Tag Archives: herb garden

Black and Gold Plant Markers

22 Apr

This past fall Nate sold his house (with a yard and a garden) and bought a downtown condo. While I miss being able to use his yard for my gardening purposes, he’s really loving the downtown life and the fact that he doesn’t have a yard to mow.

My apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, so I’ve decided to make the most of his 5′ x 10′ balcony. I’ll post more on the balcony garden later. Today I’m excited about the plant markers I finished this past weekend.

I’m always pinning cute markers that I think I could make myself, but never get around to making them.

I usually draw a few pictures to remind myself where things are planted, and by the time things start coming up I can usually tell what’s what. Since this garden is on a balcony rather than tucked in the back corner of a yard I’m trying to keep things looking clean and organized. I’m probably a ways from the balcony being magazine worthy or anything like that, but the markers really help to unify everything.

While some of the example I pinned are pretty fantastic I decided to keep my investment low and the style simple. Here are the ones I made and how I made them.

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers


Craft sticks from Dollar Tree (I used wide ones)
Black paint (I already had some cheap chalkboard paint from Michael’s on hand)
Foam brush (also had on hand)
Gold (or whatever color you’d like) permanent marker (I found mine in the dollar section at Target a while back, but I think a sharpie style marker would be great)


Paint two coats of paint on each side of the craft stick also paint the edges. When they’re dry go crazy labeling them for all your plants. One note about your permanent marker. I tried several different paint pens and even a white grease pencil, but finally settled on my gold pen because it wasn’t too liquidy (which caused the paint to run in the groves of the wood) and had a fine enough point to look nice (I’d read some good things about the grease pencil, but decided against it in the end because the point was unreliable).

Now there’s no telling how well these will hold up outside, but I’m ok with that considering I spent $1 (even if I’d had to buy everything I still would’ve been under $5). I’ll report back at the end of the summer, but I also suspect someone in a traditional garden may experience more wear and tear on their markers than I will on a balcony.




2 Jul

The garden got a bit of a late start this year with all the late frosts, so it’s pretty mellow for the most part (peppers, tomatoes, okra, basil, mint, cucumber, watermelon). I did dump a bunch of compost in the garden and some sort of squash plants have sprouted. I’m curious to see what they make.

We’ve picked a few things. The carrots and garlic were actually left over from last summer/fall. There was some lettuce too, but it was really bitter tasting.

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Last night I pinched off a bit of basil and made a caprese salad. I’m looking forward to the garden tomatoes being ready so the caprese salads are extra tasty.

Pesto Pizza

13 Aug

I started growing basil last year after my grandma gave me some plants from her out of control basil plant. I didn’t have a plan for it, but I rarely turn down a free plant! We soon realized how easy it was to grow and how easy pesto is to make. I found this pesto recipe and just very slightly adapted it to the one below (mine just leaves out parsley because I never have fresh parsley on hand).

Very slightly adapted from Baked Bree

3/4 cup basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese grated
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

Off the same blog I got the Pesto recipe from we’ve made this yummy Corn, Pesto and Tomato Pizza several times. This year making the pizza was extra exciting because the basil, garlic, corn, and tomatoes for the recipe all came out of the garden. We also made a second pizza that night with tomatoes and zucchini. So it was pretty close to a garden feast!

It’s been pretty hot lately, so rather than turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen Nate fired up his grill and heated the two pizzas up there. They turned out just perfect!

Weekend Gardening

11 Jun

It was quite a busy weekend in the garden! Two weekends ago there was a big hail and wind storm, but thankfully most of the plants are recovering nicely. Some of the garlic that wasn’t very big did get hit, so I went ahead and dug up a bunch of the tiny plants that obviously weren’t going to do much more. There are a few that have pretty thick stems still in the ground, so hopefully they’ve produced some legitimate bulbs of garlic.

I also dug up several of our potato plants. An insect that I never did see has been eating the leaves for a couple months,  so the plants that were dead or leafless came out. I’ve never grown potatoes before, but there were only 2-4 potatoes per plant which didn’t seem like much. I did some research (I know before planting would’ve been better) and found out that if you continue mounding soil around the plant as it grows more potatoes will grow out of the stem. So for next year I’ll know!

