Category Archives: Garden

So That’s What Was Hiding Under The Snow Drifts

Every year this strikes me as something of a miracle.

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A scientifically explained miracle, true, but that robs it of none of the thrill.

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This year has been such a hard winter, and my borders have been crushed under so much snow, that I wasn’t sure I was going to see Green for quite some time.

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But here we are, March 20, and the plants know what they have to do.

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If it had been up to me,
I’d have given up hope and thought “maybe I’ll have color next year…”

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I’m so glad I’m not in charge.

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Build Your Own Leaf Bin

[This is from the archives, but it’s the perfect time to pull out this post again]

I hate waste, so autumn drives me kind of crazy. All my neighbours sweep their leaves to the front kerb, where a big borough lorry comes along and sucks them up. Then, in the spring, everyone has a truck load of mulch delivered.

I say: stop the insanity! Use your own leaves to make your own mulch! Build a leaf bin!

leafbinsupplies It doesn’t take much. Just a roll of hardware cloth, a piece of scrap wood and a way to fasten them together (I used a cable staple gun that we had lying around.

I bought a 10′ roll of 3′ tall, 1/4″ mesh landscape fabric from the local big hardware store.

Step 1: Unroll the hardware cloth and lay it flat on the ground. Stomp on it a bit to get it to unroll if you need to. No need to get it totally flat, though, as you’ll want it to roll up again in a minute. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 2: fold one end of the mesh around the piece of wood (which should be just a bit taller than 3′, so you can bash the end of it into the ground to help support your leaf bin). Staple the mesh to the wood, all along the length.
Step 3: Fold the mesh over so the free end is touching the wood. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 4: Staple the end to the wood, as neatly as you can while wrangling 10′ of metal mesh.
Step 5: Stand it up. The mesh is strong enough to support itself, but the wood helps. You can then pound the wood into the ground to hold your new leaf bin in place. You can also use metal or wood stakes to define its shape a bit better and give it extra stability. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Building A Leaf Bin

Shred your leaves with a lawnmower or a leaf muncher; pile them up and let the microbes save you a pile of money. Know what’s in the mulch you’re putting on your soil (nothing but natural ingredients).

Building A Leaf Bin

I hate waste, so autumn drives me kind of crazy. All my neighbours sweep their leaves to the front kerb, where a big borough lorry comes along and sucks them up. Then, in the spring, everyone has a truck load of mulch delivered.

I say: stop the insanity! Build a leaf bin!

leafbinsupplies It doesn’t take much. Just a roll of hardware cloth, a piece of scrap wood and a way to fasten them together (I used a cable staple gun that we had lying around.

I bought a 10′ roll of 3′ tall, 1/4″ mesh landscape fabric from the local big hardware store.

Step 1: Unroll the hardware cloth and lay it flat on the ground. Stomp on it a bit to get it to unroll if you need to. No need to get it totally flat, though, as you’ll want it to roll up again in a minute. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 2: fold one end of the mesh around the piece of wood (which should be just a bit taller than 3′, so you can bash the end of it into the ground to help support your leaf bin). Staple the mesh to the wood, all along the length.
Step 3: Fold the mesh over so the free end is touching the wood. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 4: Staple the end to the wood, as neatly as you can while wrangling 10′ of metal mesh.
Step 5: Stand it up. The mesh is strong enough to support itself, but the wood helps. You can then pound the wood into the ground to hold your new leaf bin in place. You can also use metal or wood stakes to define its shape a bit better and give it extra stability. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Building A Leaf Bin

Shred your leaves with a lawnmower or a leaf muncher; pile them up and let the microbes save you a pile of money. Know what’s in the mulch you’re putting on your soil (nothing but natural ingredients).

Turning Into My Mother

After I waved the boys off this morning (“have fun storming the castle!”) I turned my attention to the garden, specifially my vegetable plot.

Lettuce, Mesculun seedlings and Peas in the backgroundI’ve been nursing some seedlings along for the past wee while. Sadly I lost the cucumbers (apparently they REALLY mean it when they say cucumbers don’t like to be transplanted) and have already put out some of the lettuce and mesculun (salad mix). My zucchini/courgettes though, were calling to me. Some of them were starting to fade in their little plastic pots and, since the weather here is turning warmer, I decided it was time to transplant a few.

TrellisI built a trellis out of electrical conduit and trellis netting, pounded some rebar into the ground and slid the trellis on top. (I have it on good authority that this will do the job. I’m skeptical and will be ready with the guy wires assuming my vines ever grow up the thing).

I then fetched my beloved, long-nursed zucchini seedlings out in to the garden. I gently up-ended the pot and eased them out….and promptly snapped the stems on three of them. I had actually started a lot more plants than I thought I would need, thinking I could share some with the neighbours, but it looks like the neighbours will have to fend for themselves, because, as I put the plants in the ground I managed to snap the stem on one more. Of the six plants I handled this morning, two are now in the ground and still attached to their roots. Baby Zucchini/Courgette Plants(I put the others in the ground anyway, and covered them with dirt, just in case they felt like growing new roots along their stems, but I’m not optimistic.) I still have one back-up plant hiding out here with me in the office, so if tragedy befalls the two that made it, all is not lost. Yet.

Take That, Bunnies! After that, and a bit of general weeding, I made some wire cages for the seedlings, put a shade cloth on the trellis since the sun decided to make an  unscheduled appearance, elected to wait until later to put out the pepper and (more) salad seedlings, tidied up, swept the deck and decided to take a well-earned sit down in the still morning-shady corner of said deck.

At which exact moment a squad of workies pulled up across the street and started to do this.

At the risk of sounding like my mother…oh, too late.

Garden Fun

We had one of those March weekends where the boys get the sandpit open and ask for the pool and don’t believe me when I say it might snow tomorrow.

Of course, I don’t really believe it either and I start casting a critical eye on the garden. I have Plans. They have not come to fruition yet, and might not this year, but I decided to make a start, by neatening up my existing flower beds. It was good exercise and it kept me out in the daylight longer than normal, and I was in a great mood for the rest of the day. Coincidence?

By the next day, of course, it was cold and rainy (as you’ll see in the pictures, along with the wonderful clay soil. Note to self: must get compost soon.)

Anyhoo, it’s not very impressive but, just for my own records, here’s what I did:

Gave the bed around the buddleia a real edge
Neatened Edges & Shorn Butterfly Bush

Edged last year’s newest bed. This one has a large purple plant in it that was my birthday present last year from a friend. I’m not sure if it’ll come back, but I’m hopeful.
More Neatened Edges with Gaming Gnomes

Edged and tidied up the bed by the porch. This one has daffodils and tulips making their way up. It’s probably going to help the tulips that, this year, they won’t be in the shade of a large pear tree by the time they try to bloom. In fact, it’ll be interesting to see what the lack of the aforementioned large tree does to the rest of the front garden…
Daffodils

I also cut back my butterfly bush quite dramatically. I really like cutting and slashing and digging and ripping up. I get a bit overwhelmed when all the plants start to grow. I need to embrace ‘pinching’ and ‘pruning’ and ‘thinning’ more.

There’s lots more to do, but it’s been quite wet since then, and there’s not point breaking my tools in the cement-like clay when there’s plenty more spring to come.