Home & Garden Feed

If you're into Mums, buy them at Aldi

Mum
These are great looking plants

By Mike Thayer

Today's Shopping Tip

It's Mum season! 8" Mums are just $3.99 at Aldi while supplies last. That price beats what you'll pay at Lowe's, a garden center or the mainstream grocery store. I picked up 5 plants this morning for a grand total of $19.95 + tax.

These are great looking plants and Aldi has three main colors that I saw in stock, the purple you see pictured right, classic yellow and a rust variety.

Purple Mum
Healthy plants freshly watered when I was browsing

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

 

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Awesome Holiday Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadBy Mike Thayer

Simply put, as the name suggests, this pumpkin bread is awesome.  A double batch is pictured right.  It's a recipe given to me by an ex-girlfriend.   My pet name for her was Awesome, hence the name for the recipe.  She really knows how to bake and we truly enjoyed cooking, baking, grilling, shopping, dining out and gardening together, those were good times.  But she violated Mike's Relationship Rule #1:  Communicate.  Deal breaker.

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Set aside. Using a mixer, combine the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs. Mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix well. By hand, mix in the nuts and raisins. Pour the loaf pans half full with batter.  Pipe cream cheese over that half layer of batter. Pour remaining batter to fill the pans. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until you get a clean toothpick test. Cool pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans to cool completely.

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 2 bricks (8 ounce packages) of cream cheese - softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.

And excellent addition to your holiday menu, enjoy!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Dinner on a Plate - Recipes by Bachelor on the Cheap

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Growing your own potatoes in a grow bag is super easy!

By Mike Thayer

ANPHSIN 10 Gallong Garden Potato Grow Bags
Talk about making it EASY to grow potatoes!

Back in March and suffering from spring fever bad, I worked through that 'fever' by planting potatoes.

I've grown potatoes before, in a traditional garden plot direct in the ground and in raised beds.  It's not difficult to grow potatoes and I enjoyed some very tasty spud harvests, but potatoes do take up a lot of space in the garden, especially in raised beds.  So with space considerations in mind, I haven't grown potatoes in my gardens for a very long time.

Enter the ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags

This was the first time I've used grow bags and what a great concept!  Ordering a 4 pack of these bags on Amazon, these things are made of a heavy duty aeration fabric, come with a Velcro flap to harvest the potatoes and sturdy handles make the bags easily mobile.

Potatoes Looking healthy in the grow bag
Potato plant loving the bag, the tomato pictured left is too!

Planting the potatoes was easy peasy.  I filled the bag about half full with potting mix, put four certified seed potatoes - Kennebec Russets - in the bag eyes up and covered them with about 4 inches of the potting mix. 

Here it is about 90 days later and I've harvested some taters! Easily digging through the base of the bag thanks to the convenient velcro pouch access, I went through about half the bag and harvested 3.7 pounds of potatoes.  That's pretty darn good coming from just four tubers and like I said, I only went through half the bag and the best part, no potato fork required.

Kennebec Russets are a great all purpose potato, good for baking, roasting and mashing.  But their flavor really comes out in frying and that's what I did with this harvest.  I did a rough chop, applied a Southwest spice rub and sauteed those taters in olive oil.  After they got tender I added some Parmesan cheese for toasting then plated, topping the spuds with a fresh lime crema and green onion.  It was another dose of YUM!

Potato Harvest
3.7 pounds of potatoes

With another bunch of potatoes yet to harvest, I'll be able to reserve four tubers and after letting them 'cure' for a couple weeks, I can plant another grow bag for a fall harvest. I estimate another similar harvest of around 3.5 to 4 pounds of potatoes yet to retrieve.  For the cost of those bags, some potting soil and the occasional watering, that breaks down to an initial growing season harvest cost of a little over $3 for an estimated 7+ pounds of potatoes.  Not bad and that cost will only go down as plantings and harvests continue.

Costing me $20 on Amazon for a 4 pack of bags, these ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags are awesome!  They're very reasonably priced, durable, mobile, easy to use and will be easy to store.  Bonus:  You can grow other veggies such as onions, peppers and tomatoes and given the nice, tidy soil environment, garden pests that like to live in the soil should be marginalized.

Related: Planting potatoes using ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags

 

Home Grown Potatoes
Fried Potato Deliciousness


TKUCC

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Product Review: Expert Gardener Soft Grip Adjustable Pruner

Exper Gardener Softgrip Adjustable Pruner
Inexpensive, with quality

By Mike Thayer

If you're looking for an inexpensive hand pruner to handle all the light pruning needed in the garden, the Expert Gardener Soft Grip Adjustable Pruner is it!

It's light, nicely balanced, the grip is very comfortable and it can cut up to 3/4" branches/stems with ease.

I purchased this pair today at Walmart, it was the cheapest pruner on the shelf, with other pruner options going all the way up to $23.75.  I looked at them all and while I usually buy something in the mid-range of price, I went with the least expensive pruner having bought Expert Gardener products before.  And in researching Expert Gardener, this is Walmart's private label, made by Scott's Miracle-Gro.

