organic gardening Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

Basics to Growing Sugar Snap Peas

We love being able to grow new things each season. And this season we’re learning the basics to growing sugar snap peas! If you are looking for a great plant for kids to get involved in, you have to try growing sugar snap peas.

Peas are one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed that you can choose from, and they constantly give you something to harvest. As long as you provide peas with the things that they need anyone can be a pro at growing peas. There are a few basics that hold true for every variety of pea plant that you are interested in growing, so as soon as you understand those basics you can begin growing your own pea crop.

Once you have decided what type of pea plants to grow, from snap to snow to vine to bush, learn these basics and get started.

Basics to Growing Sugar Snap Peas

Start From Seed

Peas are best grown from seed, so it is always the best idea to decide where you are going to plant and grow your peas and then stick to that site. Pea plants do not do well with transplanting, so it is essential that the garden space or container that they are in is able to provide for their growing and nutrient needs. Do not plant all the seeds that you purchase at once, but just a few at a time so that you can replant in rounds throughout the growing season and always have plants at different stages of growth to harvest from.

Provide For Pea Plant Basic Needs

Sugar snap peas require full sun, well-worked soil that is organic-rich soil and space to spread out. Vine varieties of peas need to be planted next to a trellis, fence or stakes so that they have something to grab onto as they climb. Bushy varieties need space to spread out because they form clumps that do not like being crowded. As long as you can provide these three key needs and regular waterings, peas should be able to thrive in your garden with minimal attention.

Thinning Peas

Sugar snap peas should be planted 1 to 2 inches apart and then thinned out to 3 to 4 inches apart, so if you have a very successful show of seedlings, you will have to thin them out more than average. Use garden scissors to thin out your seedlings, or pinch them close to the soil, so that you do not uproot pea seedlings nearby.

Harvesting Your Peas

Pea pods will begin to appear on your plants about 6-8 weeks into their growing season, depending on variety. Do not wait for the pea pods to begin splitting and showing the peas inside, pick them before this happens when they have reached their final length. Pea pods will show bumps from the peas inside, but you do not want them to be bulging open. As long as you harvest early, your plants should give you another crop or two before the plant is entirely spent.

What are you growing in your garden right now?

Looking to grow more in your garden? Try these kid-friendly crops!

DIY Indoor Hanging Herb Garden Ideas

Creating a Beautiful Butterfly Garden

How to Grow Carrots with Kids

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Upcycled Container Gardens: Housing Your Herbs

Upcycled Container Gardens Housing Your Herbs

Around this house, we try to repurpose and upcycle as many things as we can. If it can’t be composted or turned into something else, we try to donate. So very rarely do we end up with things that go in the trash. This makes for a great assortment of containers to be used in the garden.

When we picked up our chicks I knew we’d need a little home for them until they were big enough to go straight into our coop. At 3 weeks old they’d need to stay warm indoors so I picked up a metal bucket at our local hardware store.

Since I knew I would only be using the bucket for a short period of time I already had it earmarked for a project I’d wanted to do for quite a while… a stand alone herb garden!

Growing Chicks
I’m not sure if you know this but chicks, like children, grow like weeds! Seriously.

I turned around for a second and these cute little baby chicks are almost chickens at 2 months! But we still have 4 more months until they’re actually laying eggs (so I’m told).

Upcycled Container Gardens - growing seedlings

With so many things growing in our raised beds (like the broccoli that’s sprouting from our DIY K-Cup Seed Starters) we didn’t have any more room for the herbs I love to have on hand for cooking.

So it just made sense to have a container garden on the patio. What’s a better green work of art than a container garden?

Our next step will be to build a stacked container garden to house the strawberries we’ll be planting soon! How awesome does that sound? It’s as simple as taking this idea and stacking a few smaller containers on top of one another. Then planting in each tier.

Upcycled Container Gardens - cleaning out the container

 

Because our tub housed the chicks, I wanted to make sure that I cleaned the container very well before putting the soil and plants inside.

While some might question why I would clean out the container first – don’t people buy chicken manure? – the chicken poo that may be on the container hasn’t been composted yet. And I don’t want any bacteria that may have been left in the container to contaminate my plants.

