Category: gardening

Lots of Cukes


I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I’ve been so busy gardening and end of school activities. Summer is definitely here with temperatures in the low 90’s and very humid. I’m watering more with the hose pipe which I’m not overly thrilled doing since I’ve seen my last water bill. It’s gone up almost $10 more than usual. We are getting rain, but not daily and it’s usually a good shower that will keep my plants watered for a couple of days. We are only getting maybe one to two good soaks per week. I do plan on installing a rain barrel which will help.

In the above pictures you can see how many tasty cucumbers I’ve picked. I started picking them around the middle of May, and haven’t stopped yet. I have picked well over 50 cukes in the last 3 weeks so those two vines are very prolific. I tried my hand at pickling them last weekend, and that batch came out very well. I’m going to make a double batch this weekend, and will share the process on my blog with pictures plus the actual recipe. I even shared them with a couple of family members that were very eager to try them. I am also going to make several loaves of zucchini bread which I also share on my blog.

I also wanted to update on my Roma tomatoes which aren’t doing as well as hoped. I had an infestation from caterpillars to stink bugs. I was trying not to use pesticides but I did spray them last weekend with Seven which has helped some. I think I didn’t act quickly enough so most of the fruit is damaged with holes and rotten. I have harvested about 30, but lost that many to bugs. I’m disappointed since I really wanted to make a big batch of tomato sauce. I’m still going to experiment with a small batch soon. My cantaloupe plants are flowering and really trying to vine out along with the watermelon plants. I will hopefully post some pictures this weekend. I’m very excited about how well the garden is doing overall, and we did expand it with a cultivator my step-dad lent me. I have zucchini to plant this weekend. I hope none of my readers mind the posts about my garden. It’s a great way to save lots of money by growing your own food and to share with others.

THRIFTY MOMMA RAMBLINGS IS 1 YEAR OLD!

I actually reached this milestone on Tuesday and didn’t even realize it. I’m very excited that my blog is a year old but I admit it’s not where I hoped to be by now. I have no one to blame but me since I haven’t promoted it as much as I should. I am happy with the direction it’s going. At first I did start this blog to do paid posting, but I realized how I much I disliked it. I didn’t have as much control over the content with certain companies, and it didn’t seem worth the effort. While I still hope to make a little money on here, mostly to pay the rent of my blog, I am mostly blogging to share what I’m doing and hoping I can share ways to help others save money. I didn’t know a lot of things when I was a young adult and wasted quite a bit of money. I also racked up a good chunk of credit card debt. I was very fortunate to have married a wonderful man that came from a frugal family. I learned many things from them, and we were able to dig ourselves out of a financial hole. We also have a healthy savings and emergency fund.

Along our adventure I came across some awesome books. The first one, my thrift bible, is The Tightwad Gazette. I have learned so much by reading this great book. It’s where I first learned about the snowball method. Her example illustrated a couple saving for a down payment to buy a house. Instead I decided to use it to pay off our debts. I started with the smallest ones first and worked my up. I had never heard of Dave Ramsey at this point. I probably didn’t do it in the exact way he outlines in his book The Total Money Makeover, but I was pretty close. He is right in the sense that mastering money while paying off debts is more about emotion than about math and logic. If I had used my credit card logically, then I wouldn’t have been in a mess. I also recommend reading his book since it’s a good starting point for getting out of debt. The big key point is you have to stop using credit while digging out of the mess. Otherwise you will never win. Once we stopped using them and cut them all up, then we did dig out of the hole. That is the best feeling in the world to not have any debt! I sleep so much better at night and I don’t cringe every time the phone rings.

Yes cutting out the bigger items like cable, phone plans, getting better rates on your insurance, eating out and such will make a dent in your monthly budget. Doing many of the little things will add up to bigger savings as well. If you can master your grocery bill, then you can save hundreds per month. The bigger the family the bigger the savings. I don’t buy nearly as much food for my family of 3 as someone will with a family of 4 or 5 and more. I’m constantly trying to cut down my bill and still eat healthy. That’s one reason I started a garden so I can make more items from scratch like tomato sauce and it’s healthier. I am using more of an organic approach and not spraying my plants. I am also composting my kitchen scraps along with yard waste like leaves. I just wanted to share a little bit more about me and my reasons for doing the blog. I really hope that all my tips are helping others to save money. I said in a previous post that most frugal tips are good for your pocketbook and the environment. Thanks for reading and I hope to continue writing for another year!

More Gardening Pictures

I was invited to join a great meme hosted by I Am Harriet. Thanks so much for the invite and what a great idea. I am really enjoying my garden and hopefully this will encourage more people to start their own.

These are some pictures of my blueberry bush. I have two different rabbiteye varieties. One is a Tifton Blue and the other is a Climax. I can’t remember which is which, but I planted them at the end of January. They are both a year old and this one has produced a berry. They don’t really start producing well until around the three to four year mark. I’m really excited about how well it’s growing and is flowering. I plan on adding a couple more next winter. I’m hoping to find some plants a little more mature like two years old.

I was also very pleased with how much we got done this weekend. We sanded down our porch swing and was able to stain it today. I don’t have any pictures, but it looks so much nicer. My husband dug me a new row so I was able to plant my cantaloupe and watermelon seeds today. My husband’s grandfather gave us some red potatoes on Friday that were freshly dug. My neighbor was generous with her Romaine lettuce. They were very tasty. We decided to grill chicken for dinner tonight. I cut up some of the potatoes with a little butter, Tony Chachere’s (salt and pepper mixture), and parsley. I then put them in oven to bake. They were so delicious plus we made a side salad with the fresh lettuce. The only item we paid for was the chicken, which was bought on sale, and the side items were free. I will definitely return the favor when my harvests start coming in the next couple of months.

