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Top Vegetables That Are Easy To Grow In Your Garden

Growing your own vegetables can be a rewarding experience, both for the taste of fresh produce and the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from. However, not all vegetables are created equal when it comes to ease of growth. Here are a few vegetables that are relatively easy to grow and tips for controlling pests without chemicals. 

Easy-to-grow vegetables: 

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a classic garden staple and for good reason. They are relatively easy to grow, especially if you live in a warm climate. They do require a bit of staking or cage support, but once they get going they will produce an abundance of fruit.
  • Peppers: Peppers are another easy-to-grow option. You can choose from hot or sweet. They like warm weather, so make sure to plant them in a sunny spot. They also do well in containers, making them a great option for small spaces.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers are a great choice for a home garden. They grow quickly and don't require a lot of space. They also do well in containers, but make sure to provide a trellis or other support for the vine to climb. They do need a lot of water, especially if you live in a hot climate. Keep in mind that if you do plant in a container, you should water daily. Just make sure your container has adequate drain holes. 
  • Leafy Greens: Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kale are easy to grow and can be planted in succession to ensure a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.
  • Okra: Okra are pretty hardy plants and grow quite tall as they give off fruit. It is important that you check them daily to harvest as needed. If you grow about 3-4 plants, you will get enough okra to add into your favorite recipes well through the summer. 

To control pests without chemicals, try using companion planting, row covers, and hand picking. Companion planting is the practice of planting certain crops together to discourage pests. For example, planting basil or marigolds near tomatoes can help deter tomato hornworms. Row covers can also be used to protect crops from pests. And hand picking pests off plants can be a simple and effective way to keep populations under control.

Another tip is to make sure your garden is healthy and strong, this will make it less attractive to pests and diseases. This can be achieved by ensuring your soil is rich in nutrients, providing adequate water, and choosing plants that are well suited to your climate.

In conclusion, growing your own vegetables can be a very rewarding and delicious experience, and there are many easy to grow options available. By using companion planting, row covers, hand picking and making sure your garden is healthy and strong, you can control pests without resorting to chemicals.


Tips on How and When to Repot Your Houseplants

Houseplants can be a beautiful addition to any home, but it's important to know when they need to be repotted. Here are a few signs that it's time to give your houseplants a new home and some tips on how to do it properly: 

1. Roots growing out of the drainage holes: This is a sure sign that your plant has outgrown its current pot. When roots start to push out of the bottom, it's time to move them to a larger container.

2. Difficulty in watering: If you notice that water runs straight through the pot and out the bottom, it's a sign that the soil has become compacted and the plant needs more room to grow.

3. Slow growth: If your plant is not growing as fast as it used to or has stopped growing altogether, it could be a sign that it needs more room for its roots to expand.

4. The plant is toppling over: If your plant is leaning to one side or looks top-heavy, it may be because it has outgrown its pot and needs a larger one to support its growth.

5. Yellowing leaves: If your plant's leaves are turning yellow, it could be a sign of over-watering, which can occur when the roots have outgrown their pot and are not getting enough oxygen.

@momfiles I re-potted my beautiful monstera today. #planttok #plantlady #green #fy #plantsoftiktok ♬ Every Little Step - Bobby Brown

When it's time to repot your houseplants, here's what you need to do:

1. Choose a pot that is one size larger than the current pot.

2. Fill the bottom of the new pot with fresh potting soil.

3. Carefully remove the plant from its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots.

4. Remove any old soil and prune away any damaged or dead roots.

5. Place the plant in the new pot and fill in with fresh potting soil.

6. Water the plant well and keep it in a warm location until new growth appears.

It's important to remember that repotting can be stressful for plants, so it's best to do it during their dormant period, typically in the spring before new growth appears. Also, be sure to choose the right potting soil for your specific plant and not to over-pot, as it can lead to root rot.

In summary, repotting houseplants is an important task to ensure they continue to thrive. By paying attention to signs such as roots growing out of the drainage holes, difficulty in watering, slow growth, yellowing leaves and the plant toppling over, you'll know when it's time to give your plants a new home. With the right tools and a little bit of care, repotting can be an easy and stress-free process for both you and your plants.


