Ikea Hacks or not

I didn’t know there was such a thing not to mention, I didn’t know there was a cult-like following. Ikea Hacks. Wow. All the really cool things you can do with Ikea stuff. I love Ikea stuff. I don’t have much because everyone knows it is Ikea stuff and because their sofas are just too dang low to the ground to be of any real use to my family. Not that we are all tall, but my parents are tall. And I can’t bear the thought of them having to sit on the ground so low to the ground. Random, I know.

I want to be an Ikea Hacker. I can’t for the life of me think of what to hack or even a good reason to hack it. But I wanna be a hacker. I tried. I went to Ikea yesterday looking for something to change into something else. I found a little greenhouse. I need a little green house that is cute for my seedlings so that ‘The Marine’ won’t complain as they take over all kitchen space near the windows. I could use like four of these cute little guys. Did I mention that they are a cool $20 each and that I am cheap frugal?

That isn’t hacking, it is buying. Booo. I am not a hacker. Check out this awesomely cool hack and this one is my fave. Did you notice that they use the same shelving system. How freaking awesome is that? No really, how awesome is that? SUPER AWESOME! Oh, sorry, I got a bit excited.

I think I will have to stick to growing vegetables… at least until spring break. Muahahahaha. Then I am looking at a new foyer bench with cubbies!!! Ikea hacking away!
ikea hack bench
Til later lovelies.

#CoiledGlory #ikeahacks

UPDATE: I bought the last greenhouse that Ikea had in stock. It was the display and a little over-handled. As-Is = discount!!! 50% off made my inner frugalista very happy. No I only need three more.

Have you ever hacked and Ikea find? Or anything else for that matter?

We Love Sweets

I am a self purported urban farmer. Ok, yes. That would be delusions of grandeur. Is it grandeur to consider ones self a farmer? Does ‘ones’ in ones self require an apostrophe to be possessive? Does the English language require one to possess ones self? Rewind. I am a gardener and by that I mean that each year I plant seeds and plants into the ground, somewhat forget about them when it is mosquito season and then pray that they will actually produce fruits or vegetables before they freeze to death.

My garden has sprawled to almost the front yard. Mostly because I have a lot of shade and dappled sunlight in what is considered a more appropriate veggie area, the backyard. I am perfectly fine with the concept of gardening in the front yard but “The Marine” on the other hand. Well suffice it to say that he complains and scowls at the current growing arrangements because they are not neat, tidy, and similarly arranged. You know, like barracks or boots lined up against a wall. No, the mishegas that takes place in my garden beds cannot be contained by military regime nor will said regime allow such a disarray in the front yard. I digress.

I love spinach. But more than spinach, we as a family love sweet potatoes. I grow sweet potatoes. The free way, which entails getting a tuber making letting it sprout. Throwing the slips out into the dirt. Harvesting sweets hopefully before the first frost (if I can remember). I love growing sweet potatoes. They are by far the easiest and most interesting thing to grow and subsequently make into pie. I don’t have any fancy ‘sweet duds’ (you know, a fancy place to grow sweets). I use a deep, plastic, under-bed storage box. Got it from Big Lots for dirt cheap, drilled some holes in the bottom, added some Mel’s Mix and voila. Taters. It works really well.

I have long envisioned a larger place for tater growing. Basic ground dirt is just not gonna happen. To tough to dig. I need light weight soil for ease of harvest. I really want a fancy new raised garden but that is mostly a conversation non-starter. But I do have to get something as my trusty box didn’t survive this winter and well, winter isn’t even over yet. So here I am, scheming and conniving to get a new growing area. I think I will build it. I can build it. Don’t look at the screen that way, I really can. I have built other boxes and they have survived for years… about 5 in fact.  Just gotta convince “The Marine” that this is really needed and will be neat and tidy. HA!

Til later lovelies.

Is your green thumb-sense tingling?

