Happy Holidays!

Hey y’all! I hope you all have had a great weekend. I am super excited for this next week because on Thursday I will have completed one year at Texas State University. This semester I took on 15 hours plus working, which has kept me super busy; Yet, I love the challenge! I’ve particularly loved blogging! I actually started this blog as an assignment for my class Fundamentals of Digital & Online Media in which I have had to engage on social media and create unique content.

Happy Holidays

While there are some specific tools that have especially made this experience successful, the overall WordPress platform is super user-friendly and allows you to be so creative! A specific tool that enhances the quality of my posts is the add media button. I’ve learned that people are more likely to view my posts if visuals are included. I love getting creative with photography and editing pictures. Pixlr, a photo editing app, has been another extremely effective tool to edit photos. With this app, I have also been able to add my signature on my photos. The tool that is probably my least favorite is the sharing tool. I find it awesome that it shares to multiple social media accounts at once, but it uses different pictures on different social media. I wish I could either pick the picture on the promoting post or they all be the same.

This experience will be very helpful in developing my blogging, writing, editing, & professional skills. With the skills and tools I have used, I will be able to implement and skillfully use them in a future position. For an internship, I will be able to use these skills in order to professionally monitor a company’s social media or promote a business of my own.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 10.14.14 PM

According to the statistics provided by WordPress, September was the most popular month. The week of September 14th was the most popular week with 139 views due to September 17th being the most viewed day with 101 views.  My first blog post ‘Howdy Y’all’ is the most popular post. I think it has the most views because a lot of people were curious to see the content. Looking at the statistics, Sunday is the most popular day for views and 8:00pm is the most popular hour. It makes sense for Sunday to be my most popular day because most of my viewers tend to be on social media posting about their weekends.

In conclusion, I hope I can make these numbers grow and engage more through blogging. I truly appreciate all of the support I’ve had thus far and my goal is to continue providing advice and information relating to gardening!

Leave a comment below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Happy Gardening,

Danielle

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Garden-Ville Interview

Hey, friends! I wanted to get some advice from one of the specialist at the Garden-Ville in San Marcos, Texas. Garden-Ville has a few locations in Texas, so you should check our their website to see if there is one near you! Until then, you should check out this interview!

Happy Gardening, Good luck on finals, and Happy Holidays!

Danielle

No Need To Worry!

Howdy, friends!

I hope you all have had a fantastic weekend. It has been a busy week for myself, but it has been productive! Hopefully, you all have some little plants growing. Considering the amount of rain San Marcos has received in the last few weeks, my garden has faced some bumps in the road. No need to worry, I addressed them in a hurry!

In the slideshow below, I have provided pictures of the tasks I’ve had to take on and solve.

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I have a mean squirrel that loves digging into my plants. I first tried a home remedy, cinnamon, to test if that would deter the squirrel(s). It seemed to work the first night, but sure enough the squirrel came back a couple days later. Next solution, I went to Garden-Ville in which I bought an All-Natural squirrel repellent. I sprayed the repellent all over my plants and patio. Worked the first two nights, and unfortunately I walk out to see potting soil all over the patio a few days later. I’m going to heavy up on the spray and also try another home remedy, cayenne pepper. I’m determined to keep the squirrels away from my plants, but maybe it’s the type of vegetable plant that attracts the squirrels. If you have any suggestions or advice, I’d love to hear!

The other problem I have faced is water fungus. This problem is not super threatening and can be solved easily. The water fungus is the result of over watering. I water my plants everyday, but with all of the rain we recently received the plants suffered from too much water. To prevent the problem from spreading, remove the infected leaves. If you leave the infected leaves on the plant, the fungus will spread.

I have found the Scrap Shoppe Blog to be very useful with some other tricks for repelling squirrels from your garden.

These small issues have expanded my knowledge on gardening and I hope this post serves use to those who may be facing these same issues. My best advice is to always ask questions and do research! I wouldn’t have been able to address my problems so quickly without simply asking questions. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please do so below!

Send positive vibes to you all — Happy Gardening,

Danielle

Yummy Basil Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary, Basil Bloody Mary, fresh Basil, lemon, vodka

Graphic courtesy of Danielle Martinez

Hey, there! I don’t know about you, but I love a delicious Bloody Mary! While I’m waiting for my other herbs and vegetables to grow, I have been creative with my only herb, basil. My boyfriend and I were craving a yummy Bloody Mary, so we decided to try something new: Basil Bloody Mary. I have tried a few different Bloody Mary’s and I’ve learned that most restaurants’ are not alike. So, I looked around on the internet and found a few recipes that I liked, such as the Bloody Mary recipe from A Beautiful Mess. Though I wanted to create my own unique Bloody Mary, which the recipe is as follows.

