Showing posts with label gardening 101. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening 101. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2020

As weeds start to pop up in your garden beds, paths, sidewalks, lawns and more, people want easy ways to kill weeds without chemicals. 

I have five easy ways to help you naturally kill weeds without resorting to a synthetic weed killer like RoundUp.

These methods are easy to do at home and will let you kill weeds in an organic way that won't hurt your local pollinators (or your local humans!)

Monday, April 24, 2017

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tasty Bite. All opinions are 100% mine.
I love gardening and teaching others how to grow their own food. You don't need a big yard to grow your own vegetables - almost anyone can grow something right where they are. One of the easiest foods to grow (especially in containers?) LETTUCE!

When I see a company I already like getting in the mix to inspire people to get outside and growing - as well as supporting humanitarian initiatives like Ample Harvest, I'm excited to get on board. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

If you need a way to add some green to the inside of your home, succulents are a great way to do it! Make these adorable planters out of recycled cans, burlap and lace and in just a few minutes you'll be ready with your own console table-worthy creation!

Costa Farms partnered with me on this post and provided these great succulents from their desert escape collection. Look for Costa Farms succulents at your local Home Depot and Lowe's stores.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How to Make Organic Round Up Alternative Weed Killer

Have you been using Round Up to kill weeds on your driveway or garden path? 

Did you know that Round Up is linked to infertility, cancer, thyroid issues and a collection of other health problems? 

Even if you don't spray it in your garden beds where you are growing food, the run off gets into our ground water - which in turn can get into our drinking water. 

Overall, Round Up is BAD BAD news! Stay away!

What the makers of Round Up don't want you to know (in addition to all the health issues their product has been linked to) is that you can create your own weed killer at home with a few simple ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. 

It is non-toxic to kids and pets. Won't contaminate ground water and it really works.


  • 1 Gallon white vinegar
  • 1/2 canister table salt (approx 13 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup dish soap (I like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap for this since it is biodegradable)
  • 1 gallon or larger Lawn and Garden Sprayer - be sure to use one that has not held chemicals previously. Also be sure to label it for organic gardening use only. I have one that I use ONLY for this purpose.
Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

How to Make Organic Round Up Alternative Weed Killer from Creative Green Living


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

how to kill grass without spray

Most people don't set out to kill their grass. I, on the other hand, was on a mission.

Our neighborhood doesn't have much in the way of sunshine because the houses are built so close together. As a result, I grow things in a community garden plot so I can keep the fresh veggies coming all summer! 

For the last two years, I've been growing in a community garden was about 4.5 miles from my house and up a HUGE hill - which I would ride with my 3 year old in a bike trailer. My city recently finished building a new community garden that is a lot closer to my house - close enough that I can walk to it. Which is perfect since new babies can't go in bike trailers and I'll be having one of those pretty much any day now! 

The location was great. The price was great. 
There was only one problem: GRASS

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

This year, I had a volunteer bed of calendula flowers pop up after self-seeding last year in my courtyard. If you'd like:
  • a little more control (and don't want to bank on your plants properly self-seeding themselves)
  • want to move plants to a different area
  • want to sell or gift seeds to others
then you will need to know how to collect seeds from your plants!


  • Calendula flowers that have gone to seed
  • Large glass jar for collection
  • Small glass jar for storage

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When I taught you how to plant tomatoes last month, I had a lot of commenters bemoaning their aphid woes in regard to their tomatoes. So how do you get rid of aphids organically? The answer, my friends, is ladybugs!

While there are several chemical companies who would be delighted to sell you their expensive and toxic pest control products - I'm not interested in putting chemicals on my food or killing off the beneficial insects that may fall prey to these methods. Luckily, none of that is even necessary. Instead, ladybugs are an economical, organic and fun (yes, I said fun!) way to get rid of aphids. In addition to aphids, ladybugs also eat whitefly, scales, mites, mealybugs, broccoli worm, tomato hornworms, bollworms, and cabbage moths.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

One of the best things you can do to save yourself time in your garden is use a good mulch. Mulch reduces the number of weeds that sprout by blocking light to weed seeds and helps reduce water evaporation - meaning you won't have to water as often.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Did you know that bell peppers have 2-6 times the vitamin C content of an orange? Peppers (especailly organic peppers) can be pricey - $1 or more a piece. Luckily they are easy to grow and great way to save you money on your grocery bill.

Important: Know when the right time to plant is! Don't plant your peppers until all danger of frost has passed. Where I live, that's about mother's day weekend. Use this tool to check when your average last frost date is.


  • Pepper plants (choose healthy looking plants but avoid those that already have peppers)
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Epsom Salt (do NOT use table salt. it will kill your plant)
  • Measuring spoon
  • Water

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thank you Duluth Trading Company for sponsoring this post. Check out Duluth Trading Company for tough, functional workwear.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
There are few things I enjoy more during the summer that eating the bounty of fresh organic tomatoes I grow in my garden. Last year, I grew about 140 pounds of tomatoes and even though I had to give a lot of them away, I was still able to can enough to last my family through the winter so that we didn't need to buy BPA-containing metal cans of tomatoes. 

Important: Know when the right time to plant is! Don't plant your tomatoes until all danger of frost has passed. Where I live, that's about mother's day weekend BUT the weather this week is supposed to be in the 70's and 80's so I'm planting a week early this year. Use this tool to check when your average last frost date is.


