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18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

It’s officially March and you know what that means – it’s time to get busy cleaning! Save a lot of time with these 18 Spring Cleaning Hacks and enjoy the free cleaning checklist printable we made for you. 🙂
spring cleaning

How can it be time for spring cleaning already? Are you ready? I know I’m not. Truth be told I have a hard enough time with the day to day tasks! Trying to add in more for deep cleaning is hard! To help us all out, I’ve put together a post with 18 different time saving clean springing hacks! All of these ideas should help those of us who struggle to keep the house in order. Are you with me? 

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

18 Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks & Free Printable Checklist

Time saving tips and tricks for those of us who hate spring cleaning.


While you’re here, get this Spring Cleaning Checklist!

Now that you’re inspired to spring clean, grab my spring cleaning checklist and start checking those items off the list! I highly recommend that you involve the whole family. Spread the love and get busy cleaning. 

Spring Cleaning Printable

Download the Printable here

 

Time Saving Spring Cleaning Hacks

Are you ready for Spring Cleaning? What chore do you most dread?

 

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

A collage of pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

Keep Your Poinsettias Beautiful All Season with These Tips!

Wondering how to take care of your poinsettia plants this holiday season? These five poinsettia care tips for growing poinsettias indoors will help you keep your lovely Christmas flowers looking beautiful all season long.

5 Must Know Tips for Growing Poinsettias Indoors

Keep Your Poinsettias Beautiful All Season with These Tips!

What is a poinsettia?

Poinsettias are striking plants best known for their green and red foliage and the striking Christmas displays they’re used in. Indigenous to Guatemala and Mexico, the scientific name is euphorbia pulcherrima. 

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous to people and only mildly toxic to dogs and cats.

Selective breeding means poinsettias now come in all kinds of beautiful colors, from deep reds to beautiful pinks and stunning whites. They are beautiful to use in all kinds of decor.

How to Take Care of Poinsettia Plants

I love poinsettias during Christmas time, but I have had a horrible track record of keeping them alive. If you’re wondering how to keep your own poinsettias alive during the winter months, you need these tips too!

Buy a healthy plant

You can probably tell if the plant is healthy just by looking at it. Choose a plant that has vibrant green leaves with no brown spots. You’ll want to get a plant with open flowers as poinsettias bloom very slowly. You’ll also want to make sure the flowers are bright and pretty looking.

Keep Your Poinsettias Beautiful with these 5 Must Know Tips

Don’t let it get cold during transport from store to house

Poinsettias are very susceptible to cold. If you buy a plant during cold weather, make sure you cover it with a bag before you take it outside to keep it from getting shocked. Also, it’s important that you don’t leave it in an unheated car. 

If you have a lot of errands to run, make sure you pick up the poinsettia last and take it straight home. It’s better for the plant to take the bag off as soon as possible.

Poinsettias make their debut around Thanksgiving and they prefer temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees. Higher nighttime temperatures will cause their leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Temperatures 55 degrees and under will also cause them to lose their leaves.

Watering and fertilizing a poinsettia

Over-watering is often the number one killer of poinsettias so make sure you let the soil dry to the touch between watering. When the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. Make sure to plant poinsettias in pots with draining holes! 

It’s important to allow the water to drain completely from the plant to prevent root rot. Check to the bottom of the dish and empty any excess water so your plants aren’t sitting in water for days on end. Poinsettias also like humidity, so if your house is dry, you might want to give them frequent mists of water.

Do not fertilize poinsettias while they’re blooming, but if you want to make them last between until the next year, you will have to fertilize after they’re done blooming. Any high quality all purpose fertilizer should be fine, but stop fertilizing while the flowers are blooming.

5 Must Know Tips for Growing Poinsettias Indoors

Poinsettias need bright light

Growing poinsettias indoors is not hard, but they need a lot of light. The best place to keep them is near a south facing sunny window. If you notice your poinsettia turning light green, you’ll want to move the plant to a spot that gets more light. It should also be kept relatively warm, with ideal temperatures in the 60-70 degree range.

Protect poinsettias from drafts in your home

Poinsettias are tropical plants and as such are very susceptible to cold drafts.  Make sure that no part of it touches a cold window. You’ll also want to keep it away from a furnace vent or a fireplace as well.

Want to try to save your poinsettias until next year?

If you’d like to try your hand at keeping your poinsettias alive for several years, here are a few tips:

Keep them alive by keeping them in a sunny location and continuing to water as described above. They’ll still need that humid environment they needed during the holidays. You’ll also need to fertilize them lightly in the spring and fall. Don’t be alarmed if they turn completely green during this time. 

To restore their holiday colors, they’ll need at least 14 hours of complete darkness at night for eight weeks before you want them to bloom. If you want blooming poinsettias at the end of November, that means they need 14 hours of complete darkness starting at the end of September. Read more about turning your  poinsettias red again here.

And that’s it! Follow these steps and you should have beautiful poinsettias until Valentine’s Day and maybe even beyond.

Grow Beautiful Poinsettias with these 5 Must Know Tips

If you follow these poinsettia care instructions each year, your flowers will shine at home! Now the big question is, what do you do with your beautiful flowers after the holidays?

