{ diy } succulent wedding centerpiece

DIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHWhat do you get when you mix an urban gardener with an DIY-enthusiast? DIY succulent terrarium centerpieces! We spent an hour of our Sunday to create a few of these lovely centerpieces for our upcoming wedding. We’re still having our florist make some floral centerpieces, but felt creating these additional DIY centerpieces is a beautiful way to add a personal touch and share our love for succulents with our guests. (It’s also friendly to our wedding budget!) I’ve learned floral centerpieces can cost from $75-$200. Materials to create these DIY succulent centerpieces cost about $15-$20 each.

A succulent terrarium isn’t only for weddings, it can also add the finishing touch to a coffee table, low-maintenance greenery to a desk or even a unique housewarming gift!

The Usual Suspects:
– Glass container with wide opening
– Succulents, assorted
– Cactus & Succulent soil mix
– Horticultural charcoal (optional)
– Decorative pebbles or river rocks
– A spoon, or little shovel

1. Place a 1-inch layer of pebbles/river rocks on the bottom of container; this provides drainage so the plants won’t rot in standing water. We used a mixture of large-size and small-size river rocks. We bought our glass containers from Michael’s craft store and succulents from our local garden nursery.

2. (Optional) Add a 1/2-inch of horticultural charcoal. The charcoal will help keep the terrarium smelling fresh. Smooth out this layer too. We read it helps to rinse the charcoal before to prevent a layer of black dust from collecting on the inside of the vase.

3. Place a layer of cactus mix soil, a fast-draining soil that retains little moisture. Use your little shovel or hand to level the cactus mix soil in your glass container.

4. Remove plants from pots. If you have multiple succulents in one pot, gently break them apart and use them separately. Scoop a little hole in the soil and place roots in soil. Gently add more soil around the edges of the container and around the base of the plants and pat around the roots. Sometimes the lanky, tall succulents have a difficult time standing up and tend to topple over. Pack more soil around them and strategically place some large-size river rocks around the base to create some stability. We used around 3-5 succulents per centerpiece.

5. Finish the look by adding more river rocks on the top layer. Done!

DIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHDIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHDIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bH

DIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHDIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bH

DIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHDIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bHDIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bH

DIY succulent centerpiece via it's jou life blog http://wp.me/p3cljj-bH

Care Tips:
1. Give the terrarium direct sunlight every day for at least five or six hours.
2. Water the terrarium every two weeks. Water lightly–don’t over water.
3. The water should lightly drain to the bottom. After watering, there should not be more than an inch of water visible in the gravel at the bottom.
4. Use your finger to touch the soil and check if it’s dry before watering.

We still have to make more and look forward to shopping for more succulent varieties at our local nurseries!

Advertisements

Summer Seeds

Our summer seed order from Johnny’s Selected Seeds came in a few days ago!  Excited about all the different fruits and vegetables we have planned.  Click the links to read additional details.

seedPackets
Seed packets from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Hybrid Diploid Watermelon – Little Baby Flower F1: Small 5.5 inch fruit with dark pink flesh that is sweet and crisp with high sugar content.

Hybrid Cantaloupe – Sarah’s Choice F1: Named “Most Flavorful” by Johnny’s.  Also has resistance to powdery mildew and fusarium wilt (races 0,1 and 2).

Hybrid Zucchini Squash – Dunja F1: Organic, early and powdery mildew resistant.  Yields dark green, straight zucchinis.  Also resistant to papaya ringspot virus, watermelon mosaic virus and zucchini mosaic virus.

Hybrid Winter Squash – JWS 6823 F1 PMR: Good tasting butternut with shorter vining and smaller fruits compared to Waltham Butternut.  Resistant to powdery mildew.

Slicing Cucumbers – Marketmore 76: Long, slender, dark green cucumbers.  Begins bearing late but picks for a relatively long time.  Resistant to cucumber mosaic virus, downy mildew (specific races), powdery mildew and scab.

