Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ways to save money creating a garden

Ways to Save when creating a garden

Gardens are beautiful and improve house and neighborhood values. The homeowner has to determine what they want their garden to reflect and what they want in their gardens. Some homeowners want flowers, others want vegetable and flower gardens. Landscapers know how to design great gardens and what plants to use to create them. If can't afford landscape services, consider getting help at home improvement stores, Home depot has an online garden newsletter and free membership garden club service.

Search engines will provide gardening information and site links by key search words; examples for good keywords are gardening tips, garden clubs, garden websites, historical gardens. These are some keyword examples to place on a google search, and there will be many links to different sites.

Some basic tips that I learned how to save on creating a garden

I am from New York City, so I came from a concrete jungle that had no real growing spaces for plants other than an apartment. As I moved to Ocala, here the open space has caused my family and I to really experiment with gardening. At first I didn't know how to set up the spaces, so I decided I wanted both vegetable and flower garden. I separated vegetable and flowers into different types of zones and areas where they would grow.

I decided to grow my tomatos mainly in large containers rather than in the ground, there are too many worms, ants and other insects. The other larger vegetables I started in containers than planted in the ground, such as cabbage, eggplants, watermelon and lettuce. I have been successful in growing these items by replacing these picked veggies with new seeds from the picked produce.

I read an interesting article on benefits of growing own food read here
Health Benefits of Growing Your Own Foods

I purchase perennials these are flowers that are more expensive because they tend to come back after they die in the winter and are resilient to climate and insects. By cutting down these flowers, they tend to come back year after year, such as roses.

If you purchase annuals they are cheaper and last during the hot weather, but they can survive the winter, if placed in a green house or cold frame in the ground. I have these in containers and I bring these annuals into the sunroom during the winter and cold weather.

Purchase plants that are out of season at nursies or that need some help, sometimes dying plants are cut 50% or more. Palms that are expensive can be bought in this method, cut down the palm leaves to the base and it will grow again. As it grows then replant in the ground. Use palm fertilizer or miracle grow and it really works, I had to cut down the palm leaves on a small palm plant a few years ago because it had discolorization on leaves. Now it is growing and is beautiful in my front yard, just by adding palm fertilizer and miracle grow.


 Unrelated to post but had to add artsy horse photo in front of Munroe Regional Hospital on 17th street.  These horses are located in downtown area and in the town square.  Beautiful.
This is my palm tree that I had to cut down the leaves due to disease and discolorization.  I cut down to base it took a few months for leaves to grow again but now healthy.

I use recycled coffee grounds and eggshells into the ground around the vegetables. I use miracle grow on many plants and vegetables, and purchase black gold compost manure from Walmart to enrich the soil in planting beds.

If there is no space to grow any more vegetables consider swapping with a neighbor that may be growing vegetables that you don't have in your garden. Exchange seeds or plants with them to grow in containers; you would be surprised how successful it is to grow vegtables in containers. Use insectcides to keep insects and disease of tomato plants every two weeks, and spray pest control spray around the flower beds about every two weeks. This is important to keep those pests out of the containers and flower beds, if they begin to infect your plants then the tomatos come out diseased. Make sure the plants get watered during hot climate about twice a day during cooler climate water once a day. Tomatos need lots of water and sun to flourish.

Planters can be expensive so make a planter out of out aluminum wash tubs, buckets, small coffee cans, old mop buckets, scrap wood. These items can be found at any Thrift store or outlet store.

If you want to save money on perennials, separate the single plants purchased into two different containers to double the amount of plants. Purchase plants that are drought resistent such as cactus or succulents, and herbs that grow exponenetially.

Depending upon the garden the homeowner wants any can be achieved by using inexpensive creative ways to grow the graden you want.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Niagara Falls photos from Canadian and NY Borders


These are photos of Niagara Falls when I went on a trip tour that included Canadian and NY tour. The three day tour included a stay at Niagara Falls NY and Toronto, Canada for one night at each city. Images include the CN tower, the highest floor has a glass floor that people could stand on and look straight down. 

I sure didn't, all I saw was a piece of glass under my feet that was hundreds of stories when looking downwards and decided not to look down.


Waterfall on Canadian side, loud thundering noise of water rushing drowns out any speaking

Famous Maid of the Mist boat tour, the moisture in the air very strong and waterdrops spray everywhere on the boat ride especially.

Beautiful Niagara have to visit to really appreciate true natural beauty.

This is one of the parks on Canadian side says Niagara Parks

CN Tower in Toronto,  the top of this tower is circular but part of the floor is made out of glass, so the tourists can stand on it and look straight down.  It is scary, I wonder how thick that glass is.

Save money by preparing foods instead of buying prepackaged


There are ways to save money from a weekly food budget without cutting back on your favorite foods, prepackaged foods cost more than foods that the consumer has to prepare from scratch, examples include canned fruits and vegetables, frozen dinners, baked goods and frozen entrees. These items save on time, but the prices can be higher in cost overall when you add it up monthly.

Pantry items that should be staples that include flour, dry milk, yeast, sugars, cornmeal, cocoa powder, and baking spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and ginger. Vanilla, lemon, almond and peppermint extracts are good to flavor cookies and candies.

There are so many online recipes to make donuts, cookies, cakes and chocolate, to name a few items that can be made from scratch without paying the premium. My favorite sites are allrecipes.com, delish.com and simplyrecipes.com. Many name brand companies have their own websites that offer receipes such as bettycrocker, pillsbury, dole, goya, and wholesalemarkets.

Buy fruits and vegetables at farmer markets or produce stands instead of canned, on a weekly basis. These produce are fresh and are cheaper; many of these items can be grown in planters.

There are many items that can be made from scratch such as pizza dough, biscuits, meat patties and cheesy breads.

Time is the culprit in making food from scratch; but finding a hour or two during the week can save that food budget. By cooking and preparing foods from scratch, not only are there money savings but there are health benefits to be found by eating less processed foods.
I make enough dough that will last for about three weeks. I take enough pizza dough to make about two pizzas, then I freeze the rest of the dough to make at a later time during the month. The dough should be kept about three weeks, the most about a month. 

I buy pizza sauce, shreded mozzarella cheese, onions, peppers, and pepperoni. These are a few ideas that can be helpful during these difficult times instead of slashing that food budget by cutting back on favorite snack foods, make them at home instead.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade Plaintains

Home made fried plaintains are great sides with pork chops or beefsteak (in spanish emapnada), when you fry cube beefsteak in flour batter.   There are two types of plaintains, there are the sweet yellow ripe bananas that have a sweet flavor to them when you fry it and are great for breakfast.  Green plaintains are not sweet but are delicious when flavored with garlic and if fried thinly resemble plaintain chips.   These plaintains are cut on a diagonal and  not too thick.  If you have a deep fryer or a deep large skillet  add oil to cover the entire plaintains add garlic powder and pinch of salt to plaintains.  As soon as the plaintains brown slightly take them out and press them with the plaintain peel or skin to flatten slightly then place in oil again.  Leave in until plaintains are crispy, eat them when they are warm.  Great with a garlic butter sauce and porkchops and lettuce tomato salad.  These are great sides with rice as well.  Sweet plaintains are great and cooked the same way, only that these plaintains are better with scrambled eggs and breakfast items such as corn beef hash.  At least I like to eat these with these items.