YouTube videos added to site and UpWork Profile – August 2018

This summer is speeding right along so before it’s gone I wanted to update my blog for my garden and upcoming work projects.

I finally uploaded all my video content from my phone to YouTube. After working on a video for my Upwork Profile, I decided I might as well put the rest of my content up too.



Upwork Profile video:

What I Learned From My Year Working on the eBay Platform

I worked the eBay auction platform from Winter of 2016 to early January of 2018, a little over a year. I didn’t shut off my store until just a few months ago because I wasn’t sure that I was done with eBay until then.

Since I am sure that I am done now with eBay, I thought I would put my thoughts about that time here for future reference. Continue reading “What I Learned From My Year Working on the eBay Platform”

Pickled Pepper Mishap

I’ve started getting peppers in quantity already.

So many peppers so early in the season!
So many peppers so early in the season!

I decided to pickle the peppers that are ripe now together as a mix of sweet and hot peppers.  In this mix are green bell, purple bell, one tiny yellow bell (part of a pack of “carnival” pepper seeds), mostly yellow banana peppers, a few cayenne, several jalapeno and another small green hot pepper that I don’t remember planting :). I am using a simple hot pepper recipe from the Ball Canning recipe web site. I chose it because it has no salt in the brine and it’s a very simple, minimal ingredient recipe. Also, the garlic is boiled with the brine initially and removed before adding to the peppers in the jar to be processed. This avoids blue garlic which, I read somewhere, can be a problem in water bath canning/pickling.

I cleaned up the old water bath canner for another season. Then I got everything chopped and processed as directed by the Ball recipe. Then, tragedy struck! 

Somehow the the bottom of one of the canning jars blew out. Either I had the lid too tight or when I lowered the cans into the water bath I bumped them too hard against the bottom of the pot. I’ll need to be more careful in either case next time.

All is not lost! I still have 3 quarts!!! of mixed pickled peppers.

It looks like there are many more peppers coming right behind these that I picked today. I should have more chances to pickle peppers. Next time I think I will fill pint jars rather than quarts because each of these jars should be used up within 2 months or so after opening and being kept in the fridge.  They could go bad if I don’t find a way to use them up before 2 months.

I plan on using some of these in my future canned salsa and tomato sauces.

It looks like I will be getting a few cucumbers too, so I will probably have more chances to practice my pickling this summer.

Tomatoes and Peppers!

I just harvested the first of the beefsteak tomatoes. the cherry tomatoes are just starting to form on the vine and I am getting a few red ones each day. The cucumbers and melon plants are looking good. You can see the difference in the first melon grown from seed and the melon plants that I purchased from the nursery. Next year I’ll grow my melons from seed too. I’m seeing lots of flowers on the cantaloupe, I should get a melon or two. The butternut squash in the front of the hugel mound  filling in fast. The zucchini are much smaller than the squash and mellons. Good to know for next year, I’ll start them a little earlier so that they get the same chance for sun on the mound. They might get shaded out if I don’t do some fancy pruning this year.  Marigolds! I really didn’t think I could grow these. Now I think I will have to transplant some of these into other containers so they don’t crowd each other out. The tiny zucchini plants between the winter squash. Today’s haul! Between yesterday and today, I should have enough for my first batch of pickled banana peppers. They are good fresh in salads too.

Update: getting some stuff already

Early arrivals

I don’t remember getting big tomatoes this early in the season from my Detroit gardens. I guess the southern exposure really makes a difference.

Early arrivals
I don’t usually see tomatoes this big so early in the season. I will try pickling the banana peppers and using the bell and jalapeno for chili.

Everything is starting to fill out.
So far no blight.
Strawberries, so cute so tiny, gone … I already ate two of them as soon as they ripened. I might try a strawberry bed next year if I generate enough compost to add more rows to the garden. 

Sunflowers! I just fed them last week, they were a little pale. They are growing fast. Onions, I have been using the tops as scallions, very delicate tasting.

I still have no idea what these plants are, they might be weeds at this point.
Hello broccoli, I hear your leaves are tasty too but it looks like someone got to them already. I still haven’t staked up my heirloom tomatoes, maybe this week. The back-end of the Hugel mound. It doesn’t get as much sun as the other end closer to the house, good to know. I am noticing that the zucchini doesn’t like as much light as the winter squash and the melon. Next year, I’ll plant my zucchini on the back-end of the mound and they should be much happier. They are wilting in the middle of they day now and I am watering them daily in the afternoon in addition to regular watering. This should be staked up, I’ll try but I’m afraid I’ll break the branch. I’ll keep an eye on it and try to support the many tomatoes in this branch. Lots of banana peppers, a few bell peppers and one lonely pea plant. That is a giant bog of tomato plants. Need to give them more space next year. Another 2 strawberry plant, no berries yet. I will give them more soil and organic fertilizer this week to see if it helps, the leaves are nice and green and I have been feeding them once a week. I don’t know what this plant is. It’s pretty. Berries! The marigold plants are starting to flower.