Ingredients:

  • Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1-2 oz Vodka of your choice
  • Lemon
  • Black pepper
  • Sriracha
  • Salt (if desired for salted rim)

First, break up 2 leaves of fresh Basil into a shaker. To extract the essential oils in the Basil, muddle the basil in the shaker. If you aren’t familiar with muddling, I have found the About website to be very helpful. I, myself, do not own a muddler, but get creative and use something that you have in the kitchen! After muddling the Basil, put a few ice cubes in the shaker. Next, add the vodka, Bloody Mary mix, black pepper, Sriracha, and lemon juice.

An awesome concept about making your own Bloody Mary is the fact that you can control how spicy, peppery, or strong your drink is. If you can handle really spicy, then I would suggest adding a few good squirts of Sriracha. To be honest, I am not a fan of Sriracha on food; however, the bell pepper taste the Sriracha provides in a Bloody Mary is my favorite! I strongly recommend giving it a try. If you are really not a fan of Sriracha, Tabasco is a great alternative. Remember, a few drops of Tabasco goes a long way, so be careful with how much you add.

Lastly; shake, shake, shake! Grab yourself a cold mug, salt the rim if desired, and fill the glass with ice. Pour the drink over the ice and enjoy!

Basil Bloody Mary, Fresh Basil, container gardening, herbs

Basil Bloody Mary – Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and perhaps you can give this delicious drink a try! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, then please do so below!

Happy Gardening,

Danielle

Trick or Treat, Sow Some Seeds, Now You Have Something Good to eat!

Hey, There! I hope you all are having a fantastic week. School and work has kept me super busy, but I have made time to sow a variety of seeds. To figure out what grows best in your environmental climate, then I would just do a quick Google search. I think it’s safe to say that we don’t experience a real winter in South/Central Texas, so a few things that are great to grow in San Marcos are onions, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, turnips, garlic, etc. You can buy seeds at your local stores or online. A website that I suggest is Burpee.com because it has a variety of seeds, plants, and supplies.

Rocket Fuel, gardening, container gardening, student, spinach

Using Rocket Fuel – Photo Courtesy of Danielle Martinez.

Almost 2 weeks ago, Sunday the 18th, I took a trip to my local Garden-Ville and I found out that you don’t have to necessarily sow seeds in smaller containers depending on the seed. For vegetables like broccoli that will need a large container, it is okay to start them in those containers to avoid transplanting. Keep in mind that specifications are usually on the packet of seeds. On Sunday, I was really in the gardening mood so I planted quite a variety of seeds.

To be honest, I was quite intimidated and nervous about sowing seeds for the first time because it seems so complicated. Just like anything else you attempt in life, sometimes it takes trial and error to get it down.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time.

container gardening, gardening, broccoli, spinach, hot peppers, oregano, dahlia, cilantro, squash

October 18th, 2015 – Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

Sowing seeds is quite simple, actually. On the packet of seeds you will find about how deep and how far apart the seeds should be sown. To nourish and aid the seeds in healthy growing, I use Rocket Fuel in the process of sowing (pictured above). Just put some underneath and on top of the seeds, then cover with soil. I planted oregano, broccoli, spinach, hot peppers, cilantro, squash, dahlia, & heliomeris. The weather may not be ideal for squash, but I thought I’d try anyways.

The seeds are really cheap and the potting soil I buy at Garden-Ville is about $7. For those who don’t want to spend the money on a decorative containers, then get creative & repurpose containers! A few ideas are coffee cans, milk cartons, wooden drawers, etc. In the end, the money is worth it because you’ll save money on buying these items at the grocery store.

Squash, container gardening, college budget gardening, student, fall gardening

Squash 10/27/15 – Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

Fast forward to this week and I have sprouting seeds! It’s truly awesome to be able to watch your plants grow and eventually eat the products. Needless to say, I am super excited to eat a fresh spinach salad and pair fresh broccoli with ranch dressing. Now, I just wait for the seeds to continue to sprout and transplant when needed. I also meant to mention that watering daily is essential for the nourishment of the seeds.

broccoli, container gardening. college budget gardening, Fall gardening, student

Broccoli 10/27/15 – Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

I hope that you all are able to plant your seedlings and have some sprouting seeds soon! This hobby is so rewarding and if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do so below! I’d love your feedback.

Next week, I have a delicious recipe I want to share with you all, so stay tuned for that!

Happy Gardening,

Danielle

-Inspiration-

Fall, planting, oregano, hot pepper, cilantro, spinach, planters, container gardening

Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

One of the many things I’ve enjoyed during my blogging journey is the opportunity to explore an abundance of other blogs. There’s a blog about anything you can think of, but my favorite are those that focus on gardening. As a newbie to the blog world, I have really loved the diversity and levels of creativity I’ve been exposed to thus far. I have come across a blog that focuses on gardening as a therapy to a blog that focuses on the crafty DIY projects in gardening. The ideas are endless and it is so encouraging to be inspired by successful bloggers and gardeners.

