Decorate a Dog House with Dixie Style

Dixie Doodle and her new dog house

A farm dog is essential for a country lifestyle and our Dixie doodle fits her roll perfectly.  She was born almost 8 years ago in a horse barn with a bundle of cute puppies.  The mom was dumped left roaming when a kind lady took her in.  Another kind lady helped her find homes for these puppies and I’ll never forget that phone call.

The kids were excited, we had just moved in and to be honest a puppy was the last thing I needed on my plate.  Not being able to resist those cute floppy ears and her rolie polie structure Robert and I decided it would be fine.

Dixie Doodle Waiting and resting

About Dixie

Since then we’ve learned a lot about Dixie, she’s a coon hound, loves the country, will protect what belongs and has no problem running off what doesn’t belong. She also loves to hunt rabbits and that’s just something we learned to overlook.

Dixie lives in a world of her own, full of heart as she doodles her way through each day.  The last couple of years have been confusing because she doesn’t understand an empty nest and when Lucky passed she went into a bit of a depression.  This was when she and I started to bond and I discovered a side Dixie I’d never seen before.

She makes the most of situations and always rises with gusto. It’s no doubt the move will be another difficult phase because the farm is her home. However, this new adventure will feed her love for the outdoors and that’s what continues to help her thrive.

Dog House gets a New Coat of Paint

When we had two dogs I learned that every dog needs their own space especially indoors.  Outdoors it’s another story as Dixie preferred resting in the sheep shelters. I recently took her favorite shelter and transformed it into a doghouse we can use at the new property.

To build this house from scratch use 2 x 4’s for the frame and close in the wall with plywood using screws to assemble. The floor is left open because Dixie likes it that way.

Painting the Frame

The original color was green and I replaced it with a light grey.  Painting was the easy part by brushing on two coats of exterior flat; it looked so spiffy after it was dry. At this point, Dixie was taking an interest in her new dog house, but I have to admit she kind of looked at me wondering why I was going through all this effort…


Stencil Details

Adding details came next and it seemed fitting to use single letter stencils I purchased from Hobby Lobby.  Get my how to stencil tips here.

I applied each letter onto a cedar fence board that screwed into the house frame.  The stripe stencil came from Old Sign Stencils but I think she retired that a while back.  She does have a swirl you may like here. 

Cutting Edge Stencils on a Dog House

Flower Stencil

Other than Dixie’s name I needed something else for the house that was simple and fun. I turned to this zinnia cutting edge stencil that I used for a chicken coop project over the winter.   This was a great addition!

Decorated Dixie Doddle Dog House

The Finished Project

The finished project is a great fit for Dixie and we plan to take it to the property on our next visit. I lined the bottom with pink insulation foam in case it rains then placed a rug on top.  Even though she prefers bare ground I’m determined to find her a level of comfort she’ll enjoy.

 DIxie Doodle Approves of the Dog House

This project is an easy one and if you’re starting from scratch give yourself a day to complete from building, painting and stenciling.

Decorating the dog house Dixie style really didn’t take that long, it was a project that I fit in my day so it didn’t even feel like a chore and the best part Dixie was by my side the entire time.  She’s a fun dog and we’ve become pretty awesome friends.

It’s nice to have a furry friend look out after you – when they’re not hunting rabbits….

Decorate a Doghouse with Dixie Style

Gardening Tips for Chocolate Mint

Gardening Tips for Chocolate Mint Herb Plant

Who doesn’t love Chocolate and together with mint you have a match made in heaven.

Several years back, mint was incorporated from a 4-inch plant, this grew into many plants and added a wonderful aroma to the garden. I vividly remember this purchase and recall my daughter was with me.  She was excited about having herbs and we were trying to decide which ones to purchase.  When it came to mint I told her to just pick one and we’d figure it out how to use it later.

Chocolate Mint in the Garden

All this time I thought I was growing peppermint until recently a friend visited the farm.  When the mint was spotted, she asked, “Is this Chocolate Mint?”  I think my response was, “That’s a good question!”

I always referred to this plant as peppermint and for the most part that was the only flavor I could really sense.  But that particular day I started smelling, tasting and noticed this vivid aroma of chocolate.

