Planting Your Garden and When to Plant

Even though many areas of the country are still knee-deep in winter weather, thoughts are quickly changing to the warmth and sunshine of spring. Sunny days, no more frosty nights – what’s not to love? Even in the coldest months of the year, though, it’s time to start planning your summer garden. These tips will help you know how and when to plant.

ven in the coldest months of the year, it’s time to start planning your summer garden. These tips will help you know how and when to plant.

Keep a Journal

Planning your garden takes some time, but it really shouldn’t take more than an afternoon. If you haven’t planted a garden before, start a small garden journal. Keep notes of plants and varieties you’d like to incorporate into your space. If you are planning a vegetable garden, order some seed catalogs from online websites. You’ll learn a lot from reading about the different varieties available.

If you had a garden last year, then you probably have notes, or at least thoughts, about what worked well for your space and what you might want to change. Did you find out that 10 zucchini plants were more than your family could deal with?

Did pumpkins take over your yard? Keeping a small notebook with notes is a great way to help plan your garden from year to year. You don’t need to make anything fancy, but have a place to keep all your garden thoughts together. Before planning this year’s garden, read through to see what you might want to change.

Visit the Garden Center

Next, make a visit to your local garden center. This is for several reasons, but the primary one is that they are familiar with your locale and know when the optimum time for planting your garden is, as well as plant varieties that will perform well in your area.

They have a wealth of information and are available to share it with you. They’ll also know if you need to amend your soil or need other kinds of nutrients in your area. They enjoy talking shop.

Focus on the Estimated Last Frost Date

The important date to focus on is the estimated last frost day. Tender young plants will die if exposed to frost. There are some methods to protect them if you get a freak cold day after you’ve planted, though. But there is nothing more infuriating than having to replant your garden because you planted too early!

Start Plants Indoors

To get a jump on the season, you can start some plants indoors before the beginning of the season. Count about eight weeks before that critical last frost date, and start your seeds then. You can plant them in almost anything from newspaper pots to peat pellets to small flower pots. If they have some sunlight, warmth, and water, they will grow.

Starting your own plants from seed will allow you to experiment with types that aren’t readily available, like some of the new developments, or old heirloom varieties. There is a lot of satisfaction in starting your own transplants, and it’s a great way to get the whole family involved in gardening, too. You can order seeds from companies like BurpeeGurney’s, or Baker Creek Heirloom.

Purchase from Your Local Nursery

If this seems like too much work, make a trek back to your local nursery to find out what varieties they have available. Try to find a garden center that raises their own plants instead of buying them from a larger commercial grower. The plants will be adapted to your day length, humidity, and may even already be acclimated to the environment.

Plants that nurseries purchase – like the big box stores – are usually greenhouse grown, under the best growing conditions, and then delivered to your store. They’re usually not the best plants for your region, and are just a generic variety that’s sold everywhere.

Be Ready to Plant

Be ready to plant your garden when all dangers of frost have passed. In temperate climates where frost is not an issue, gardens may be planted any time of the year.

Pay attention to the specific needs of the varieties you’ve picked. Some plants do better in the cooler months with shorter sunlight, and some need the hotter days of summer, along with the longer sunlight to thrive. Remember to jot down a few notes throughout the season so you can fine tune the process next year.

 

 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

By contributing writer Beth

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft. All your kids can join in the fun too.

This is a great project for a rainy day or a lazy Sunday afternoon. We were able to get these two pumpkins decorated in under 30 minutes plus drying time.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft that your kids will enjoy too. It takes under 30 minutes plus drying time.

You can put these out as a welcoming addition on your front porch or as a warm touch on your fireplace mantle.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Supplies Needed

Ivory & Gold Pumpkin

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Lay down newspaper to protect your work surface. Apply a light ivory acrylic paint to the first pumpkin. I like ivory better than white for fall because it’s warmer to match fall decor colors.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Add enough coats of paint to completely cover the entire surface and all surface imperfections.

Allow all coats to dry completely.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Drip the metallic gold paint over the stem of the pumpkin. Allow the paint to pool around the top of the pumpkin and use a brush to move the paint around the top so it’s not too thick.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft

Allow the paint to gently drip down the sides for a wet look. The shimmery paint will still have a glossy, glimmering finish, even when it’s dry.

Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Gather all three paints for the next pumpkin. This one is crazy fun for kids to do.

Gather enough paint brushes for everyone and make sure to cover your artists (how adorable is this DIY Art Smock!) and your surface. Any splattered acrylic paint can usually be easily cleaned up with a damp cloth.

You can do a base layer of color for your pumpkin, but I liked the natural color of the paper pumpkins that I picked up, so I just used that as a neutral base for the project.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Water down the paint in individual bowls so that the paint flows freely. It should be watered down enough to splatter and not clump or drip.

Dip your paintbrush into the first color and splatter away.

Let that first color dry so that it doesn’t blend with the next layer of color. If you do the next color while the first color is wet, the colors could mix together.

Celebrate fall with this super easy and fun to make Hand Painted Pumpkin Craft - Paint Splatter Pumpkin

Continue to layer color splatters on top of each other until you’re satisfied with the finished product.

Allow to dry completely and display as desired.