Stella d'oro

Photo Credit: Elizabeth, Writer of Garden 4 Therapy

A blog that has particularly stood out to me is Garden 4 Therapy. Elizabeth, the writer, has really created an informational, user-friendly site. Not only does she have a beautiful garden, but she also presents her garden in such a unique way. First, I was really intrigued by the format of the blog. It is really easy to get around and find what you’re interested in. My favorite pages are The Daylily Collection and The Orchid Collection. The use of colorful and decorative pictures creates the page without explanation. The pictures speak for themselves and gives the readers a glimpse of the flower collection. I find this attribute really unique!

I caught myself captured in the side bar of the blog. Blogging requires interaction and Garden 4 Therapy gives you many options to do so. I love the Top Posts and Pages and Instagram widgets. The pictures on Instagram and the Top Posts and Pages gives the blog pops of color, which makes the page fun to be on. Everyone loves catchy pictures, so the amount of pictures gives readers plenty to be engaged with. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing your garden with us!

A day without learning is a day wasted, so explore the information that is available to you! It is so worth your time.

Happy Gardening,

Danielle

Planting the seed

Hello, everyone! So, as I said in the beginning, this blog will focus on college budget gardening and how easy it is to manage. Most students, or people in general, are lost as to where to begin. Well, you’re not the only one and I was on the same boat. Hopefully I can guide in you in the right direction and make the path easier.

Basil sunlight garden

Photo Credit: Danielle Martinez

For starters, decide on indoor or outdoor plants. This will determine what kind of plants you will grow. Like most of you, roommates are another factor to consider. Don’t forget to ask them their opinion on the location of your plants. A few things to remember while you are deciding on indoor or outdoor: plants need water, sunlight, air circulation, and space. With that being said, determine spots in or around your house that are exposed to sunlight for hours at a time. However, there are plants that you can have that may not need sunlight exposure.

Pictured to the left: potted Basil plant near edge of balcony for direct sunlight.

I recommend the following basic tools: trowel, cultivator, pruning shears, gardening gloves. These tools range in price, but I have found these tools on Amazon starting at

cultivator, pruning shear, trowel, hand rake, gardening, container gardening

Basic Tools – Photo Courtesy of Danielle Martinez

$3. If growing from seedling, I suggest buying window boxes to plant seedlings. Germination kits are available for a higher cost, though it is not required. I have also used small clay pots that come in a package of 6 at Hobby Lobby for $3.99 for germinating seeds. When the plants begin to sprout, larger pots will be needed for a transplant. Honestly, now is a good time to buy planters because winter items are being put on the shelves. I have learned: bigger pot = bigger plants! However, don’t put a small plant in a huge planter because that will not allow the plant to breath.

Window box, window planter, seedlings, gardening, container gardening

Small window boxes – Photo courtesy of Danielle Martinez

Remember this can be as expensive as you permit. If you are on a strict budget, then perhaps start out with only a few planted seeds. Not all of them will grow perfectly, so in turn you may only have 1 or 2 healthy plants. Don’t forget the soil! For container gardening, you will need potting mix. At my local garden shop, Garden-ville, potting mix is sold for $6.49 per 28 Liter bag. Potting Mix has all the essential ingredients needed for plants to grow in. If money permits, I suggest buying a starter fertilizer. At Garden-Ville their starter fertilizer is called Rocket Fuel and it works wonderfully! It is also great for transplanting to keep the plants healthy after the transfer.

Rocket Fuel, starter fertilizer, gardening

Rocket Fuel – Photo courtesy of Danielle Martinez

To wrap things up, here’s a list of things you will need to start your wonderful garden:

  • potting mix
  • small containers/window boxes/germination kits
  • Cultivator
  • Trowel
  • Shear
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Planters
  • Starter Fertilizer (preferrable)

You can find watering cans for fairly cheap at your local Wal-Mart, Target, Goodwill, etc. Although, as long as the plant gets watered, then a watering can is not required. Also, I highly suggest starting from seeds! It is truly rewarding and it is comforting knowing what products have been used on your plants.

Hope this gets you on the right path & remember if I can do it, so can you!

Always open to all questions, comments, or advice.

Happy Gardening,

Danielle

Basil

A delicious way to utilize your plants!

Hi there! I have been super excited to update y’all on my garden life! I really want to talk about how there is much more to gardening than growing pretty flowers. Although, I started this hobby because I love love love pretty flowers. Anyways, how cool would it be to actually eat something that you grew instead of buying it from the store? This week I made some delicious basil pesto. Whether you have tried this or not, it’s definitely worth giving it a shot!  As stated in the name, the recipe needs basil. Basil is super easy to grow and I bought a packet of seeds for about $3. I’ll begin the growing process next time, but you can use basil for many things! This herb has a strong, sweet smell and is used often in Italian food. This recipe only takes about 10 minutes total.

