Smurfette’s Secret Succulent Fairy Garden

This secret succulent fairy garden would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day or any other special occasion. Plus, it’s super easy to put together when you have the right tools!

A few weeks ago we were invited to a screening of Smurfs The Lost Village and boy did my kids love it! The movie took us through the story of Smurfette’s creation and her struggle with finding her unique talent. Since she was made out of clay and different from the other Smurfs, she grew sad and frustrated with her lack of being able to master one skill. 

As the story unfolds, she and a few Smurf friends head off on an adventure that brings her to realize who she really is and the power she holds inside. 

Well… my kids were quite inspired by the movie because as soon as we got home they wanted to create their own Smurf village in the back yard! The fun plants that came alive and the various creatures found along Smurfette’s journey were all they could talk about. 

So I pitched a fairy garden but instead of fairies, we used Smurfs! And how perfect did it turn out? Plus? It was so easy for the kids to make! 

Watch the video at the end of this post for more details! 

[Read more…]

How to Build a Vertical Garden Using Pallets

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How to Build a Vertical Garden Using Pallets

Ever wonder what else you can do with pallets? I mean besides the thousands of other ideas you find all over the interwebs? Well, my husband and I figured out how to build a vertical garden using pallets. And they’re quite fun!

Now, I want to tell you right now that we’ve had some interesting finds when building these. The first? It’s really difficult to get dirt to stay IN the pallets once you start watering them. Especially if you don’t use a soaker hose line and just spray them with the garden hose.

My son had fun with the muddy clumps that came with that! But once the dirt is settled into the pallets it’s actually quite a good way to grow fun things and makes an awesome display for your yard.

build a vertical garden using pallets - before

This above was the side of our house in the front yard before we put the pallets in. I hated how empty and plain the space was and wanted to use the vertical garden to spruce it up and bring life to this part of the yard.

I don’t think my husband quite understood exactly what I was envisioning in my head but with some team work, a few dirty looks and rolling eyes, and some muddy kids, we got it done.

Oh… and if you’re having trouble finding pallets because everyone and their mom is grabbing them up to make things like this, go to Home Depot or whatever other hardware stores you have around and ask for their sod pallets. They’re more flimsy/rickety (hence the support added) but are perfect for this type of project!

Here’s how!

build a vertical garden using pallets - pallets

How to Build a Vertical Garden Using Pallets

Supplies:

Wood

  • wooden pallet
  • 2×2 doug fir
  • 2×4 doug fir
  • 1×8 cedar fence board
  • 2 4×4 cedar posts

Materials

What you do:

build a vertical garden using pallets - drilling on support beams1. Measure length of pallet and cut 2x2s to that length. These will give extra support to the pallet.

build a vertical garden using pallets - staple black garden cloth

2. Staple weed block fabric to the back of the pallet, pulling taut to make sure it’s stretched all the way across. Layer if needed to cover the full back.

build a vertical garden using pallets - add support panels

3. Measure the width of the pallet from 2×2 to 2×2 and cut 1×8 fence boards to that length. Screw in place over the weed block fabric.

build a vertical garden using pallets - dig post holes and level post

4. Measure the distance you need your posts to be installed on the ground and dig holes for posts. Cut posts to size depending on how far above the ground you want the pallets to be. Make sure to bury them about 1-2′ in the ground to provide a sturdy base.

5. Set posts in the ground by covering with dirt and using a level to determine if you need to move or shift the posts. Measure the back dimensions of the pallet to determine exactly how far apart the posts should be. This will vary with every pallet.

build a vertical garden using pallets - attaching pallet to posts

6. Measure where you want the bottom of hte pallet to be and mark off that height on each post with a pencil. Then cut the 2×4 to the width between the posts. This board will act as a frame for the pallet to sit on. Screw the 2×4 into position directly underneath the line you’ve drawn.

7. Lift pallet into place on the frame and screw to secure.

build a vertical garden using pallets - fill with dirtHow pretty are they??

