My Misadventures in Gardening: Mango Beginnings


I am terrible at growing things. I often reminisce about how, when I was growing up, we'd always have houseplants inside and I remember having to go around and water them for my mom and it was just nice to have some living, green plants in the house. It's a regular occurrence where I'll remember those times and I'll go and try to have a green thumb, only to fail horribly and kill the poor plant. I'm pretty sure the cycle is starting again, and I figured I could record me failing (or hopefully NOT failing!) Maybe this time will be different. 100th times a charm!

I've always seen instances where people plant the seeds from the fruit they bought at the grocery store and they grow houseplants from them. I thought that was a fun, good idea to try. You're already buying the fruit to eat it, so now instead of just throwing the seed away, I started keeping select ones to attempt to grow! This leads to my first "experiment": the mango.


I'm not the biggest fan of mangoes but my fiance LOVES them, and if you're a mango fan like him, you'd know that a rather large, flat seed is housed in the center of the fruit. But how do you get it completely out? Let's find out!

SAMSUNG CSCCut down each side of the mango. Be careful not to cut into the seed.


Cut out the seeds husk from the rest of the fruit. I have no idea if I was doing this right, but my fiance, the mango aficionado didn't correct me, so I'm assuming this is okay. SAMSUNG CSC

Now that you have most of the flesh removed, take a butter knife and scrape off what is left on the husk. At this point some people let this dry out for a few days so it's easier to handle. This thing is slippery. I just attempted to dry it off some with a paper towel. It was still slippery, but I managed.SAMSUNG CSCAlong the edge of the husk there's a portion that feels a bit thicker then the rest. I used my knife to scrape it down more to reveal where I could split it apart.


Then I used the tip of the knife to start opening it. You know, like shucking an oyster. Everyone has done that, right? Again, be careful not to nick the seed.SAMSUNG CSC

When there was enough room for my fingers, I just pried it open the rest of the way with my hands.


Come out!mango3


... da!SAMSUNG CSC The aftermath.SAMSUNG CSC So to germinate the seed I opted for the "wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in a zip lock bag for a week or two" method.SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

Labeled and dated.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd put in a sunny window. Obviously I did this like a week ago so within the next day or two I'll check on this guy and see if he's ready to be planted! Fingers crossed that this will work!


For the Home, Other

Homemade Cat Tree


Oh hey, it's been a while. I made this a while ago, but surprise surprise, I'm just now getting around to posting it. :) I've been wanting to make a cat tree for a while but I had been very wishy washy about actually getting off my butt and doing it. However, after I saw a picture of one made with tree branches that looked super cool, I finally got the fire under my butt to go and make one(and to force the fiance to help!)


Gremlin is spoiled.

CTH0007 Deluxe Seedling small

This one is the tree that inspired me. I loved that it was made to look like an actual tree. However, it cost like $700. So of course immediately i thought, "Psh, I can make that." And you get to see just how I did.


I was lucky enough to get inspired right after they cleared the empty lot next to my house, so there were plenty of decent sized tree branches for me to sort through. Here are the winners.


Then I had to trim the branches to size. I love my pull saw!


Here are all the pieces ready to be put together. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of me making the carpeted components. Basically I made a base and a platform out of plywood and covered it with carpet. (Remnant carpet, ftw!) For the half cylinder platform I took a concrete tube mold, cut it to size and then in half. I hot glued the halves together to help make it stronger and then glued the carpet on.


Here's where my fiance had to step in to help. After eyeballing where I wanted the main branch to be, I carefully tipped the branch and base over so he could drill through the base and into the branch from the bottom. We ended up screwing in a pretty decently sized screw to hold it in place and then reinforced it with smaller (but still pretty substantial) screws. My cat is a big boy.IMG_20130720_165030

And just a few screws later!

But really, we didn't get any pictures of us assembling the rest of it sadly. This part was all pretty much just trial and error. We'd place something and see how the other components would fit in and we adjusted the pieces until it was to our liking. Basically we just attached the shorter stumpy branch onto the base just like the first one and then screwed the platform onto it and into the tall branch. The carpet hides the copious amounts of screws we used to keep that thing in place.

I positioned the thin branch on the platform so that it helped support the top platform and we screwed all those in too. I then took the drill and drilled a few random holes into the branches and stuck some fake leaf branches in them. Initially I was going to hot glue them in place, but the drill bit I used made a hole that they fit so snugly into that I didn't feel the need for the glue. If Gremlin ends up pulling any of them out then I can just glue them back in later.


I wrapped the short stubby branch with sisal for a nice scratching area. Which he has yet to touch even still. IMG_20130720_170656

So since my cat is a big burly man-cat, I decided to make his tree pretty with flowers. I hot glued those suckers on and prayed he wouldn't see them as toys and rip them off. (Which is totally what happened. Oh cats.)

IMG_20130720_171531And here it is finished! Complete with the I'm-too-excited-about-how-this-turned-out-and-I'm-going-to-take-a-picture-before-I-even-clean-up mess everywhere.


The tree fit perfectly nestled into the corner of our bedroom. Later, I ended up fluffing out the leaves so they didn't look so... flat. IMG_20130720_173425

Gremlin is unimpressed.


And then a short while later I passed by and saw this! I think he likes it!IMG_20130720_210914He enjoys the top too :)

It took about 2 to 3 days of working on it off and on, it's about 5 feet tall and it cost under $100 to make. I love it!