Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY Quick and Easy Greenhouse with Hog Panels

DIY Hog Panel Greenhouse FlowerPatchFarmhouse.comI have missed being here to yak with you all.
Seems my schedule has become quite action packed which leaves me too exhausted at night to put my thoughts into the written word.
But today I get to be home and what a delight that is.
I am a homebody by nature and there is no place I would rather be on most days.
I want to share something I have tried to get done  since early Spring.
My garden season starts much later than most and takes awhile to get going.
I wanted something to help me get an earlier start and extend my season well into the winter.
DIY Greenhouse from Hog PanelsThough this is by no means a glamor shot I wanted to show you an overall picture of my DIY Greenhouse. (don't tell my hubby I am flaunting a photo of his backside to the world, he doesn't read my blog and is clueless)
Each one of the hog panels is 5 feet wide so this makeshift greenhouse is 15 feet long.  If you didn't manage to do the math that is 3 hog panels connected.
They are 16 feet long and wedged between a frame in the ground.  The height is enough for me to walk under without stooping and I am 5' 5" tall, my hubby has to bend his head and he is 6'.
If you want it to be taller you would, of course, space the frame a bit narrower.
DIY Greenhouse from Hog PanelsI have straw all around my plants to reduce the need for water.
After we propped the panels in place my hubby wired them together.
Nothing fancy, just a piece of heavy duty wire twisted around it.
DIY Greenhouse from Hog PanelsI took several photos at different angles to try and give you the most perspective. 
You can see my tomato plants in this one.  He was very good at not hurting anything I already had growing.
Hoop House (7 of 30)We put this up over a week ago and my plants have grown considerably since. I will try to share more current photos tomorrow.
While I know many of you are already harvesting, it is typical for me not to really get anything until August, but I am hoping this new addition to my garden will help to get more earlier.
We can cover it with thick clear plastic once the temperatures cool and even maybe grow some cool weather crops after snow flies, we will have to add some supports to the center but I am told that is easy enough.
Here are my French Filet green beans.
Hoop House (8 of 30)My baby cucumber, it is the little snacking type that I love.
I had planted several seeds and a few came up but a skunk or other pesky creature dug them up while trying to get grubs. Grrr...Hoop House (10 of 30)These are the weeds that are growing on the outside of the DIY Greenhouse, I grow the lovliest weeds.Hoop House (11 of 30)Actually I am letting them go to seed so I can collect them then these plants will get pulled up and this area will be tidier looking.
And once this is filled and really pretty I will share some real beauty shots!
Here in the foreground you can see my bed of lettuce that bolted and went to seed.  I am pulling it up a bit each day to feed to my chickens.
It turned hot overnight here this Spring and made it turn bitter, but no waste here.  The chickens still love it.
I hope soon to be able to post about all the lovely veggies we will be eating.
Hoop House (17 of 30)Speaking of my hens, my Olive Eggers have started to lay.
I love the gorgeous green that I have in my egg collection each day.
Farm Fresh EggsI hope you enjoy you day....I am going out to the garden now for a lovely morning walk with my coffee!
I wish you a fabulous day!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Black Eyed Susan, An All American Garden Performer

Black Eyed Susan
I can’t say that I have a favorite garden flower.
But I can say that Black Eyed Susans are ‘one’ of my favorites, especially in the mid-summer garden.
It lights up the garden with bright golden flowers that fairly glow.
The colors can range from a pure yellow…
Black Eyed Susan 2 (36 of 51)
…to an amber burnt orange
Black Eye Susan Amber13
It blooms prolifically on sturdy fuzzy stems, with leaves just as fuzzy.
Tough as nails once established it will tolerate drought and still fill in fabulously.
Some blossoms are large and spread as wide as my hand.
Black Eyed Susan 9 (46 of 51)
Others are short and stubby but just as lovely.
Black Eyed Susan 3 (38 of 51)
This self seeding perennial/biennial is so diverse and easy that typically I don’t transplant.
I just let it self seed and dig up ones that grow where I do not want. 
Black Eye Susan Double (32 of 51)
I even have some that are double.
Black eyed Susan double (1 of 1)
Others with just a blush of color at center
Black Eyed Susan 7 (42 of 51)
and some with more color at center.
Black Eyed Susan Mix (49 of 51)
They easily grow in the hard packed earth of the roadside and flourish.
Black Eyed Susan roadside
They blend so nicely with all the other flowers and make my garden a bright spot in the neighborhood.
Black Eyed Susans front
I confess to being a lazy gardener…
all of these are volunteers in my garden.
Black Eyed Susan yellow
Not a one did I deliberately plant.
You can’t ask much more from a flower than they take care of themselves and give such a stellar performance.