The all important blade is high quality forged steel and made clean cuts of the barberry bush I trimmed up this afternoon.  It's an anvil blade, to mean it's got one blade and a solid base, ideal for trimming away dead branches.  When it becomes necessary to sharpen the blade down the road, it will be easy to do so thanks to the adjustable feature.  The grips are high density plastic and non-slip and call it a stress test, I intentionally dropped them on my concrete driveway, no issues, no cracking, not a scratch.  I also like the high visibility yellow, which is easy to see and locate the pruner should I set it down someplace and get distracted.  No, I don't have a pruner holster, I'm not that guy...

Costing me $7.88 at Walmart, I'm giving the Expert Gardener Soft Grip Adjustable Pruner 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars out of the gate, time will tell how durable these are, but all indicators are that these pruners will last quite awhile with proper use and care.

5 stars

 

Barberry Bush
Trimming up dead branches to ensure bush health

 

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Raised bed garden planter with a self watering feature

Building a raised bed planter
Getting started

By Mike Thayer

Why break ground, till, clear grass and work to amend the soil when you can put together a couple raised bed gardens instead?  Besides, harvesting veggies and cutting flowers from a raised garden is MUCH easier on the knees and I love the concept of adding a self watering feature to the raised beds! 

This was a project motivated by Cindy C, she found the planter box plans and solicited my help to get it built.  After going over the plans from Family Handyman, finding the right spot to place it in her backyard and purchasing materials, the thought process was to build the first box exactly as directed per the instructions.  It's a pretty basic, straight forward plan, a box with a false floor, a liner to extend the life of the wood and some tubing to create a watering system.   In building future planter boxes, the plans will be tweaked, editing what wasn't liked in the original plan as well as putting in some add ons, such as shelves on the end pieces to make working in the bed easier.  It would be nice to have a place to set a flat of new plants, set down the hand trowel when not in use and of course, you have to have a place for your beverage!

Planter end pieces
End pieces are done

A couple of nice benefits to having the raised beds will be the ability to easily cover the bed with an old fitted sheet if there is a frost warning in the forecast and that self watering feature - watering the roots of the plants rather than from above cuts down on diseases like blight and mildew  In addition, watering time is reduced and because it's more efficient, you save on the water bill.  

The price of wood has really gone up since these guidelines were first released.  Costing a little over $400 in materials, the planter took roughly 16 hours to construct, fill with dirt and plant.  Overall, the Family Handyman instructions were pretty easy to follow and included a materials list, a cut list, decent illustrations and a recommended plant list.  This was a fun project and after putting the first box together and getting it planted, here are a few changes to suggest.

  • Rather than just two, 2"x2" vertical cleats on the long side pieces, go with three to prevent board warp.
  • Go with 1-1/2" CPVC pipe instead of the 1" pipe listed in the instructions.  A garden hose won't fit down a 1" pipe when filling.
  • Use 2-3/4" exterior screws. 
  • The instructions recommend four separate sections of tubing going from end piece to end piece.  I recommend one piece of tubing to allow for faster filling and you won't have to use as much water.
  • This is a heavy planter, try to construct where you'll be placing it.

Customizing future planter boxes will be both fun and functional, putting shelves on the end pieces, along with the installation of vertical 4"x4" posts for a trellis and vertical growing.  Cindy also came up with the great thought of creating a box half this size and equip it with heavy duty casters for mobility.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Planter pieces
Pieces, ready to assemble
Planter box
Assembled pieces, ready to line with pond liner
Planter with liner
Liner stapled in
Planter with socked tubing
Tubing and fill tube in place
Planter with plants
Trimming the top while planting
Planter lined with brick
Just about finished!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related: Lowe's vs. Home Depot vs. Menard's vs. Sutherland's

Related: Building a self watering raised planter bed

Related: Building Planter Containers on the Cheap

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Expert Gardener Potting Mix is just as good as Miracle Grow and costs a lot less

By Mike Thayer

Expert Gardner Potting MIxEverybody loves good looking plants and a lush look be it container plants indoors, containers outside on a patio or deck or even a full fledged backyard garden. 

Enter Expert Gardener Potting Mix

I do a lot of container gardening with a mix of flowers and veggies.  I like container gardening because it's so portable, I can easily transfer containers from one spot to another, enhancing the look of one living space, or creating another.

My preferred potting soil is Expert Gardener Potting Mix, available at Walmart for just $4.74 for an eight quart bag.  This mix provides all the nutrients plants need to get a great start in whatever planting vessel you choose.  Good for both indoor and outdoor plantings, this soil is light and won't weigh down your pots and containers.  And don't throw away the packaging, which includes tips and charts on repotting, transplanting and how much soil you need.

Tomato planted in Exper Gardener Potting Mix
A happy tomato!

Why pay $5.99 for a bag of Miracle Grow potting mix, which I used to use, when you can get the Expert Gardener brand for $4.74?  Save yourself $1 + a bag for essentially the same thing.  I've used this stuff for two seasons now and see no difference in plant growth.  Expert Gardener does the same job as Miracle Grow and it's cheaper.

