Garden View

Garden View
Hello and Welcome! I decided to start this blog for everyone out there who has an interest, or WANTS to be interested, in living a life that is a little more sustainable. I am still learning, and invite you to follow this blog to learn along with me. I will share what I have learned as we go, and hopefully you will pitch in and share what YOU are doing to live a little more off of what you can grow and DO from home. PLEASE BELIEVE ME when I say, if I can learn how to do this on a very small backyard plot in a city, then ANYONE can do this!!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Easy DIY candle: 99.9% Orange, 100% Natural!

Want a quick, easy and natural citrus candle that you can make in about 5 minutes or less?  With only TWO ingredients?  Well, it's a good thing you stopped by 'cuz I have the perfect recipe for such a thing!

I made this with my daughter (OK, she mostly helped by eating the orange) and it literally only took a few minutes from start to finish.  Here's what you will need:  Navel Orange, Vegetable/Canola or Olive Oil (any vegetable based oil would work fine).  That's it! 

I bought my Oranges from the sale bin at the grocery store for items nearing expiration or that are 'slightly blemished.'  You will be using the section of the orange that has the stem/'button' for the candle base, so be sure to select an orange for this project that doesn't have extra umph in this area.

Take a knife and cut all the way around the orange, 1/2-3/4 of the way up to make your 'base.' 

Now take your fingers and separate the peel from the fruit.  Do this on both sections and be sure to keep the stem in the bottom section attached since this will be you wick (which is so super-cool)!  I accomplished this by simply peeling that part away from the fruit slowly. 

Next, pour in your oil to just below the top of your wick (approximately 1cm).  I used two different types of oil for this experiment.  It seemed to me that the vegetable oil lit a lot easier and burned better.  You will can see the difference in this photo: 

Light your candle!  This actually took me a few tries and I found that the oil really needs to be within 1 cm to light effectively AND it helps to dip the 'wick' in the oil lightly.  I still had to hold the flame to the 'wick' for a bit before it would stay lit on it's own, but once it did they worked fabulously!

I also cut designs into to the tops to create a glow effect.  NOTE: the swirly design started to burn and make my house smell less like citrus-Orange and more like house-fire.  SO, I suggest sticking to simple cut out designs if you go this route.

P.S.: Don't throw out your Orange Peels!  Orange peels are good slug repellents for gardens. The peel can be also be pressed, which produces sweet orange oil and is used to flavor drinks, food and can be used in perfumes and oils for aromatherapy; should you feel so inclined.  OR, put them in your compost bin.  As if this project could get any better, right?!


This post was featured on the following sites: Featured at the Homestead Bloggers Network

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Announcement and Earth Day Giveaway!

I am very proud to announce that I am now a part of the wonderful group at Homestead Bloggers Network!  What better way to celebrate this wonderful news than joining with them to celebrate upcoming Earth Day and an amazing giveaway!

In celebration of Earth Day 2013, members of the Homestead Bloggers Network have partnered with to make going green even easier! With a generous gift card for $250, makes going (or staying) green even easier! So what can I find at Maybe the question should be, "what can't I find at" From clothing to composting, they've got you covered! believes that the power to make a change rests with consumers. Take a stand and demand healthier, greener products as a customer and let's make a change together. a Rafflecopter giveaway Additional prizes are offered by participating blogs:
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. The Homestead Bloggers Network and participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. Giveaway is open to US & Canadian Residents ages 18 and over only. Entries close on April 22 and winners will be drawn by April 26. This giveaway is part of the Homestead Bloggers Network and sponsored by

Participating Blogs

  1. Heather Harris - The Homesteading Hippy
  2. Mary Hitchings - Raising Dick & Jane
  3. Dani Meyer - The Adventure Bite
  4. Chris Dalziel - Joybillee Farm
  5. Annie Bernauer - Montana Solar Creations
  6. Jen Fowler - Frugal Upstate
  7. Teri Gelseth - Sustainability is a Journey
  8. Chris McLaughlin - A Suburban Farmer
  9. Kristi Stone - Let This Mind Be In You
  10. Lindsey Knerl - Lille Punkin'
  11. Krystyna Thomas - Spring Mountain Living
  12. Shanyn Cascia - Fresh From Home
  13. Wendy Hammond - The Local Cook
  14. Angela England - Untrained Housewife
  15. Amanda Jones - Adventures of Mommyhood
  16. Colleen Anderson- Five Little Homesteaders

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Review: Vertical Vegetable Gardening

Have you ever read a book that changes the way you garden?  A book that is so rich with information and ideas that you can't wait to apply them and get started?  That's what happened when I read Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlin.  My book reading during the cold winter months this year got me so excited about gardening that I started making plans right away for my 2013 garden.  Basic enough for beginners yet full of detailed steps throughout the broad spectrum of subject matter make this a book for all levels of gardeners.

I really liked the structure of this book; it is broken down into four parts for ease of reading and reference.  Part one discusses "The Beauty and Bounty of Vertical Gardening."  The author begins by explaining the benefits behind growing vertically and how "Less Really Is More!"  This section shows you how much space you can save, how growing vertically can save you time and work as well as money.  There is also information on how this method reduces weeds, pests and disease.  Perhaps best of all, you will increase your vegetable production by learning how to grow vertically!  The remainder of Part 1 discusses different structures and containers with how-to tips along the way.  There is information within this section about DIY structures as well as how to Re purpose items for your vertical gardening.  I have to say that since I have read this book, I am using more re purposed items and think more about reusing rather than just purchasing something new (and perhaps wasting money).

Part Two is titled; "The Basics: Soil and Seed."  This section contains all the information you need to learn about why soil is so important in your garden, what type of soil you have and how to improve it, as well as how to start seeds.  There was a great section here about the many different types of seeds and even how to go from starting your own to transplanting them.  Very condensed but well organized and summarized information.

The last two sections discuss the nitty-gritty of gardening with your vertical vegetables.  There is so much information here!  From Organic pest control to a fact-filled section on all of the vegetables that like to grow vertically, I can tell that these sections will be ones that I reference often (there's already dirt and coffee stains all over it and the gardening season hasn't officially begun)!

Overall, this has got to be my favorite gardening book to-date (and I have read a TON).  The wealth of information that is categorized and summarized in an easy-to-read format makes this book highly valuable to me.  I can turn to this book for just about everything related to my garden.  There is also a list of  resources for seeds/plants, online help and books in the back that I am still referring to often. 

I am literally growing 90% of my food vertically this year thanks to the inspiration from this book; saving time, money and growing more food as a result.  Fantastic find and must have if you want to grow more food in less space (and not be confused or frustrated while doing it)!

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome Spring Signs

It is beginning to look a lot like Spring around here!  My crocus have been blooming for weeks, Daffodils are going to bloom any day, Multiple Vegetable starts are thriving under indoor lights.  I just planting my first round of cold-season vegetables in one of the raised beds this week (Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Lettuce and Spinach, Tatsoi and Macha/Corn Salad).  Odice, the 10-month old Flemish-giant rabbit, says to go ahead and fire the ground-hog; He's so excited to say that Spring is on the horizon that he left some eggstra special surprises in the collection basket today!

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