Next up is the hard part… this is where we had the most trouble… trying to pack in the soil to make sure it stayed in place and didn’t spill all out.

Now you’re probably asking why we didn’t start our pallet garden on the ground and then lift it into place once the plants were established. Well.. you *could* do that but just think of how heavy those pallet gardens would be. Crazy heavy! So we did it this way.

build a vertical garden using pallets - dirt in pallet

8. Using the cardboard stapled to the front of the pallet, fill the pallet with mulchy garden soil. Pack down each layer as you go to make sure it’s secure. There will be some dirt that falls out, simply fill it back again or leave it as is to settle more and fill later.

9. Plant with whatever seeds you think will grow best! We stick to lettuce in one planter and herbs in another with a few strawberries at the bottom. It’s pretty fun to step out and grab herbs whenever I need them!

build a vertical garden using pallets - planting from startersAnother problem we ran into was using starter plants we purchased instead of seeds. While in theory this would work great, when you put a plant that’s been growing vertically in a horizontal planter into a vertical planter and ask it to grow horizontally it looks like this above… droopy.

It’s also quite messy and hard to get the starter plants IN the planter and you spill a TON of dirt everywhere. Our solution? Seeds… start from seed and install an irrigation system with a soaker hose. You can find everything you need for the soaker hose in the irrigation aisle at your local hardware store.

build a vertical garden buckets for run offIf you’re going to use an irrigation system with your garden, know that there will be water that drips down constantly. In order to conserve that water to use on our other plants and in our raised garden beds, we simply put buckets underneath to catch the excess water.

You know what else we found? Bees LOVE to come and drink the water that pools on the last rung of the pallet because they love mineral rich water. That means you’re helping the bees with your vertical garden too! Here’s a close up of a bee drinking. This is a regular sighting.

build a vertical garden using pallets - plant from seed

While it’s been a crazy process, I absolutely love how the vertical gardens make the side of our house look. I consider them more of a decorative piece in our front yard but love that we also get the benefits of growing our own herbs and lettuce.

And since our pallets are in the shade for most of the day, we had to choose plants that would work well in these conditions. I’m sure there are other things one could grow if their vertical garden were directly in full sunlight.

build a vertical garden using pallets - planted

What would you plant in a vertical garden?

Great Tips for Gardening With Kids

Gardening with Kids

We’re starting to plan what we’re going to plant in our raised bed for spring right now and can’t wait to get our hands dirty. One of the best parts about gardening, for me, is the fact that the kids get involved in every step from planning, planting, and growing.

Over the years of gardening with them I’ve come to find that gardening with kids isn’t as hard as it sounds. In fact, it can be quite fun! The bonding we do over our garden has deepend our relationship and has acted as a teaching tool for life lessons.

Below are some great tips for gardening with kids that you can use if you’re just starting or have been gardening with your kids for a while.  [Read more…]

Growing Healthy Eaters and Snap Peas from Seed

This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

Growing Healthy Eaters and Snap Peas from Seed

My son is obsessed with the outdoors. He’s the ultimate bug catching, fossil digging, mud puddle making boy. It’s pretty hard to get him indoors so we try our best to keep him busy. Since I started up our garden beds again he’s been begging to plant his favorite snap peas in the front yard. How can a mother say no? And growing snap peas from seed is fairly easy.

I handed him a trowel, some gloves, some Miracle-Gro Organic garden soil, and some snap pea seeds. And what he did next was pretty darn awesome. Not only did he plant the seeds, but he proceeded to water them daily, check them for bugs, and give me progress reports on their growth.

This experience definitely made me one happy and proud mama. He’s learning how to grow his own food and he’s requesting more and more variety in the seeds he plants. [Read more…]

Gardening With Kids: Creating a Beautiful Butterfly Garden

Want to attract more butterflies to your yard? By creating a butterfly garden, you allow the butterflies to have a space to eat, rest, and flutter around so they feel comfortable fluttering about throughout the year! 

