Wednesday, June 24, 2020

How to Save Money on Spices

I have a secret to save 50% or more on spices!      Some stores, such as HEB and whole foods, have a section where where you can buy loose herbs and spices.   In stead of buying spices each in their own little bottle, you fill up a baggie from a large canister and pay by how much it weighs, and then you can refill your spice bottles at home.   Generally, the cost is much, much less to buy spices this way. 

The bulk herb section of the HEB in Hewitt, TX

Below is some cumin I purchased--two small scoops.  Notice the price, 69 cents!   The bag doesn't look big, but it filled up the whole spice jar shown in the next picture down.

And yes, that jar was EMPTY.   So $0.69 filled up a whole jar which usually costs around $6.  Now, that jar was organic*, and so might have been a little pricier than most.  But even compared to of the LOWEST priced jar I could find of bottled cumin ($1.99 for 1.7 oz of HEB generic cumin), my bag of cumin was 1/3 the cost!   Guess you pay a lot for that jar!

And yes, I've tried similar comparisons with other spices.   Even at a pricier store like Whole Foods, the bulk spices were much less than the regular spices at other grocery stores.  

Herbs that aren't ground give you an even better savings, usually (since they take up more space but are very light).  Bulky herbs, like bay leaves or cinnamon sticks tend to cost A LOT less loose than in jars (typically a savings of 75% or more). 

*(SIDE NOTE:  If you are concerned about GMO, you should know that very few herbs have ever been genetically modified, probably because they tend to be naturally critter resistant.   The only ones I'm aware of are sugar cane, alfalfa, chicory, flax, eucalyptus, rose and chrysanthemum [edible flowers], and tobacco if you count that (and except for sugar, you would not find any of those on most spice aisles anyways).  Of course these lists change so you can always check the GMO crops list on wikipedia or this list at the International Service for the Aquisition of Bio-Tech Applications.)

Monday, May 04, 2020

Quarentine Lawn Decor

Found this walking around our San Diego neighborhood last month...

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Garden Tip: Use Faux Plants to Protect Real Ones

This is an easy garden tip I learned by accident.   I had tried and tried to grow plants from seeds on my back porch when I was living in an apartment, but time and again the hot Texas sun fried the seedlings before they could grow.   So, in frustration one day I just stuck a bunch of fake flowers in the pot, strait down into the soil I had planned for real flowers.

And then, two weeks later, I noticed some new leaves pushing up through the faux plants.   REAL petunia seeds had sprouted under the shade of the fake flowers and were now inching their way past them to the sunlight.

Even when we moved to a house with a real yard, I used this technique.   I'd buy dollar store fake flowers, and stick them in the ground over my rows of carrots, beans, peppers, ect. until the plants were strong and hardy enough to do without the shade. 

Yes, you can, also, start seedlings inside and transfer them...but that doesn't work with all types of plants, and it's an extra step you can skip if you use fake flowers or something else to shade them.   And the fake flowers are easy to use and look pretty in the meantime. 

Thursday, April 02, 2020

What To Plant In Texas In April

1. Cantaloupes, 2. Collards, 3. Corn, 4. Cucumber, 5. Cushaw (and Pumpkins) 6. Eggplant, 7. Melons (honeydew), 8. Lima Beans, 9. Luffa, 10. Malabar Spinach, 11. Okra, 12. Peppers, 13. Pumpkin., 14. Snapbeans (19), 15. Southern Peas, 16. Summer Squash, 17. Sweet Potatoes, 18. Swiss Chard, 19. Tomato* 20. Watermelon

*On tomatoes plant transplants (too late to plant from seed)

Month by Month Gardening in Texas: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All YearThese are all plants which are great for planting in April here in Texas.  I've been learning all about the best time to plant different plants from a book called Month-to-Month Gardening in Texas.  I wish I had gotten this book years's teaching me so much about Texas gardening that I really was absolutely clueless on!  I knew Texas had two growing seasons but I really didn't understand when the seasons started or ended.  It turns out I trying to grow nearly everything at the wrong time!  I'm going to try to share tips from the book each month (but there's so much info, I couldn't even begin to share it all).   They also share what else you need to do each month (when to fertilize, aerate your soil, tackle weeds, etc.). 

But, if you just want info on what veggies and herbs to plant each month, you can also get that information online here.  That's a good resource for  other states too.

I found the photos for my mosaic on Flickr, and the photographers were nice enough to offer up for use through Creative Commons (click on the links to see the photos larger).  Yes, the Sountern Peas (ie cowpeas) in that picture are blighted (that was just a hard one to find, so I took what I could get.)

I'm linking up at the gardening linkies at Living More, Spending Less and Ramblings of a Christian Mom.  Also linking up at Mosaic Monday.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

A Decade of Blogging

Wow, it's been an amazing decade.   It's hard to believe I've been blogging this long...but Texifornia was already 5 years old in 2010!

So much happened in my life during this time.   I survived the hottest summer in Texas history,  learned how to garden in Texas, discovered wildflowers and wildlife, had my back yard catch fire,  lost my dad to Parkinsons and my mom to COPD, saw my kids grow from elementary through high school, spent four years homeschooling my youngest, and, in 2017, moved back to my home state of California after 20 years in Texas.  What a decade!

I thought I'd go back and see what posts through the years stead of just doing a top ten, I thought I'd do the top post from each year.   Here there are, in chronological order....

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Things that make a gardener go hmmm.....

That is a tomato plant.

That's right...that's a tomato plant growing on a sign out of what looks like pure concrete on the side of the road!  There were actually little green tomatoes starting to grow on it.   Just one of many "we're not in Texas anymore" moments I've had since coming back to California.

After how much I've struggled to keep plants alive stuff like this blows my mind.  

Friday, November 23, 2018


40 - 60% Off with coupon code 

Featured Texifornia Gear
Featured Texifornia Gear