New Fruity Terrariums

That project I tried to do a few weeks ago is finally DONE, and I LOVE IT!

Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this project for about a year since I’ve had these pretty containers sitting empty for about that long. If you recall I had a little bird mishap a few weeks back, but I finally got around to cleaning the containers and buying new succulents.

I picked these up at Homegoods but I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to do with them. After the success of my DIY Succulent Terrariums, I figured these would work the same way. The novelty of a giant pear and apple in my house was just too perfect, I couldn’t help but buy these.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

These suckers were tough to clean though, they are somewhat heavy glass and have only the one open spot (just big enough for one hand), so it was a struggle. They look much cleaner in person, but the camera picked up lots of lint.

If you want step by step instructions, check out the DIY Terrarium link above…I followed the same steps. I started out with some small rocks. I think these actually came from Hobby Lobby for less than $3, and it was enough for both planters.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Next, I topped with Cactus Soil. It allows for better drainage than potting soil.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Then add in small succulents. I picked mine up from Lowes, but their selection was lacking so I didn’t have much variety in these. I plan on swapping out the plants for more colorful options when they get more in stock.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

I never used to be a cactus/succulent fan, but they’ve seriously grown on me. I love having these little setups all over the house. They are simple, but so beautiful and require little work for them to live.


DIY: Vertical Gardening

I cannot tell you how great it felt to wake up this morning and know I didn’t have to work. I woke up without an alarm clock, took my mom’s beagles out for a short walk then took Baxter out for a really long walk. I think he’s feeling a little jealous lately since I’ve been paying so much attention to the beagles. Nothing a little walk couldn’t fix. In fact the relaxation continued right up until work exploded and I was sucked back in. Ugh. All I wanted was one little day, but whatever.

While out walking the dogs, I toyed around with the idea of starting a dog walking business. Can I make a living doing that?

I’m avoiding my work computer for a moment and finally wanted to share a very cool outdoor project with you. When I moved in to this house, the entire backyard was paved with exception of a little space next to the side fences.  I planted a few things that require little attention, but it just looked so…blah!

Vertical Gardening_1

I wanted to bring some height to this side of the yard, but didn’t have enough space to plant any trees. I was also hoping to find a solution that would give me space for herbs/veggies. So I bought some rebar and a few pots…

I purchased a 6 foot piece of 1/2” rebar for about $8. I pushed it into the ground about a foot so the end piece would stand about 5 feet tall.

Vertical Gardening_2

Using a rubber mallet, I pounded a small upside down pot into the ground to help stabilize the bar. Packing the dirt around that bottom pot made the whole piece very sturdy.

Vertical Gardening_3

Then it was just the matter of threading and filling the pots up the bar. I used a few azalea pots on the bottom and smaller pots on top.

Vertical Gardening_4

Vertical Gardening_5

I found out quickly that you need to fill the pots as you go, if you stack them empty, they will collapse into each other as you add more.

Vertical Gardening_6

Once I built the entire tower, I started adding plants. I figure some of these will die simply because it takes a little practice to figure out the right watering for the placement/sun/pot type. So far, they’re doing pretty well, but I’ll be swapping a few out shortly.

Vertical Gardening_7 

Vertical Gardening_14

In fact, I was so pleased with the outcome, I built a second tower along the same wall. The rebar shows on the first one at the top, so I hope to find a plant that will grow over it, but I was able to push the second bar further into the ground, so it is hidden in the top pot.

Vertical Gardening_11

Vertical Gardening_12

Now I just need to wrangle those wandering rosemary plants and clean things up a little. Oh, and buy some more pots, because I have one more spot that could use a pot tower as well. This area will be eventually blocked by the outdoor seating so the tower will be great for adding some height behind the chairs.

Vertical Gardening_13

Project Cost Breakdown (per tower):

6 foot piece of 1/2” rebar (Lowes) = $8

4 Azalea Pots (Lowes) = $9 

5 Small Pots (Lowes) = $8

1 Bag of Potting Soil (Lowes) = $5

Total Project Cost: $30

New Potting Bench

This is one of those projects that I’ve been not so patiently waiting to show you. I wanted to wait until I had it in the backyard and I needed some help carrying it out of the garage. Sucker was heavy! Before I show you the finished product, let’s take a look at the before.

Backyard Before

For someone who actually likes gardening, a concrete backyard is an annoying challenge. Everywhere you turn, it’s the same thing. I’ve been slowly changing things over the past 2 years (like planting grass on concrete) and it was time to finally address the messy area between the AC and the French doors. The pup loved that pool 2 years ago, but it’s just too small and I let it fall apart. So it was time to get Bubba’s dilapidated kiddie pool out of the yard and replaced with something useful.

