Raised Garden Boxes: The Beginning

Planting Time! | happy together
Our yard is a complete blank slate which is awesome in the sense that we get to do whatever we want, but then tiring to think about all we need to do to get what we want (and the money! lol). We decided one of the first things we would do this spring is add some raised garden boxes to the backyard so we can get that going. I love having a garden. In fact, our whole family does, so it was important to us. Since our yard is really thick clay dirt, where not even grass will grow in some spots, we went with the raised garden boxes to be able to grow our plants well. In fact, we even covered a large area where no grass would grow with them so it solved two things. Our goal next is to get some pea gravel to go around the edges of the boxes and in between the rows. But one thing at a time…..

Raised Garden Boxes from cedar wood | happy together
We decided to go with untreated cedar fence planks after doing our research. Cedar is a natural bug deterrent which is good since things like termites can be bad down here. And untreated so no chemicals leach into the soil. My husband, who is pretty awesome, put the boxes together for us. The two smaller ones used 16 planks for each box. We didn’t trim the tops of the planks but used that area to attach a support piece of wood. It covered the small openings from the inside which made for no soil to fall out. The larger box used 24 planks. This one is taller so I can grow root vegetables with no problems. I learned a lot from our small square foot garden at our previous house so I knew I wanted at least one deep box for the root veggies. My husband also ended up adding wood stakes on the inside right in front of the support pieces to help keep the boxes from bursting open once the soil is added.

Raised Garden Boxes from cedar wood | happy together
We were very blessed to be able to borrow a truck to bring in loads and loads of dirt. Not a very glamorous purchase, but something we needed to do. Who knew dirt could be so expensive? I mean the good kind for gardening. Top soil is less expensive but you would have to add all the extra stuff for it to be a good garden soil. So we went ahead and bought stuff that was already all “stinky” as the man we bought it from called it. After filling the beds I sat down and determined my planting scheme. I bought a bunch of seeds of things that we like to eat and decided I would make it all work somehow. I used those great pins on Pinterest that say what not to plant together when making my plan. The big box has carrots, peas, beans, and sunflowers. The middle box has watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, and squash. And the other little box is just for flowers because we love those so much.

Baby plants | happy together
I’m so excited to see how this all goes. I haven’t grown broccoli, beans, cantaloupe, or watermelon before. I’m interested to see how it does. Being that I am not a native of Louisiana, I keep testing things to see how they fair here.

Petunia Hanging Baskets | happy together
We also splurged on some beautiful petunia hanging baskets. It feels so good to have some plants growing in our yard! Oh and we did plant four crepe myrtles to line the fence. We bought the Natchez variety and I can’t wait to see how those grow and bloom the next few years. Anyone else planting already? -jess

Excitement | happy together

10 on 10

Vintage Fabric Two Layer Christmas Skirt | sewn by Happy Together
The past month was like a whirlwind for us. It was full of of Christmasy goodness and lots of cherished time with friends. I managed to make a Christmas skirt for miss J using some vintage material from my stash and a green lace I got from Hancocks. She was happy with it and she wore this to church the Sunday before Christmas and miss E wore her dress.

A Horse and Carriage Ride in Loisiana | happy together
We went on a carriage ride to look at lights with some of our friends. I seriously could not believe that horse pulled us all. It was a good time though and something we have wanted to do since moving here.

Christmas Wreath Making with Friends | happy together
We hosted the small group we attend at our church and I ended up taking the ladies into the garage to make wreaths. I went up to Lowes and got a ton of free tree trimmings. I made a garland to go around our garage, a wreath for our door, a centerpiece, and a few other decorations in our kitchen with the scraps, but I still had a ton left over. So an impromptu wreath making party it was!

Christmas Clippings Gift Wrapping | happy together Christmas Clippings Gift Wrapping | happy together
I also added little trimmings to random gifts we gave through out the month. I kept a jar of water in the garage filled with the trimmings to use. It was the perfect little touch.

A Simple Naked Cake | happy together
I made yet another naked cake for my friends birthday. I just love making cakes like this. They are so simple and then you can top it with whatever decorations you like. I picked some lovely flowers for this one and it made me excited thinking about spring….even though that is a bit aways still.

Winter Harvest of Radishes | happy together Winter Harvest of Kale | happy together
Our little winter garden has been good to us. We harvested a ton of radishes and the girls loved pulling them out of the ground. Our kale is growing and growing and I use it at least three times a week in our meals. I have never eaten so many greens in my life, but I can say I really feel a difference from eating more of this super food. I like to add it to soups and saute it by itself. It also goes well in smoothies. Always remove the stems to help get rid of the bitterness if you have never cooked with it before. I started a Pinterest board where I pin recipes I have tried and how it went if you would like to follow along.