My herb books are in storage so I turned to the internet for answers only to uncover some gardeners think Chocolate mint is a hoax.  Which later took me to Mountain Valley Growers, an organic farm in Central Valley California.  Apparently, there’s 17 mint varieties with Chocolate being one, discover more here. 

After a little research, it seemed like a good idea to share my Chocolate Mint gardening tips because I’m telling you this herb is so easy!

Originally, we added mint per my daughters request and I thought it would be pretty in floral arrangements.  Since then this herb has been enjoyed around the farm and home in many different ways.

Chocolate Mint Herb Plant grow in Containers

Planting and Enjoying Chocolate Mint

This beautiful herb looks amazing planted directly in the ground and it’s outstanding in containers.  It does grow fast; like a weed so it’s important to give it a lot of space if you plan to grow directly in the ground.  I started our little plant at ground level and after one season decided to divide and transfer into containers.

Fast forward several years now there is mint all over the farm in planters of all size and shapes.  If you don’t have room for this kind of growth don’t worry because you can always propagate plants and share with friends, take cuttings and dry for later or enjoy mint in the following ways.

  • Iced or hot Tea – Fresh Chop and sprinkle or use dried
  • Hot Chocolate – Chop and sprinkle.
  • Incorporate with side dishes.
  • Extract for essential oil – amazing healing properties.
  • Greenery in cut flowers arrangements.
  • Desserts – Chop and add to cakes, cookies, ice cream, icing and so on.
  • Garnish – wonderful garnish especially during Christmas.

To experience beautiful coloring and flavor plant this herb in the sun.  This would explain why these plants have a hint of chocolate flavor now because each one has been secured in the sunlight.

Chocolate Mint Herb Plant Blooms

When does Mint Bloom?

Chocolate mint blooms a very simple purple flower that attracts honey bees and butterflies.  These flowers are precious and delicate to the eye but in reality, they’re very hardy which makes them perfect for dried arrangements.  Blooms begin in June and continue through September.

In the Fall when temperatures drop I normally cut the plants down to the base so they can rest over winter.

Grow Chocolate mint in containers

Additional Planting Tips

The one thing that I really love about this plant is that it’s easy to grow so if you consider yourself a forgetful or brown thumb gardener this plant is very forgiving and will grow with little encouragement.

In zones 3 -11 mint is considered a perennial which means it’s comes back year after year.  In Texas  it stays nice and green over winter and then begins to wake up around February/March.

The Gardening tips to Remember

  • Plant in full sun and part shade – shade is necessary for those in the south.
  • Make sure soil is well fertilized with natural compost that stays moist, include mulch.
  • Plant in damp areas if possible because it loves water.

Gardening with chocolate mint has turned out to be another great addition and because I’ve propagated additional plants this herb will follow us to our new property.  It’s pretty sweet that a friend recognized a surprise like Chocolate mint was growing in the garden.

Gardening Tips For Chocolate Mint

Tiny House in a Happy Camper

Choosing a Tiny House isn't always easy

When we started looking at Tiny Houses I was discouraged because they were small, like 200 square feet or the larger ones had poor layouts.  I wanted a house that made me feel like a happy camper; it didn’t seem like that was too much to ask for.

Frustration surfaced when we looked at the prices because they were ridiculous and the houses consisted of nothing. We finally came across a design that was comfortable, could be updated if we wanted and a few months later we found land.  That was a year ago and everything felt like it was falling into place. We closed on the land, the next step was to get the farm up for sale, sell it and buy our little house.

Loading the last of things for storage

Back then I was still removing stuff we didn’t want and boxing things up for storage, that story is here. I’m happy to report the last of everything we decided to keep will be going to storage in the next couple of days.  Downsizing is life changing!

During that time, Robert put together a plan for the homestead community that looked overwhelming until we organized each step.  It became clear this project was a huge undertaking and the last thing I needed to be doing was setting up and maintaining a new home.  This kind of made me a little sad but I had to be realistic, establishing an entire community is a large undertaking for two people.  Are we up for the challenge?   Of course!

