Monday, April 30, 2012


According to my handy-dandy planting guide,
potatoes should be sown here in March.
Didn't get the seed potatoes until last week.
Seems I'm always pushin' that envelope...


We use these all the time, so we're hoping for the best.
I'd like to find organic seed next time.

They seemed a bit squishy, so I hope they are okay.
Can you tell I've never planted potatoes?

According to package instructions,
they were cut into pieces and left to dry for a few days.

The ends harden off a bit
and they're ready to put into the ground.

Already formed sprouts mound atop.

That's the side that goes up!

Here's the small bed where we will tend them.
Soil will be added as plants start to burst out of the bed.
See the small basil plant in the upper right-hand corner?

Does that mean we'll have basil flavored taters?
Hmmm, that wouldn't be so bad I guess.

Enjoy your day, whatever you're planting!

For more information, click here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ladybug, Ladybug

The ladybugs have been busy around here as of late...

Leapfrog, anyone? 

Have a glorious weekend, y'all!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mystery Solved???

Here's what I learned about yesterday's mystery plant:

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)

Genus: Momordica (mo-MOR-di-ka) (Info)

Species: balsamina (bal-SAM-in-uh) (Info)

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

It would be great on a fence or arbor,
neither of which we have.
I'm not brave enough to eat it.
Seeds, anyone?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bloomin' Tuesday!

We had a lot of rain over the weekend (yippeee!)
so things are poppin' up all over here at Maple Hill.
Hope you have a bit of rain
and a ray of sunshine where you are!

Salvia and rosemary

Gerbera daisy

black-eyed susan vine

sweet potato vine and lantana

flax lily and blue daze

ageratum and zinnia


plumbego and pineapples
by the rain barrels



lemons and ladybug


society garlic

Have a great gardening day, y'all!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been wanting to make laundry detergent
for quite some time now.
It's one of our goals toward becoming more self-sufficient.


A few simple ingredients can be found most anywhere.

The Zote soap was a huge bar, so it was cut in half.

Measure out the Borax and Washing Soda
(1 C of each)

The Zote soap was grated first,
then whizzed in the food processor.
A few drops of essential oils is  an optional addition.

One tablespoon per load should do the trick.
The container was dated,
so that I can see how long this batch lasts.
**Update:  This amount made 1 month's worth,
which is approximately 20-24 loads.**

I'm gettin' to feel like a real homesteader...
with a modern twist.

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop