Don’t let the “sting” of stinging nettles keep you from getting to know this amazing plant. Nettles have a long history of use for food, medicine, fiber and more. We’ll introduce you to this natural green wonder and its many benefits. Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica Stinging nettle is also known as common, slender or tall […]
Nothing says fall like pumpkin! We love our pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, and of course, our jack o’lanterns. If you love pumpkins, and you enjoy gardening, it might be time to plant, grow, and harvest pumpkins for yourself.
Just imagine having your homegrown pumpkins grace the table at your Thanksgiving dinner. Or perhaps you would enjoy decorating your front porch for Halloween the fruit of your own garden.
Or perhaps you would prefer to have soup or pie that you made yourself from your very own pumpkins. With some simple considerations, pumpkins are easy and enjoyable to grow.
Pumpkins are scientifically considered to be a fruit because the part you eat contains the seeds. Pumpkin belongs to the same family of plants as both gourds and squash, known as cucurbita.
A pumpkin is technically a form of winter squash and they are cultivated in over forty different varieties for eating and decorating. Every part of the pumpkin plant is edible, including the stems, leaves, skin, flowers, seeds and pulp.
A specialty cultivar of regular pumpkins is the white pumpkin. White pumpkins bear a beautiful and ghostly white color which stands out in deep contrast to a more traditional orange pumpkin.
According to superfoodly.com, anything you can do with an orange pumpkin, you can do with a white pumpkin. And that includes eating it. However, the variety of white pumpkin called Lumina is the tastiest of the white pumpkin varieties and is often considered to be the best for eating.
While calorie content and water content of orange pumpkins are similar to that of white pumpkins, white pumpkins may have somewhat less vitamins. Nutritionally, they are otherwise comparable and great to try.
Pumpkins have been grown and cultivated for thousands of years on every continent except Antartica. Early settlers in the United States created the precursor to the pumpkin pie when growing their own pumpkins.
After scooping out the seeds and pulp, the pumpkins were filled with milk and honey and then baked in the fire. Essentially, pumpkins were used as a pie crust rather than as a pie filling like we know today. Whether you enjoy pumpkins for their pie filling or for carving and decorating, there is a variety of pumpkin for you.
Pumpkins come in all kinds of sizes, colors, and uses. While every pumpkin may be edible, not all pumpkins are as tasty as others. Varieties used for carving or decorative purposes may not taste as good as those cultivated for cooking or baking purposes. A few varieties are great for both.
Keep in mind that you cannot harvest a pumpkin based solely on its size, because pumpkins that are harvested before maturity will decay more quickly and not last well. Instead, choose your variety or type of pumpkin based on its typical size, use, and color.
Then harvest your pumpkins when they have reached maturity and are fully ripened. There are over forty different varieties of pumpkins to choose from, and many are selected based on their size and type. For example, there are five basic types or means to select pumpkins to grow:
- Decorative Pumpkins
- Cooking and Baking Pumpkins
- Small and Miniature Pumpkins
- Medium sized pumpkins
- Large and jumbo pumpkins
Decorative pumpkins are edible, but may not taste as good as their baking counterparts. Many decorative pumpkins are great for crafts, tablescapes, decorating, and carving.
- Hybrid Pam. This popular, small pumpkin is great for crafts like painting and decorating. Hybrid Pams are a semi-vining pumpkin with orange skin and a bright green stem. It grows to around 7 inches in diameter and up to five pounds. This good producer matures in approximately 90 days.
- Crystal Star. Crystal star is a variety of white decorative pumpkin that is great for carving
- Casperita. Casperita is a small, white pumpkin which looks flashy as a decoration. It bears a taste similar to an acorn squash. It is fairly disease resistant and a hardy producer.
- Early Giant. The early giant is an early producer of medium fruits. It is fairly resistant to powdery mildew, making it a great choice for humid areas. This medium sized pumpkin has an elongated uniform and blocky shape. The medium-dark orange fruit can range in size from fourteen to forty pounds, although the average tends to be around twenty five pounds in size. Stems are stocky and the fruit has deep ribs. It is reliable to grow and performs well at farmers markets due to its deep color and tall size. The early giant only needs a moderate amount of space and will yield one to two fruits per plant.
- Lumina. The lumina is a beautiful white pumpkin with very edible and sweet flesh which is also pretty for decorating.
- Orangita. The orangita variety of pumpkin is on the small side, weighing in at about 1 ½ pounds and showing off decorative crisp ribs.
- Knucklehead. For an eye catching variety of pumpkin, try growing the knucklehead with its garish warts and green to orange rind. The firm flesh of this variety of pumpkin is great for carving.
- Jack O’Lantern. Jack O’Lantern is a traditional carving pumpkin with a sweet, fine and pale orange-yellow flesh. This pumpkin stores and cooks beautifully, making it great for decorating and eating both. The shape varies from round to oblong. It usually runs nine or ten inches tall and weighs in at ten to eighteen pounds.
