Gardening: Easy Way to Find Your USDA Hardiness Zone

hardiness zones

Image: National Gardening Association

Someone has cleverly divided the United States into climate/growing zones. These “hardiness” zones tell us which climates are suitable for growing which plants.

You can find out which zone you live in by entering your zip code at the National Gardening Association’s Plant Hardiness Zone Finder website.

With that bit of information, you will know which plants will grow in your area.

¸.♥´والدة `♥.¸



“The First Book of Bees” {Free Book in PDF}


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Good Morning ‘Akepas,

Honey_comb02Birds and bees—what a wonderful topic. Birds are delightful to watch and listen to. And bees are extremely useful to the gardener for they pollinate plants. Without this help of the bee, we would all be very hungry!

Teaching children about bees can help them understand why bees are necessary, as well as how to deal with bees in order to avoid stings, among other things.

Here is a simply written yet informative book about bees. The book was written in 1952 by Albert B. Tibbets. It’s available for free by the Prelinger Library at this link

¸.♥´والدة walidah `♥.¸

“The Prelinger Library is a private research library open to the public, located in downtown San Francisco. Its collections encompass some 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera. The Prelinger Library is currently curating this online collection of public domain materials in key subject areas.”

Neem Oil: Organic Garden Pests Control


Wikimedia Commons

One source of organic pest control is Neem oil. Neem is an evergreen tree from India and oil is pressed from the tree’s fruits and seeds.

Neem oil is an excellent insecticide and fungicide without hurting helpful insects or humans.

Here are two good articles on how to use Need oil in the garden:

  • Neem Oil to Prevent Garden Pests — Mother Earth News (HERE)
  • Neem Oil Foliar Spray — Garden Know How (HERE)

¸.♥والدة walidah`♥.¸

May Gardening Activities

Dear Lillies,

beet_w_stem_TGrow something this summer, even if it is only a pot of basil or dill. Plant a full garden if you are able. Growing your own food is a great way to save money and eat healthier. Get the children involved. They love planting seeds and watching them pop out of the dirt; it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Here are some activities to do in the garden for May:

  • Using chemicals to rid your garden of pests is a last resort. First, try natural remedies:
  • Watch for problems and taking action before things get out of control.
  • Release natural predators and organisms that will get rid of pests in your garden.
  • Washing leaves off with water is another non-chemical option.
  • Other non-chemical options include washing leaves off with water, removing pests by hand, laying barrier screen over new plants, and essential oils/herbs such as Neem.
  • The ground is always colder than the air. Know your ground temperature.
  • Tomatoes, squash, melons, peppers and eggplant need consistent ground temperatures above 70°F to grow.
  • You don’t necessarily have to take soil temps, experience is a great teacher, and so is getting to know local gardeners or taking classes.
  • See the notes you made in last year’s garden journal and make notes in this year’s journal.
  • Remove weeds when they are small.
  • Learn how to recognize fly and larvae infestations by taking a class or getting help from someone with experience.
  • Plant fruits and vegetables based on your local climate; ask experienced local gardeners for help.

It’s Friday! What Will Your Day Look Like?


Dearest Tulips,

Today is Friday. What are your plans for this glorious day?

Here are 5 extra special things I plan to do today insha’Allah:

  1. Dress up (hey, it’s Friday!)
  2. (Still deciding)
  3. Recite Suratul Kahf
  4. Make du’aa after salatul ‘asr
  5. (Still thinking)

What 5 things do you want on your list?

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

The Excellence of Friday : Imam Ibn ul Qayyim

Abu Huraira reported the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as saying:

  • “The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday . . . “


Photo Box Organization: A Short Primer with Pics


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Dearest Honey Bees,

photo boxes 1I love photo boxes! They are just so pretty, especially the decorative ones!

Best of all, photo boxes are not plastic! They are sturdy cardboard.

How do I use photo boxes? photo box 2

Well, they are great for holding life’s little odds ‘n ends like writing supplies ———–>.

And items like yarn, CDs, and sewing supplies hide very well in photo boxes! So too do things needing to be stashed in a box on a book shelf.

Gphoto box 3rouping (and buying) boxes by themes/colors that match with a room’s decor.

And for economy’s sake, buy photo boxes on sale when possible! I recently purchased boxes at Micheals craft store on sale 7 for $10 ($1.42 ea) — the sale runs until Apr. 12th by the way.

No. I don’t work for Michaels. In fact, I rarely shop there. But, I could not pass up this sale; I needed/wanted more boxes to creatively and beautifully contain my household sprawl.