Specialty Cucumber – Diva: Persian cucumber that produces distinctly tender, crisp, sweet, bitter-free, and seedless cukes.  Resistant to cucumber vein yellowing virus, downy mildew (specific races), powdery mildew and scab.

Sweet Peppers – Lunchbox Pepper Mix: Mix of yellow, orange and red snack peppers.  These mini-sized peppers are remarkably sweet and flavorful.

Soybean, Green – Butterbean: Sweet, buttery, and high yielding; Butterbeans are acclaimed as the finest in green vegetable soybeans.

We chose to grow a lot of hybrid varieties because there are a lot of gardens in close proximity in our community garden and diseases can spread quickly.  Also since we have limited space in our community garden, we chose hybrid varieties what were more compact.

DIY Redwood Planters

We’ve been on the lookout for some medium-large planters to house the new blueberry bushes we got, but its been difficult finding good ones at a reasonable price.  So we decided to build our own.  Total cost ended up being around $25-$30 for a 18inch cube shaped planter.  We could have used cheaper wood and reduced the price a bit, but we decided to use redwood for the weather and insect resistance.

Instead of using redwood planks, we used 5.5 inch redwood fence boards.  Fence boards are cheaper than redwood planks and they also have a more rustic, unfinished look.

Materials List:

Cut from 5.5 inch wide redwood fence boards:

  1. 12×7.25 inches – for the planter sides (A)
  2. 3×18 inches – for the planter bottom (B)

Cut from 5.5 inch wide redwood fence boards, but split length-wise so one piece is 3 1/8 inches and the other is 2 3/8 inches.

  1. 4×17.75 inches – for the planter edges (D: 3 1/8, E: 2 3/8)

Cut from 1 3/8 square redwood lumber

  1. 4×17 inches – for the corner posts (F)

We also used 16 2 1/2 inches exterior wood screws and 12 1 1/4 inch exterior wood screws leftover from a previous project.

Tools List:

  1. Saw (we used a hand saw, but a power mitre saw would be much easier)
  2. Power drill
  3. Carpenters square
  4. Tape measure or ruler
  5. Clamps (we didn’t have any but it would have made the project a lot easier)
  6. Pen

Construction:

After cutting all of the required pieces, check the cut edges to make sure they are smooth and remove any sharp splinters.

Then start by constructing the first corner, take two sides (A) and line them up with corner post (F).  All three pieces should sit on top of a base piece (B) and be flush with the edges.

Redwood Planters Step 1 via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters – Step 1.

Then take the two edging pieces (D and E) and arrange them as shown below (an extra pair of hands might come in handy here).  You can also first screw in the sides to the corner posts, then attach the edging, but we were trying to save some screws.  Be sure to drill pilot holes before driving the screws to make sure the wood doesn’t split.  Pay close attention to how the seams overlap each other.  The seam between the two sides (A) is covered by the edging piece (D).  The side pieces (A) and corner post (F) should sit on top of a base piece (F).  The edge pieces (D and F) should sit on the ground.

Redwood Planters Step 2 via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters – Step 2.

Next, either clamp the pieces of wood together or have a friend hold them while they are screwed together using 2 1/2 inch exterior wood screws.  Make sure you attach the screws in to the center of the corner posts for a solid connection.

boxE via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R DIY Redwood Planter. Step 3 via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters – Step 3.

After the first corner is done, continue building the corners around the planter.

 DIY Redwood Planter - Step 4 via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters – Step 4.

After all of the corners are completed, slide the remaining sides (A) down the grooves and screw in place.

boxH via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters – Step 5.

The final step is to attach the bottom boards (B).  Lay out the boards so there is around a 1/2 inch gap between the three boards for drainage.  Then screw in to place using a combination of the 1 1/4 inch screws along the edge and the 2 1/2 inch screws in to the corner posts (F).

DIY Redwood Planters - Step 6 via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters  – Step 6.