- Sugar Treat. If you like baking pumpkin pies, try growing the sugar treat pumpkin. This semi-bush hybrid is ideal for pies and matures in 100 to 120 days.
- New England Cheddar. The New England Cheddar variety of pumpkin gets its name because it looks like cheese. This rich, medium sized pumpkin is also great for baking.
- Porcelain Doll. The porcelain doll variety of pumpkin is aptly names for its soft pink color with deep ribs. Its creamy texture makes it great for soups.
- Blue Doll. The Blue Doll has a green exterior with an orange interior. The sweet flesh is great for all kinds of pumpkin recipes.
- Cinderella. For a sweet flavored pumpkin, try Cinderella. The sweet yellow-orange flesh grows to maturity in eighty four to one hundred days. It gets its name from its globe-shape similarity to Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. The skin of the pumpkin is smooth and bright orange. It grows up to ten inches in diameter and weighs in at twenty to twenty five pounds. This bush type of vine needs only six square feet of growing space. This type of winter squash does not keep as well as other vine types.
- Mosque de Provence . For a cultural treat, try this variety cultivated in Southern France. The fruits are ribbed, flat, and tan and with moderately sweet flesh. Wedges that look like cheese are sold for cooking in farmer’s markets in France. This variety has a long shelf life, and is sometimes called fairytale for its decorative and magical appearance.
- New England Pie. The classic New England pie pumpkin has dark orange skin and ranges in size from four to six pounds. The flesh is dry and stringless but not sweet.
- Marina Di Chioggia. This bumpy squash makes a great fall decoration and wonderful squash pasta. It weighs between six and twelve pounds with blistered skin.
- Jarrahdale. Jarrahdale bears a greenish blue tint and is a medium to large pumpkin, weighing between twelve and eighteen pounds. It has a long storage life with sweet, thick flesh and a drum-like shape. It is great for both eating and decorating.
Jumbo pumpkins are fun to grow and exciting to use for decorating. Jumbos require extra fertilizer and extra space, so plan accordingly. You may want to remove all but two or three vines so that the plant can focus its energy on producing bigger but fewer fruits. Some gardeners will remove all but two or three fruits as well.
Some prize-winning pumpkin producers claim that feeding milk to your pumpkin will help it to grow larger. To do so, fill a container with milk and punch a small hole in the lid. Run a cotton wick or wicking material through the hole into the milk.
With a sharp knife, cut a small and shallow slit on the underside of the vine of the pumpkin you would like to feed with milk. Place the wick into the opening in the vine, and wrap with gauze to protect the slit. This may increase the potential size of your giant pumpkin.
- Atlantic Giant. The Atlantic giant is a large pumpkin that can grow to 200 pounds. It will take 130 to 160 days to mature.
- Big Max. These large pumpkins can vary in color from pale orange to bright orange.While the average size is around one hundred pounds, these pumpkins can grow up to three hundred pounds. Select one or two fruits per plant and mulch well.
- Big Moon. This large pumpkin holds its shape well and weighs up to a hundred pounds. It will mature in one hundred ten days.
- Dill’s Atlantic Giant. The average size of this variety of pumpkin is 400 to 500 pounds. It grows to maturity in 130 days.
- Prizewinner. This giant pumpkin grows to a heavy weight of two hundred pounds or more. It keeps a lovely, uniform shape and is easy to grow.
Miniature pumpkins are great for fall displays, table decorations, craft projects, and can be delicious when baked.
- Jack be Littles. These cute little pumpkins are great for both decorating and eating. Cut off the tops, clean out the insides, and fill with sugar and bake for a sweet side dish or appetizer.
- Wee B. Littles.
- Baby Boo.
When to Plant Pumpkins?
Pumpkins will not germinate in cold soil, and the small seedlings are very susceptible to frost. You can direct sow your pumpkin seeds after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm and workable.
The soil temperature must be at least 70 degrees, and preferably, 95 degrees. In the northern areas, if you want pumpkins for Halloween, you will need to plant them by the end of May. In more southern areas, you can start your pumpkins as late as July for a Halloween harvest.
Where to Plant Pumpkins
Pumpkins do well in full sun to part shade, so choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant your pumpkins with enough room for them to grow. Vining pumpkins need space, and some gardeners will choose to plant their pumpkins along the outside edges of the garden so the vines do not overtake the other vegetables.
If you are planting your pumpkins in hills, you want to space those hills five to six feet apart. Place your hills in rows that are ten to fifteen apart, so that you have around fifty to one hundred square feet of space per hill of pumpkins. Mini pumpkins will require less space than larger varieties.
If space is an issue, look for semi-bush or bush varieties of pumpkin. Pumpkins can be grown in large containers or buckets, but will need extra feeding and monitoring for moisture.
How to Plant Pumpkins
Pumpkins do best when direct sown into hills in enriched garden soil. The soil in small hills will warm up faster than a flat garden plot. However, if your growing season is short, you can start pumpkins indoors two to four weeks before your last frost date.