My Garden Update


I started my garden back in February planting cucumber and Roma tomatoes. Most of the Roma plants I started, I direct seeded them into the rows have withered. I pinched a couple of them back when they were still about 3-4″ which was a mistake. It made the healthy ones I kept weak and they died off. We also have had lots of rain and high winds which didn’t help plus a tornado at the end of March. This has also weakened a couple of my cucumber plants. The stems look frail and brittle at the base, but the vines are extremely healthy and growing. I have taken several pictures and would love any advice on what I should do about the stems. Do I leave them alone or try to give them more support in some way? Not really sure at this point since I’m still pretty new to vegetable gardening. I’m really impressed with most of my tomato plants they are already flowering. I find watching all this new life extremely exciting. We normally don’t get this kind of severe weather during the spring so I am impressed with how well the plants are doing despite all the wind we have received the past month.

I noticed the other day that my raspberry plants are coming back. I planted them last year and they didn’t make it after Gustav hit. I thought they were gone forever, but they fooled me. I see new shoots almost daily and they are looking very healthy. My friend at Storybook Cottage and Gardens mailed me runners that she grows. I can’t wait until I can get my first harvest of berries. My blackberry bushes are also taking off. I even have one runner that is flowering with a couple of small berries. I didn’t take a picture of my blueberry bush, but it’s flowering and has several small berries. I have to get my watermelon and cantaloupe seeds planted this weekend. I think I will have my husband make me another row. I’m planting Sugarbaby seedless watermelon and an organic cantaloupe. I’m hoping to expand my garden by next year. I hope everyone enjoys the pictures.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #62

Today’s thrifty living tip is reuse your newspapers before throwing into a recycling bin. There are many ways to reuse your daily newspaper, but I’ll highlight a few of the more popular ideas. None of these ideas are meant for the colorful glossy ads.

Make packaging material by shredding them. This is easier if you already have a paper shredder.

Use it in the garden as a way to stop weeds. Again only use the black and white sections. Open the papers and lay them flat on the row or area you want to use them and wet them down with the garden hose.

Use shredded paper in the compost pile. You don’t need a lot but it makes a great addition.

Use sections of the paper to wipe glass or windows. It doesn’t leave any streaks but you will have to wash your hands afterwards.

You can use the Sunday comics as gift wrapping paper.

Of course old paper can make great hats for kids. There are several great sites that will show you how to do this on the internet.

We use old paper when we have crawfish or any kind of seafood boil. My inlaws just chunk the paper along with the peelings into a hole. It breaks down so it doesn’t go in the trash. Of course he does this in the cane fields that he owns. This idea might not be viable for just anyone.

My New Garden!

One of the things I love most about living in South Louisiana is the long growing season. Our spring starts as early as February. The clover is already growing in my yard, the buds are forming, and it’s time to plant vegetables. I have had a vegetable garden before, but I never kept it up mostly due to time constraints or laziness on my part. This year I’m determined to keep it up more than a couple of months.

Many people try to start with too many rows or beds, or too many different types of vegetables or fruits. I’m starting out small this time. I have two long rows my husband tilled with a shovel. We have really great dirt in our yard. Then another complaint people have is either they don’t have a green thumb or the space to put a garden. Well not everyone is fortunate enough to have an acre of land. Start out with container plants. Almost everyone has space for a container of tomatoes or even herbs.

Now I have killed a couple of plants, but most of what I plant does quite well. I first started out by just planting mostly perennials around my house. Then a couple of years later, I planted a couple of wild blackberry bushes which have done extremely well. I say start out slowly, but also make sure what you are growing will do well in your area. Where you plant makes a huge difference. Don’t plant things that need full sun in mostly shady areas and vice versa. Make sure you know how much sun or shade that plant needs. Pretty much all vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sun daily.

My husband tore down an extremely old shed last summer. It’s a nice open dirt patch with the fig tree behind it. I need to prune that tree back before it blooms too much. I thought that patch was the perfect spot to start my garden. We only tilled part of it, but I can always add more rows in the future. Then I amended the soil with bagged manure, peat moss, and my inlaws gave me free bagasse. This is a sugarcane by-product which is great for gardening. He got me the kind that was a couple of years old and very crumbly. It really looks like a mulch. I also sprinkled a small amount of triple 13 fertilizer. I mixed it up in the soil very well and let it sit for a couple of weeks. My husband made the mounds for me this past week, and I planted cucumbers and Roma tomatoes. I usually use the fertilizer initially on new beds, but I never add more. I also put a small amount since I do have good soil, and I put lots of other additions to my soil. I have started a compost pile so in the future I will add this to my garden. Below are some pictures.

My inlaws also gave us several Roma tomatoes he started from seeds. I decided to just throw some seeds in the ground and see what happens. I have a friend who does this with great success but you have to pinch the excess. I think one of the great things about gardening is experimenting with different methods. Most gardeners swear by using tomato transplants only in the garden, but I wanted to experiment with just planting the seeds directly in the ground. I also plan to keep notes so I can refer back to them from year to year. I do have plans to plant more fruit trees and bushes in the coming years. I just planted two blueberry bushes which are already doing fabulous. I spent $7 on each bush at my local nursery for a year old plants. They already have lots of blooms plus I see several new shoots. I will post more about how my garden is doing, and I am very excited in seeing the new life.