Gardening With Kids

Gardening with kids has come to be one of my favorite hobbies these days. Not only does it give me much needed momma time with my two little ones, it also is a great way to teach them new and wonderful things.

I’ve also found that while we spend time gardening, we’re also growing something greater. We’re growing an amazing bond and a safe place for them to come and talk to me about just about everything. 

When the family and I headed to the store last week we saw some awesome 5-gallon lavender plants among a few other plants they were selling.

As soon as I saw them I immediately when to go scout them out and found one I loved. My husband already knew I was on the hunt for a lavender plant to help entice the butterflies to come visit more often.

Gardening with Kids lavender plant

We also have some kangaroo paw and other flowering plants that do so as well. But I love the smell of lavender and had to have a place for it. There are some great plants to bring into your yard to entice the butterflies to visit. Here are a few to check out: 

Butterfly-Friendly Plants For Your Garden

Attracting Caterpillars

  • Borage
  • Cilantro*
  • Fennel*
  • Grasses
  • Hollyhocks
  • Lupine
  • Milkweed
  • Nettle
  • Thistle

Attracting Butterflies

  • Alyssum
  • Aster
  • Bee balm
  • Butterfly bush
  • Calendula
  • Cosmos
  • Daylily
  • Delphinium
  • Dianthus
  • Fennel*
  • Globe thistle
  • Goldenrod
  • Hollyhock
  • Lavender*
  • Liatris
  • Marigold
  • Musk mallow
  • Nasturtium
  • Oregano*
  • Phlox
  • Purple coneflower
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Sage*
  • Scabiosa
  • Shasta daisy
  • Stonecrop
  • Verbena*
  • Yarrow
  • Zinnia

*these plants are edible

Gardening with Kids pulling out the lavender plant

When we got home I asked my son if he wanted to help me plant it. He jumped at the opportunity to get dirty and quickly helped me take the lavender plant out of it’s container and plant it inside a wine barrel we had just filled with dirt.

It was the perfect task for him since it involved digging in dirt, and watering afterwards. Dirt + water = mud and mud makes my son very happy.

Once we were done we stepped back and marveled at what we had just done together. I now have a lavender plant and my son has a new place to look for beautiful butterflies.

Gardening with Kids planting lavender in a wine barrel

Being able to get my hands dirty with my son and grow these memories and experiences are something I’ll treasure forever.

It’s more than just that lavender plant. It’s the bond I’m forming with my son while tending to that lavender plant.

It’s the moments we share watching the butterflies flitter in our yard and land on one of the plants. It’s seeing a caterpillar make a cocoon and watching a butterfly emerge.

Gardening with Kids lavender butterfly garden

Our ferns, kangaroo paw, and other ornamental plants in our yard have bloomed beautifully with a little love from the kids. And I’m sure this lavender plant will as well!

How do you Grow Something Greater?

Love to garden? Read on! 

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How to Grow Carrots with Kids {From Garden to Table}

Learn how to grow carrots with kids and see how easy gardening with kids is! All it takes is some patience, sun, water, and love. 

How to Grow Carrots with Kids

One of my kids favorite veggies is carrots. So figuring out how to grow carrots with kids was one of my top priorities when we started gardening.

Lucky for me, growing carrots is one of the easiest things to do. Not too many pests to worry about – unless you have four-legged critters like bunnies, squirrels, and deer – and take anywhere from 60-75 days to grow.

Plus, the kids LOVE watching the tops grow taller and I like how green and pretty it makes the garden bed look. [Read more…]

Someday I’ll Learn: Kid Friendly Gardening Ideas

The sun is shining, spring is almost here, and the kids are aching to get in the dirt! For us that means one thing… planning out our spring garden beds.

kid friendly gardening ideas

Are you planning your garden yet?

Why not get the kids involved with these great tips featured on Someday I’ll Learn.

Pinterest Inspiration



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