Harden off your seedlings before transplanting them in your garden. Plants should germinate within a week. When thinning, take care not to disturb the roots of the pumpkin seedlings you are keeping. Carefully snip off the seedlings you choose not to keep.
Special Considerations for Growing Them
Pumpkin plants are very tender and do no like their roots disturbed. Be very gentle when weeding, cultivating, or pruning. The less you disturb the remaining plants the better they will grow. Mulching will cut down on the need for pulling weeds.
Pumpkins can rot when exposed to damp soil. To prevent your pumpkins from rotting, place a thick piece of cardboard or scrap of wood under your pumpkins to keep them dry. You can gently turn the pumpkins to encourage even growth, but be very careful not to damage the stem in any way.
Row covers can be used early in the season to protect the tender seedlings from weather and pests, but you will need to remove these covers before flowers emerge in order for pollination to occur. Pests that attack pumpkins are squash bugs, beetles, and aphids.
The first set of flowers to appear on your pumpkin vines are most likely male flowers. The purpose of male flowers is to begin to attract pollinators to the plants, but these flowers will not turn into fruit. Subsequent flowers will be both male and female.
The female flowers will produce fruit when pollinated. You can plant brightly colored flowers around your pumpkins to attract more pollinators to your pumpkin patch. Avoid using pesticides after flowers appear so as not to harm the pollinators.
Pumpkins require heavy feeding. Apply compost or fertilizer regularly to keep vines producing and to grow healthy fruit. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer early on when seedlings are young. Later, switch to a high phosphorus fertilizer shortly before the blooms begin to appear.
Pumpkins also require plenty of water, up to an inch per week, especially when fruit is beginning to appear and grow. Avoid watering the leaves and fruit of the pumpkin vine, and concentrate water at the root area.
Mulch will keep moisture in and pests and weeds out of your pumpkin patch. If the leaves and plants are too wet, powdery mildew can occur and damage or kill your pumpkin patch.
How to Harvest Pumpkins
Do not harvest pumpkins based on their size because immature pumpkins will not last long after being picked. Select your pumpkin variety based on the size you desire, and then harvest them when the pumpkins are fully mature and ripe.
You can tell a pumpkin is ripe when its skin has turned a deep solid color. A ripe pumpkin will sound hollow when thumped, and it will resist being punctured when you press your nail into the rind.
Harvest your pumpkins on a dry day. Wait to harvest your pumpkins until the vines have died back and the rinds are hard. Do not twist or rip the pumpkin off the vine. Instead, use a sharp knife to cut the stem of the pumpkin. Leave plenty of stem intact to slow down the decaying process.
How to Store Pumpkins
Never carry a pumpkin by its stem, always carry it in both hands. Many pumpkins can be stored anywhere from thirty to ninety days when stored properly. To make pumpkins last longer, wash off the dirt and then gently cleanse the skin with a mild bleach and water solution and then allow it to dry completely.
Pumpkins kept in warmth or sunlight will rot more quickly, so make sure to store your pumpkin in a cool, dark, and dry place. Do not store pumpkins directly on cement, place them on a board or cardboard instead. Do not stack pumpkins or allow them to touch each other.
Choose pumpkins to store which do not have any blemishes or cuts in the skin. Some experts say pumpkins will last better if they are cured. You can cure your pumpkins by leaving them in the sun in hot weather for seven to ten days.
Cooked pumpkin can be puréed with an immersion blender or food processor and frozen in ice cube trays to use for soups, cooking, and baking. Or dice the flesh of raw pumpkin and loosely freeze in freezer bags to use in the same ways. Raw or puréed pumpkin can be kept frozen for up to a year without affecting the taste and texture.
Final Thoughts on Growing Pumpkins
If you love gardening and you love pumpkins, then planting, growing, and harvesting your own pumpkins is an easy choice. If you have plenty of sunshine and space, choose vining pumpkins. If you have less space, choose semi-bush or bush varieties.
Miniature pumpkins will need less space to grow, will jumbo varieties will require much more space, fertilizer, and water. With just a little care and consideration, pumpkins are relatively easy to grow and fun to use.
All varieties are edible either raw and cooked, although cooking and baking varieties taste much better than those cultivated for decorative purposes.
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the post first appeared on thehomesteadinghippy.com See it here
I have wanted a greenhouse for as long as I can remember. A warm, well-lit room dedicated to nothing but plants is pretty much every gardener’s dream.
Whether for growing food or for housing tropical plants, greenhouses are beautiful and functional additions to a property. Last summer, we put up our own DIY greenhouse – an 11-foot by 20-foot lean-to with polycarbonate panel walls.
Our building process and costs will be the topic of an upcoming article, but first, let’s talk about why every avid gardener should have a greenhouse, and why building a lean-to greenhouse is a budget-friendly option with many benefits.
If you’re on the fence at all about buying or building a greenhouse, perhaps I can help talk you into it!
Why build a greenhouse?