Now you are ready to plant!  We planted blueberries so we could better control the soil since blueberries grow best in acid soil.

DIY Blueberry Planters via it's jou life - http://wp.me/p3cljj-7R
DIY Redwood Planters in the garden.

{ jou farms & eats } field of greens

Wayne planted baby greens a couple months ago and we finally harvested some yesterday–so lush and plentiful! Within a few hours we made Easter dinner: Roasted organic herb chicken, baby multi-colored potatoes and the freshest of fresh, home-grown baby greens salad. Can’t wait to finish building our trellis so we can grow tomatoes and other summer goodies!

fresh baby greens in gardengreens for dinner{ Photos: Jennifer’s iPhone }

Garden Happenings

An update of whats going on in the garden to mark the beginning of spring.

lavendar_03202013 feverfew_03202013
Lavender, Feverfew and Daffodils.

We planted some flowers around the garden to help attract bees and other beneficial insects.  They also add color and pleasant scents to the garden.  The lavender is currently blooming while the feverfew and daffodils haven’t bloomed yet.

lettuce_03202013 spinach_03202012
Lettuce and Spinach.

We had a bunch of extra lettuce seeds, so we decided to try growing baby greens.  We randomly scattered a variety of lettuce seeds and are planning to pick most of them when they are still young.  We will probably leave a few to grow in to full-size lettuce plants for later.  We also have some larger lettuce that we started on the balcony and transplanted in to the garden.  One of our garden friends also gave us some spinach seedlings.  I’ve always thought that spinach didn’t transplant well because of the long tap root, but the spinach seedlings are doing great.

blueberryZoom_03202013 blueberries_03202013
Blueberry Bushes.

Our blueberry bushes are growing well with lots of berries.  We haven’t planted them in their more permanent planters yet (still under construction) but they seem to be doing great.  The blueberries are slowly ripening so we plan to cover them with bird netting soon to keep the birds for eating all of the fruit.  We have two varieties of blueberries, Sunshine Blue and Bountiful Blue, both of which have low-chill requirements since it doesn’t get that cold at the garden.  Blueberries also produce more fruit when two different varieties can cross-pollinate.

kale_03202013 beetsCarrots_03202013
Kale, Beets and Carrots.

The kale plants are ready for another harvest and the beets and carrots are growing nicely.  Remember to keep the carrots and beets evenly watered to produce the best roots.

strawberryTower_03202013 strawberryFlower_03202013 strawberryBaby_03202013
Strawberry Tower, Strawberry Flower and Baby Strawberry.

The strawberry plants are doing great in the strawberry tower.  There are lots of strawberry flowers and baby strawberries growing so we are eagerly awaiting our first strawberry harvest!

There are still a few garden tasks that need to be completed before we are ready for summer vegetable planting.  We need to finish construction of the redwood blueberry planters (details coming soon!) as well as construction of the tomato and cucumber trellises.  We also need to finalize our garden plan for the summer and figure out what sorts of vegetables we are going to be growing.

Carrots and Beets: Hidden Treats

Recently we planted some carrots and beets in the garden.  Both are very easy to grow and its always exciting to harvest root vegetables since you never know whats hidden under the surface.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot and beet seeds.

We planted two types of carrots, Long Imperator and Kuroda just to have some variety.  All carrots pretty much grow the same way with slight variations in carrot length and thickness.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot planting process.

Carrots are best direct seeded in the garden since they don’t transplant well (the long tap root that eventually forms the carrot is very delicate and tends to get damaged during transplanting).  To plant the carrot seeds, we first loosened the soil and removed anything that might impede carrot growth (rocks, branches, etc.) so the carrots could grow long and straight.  Then we made shallow (1/4 inch) trenches using the edge of a hand trowel for the seeds.  After the trenches were made, we sprinkled carrot seeds in to each row trying to keep the spacing between seeds about 1 inch.  Its better to seed slightly heavier and then thin the seedlings later in case some of the seeds don’t sprout.  Then we covered the seeds gently and very lightly tamped the soil to keep the seeds from washing away when we watered.