How To Grow a First Aid Kit

The best first aid kits are the ones you grow yourself! The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 8 shares how to grow an aloe vera plant, which has long been used for its healing properties.


Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality” and early Native American tribes called it “wand of heaven,” but we call it aloe vera. Originally grown in southern Africa, aloe vera is a succulent. Its leaves are full of healing substances that have been used medicinally for at least 6,000 years.


Aloe vera is an easy-to-grow houseplant. Here are the few steps needed:

  • Plant it in good potting soil (soil made for cacti is perfect).
  • Set it in a sunny spot.
  • Water about every 3 weeks and even less during winter.
  • Push your finger into the soil to test for dryness. You want the soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep before watering.


Using the leaf straight from the plant is the best way to get aloe’s healing properties. The gel can help to heal and ease the pain of burns, bruises, boils, canker sores, and chapped lips. It may also lessen symptoms of acne. For aloe relief:

  • Remove one of the sword-like leaves from a living plant and open it along its length. Then either squeeze out the gel and apply it where relief is needed or lay the entire opened leaf side directly over the affected area and then bandage it lightly in place.
  • Remove a leaf from an aloe plant. Cut open the leaf and use a spoon to scrape out the clear gel. Put the gel pieces into a blender and pulse several times, until the aloe is liquid. Pour the gel into clean ice cube trays and place in freezer. To use, remove an aloe cube and apply to sunburned skin, bug bites, poison ivy rash, or any other ailment that requires relief.


  • To condition hair and leave it healthy-looking and shiny, scrape some gel out of the leaves and massage it into your hair. Wait for about 5 minutes, then rinse it out with warm or cold water.
  • To use aloe as a skin moisturizer, just scoop out the gel or rub a freshly cut leaf over your skin and let it dry.

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3 Easily Grown Flowering Plants

Many homeowners who have acquired a new house or done major renovations to change the look of their existing house long to do something special with the landscaping. Inexperienced gardeners can make mistakes, so it is important to plan out what to buy and where to place it ahead of time to avoid nasty surprises. Plants that are easy to care for are the best friends of anyone who is just learning about gardening, or who does not have much free time to tend to their yard.
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1. Black-Eyed Susan

One of the easiest flowers in the world to grow is the black-eyed Susan. A lovely yellow flower with a black center that stands about two feet tall, it is a great complement to all types of landscapes. It is a perennial plant with a strong root system that ensures it can come back stronger every year. It is native to North America and is hardy to heat and cold. They can spread into other parts of the garden, so it is prudent to keep them in check. There are different varieties available, so make sure that an annual is not selected by mistake, as it will likely not come back the next year. They can be grown from seeds or purchased as seedlings.
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2. Hostas

Hostas come in different shades of green, with some varieties being all one color and others having two different colors on the leaves. They are a leafy green plant that flowers in mid-summer. The flowers appear on long stems that grow from the middle of the plant and are usually white or purple. Once the flowers have died, the stems can be cut down and just the fleshy leaves will remain as attractive foliage until the late fall. They can be purchased as small plants from a garden center, but they can also be gotten from any friends or neighbors who have some. They need to be split in half or thirds when they grow too large, so most people try to give away the cuttings during the spring or fall.
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3. Marigolds

Most commonly known for their puffy orange or yellow blooms, marigolds are incredibly easy to grow. They can be started from seed a month or so before planting season starts to give them a head start in making the garden beautiful. They can be planted directly in the ground to create a stunning garden or walkway border, but they also do great in pots. In fact, pots are a great way for a new gardener to learn how to care for plants, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes that bring a lot of character to a yard.

Not everyone is born with a green thumb and great instincts for plant care. Most people who are just starting out need to do research into proper plant care. Anyone who is looking for something that can be cared for with minimal effort should plan their gardens with sun and shady spots in mind and get appropriate plants that will thrive in different areas.

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The Best Plants To Help Keep Mosquitoes Away

It's crazy to think that although we are in the month of April, many parts of the country are getting late snowfall and freezing temperatures. We have experienced all four seasons in recent weeks. What surprises me is although we have only had a handful of days in the lower 80's, we have seen swarms of tiny mosquitoes. Since we spend a lot of time on our back deck, we have to do all we can to keep those pesky buggers away. 