2013 Vegetables

It is SPRING, Time for Growing Food!!seedlings

3/8/13

For the last three or four years, I have been trying to grow some of my own fruits and veggies. Last year, the urge to have something green growing in my garden was so strong that I started veggies indoors in February, which honestly was the earliest I could start. I am considering a winter seed starter that can be started even earlier for next year. I was absolutely compelled and obsessed. I mean, if there were a diagnosis for wanting to plant something this badly, it would be mild OCD.  This year, I am already growing a little human and am incredibly limited in movement. I however will not let a little thing like bed rest stop me :).

You may not know, but I am immensely frugal. My dollar has to go a long way so expensive things have to retain their value over the long haul. Last year, I bought the fancy schmancy self-watering grow kit (approx. $20), only to realize that one size does not fit all plants and flimsy is as flimsy does. Those containers are not meant to survive year to year and are a waste of my hard earned dollar. Hey….think of all the things you can do with $20. This year, the kids and I went DIY (do it yourself) to start our seedlings. I bought (had someone go buy for me) one of the large mixing tubs from the concrete section of Lowes (about $5 then), I splurged and bought an organic seed starting mixture for about $8 on sale and collected some free non-glossy newspaper.

planter

The kids and I (mostly them following my directions) made organic seed starting pots from the free newspaper and filled each with seed starting mixture. Yeah… it is seed planting time! Prior to this foray, I had already planned out the garden leaving some empty spaces for the kids to figure out later. I use the Square Gardening method for most of my plantings as this gives you way more bang for your buck. Annually, I only need to add some good compost to re-energize the gardens.  All three of my veggie gardening spaces are 4’ x4’. So I read up and plotted what would grow where then actually drew the diagrams. I must also note that I only get full sun on one side of my house. The back yard has three very large shady trees and the other side of the house only gets evening sun. I have realized over the years that cool weather crops will produce longer if they are planted on the evening sun side and nothing at all wants to grow in the back yard other than mosquitos and grass.

This year’s crops will include:

Sweet Potatoes (grown in a plastic storage bin) Spinach Mustard Mustard Greens
Red Stem Malabar Spinach (also grown in a separate area due to height) Dwarf White Sugar Snow Peas Red Russian Kale 
Lacinato Kale Three types of Sweet Bell Peppers Mini- Bell Peppers
Two types of sweet yellow onions Marigolds Broccoli
Two types of Carrots Sugar Baby Watermelon Minn. Midget Melon
Garlic Mesclun Mix Yellow Cucumbers
Green Burpless Cucumbers Possibly some Corn in a separate area Possibly strawberries in a pot

Anyhoo, using the Square Gardening system, I don’t tend to use more seeds than I actually need. So we planted the seeds after each homemade pot was in the large mixing tray, water each lightly, and covered the entire tray with cling wrap. Yep, cling wrap. Can you say insta-greenhouse!!! As you can see, in less than a week, we have lots of sprouts!! Using cling wrap allows us to only cover the plants that need it and to increase the height if necessary since one size really doesn’t fit all. The large mixing tray currently has 15 pots and could easily fit another 20 pots of the same size which is about the size of a soup can.

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I am still awaiting a few seed packets for new, specialty items but mostly, seeds came from the dollar store, Lowes/ Home Depot, or organic seed supply companies. The slips for the sweet potatoes are grown from a store bought tater.  Oh, I also collect seeds throughout the year from veggies I like.

When it is time to transplant, I will start with hardening off the seedlings. I neglected to do this last year and found that 50% of the seedlings died.  I am so excited to get these plants outside. Soon, we will prune and fertilized the two Rosemary bushes and lavender plant, and determine where the spearmint and basil will live. Growing my own veggies is so awesome. When I want salad, I go outside with the kitchen shears and cut it. Peppers and onions are there along with cukes… just waiting for us to enjoy them. Fresh strawberries all warm from the sun or melons hanging on the vine. The grocery store becomes a backup plan and can you imagine how much money we will save again this year!!!! KACHING!

Let me know if you want to learn how I handle sweet potatoes, making newspaper pots that actually stay together or square gardening? Did I mention that I personally built two of the 4’ x4’ above ground gardening boxes from scratch? The only tool I needed was a drill! The cost for each box was less than $20. Divide that by 4 years and that’s 5 bucks a year. So very frugal.