Tag Archives: mason jar

Gardening Projects 2014 July Update

I figure that it’s about time to admit my mistakes, and also what I’ve learned from the projects I’ve attempted this season. While they were small undertakings, I still didn’t do very well! But this is how we learn, right?

Fuchsias in Hanging Baskets

Winston Churchill fuchsia
Winston Churchill fuchsia

The Winston Churchill fuchsia variety is hanging in the back yard, and getting the perfect sunlight. The Dollar Princess variety I had put out front and just wouldn’t admit that it was getting too much sun. After a few scorching days where even the ones out back were injured, I finally admitted defeat and moved the Dollar Princesses to the back yard, and what’s left of them are doing much better than they ever did out front – the color is much deeper and prettier than I thought!

Fuchsias are very touchy. When it rains, it might not have rained enough, which is usually the case in the Pacific Northwest. When it’s hot, you might need to water an extra time or two. You definitely cannot leave them for a day without watering, particularly when it’s warm out. I feed them fairly regularly and I believe the spray mixture I’m using is correctly measured.

Dollar Princess fuchsia
Dollar Princess fuchsia

Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden

Basil and parsley - hanging in there!
Basil and parsley – hanging in there!

This hanging herb garden project was a big whoopsie from the get-go, with the poor instructions I was following being the first part of the problem. The second issue was my placement. They weren’t getting proper sunlight where I mounted them.

Another issue was drainage. A good tip to add to the original plans might be to put rocks in the jars first, below the soil, to help with drainage, and also so you can see if you’ve overwatered!!! Whoops. I have since taken them off of their wood mounts and placed the jars straight in another window sill where they get full morning sunlight. 😉

Brussels Sprouts vs. Cabbage Moths

What's left of my Brussels sprouts...
What’s left of my Brussels sprouts…

Oh, the Brussels sprouts…I have lost that war so badly it’s not even funny. I QUIT! And to make matters worse, the cabbage moths also got my dwarf kale and broccoli, too, and those were in cages to protect them from critters (obviously not tiny butterflies!). I am going to have to research and see if I can plant something that is a natural deterrent for cabbage moths if I want to grow any produce they enjoy next year. 🙁

I have let the grass and weeds go in the kale and broccoli box since they are ruined by larvae!
I have let the grass and weeds go in the kale and broccoli box since they are ruined by cabbage moth larvae!

Pink Dahlia Murder Recovery!

Hoping this dahlia will make a comeback with tree gone!
Hoping this dahlia will make a comeback with the walnut tree gone!

I’m still caring for my dahlias, which DID spring back from the slug massacre, I am happy to say! I had a black walnut tree trying to grow and drown out one of the dahlia bushes (thanks, squirrel!!) so I pulled that out the other day and am hoping that dahlia survives. I am not 100% on knowing my dahlia leaves yet, so I had let the tree grow far too large, unfortunately, before asking for help identifying the thing.

Dahlias making a comeback; Crocosmias are the orange bushel tied up
Dahlias making a comeback; Crocosmias are the orange bushel tied up

I also had one dahlia plant not grow at all this year. I discovered from a friend that the tubers actually need to be dug up yearly, so who knows how long it has been since these have been dug since I did not do it last year. I dug them up anyway, pulled out the icky looking tubers and am hoping that maybe next year the ones I replanted will spring back. *Fingers crossed!*

Another dahlia bush was being drowned out by my over abundance of crocosmias. I tied the crocosmias out of the way since they are blooming and the bees are loving them, and will dig them out completely post-bloom. It seems like the affected dahlias are starting to stand up straight again and I am hopeful for a few flowers before summer is over!

My largest dahlia bush
My largest dahlia bush


That is probably the end of my gardening “projects” for 2014. I will be armed with Sluggo and better produce planting information next year since we hope to have built at least one raised bed and do this gardening thing for real!! This year was just a test with the produce I did attempt to grow, and I’m glad it wasn’t full-fledged or I would have been sorely disappointed. It would have been my own fault for not researching more, however!


I will be digging up as many bulbs as I can as things die out at summer’s end (these crocosmias are never-ending, I tell ya!), and I definitely plan to get at ALL of the dahlia tubers to try and ensure their livelihood next year! I am smart enough to know that my yard will never be done, but am happy with the progress I have made this year. It’s fun to look back and see what it used to look like when we first moved in and how much I’ve already accomplished!


DIY Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden

I got this idea from Pinterest (evil black hole!) which eventually led me back to this link. It didn’t have a ton of instructions or photos, so I followed it as best as I could imagine, but we had to make some adjustments. (I can’t take credit for much of this, I made my brother do most of the work. I’m more managerial than mechanical. The idea person! Hahaha!) I’m hoping our pains help you to make some better choices and improve on the idea even more!
I’m not going to list the materials and instructions separately because there were so many issues to think about when purchasing, I want to make sure you are fully prepared for the obstacles this project can present!
What You’ll Need to Think About:

Of course you want them to be somewhere that gets good sunlight. My kitchen window gets decent light, so I did two pieces of wood with two jars each on either side of it, with their bases angled towards the window. Consider the placement you’ll need before picking any supplies out!
Hard to get a good shot with the sunlight in the daytime,
so here’s an evening shot, which I clearly am no good at!
Pieces of Wood
Wood. Stained.
To hang the jars on. I recommend them being thicker since the jars will be a tad heavy and full of dirt. Also, the things you need to hammer or screw into the wood…think about how thick you need it to be. I had thinner pieces of wood, so the screws on my hooks stick out of the back side a little bit. It’s not enough to bother anything, however.
Wood Stain or Paint
If you need to decorate the wood at all. I bought mine new and decided to stain it. The site I got the idea from used a little chalkboard paint in order to label her jars that way, but I just stuck some herb markers in my jars.
Look in picture frame area of hardware store; I picked small D-ring hangers. You might have a good spot or better wood than I did and be able to attach it directly to the wall with no hangers, but I do like the option of being able to move them around in order to water them!
D-Ring Hangers
D-Ring Hanger – attached!
Pipe Clamps
This was the trickiest part, and if you can find something else to use, do it! Haha! We had trouble getting a drill bit to go through the little squares on the metal clamps, even though it was small enough. We were going to use screws to attach them to the wood, but ended up using a hammer and nails, which was a pain in the rear since the wood was so thin!
Jars with clamps tightened to measure before attaching
Measure and mark the clamps to show yourself how tight they need to be. You’re going to attach the clamps first, then add the jar and tighten. We had a rough time tightening the clamps from the angle underneath the jars, so consider that!! If you can find something better than a pipe clamp or a better way to attach yours, do it.
The screw piece was on the underside of this…
awkward to tighten the clamp!
Make sure you remove the (obnoxious) stickers from the pipe clamps if that’s what you use and you are buying them brand new. I am so thankful that I noticed them or I would’ve been really, really mad after we were all finished.
Mason Jars
You’re going to want a wide-mouth mason jar. I grabbed some of the Ball Heritage Collection jars in blue, which are 1 quart.
All done!
Nails or Screws
…to attach things as mentioned above; choose accordingly!
We didn’t intend to use nails, but it worked. We hope!
Potting Soil & Seeds…to plant in the jars when you are done.

And there you have it! I hope you have an easier time than we did. It all turned out OK in the end, and magically my basil has already started to sprout in less than a week! (What are these, super seeds?? Haha!) I guess they are getting enough sunlight. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out, but I can’t wait to have fresh herbs, hopefully year-round, right in my kitchen! No more waste, just cut what I need!

I think they look good!