Last year we tried a few plants that were recommended by our local garden center, and we added a few others. Keep in mind that some of these plants can be hard to find at the big chain places, so you may have to go to a local specialty place for them like we did for some. The plants below have worked for us, which says a lot since mosquitoes can find me in a crowd of a thousand people! 

Take a look at these plants that help keep the mosquitoes away

Citronella (also called the mosquito plant)
This plant gives off a citrusy scent that mosquitoes hate. We find this plant is most effective when you pluck a leaf or two off, rub it to release the natural oils, and wipe it on your exposed areas like your legs and arms. This one really does work well! I have yet to get single bite if I have this around. We found it at a local garden center, but you can buy them here as well. 

The great part about these is you can find them in almost any store that sells plants. They are super affordable, come in different colors, and work great in garden beds, pots or hanging baskets.

This herb is very fragrant so it chases mosquitoes away. I can't stand the scent at all myself. Rosemary is a hardy plants that requires no maintenance aside from watering. They can take full sun as well. 

Other recommended herbs are: basil, peppermint, spearmint, and garlic chives. 

This plant emits a fragrance that chases pests away. We bought a couple small pants called silver drop that we planted in pots. They will only get to be a few feet tall, which makes it good for containers. We might consider getting a larger tree to plant in the ground at the bottom of our deck. We use eucalyptus in our home, so it would be great to have a full size tree.

This flower plant is a stunner! I have read that they can help repel mosquitoes, so of course I had to buy a plant to put in a pot to admire. I'll report back to let you all now if it worked or not. At least it's pretty, right?

So far we have plenty of potted plants on our back deck and our front door entrance to keep mosquitoes from trying to enter our home. We are hoping the summer heat isn't too hard on them. The only real maintenance these plants need is proper watering, a little plant food, and the correct amount of sun. Too bad plants only work for small areas.

In addition to having potted plants for repelling mosquitoes, we also use Tiki torches, candles, and our new favorite, citronella mosquito repellent sticks. They are long-lasting and work really well. It's nice to be able to grill out, without getting eaten alive. If mosquitoes are bugging you, I suggest trying any of the recommendations in this post.

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Garden Chat- Let's Talk About Summer Plants

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about plants and share some of the things I have learned over the years. First of all, you can have a full and colorful garden for a very low cost. We have been getting what I like to call "second hand plants" for years now. We have family members who share clippings, small plants, bulbs, and seeds with us and we trade with some of what we have existing in our garden. 

If you are looking for vibrant pops of color that are low maintenance, a lantana is the way to go. They come in quite a few colors and can grow in even the hottest and driest of conditions. We have more than a half dozen of these in various parts of our yard and they get so big that we have to cut them back a few times each season. The best part is they come back year after year. Lantanas also attract butterflies. We have some right off of our back patio near one of our bird feeding stations, and it is so pretty to watch the butterflies flutter around. 

If you would like to attract hummingbirds, pentas are a great choice. Every evening we watch the hummers go to war so they can dominate this plant I got for Mother's Day. I keep it in a pot under a tree so it doesn't get too much sun although it claims it can take full sun. Nope. Not in the South Carolina sun! 

Something I learned about my delicate herbs and peppers is that the South Carolina heat will hinder growth. I actually brought some of my plants inside of my patio door in order to save them. When I noticed the leaves were yellowing, I figured the elements outside were just too harsh. Since doing that, all of my edibles have flourished. I take them outside periodically when we are having a rain shower. The plants tend to get an extra boost from the rain water. 

Hot pepper, broad leaf thyme, lavender, Rosemary, and spearmint
Another great trick I learned from my husband's uncle is to not throw away your potted flower plants at the end of their growing season. Instead, you can clip the old growth off and take it inside until the Winter frost is gone. Once you bring it back outside in the Spring, it will re-grow and you can enjoy your blooms again and again. Geraniums are one flower that fare very well indoors during the winter, and this geranium care guide by Gilmour will show you everything you need to know about planting, growing and caring for geraniums. The flower plant below cost us about $15 and it came back beautifully this year! I have it growing on the side of my home in a semi-shaded spot along a trellis, and it blooms all summer long. I get so many compliments about it and many ask of they can take it home.  