Most gardeners understand the value of a greenhouse, especially when it comes to gardening in cold climates. They’re beautiful and useful in many ways, but the most important is that a greenhouse adds valuable time to the growing season. If you want to grow as much of your own food as possible, like I do, it’s very important to find ways to maximize your growing season.
We live in zone 4, so our growing season is very short. If we plant anything too early – before May 15th or so – we run the risk of having new garden plants killed off by a late frost or freak snow storm.
On the other hand, if we plant too late – after the first couple weeks of June – we have a garden full of not-quite-ripe produce threatened by the first fall frost. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing the fruits of your labor in the garden killed off by frost before getting the chance to mature.
A greenhouse provides a place to start seeds early, so seedlings have a good head start when the soil is warm enough to plant. It also extends the growing season well into fall or even winter. Any plants in containers can be brought into the greenhouse to continue providing harvests long after the first frost.
We were hit with an early frost this past fall. I had several of my tomato plants and peppers in grow bags in the garden so I was able to move them into the greenhouse when that cold weather hit. Amazingly, those plants were still producing well into December – a full 3 months longer than they would have if I left them outdoors!
And, now that we’ve gone through our first winter with the greenhouse, I’ve discovered plants that have thrived all winter, despite the fact that this was the coldest winter on record here. Subzero temperatures were the norm for the last couple months.
Advantages of a lean-to greenhouse
There are endless options when it comes to types of greenhouses: freestanding, attached, hoop houses, geodesic domes, plastic, polycarbonate, glass, and the list goes on. We chose to build a lean-to greenhouse attached to our house, with a sturdy wood frame and triple wall polycarbonate panels.
We opted for the lean-to for a couple reasons. First, we already had a large, unused concrete pad off the back of our garage perfect for a shed or similar structure. We also had a bad water drainage problem in this area, so a lean-to structure made sense to help drain water away from the house.
Besides our reasons to build this style, there are many advantages associated with lean-to greenhouses. Here are a few of them.
Advantages of lean-to greenhouses:
Cost and simplicity to build
Lean-to greenhouses are a simple design that is easy for most DIYers to tackle. They typically consist of a short wall in the front, a tall wall in the back against a standing structure, and two sides.
Because a lean-to greenhouse is built against an existing structure, fewer materials are typically required to construct one. Most lean-to greenhouses need only the sides and front wall built since the back wall consists of whatever building it is leaning against.
In our case, we only had to construct two full walls because our greenhouse is tucked into a corner against two existing walls where our house meets our garage.
Close access to water and electricity
If your greenhouse is attached to your house or another building with water and electricity, you’ll have easy access to these necessities. Otherwise, you’re left stringing long lengths of extension cords and hoses across your yard, or digging underground to install permanent plumbing and wiring to your greenhouse. Unless, of course, you find ways to make your greenhouse off grid.
Easy access from the house
Let’s face it. When the wind chill is below zero and snow is blowing so hard you can’t see your hand in front of your face, it’s really nice to enter your greenhouse without getting blasted by Jack Frost. I absolutely love being able to step out into my greenhouse in the morning, barefoot, coffee in hand, no matter what the weather is doing outside.
There are two heat-related advantages that come with a greenhouse attached to your house. First, when temperatures are frigid, your greenhouse is likely absorbing some of your home’s heat through the wall, somewhat reducing heating costs if you plan to use your greenhouse year round.
Second, and most exciting – attached greenhouses, if built in a location with optimal light exposure, can be used to passively heat your home in winter. We’ve seen this in many of the earthships we’ve featured, and in this article featuring a small, lean-to greenhouse providing passive heat in a cold climate.
We don’t use my greenhouse for passive heating since it’s attached to our garage, which we do not need to heat. But on sunny winter days it easily gets warm enough to provide some passive heat if it were attached to any living space on our home.
Feels like part of the house
An attached greenhouse adds an attractive element to any home. It feels like an extension of the house and can become an additional living space, like a sun room.
My kids love spending time in our greenhouse on summer nights, listening to music and watching stars while protected from mosquitoes. It’s also an amazing place to hang out during rain and snow storms – warm, bright, and peaceful.
Our DIY greenhouse – the first winter
One big disadvantage I have is that the location where I had to place my greenhouse does not get much morning light. It’s in a corner mostly blocked from sun on the south and east sides. In the summer, this has actually been an advantage, because it stays mostly shady in the morning and doesn’t get unbearably hot as fast as it would if it was on the south side of our house. I can grow plants all summer inside the greenhouse that are prone to garden pests, like brassicas.
This same summer advantage had me worried about going through the first winter, though, since our days are so cold and short. The greenhouse definitely does not get maximum winter sun exposure, meaning I am limited on some of the heating options I might have otherwise tried, like geothermal.
As I mentioned earlier, we were hit with an unusually early freeze last fall that put a quick stop to outdoor growing. While my garden plants were shriveled to frozen remnants, the plants I was able to bring into the greenhouse were fine.
In fact, the heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers thrived and produced for several months after everything outside died off. Harvesting fresh, homegrown cherry tomatoes and peppers well into December is pretty impressive for our area!