Basil

Fresh Basil, olive oil, parmesan, garlic cloves, salt and pepper.

Fresh Basil Pesto:

  • 3 cups of fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup + 2 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper to your liking

First, you’ll want to make sure you water your basil plant the night before harvesting. The next morning is the best time to pick basil from your plant because the plant will be hydrated. Next, except for the olive oil, gather all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender (I used a chopper). Process for a few minutes and add the olive oil as you blend. Blend until you have a smooth pesto. BOOM! You now have fresh basil pesto!

Basil Pesto

Blend all ingredients for a few minutes until smooth.

Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

An example and delicious dish you can incorporate your fresh basil pesto into is what I call Baked Basil Pesto Chicken. This is a really simple dish and takes about an hour to cook. You will need the following items: 6 chicken breasts (or as many as you’d like), sliced Roma tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese, and basil pesto. Again, really simple and really easy. First, spray glassware with non-stick cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 400˚. The chicken breasts I used were pretty thick, so I cooked the chicken with only the basil pesto rubbed on top for 40 minutes. Then, top with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. You can use as much parmesan and tomatoes to your liking. I really like cheese, so I used about 2-3 cups. Place back into oven for about 15 minutes. Though, keep an eye on it because oven temperatures differ.

Chicken

Baked Basil Pesto Chicken

I would like to include postings like this one to show you how you can utilize your garden to the fullest. It is really cool when you can use products from your garden rather than buying it in the grocery store. Basil can be pretty pricy at your local grocery store for such a small amount of product. Depending on the upkeep of your basil plant, the plant can yield about 20 cups of fresh basil. All for the price of $3!

I hope you all find use in this post and if you have any questions, suggestions, or if you just want to leave a nice comment, then do so below!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! & stay tuned for the fun gardening in the next post.

Best wishes,

Danielle

Don’t Stop Believin’

Why hello there, friends! I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend. Well, I’d like for you all to first understand my growing garden. As I have never grown plants by myself, I must say that it is truly rewarding growing and keeping plants alive and well. As I mentioned in my first post, I’m fairly new to the gardening world. While I was getting advice before starting my garden I was told many times to not be discouraged if I was not successful the first couple of times. This advice remains as great advice on this journey, but I would love to show what I have accomplished so far!

Organic Cilantro, Sweet Basil and Zinnia planted seedlings.

Organic Cilantro, Sweet Basil and Zinnia planted seedlings.

I started out with Sweet Basil, Organic Cilantro, and Zinnia planted seedlings. I kept these containers outside, so that they could receive direct sunlight. I could not contain my excitement so I checked on my plants daily. In San Marcos, we have had a really hot summer, so I had to make sure my seedlings stayed hydrated.

Fast forward 10 weeks to now, I have 6 beautiful, growing plants! I learned quickly that this weather is not an ideal environment for Cilantro. Cilantro plants can be a little needy, but most importantly if it is too hot for them, then they don’t grow happily. While I have 3 Zinnia plants and 3 Basil plants, I also have an aloe vera succulent as well as a box full of different succulents. On this adventure I truly hope to expand my garden, so that I can provide you all with my experience. Take a look at some of my beautiful plants that I have today!

Best wishes,

Danielle

3 Sweet Basil plants.

3 Zinnia plants.Blooming Zinnia

Howdy, Y’all!

Hi friends! Welcome to my very first blog. My name is Danielle Martinez, and I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations at the best university, Texas State University. I’d really love to get to know you all, so I’ll start first by sharing a little bit about myself. I was born and raised in College Station, Texas. I lived there for 22 years of my life and finally moved out of my hometown in May 2014 to San Marcos. I am a first generation student, which is more motivation to pursue my dream of having my own event planning business.  As a Gemini, I’m very open-minded and love a little bit of everything.

DanielleGrowing up I’ve always wanted to have my own garden. However, I was always hesitant because I thought the hobby was expensive and required a set of skills. Fortunately, I learned that I was wrong. As a student, I do not know many other students that garden. I find it to be a truly calming, therapeutic hobby. It is not stressful and the results can be very satisfying. So, my plan is to blog about gardening on a college student budget. My audience is not solely for college students, but rather anyone that thinks gardening is expensive and time-consuming.

Because I live in an apartment, I am going to focus on container gardening. I’ve only been gardening for a few months now, but I have been quite successful. I hope to explore an array of techniques that allows the growth of different types of plants. I also hope to incorporate websites and places I trust. My goal is to give my readers options. Not everyone wants to grow the same flower or vegetable and everyone has different preferences. If I can do it, then so can you!

I am happily open to suggestions, advice, and feedback.

Best wishes,

Danielle