; Terragnics Living Blog
Fruit Tree Caterpillars: The Tent Caterpillar invasion!

Fruit Tree Caterpillars: The Tent Caterpillar invasion!

The other day I was happily admiring my blossoming fruits trees when to my horror I found a web trembling full of caterpillars!  Who were these fruit tree caterpillars all over my apple tree???!!!  They were the dreaded tent caterpillars!

Fruit Tree Caterpillars

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Seedlings flowering too early!?  What to do!

Seedlings flowering too early!? What to do!

So you have successfully mastered starting your plants from seeds this year…so successful they are crazy huge and your seedlings are flowering too early!  It is still too cold to put them in the ground so what should you do?!

Seedlings Flowering too early? (more…)

Safe stains for untreated wood garden beds?

Safe stains for untreated wood garden beds?

I received this question from one of my students from Seattle Farm School.  It is a great one that no one has asked me before!

Untreated wood is recommended for vegetables beds as it will not leach chemicals into the soil.  Many people fear  that arsenic will leach into garden beds if you use treated wood…but arsenic hasn’t been used since 2003 in pressure treated wood!  The process that gave treated wood a super bad reputation CCA (chromated copper arsenate) was replaced with a new process called Micronized Copper Quaternary (MCQ).  Click HERE for a good read on treated lumber and garden beds by The Survivalist Blog. Now I am not saying treated wood is as safe as untreated…the decision of what type of wood to use is up to you.

Safe Stains for garden beds?

Safe Stains for garden beds?

Now facts….untreated wood will decompose quicker and need to be replaced sooner.  Which is what led to question I received…how can you extend the life of a untreated bed, are there safe stains out there?  Yes, there are!  We actually just used one on our cedar fencing called Penofin Verde.  We also used cedar since it is naturally water resistant.  Redwood is another good option.  Although both options are on the pricey side.  Penofin Verde is just one of many stains that could be used on a garden bed.  Gardenista has a nice blog post on 5 other stains recommended for raised garden beds HERE.

While my fence was made with untreated lumber and stained with an eco-friendly stain my garden beds were not.  I know some of you may be gasping!  We made the choice to use treated wood so they would last a long time, our beds are two feet high and on top of that they are located where the yard is 6 feet higher than the street level.  In other words it was a major pain to get them in place & filled…we don’t want to ever do it again! 🙂  I did line my beds with plastic though to reduce the chances of any type of leaching.

 

Kids Garden Planning Fun!

Kids Garden Planning Fun!

Garden Planning Fun for Kids!

Garden Planning Fun for Kids!

Do your kids love to color?  Use a glue stick?  Then they will like this garden planning activity! Plus they will love they actually will have a say to what gets planted in the garden!!!

First of all print off a kid garden bed template.  I have created a 3’x8′ or 4’x8′ foot one.  See my post on planning a kid friendly garden to see why I think 3’x8′ is best 🙂 Print off the veggie coloring sheets below too!

Click below for templates:  (Print in landscape not portrait)

Childrens template 4’x8′

Children’s template 3’x8′

Coloring Sheets

Once you have them printed you will need a pair of scissors to trim off a little on the left size of page 2…like this.

Children's Garden Planning fun!

You will then tape or glue together page 1 & 2 like

this……..

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Next it is time for the kids to color what veggies or fruits they want in their garden!!  Once the coloring is complete it is time to cut out the squares….everything is scaled for easy square foot gardening!  In each square there is a number with the vegetables name…that number is how many of that type goes in the area.  Example the beets box shows 16 so you would plant 4 rows of with 4 beets in each row in that one square foot.  Simple right?  Ok back to the kids…I just wanted to point out you really can use this to plan out your garden!!

After you have the squares cut out have the kids arrange them on the template and glue them in place for a final garden plan that looks something like this……..

Garden Planning Activity for Kids!

I would love to see what garden plans your kids come up with!  Submit them to me via email HERE and I will feature them on a future post!

 

Other posts you may enjoy:

10 Tips for planning a garden your kids will love!

Free Garden Planning Templates

Edible Garden Planning- What should I plant??

Easy (organic) Brownies from scratch!

Easy (organic) Brownies from scratch!

Never ever buy brownie mix again!  Here is all you need & you can easily get all these ingredients organic.

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Prep time: 5-10 min

Bake time: 30-35 min

Hardware needed: measuring spoons, measuring cup, brownie pan (8×8, or 9×9 pan), mixing bowl

Ingredients:

-6 tbsp cocoa (organic)

-1/4 cup butter (organic)

-dash or two of salt

-1/2 teas of vanilla extract

1/3 cup of flour (Organic white or wheat)

1 cup of sugar (organic)

2 eggs (organic)

Optional but recommended- chocolate chips 1/4 of bag – 1/2 bag

First, put the cocoa and butter in a microwavable bowl and melt.  Watch closely and when ready mix well together. Should be like a very thick mud like this:

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Then add the salt vanilla, flour and eggs.  Mix well.  I recommend waiting to add the chocolate chips until last because if you add it with everything else it will make it just harder to mix! It is looking tasty!

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Try a 1/4 of a bag to start, they will be sweet.

Spray pan with olive oil or grease, poor brownie mixture in.  It will be thick but it will fill out the pan when baking.

Organic Brownies from scratch

Pop it in the oven at 325 for 30-35 minutes.  I eat them when they are still warm from the pan with ice cream!

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