Category Archives: Gardening

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 6

So this week lots has gone on.. I built a new planter with a trellis for cucumbers and watermelon.  I did a lot of research before doing this, and made sure to buy the right plants.  I got smaller watermelon plants, sugar babies and vine cucumbers so that they would grow up the trellis. I went to Lowes and got some untreated fence posts, for cheap and built a box pretty cheap.  I think next year I might do the cedar ones, because they’ll look prettier and we can put some on the patio.

The raised bed garden seems to be doing well. Peppers popping out everywhere and tons of flowers.  In the next few weeks I’ll have peppers coming out of my ears.  The onions, garlic, and lettuce are growing crazy as well.  Don’t mind the weeds, one of my goals today.

My Banana Peppers are getting big. 

The topsy turvy part is growing really well.  I have 4 tomatoes one you can’t really see yet, but its there.  The pepper plants on the planter might not have started growing yet, but they have more flower buds than the ones in the raised bed, and some of the have started flowering.  So a few more weeks and everything well be growing very well. My cilantro in the top of the planter is getting huge, I need to start making salsa apparently.

I am worrying about the topsy turvy tomato plants, that there isn’t enough room for the roots, maybe transplanting them into a bigger container. Haven’t completely decided, but I’d love them to produce a lot, and the bigger the roots the better chance they have.  I’ve been working on plan for a compost bin too, so that’ll be a project I should be able share with you guys too.



Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

So this week definitely a lot of growth and change in the garden! Its much more fun than I ever would’ve though to watch things grow.  I can’t tell you how excited i’ll be just to pick fruit off the plants.  Yes, I’m a nerd, and apparently I need more excitement in my life.

I had an interview early this morning. Cross your fingers! So I took pictures before I left this morning.  After the interview I had a long day, helping a friend pack and grocery shopping.  By the way, today was totally a meat and veggies day, and I love finding $20 of coupons just hanging there in the store.  And score a full rack of ribs for $10, I definitely need a good slow cooking recipe for those if anyone one has suggestions.

So back to the garden.  Lots of flower buts on the pepper plants, the onions are growing like crazy, and more tomatoes.  I’m loving this hot weather early.  Everything is coming up quicker.  I know that most of the pepper plants that are in the actual garden are growing quicker, but they had flowers when I bought the,   With the fact that I transplanted the plants into the topsy turvy garden twice, they are growing quickly and big!  I’m so excited, almost every plant has flower buds on them, here in a few weeks I should be over flowing with peppers.  I am thinking about moving my oregano and peppermint out of the top of the topsy turvy because I’ve been reading a lot and apparently they overtake the garden and actually can damage the root systems of other plants, which with how I measured for the pepper plants that could be a problem.  Luckily there are a few empty planters in our house, and Dad brought me a few more pallets home, so I can always build something.  I’ve been looking at this cute potting table I saw on Pinterest here.  I think those herbs that I’m repotting might go there! And since I mulched the “frog” pond all weekend and cleaned up the patio it’ll look cute.  Now for the pictures! Look how my garden grew.

Please excuse the photos, I couldn’t find my camera this morning, luckily my phone takes decent pix.

Would love to hear from you, thoughts opinions, criticisms, anything.  Please get ahold of me.


Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

The garden is growing and doing well.  I think its going to be a few weeks before we see a lot of progress, but my one tomato is getting a lot bigger by the day and a few of the pepper plants are growing flowers.  Hopefully since this has already been a crazy warm summer, they’ll grow fast and be more productive.

If you were looking on twitter I’ve been looking on Pinterest all morning for recipes to use with all the peppers I’m growing. I can only eat so many peppers.

Definitely looking forward to some Jalapeno mustard and hot pepper jelly.  Have any other suggestions or great canning recipes? I’d love to hear them.  As soon as I start getting more fruit growing I’ll be posting the recipes I try.

If you’re looking for more progress on my plants I post more photos on (MandaMakes)  more than once a week.. its fascinating to watch everything grow, knowing that i’m growing it.

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 3


So this week, I changed a lot of things and put a lot of sweat equity into this garden.  I Deconstructed some pallets and built a garden box that I sat on cinder blocks.  This box is 4×4 with 4 holes on each side, letting 16 plants grow topsy turvy and actually having my herbs up top.  I did a lot of research, and realized that my pepper plants were too close together and not getting enough nutrients.  This was not helpful and the leaves were turning yellow, not a good sign.  Not all of the plants did well in the replanting process, hopefully they come back bigger and stronger with the more room for them to grow.  To get this idea I took a few other ideas here and here  and put them together, with the basics of gardening.  Technically each plant should be planted 12in apart, in most vertical gardens they are much closer and or not tall enough.  Hopefully this project works out well, because it was not the easiest thing to build. It might of taken a lot of work, but it was fairly cheap, used organic gardening soil (really need to work on a compost bin next!) and plants, other than that everything was free.
IMG_7840plants growing out the sides and herbs on top.jalapeno plants
The coolest part was all the different tools I got to use, and learn how to use properly.  It is pretty awesome that my parents have about every tool imaginable!  I’ll do a better post of how I put the plant box together later. I’m leaving the tomato plants where they are right now, because they are growing big and I actually got my first tomato on the plant so far! Very excited about this.  My sister thinks I’m crazy because I go out there everyday looking to see how fast and well its growing.  It is very cool thing to watch plants grow, especially since it is food I’m going to get to eat.