We had rain nearly every day this past week and the corn really took off. It’s just under the height of an elephants eye. An experienced gardener was asking me what I did to keep the worms out of the corn and recommended spraying the silks with Pam (or the off brand version). So the corn has now been sprayed down. I also got in between the rows (after the picture below was taken) and started putting down my newspaper weed block, so hopefully the corn will be grass free soon.

The last little gardening bit was making a pepper shaker from last years dried cayenne peppers. It was so hot last year that the peppers didn’t really get going until probably September or October. One night it was supposed to be really cold so rather than try and cover the plants we pulled off bowls full of unripe peppers and tomatoes. A lot of the peppers ripened and dried out, so Nate’s been cooking with them for the past six or more months. He’d mentioned grinding them up and making a little hot pepper shaker, so this weekend I found an old shaker I had and let him borrow my little bullet type blender. I caught a smell of the resulting powder from five feet away, and I’m pretty sure it’s one spicy little shaker!

Margherita Pita Pizzas

26 May

I’m always trying to think up easy quick meals that wont leave me with more than a day or two of leftovers. I love leftovers, but I would rather not eat the same dish no matter how much I like it for a week straight. This night was Margherita Pizza because the Basil in the garden is finally tall enough to use, but the topping possibilities are endless (canned corn and zucchini slices are a favorite of mine)! Pita Pizzas are also awesome because they can help you use up other leftovers.

Margherita Pita Pizzas

1 Package of pita (I used whole wheat)
1 Jar or can of pasta sauce (freeze the leftover or use up the leftover from last nights pasta)
1 Sliced tomato
Several leaves of fresh basil chopped

1. Build your pizzas.
2. Bake on 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
3. Eat!

Indoor Gardening

22 May

I really like my little apartment, but one thing that would be amazing to have that I don’t is a balcony or private porch. I would fill it up with a jungle of potted plants and vegetables. Until that day though I’m making do with windowsills and sunny spots.

I went to visit my parents this weekend and my mom gave me some Aloe Vera sprouts. Aloe is one house plant that I’ve successfully killed, so hopefully these little guys survive. Below is my kitchen windowsill. From left to right is aloe, green onion, I believe a variety of Philodendron (also a cutting from my mom’s plant), mint, and a moss terrarium. 

You’ve probably seen the pin on Pinterest where you can re-grow your green onions after cutting off all the green. After weeks in water I finally just stuck mine down in a little pot of dirt. I think eventually the onion bulb part will run out of nutrients, but for now I’ve got fresh green onions.

My mint I cut out of the garden at Nate’s and I’m working on rooting it. There’s this little strip of dirt and weeds next to where I park at my apt. I’m going to pull up the boring weeds and see if I can get some edible ones (mint, basil, chives, and dill) to grow and take over there.

My cute little terrarium was a Christmas or birthday gift from my old roommate Steph. She got it off Etsy from this shop: NatureandWoodland.etsy.com. I’ve probably had it for close to three years now and it’s still kicking with next to no work on my part!

I’ve got a couple more pots that I have plans for, but I’ll blog about those another day.

Welcome to the Garden

14 May

For the past two years Nate has allowed (and helped) me to garden a portion of his backyard. Last year was quite a trial with all the heat and no rain, but we still managed to produce cucumbers, okra, some tomatoes right at the end, basil, mint, and a bunch of peppers.

You can see this year’s garden pictured above and my layout plan (from this awesome site Smart Gardener) pictured below. If you’re trying to match up the picture with the plan; in the picture you’re looking S and in the plan the top is W. I cut the watermelon and corn out of the picture so the stringy plant up front is the garlic.

This year we’ve expanded our operation and are trying to grow: cucumbers, strawberries, potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, basil, chives, dill, mint, corn, and watermelon. Some things are coming along great, and others not so well.

While I’m definitely not the most credible source for all your gardening needs these are my tips for getting started.

You don’t need to have a fancy raised bed to garden, but if you do I hear they’re awesome. We went the cheap route though by marking off a section of Nate’s yard and digging it up with shovels.

Veggies that can fairly easily be grown from seed: cucumber, okra, zucchini, yellow squash, peas, beans

Veggies I go ahead and buy in plant form: tomatoes, peppers (I really just do this because that’s what my dad did, but I think he probably did it because the plants take quite a while to grow. So if you have a shorter growing season (like we did in Kansas) or just want veggies faster it’s nice to have a head start.)

If you want to grow herbs three that I have been successful with are mint, basil, and chives. All of these grow like weeds (or are weeds), so they’re pretty hard to mess up.








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