This year we decided to get some mosquito repelling plants since they are usually really bad every summer. We planted some marigolds in hanging baskets at the bottom of our back deck and have a few pots of citronella (mosquito plant) on the patio area. Let me tell you, those mosquito plants really work! We take a leaf or two and press it to release the oils and rub it on our exposed skin when we are hanging outside. The scent is very lemony and we really love it. I have yet to get a single mosquito bite when I do this. 

One of out larger plants broke from a storm we had a couple months ago and my husband took the broken part and put it into an old pot with dirt. I figured it would simply die, but it turns out that his experiment worked and the plant survived and grew in nicely. As a matter of fact, he has done this with a few other plants and trees and they are all growing. 

Citronella, also known as the mosquito plant
We will be bringing in all of our potted plants before the winter and keep them alive for next year. With all that we have done over the course of a few years, I anticipate we will not have to spend any money on plants or trees next year. 

What are you growing this year? 
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What I do with my homegrown garden cucumbers

One thing I have learned over the years is to not over-plant vegetables. In the past, we ended up with so many veggies that we couldn't even give it all away before they went bad. This time around, we planted only one or two plants of each vegetable we like and stuck to containers. One of the veggies my husband insists on each year is cucumbers. We went with pickling cukes since we prefer the crunch of them.

I love to pluck them right off the vine and give them a good rinse. I slice them up with the skin on and add sea salt, cracked pepper, vinegar and a squeeze of sriracha. Toss them up and you have a great side dish for your savory meals.

You can't get any better than eating something fresh that you grew yourself. Did you plant anything this year or do you plan to? Have you made anything yummy with your harvest?
Shelly, Mom Files

Get inspired with Miracle-Gro's The Gro Project

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We are in prime gardening season and everyone seems to be getting into it. Miracle-Gro is doing The Gro Project to help you get some fun ideas to make your garden project easy and enjoyable. After all, who want what should be a fun time to feel like a chore? I just love the fun garden projects on the Facebook page. The "toyranium" is something that you can do with your little ones and they will feel a part of growing their very own plants. They can learn how plants are good for the environment and hopefully grow to enjoy gardening for life. Check out the short video below:

With the cost of food constantly rising, it is a smart move to grow your own fruit and veggies. This year, we did a lot of outdoor containers for our fruits and veggies and did an in-ground garden bed with our ornamentals.  We made sure to start with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for our containers. It is made to keep the right amount of moisture so you prevent over and under-watering.
So far we have strawberries, pickling cucumbers, green beans, hot peppers, Meyer lemons and herbs. We started our planting about 4 weeks ago and it is astonishing how much they have already grown! We have baby green beans rapidly popping up as well as many blooms on our cucumbers and peppers. I really think that I will check out an indoor garden project that my son can help with. He really enjoyed planting the strawberry plant for his daddy as you can see!
The strawberry plant has gotten so big and we can't wait for it to bare actual fruit! 
Be sure to "like" Miracle-Gro on Facebook to join The Gro Project. If you want to share your own creations on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook, be sure to use the hashtag #MiracleGroProject

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wordless Wednesday

Planting strawberries for daddy.

Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday | Lemon tree update

My dwarf Meyer lemon tree is still alive and look at the ginormous lemon on it! I brought it on before the first frost and it has been sitting in my office, by the window. It has lost all of its leaves except for three and I will be picking my fresh lemon this week. Just had to share!
Shelly, Mom Files

I have lemons! (okay just a lemon)

I am so thrilled that my dwarf Meyer lemon tree has a lemon on it! I was really sad that after all the blooms that it started with, all of them fell off except one. Thankfully there are some new blooms that started growing this week so I will keep my fingers crossed that we will get a couple more lemons before it's all said and done.
With all the rain we have been getting in the past few weeks, our flower garden has been doing very well. Just about everything has bloomed! The fuchsia lily (calla lily?) took 3 years to finally bloom. The orange lilies really did well this year for the first time since we planted them a couple years ago. We also have some Zinnias that are steady blooming bright pink and orange flowers. Our Lantanas always do well and if I can get my hands on the "fruit cocktail" colored one on clearance, I will buy one. 