Living in the RV for awhile

This is when reality struck like lightning and living in a Tiny House right away was placed on the back burner because we started considering moving into our RV.  Living in an RV was definitely tiny and would allow us to stay focused because there’s no distractions; cleaning the space takes less than 30 minutes. This wasn’t an easy decision and it came with a compromise because marriage is all about meeting each other halfway……

First I had to really process living in our RV because it’s smaller than the Tiny Houses we plan to purchase.  For weeks, I wondered if I could be a happy camper living so extreme; I couldn’t really answer if I would be happy which was a little scary. When we purchased the RV a couple years ago I found myself loving this thing for the following reasons.

  • It’s simple
  • Easy to keep clean
  • When you close the door it’s like the rest of the world goes away.

Knowing those three simple things I decided I could be happy but we would also need a shed for a workshop and office space. This was an acceptable compromise because we already planned to put in a shed, so maybe it was me just really wrapping my brain around the concept and not really a compromise?

The RV Lifestyle to stay focused

It was settled, we decided living in the RV was acceptable and now I’m in the process of loading it with our stuff so it feels like home.  If we don’t like it then we’ll go back to our original plan and move into a Tiny House later but something tells me this will work just fine for the next year.

This entire get ready process has taken a great deal of preparation, thought and planning.  Sometimes it feels like I’m over thinking everything and Robert is just waiting patiently for me to make up my mind.  Course there may also be this other layer of me thinking, what will others think?  But I realized it doesn’t matter what others think because I’m tired of being a servant to the home.

When I look into our future I see a sense of freedom in the air and it’s amazing. There are so many things that Robert and I want to accomplish and the reality is there isn’t enough years for us to do them all.  By simplifying and narrowing our focus we can at least zero in on the things that are important and blessed by a greater wisdom than our own.

While Robert and I set up this community we’ll live in our RV and at some point, we’ll have to decide if we want to stay at this site before we settle into our very own Tiny Home.  When we come to that decision I’ve decided that after living in an RV a Tiny House will be like a major upgrade and what will I ever do with all that space?

It’s kind of like this, I did the house thing for 20+ years it’s now time for something new and it begins with me being a Happy Camper which will make Robert a Happy Camper too!

Tiny House in a Happy Camper

Easy to Build Quail Shelters

How to Build a Quail Shelter

When I started raising quail I had to figure things out on my own through trial and error because the majority of quail breeders were raising their birds in cages. Through months of observation I was able to figure out what works well and what doesn’t; this leads me to these easy to build quail shelters.  I shared them a couple years ago but failed to include building plans. You can view the originals here.

Back then I was trying to learn if these birds would even use nesting boxes which was a quick no but when it rains or when it’s really hot quail like to hide for shelter, even if tall grass is available.

I’ve used these shelters for Coturnix and Bobwhite quail and in most of my posts you’ll notice them mixed throughout the terrain. I absolutely love these shelters and so do the birds.

Supplies for Building a Quail Shelter

Quail Shelter Supplies

This project can be modified in the blink of an eye by building small or large.  Our shelter for today happens to be 2 ft. x 1 ft. and I have others that are 3.5 x 2.  The building plans are the same which makes this project a breeze to duplicate.  Instead of focusing on the measurements we’ll direct our attention towards supplies so you can construct these shelters to fit your quail coop.

  • Eight ft. 2 x 3’s for frame (You could also use 2 x 4’s)
  • Plywood for Roof
  • Cedar or pine Fence boards for walls
  • Screws
  • Drill and Saw
  • Stain and Brush (or use exterior paint)

Building an easy Quail Shelter

Let’s Begin

We’re basically building a box, well part of a box beginning with the frame so we need the following pieces customized to size for your coop or sanctuary.

  • 4 corners for height
  • 2 ends
  • 2 width

Start by connecting the ends and width pieces to make a rectangle. Drill one pilot hole in each corner before connecting the frame with screws.  Learn more about pilot holes here.  After this is completed follow through by adding a leg in each corner.  You’ll need two screws for each corner.

Stand the frame upright to make sure everything is level then add the walls with screws.  I did some overlapping with the walls on this shelter using cedar fence planks, I was focused on creating additional ventilation.  Connect the bottom piece first, the top last, then come around the front and add two more pieces in the entry.