Black Eye Susan Amber12
Happy Gardening!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Ode to the Daisy

Variety of daisies

I love Daisies.
No doubt about it, they are a happy flower.
And tough as nails.
They have been a part of any flower garden I have grown.
A few years back I ran across some seeds of Crazy Daisy.
A ruffledy, fun, sport of the tried and true Shasta Daisy.
DSC_0001.NEF-2I started the seeds and plenty sprouted and thrived.
Some were much more fluffy ruffled than others.
Like the one above.
Some had long elegant petals that gracefully draped.
Elegant petal on DaisySome are more sedate with just a couple rows of petals.
Crazy DaisyI also have regular Daisies in my garden,
Some with short and stubby petals. Shasta DaisySome shorter in stature, like this Silver Princess.
She is not blooming yet but very soon.
I had planted an entire 6 pack of this type several years ago but only one stayed under 18 inches tall.
So in the places in my garden that I want a more diminutive daisy I have taken root divisions of this one and replanted them.
I wanted one in front of a rose bush but I did not want it to grow taller than the rose.
So the shorter daisy works perfect here.
Silver Princess DaisyI have  tried to start seeds from it but they too grow to be taller than I want.
So root divisions it is.
Daisies are also a very hardy lot.
This one grows in the gravel next to the road, it is gorgeous, rarely gets any water,  remains straight and sturdy when others are top heavy and flop over.
It too is just about to bloom.
roadside daisy

Here is a batch that reseeded themselves and I just let them come up until I am ready to do something in this space.  They are in front of the Dream Weaver rose.
volunteer patch of Shasta DaisiesEach one seems to be slightly different than the next.
Shasta DaisyIf you wish to read the interesting history of the Shasta Daisy and how it came to be just click HERE
For me they are a drought tolerant flower, something we need right now being that California is in a drought.
In any garden if they get too much water they have a tendency to get gangly and flop over.
If you want a step by step of dividing them then click here.   HOW TO PROPAGATE SHASTA DAISY

The only additional info I would add is I don't always wait until Fall to dig up and divide.
If I need to move one, even in the height of Summer, I just do it. 
I do sacrifice some blooms but if I want something to go in that particular spot or if that plant is looking shabby then I do it any ol' time.
  I do be sure and keep the transplants well watered so they can survive the shock and have a chance to set down some good roots. 

Happy Gardening and try some Daisies today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Great Way to Use Up Zucchini

Zucchini Noodles or Pasta

Veggie Noodles, a low calorie and tasty alternative to pastaA couple months ago I read this post by Repeat Crafter Me about using a spiral cutter to make a lower calorie noodle out of zucchini.
I was intrigued, the dish looked very tasty.
Being on a weight loss regime myself I thought to give a spiral slicer a try.
She used a different brand than I did but I am sure hers would work just as well.
I chose the Paderno Tri-Blade Vegetable slicer to have more options.

This is what the Paderno looks like set up and ready to slice.
(the other type blades for different shapes and sizes are stored handily underneath)
veggie noodles makerYou turn the handle and the zucchini is turned into veggie noodles and spirals in no time.
Turn a squash into noodlesYou do get a long core and a little butt end but I just slice them and eat them too.
I blanch the veggie noodles in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and drain.
(To add a bit more flavor I have also blanched them in chicken broth.)
Now add whatever sauce you wish.
Tonight I had chicken sauteed in my home made oven roasted marinara (from my summer garden last year).
a little homemade oven roasted marinaraI don’t know that I have shared that recipe here yet.
It is a ‘must have’ to use up all those tomatoes and squash you have overflowing your harvest basket towards the end of the season.