Expert Gardener Potting Mix is great for indoor containers, outdoor containers and as a nutrient rich top dressing for full fledged backyard gardens.  I'm giving it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a repeat buy!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Creating a "Salad Bar" with an old coffee table

Shade Garden
Apartment patio

By Mike Thayer

Two years ago, I turned an old coffee table into a shade garden for my apartment patio.

What do you do with an old coffee table that had a tile or slate top and a bunch of those pieces got broken rendering it unusable?  OH NO, a topless table!  And don't ask what happened to make the table topless, I'm not telling.

And sure, you could TRY to save the table by going to the Big Box store and hope to find tiles or slate that matches what you had - good luck with that.....   Or you could buy all new tiles or slate and hope the store has all the right sizes for your coffee table to make it like new again - good luck with that too......

So screw that headache, I say repurpose that topless coffee table and make it a planter!

But I've since moved from that apartment, to a house and a lot less shade.

So what used to be a shade garden, is now a "Salad Bar" - it's repurposing a coffee table x2!

The back patio of my house gets a lot of sun, so it was pretty much a no brainer converting this table from a shade garden containing coleus, begonias, and caladiums into a "Salad Bar" containing a variety of lettuces, onions, cucumber and radishes!

20220329_165438(1)Come harvest time, it won't get any fresher than that!  Just step onto my back patio and pick what I need for a salad or side dish!

YUM!

The beauty of having a repurposed item like this is the mobility.  It's light, so I can transport this table to just about any space in my yard I want.  And it's flexible.  I could leave this in the shade if I wanted to and have that shade garden, very visually appealing, but that sunny space on the back patio was calling me out, "Create a salad bar!"

This project didn't really cost me anything other than a bag of fresh potting soil, as I already had the table on hand and set up for plants.  But check out the original article on "how to":

Related: Repurposing an old coffee table into a shade garden for the patio

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


Using a plastic drawer set as a cold frame for the garden

Plastic Drawer Set
Use this in your garden

By Mike Thayer

I live in Kansas, so the temps vary big time.  In the spring months it could be 70 degrees one day and 32 degrees the next until Mother's Day, the last day on the Farmer's Almanac Calendar of when the danger of frost has passed.

Creating a cold frame can be intimidating though, the construction of wood frames, the use of plastics, perhaps an old storm window.  And the downside to building a cold frame such as this is it's set in a certain place in the yard.  Having a cold frame in an apartment or patio setting is not an easy thing to do.  Or is it...

Enter a cheat, the plastic drawer Cold Frame

Inexpensive Cold Frame
Seeds you start indoors can easily be hardened outside

Do you have one of those plastic drawer set on wheels that you no longer use?  Turn it into a cold frame.  Even if you don't have one of those on hand, they are inexpensive.  I picked one up today at Walmart for $20 for the sole purpose of using it as a cold frame, no construction required!   I've put all my starter pots that I started from seed indoors in it.  The drawers can be opened up during the day for ventilation and getting the starter plants acclimated to the great outdoors, then I can easily shut the drawers at night if there is a frost warning.  The top of the drawer set serves as a work surface.  On wheels, the 'cold frame' is mobile.  I can move it around to maximize sun exposure, or protect it from stormy weather (plus shutting the drawers).

Instant Cold Frame
Open the drawers by day, close at night

I could NOT have built a cold frame this mobile and easy to use for $20.  I've been able to house tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumbers and a variety of flowers in this easy peasy cold frame.  The three drawers provide ample space for all the seeds I've started indoors and will provide great protection from any frost warning, all I have to do is shut the drawers.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Easy Peasy Cold Frame
Ample storage

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook


In planning the veggie garden, think carb friendly

By Mike Thayer

When it comes to growing veggies that are carb friendly, think salad.

Most veggies that you would put on a salad are on the lower side of the carb-count chart.

RadishesSo if you're wondering what to grow in your garden that won't bust your carb-count for the day, what you like on your salad is for the most part a safe bet.  Lettuce, some cherry tomatoes, a few radishes, slices of cucumber, some chopped up celery for crunch will make for a nice side salad and only cost you about 9 grams in carbs.  That's Bachelor on the Cheap carb friendly!  And not only is a salad refreshing as well as a nice change of pace, these good carbs give your body the fiber that it needs.  Fiber is a must to help your body operate efficiently.

Veggies you might love on your salad but come at a high carb price are:  Avacados, carrots, onions and peppers.  If you're serious about watching carb intake, these are sadly, kind of a no-no if you want to stay under 60 grams of carbs a day.

I love to garden and this spring I'll be planting a lot of carb friendly salad garden veggies.   In the garden plan are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce (of course), radish and tomato.  Bonus: Having a low maintenance garden helps save money at the grocery store too.

Non-salad veggies to consider growing in your garden include garlic, zucchini and other varieties of squash.  And something I love on a salad but can't grow in the garden, fresh white button mushrooms, they too are a low carb veggie.

Have some fun by growing a salad garden and reduce your grocery bill.  You'll enjoy eating the harvest even more!

Carb-Count - Veggies

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

follow me on Pinterest

follow me on Instagram

Facebook

Save

Save

Save