Quail Shelter Roof

Adding the Roof

Use plywood for the roof because it’s easy to work with.  Cut the wood with a table, circular or jig saw; I chose a jig saw because I wanted a swirled roof.  If you’re seeking a straight edge then go ahead and use a table saw as it offers a clean cut..  Once the roof is shaped correctly go ahead and screw it into the frame.

Note – The roof can have an overhang adds character and is a nice addition when it’s raining.

Adding Stain to a Quail Shelter

Finish with Stain

The shelter is completed which leaves us to finish with stain.  I’ve used paint in the past but I’m here to say the stain lasts longer. I leave the interior natural and apply the stain with a brush to the exterior, let the wood soak it right up then air dry outside.

Building a Quail Shelter

These shelters have been a hit with the quail, myself and they’re easy to move.  They work great in a natural ground environment because they provide protection year-round for all types of weather.  Additional explanation for incorporating these shelters can be viewed in the following posts.

This project was made from scrap wood so if you have additional building materials in your workshop use these instructions and come up with something similar or duplicate this easy build.  Give these shelters a try, they’re easy to build and perfect for Bobwhite and Coturnix quail.

If thinking about raising quail check out my book Quail Getting Started. it was written for beginners who want to raise quail in a natural environment.

Looking To Raise Quail - Try these Easy to Build quail shelters

The Beginning of a New Startle Garden

The Beginning of a New Startle Garden

If there’s one thing I love about gardening it’s creating a planting space from the ground up.  Here we have the beginning stages of a new startle garden located at the Tiny House property, Quail Grove.  We’ve been clearing trees for over a month and during the process I was scoping for hours of sunlight and where I might want to spend time gardening.

Just so happens it was near the creek but before I could bring in raised beds we had to remove this massive Bois d’ arc tree.  We burned and burned and Robert went after this tree with gusto.  When it was finally gone, excitement surfaced, view the before here.  

The Beginning of a New Startle Garden with raised beds

Begin with the 2 x 4 Raised Bed

I brought in 2 x 4 raised beds made from 2 x 4 lumber, building plans can be found here.   This display is the first layout; each bed will go another layer up before we fill them with dirt and the corners will have rebar to secure the corners; this addition makes it less difficult to replace boards years later. Tall raised beds are wonderful and they make it much easier to garden for a few reasons.

  • Fewer Weeds
  • Easier prep and clean up time
  • Maintains moisture
  • Less bending over
  • Makes a wonderful Startle Presentation

Inside each raised bed begins with natural matter

Filling Tall Raised Beds

I’m often asked how much dirt does it take to fill in tall raised beds.  In my new book, Startle Garden I actually cover setting up raised beds in detail. I don’t use just dirt; natural elements are also incorporated giving each bed a dynamic boost that welcomes worm activity. These elements in addition to the soil include,

  • Natural Matter
  • Direct Compost
  • Animal Fertilizer like Llama Droppings

At this property, we have dried tree debris everywhere, I mean everywhere.  Between raking, burning and repeat the process I’m also using this matter to fill in the bottom of these beds.  It’s applied pretty thick and will pack down after a good rain; then we can cover it with dirt.  How a raised bed is establish and maintained can help you grow an amazing garden.  To learn more, discover dirt simple here.

The Beginning of a New Startle Garden project

Startle Garden Number #1

My first Startle Garden happened last summer at our farm, it was such fun and I really enjoyed gardening with smaller raised beds because it helped me focus and not get overwhelmed.  I’m a believer that gardening should be an enjoyable activity not something that consumes every moment and every hour of the day.

At Quail Grove, every homestead will have at least one Startle Garden similar to this layout.  Can you imagine installing so many gardens?  At first I was a little fearful about the idea of creating 14 gardens for other people.  Now I’m excited and the best part is I get to share each one with all of you so I’m rather anxious to begin.  How neat is that?

If you’re thinking  a Startle Garden is right for you I have a fun Reader Challenge for gardeners, get details here..  

Startle Garden Book -Grow your best garden


Startle Garden Placement

How Many Gardens Will Carole have?