February brought us several weeks of record low temperatures – many days below zero with wind chills as low as -50 degrees. Yuck! With some supplemental heat on the coldest nights, I was able to grow cold-hardy baby greens and herbs in the greenhouse all winter long.
Several varieties of baby kale and cabbage, beet greens, cilantro, parsley, dill, and wheat grass not only survived all winter, but continuously produced even when temperatures inside the greenhouse dipped into the 20s. Coming up with an off grid heating solution will be a project for the future so I can grow more variety over winter.
Have I convinced you yet to build a greenhouse of your own? I hope so! We live in an area with weather extremes and a very short growing season, yet our DIY greenhouse project has proven invaluable for getting the most out of our garden harvest.
Stay tuned for another article detailing our exact costs and building process. We were able to build ours with high-quality materials for less than you might think.
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This article first appeared on offgridworld.com Check it out here
Does your furry friend need a new place to rest his/her tired paws? A soft place to curl up and sleep the day away? Well, don't just go out and buy your kitty a bed, show how much you love them by making it yourself!
There are lots of ways to design and create a cute and comfy place for your cat. There are stylish and chic beds, funky and fluffy ones, or secret hammocks when they want to really relax.
Have fun making a new bed for your cat by personalizing it with your favorite colors and patterns. But, to get you started, here we have 30 cat bed tutorials for creating your cat a cozy place to rest.
Do you have a special relationship with your furry friend? Then show them they are special with a personalized bed!
Does your cat always curl up next to you as you watch Stargate? He might be a fan!
3. Rope Kitty
A super charming and super cute kitty bed for your kitty friend!
4. Easy Sew
Here's a beginner sewing project that both you and your cat will benefit from!
This cat bed is both comfortable and chic so you and your cat will equally love it.
6. Moon Crib
I am totally in love with this boho-chic cat bed which just so happens to be made from pallet wood!
7. Hanging Window Basket
Give your cat a window seat to watch the birds fly by and dream of mice.
8. Cat Teepee
Your cat will love its new personal private space where he can get away from all the pesky humans.
A place to just chill out and relax. This hammock would also be great hanging between your chair legs.
A fluffy place to relax suspended from the roof to get away from all the people!
11. Kitty Camper
You just might be jealous enough of your cat's tiny camper that you get one yourself!
12. Vintage Suitcase
How charming is this vintage circular suitcase upcycled into a cozy bed for your little kitty!?
Get your crochet hook out and pick out your cats favorite color yarn to make it a new place to hide.
14. Minimal Teepee
A soft and cozy DIY cat bed that has a boho vibe with a minimalist look.
15. Super Mario
Is your cat just as nerdy as you are? Then they will definitely love this Super Mario bed!
If you prefer knitting more than crocheting than don't worry, there's a cat bed pattern for that too!
Your beach vacation cabin needs a cat bed too! So go for a coastal look that is made from an old crate.
18. Minimalist Hammock
Here's a fun cat hammock that just sort of blends into the wall but not enough that your smart kitty won't find it!
19. Crochet 2
Another beautiful crochet cat bed that not only looks great but feels great for kitty!
20. Vintage Suitcase
Turn an old vintage suitcase into a shabby chic furniture piece that your cat will love!
21. Old Sweater
Using beautiful copper pipe and an old fluffy sweater, you can make this unique cat bed.
22. No Sew
A simple and easy-to-make cat bed that requires no glue and no sewing.
23. T-Shirt Tent
This project takes only moments to make and uses items that you most likely already have at home!
24. Fruit Box
Start with a simple recycled fruit box, throw in just a few more materials, add your creativity and voila!
This cat box will look great with almost any interior design and has a cozy bed hidden inside.
Do you have a lot of cardboard at home that you just can't seem to get rid of? This is one way to use it!
27. Cat Baggage
Just look how comfy that cute little kitty looks in her upcycled bed!
28. Crochet Igloo
For the winter wilderness cat to get away from the snowy days and just rest indoors.
29. Cardboard House
We all know how much cats love cardboard boxes, so why not make a proper house out of it?
30. Computer Monitor
Turn that old computer monitor into something cool, unique, and retro and give your kitty a place to rest.
I might just need to adopt more cats because it will be way too hard to just pick one of these charming cat bed designs!
We have seen a lot of creativity in this article with how to build a bed for your kitty in a unique way. Happy hammocks, boho-chic indoor tents, hollowed out computer monitors, and comfortable vintage suitcases.
Your kitty just might let you sleep for a week or so after you gift them a new cozy place to hide. One can only hope! So spoil your cat rotten and start crafting!
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This article first appeared on morningchores.com Original Article
Have you noticed almost every holiday has some type of gift given?
It can become boring over time (and expensive) to keep giving gifts. If you’re looking for a way to save some money and add some excitement to the traditional Easter basket, you’ve come to the right place.
There are plenty of creative people in the world, and thankfully, they chose to share their creations with us all via the internet.