Farmers Market Buy Local | happy together
I love growing our own food, but I also love supporting others who offer homegrown things we don’t grow at this point. I have made it our goal to attend a local farmers market once a week and make it a part of our grocery trip. Then we are eating and supporting local and getting what is in season. We also never know what we might find so it’s fun. This one week we even got some hand spun yarn! I am working on a little cardigan from miss J from that orange-red yarn right now. She loved seeing the pictures of the sheep the wool came from and is anxious to wear her cardigan made from it’s wool. Oh how that girl wants a farm :)

10 on 10 | happy together
The girls have also been loving their trampoline we got them for Christmas. What a great energy outlet it has become! The cold finally came to Louisiana, so they are waiting for the warmth to come back so they can enjoy it more. I on the other hand am enjoying some cooler weather for once ;)

-Jess

Sulphur, LA | happy together

 

Our Very First Square Foot Garden

Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together This past spring I decided to try and do a legit little garden for my family to enjoy. I have so many fond memories of helping my grandfather and father in their gardens, that I wanted to give that opportunity to my girls. We rent and can’t exactly go tearing up our yard to make a huge garden, so I was very happy when I discovered square foot gardening while browsing on pinterest one day. We actually had a little raised bed that we fixed up last year, but we only grew flowers then. This year I planted carrots, beets, onions, peas, a tomato plant, and spinach in our little garden bed. Then I planted a cucumber plant in a planter and a pepper plant in another planter.

Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together These pictures are mostly from May when we did our big harvest. I should have let things stay in the ground a little longer, but we were getting ready to leave for a long trip and I knew it would be too late by the time we got back. My girls had so much fun pulling out their veggies! And let me tell you, they were so much more excited and open to eat vegetables that they picked themselves.

Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together The peas, tomatoes, and cucumber plants kept giving a continuous harvest for a while, so they were still able to go pick some goodies to eat later.

Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together   I liked square foot gardening because it was more technical for a smaller garden space. Meaning, the sites I found told you how big to make your “boxes” with string (if you like) and how much of each thing to plant in each “box”. That way everything is spaced out correctly and has enough room to grow. I did know that our space wasn’t very deep and it was rocky once you dug down far enough, so I wasn’t sure how the root vegetables would do. Fortunately, they did pretty good! Our carrots are a little funky looking, but that’s okay. It was still fun to give them a try and they tasted fine.

Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together
Our First Square Foot Garden | by happy together Unfortunately, we came back from our few weeks trip to a very sad garden. I figured it would happen since it gets so hot here in Louisiana it makes plants dry up real quick. Aphids and stink bugs also attacked our tomato plant and it was too late to try and save it. I planted some zinnia seeds for the time being and am having pretty flowers consistently. I’m hoping to get some things planted this month for a fall harvest though. Did you grow a garden this year? What did you plant?

-Jess

Michaels Makers: Crafting with the Raw Bar

Michaels Makers: An Herb Garden and a Garland DIY | by Happy Together For this months Michaels Makers challenge, Michaels sent us a box of goodies with some items from a new line called the Raw Bar that will debut in stores on August 8, 2014. It is a line of products made of or accessorized by materials inspired by nature. Surfaces and textures include: burlap, cork, chalk board, wood, metal and canvas. They created the Raw Bar because customers requested raw surfaces that are unfinished and easily craft-able. I really like all the products they sent me and see a lot of potential with them. You really have the ability to make them your own.

Michaels Makers: An Herb Garden and a Garland DIY | by Happy Together   I mulled over a few ideas like making a cake topper, wrapping gifts up real cute, creating a fun canvas, but I decided to make an herb garden and garland to go in our kitchen. Plants totally go with the whole natural feel of the products if left in their raw state.

Michaels Makers: An Herb Garden and a Garland DIY | by Happy Together Michaels Makers: An Herb Garden and a Garland DIY | by Happy Together   I went to the store and picked up a few more items c/o Micheals to complete this diy. I grabbed six little clay pots and bottoms that would fit in the metal bin, a slice of wood for the bin to sit on, and string for the garlands. I also hit up a garden store and got some herbs and put them in the pots.

Michaels Makers: An Herb Garden and a Garland DIY | by Happy Together For the garland, I cut circles out of the cork ribbon and then cut them in half. Then I glued them to the string. I also glued the letters to the string and tied on the raw bobbins in between all the letters. Once the whole line comes out, I’m probably going to redo the letters and spell a different word so it fits better with being in my kitchen though. Here are a few more products that will be released and some projects you can make with them and check further below for links to what all the other Michaels Makers created this month. Happy Crafting! -Jess

Michaels Makers: The Raw Bar Top 10 Raw Bar Recipes Top 10 Raw Bar Recipes

This post was created in partnership with Micheals. All opinions stated are my own. Affiliate links have been used. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Happy Together.

From the Garden

From our garden

This was our first summer living in Louisiana. I wanted to try harder at having some sort of garden while we are here, so we decided to begin this year. We didn’t try to grow too much, but it was fun to experiment.

From our garden

Now, I kind of tried a little bit in Florida but that didn’t go well. The weather is similar here, so I knew I would have to be very consistent with watering if I wanted to see anything grow.

From our garden

We ended up getting a good amount of lettuce and a lot of flowers. Our cucumber plant did have some on it, but we went out of town for a month and apparently that plant didn’t make it (even with the help from our neighbors in watering it).

From our garden

I did also try a tomato plant. I bought it late in the season and is fine, but has not made any tomatoes yet. I’ll have to plan that a little better next year.

From our garden

We got lots of sunflowers (all sizes from a variety seed pack). One stalk was ginormous though and really overtook the garden. I will not plant that again, even though it was pretty.

From our garden

Zinnias did good and so did a lot of flowers that came from a wildflower mix.

From our garden

It was fun to see all the bees and butterflies these brought around.

From our garden

From our garden

Can’t wait to try some different things next year!
-Jess