I was seriously inspired by this post by Thrifty Decor Chick and ended up recruiting my own dad to help me build one as well. It ended up being a great learning opportunity since it was my first chance to use some new tools. Using her finished product as inspiration, we headed to Lowes and picked up some cheap boards. I didn’t go with cedar since I had plans to stain it so I picked the cheapest wood they had to save costs.

In one afternoon we had cut and assembled the entire thing. It was great to have some extra hands, but this is a project that someone could do on their own, it would just take more time. However, the finished product is very heavy so either build it in place or recruit some help when you want to move it.

Pretty Awesome, right!

Potting Bench

I used a Waterproofing Solid Color Wood Stain by Behr, sold by Home Depot, to finish and protect it from the elements. Chances are, I’ll have to redo the top every few years, but for the price, it’s awesome.

I didn’t take any picture of the building process because we did it in the garage and the lighting was terrible, but it’s very simple construction. After everything was built, I used wood filler to fill all the holes and sanded lightly. Two coats of solid color stain covered everything and then I let it cure for a few days. I have plans to stack all the pots you see in the before picture on the bottom shelf and add some hooks to the side to hold gardening tools.

Potting Bench

The great thing is that it can double as a dining table with a few barstools during the summer months. I can’t wait to break it in with a BBQ soon.

Potting Bench

I made the whole piece deeper than most (about 36 inches) so I could have a place along the back for smaller plants and decor.In fact I have a few more DIY posts coming up in a few weeks about that lantern and utensil holder. It’s too much fun to take traditional items and use them for something new, I can’t wait to show you the details.

Lantern & Decor

Unfortunately I lost a few of the receipts for I don’t have the exact cost, but I know the finished product was less than $150. Pretty damn good for such a substantial piece and I think it really looks great in the yard.

*The sun lasted a whole 24 hours before the sky opened up and poured all over the new bench on Sunday. I was a little worried about how it would hold up to the first rain but it still looks brand new!

Eco Challenge – Start A Garden

It’s that time of year again. The weather is starting to warm up and I find myself spending more time out in the backyard. Combine that with the fact that I’ve been slowly trying to adjust my diet to incorporate less processed foods and I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. So if I’m honest, cutting the food bill wasn’t only to tighten the financial belt, it was also to tighten my actual belt (if I wore one). The next step in this plan is to start growing some of my own produce to supplement my grocery bill and ensure I am eating locally/’organic’.

Last year I successfully grew a few things; spaghetti squash, spinach, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and a few herbs. Aside from two full size spaghetti squash, I didn’t bring much in from the garden. A handful of berries and spinach leaves here and there, but nothing substantial. I hope to change that this year.

2011 garden

Strawberries, Leeks, Brussel Sprouts. I grew the leeks and Brussel Sprouts from seed, but the hot summer ended up killing them before they were edible.


Spaghetti Squash, Tomatoes, Bush Beans (on far right). I also grew the bush beans from seed, but I only harvested 3 little pods.


So this year I did a lot more research and have started the garden again. I hope to keep it going year round, as much as the weather allows. Even though I have a backyard, it’s mostly cement so I’m basically container gardening.

I have a decent home library on the subject and I found a few websites that helped figure things out. Right now, the most helpful website is Let’s Grow Veggies. I honestly don’t know how accurate it is, but it’s the only place where I’ve found the info about the last/first frost date for my area. With that information all the other books make much more sense. If you live in the western US, Sunset magazine is also a great resource both in print and online.

*A little tip for the Let’s Grow Veggies site. I had trouble getting it to change state and zip code. If you have the same problem, try changing the state/zip directly in the web address bar. It seems to default to California but I found info throughout the country when testing various different states/zips.

Gardening Library

2012 Garden

So far I have Spinach, Tomatoes, Butternut Squash, Strawberries, Blueberries, and Garlic planted outside.

Grass Veggie Planter

Butternut Squash

Tomato - Early



Inside I’ve started some herbs, more spinach (I use A LOT), flowers, and Brussel Sprouts.



I use a Jiffy kit as a mini greenhouse when starting things indoors. Just add dirt, seeds and water. I’m even able to reuse the ‘greenhouse’ over and over again. They’re cheap and found near the seeds at the home improvement store. I think they even sell something similar at Target. 

Seedling Greenhouse

I have hopes of building a potting bench over the next few weeks, and adding a few more veggies/fruits to the garden. I saw a broccoli plant at my local nursery, I’m intrigued.

What about you guys? What are you growing at home?