I’m going to put these ideas in one convenient location for you to scroll through and pick which options would work best for you.
Here are DIY Easter basket options your loved ones are sure to squeal over:
1. Woven Paper Easter Baskets
If you need to create miniature DIY Easter baskets for a group of kids at church or school, this is a wonderful and cost-effective idea.
The tutorial walks you through how to weave pieces of construction paper together to where they form a basket. You can add small toys or pieces of candy for a nice Easter surprise.
2. Easter Basket Crochet Pattern
When I watch someone crochet it brings tears to my eyes. When my mother-in-law was still alive, she was a master of crochet. She could make practically anything.
Those items she crocheted mean a great deal to me now. If you’re able to crochet, make a child in your life this amazing basket They can hang on to it, and it will be something they’ll treasure as they get older.
3. Edible DIY Easter Baskets
I love this idea! It allows you to skip past the unnecessary items we usually feel obligated to purchase and head straight to what the kids like.
Instead of buying an Easter basket, use the boxes of candy to create a basket. Once you have a basket, add some faux grass, and even more candy. The kids in your life will be happy!
4. Bunny Apple Basket
If you have any apple baskets hanging around your house, put them to good use. You can follow this tutorial and make it into an adorable bunny Easter basket.
It requires a little paint, and they used vinyl for the facial expressions, but if you don’t have the equipment for it you could paint them on.
5. Yarn Egg Easter Basket
Do you have tons of yarn and aren’t sure what to do with it? One way to utilize it is to make this festive and pretty Easter basket.
It seems easy enough to make. A balloon is blown up and wrapped in yarn. From there, spray it with spray starch and the balloon can be popped once the yarn holds its shape.
6. Floral Unicorn Easter Basket
Do you have an old basket, but it’s too plain to use as an exciting Easter basket? Don’t fret. Instead, upcycle the basket into a new creation.
If you have a child in your life who loves unicorns, use this picture as inspiration to transform any old basket into a gorgeous unicorn.
7. Pool Noodle Easter Basket
This is only a picture, but it seems straightforward to create a replica. Use a cheap clothes basket and a pool noodle to make the shape of an Easter basket.
Fill the inside of the basket with faux grass, and paper mache the outside to make a festive design. It would be a beautiful decoration.
8. Easy Easter Bucket
If you can buy a festive Easter bucket, you can customize it easily with this tutorial. They give you a bunny silhouette you can print off and paste on the bucket.
Plus, you can type your child’s name beneath the bunny. Once finished, add a cotton tail, and no one else will have a bucket like your child.
9. DIY Felt Flower Easter Basket
You can usually find a basic lattice basket for little money at most big box stores or bargain stores. Once you have the basket, you only need a few pieces of felt and a glue gun.
The tutorial walks you through how to make felt flowers and how to attach the flowers to the basket. Your basket will be unique and beautiful.
10. The Scrap Easter Basket
If you have a variety of fabric scraps, it could be the perfect combination to make a gorgeous and cost-effective Easter basket.
This tutorial walks you through the entire process of putting the scraps together to make a basket. It can be filled with delicious goodies and be a keepsake for years to come.
11. No Sew Easter Basket
If you’re like me, you may struggle in the craft department. I can come up with cute ideas, but if I have to work hard to execute them, they usually end up looking like a kindergartener created them.
This idea is one which requires no sewing. Therefore, it should be easy to create a cute DIY Easter basket without all of the fuss.
12. Plastic Cup Easter Basket
These mini cups are another great idea if you must make quite a few DIY Easter baskets, and am working on a budget. Instead of buying many smaller baskets from the discount store, use this tutorial.
They show you how to convert red plastic cups into adorable Easter baskets, which can be filled with small goodies and make someone’s day.
13. Easy DIY Tutu Easter Basket
Do you have someone in your life who loves all things ballerina and tutus? You should consider making them this basket.
The tutorial shows you how easy the whole creative process is. If you have the time and would like to save some money too, consider this option.
14. Wooden Easter Bunny Basket
If you’re handy with a few tools around the garage, this could be a great idea to make a DIY Easter basket which would last.
Ana White gives you all the steps in the process you need. She also provides plans to make the build easier.
15. Simple DIY Mini Easter Basket
I love it when people share ideas for simple mini baskets. They are invaluable to school teachers, Sunday school teachers, coaches, and any other leader of a group which must produce 10 or more festive items each holiday season.
These small baskets are easy to build, very cost-effective, and cute. They show you put time and consideration into what you’re giving to others.
16. Rainboot Easter Basket
I love when you can take part a gift and make it into the package itself! This is an excellent idea for an Easter basket.
When spring rolls around, kids may need new rain boots. Instead of putting the boots in something, use the boots as the basket. It’s cute and smart too.
17. Bunny Bags
This is a great idea for those who like to keep Easter baskets simple or those who give out quite a few Easter baskets each year.
You can skip the basket altogether. Instead, use brown paper bags and this tutorial to make festive (and adorable) bunny bags!