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

March Gardening Chores; Finding Plant Sales


Dearest Sweetpeas,

garden globeMarch can be a good time for gardeners to:

  • plant all kinds of berries
  • plan vegetable gardens for the spring, summer and fall
  • use a soil thermometer lets you know when to plant cool-season crops (carrots, beets, broccoli, leeks, parsley, chives, rhubarb, peas, and radishes)
  • read those plant seed labels (see this: Lessons from your seed packet)

Have you made your gardening chore list for March? Here is a blank printable Monthly Garden Chore List.

If you have not made a chore list yet, take some time to do so. Your county extension office has made it easy for you. Go to the Cooperative Extension interactive US map. Click on your state then county and find (or search for) the “monthly garden calendar”

Also, be on the lookout for plant sales. Many Cooperative Extension offices start announcing them on their websites around this time of the year.

There are other places to look for plant sales too such as your local library website, arboretums, plant societies, nurseries, farmer’s markets, small farms, and area public schools.

Happy Sowing & Growing,
.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

Step-Parenting: Advice to the Men


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Dearest Buttons,

We never know what life-situations we may find ourselves in. Here is some highly useful information about step-parenting in the form of a question to Shaykh Muhammad ‘Akkoor. And although the advice is for the men, we women can learn something too.

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER: ADVICE TO BROTHERS WHO do-not-knock-no-one-allowed-especially-not-you-thumbtack-note-mdMARRY WOMEN WITH CHILDREN

QUESTION .::. There is a problem here in America, perhaps it is also in other places, and Allaah knows best; it is that a man may marry a woman who has children from her previous marriage. The children are ill-mannered and they say to their mother’s husband: You are not my father!

The intent behind this statement is: I don’t have to respect you because you are not my real father. This can cause problems between the spouses and could perhaps result in divorce.

So what is your advice to men who marry women with children that are  ill-mannered and likewise, advice to the children and to the mothers? Benefit us, and may Allaah reward you with good.

ANSWER .::.  In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful; the Bestower of Mercy. All the praise is for Allaah, the Lord of all that exists. May prayers and peace be upon our leader Muhammad, his family and companions, all together.

To proceed:

If a man embarks upon marriage to a woman that has children then he is aware  and knows that she is not like other than her from the women who are free of  (these types of) concerns. He should not forget that a woman loves her children no matter who they are from; be it him or other than him. So firstly, he must take into consideration her feelings.

Secondly: He should tolerate their harm to him out of consideration for their mother and goodness to them; even if they treat him badly. For children are such that their natural disposition is lack of respect; lack of reverence; lack of patience.

Please read all of this wise advice located on the Imam’s blog of Masjid Tawheed wa Sunnah; this link is: “You’re Not My Father”

February Gardening Activities

After a nice winter break, gardening activities pick up the pace in February. This means summer is on the way!

Depending on where you live, February is a good month to:

  • plan your herb garden
  • plant carrots, lettuce, or parsley in a windowsill garden
  • plant garden peas and sweet peas
  • pasteurize soil for seedlings

My local Extension Service’s monthly gardening calendars are very helpful. Find the one for your state [HERE].

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

Home-made Ghee


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Dear Muffins!

I gathered us all up to make ghee this weekend. Since written instructions are a big help when teaching, I used this: ~ gheerecipe.htm.

Now we have a jar of wonderfully delicious ghee. It took less than 20 minutes and was super easy to make!

Some of my fondest childhood memories are cooking with ____ (insert name of food-loving adult family member). Taking our children —especially girls— into the kitchen with us is such a cozy way to spend time.

And wouldn’t a jar of home made ghee be a great gift to know how to give?!

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

Composition Book ReMake


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Morning Cupcakes!

button journal

click on image to enlarge

Here is a photo of a recent up-do of a regular old composition book and pencil.

Composition books are very sturdy —they’re folded and stitched together vertically along the fold. The books are also very versatile, making excellent journals, sketch or idea books, etc.

In this set, the pencil is covered in washi tape that almost matches the green color in the book’s corners.

Decorating composition books is so fun and allows for so much individual creativity! Children —both girls and boys— love to re-make composition books. And, when purchased during back-to-school-sales, the books are very inexpensive.

.♥ والدة walidah ♥.

Pencil — Supplies/Tools used:
washi tape

Composition Book — Supplies/Tools used:
craft glue
hot glue gun
silk flower
yellow buttons
boa feather bits
burgundy ribbon
composition book
12 x 12 decorative printed cardstock (“The Rustic Stack” by DCWV)
5 x 6.5 decorative cardstock (“Linen Closet” Matstack by DCWV)