But more on composting chicken poo later! Let’s get to this herb garden. First up – the chalkboard label.

Upcycled Container Gardens - DIY Chalkboard Label

 Upcycled Container Garden Chalkboard Label

What you’ll need:

  • 2 paper towels (can also use newspaper)
  • painters tape
  • chalkboard spray paint
  • metal container

What You Do:

1. Wipe down the area you wish to put the chalkboard paint on with an all-purpose cleaner. Then rinse the container out with water and let dry.

2. Grab two paper towels and cut each in half (4 half sheets). Then cut one-half sheet in half again. You’ll have 3 half sheets and 2 quarter sheets.

3. Using the painter’s tape and the paper towel pieces, create a square or rectangle space to spray paint the chalk onto.

4. Put extra paper towels under the container to protect the table underneath from paint.

5. Using the chalkboard spray paint, spray on two coats of chalkboard paint onto the container. Wait about 20 minutes in between each coat to allow them to dry.

6. Remove the paper towels and tape to reveal your chalkboard label. Write on it with chalk and display for all to see!

Upcycled Container Gardens - variety of herbs

Tips for Planting Herbs in a Container Garden

  1. Use good soil – find a soil that’s good for growing vegetables or use a good blend of soil and compost
  2. Depending on where you’re putting your container garden, consider the height each herb/plant gets and plant taller herbs in the back
  3. Plant what you know you already use now in the kitchen
  4. Make sure you are also giving your herbs vegetable food (found at any garden center)
  5. Place the container garden in a spot that will receive direct sunlight and make sure to water!

Upcycled Container Gardens with Chalkboard Label

What’s your favorite way to upcycle old containers?

Recycle Reduce Reuse with K-Cup Seed Starters

We’ve come up with a clever solution to a problem we had: K-Cup seed starters! Take those used k-cups and turn them into something useful. 

K-Cup Seed Starters - recycling in the garden

Over the years we’ve become more and more conscious of our environment and the impact we have on it. We cloth diaper, grow our own veggies, compost, and make an overall effort to reduce waste and excess.

Since we’ve upgraded from our Keurig Vue to the Keurig 2.0, the one thing I hate is that I can’t recycle the k-cups I use every day. And since I’m a big coffee drinker, I don’t have any way to reuse the k-cups. Until now! I’ve started getting creative with my k-cups and have come up with a list to reuse them in a useful way.

First up is in the garden. Now our garden has always been my pride and joy. I consider it a work of art that is ever changing. And since we just started up our new garden at the new house, I needed an excuse to show it off.

Green Work of Art in the Garden

How pretty are those little starter plants? Well, they started in our k-cups from seed! Truly a green work of art.

That’s right. K-cups are the perfect way to start seeds for the garden. Not only are they plentiful around here, but they have a built in drainage hole that doesn’t need to be added. How cool is that?

Here’s how you use them!

K-Cup Seed Starters Tutorial

K-Cup Seed Starters

What you’ll need: 

  • k-cup
  • seeds
  • trowel
  • soil (any good vegetable planting soil)
  • water

K-Cup Seed Starters - what you need

What you do: 

1. Remove the foil from the top of the k-cup.

2. Discard the coffee grounds to be used later in the garden or your compost bin.

3. Remove the filter from the k-cup and discard the plastic filter – you can compost the k-cup paper filter if you’d like.

4. Fill with soil about 3/4 of the way up.

5. Add 2-3 seeds and top with more dirt until filled.

6. Water daily and watch sprout!

Once your seedlings are big enough to transfer just pull out gently and move to a bigger pot or straight in your garden bed!

For a full in-depth tutorial, check out our video:

 

K-Cup Seed Starters - broccoli

How do you recycle, reduce, and reuse around your home?

Someday I’ll Learn: Bugs in the Garden

Bugs In The Garden

After figuring out what you want to plant in the garden with your kids, consider what to look out for. Including the bugs in the garden.

I’ve shared some great bugs to look out for in your garden over at Someday I’ll Learn. Find out what you want to keep… and what you don’t!

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