18. Easter Basket Liner
This tutorial is a great way to bring life to an old basket. If you have a plain basket, but you’d like to make it more festive for Easter, create your own basket liner.
The tutorial shows you how to make a basket liner with Marvel characters, but it could be tweaked to work for whatever your kids love.
These are 18 different ideas for making your own creative, cost-effective, and adorable DIY Easter baskets for the kiddos in your life.
Having unique Easter baskets are wonderful on Easter morning, but they’re also great at crowded Easter Egg Drops.
There’s less chance your child will lose a basket you customized for them. We hope you enjoy your Easter holiday and make lots of wonderful memories!
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This article first appeared on morningchores.com Original Article
The first real sign that winter hit at my house was a day like any other. Cold temperatures were lingering and there was snow forecast on the horizon. But the winter sign wasn’t so much the coming of snow and colder temperatures – it was the absence of water from my faucet.
After a brief outing, I returned home and quickly realized the low temperatures had frozen somewhere along the line while I was away. This time, it was right at the well pump.
And it was my fault. I hadn’t plugged in the trusty light bulb that keeps the pump house above freezing. After a few minutes with a blow drier, I managed to thaw the pipes enough to get the proper flow back.
This time I was lucky. Next time I may not be.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best hand pumps for deep as well as shallow wells. But first, let’s talk a little about why you might need one.
Why You Need a Hand Well Pump
Most people rely heavily on the assumption that their well pump is good enough to last for decades. But a long-term power outage can leave some without a well.
Generators and backup power supplies can help as a stop-gap until power is restored, but well pumps draw a significant amount of power, and are not plug-and-play when it comes to providing backup power. Most are hard-wired.
Having a backup for water is critical on a homestead. In most cases, well pumps will fail because of extreme weather, long-term outages, or poor maintenance. The only way to prevent such a failure from impacting your everyday needs is to have a manual hand pump.
Another scenario is that of a grid-down or even an EMP disaster. In such cases, you can rest assured your hand pump will continue to work because it doesn’t need any electricity at all.
Manual hand pumps can run alongside powered pumps and allow for slower but effective water sourcing. Some systems can run in-line with existing pump systems, so water can still be made available at the faucets and fixtures.
How They Work
Hand pumps are used around the world and lift water small amounts at a time. Water is drawn up with the downstroke of a long handle mounted at the top.
On the upstroke, the plunger is reset to the original starting position. A series of simple valves prevent water from dropping back down the well using the principle of vacuum suction.
Flow rates can be increased with the stroke, pipe diameter, and depth. And, while many designs have evolved from industrial revolution-era pumps, there are a few things to consider before buying a hand pump for your homestead.
What to Look for in a Well Pump
Quality of Construction
For a sub-grade pump, you’ll want to track down high-quality materials – regardless of brand. Industry standards have evolved to stainless steel for obvious reasons, but some pumps continue to use plastic components that could become brittle over time and reduce the efficiency of a pump in the event of a deep freeze or earthquake.
I’m a big proponent of buying locally. So when it comes to a well pump suited to your area, it’s best to seek out the manufacturers that are based in the same climate zone you are in.
This way, you’ll know if your well pump will stand up to extreme heat, cold, corrosion and types of disasters typical of your region. Some pumps may work fine in the tropic zones, but will fail under arctic conditions.
The Depth of Your Well
It’s best to consult a hydrologist in your region or find a water witch skilled in location and depth surveying for your well. Some hand pump wells are designed to run alongside existing powered wells, but you’ll need to make sure the hand pump can service the same depth.
Shallow well pumps are a little bit less expensive but will be useless if they can’t reach your water source. Standalone hand pumps may be able to tap into springs or shallow well pockets and serve as a secondary resource without putting power to the site.
Serviceability and Warranty
Just like any fixture around the home, look closely at the warranty options when choosing your pump. The mechanical device may last a lifetime, but if parts are tough to come by or the manufacturer is bought out, you may find yourself buying another pump to replace it if you can’t service it yourself.
Some serviceability comes along with the design and features. The more elegant or elaborate the features are, the more difficult it may be to repair or replace.
Along with serviceability, it’s important to consider the design. The more basic the design, the more functional and durable the pump will be. But if the pump is a fixture in a hobby garden and not meant for survival purposes, a more elegant design will still work.
Longer handles reduce the strength required to pump and the opposite is true for shorter handles. It is also important to determine if the pump can run alongside your existing pump, or if it will require a dedicated well.
There are two main design considerations that will drive the type of hand pump you need – deep well or shallow well. Deep well pumps are more expensive and can retrieve water from several hundred feet below ground. Shallow well pumps or cistern pumps are designed to draw from sources that are less than 20 feet below ground.
Ease of Installation
Some hand well pumps can use the existing infrastructure of your powered well pump and can be installed quickly without additional help. Others may require additional help, drilling, or components to complete the install.
Once you’ve found a pump that fits your needs, be sure to consider what it’s going to take to have a complete system at the ready. This is another reason why buying locally or regionally makes sense: you can call and ask questions to make sure you’re getting the right pieces of equipment.