Beets were planted in the same way, but the spacing between beet seeds was 3-4 inches since beets get much larger than carrots.  Also, while each carrot seed contains only one “seed”, beet seeds actually contain a couple “seeds”.  So don’t plant beets too close together since the majority of the seeds planted will sprout (at least one beet seedling).  Beets can also be transplanted so if there are bare areas where seeds didn’t sprout, you can transplant seedlings as you thin out crowded areas.

Avoid planting carrots and beets in fresh manure or incomplete compost.  The vegetables will grow “hairy” roots and flavor may be affected.  Always mix the compost with the soil well and allow to age for a little while before planting carrots and beets.

After planting, remember to water the seeds gently to make sure they don’t wash away.  The seeds have to be kept moist, but not wet, to have good sprouting.  Overly wet soil will cause the seeds to rot and seeds in dry soil will never sprout.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot (back) and Beet (front) seedlings.

After the seeds have sprouted and the first set of true leaves (leaves that look like miniature versions of full-grown leaves) have appeared, you can thin the carrots to be 2-3 inches apart and the beets to be 3-4 inches apart.  Beets can be harvested when young for baby beets or you can wait till they are full grown for larger beets.  Beet greens can also be eaten so don’t throw them out!  You can check carrot growth by gently brushing away the soil near the base of the carrot tops to check on the size of the carrot, but its always a surprise on how long the carrot is.  Remember to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season to help prevent cracking carrots and you will be rewarded with delicious hidden treats.

Ocean View Farms

It’s official! We’ve fully assimilated into the Santa Monica culture now that Wayne and I have our own organic garden plot at Ocean View Farms. Located near the Santa Monica airport, there are over 500 garden plots and flower gardens that occupy six acres in the hills of Mar Vista/Santa Monica West LA.

I love this urban garden community space. We have a large 13×17 feet area to grow our own organic vegetables–before we switched plots we grew eggplant, zucchini, kale, broccoli, romanesco broccoli, peas, carrots.

On a normal day we water and often exchange garden advice with veteran members who pass by. It’s a great garden community and everyone is so friendly. We pay a small fee for annual dues and put in 12 hour community work hours a year. There is a tool shed where you can check out garden tools and wheel barrows. Water and compost is also provided!

Wayne waited 3.5 years on the list. Not sure how long it takes to get a plot now. If you plan on living around the area for the next several years, it’s worth signing up! Ocean View Farms.
So far we’ve accomplished our first goal: Make a salad entirely with fresh ingredients from our garden!

Here are some casual shots I took on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the garden.

cacti trio

cacti trio

neighbor's cute mailbox

neighbor’s cute mailbox

neighbor's rustic mailbox

neighbor’s rustic mailbox

pop of pink

pop of pink

main path. wayne in the far distance. greenhouse to the right.

main path. wayne in the far distance. greenhouse to the right.

compost just around the corner

compost just around the corner

compost bins: it's quite a system they got here

compost bins: it’s quite a system they got here

our cucumber plants !

cucumber de familia

king tree + main path

king tree + main path

i'm hungry

i’m hungry

Welcome to It’s Jou Life !

couple wear

couple wear

{ Welcome to It’s Jou Life }

Hi! We’re Wayne and Jennifer, just two quirky people who found love in the most unexpecting place. This is our DIY / lifestyle blog–highlighting our smorgasbord of interests. Our friends always ask us how we grow our own organic vegetables, how did we make that cute zippered pouch, techniques for marathon training, what’s our recipe for zucchini bread, what to bring for a camping trip, what’s Jennifer’s favorite BB Cream brand? This is our way to share life’s loves.

Here’s a glimpse into our quirky lives.
~

Feel free to leave comments & suggestions, or even share this blog with others!