Tag: Garden

An Experimental Deer Fence

Now that we’re planting the herb bed, we need a way to keep the deer out of it. My father-in-law (affectionately known as Pa Kettle) is a country farmer from way back, and he’s tried nearly everything to prevent deer from ravaging his garden. Mothballs, garden spray with hot pepper, smelly plants like marigolds; you name it, he tried it. He hung bags of (humanely collected!) human hair on stakes throughout the garden, and did the same with bars of Irish Spring soap.

Each of these methods works for awhile, the deer acclimate to it, and then it’s no longer effective. He currently has an 8′ tall, wire fence around the garden which seems to prevent most break-ins.

Just look at those wee, little seedlings, will you?! I’m like a kid at Christmas!

Our neighbors paid $500 to have an electric fence installed around their large garden, and we’ve watched the deer leap right over it as gracefully as ballerinas. The little, tick-ridden acrobats.

Because this garden is in our front yard, I need a fence that is reasonably attractive. Or, at least not ugly. I read about a fishing line deer fence and decided to give it a shot. It’s easy to install, low maintenance and a minimal investment.

Materials:

  • T-Posts, or other fence posts – we needed 10 – Cost: $70
  • 1 spool of 30 lb. fishing line – Cost: $2
  • 1 Sturdy Gate Post – we used rebar
  • PVC Pipe – two pieces, cut to 18″, use the correct diameter for your gate post
  • O-ring, Rope or another contraption to use for the gate latch
  • Shovel or Post Hole Digger

We dug the post holes about 5′ from the edge of the bed. This leaves a wide path to maneuver a wheel barrow or push mower inside the fence. It’s far enough back that if deer manage to poke their nosy, little heads under the fence, they still can’t reach my herbs.

T-Posts are easy to install. The process goes like this: dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on. Repeat until you can’t stand to look at another fence post, ever again. Burying the metal flange just below the surface stabilizes the post.

Once the posts are up, it’s time to wrap them with fishing line. Leaving the gate section completely open, I worked my way back and forth, wrapping the perimeter using one continuous piece of line. I might come back and hit the knots and hooks with a little E-6000 if the line doesn’t stay in place, but for now it’s holding.

The gate post is made from a piece of rebar. If this works well, I’ll paint it to match the T-posts. We tied fishing line from the post to the right of the gate and straight over to the rebar. The rebar recesses into the PVC pipe and it holds the gate in place.

To secure the top of the gate, slide an O-ring or loop of rope down over the top of the T-post and rebar post. I didn’t want to put downward pressure on the fishing line, so I looped a hair elastic through a hole in the T-post and attached a carabiner to it. The carabiner slides over the rebar to hold it in place.

When we want to open the gate we simply lift the rebar out of the pvc, walk it over to a second piece of pvc that we sunk into the ground to the right of the gate. This holds it upright until we’re ready to close the gate again.

We’re hopeful that this experiment works and we don’t have to resort to using guard dogs and explosives. (I’m kidding about the explosives. Mostly.) I’ll keep you posted.

Gate open.
Gate closed.

To read the post that inspired this project, go here:
http://blog.seedsavers.org/blog/deerfence

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Digging a New Garden Bed – A Literal Bed of Nails

Now with BONUS crazy story!

I’m so excited because we’re finally creating an herb garden! I’ve wanted one for years but the few sunny areas of our yard are out of sight and mostly out of mind. Recently, a wind storm took down a pear tree near our house, opening up the perfect place to grow herbs.

RIP, pear tree. You were a good climber, from what I hear.

First, we determined the size and shape of the bed. I wanted an interesting shape because this bed is smack-dab in the middle of our front yard. At the center of the bed I stuck a weeding tool into the ground and tied a string to the handle. I marked the string at 8.5′ and used that as my guide to spray paint the perimeter line. (This is my very unscientific method, and I’m purposely avoiding using words like radius and circumference here. I have to trick the right side of my brain into participating in math and science.)

Anywho, then we got to diggin’. Closely following the painted line, we dug a very deep border edge (8″ – 10″) and transferred that sod into a wheelbarrow.