I still have a few more plants to plant, hot peppers, habanero, jalapeno, more banana peppers (my favorite, and serrano peppers.
IMG_7830you can see little peppers growing!IMG_7829
I found this awesome tutorial on how to turn a pallet into a Vertical Garden, I thought about doing that but still don’t know if they are going to have enough room for the roots.  Working out the numbers and maybe we’ll have a tutorial on our hands! I’d really love to cheat and just use a hanging shoe rack like show here.  I just don’t think it would be as producing as it could be with the right about of room for the roots. Right now its raining, so I’ll take pix as soon as I can.  Sorry there aren’t more pix of me building the box, but I was worried about all the dust around my camera.  Yes I’m a baby!

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Tonight scheduled was a Pork Loin rubbed in cinnamon and chili powder.  The meal didn’t take to long to prepare, except when waiting for lime juice for an hour.  Yes, I know I plan everything ahead and shop ahead, and still somehow missed lime juice.  Then mom ran into five people making it a very long wait.

So over all not too hard to make, I made a few changes to the dish for our liking and to take out a few calories. 

Manda – The pork was cooked well.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely let the rub sit a little more the next time, because there wasn’t enough flavor in the pork.  The outside crunch was awesome, and the apple salsa went really well with everything.  A

Family – Mom isn’t big on onions and it was her first time with cilantro (apparently it was too strong for her), and Sister needed ketchup for the potatoes (because I didn’t use butter) But they both liked it.  But overall plates were clean at the end of the night.  A

Original Recipe: Rob Wolf’s Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

My version:

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Servings 6-8

Total Time: 45 minutes including marinating time. (would be better if marinated over night)

1 Pork Tenderloin

3 T olive oil

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 T chili powder ( I used Ancho Chili powder, added some smoke to the flavor)

1/2 T ground cinnamon

S & P to taste

Apple Salsa

2 C diced apples, I used a red and a green apple

1/2 C diced red bell pepper

1/3 C fresh lime juice

1/4 C diced red onions

1/4 C fresh minced cilantro

1 tsp fresh minced Stevia (I used this out of my garden instead of honey)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Preheat over 400°

Combine olive oil, chili powder and cinnamon in a large shallow bowl.  Add your pork and coat the pork evenly.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Let the pork marinate in the rub for 15 to 30 minutes. (I suggest overnight.)

While this was happening I made the salsa, pretty simply mix all ingredients stirring well.

Then after marinated, heat a grill pan over medium heat and spray with coconut oil spray.  Add pork cook until browned on each side about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Transfer pan to the oven, bake pork until desired temperature. This took us about 18 minutes.  After done, let pork rest for 5 minutes and then slice into pieces about 1/2 inch thick.

I plate these with some smashed potatoes, to add a little more to the dish and covered it with salsa.

I think the dish needs a little more color, but I haven’t figure out exactly what I’d do to change it.  Any suggestions?

Print this Recipe!

Topsy Turvy Garden – Week 2


After deciding that I wanted to plant some vegetables, I did some research and found the different ways to do some topsy turvy gardening, and actually tried two different kinds.  I am growing tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs.

Here is a picture of everything hanging from the clothes line (which we never use) so far.


We started off with a few bigger tomato plants.  We have a Better Boy and an Early Girl, which are already blossoming. Yay! (1st picture)

Early Girl & Better Boy Plants!

Those were made with two different kinds of 2L bottles.  I used soda and OJ bottles. I preferred that OJ bottles (Minute Maid) They were a sturdier plastic and the opening was bigger, making it easier to get the plant in the bottom.  I have about two more that I’m going to plant, so I’ll probably post a tutorial here soonish.

The other ones are the peppers and the herbs.  I found a few hanging baskets (saved a lot of drilling and cutting, but not all of it.) for $1 a piece.  Not too bad for the size.  I cut three holes in the bottom and put a plant in each and then put an herb on top.  So far they are growing wildly, can’t wait to see some vegetables growing off of them.

Stevia & Green Pepper Plants 1Peppermint & Banana Peppers2
Cilantro and Cubanelle Pepper Planter3Flat Leaf Parsley & Hot Block Peppers4

Picture 1 is Green peppers with a Stevia plant growing on top.  Picture 2 is Peppermint & Banana peppers. Picture 3 is Cilantro & Cubanelle Peppers. Picture 4 Flat Leaf Parsley & Hot Block Peppers.

I also have baskets of Chili Peppers and a Mix basket.  I plan on getting some jalapenos, basil, sage, rosemary, and maybe a few others.  Plus we are planting some onions as well.

I’m going to try to update this every week with their growth!

Look for homemade tomato sauce and canning peppers for later in the summer.

Welcome All!


Hello all! I’m Amanda (Manda) and I’m going to share my life and its adventures with you. I’m a crafter by nature, a photographer at heart, and frugal as possible. I make everything I can, clip coupons, and really enjoying making things for other people. I follow tons of blogs, and love reading about everyone else’s ups, downs, and wonderful masterpieces, so I thought I’d start to share mine as well.

If you want to know more about me please ask, I’m really looking forward to meeting and enjoying all of my new friends that could come out of this.