Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Dark-eyed JuncoRemember our little nest in my secret garden in the back? I had thought the nest was abandoned but quite the contrary--each day a new egg appeared until there were five white and brown speckled eggs and a mother bird happily keeping them warm.

It's kind of a nice set-up, the back side of the playhouse faces the little hidden garden and there's a window overlooking the nest so the kids run to the playhouse to look out the back window whenever they want to see a bird update without upsetting the gestation.

We'll keep you posted.

But in honor of our little squatters I'm sharing some of my favorite gardening tips.

1. Garden Bed Weed Control
If you want to keep your weeds in check the best way is to cut strips of newspapers. Once you've planted your flowers wet the strips of newspaper and layer them around the plants then top with your mulch. No weeds will get through that stuff plus it has the added benefit of keeping in moisture in the soil.

2. Cheap and Gorgeous Fences
If you want a natural looking border to your garden my favorite way is to cut willow branches and bend them into a low running fence. See my post on the willow borders for more details and a picture.

3. Eco-friendly weedkiller
For a quick, cheap and environmentally happy weed killer pour boiling water on your weeds. It will boil them to death but if you're squeamish about your weeds' pain threshold you can pour lemon juice on them instead. They'll shrivel in a few days.

Gardening Tips4. Slug Control
And lastly, here's a tip I haven't yet tried but would be curious if anyone else has had experience with it. I have slug issues in a couple of my beds and I've read that if you want to control the little beasties you can bury a small jar full of beer up to the rim in your garden. The slugs will be lured in for a drink but won't be able to get out.

Is this really true? Are all slugs inebriates? Is there something else that works as well as beer? I must know!

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Ann Flower said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful gardening tips. Your blog is informative and helpful. keep on posting.

Becky said...

Absolutely true about the slugs and beer! We do this often. You don't even need to bury the can. I usually put a shallow bowl or even a deep plate next to the area with slugs (often my strawberries). The next morning it will have lots of dead slugs in it!

Patricia L said...

Have you never poured salt on slugs? It's brutal-looking.

Laura said...

I use Sluggo and only need to use it about twice a season. It is safe for pets and works in the rain (I live in Seattle). http://www.amazon.com/Monterey-Sluggo-Control-Organic-Gardening/dp/B000BWZ89K

Michelle Glauser said...

We used to laugh about my sweet, innocent, old grandma going to the store and buying beer for her garden. She didn't bury it, though, she just put a bowl of it in the garden and they'd all climb in. :D

I love your tips. Some day when I have a garden, I'll have to come back to this post.

Unknown said...

Great to have a nest so close for the kids to watch without disturbing anyone.

Was going to comment on your previous post, but can't find anywhere to comment - maybe that is deliberate?

Was just going to say that here in N Ireland many still live in same area they were born. My father in law has never lived more than 4 miles from where he was born. My husband and I are still considered "blow-ins" and we have been living in this town for 18 years!

Kim said...

I've never tried the beer trick, but I did sprinkle broken eggshells around my rhubarb plants the one and only year that I had slug problems . . . and it worked! The slugs wouldn't cross their sharp edges.

Kayris said...

White vinegar mixed with a squirt of dish liquid works just as well as chemical weed killers too. It will kill grass and flowers too, so squirt with care. But it's safer than boiling water (and faster to prep) for when my kids want to help.

We got a truckload of mulch last year and then ended up with a bunch of gross mushrooms called stinkhorns. I was highly amused by them (picture here, for the immature who would like to laugh along: http://greatwallsofbaltimore.blogspot.com/2009/08/fungus-among-us.html). And they got old after awhile, plus they attract flies, so I found that the best way to get rid of them was to dig them up and make sue you get the little white egg-shaped thing that goes with it, then blast the area with more vinegar.

Christine said...

I hate slugs as much as the next person, that's why I'm content for them to stay in their hiding places. I think I'd be scarred for life if I strolled through my garden (to use the word loosely) and happened upon a...a...bowl full of slugs.

I may be scarred at the mere thought!