If you liked this post on growing poinsettias indoors, you might like these posts too:

Start a Family Tradition by Cutting Down Christmas Tree at these Iowa Tree Farms

10 Healthier Christmas Cookie Recipes – Refined Sugar Free

Homemade Christmas Decorations made with Natural Items

DIY Christmas Gifts for the Entire Family

12 Best House Plants that are hard to kill

 

5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Homegrown tomatoes are the best!! And it’s not that hard to grow them, but you can do a few things that make a big difference in growing successful tomatoes from the very beginning. To get your tomato seedlings off to the best possible start, you must know these five tips for transplanting tomatoes! It all starts with the transplanting.Must know tips for planting tomato seedlings

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden! Today, you’re in for a treat. Not only do we have lots of great gardening tips to help you get your spring planting right, but we also have a few homemade gifts you can quickly put together, just in time for Mother’s Day! Make sure to read to the end of the post and check out all the great ideas from my dear gardening friends.

5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Have you planted your tomatoes yet? It’s generally safe to plant them around your frost free date.  Our official frost free date (May 15) is right around the corner, but I always check the long range weather forecast before deciding when to tansplant my tomato plants. Fro the last three years, we have had a killing frost after May 15, so quite often, transplanting tomato plants has to wait. If you’re looking forward to transplanting tomato plants, too, make sure you read these must know tips!

pinch off bottom leaves
1 .Dig a deep hole and pinch off the tomato plants’ lower leaves.

I like to plant my tomatoes deep for a couple reasons. First, it’s super windy out here in the Iowa Prairie and planting them deeply gives them better support from the wind. It  allows roots to develop all along the tomato stem which helps make the plant stronger. So, dig a hole deep enough that only the top leaves will be showing on the ground. Pinching off the lower leaves also encourages roots to develop too, so carefully pinch off the leaves before you put the seedling in the hole.

Make sure to support the stem as you cover it with dirt. Be careful when you’re covering the plant with dirt so you don’t accidentally harm the little seedling. I like to support the stem with one had and fill the hole with dirt with the other hand. You don’t want to break the stem as you cover it – I’ve done it and it makes me very sad. Make sure you cover the seedling up to the top leaves.

2. Wondering how far apart to plant tomatoes?

Make sure you give your tomatoes enough space to grow.

  1. Dwarf tomato varieties only need to be about 1′ apart, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  2. If you’re staking your tomato plants, they’ll need about 2′ of separation to grow, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  3. Using large cages? They’ll need to be about 3′ apart, and probably 4′-5′ between rows.
  4. Want to let your tomatoes grow without support? You’ll need a lot of room! About 3-4′ between plants, and 4′-5′ between rows.

water the tomatoes after planting

3. Water tomato plants generously after planting.

Newly planted seedlings need a nice drink of water immediately after planting so make sure you water right away. I like to make an indent in the dirt around the plant so the water stays near the seedling instead of running away. You’ll want to continue watering for a few days if you don’t get a rain pretty quickly after planting.

mulch tomatoes

4. Mulch right away.

Since you’ve gone through the effort of planting tomatoes, just go ahead and mulch them right away. I’m often tempting to skip this step and get to it later, but I’ve found later sometimes never comes. Mulching right away is a great way to keep down the weeds and it also helps keep them moist. I used old hay we got for free in this picture, but a better mulch is straw because it’s weed free. My hay is very, very old, so I hope nothing will sprout from it. I could be wrong though, and end up seriously regretting the use of this old hay. I’ll let you know if that’s the case!

support tomatoes with homemade tomato cages

5. Add a support trellis or basket immediately.

Another key to tomato success,  is to add support right away. Tomatoes like to be supported and I know from experience that if I don’t support them right after planting, I won’t ever get back to it. Pretty soon I end up with a huge tomato jungle – and while I don’t think that’s a terrible thing, it does make picking the beautiful fruits more difficult and a lot of them end of smashed by my big feet. In years past, I used these homemade tomato baskets last year. They are easy to make and easy to use, but they take up a lot of space so you need a large growing area if you want to use homemade tomato baskets.

tomato trellis from moss mountain farm

This year I am hoping to use these homemade support systems I saw a Moss Mountain Farms. I love that this tomato system takes up less room than my huge cages and I think it’s awfully pretty too! Also, it’s a way to grow more tomatoes in less space since you don’t have to set the tomatoes so far apart. Do you have a favorite tomato trellis you like to use?

And that’s the start to a successful tomato season! Have you planted your tomatoes yet? I’d love to hear your ideas for success too. 

tuesdays in the garden

Tuesdays in the Garden

Want more garden tips from my friends from around the web. Make sure you click over to everyone’s posts and check out what’s going on in different parts of the country! We’ve got a couple homemade gift ideas that might be perfect for Mother’s Day this weekend, as well as growing tips too!

frugal family home

Shelly from Frugal Family Home is sharing a mini green house idea for small spaces!

hearth and vine

Patti from Hearth and Vine is sharing a cute DIY Gazing Ball – what a great gift is this?

an oregon cottageJami at An Oregon Cottage is sharing her homemade Salad Dressing Gift Basket

homemade food junkie

Diane from Homemade Food Junkie is sharing tips for growing strawberries in DIY towers

angie freckled rose

Angie the Freckled Rose is sharing tips for adding visual interest in your garden!

If you liked this post with tips for transplanting tomatoes, you might like these post too.

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