyway.  Of course I have tomatoes planted every year as well.  And c’mon, there’s never gonna be a garden season when I don’t have copious amounts of jalapenos growing out there.  So I just needed to include cilantro in my planting plan to fulfill his request.  Recently we were invited to a family cookout so we told them we’d bring fresh homemade pico de gallo.  You’re not gonna believe how quickly it all comes together!

Fresh pico de gallo in minutes using fresh garden vegetables. Ripe tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos and cilantro. ENJOY your veggies! #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

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Using Natural Materials: Straw In The Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

Y’all know we live in Texas.  You also know it’s typically hot and dry during our summertime months.  So I’m careful to mulch our garden heavily.  Mulching helps the plants in many ways.  It not only conserves that precious moisture, but it also moderates soil temps.  I like to mulch with natural materials whenever possible.  A typical gardening year will see me mulching with grass clippings, leaves or spent hay.

But I have a section of my garden that holds my Concord Grapevine.  I’ve trained it to grow along the fence.  It’s LOADED with grapes!  But I’ve also vowed to keep the Bermuda grass from creeping into my garden.  So all the walkways in the garden plus a wide perimeter swath is mulched with wood chips.  But the grapevine is right at the lifeline.  So to keep bermuda from creeping in around the grapevine I surrounded it with 3 bales of wheat straw.  The purpose was just to deny sneaky Bermuda the sunlight as it attempts to grow beneath the bales to get into my garden.  Permission:  DENIED!

But those straw bales are several years old now.  They’re just spent and starting to deteriorate.  I need to replace them.

I use organic matter for mulch in my garden - often grass clippings or spent hay. But come see how a bale of straw does double duty! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Vegetable Garden Update: June

by Tammy Taylor~

Unfortunately our area of NE Texas has slipped into yet another drought this year.  Oh there’s been plenty of rain in surrounding areas but it’s mostly managed to miss our homestead!  What we have gotten is lots of the cloudiness associated with that precious rain.  But so many cloudy days means my garden is really behind where it should be this time of year.  My tomatoes are nowhere near producing yet and my peppers are all still tiny.  But I’ve had some successes too.  C’mon into my garden, y’all.  I’ll give you the tour!

Come with me and walk through our vegetable garden. We're still struggling with the weather but we have some successes! #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Another Great Use For Repurposed Coffee Canisters

by Tammy Taylor~

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So y’all know RancherMan & I are coffee drinkers.  You know, like in “Stay away until I’ve had my coffee” kinda coffee drinkers.  Having a ‘Skip Coffee Day’ is never an option, so don’t even ask.  But we don’t want sweetsy, foamy flavored, overly-sugared drinks.  We want coffee.  Strong, black, delicious.  We prefer Folders coffee in the Taylor Household.  That plastic canister it’s sold in comes in handy for many uses when it’s empty.  We store chicken feed and dog food in them.  And RancherMan uses them in the shop to gather bolts & hardware together.  And I’ve even spray painted them and used them for sharing plants from my garden with friends.  But I still need to put them to use.  Our coffee consumption goes on, ya know??  So here’s another simple way those empty canisters still help me out.

Repurposing Coffee Canisters In The Garden. Those plastic coffee canisters. You love 'em, but how many can you use? I'm sharing another way I'm able to repurpose them. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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How To Get FREE Veggie Plants For Your Garden

by Tammy Taylor~

So I recently shared an update on my veggie garden progress.  If you’ve read it you know my peppers and tomatoes were pretty much a bust this year due to our weird spring.  You see, I planted seeds in my indoor greenhouse and placed that greenhouse at a south-facing window in my home like I always do.  But the constant cloudy weather this spring hampered a good germination.  The few plants that did germinate were hardened off & placed in the garden.  But you know peppers and tomatoes like a little more sun, a little more heat.  All those seeds were just a big, fat bust. I’m disappointed since RancherMan had requested a Pico-De-Gallo garden this year.  Garlic?  Check.  Onions?  Check.  Cilantro?  Check.  Tomatoes?  Hummm… But I was recently able to replenish some of the vacant areas in my garden.  It cost me ZILCH.  “How can you get free veggie plants for your garden?” you might wonder.  I’m so glad you asked!

Free Volunteer Plants. Tomato planting was a bust in the garden this year, will I do w/o tomatoes? See how I've outfitted my veggie garden with FREE plants #TaylorMadeHomestead

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Vegetable Garden Update: May

by Tammy Taylor~

Well, it’s been a pretty strange spring so far for us in NE Texas.  Pretty strange indeed!  Many areas all around us have received plenty of spring rains but for some reason it always seems to miss us here on the homestead.  Although May is our rainiest month of the year we have areas in our backyard that are pretty bare where the ground is parched & cracked.  Scary!  Hopefully that’s not a sign of things to come this year.  I’ve been watering with a 2-gallon watering can which takes a lot of time and doesn’t water as thoroughly.  But RancherMan set up the cistern pump for me today so I’ll be able to use that rainwater captured in the 18-ft deep cement cistern from now on.  If we get any rain at all in the coming weeks that cistern will fill back up!  With the cloudy & cooler weather we’ve had, the garden has really been slow in taking off.  But I’ve had some successes too.  C’mon along with me for a stroll through our garden.

With the cloudy & cooler weather we've had, the garden has been slow taking off. C'mon along with me for a stroll through our garden. #TaylorMadeHomestead Continue reading