Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seed Bombs [This is News?]

I normally do not cover "news" type things on this blog, I have other blogs for that purpose, but this particular story got me to thinking I should give it a try at home. Maybe spend the after noon with my daughter making little seed bombs then going for a walk and letting her "bomb" the neighborhood. One of the few gardening blogs I read on a semi daily basis is Heavy Petal , dedicated to urban gardening and the utilization of small spaces to produce outstanding plants of all varities.

The author appeared on a morning time TV show and showed the hosts how to make "Seed Bombs". Small lumps of clay, compost and seeds that you can then throw around your city. Watch the video and have a look at her site for other Guerrilla Gardening ideas.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Smell the Fresh Cut Grass [Daily Thought]

Well in my opinion it is finally official, spring is here. What makes me say that now? It's elementary watson, the Azaleas have started blooming and I started mowing. Nothing else quite says "Hey it's Spring time!" like some fresh cut grass and blooming Azaleas, am I right?

Forgive all that mess, I have not raked the back yard yet

After getting the pond basin installed I finally decided on where I wanted to put the water fall. As far as the pond goes the only thing I really have left is running the electricity out to it in a more permanent way. While I would be happy with a really long ugly orange drop cable running from an outlet, kids seem to trip over it and more importantly the wife said, "NOOOO!"

It seems like the instant I started adding water, leaves started landing in the pond.

One of the biggest hurdles for this flower/pond bed has been the overly wet clay soil. After some good old fashioned thinking I came up with a win-win. I will be mixing in dead leaves / grass clippings before I start planting anything in the bed. This should help break up the clay and give the roots a chance to branch out properly I may end up adding some manure or possibly some high grade potting soil as well. Of course this means a lot more work, but that's the fun part right?

The addition of the fountain means more splash over, but that also means more fresh water added daily.

Besides the Azaleas coming in there are some other sprouts showing up around the yard, a purple Iris decided to show it's face a little early and one of the pond plants seems to have already started growing, though it has not yet broken the surface..

Monday, April 11, 2011

12 Ways to Attract More Birds to Your Yard

Spring is here in case you missed it, I know if I look out my window right now all this rain and cold weather certainly makes it hard to remember. Nonetheless it is here, and we should start getting ready for all the wonderful things to come. And while we are out there preparing soil, oiling clippers or installing ponds lets try not to forget our little winged comrades. The Birds!

While having a bird feeder is a quick and easy way to attract birds to your area. There are some very other easy ways that you can bring those winged music boxes of nature to your little retreat from the world. For those of you with veggie or herb gardens attracting more birds can also help keep insect populations under control as the new

Below I have compiled 12 of the best ideas and tricks from around the web for enticing birds to visit your yard.

  • Let flowers go to seed before removing them, birds will eat the seeds they drop, this will save you money in bird seed while improving the over all health of your yard at the same time.
  • Consider planting more fruit and berry plants than you require, this will allow you to share some the of extra with birds that come by your yard.
  • Instead of wooden or chain link fence, a shrub hedge will provide both a pleasing look for your yard as well as welcoming shelter for birds.
  • Adding some evergreen trees and shrubs will provide birds a place to shelter and nest during winter months, while keeping some green in your yard at the same time.
  • Thorny plants are especially attractive to birds as they provide both shelter and protection from predators.
  • Layering shrubs and trees allows for different varieties of birds to co-exist in your yard. When possible try and combine plants that grow to multiple heights.
  • Try to avoid cleaning up every nook and cranny of your yard. Leaving some piles of leaves and grass clippings will give birds a place to forage for insects.
  • Bird houses can be a great way to bring in your winged friends, provide them a place of safety and shelter to raise their young and possibly teach your own family about the wonders of life and nature. Unless you want to attract a specific bird species consider any bird house from your local home and garden store. Some birds have very specific requirements for housing though so you may need to research if you want a certain type of bird to feel at home.
  • Bird baths are a great way to bring birds to your yard. Be sure to locate them near some type of perch as wet birds tend not to fly very well. Trees with low hanging branches work best. Ideally a bird bath should be bowl shaped so it provides various depths of water.
  • While bird baths are one way to introduce a water source to your yard, also think about adding a pond. Ponds provide a permanent source of water while allowing you to introduce more varieties of flowers and plants. As an added bonus the pond area will also bring more insects for the birds to eat. Ponds also have the potential to bring in more exotic bird species that might otherwise pass up your yard, King Fishers for instance will love you immensely for adding a pond filled with plants and fish.
  • Feeders will bring in a variety of birds as well, birds universally love Sunflower seed kernels so they make an excellent place to start. Most large home and garden stores will also keep hummingbird feeders and food in stock, while only attracting one specific type of bird, I have found that children are absolutely fascinated by those little speedy guys.
  • Plant a garden! Birds love to dig for worms and other insects and having a patch of lose dirt will bring them in by the dozens. Not only will you be attracting them they will also help you keep unwanted pests from nibbling on your vegetables. 

