Saturday, April 18, 2020

Fun and easy Garden Hacks

Gardening though rewarding can become a drain on our pocketbook.  Below are some of my favorite garden hacks.  Generally speaking gardeners are reuse, recycle and repurpose kind of folks.  I LOVE finding something around the house that I can repurpose in the garden.  From old boots to water jugs to crates and barrels, just look around and you’ll be amazed at what you have to grow in.  Keep in mind Lynette manages the Chetco Seed Library and as hundreds of flower and vegetable seed packets.  Just let her know what you need and let’s get sowing!

  1. Use cardboard egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls as mini vessels. If the plants’ roots are growing through or out of the cardboard at the time of transplant, just put the whole thing in the ground. If not, soak the cardboard to remove it before transplanting the plant. Small plastic containers such as K-cups or yogurt cups can also be given a second life as seed starting vehicles, but when transferring seedlings to your garden bed, be sure to remove them from the cups.
  2. With a little extra work, newspaper and junk mail can also be crafted into little pots.  Follow this LINK for a tutorial on how to fold your own seed starting pots. 
  3. Shoe planters are a fun way to recycle old shoes and boots.  Plant some flowers and watch them grow over the summer.  Get your kids to help recycle their shoes.  Plus they make a wonderful gift to put on a friend’s doorstep!
    1. Step One— Look in your closet or out in the garage to find some old shoes or boots. ... 
    2. Step Two—Drill Drainage Holes. ... 
    3. Step Three—Add Potting Soil. ... 
    4. Step Four—Planting Your Flowers. ... 
    5. Step Five—Water Your Flowers. ... 
    6. Step Six—Show off your Planters.

  4. For traditional gardens, create a nutrient-rich base layer by collecting yard waste like grass clippings and raked leaves. Scout for bags of leaves left out by the curb!
  5. If using a planter or container with a large hole at the bottom, cover the hole with a coffee filter and elevate it about ½” off the ground with a small piece of wood. This will allow drainage while keeping soil intact and preventing staining of hardscapes.
  6. Looking to create a raised bed garden or portable garden boxes? Try using wine crates, old wooden soda crates, plastic bulb crates lined with cardboard, or other topless wooden crates. Just make sure they have proper drainage.
  7. Water plants evenly (e.g., from a watering can instead of a cup). Create a DIY watering can by making small holes in the top of a juice, milk, or detergent jug.
  8. If you’re unable to water regularly, create a slow release watering system from wine bottles and insert them in damp soil.
  9. After cooking eggs or vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain. Some nutrients from these cooked foods will leech into the water and can be used to feed plants.
Finally, here are 19 garden hacks from Bob Villa!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Big Bug Hunt - Helping prevent pests in the garden

Pests!  The bane of gardeners everywhere.  Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a host of pests that can side rail your best gardening efforts.  

Below is a great video by Big Bug Hunt an organization that is working with gardeners around the world.  They have an online source called called Report a Bug.  I keep it on my phone and when I see a bug I take a photo and they will tell me what it is.  In addition, they have an ongoing project to compile pest insects and will send you an announcement when pest bugs will show up in your garden.  Pretty Cool.

Finally, if you have an inquisitive student, this is an AWESOME resource for your kiddos as they explore nature outside your back door.

The Big Bug Hunt publishes videos regularly detailing garden tasks, methods, gardening hints and mitigating bug damage in your garden.

Big Bug Hunt: How to Beat Bugs in your Garden

To summarize:

1.  Keep your crops healthy

2.  Encourage predatory insects, lady bugs, toads or frogs

3.  Attract Predatory insects by planting flowers with large open pedals.  Callendula, Fennel, Daisies are examples.
4.  Insect Hotels 
-  Install a bought or homemade insect hotels.
-  Leave dead wood in the corner of your garden for beetles
- Nettles attract a compliment of predator bugs

5.  Install a small pond or bucket sunk into your garden.  This will attract frogs and toads which eat slugs and many insects making them perfect garden companions.  This will be a fun project for students.  Get creative.

6.  Physical vegetation, trees & shrubs provide nesting space for bug eating birds

7.  Physical barriers, floating row cover and netting will help keep cabbage moths off your crops.

So check out the above video on How to Beat Bugs In Your Garden.

Happy gardening!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Let's make potting soil

If you're like me you have a lot of projects on your list.  THIS year I want to have potted flowers in my front yard around my deck so I can sit outside and enjoy watching the birds.  

One stumbling block I've run into is soil.  Good potting soil is expensive.  2 cubic foot bags of potting soil can run form $12 - $15 per bag!  I purchase the 'good stuff' when I'm starting seeds or need to give a good start to flower starts.  But when you have twenty 3 gallon pots like I do that need filling?  Yikes!

Don Tipping of Siskiyou Seeds in Williams (Josephine County) shares their method of making potting soil for seed starting.


Finished compost (see a post next week where we talk about starting your compost pile.)

Clean sand - not beach sand as that has tons of salt and will poison your soil 

Egg shells - keep those egg shells and grind them to add for a calcium addition

Powdered kelp - I know, I know, we live on the ocean.  I've been unsuccessful actually finding kelp on the beach!  He talks about how powdered kelp is a livestock feed.  Who Knew?  I bet Del Cur carries it.

That's it!

Check out the video here:

Making Potting Soil for Seed Starting