Back at our new homestead I plan to have at least 3 set ups similar to this one and I’m pretty sure they will all be near the creek.  So far this is my favorite place and you know what else?  I’m going to learn how to build a bridge over the creek so we can get to the rest of our 2 acres by foot without using the main road.  Y’all it’s going to be awesome and I sure hope you’re following along.

Those additional gardens will be included after we remove more stumps, this seems to take forever.  For now, I’m going to enjoy the beginning stages of this new garden and I can hardly wait to fill them with herbs and blooming perennials.

It’s possible I’m having way too much fun and Robert well he just enjoys seeing me so happy when we’re out there, it’s like this green heaven of wonderful everywhere I look.

The Beginning of a New Startle Garden at The Tiny House Quail Grove

Rag Painted Terra Cotta Planter

Painted Terra Cotta Pot

I have this love for Terra Cotta pots; I think it’s because they’re simple and have been around for as long as I can remember. Terra Cotta is a type of pottery made from clay based materials.  The clay can be unglazed or glazed ceramic where the fired body is porous.  Terracotta is a term for sculpture used through history for pottery, sculpting, bricks and roof shingles.

One of my blogging friends, Karen at To Work with My Hands recently upcycled three Terra Cotta pots by mottle painting; you can view that project here.  I love this trio and imaged doing something similar with shades of green.  I forgot the paint brushes were in storage so I decided to rag paint.

Terra Cotta Pot Painting

Project Materials

I purchased a new pot because I didn’t have any empty ones available.  This was inexpensive and if you already have containers and paint in your workshop then you can get started right away.  If you scaled this project down it could also be a neat homemade gift item.

  • Terra Cotta Pot – any size will work – Lowes has a great selection
  • White Chalk paint – Craft store like Hobby Lobby
  • 3 Decor Art /Outdoor Patio Paint – Craft store like Hobby Lobby (Colors – Sprout Green, Pine Green and Sweet Pea)
  • Brush for the white paint – Craft Store
  • Rag for applying the colored paint – cotton terry cloth works best

Painted Terra Cotta Planter

Applying the Base Coat

The first step is to apply the base coat; we do this using white chalk paint.  I applied one coat to the exterior and inside the rim of the pot then let it air dry outside; this allowed moving on to the next step right away.

Painting Terra Cotta Planters

Rag Painting Application

Here’s what I love about rag painting, there is no right or wrong way to apply the paint.  Just dab the rag into the paint then rub off the excess on paper and lightly cover the interior working your way around the exterior.  Since were using three colors we don’t want to cover all the white, just apply a light coat and let it dry before applying the second and third colors.


Painting Terra Cotta Planters with a rag

Adding the Second Shade

The second shade, was pretty dark and almost seemed to take over that first color, sprout green.  After applying and then adding the final sweet pea color the pot seemed to take on a new look that reminded me of moss.


Terra Cotta Painting

Finishing Touches

When the lighter color dried I went back and added a little more of sprout green because things didn’t seem to connect. Adding color is a matter of shading and blending so they complement one another. Once the pot was dry it was time to choose a plant.

Terra Cotta Painted Planter

Perfect for Planting

Painted terra cotta pots could be used for anything but my goal was to add day lilies, I like how that greenery trails outward like wild grass.  After completing this project, I decided a couple smaller complimentary pots would look nice next to this so I’m headed back to the store to get more terra cotta; I may even add saucers.

Painting is relaxing especially if you’re outdoors listening to the bird’s chirp and of course Dixie was nearby waiting for me to finish.  This project is easy to make and I only had to invest less than an hour to complete.  Use new or update old terra cotta pots to make your own rag painted planters or try Karen’s mottle brush technique that’s awesome too!

Terra Cotta Planter using rag style painting


Good Plants for a Quail Habitat

Choosing Good Plants for a Quail habitat

I’m often asked what plant varieties are best for a quail habitat.  It’s a great question and choosing native plants for your area may include additional research; I’ll be referencing options that are common across north America.