Here is the zucchini noodles all smothered with marinara and chicken goodness with just a dash of Parmesan.
zucchini pasta, veggie noodles4Bon Appetit
This was very yummy and it resembles pasta enough to assuage my craving for it.
Even my carb lovin’ husband was impressed.
Last time I served it with my homemade Pesto (that too is from last summer)
I promise to come back with another garden tour post soon.
My garden is starting it’s yellow and oranges stage.
Have a great evening!


For a link to the Paderno Veggie slicer just click here then look in the sidebar for the Amazon Link.  It is an affiliate link but you still get the same low price. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Paint Sunflowers Easy, Fast & Fun

Woo Hoo!
I have shipped the 98 signs I have been slaving over the past couple of weeks.
What a task!
I am so excited I just had to tell everyone.

Now on with the show.
I had posted this step by step back in October.
I am reusing it now as I have a video to accompany it.
Videos seem to really help me see how to do the steps so I figured it is the same for many others learning something new.
That being said, here goes.
First you can draw a circle or oval shape if it helps.
Many times I just start pouncing the double loaded scruffy brush around in a circle shape.
I use a dark brown and a black in the demo but if you look at actual sunflowers they come in a range of colors.
So go with the colors of what you are painting.
It helps me to find photos to mimic them.
I am using bottled craft acrylics here.
sunflower 1
Keep the brush in one position, not twisting and turning so you can see a definite form taking shape with the two colors.
paint sunflowers in acrylic
You can get an idea of what you should see but the video gives you a better visual idea.
Next you need to double load a flat brush (size of brush depends on the size of your sunflower, in this demo I used a #12 flat brush) with a yellow ochre or a darker gold color and a medium yellow.
Stroke the petals on.
paint sunflower strokes
Line up the chisel edge to your center, press, drag and let spring to a point as you turn the brush to the side.
bright sunflower painting
I will again link to the video below so you can watch after viewing all the photos.
how to paint a sunflower
Keep going around the center until you have petals all the way around.
fast and easy stroke sunflowers
You can do another layer of petals if you wish, that is shown in the video, these photos only show a single layer.
You will need to clean up the center,
just double load your scruffy again and tap over the base of the petals.
And voila'! You have a sunflower.
I also show how to do the half sunflower in the video.
Not that you couldn't have figured that out by yourself.
Go ahead and watch the video and I also demonstrate painting the leaves.
I kind of got off camera when painting the smaller leaves but they are basically the same as a petal.
If you wish you can actually go back and see the original post. CLICK HERE
So go and paint some sunshine!
Happy Painting!

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to Paint Leaves in Acrylics

how to paint the leaves
Now that you know how to paint the flowers on this sign it is time to learn to paint the leaves.
Aren't you excited?
Actually I paint most of the leaves first on a design, it sets them to the back.
To see the first two tutorials on this just click here..
How to Paint Roses
How to Paint Lilacs
This little tutorial is on these particular leaves.
The scallop or shell stroke leaves and the smaller little leaves.
There is also a brief video you can watch to see how my brush and hand moves.
paint a leaf
I start with undercoating my leaves, (if I wish them to be opaque) with a light green.
I let that dry, then I double load my #12 flat brush with the lighter green and a dark green.
paint a leaf 2
I start on the chisel edge and press while wiggling back and forth to create a shell shaped stroke.
paint a leaf 3
As I near the tip I let my brush come back up to a chisel edge and twist to the side.
(I think this is a good spot to watch the video so you get my drift)

Don't flip the brush, but you should reload with paint.
Keep the dark side of the brush next to the light when beginning the next stroke.
leaf tutorial (4 of 5)
Do it the same way you did the first stroke and let your brush spring back to a chisel edge.
leaf tutorial (5 of 5)
And there you have a leaf.

Here is a another video that I made quite awhile ago on painting leaves,
no talking, just painting.
You can watch me paint a few.
Its about 2 minutes long.
Try not to get two tips on the leaf,
that happens to me a lot.
Once again, here is the link to the video.
(in case it is not working above)
How to Paint a Scallop Leaf
and that is pretty much it.
FYI, I am testing out different suppliers of the brushes I like to see how they perform as far as price, shipping costs and customer service so I can give you  run down of the best places to buy good quality brushes.
It pays to use good quality brushes.
They are not cheap(comparatively) but well worth the bit of extra $$$ you pay for them.

Happy Painting.

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