The following list of plants that all do well at attracting birds of various species, please consult your local garden supply store for varieties that will do well in your climate.

Bayberry, blackberry, beech, birch trees, cherries, dogwoods, elderberry, fir trees, hackberry, hickory, holly, maple, mountain ash, oak, pines, red cedar, red mulberry, serviceberry, spruce, viburnum shrubs, sumac, Virginia creeper, wax myrtle shrubs, wild strawberry, winterberry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Warm Weather...

Warm weather, please hurry up and get here. Thanks from all the flowers and veggies I want to start planting.

Nothing worse than waiting for that last little bit of winter that wants to linger around and threaten young plantings is there? I have gotten the pond in, and am ready to start the veggie garden any day now, however the nights still get chilly and I am worried there is going to be one final cold snap. You know the one the weather man says is *not* going to come but does anyway? Think I will wait another week before I put anything in the ground just to be on the safe side.

On the pond front the main body is in I just cannot decide on where I want the water fall to be... I kind of liked the raised box I made in our previous yard so I am thinking of redoing that. Made a little mistake when I first dug the hole and dug just a little to far, fixing that meant completely draining the pond and adding some dirt under it then refilling it. But it does look much better now. Off tomorrow so I think I will finalize the water fall and start breaking ground for the veggie garden next week... So much to do, but that's why I love it ♥

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here! The Adventure Begins Again!

Well folks, its that time again! Spring is here for 2011 so it's time to dust off that shovel, break out that hoe and get busy in the gardens again! A lot has changed since last year, a new house, a new addition to the family and a MUCH bigger yard to work with. While most of my time is still spent indoors at the moment I have begun work on the pond area.

Hoping to learn from some mistakes made when I installed it at the old house I plan on doing a few things differently this time. First of course is going to be using a level!!! I think one of the worst moments the last time around was filling up the pond and then realizing it was not sitting level. While it still looked good, it always nagged at me that I screwed up something so basic. Another change will be a properly run electrical for the pump and any lights I might add. Gone is the wad of duct tape and in its place will be a good length of buried PVC piping.

And of course what back yard adventure would be complete without a garden? While I have yet to start work on getting the ground ready I have already picked a great location that gets ton's of sun and should provide me with ample room for all the veggies planned this year.

Hope your spring is off to a great start everyone!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Hosta's they are turning brown!

Loosing a large tent in the back yard last year really hurt. The bed that is up close to the house has lost a very prominence piece of shading and all hell is breaking loose now. Weeds are shooting through the stones, some of the ferns are simply falling over exhausted and my poor poor Hosta is starting to turn brown!

Fortunately I think it has more to do with my watering them than anything else. After reading through some other sites on line I came across this page;

Since the browning appears to be random and spotty, I believe they are simply to moist. I put a large cement bird bath into the middle of the bed and I think filling it up with water is causing my Hosta's to stay damp.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When to pull a cucumber plant.

If this is your first year planting cucumbers you may have lots of questions about their care. While they can be regarded as fairly standard when it comes to seeding and growing, knowing when it is time to pull a vine is very important. Cucumbers are slightly different than your run of the mill veggies, once a single cucumber has "went to seed" (Turned yellow/orange, puffs up) the entire vine is done producing.

While planting my row of cucumber hills I must have accidentally dropped a seed into the pathway. After finding the sprout  I decided to leave it and see what happens. Everything was going quite well with it, I had trained it down the side of the pathway and it had gotten quite long. Unfortunately the very first cucumber it produced was yellow and very disfigured looking.

Fortunately the other 5 plants are doing quite fine and have been producing quality cucumbers for a while now.