Quail have a fun diet that consists of seeds, grains and berries.  They also like to eat bugs but today I’m sharing plants for a permanent sanctuary that compliment a natural quail environment.  The following information is suitable for bobwhite quail and can also be implemented for coturnix. It’s been my experience coturnix quail can be particular so don’t be surprised if you plant something and they ignore it or better yet they absolutely love it.

Studies show there are more than 1,000 different plants to satisfy a quail diet; don’t worry I’m not going to cover 1,000 plants but I will be sharing those with the greatest nutrition value.

Quail also prefer a mixture of native grasses for nesting and seed nutrition.  A natural quail environment should have at least two or three different types of grass available.  I’ll be covering this in further detail later this month because today I want to focus on the basics which is seeds, grains and berries.

Seeds for Happy Quail Habitat

Planting for Seed

There are many plants that provide seeds for quail to eat.; some offer a higher nutrition value than others.  In the wild seeds are available from the fall through winter, this is important as food can be minimal that time of year.  If you’re raising quail in captivity offering these plants will enhance their quality of life and help detour feed costs.  The following is a list of beneficial plants for quail.

  • Giant ragweed
  • Western ragweed
  • Soybean
  • Sorghum
  • Sunflower
  • Osage orange (from Bois d arc trees)
  • Dogwood

Additional options that bobwhite quail like include dove weed, bristle grass, beggarweed, cowpea, oak acorns, and wild bean.  Choosing a nice selection of ragweed, soybean and sunflowers would be easy to incorporate for both breeds of quail.  In Texas Osage oranges drop from August through fall; they’re loaded with seeds and can be gathered then placed in the habitat to supplement their diet.

Plant by choosing at least three native plants for either quail breed, the goal is to benefit their environment not overdue it.

Planting Graines for a Quail Habitat

Planting Types of Grain

Incorporating grain is very similar to the benefits of seed planting because you’re seeking additional plants quail enjoy. We’re keeping this list simple with the four basics we’re all familiar with.

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Oats

Planting one by alternating the others between planting seasons could be another option.   A quail diet consists about 80% seed and grains so by adding just a few options in addition to their regular feed you’re offering value to their life. Let me also add by do this it enhances the entire quail experience for everyone involved.

How to add Berry Plants to a Quail Habitat

Planting Berries

Planting berries is fun, it’s kind of like a dish of ice cream for quail because they make the cutest sounds when they eat fruit.  The easiest berry plants to implement would be blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.  The first three would require careful planning and space as the vines and bushes can grow quite large. If your quail home is small adding these berries may not be an option.

If you have a garden then think about planting berry crops nearby the quail habitat. A mature harvest would allow sharing with the quail, do this by adding small amounts to the ground inside their home.

Since strawberry plants are smaller and require less space they would be the least difficult to incorporate.  Strawberry plants can be started by seed or purchased as mature plants in the early spring and fall.  I haven’t met a quail yet that doesn’t love strawberries.

Quail Getting Started Learn More

Plant with a Vision

When adding plant life for nutrition to any quail habitat remember to plant with the vision.  Quail are field birds that live on the ground and prefer hunting for food by foot over flying so it would make sense to plant an environment that looks a bit whimsical with a walk path for you, the path provides a safe place to step without harming the birds as they camouflage to perfection.

If a structured planting setting with raised beds is more to your liking that would also work by also adding an area with tall grass so the birds can utilize their instincts. Choosing the right plants is a matter of incorporating grain and berries that also leave behind seed.   Creating a natural quail environment can be just as fun as raising the birds, are you ready to begin? For additional coop ideas read here and if you have questions or thoughts please leave them in the comments below.

Understanding how to Choose Good Plants for a Quail Habitat

Learn How to Propagate the Garden

How to Propagate the garden with ease

A few days ago, I shared how you could move a garden and today I’m putting that idea into action through propagation.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve been playing with this concept for the purpose of expanding my garden and the results have been amazing.  Through my experience of trial and error I found this to be my favorite garden activity.

It’s pretty crazy but I really look forward to spring and fall not for planting new seeds but because it’s the best time of year to propagate existing plants.  If you live in areas where winters are light it’s possible to continue the process if temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees.