It was a busy week but I feel that I am starting to catch up with yard work at last. I can now just water, fertilize and wait for food to grow.

Garden 2018 Begins…

The Hugle-Mess

Planting finally completed!

I started planting the tomatoes and peppers Memorial Day weekend and I just finished the Hugle Mound today, June 19th. Since it was my first garden in this space it was hopefully more work than next year.

I am really glad I covered up most of the garden area with cardboard. I could really tell the difference between the areas covered since last time this year and those that were not. The soil was much looser in the areas that had been covered and the uncovered areas were thicker with roots. I have expanded the outer row with extra weed block so next year that row will be easier to plant.

Here are some images of the mound:

Planting the Hugel mound.
Planting the Hugel mound.
Tucking in the mound with weed block.
Tucking in the mound with weed block.
Tucking in the mound with weed block.
Tucking in the mound with weed block.
The Hugle-Mess
The Hugle-Mess
The Land Lady stopped by to check my progress in the garden.
The Land Lady stopped by to check my progress in the garden.

I also planted a row of sun flowers along our front fence line:

Here come the sunflowers!
Here come the sunflowers!

I also have a few containers on our deck rail, two with strawberries and two with mystery plants. I used sharpie to label my winter sown plants which is a rookie mistake. The sun bleaches out sharpie so I had no idea what some of my seedlings were. I think I got some butterfly weed, or some other herb.

Winter sown seedlings
Winter sown seedlings

In all about 1/4 of the winter sown seeds made the final cut into the garden.  The salad containers didn’t work out as well as the milk jugs as the seeds dried out or were drowned due to poor drainage. I think the milk jugs are better at being tiny greenhouses in my gardening zone.

Almost Spring 2018; More Winter Sowing

We managed to chop down some of this tree despite our electric chainsaw fail.

Looking out at my back yard today it is hard to believe that spring is only a few weeks away.

Tiny greenhouses this year. Maybe a bigger one next year.
Tiny greenhouses this year. Maybe a bigger one next year.

I have been learning more about winter sowing and found that you can put out any seeds using this method not just those needing cold striation.

There are two benefits to me for trying to winter sow most of my seeds. First, I don’t have the space for a small indoor seedling tent. I can probably fit a small shelf in front of the south facing slider window in our bedroom. That’s only going to be enough room for 2 or 3 small flats of tomatoes and peppers.

Secondly, seeds sown outdoors do not require electric lighting. I like the idea of using less electricity in general.

I will still have a bunch of seeds to direct sow. My lettuce and spinach and other cold hearty vegetables. I am also planning lots of beans and corn. Let’s not forget summer and winter squash. And Cucumbers and herbs!

We started cutting down this invasive tree that would otherwise be shading my garden.

It’s quickly become clear that my idea of using the invasive tree wood as a Hugel mound is not going to work. We are going to try and find someone that can chip the trees up for us.

This may not happen in time for my garden to be in the back yard, but the side yard gets mostly full sun too. I’ll probably start there this year even though it doesn’t get full sun and isn’t my first choice. My goals for this year’s garden are to get as much fresh food as possible and to create good organic compost for next year’s garden.

Goodson Street Backyard March 7th 2018.
Goodson Street Backyard March 7th 2018.


February 2018 – Sowing Winter Seeds

I found a stash of seeds that I have had for a few years.  They may not germinate but I thought I would try to get them started anyway. I also wanted to learn how to cold stratify seeds. I did some google searching and found this technique using plastic milk jugs on

I raided the recycling and came up with a few more containers that I re-purposed into winter germination containers.

I got four of these large containers of smoothie greens at Kroger’s last week.

See you in a couple of months.

Fall 2017

We closed on our purchase of this house in May of this year. We had 45 days before we had to be out of our old house to get the plumbing and the electrical redone along with the kitchen and bathroom in the new house. Not to mention the drywall, painting and flooring that we did ourselves. There are still many small projects left but we are tackling them at a slower pace since we are moved in now and everything necessary is done.

We will be having our first guests later this month. Steve’s brother and his wife will be visiting for a few days.

The only major project we will be completing before winter is the Hugel Mound and removing the tree between our house and the neighbor’s. That tree is also blocking all the potential light to my garden. It has to go.

I will be using the logs from the dead tree Steve cut down last spring as well as other logs branches and composted leaves and yard waste from around the yard. This will clear most of the debris and make space for the chopped down tree and other fresh yard waste from this year. I plan on letting that stuff age until next fall. Then we can start a second Hugel mound or replenish this years depending on how fast it breaks down. Stay tuned.