Friday, May 8, 2009

Frugal Friday

Good morning everyone! Ready for today's tips? Good! As you can see by the photo above, my tip is to start your own plants from seed instead of buying nursery stock. Believe it or not there are 72 tomatoes in this picture, There is no way I could afford to buy that many plants for my garden. Even if I bought the plants on sale it would cost close to $144 for this many plants. Yes, I know you are thinking "who in the world plants 72 tomatoes in their garden anyway?" Well, I do! I can and make my own tomato sauce, salsa, canned tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato soup, even ketchup, so I need a bunch of tomatoes. I always plant with it in mind to have plenty to share with others too. I also start my peppers, onions, eggplant, herbs and give a head start to my broccoli, cabbage and lots more plants. So if you are putting in a garden, a good thing to do is start your own.

I don't use fancy lights or anything special. Although that would be ideal as it helps to keep the plants from getting leggy and having to turn the flat so the plants don't grow crooked towards the light. I have the seed starting flats you see in the picture and have set them on an old metal rack in a South facing window in my kitchen. I will transplant these into the 4" pots and then into the garden from there. A pointer I learned about planting tomatoes years ago is to plant a good amount of the stem in the ground. All along the stem it will send out more roots, making a healthier and stronger plant.

Ed has been making compost for a couple of years now. He put last years compost in my troughs we will plant with permanent things like garlic and strawberries etc. But there was one wheel barrow load left over and it since rained in it. I am going to dip out the liquid from that and water my transplants with it. They are due for some fertilizer. As we don't use chemicals or pesticides on our plants this is a wonderful fertilizer for transplants/seedlings.
This is the entire rack that I can use for three flats of seedlings. I really should give the thing a coat of paint shouldn't I? Okay that is what I will do before starting more. This weekend I will get the starts re potted and then start more seeds. My kitchen turns into a green house before time to plant in the garden. That is why my dear hubby is building me a green house this year. Besides we will need a good place to put our citrus trees and we will grow some veggies through the winter, saving on that grocery bill.

I have another tip for you today also. Remember our laundry soap we made last Friday? I did some experimenting and found it works great on dishes too. Since it doesn't suds up you can use it for automatic dishwasher soap. I also add white vinegar to the rinse agent compartment. That wasn't enough I had to try it on hand washing the dishes. It does do a good job of cutting grease and leaving the dishes sparkling. My problem is I like to see the suds. So I mixed it half and half with my regular hand washing dish soap. So this will make my purchased soap go twice as far. : )

Okay, I have one more thing to share and it isn't much of a frugal tip unless you are raising your own meat. Remember the photos of the Buff Orpington chicken setting on some duck eggs? She hatched out 6 ducklings yesterday! We are so proud of her and she is the very protective mama. I took the first picture yesterday when they were still wet. As soon as I charge up the batteries in my camera, I will take more of the little darlings!

This was the first four she hatched. Then last night she hatched out 2 more. She has one egg left. If it doesn't hatch by tonight it probably won't.

This is one of Buff's babies. I snatched it out from under her and took it's picture. See the little egg tooth still on the end of its bill?
Here is another shot of the little cutie.

Even more news in the duck world. White Rose the the duck has little peep holes in the eggs she is setting on too! You can hear the ducklings peeping inside the eggs. That is so neat! Today will be more ducklings on Bountiful Acres Homestead. We are so pleased!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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