Propagating tools

Necessary Supplies for Propagation

  • Begin with small containers 4 and 6 inch pots are a good place to begin.
  • Hand tools like a simple spade would work just fine, check out mine here.
  • For Larger plants, you may need a big garden shovel.
  • A good pair of clippers.
  • Fertilized soil – this can come right from the garden.

How to Propagate the garden

Two Types of Propagation

There are two ways I propagate and understand that other gardeners may do things completely different and that’s okay. I prefer to apply natural techniques like using fertilized soil to activate new root growth instead of purchasing products like root hormone.

Propagation in my garden begins with two types of perennial plants – Single root base and creepers.  A single root base plant would be like a rose bush, rosemary, sage, lantana, asters and so on.  These are beautiful plants where cuttings are used to root. We’ll go into further detail in a moment.

The other would be the creepers, they grow out in width with shoots and if you’re not careful they can take over a space pretty quickly if growing conditions are good. For that reason, many gardeners prefer to plant creepers in containers to control their growth.  These types of plants would include, thyme, mint, lemon balm, clematis, ivy, strawberries, lily and so on.  These are propagated by breaking up the base of the plant and dividing into smaller pieces.

I like to do both but I have to say taking a cutting is a lot easier and less stressful for the plant.

Let’s Review

  • Propagate in the Spring and Fall when temperatures are between 50 – 70 degrees
  • Gather necessary supplies
  • Identify creepers vs. single root plants
  • Work with fertilized soil

Prior to propagating make sure this activity is taking place early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are mild. Make sure the soil is moist from previous watering and don’t be in a hurry.  When the conditions are good the transition will be less irritating for the plant.  This is important and will have an impact on the outcome.

How to Propagate Sage

Propagate with Cuttings

This plant is sage, you can view the foundation plant above or get a better view here.  I purchased this in a 4 inch pot about a year ago and it’s an absolute beauty with remarkable growth. Sage is full of health benefits so I like to cook with it often and sometimes use it in floral arrangements. Propagation is a breeze; it’s a matter of taking short cuttings using clippers and placing them in pots with well fertilized soil.

Cuttings will vary based on the size of existing plants so don’t over think it.  You can root the woody stems, just peel off the outer stem shell before adding it to the soil.  Another option is to use softer stem cuttings for quicker rooting results.  In reality you should allow at least a month for root activity to appear.

Caring for the Cuttings

  • Once the cutting is placed in the pot set on a tray in the shade.
  • Make sure the soil doesn’t dry out for the next 48 hours.
  • The leaves may wilt – it’s OKAY!! Remove them after about a week if they don’t come back and continue to keep the plant in a shaded area with at least 6 hours of sunlight each day.
  • After a month, move these cuttings into more sunlight and continue to water as needed.
  • Lightly feed a liquid fertilizer every other month.  Tea recipe here..

I normally leave my cuttings in pots for at least 5 or 6 months before replanting them back in the ground.  This process is unique as some cuttings will be really healthy and others may dry up and go brown. Always seek healthy stems and new growth for transplanting and once you remove the plant from the container inspect for roots prior to planting in the ground.

To learn more about specific plants I’ve successfully propagated through cuttings enjoy the following posts.

How to Propagate Lemon Balm

Propagate with Creepers

When I first started propagating creeper plants also known as off shoots I was a little nervous because it felt like I was planning an attack on what was a beautiful lush plant.  For the most part I was on attack because the goal is to remove parts from the base without destroying the main plant.  There are two ways you can do this.

  • Dig up the entire plant and divide it.
  • Dig out part of the plant but cutting out a section and leaving the rest in the soil.

Both styles are invasive and can burden the development of the entire plant. There’s a few things to detour weakness; they include the following.

  • Make sure the soil is moist – water really good hours or the night before.
  • Propagate early morning or later in the evening.
  • Make sure to avoid direct sunlight if at all possible when you divide.
  • Make sure you have a bucket of water nearby for soaking roots.

Whether you’re digging up the entire plant or cutting in the process needs to be quick especially while the roots are exposed. Make sure you can finish in the same setting prior to digging.  The smaller separated pieces can be soaked in the water bucket while containers are being filled with soil.