  • Tomato plants
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Dried egg shells
  • Epsom Salt (do NOT use table salt. it will kill your plant)
  • Measuring spoon
  • Water
  • Weather-appropriate work clothes (thanks to Duluth, I'm wearing the UPF 50 Crusher Sun Hat in raspberry and long sleeve Armachillo shirt in Raspberry Plaid)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gardening is all the rage. Many people are putting in gardens instead of lawns, apartment dwellers are growing in containers on their balconies and waiting lists to get into come community gardens can be a year or more long. Whatever style of gardening you're going to pursue there are 10 important things you need to know about growing your own plants - especially if you're planning to eat them.

(psst. Are you a super beginning gardener? If you feel like you need someone to hold your hand and walk you through everything step by step, I cannot recommend Square Foot Gardening highly enough!)

1: It's all about the dirt
You are what you eat and that same goes for your plants. You need to provide your plants with a nutrient rich environment in order to grow and make great produce. Ideally, you will make your own growing mix of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite (see Square Foot Gardening for more details). If that's not possible for where you're growing, supplement your garden soil with the best organic compost you can afford. Your local independent gardening center will probably have the best options.

2: Organic Matters
Buying organic means that you can be assured that your plants are GMO free, were grown without persistent pesticides and will produce viable seed that you can save year to year if so desired. At the end of the day, that translates into healthier food for you and your family to eat at a fraction of what you'd pay in a grocery store. A great place to look for organic plant starts is your local farmer's market.

3: No, really. It does.
Did you just tune out when I talked about investing in organic because you know it will cost more? Yes, I know organic can be more expensive but it's worth it! While it can be tempting to buy a six pack of plant starts for $2.50 instead of $4 for organic ones, think about how the cost difference translates to your food. In my hypothetical example, you're really only paying an extra $0.25 per plant which translates to an organic home grown zucchini costing you a mere 1-2 pennies more than a conventionally grown one. Try doing that in a grocery store!

4: Seeds vs. Starts
Savvy gardeners know which plants do best from seed and which are worth the investment in plants that are already growing. Carrots, peas and corn for example don't like to have their roots messed with and grow best if they are sown directly into the soil they will be growing in long term. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash on the other hand may take longer to sprout in the soil and turn into mature plants. Especially if you live in an area with an abbreviated growing season like the Pacific Northwest or the Northeast, you'll save yourself time and potential heartache buy purchasing these plants as starts and not seeds.

Not sure which is the best way to start a plant you want to grow? Google it or check out a great book like Square Foot Gardening (have I mentioned how much I love this book?) to let you know.

5: Sun matters
Pay attention to the info on the back of your seed packet or growing tag for potted plants. If it says the plant needs full sun and your yard is full of shade, consider growing it in a pot on a sunnier side of your house or investing in a community garden plot where you may be able to have more ideal growing conditions. Conversely, if it says it needs partial shade, make sure it will be able to get the reprieve from the sun that it needs even if you need to create it artificially.

6: Don't overwater
Especially at first, be sure not to overwater your seeds and starts. Overwatered soil can cause seeds to migrate and then pop up where you didn't want them. Overwatered pots can cause root rot which will kill your plant. Try to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy - similar to the dampness level of a wrung out sponge. Not sure if you should water? Stick a pencil about an inch deep into your dirt and pull it out. If the pencil damp? If so, skip watering that day. If not, give your plants a drink.

7: Move em around
If you grew anything else in the same soil the year before, mix it up to avoid growing the same kinds of plants in the same space year after year. This helps reduce pests and soilborne diseases. This also helps the soil remain nutritionally balanced from year to year as different plants will pull different minerals from the soil.

8: Mulch is your friend
Whether you are growing in a pot or in a garden bed, mulch will help keep moisture in the soil by slowing evaporation. Mulch will also reduce weeds by blocking light to weed seeds that may have been laying on your soil before you planted. Gravel makes a great mulch/top dressing for pots but can be hard to remove from garden beds. Straw, compost and coffee grounds also make great mulches.

9: Give them some space!
My favorite resource for calculating efficient plant spacing is (you guessed it!), Square Foot Gardening.  Mel helps you translate the spacing info on seed packets and grow tags to know how to most efficiently for things into your growing space in square foot increments. You also want to be careful not to overcrowd plants. If you have 5 carrot sprouts sharing the same 2 square inches of space, you are going to have 5 ugly carrot stubs. Thin out your sprouts to let the plants fully mature. That zucchini plant might fit in 2 inches of space today, but in a month or so it will take up 1-2 feet! Plan and space out your plants accordingly.

10: Avoid toxic pesticides
Especially since you followed my previous advice and purchased organic seeds and plants - be sure not to contaminate them with pervasive chemical pesticides. Round Up commercials make you think that they will solve all your problems but it's far from the truth. There is a non-toxic solution to almost all gardening woes from hand removal of cucumber beetles to beer traps for slugs. Not sure what to do about a particular pest in your garden? Leave your question on the Creative Green Living facebook page and I will do my best to find a natural solution for you.

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For those wondering, this is NOT a sponsored post (although I may get credit if you follow my link to purchase the book on Amazon). Mel's Square Foot Gardening book really is that awesome. I have used this as my favorite go-to gardening resource for the last 5 years.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to My posts may contain affiliate links to products on Amazon. Thank you for supporting Creative Green Living.
Carissa's Creativity Space ( became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on older posts may reflect the previous site name.