Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cloth Training Pants Part 2

A few weeks ago I started making cloth training pants for my four grandsons who are turning two this year. You can see the original post here:

I thought this would be a less expensive way to help my daughters get through the potty training experience with their boys, but so far it has cost me $200 and I still need more PUL fabric! I'm not complaining. With the cost of bumGenius at $17.95 each and one Fuzzibunz at $19.95, to purchase 48 pants (one dozen for each grandson) would be $864 and $960. I'm happy with the outcome.

Now if the boys will do their "job" right, we should have four happy mommies with potty trained boys, hopefully before they outgrow them or start kindergarten!

By the way, had the size 20 plastic snaps and application device I needed.

I have plenty of the non-waterproof training pants available for purchase. They come with a separate nylon waterproof pant. Each set (cloth and waterproof panties) is $10.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Harvesting Herbs for Drying

The herbs were getting huge so I decided to harvest them in bulk. I cut off stalks of stevia, basil, dill, and spearmint (also known as bee balm or monarda).

I used pipe cleaners that I had in my craft box to tie the herbs into bundles. I had planned to dry them in the garage, but my husband made a good point about them getting dusty and possibly eaten by pests. So, my dining room is now an herb drying center. Smells great!

These should be ready to grind or chop for use within a month or so.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Another easy-to-grow perennial is the sunflower. We have a variety that volunteer to come back each year from the seeds they drop--that which the birds don't find. These attract small song birds such as golden finch and nut hatch chickadee in the fall and early winter.

Ours is a small patch, but with great variety.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Watermelon Update

We had five tiny watermelons last time I posted about them, but only two are still there. They have grown as you can tell in these photos. There's one more new baby coming on.
The vines are healthy, so maybe we will get at least three watermelons out of the five plants we are growing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cleome: Gardening in Nashville, Tennessee

Also known as cat whiskers, cleome does well in our area (6b). Even in poor soil and without collecting and replanting seeds from last year's plants, we have about a dozen stalks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

There's Corn in Tennessee

We have a small, but nice stand of corn in our backyard garden. My husband planted it really close--closer than I've ever seen anyone plant it. We've keep it fertilized and watered; and lo and behold it is putting on ears! My grandson and son-in-law will be glad to know there will be corn on our table soon. Corn is one of their favorite foods.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cosmos - Perennial

Cosmos is easy to grow. It comes back from seed each year and is prolific in bloom all summer. One of our favorites.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Straw Bale Garden Week 11

The straw bales are falling apart and the roots of our vegetables are getting too much air. We compressed the bales and added soil last weekend. That helped the tomatoes and peppers, but it's too late for the squash and zucchini. There's only one plant left of them and it's not looking too good.

All in all, I would definitely give straw bale gardening another try next year. I just wouldn't start the decomposition process before planting the veggies. Instead, I would cut holes in the bales and use them as planters. I love not having to weed! 

Here's a video update/tour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Althea Rose of Sharon

This tree-like shrub is called althea or rose of Sharon. My grandmother had this in her yard when I was a child. I lived next door to her when I was raising my children. She shared a clipping by "laying by" a low limb and placing a brick on top of it to make sure it maintained contact with the soil. Once it rooted, we severed it from the parent plant and I had this beauty in my yard as well. Now, almost 20 years later and after moving five times, I still have this hardy old-fashioned plant.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alien Communication Towers in our Garden

At the beginning of the growing season we pre-planned for our half-runner green beans to have a way to express themselves as they explore the heights. We wired two tomato baskets together end-to-end and stood them in the ground. It would have been better if we had gotten the wire stems into the ground farther. One of the "alien communication towers" fell during a storm we had, but reception has been restored and we have lots of foliage. I'm still wondering where the blooms are, and if we are actually going to have any beans.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We've Got Baby Watermelons, Baby!

Our experiment with planting watermelons in a container is working well. We have about five babies now. Same type of soil, same amount of water, but the cantaloupes we planted in the same size/type container are not making it.

Homemade Toddler Training Pants

So far I've prepared six training pants from cloth prefold diapers for my grandsons who are just starting to potty train. I will add the snaps to them tomorrow after a trip to the fabric store.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cloth Toddler Training Pants

I'm trying out two new things with this post. One, I'm making training pants for my toddler grandsons, and two, I'm posting this from my iphone! I love technology!

So here is the inside of the training pant. You can see it is made from a 6-ply prefold diaper.

This is the outside. I wish I could rotate the photo so it faces front, but learning to do that on my iphone will be my research project another day.

I stuffed it with a plastic bag just to get it to stand up so I can show the leg holes and side flaps where I plan to add velcro, which is cheaper than the hammer-on snaps I plan to use once I perfect my technique and know the garment will fit the boys.

Here is a photo of the velcro added. I gave it plenty of room for adjustment and know the waist will fit. I wish I had my two-year-old grandsons here to try this on for functionality regarding the leg opening. I added elastic to help hold in the yucky stuff that toddlers are prone to produce and carry in their pants—that is until mommy discovers the bomb.

Now compare this creation to the plain old white ones you can buy in the store. The tot must wear rubber pants with either but the designer ones are much cuter.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day Lilies Gardening in Tennessee

An old-time favorite of many gardeners is the common day lily. Our is the red-orange and yellow varieties.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Herbitoire: Echinacea

I have at least a dozen types of herbs growing in my garden. Until last year, I only sought them for their beauty, but his year I seem to be on a health kick and have found many of these treasures very beneficial for detoxing and strengthening the immune system. I'd like to share my "herbitoire" with you and tell what each one is used for. I'll do this in a series of videos as we tour my garden day by day.

The first one is for echinacea, which is a botanical immune system stimulant with a very good long-studied safety record. Part of the daisy family, it is great for treating bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. It is also a blood purifier for spider or snakebites as it speed rejuvenation of new tissue.

I bought a book titled An Herbalist's Guide to Growing & Using Echinacea by Kathleen Brown to learn more about this immune-boosting plant. You'll also find information about echinacea at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Making a Grapevine Basket for Ginger

I love ginger root so I've decided to grow the plant. It won't winter over in Tennessee so I needed a pot to put it in. I searched the yard and shed and didn't find one suitable, but I did find an empty metal stringer that didn't have a coir. I did have some grapevine so here is a video of me making the liner from this organic material.

I wasn't sure how symbiotic ginger and grapevine might behave. I planned to use a plastic bag as a barrier between the grapevine material and the soil, but then I found an old Halloween candy bowl in the garage that fit the diameter of the basket perfectly.