If self-installation isn’t recommended, you might consider having the gear on hand and coordinating the installation with your scheduled well pump maintenance. If you’re not sure, contact the manufacturer to get a quote for a system that will work best and what kind of installation options are available.
Flow rates can vary and could make a big difference in the type of pump you select. If you intend to have a backup pump to water livestock in addition to your own personal needs, you may want to find a pump with the maximum flow or community well pump. If you anticipate getting by on only a few gallons a day, a lower flow pump may help to save costs.
Comparison Chart – Top Deep Well Pumps
|Bison Pumps||Standard Deep Well||300’||20 oz./Stroke||304 Stainless Steel||Elegant and practical||Lifetime|
|Simple Pump||Simple Pump (hand operated)||325’||5 Gal./Min.||Stainless Steel||No-frills practical||50-year|
|Flojak||Flojak Plus||150’||10 Gal./Min.||Stainless Steel||T-Handle Pump||2-Year|
|Lehman’s||Deep Well Hand Pump (not freeze proof!)||225’||39-15 Oz./Stroke (Varies on cylinder size)||Cast Iron||Elegant and rustic||1-Year|
Comparison Chart – Top Shallow Well “Pitcher” Pumps
|Bison Pumps||1900||25’||19 Oz./Stroke||304 Stainless Steel||Elegant and practical||Lifetime|
|Simple Pump||Simple Pump (hand operated)||325’||5 Gal./Min.||Stainless Steel||No-frills practical||50-year|
|Flojak||Flojak “Original”||100’||10 Gal./Min.||PVC||T-Handle Pump||2-Year|
|Lehman’s||Closed Spout Hand Cistern Water Pump||20’||9 Oz./Stroke||Cast Iron/Brass||Rustic||1-Year|
The First Impressions
The design and efficiency of these pumps is a hard combo to beat. Water flow and depth ratings are top-notch and it is obvious that style was a significant consideration.
The pump is rated at upper-end efficiency without sacrificing the traditional look with a modern style of brushed stainless steel. It’s a bit of a sports car in that it deserves some time out in the open.
Ease of installation, versatility, curb appeal and climate considerations are built in so there are fewer concerns right out of the gate. Plus, the lifetime guarantee takes away the burden of worry over time. However, it may be overkill if you’re only able to impress livestock out in the sticks. The price is a bit higher than competitors but at a glance, you get what you pay for.
The durability and performance of these pumps are hard to ignore. Water volume, practicality, and simple design makes sense to any DIY homesteader. If parts fail and replacements are days or weeks away, it’s easy to see that components can be replaced with a little basic mechanical skill.
It is a testament to cold weather performance and meets the needs of any homesteader who needs performance no matter what. Most hand pumps are shielded in a pump house so every ounce of design is focused on function.
The depth ratings are greater than the Bison and flow rates are close depending on how many strokes it takes to fill a 5-gallon bucket. A solar-powered version is available from their website. There are no shallow well comparisons to go with, but it follows that even better performance could be achieved with less vertical strain.
The design of this is pump sets it apart from the traditional one-hand pump with its T-handle grip. And in doing so, it is feasible that less work would be required to achieve greater volumes much faster. In fact, twice the volume of the Simple Pump and potentially the Bison.
The design does allow for more water, but it is significantly restricted on depth. Any deep wells (greater than 150’) would tax the pump beyond its maximum. This may limit some buyers from getting the most out of the pump and deter them to the other brands.
But their performance potential with shallower wells, cisterns, and backup emergency water products is hard to pass up. Along with the price if you have a homestead on a tight budget. The shallow well system has a PVC handle instead of stainless steel – so make sure you get the right model and keep in mind your freeze protection needs.
The design and curb appeal of these pumps is in line with long-standing hand pump tradition. Both the deep well and shallow well pumps retain the rustic look with cast iron fixtures that will stand the test of time without a doubt.
The one-year warranty isn’t much but it’s easy to see that the models available at Lehman’s will likely outlast competitors over time under the right conditions. Sizing the system and ordering the right parts is critical and it may require a bit of one-on-one time over the phone versus a simple online kit.
Flow rates are a little less than competitors and depth is mid-range. There are some windmill options available as well. There are some freeze protection points to consider that may prevent some from buying. But for most applications, these designs are set up to add character to any old homestead and perform with diligence.
It’s easy to get a little bit of sticker shock when looking at a hand pump for your well. But keep in mind that a backup to your powered well may be a life-saving investment for your family, your garden, and your livestock.
Whether you are looking at a high-end pump to show off to your neighbors or a last-ditch source for survival, you’ll want to do your research and choose the right tool for the job.
LOOKING TO GET ONE OF THESE PUMPS? PIN THIS FOR LATER SO YOU CAN COME BACK TO IT, AND MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE WHEN YOU DO GET IT:
The post The Best Hand Pumps for Your Well (Deep or Shallow) appeared first on The Homesteading Hippy.
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