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves

By contributing writer Beth

This Shaving Cream Paint craft is fun to do with kids on a lazy afternoon. As they dream of cooler temperatures, they can create fall leaves as sweet reminders of the beautiful colors of autumn.

This Shaving Cream Paint craft is fun to do with kids on a lazy afternoon. As they dream of cooler temperatures, they can create fall leaves as sweet reminders of the beautiful colors of autumn.

You can do this with toddlers and above. The ingredients are non-toxic, but the paint can stain clothes. So make sure that everyone wears their art smocks.

If you do this craft with older kids, have them do research on different trees that lose their leaves in fall. Then let them choose the types of leaves they want to design. Then have them cut out their favorite leaves.

This is a great time to talk with the kids about how the trees are preparing for winter. The leaves change color because it’s time for the tree to seal off those leaves and stop making food. The tree grows new leaves again in spring when there is once again plenty of water and sunshine to begin the food-making process inside the leaves.

Some questions you could ask your kids:

  • Are there trees in your yard that lose their leaves?
  • What types of other trees grow around the area that also shed their leaves in fall?
  • How are the leaf shapes different?
  • How are they similar?

Oak and maple leaves have beautiful and unique shapes. Big leaves and small leaves may fall from trees, and varying sizes work perfectly for little hands.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Supplies

Supplies Needed

  • card stock
  • scissors
  • shaving cream
  • acrylic paint in fall colors
  • popsicle sticks
  • shallow pans such as pie plates (I used foil pie pans)
  • cardboard or newspaper for covering your work surface

Instructions

1. Trace (or draw) and cut leaf shapes from card stock. If you’d like, you can use the shapes my daughter drew. Download here and print directly on your card stock.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 1

2. Put shaving cream in a shallow pan and spread it out to coat the pan.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 2

3. Squeeze lines and spots of paint into the pan. Make sure to use contrasting colors to create dramatic differences and unique looks for each leaf.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 3

4. Use your fingers or popsicle sticks to create swirls. Make sure to explain to the kids that there is a difference between swirling and mixing. We are not trying to blend the colors but to create fun patterns of movement.

If you have enough pans, it would be great fun for each child to create their own swirling paint pattern.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 4

5. Press a leaf cutout into the swirled shaving cream. Press straight down to keep the paint from smearing or mixing too much and distorting the pattern.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 5

6. Pull the cutout straight up out of the paint. Place it on some scrap cardboard or newspaper. Wait 30 seconds.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 6

7. After the paint has had a chance to dry just a little, scrape off the paint from the cutout with a popsicle stick. You can try scraping in different directions for varying effects.

Allow the cutouts to dry completely.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 7

Repeat with all the leaves.

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves Step 8

Enjoy your new reminders of autumn and treasure the season you’re in!

Shaving Cream Paint Fall Leaves - finished

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover

By contributing writer Beth

This Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover is great for back-to-school fun. Your kids will love designing their own personalized journals to stand out from the crowd.

This Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover is great for back-to-school fun. Your kids will love designing their own notebooks to stand out from the crowd.

This tutorial takes from 5 – 10 minutes and doesn’t require any special equipment. The supplies are easy to find at an office supply store or any store that sells school supplies. This brand of tape comes in many designs and colors, so you’ll be able to find the design that suits each child’s personality.

Let’s get started!

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook - Supplies

Supplies Needed

Instructions

Start by turning the notebook so the back is facing up. I start on the back and finish on the front so that all of the uneven finishing pieces of tape are on the back of the notebook. This happens because you wrap the overhang to the back over the spine in the steps to cover the front.

Cut off a piece of tape long enough to overhang both sides by at least an inch. Place the tape onto the top edge of the notebook so that it hangs over the top edge at least half an inch.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

You can see when the book is flipped over how it overhangs on the top and sides.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Open the back of the notebook and work on the outside corner first. Cut two slits coming out from the rounded corner of the composition notebook cover.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Cut out a triangle of tape from the top side using a straight line from the top edge to the top of the first corner slit you cut. So you’ll see that a triangle of tape is now removed from the top edge and the other corner slit remains.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Fold down the slender piece of tape straight in on the diagonal angle. This will help keep the rounded edge of your notebook.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Now press in the side piece to be straight on the edge of the notebook and press in toward the binding.

(Ignore the pointy corner on this image. I had not yet cut out the triangle piece when I photographed this step.)

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Leave the top edge away from the cover for now.

At the spine, cut out a trapezoid where the tape will be flat against the edge of the notebook and the sides will point slightly toward the outer corners.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Fold down the front edge. See how the angle of the spine cut allows for the tape to lay flat against the cover without getting near the paper. This will also keep the tape from causing bulk in the center.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Smooth the entire top of the front piece of tape down all the way to the corner you already prepared in earlier steps. Now the top front corner is complete.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Press down the back edge on the other side of the spine so that the sticky side of the tape has all been wrapped.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

This is how the front piece will look when finished.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Continue to finish the front of the notebook with new strips of tape that slightly overlap the first piece. Thankfully, you’ll only need to smooth them over the front edge until you get them to the bottom where you’ll finish the bottom front corner the same as the top corner.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

Repeat all these steps on the back EXCEPT do not make them overlap the spine. Just have the back pieces cover the back edge and slightly overlap the front piece that is wrapped around.

DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

You’re finished! Great job!

You might also like…

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.