DIY Seed Saving with Baby Food Jars

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Glass bottles and Jars can be pretty heavy on the wallet when buying so many for household use.

Whether using glass for drinking, preserving, storage, or whatever. Glass is a very useful item to have around the house.

Because glass is so valuable to me, I consider myself a Glass Collector, lol.

I’ll collect anything in a re-useable glass jar!

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RE-USABLE is key in my life!

One of my favorite glass jar selections would be baby food jars! 

Of course, I love a large glass mason jar, or an extra large pickle jar from major bulk grocery stores.

But I also need super small jars for the Spring Season.

WHY?

I'm also a Seed Collector and Gardener! Baby food jars and other small glass jars are perfect for organizing & saving seeds.

My easy seed collecting method starts by saving any seeds from fresh fruit and vegetables.

Store bought fresh produce, or grown and harvested in someone’s backyard (even your own) every year, does the trick!

Instead of tossing seeds into the trash, I simply cut open my fruits or vegetables very carefully, remove the seeds, and place seeds onto a paper plate overnight, or for a couple of days till completely dry.

(Tomato’s take a different method, which I will post for you at a later date! Stay Tuned for it… One of the best vegetable seeds to save!)

Those vegetables that go into the meals we eat on a daily basis are usually “Re-Usable” in some way, shape, or form!

If you ever wanted to get into gardening and don’t want to spend any money on your beginner gardening experiences. This is a very frugal way to go about that adventure. But beware, gardening may become a crazy habit! :-D

I easily remove the labels from baby food jars by leaving them submerged in extremely hot water overnight. 

I come back and the labels peel right off!

Now I have a clean slate to decorate my jars with, YAY!

The Cheapest and Easiest decorations I could possible use is… dun dun dun… STICKERS!

One of my childhood favorites, is an adulthood favorite! :-D

I get my stickers at dollar stores or in clearance sections of craft stores. Stickers can be spotted for cheap in a lot of places that carry a crafty isle!

Not only do I like stickers, I love to use Decorating Tape and some BLING accents as well. My favorite part! :-D 

After I have decorated my baby food sized jars the way I want. 

Labeled and Bedazzled of course!

I add the seeds that I dried overnight/a couple of days, into my little glass jars. Close with the lid, and store in a dark dry place until ready to plant in some dirt! 

Wallah! Free Food For life! :-D

Do you save glass jars as well? If, so Which ones are your Favorite?? 

I would love to see your version of this project! Follow me on Social Media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!) and share your pictures with the hashtag #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Turn your Leaves into FREE Mulch!

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Fallen leaves during the fall season from your trees make excellent mulch.

Leaves are one of the cheapest (FREE), healthy, and best home grown types of mulch you can use in a garden. Way cheaper and healthier than expensive wood chips!

Dry leaves = CARBON, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Low in nitrogen yet rich in minerals

Living green leaves = A LOT of Nitrogen.

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Why in the world are we mulching!?

A Layer of MULCH is the answer to many problems :-D

Don't forget it's FREE!

Mulch helps the soil HOLD MOISTURE which is good for plants.

OMG it Reduces Weeds!

Exposure to the elements (Wind, Rain, and Snow) can ruin any party. It also breaks down our soil which will drastically reduce fertility for future plant growth. Mulch will protect it!

Insulation means Natures Blanket! As the weather becomes cold, a layer of mulch keeps the soil below it warm.

If the soil is warm the roots of the plants have a better chance of survival and longevity during dormancy which in exchange extends the growing season for fall crops!

Nutrients in nature is a cycle, which is why everything in nature happens for a reason.

The plants pull nutrition as they grow throughout the spring and as they flourish through the summer. Now, it’s time for the plants to rest and boost up for next year. That layer of mulch nutrition gives back to the earth so it can make it another round!

Caution: 

AVOID leaves from Black Walnut Trees

Black Walnut Trees: These trees have a chemical called Jug Lone that inhibits growth of many plants!

DO NOT use grass clippings from chemically treated lawns.     

Untreated grass clippings: These are harmful to plants as they will introduce herbicide residue into your garden.

Forms of Leaf Consistency for  Mulching

  • Whole

You can rake whole leaves into your vegetable garden and leave them there to compost over the season.

  • Shredded

Shredding leaves allow you to pack as many leaves as possible into the storage of your choice.

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Techniques:

  • Bag or Bin your excess leaves for next spring and the summers growing period
  • Put them in a big trash can and then shred them with a weed whacker for a finer textured mulch.
  • Chop with your lawn mower directly on the lawn without the bag attached to collect the leaves will boost your whole yard with nutrients for next year!

Ingredients:

LEAVES! :-D

Grass Clippings (optional, but a bonus if they get in your pile!)

 

Directions:

  1. Collect grass clippings and leaves from yard
  2. Chop up the leaves or leave whole and use them in your flowers beds as mulch.
  3. Spread it in planting garden to a depth of around 1 foot
  4. Do nothing until next spring! :-D 
  5. Once Spring rolls around, give your soil a nice little mix or rototiller it.  

 

The garden will never need any fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides! Crazy! Enjoy!

 

Tips:

  • Remember! Leaves help to protect, retain moisture, AND add nutrients in the soil.
  • If you have A LOT of trees at your house, You most likely will exceed the amount of leaves needed for mulching. After covering your garden bed with mulch for the winter, mix extra leaves in with your soil during the summer and also in your compost pile to put all those extra leaves to good use. 
  • Note that excessive carbon can inhibit nitrogen productivity. If nitrogen is an issue in your soil, consider balancing your mulch with aslow-release nitrogen fertilizer.

I’d love to see your Fall Leaves pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter!  #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own? FOR FREE!! How do you Mulch?

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!

Gardening: Growing Green Babies!

Spring is Here! At least in Michigan. lol I'm sure if your somewhere else you already have been experiencing spring. Michigan weather is so crazy... one time it snowed close to summer and it was COLD The beauty of that was the weather killed the mosquitoes and there weren't any the whole summer! I'll take that any year!

The picture below is a quick example of a part of my harvest last year. I had been pregnant, so I didn't get to do as many different crops as I wanted. This worked out for my family anyways. God was good to us and he still saved us on a handful of produce!

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This year felt like spring had a very slow start. I am not defeated though, I am still starting my crops this year like my life depends on it.

Below I am sharing my plans and hopefully you get an example of the steps it takes before you actually start to digging out there!

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Step 1: plan and map out area for plants

Making a visual helps you know where to put your plants you've been dreaming of growing. Then Each year you'll just know where they go and you'll just have to look up the new plant types you want to add to your garden.

Trust me, it may seem silly, but it helps to have a goal plan! Not all plants get along with each other, and then there are plants that are best friends (which help you out in the long run).

Also it's good to know where your trees are. Trees have lots of large roots that can suck up a lot of water. Think of being stranded with a Giant in the desert and there is only one large glass of water. The giant is going to be needing that!

I recommend a companion graph. Fabulessly Frugal has one that I used this year.

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I'n the end, you have some green babies to nurture. Then those babies will nurture you! Win/Win!

Keep checking back for updates on what I'm growing and How To Grow them! 

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(1) You must ask permission to use my photos and (2) Content found here on Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla may not be republished word-for-word. Please note, re-word, and source recipes if not your own development. © Chocolate Mama Loves Vanilla. All images & content are copyright protected. I ask for you to refrain from using my images without prior permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and/or link back to this post for the recipe. Please and Thank You!