After the plants are in pots or relocated to a new location in the garden make sure their recovery time is in the shade.  This is easy to do if you’re transplanting in containers.  The benefit of the shade is to keep the plant from wilting.  Many times, this can’t be avoided and it may take up to 48 hours for the plant to completely recovery.  Delicate plants may need to be trimmed back so new growth can surface.

In Closing

Wow! That’s a lot of information and if that sounds like a lot of work I’ve got another tip, take cuttings from these plants and let them root in a glass of water.  The disadvantage is the main plant continues to send off shoots so digging it up or part of it is really a better option.  I propagated day lilies last year and at the time thought I ruined the plant.  Fast forward they look amazing and they’re still in containers,  read here.

This entire process should be comfortable for the plant by providing a non-stressful environment.  Temperature, shade and fertilized soil are the key elements I’ve incorporated to optimize propagation and I’ve honestly had a 90% success rate which is really neat. It’s my hope this information has been helpful and a lesson for learning you can apply to your own garden space. If you have additional questions or tips of your own to share please do so in the comments below.


How to Propagate the Garden with these easy tips


How to Move a Garden

Are you Moving? Learn how to Move a Garden

For the last four years, I’ve been transitioning our garden to raised beds and creating a space inspired by what’s in my heart.  So, when I announced “we’re selling the farm” many people emailed and asked the big question, “How will you leave behind your garden?”  At first I thought, “there will be other gardens” and then it started sinking in that leaving behind the garden could be more difficult than I thought.

The soil has been worked and worked and the plants have that wonderful established appearance. That’s when it hit me about a year ago that I would move part of my garden with us.  The big question was, “How do you move a garden?”

Moving a Garden made easy

A Memory Inspired Moving the Garden

First let’s be realistic I’m not actually moving my garden like one would move boxes from a house.  The garden is included in the sale of our home so I decided to propagate this space and store those plants in containers until moving day arrives.  Propagation means to expand or widely spread cuttings from the main stock.

This began with a rose cutting a few winters back, I was experimenting with little experience. I did remember my grandma propagating plants all the time, I watched and listened but never participated much.  It was natural for this one sitting area of hers to have 4 or 6- inch container pots scattered about.

This was also where my grandpa Pete use to sit while he smoked his pipe.  I loved sitting next to him, he didn’t say much but you could tell he enjoyed having me around.  I guess I was a dorky grand kid that enjoyed their simply way of living. He passed when I was 12 and soon after that his bench became filled with plants too. For a period of time the bench turned into a garden table because my grandma wasn’t one to sit.  Remind you of anyone?

I remember this space like it was yesterday and all those propagated plants were either shared with friends and family, moved around to open spaces in her yard and sometimes even sold. That’s right Grandma and I use to have plant sales.  We weren’t that successful but we seem to always make enough so I could get licorice for later.  Those were the days when a few sticks of licorice was an extreme treat.

It was basically a memory of plants sitting around this bench that reminded me I could propagate my garden and take parts of it with me. Shortly after that I began taking cuttings from many established plants.


How to Move a Garden

How to Move a Garden

How to move a garden takes planning.  I wouldn’t recommend rushing the process and planning ahead will allow new plants to acclimate. Propagating can be stressful for plants and the new cuttings which means it’s best to do this in the early Spring and Fall.  I plan to share my tips for expanding plants later this week.

We’re not moving far from our current residence so I knew that moving plants would be a breeze and the benefit of propagating allows me to leave behind a beautiful garden for new owners to enjoy.  The garden reacted remarkably to the process and much like my grandma I decided to share some of these plants with friends and I even sold a few at my Farm Market Stand.

I basically experimented with propagating and found I love this activity; it’s now a favorite element of gardening.  I started with roses then moved onto blackberries.  From there I went to lilies, strawberries and of course my favorite herbs.

When we finally get ready to move I’ll load up these plants and take them to the new property. These beauties will go into raised beds allowing them to reach their full potential. So, I’m not really leaving my garden behind, I’m taking some of it with me and later this week I’m going to share with you how to propagate your own garden.

Selling your Home - Learn ho wto move your garden with you