We got some more flowers from my hubby's uncle that we need to get into the ground for next year. Almost all of our flowers in the garden came from second hand plants. You can't beat that! Maybe we should call it our bootleg garden :) At least we are helping out the honeybee population, right?

What is growing in your garden?

Meyer Lemon tree update one year later

I just had to share the latest update on my dwarf Meyer lemon tree that I planted last year. Thankfully it is thriving!! I was so afraid since over the winter months most of the leaves fell off and it looked kind of pathetic. I waited until the temperatures stayed above 55 degrees before taking it back outside. I added some more premium potting soil on top and fertilized it. After a few weeks and several rain showers later, I have a full bush that stands about 2 feet tall and it has actual blooms on it!
Do you see the little pink blooms? The tree is loaded with them! I will keep my fingers crossed that we will get some actual lemons this year. I am so excited and will be sure to post another update in a couple months. Hmm, I might have a little green hidden under my purple thumb after all!
I have been thinking about possibly planting a dwarf key lime tree. I guess I better see what happens with this one first and them go from there :)
Shelly, Mom Files

My latest Pinterest find

I love Pinterest. I can sit on the computer all day and Pin all sorts of things. A lot of times I Pin "wish list" items. On occasion I find things that I actually make or try. My favorite one recently was this recycled watering can. I was just nagging... informing my husband last week that I really needed a watering can for all of my plants I have on my deck and inside the house. I was thrilled to find this DIY idea that took no thought and cost nothing!
There are my office houseplants. Now watering them is so much easier.
I took a milk jug and rinsed it out thoroughly. I pierced holes in the cap with a corn holder. Since they have 2 sharp points, it made the process fast and easy. The result is a FREE watering can that may not be pretty but is environmentally friendly and does the trick. I have one in a half gallon size for my indoor plants and one in a gallon size for the outdoor plants.

What things have you found on Pinterest lately that you have tried or plan to try?
Shelly, Mom Files

Lemon tree update #3

For those of you who have been following Momfiles for a while you might recall that I planted a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree back in May. It was wee bitty little thing (see picture below) and I was not sure if it would even grow. I updated again 7 weeks later and you were able to tell that it did indeed grow! I don't have a green thumb at all so I was really happy with the progress.

Well now I am happy to report that my little plant has turned into a bush! Look how big it got! It has now been 5 months and it is still doing well. I actually brought it indoors since our temperatures have been flip-floppy. I keep it in a sunny area of the house and plan to re-pot it in the early spring in a bigger container and return it to the outside deck. I actually found a little caterpillar that had fallen off of it and that explained why a few leaves were chewed up.

I may not get any lemons for a while, but I sure am thrilled that my plant is still alive :-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Lemon tree update and a bargain

Remember my post about planting a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a pot? Well check out how big it has gotten in the past 7 weeks!
After 7 weeks:
Of course I will not see any lemons until maybe next year if I am lucky, but I am thrilled with the fact that it is actually growing! I was worried since I paid so little for it but so far so good.

Here is my bargain of the week- Every year I buy a Mandevilla so that I can have flowers blooming throughout the summer. Normally I would have purchased it by the first of May. This year I decided I did not want to pay $20 for a plant. I am glad I did not get it at that time. Last night Dwayne and I were doing some work in the front yard and we had to make a quick run to our local home improvement store for a couple items. We both noticed that there was an abundance of plants on clearance. The garden center lady informed us that all clearance plants were an additional 50% for that day only. I found my plant that was originally $22.48 marked down to $11 and with the extra 50% off it ended up being $5.50! I was so happy! It is really big and all that was wrong with it was one little branch was broken. I pulled that sucker off and voila, new pretty pink mandevilla :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

Dear Life: Please give me lemons

I finally received my baby Meyer Lemon tree I ordered several weeks back. I was surprised that it actually have leaves on it instead of only being a stick. William helped me plant it and we are hoping for the best. We potted it since citrus can't survive the winter and at that time we will bring it indoors. The tree is only supposed grow to about 4-5 feet at maturity and we should not expect any lemons until the second year. This was all Dwayne's idea (a good one too) and we look forward to seeing what happens! Hopefully my purple thumb won't show itself ;)

Question: Have you ever planted fruit trees in a pot before? If so, was it a success?
Shelly, Mom Files
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