Square foot gardening – First year and initial thoughts

After my huge success with growing my own basil last year, I decided to garden again this year. But a lot more seriously. In fact, I put down the money and effort to build my own raised beds and attempt square foot gardening. In case you haven’t heard, square foot gardening is a method revolutionized by Mel Bartholomew. It basically is a way of growing a lot of crops in a small space.


As you can see, I don’t have alot of gardening space. This is pretty much what you get when you live in the city. My raised beds are also not as high as I would like them to be. However due to financial constraints, this is as best as I can do for this year. Hopefully I can eventually build something higher. 🙂

I went ahead and started planting before buying the book (updated version here) so I am not optimizing my space. Hey there is always another year 🙂

So why square foot gardening?


– Lots of crops in a small space (as opposed to row gardening)

– Able to do crop rotation in same space (spring & fall crops)

– Easy weeding (Mel’s mix which is the ‘soil’ for the raised beds is so light that you can easily pick out the weeds. In addition, anything growing that is not in the space that you know that you have planted is automatically a weed! That’s awesome for a newbie gardener who still cannot distinguish how the baby plants look like)

– Neat. LOL You gotta admit, it looks much neater than row gardening.

– A great way if your soil sucks. Afterall, you are making your own ‘soil’ so the current soil doesn’t really matter.


– Expensive. The first year is expensive for me with buying the various components to make Mel’s mix. Add to that the costs of building the bed, seeds, plants, etc, it all adds up pretty fast.

– Mel’s mix requires 5 different types of compost. Why? As this is an intensive way to garden, you want to provide a very nutrient rich environment. Unfortunately I was only able to procure 2 types of compost (mushroom and cow manure).


I love square foot gardening! You can see in the picture that 2 of my beds were not in the square foot format and I think they are not as productive. Next year, I’m converting them all to grid form. If you are on the fence regarding this, make a small 4 ft by 4 ft box and try it for a year. 🙂 Perhaps you will get hooked like I did!

Note: I made a modification of not having a screen at the bottom of the raised bed. I wanted the deeper root plants to be able to go deeper as my beds are only 6 inches high.

* Not affiliated to Mel Bartholomew and all opinions are my own.

Homemade Infused Vodka

Tonight, I finally got around to doing something that I had been meaning to do. Make my own infused vodka! This is something really simple and you can be the toast of the party when you show up with one of these in hand! 🙂


1) Gather and wash the jars and fruits. I used mason jars and the flavors that I know I will like 🙂


2) Dry the fruit and slice it into pieces.


3) Fill up the jars with vodka and voila!

4) Wait. Expect to wait for 2 weeks. If you need to use it sooner, just open up the jar and taste! 🙂

5) Strain and serve.

If this is a success, I intend to infuse tequila next! 😀 Remember, you are only constrained by what you can imagine in terms of flavors!

* Caveat: I would recommend using a cheaper alcohol to experiment with before splurging on the top shelf stuff.

Enjoy and cheers!

DIY Compost Trash Bin

LOL this blog is starting to go off in a tangent! 😀 In line with my DIY posts, today I am embarking on a DIY compost bin. To be honest, this is one of the things I had been wanting to do but had been putting off. Why? Google anaerobic composting. I ended up doing a chicken wire compost bin, an Ikea compost bag as well as vermicomposting (composting with worms). The chicken wire bin and ikea compost bag were unsightly and didn’t work out too well. I ended up killing all my worms. But I still wanted to compost! I am trying to garden organically and compost will be a great addition! So here it is.


32 gallon Trash bin costing about $13.

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Start drilling holes all around (bottom and sides). Wear eye protection! I didn’t drill my lid. Some advocate drilling the lid. I chose not to so that I can control the amount of water that goes into the bin.


I bought three bricks (about $.40 each) from Menards so that my compost bin can stand on them (more air).

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Then I transfer the compost that is ‘cooking’ in my chicken wire bin as well as in my Ikea compost bag.


Here it is completed. I will update after a few months as to how this turned out.


DIY Giant Planter without breaking the bank!

Hello everyone! I got a maple tree on sale last fall and meant to re-pot it. I have limited yard space and I much rather grow stuff that I can eat. I started looking around and all the large planter pots are expensive! So what does a gal do? Repurpose a trash can!

I started with a galvanized trash can from Lowes (about $25). I also got casters as I wanted to be able to move the planter. This is important especially after the plants get huge!


Place the caster on the bottom of the trash can. Use a sharpie pen to mark out the holes. Pre-drill. Be careful! Wear eye protection when drilling!



Use screws and nuts to hold the casters in place.


Here are all the casters attached.


Then I added epoxy to the edges to secure it further.


As you can see, the maple tree is root bound already. So just cut the bottom of the roots. Don’t worry about hurting the plant, the roots will regrow as long as you don’t cut too much.


I used coffee filters to line the bottom so my ‘soil’ doesn’t fall out!


Adding the ‘soil’. It’s not really soil. I mixed my potting media using Mel’s mix (square foot gardening).


Here is it. A giant planter that is movable and will last for many years without breaking the bank!


DIY Bird Bath

Recently I had been on a huge DIY kick so I decided to do a DIY birdbath. I have all the materials already so I can only give an estimate cost.


Start with a plate and bowl that I got from Ikea (about $1.25 for set of 4 bowls/plates).



Use epoxy to secure the bowl to the plate. Spent about $1.50 on the epoxy.


Stick the bowl to the plate. I weighed it down with a bowl to allow it to cure. Total cure time is 24 hours but I was impatient and only allowed 15 mins cure time.


Added some blue floral rocks to weigh down the plastic bowl and plate. Got the blue rocks from dollar tree.


Set the bird bath on electric conduit that I spray painted black (electric conduit is about $2 for 10 ft, spray paint about $4.50).

There you go. I’m still not sure if the bird bath is weighted enough to withstand strong winds. I might end up gluing the bird bath to the conduit. We’ll see.





DIY Creme Blush Using Lipstick

For those who know me, I need a new blush like I need a hole in the head. But of course with all the spring blushes, I’m wanting more! So what does a girl do? DIY what I have in my stash!

With the dry winter, I decided I wanted a creme blush.


I started with a pink lipstick, an empty container, spatula to mix/scrap the lipstick and some aloe gel. You need alcohol to sanitize the equipment which is not pictured.

1) Sanitize the container and spatula with alcohol and wipe dry.

2) Scrap the lipstick into the container, take some aloe gel into the container.

3) Mix them.


As you can see, it was an epic fail. So I decided to try something different.


This time, I mixed some foundation and lipstick.


This time it’s much better!



Blended out, slight blending, no blending.

Perhaps this will give you crafty ideas when you’re bored 😀

My Lip Palette Project

So I had a bunch of brand new drugstore lipsticks lying around so I thought I’ll make my own lip palette! 😀 I know most people dislike palettes but I like them!

Took me quite some time but I managed to make two of these palettes. I did contemplate selling these but I doubt it’s feasible since it takes half a brand new lipstick to fill one of those pans. Oh well~ 😀