Resisting the temptation to turn or till it under, we removed the sod layer entirely. This layer is full of seeds (grass and weeds, in our case) and they will sprout in the garden bed. We could have moved it to our compost piles, or filled a few low spots in the yard, but we chose to create a small berm instead, and we’ll have to aggressively weed it going forward.

Dig, remove sod, repeat. Dig, remove sod, repeat. Go to bed. Get up and do it all over again. You can see the berm taking shape in the back of the picture below.

Now that we’ve cleared away all of the sod, we’re ready to begin amending the soil. But for now, it’s time to stand back and admire our handsome new garden bed.

Crazy Story Time:
Soon after we bought this house we noticed that whenever it rained, shards of broken glass and tile would work their way to the surface of the lawn. That discovery was quickly followed by a “no bare feet outside” rule. The debris that has surfaced since then seems to have no end.

Broken tile

Almost with the first shovelful of soil that we turned over in this bed, we began picking up rusty nails and other debris. The first day we threw them out. The second day we started tossing them into a 5 gallon bucket just to save a few steps.

We found half a license plate, bits of wire, metal springs, screws, a Willard battery cap and beer can tabs. Not surprising, since the original owner ran a neighborhood garage from our property.

That green blob on the right is proof that balloons don’t biodegrade.
The Great Archaeological Dig of 2019

We unearthed half of a broken, plastic cup, two table knives, four glass marbles and a tiny, blue game piece. Also not surprising, because the Thompson family raised fourteen children here. I can just imagine Mrs. Thompson raising Cain as her utensils slowly disappeared from her kitchen, never to be seen again!

And oh, my word! The nails that filled this bed! It’s been a week since we finished digging, and we haven’t found more nails, but I’m not deluding myself into thinking we’ve found them all.

Guess how many nails we dug up from the herb garden? Can’t imagine? Here’s a hint:

We picked up seven. hundred. and. eighty. two. rusty. nails!
782!
I would love to know what on Earth happened here, to have so many nails in the yard!

And then there is the glass! Our nieces and nephews have played on this patch of lawn forever. They’ve chased lightning bugs, played What Time is it Mr. Fox?, Tag and Toilet Tag here. They’ve scoured this area for hidden Easter eggs. This is where we have our New Year’s midnight silly string battle. Our nieces turn cartwheels here. It’s really amazing that no one has been injured by a glass shard.

I told my sister-in-law that we’d never be able to work in this bed on our hands and knees, and she suggested that we use a small bag of soft mulch as a kneeling pad. Great idea! We will certainly do that.

The best discovery of all (the only good discovery?) are these two glass bottles that my husband dug up. The larger bottle is absolutely perfect with no chips or cracks. I cannot believe that it survived undamaged, considering that we used shovels and a mattock to dig this bed! The smaller bottle has a chip on the lip, but is otherwise in good condition.

Is it just me, or does that white marble remind you of a glass eye?

So that’s your crazy story for the day, kids. Now, go update your tetanus shot!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Seed Starting Pots – A Recycling Project

Do you know that you’ve got an endless supply of seed starting pots in your home? Well, they’re not pots yet. They’re more commonly known as empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls! (I’m trying to refrain from potty puns.)

If you’re using paper towel rolls, cut them in half or thirds.
(Do you think my background looks like tiny rolls of toilet paper?)
Press the tube flat.
Open up the tube and pinch the first folds together and press flat again to form a square.
Measure across the top; mine is just over one inch.
Use half of that measurement to mark the fold lines. My fold line is 1/2″ from the bottom.
Using sturdy scissors, cut along each of the 4 corners up to the fold line. You don’t have to mark the flaps A, B, C & D. I’ve done that to better explain this step. I hope!
Now fold each flap toward the center of the pot. Starting from the top (A),
work clockwise (B, C). When you reach the flap on the left (D), tuck the top half of it
under the first flap (A). That will secure the bottom of the pot.

You want the pot to close tightly at the bottom so the soil is contained.
If yours has a gap, re-fold the flap a little higher until the gap is closed.
Now you have a little seed starting pot!
But he needs some friends.
Fill with potting soil and plant those seeds!

When your seedlings are ready to transplant into a larger pot or the garden, open the flaps and plant it whole. Or, carefully cut the side of the pot open from top to bottom without disturbing the roots. The pot will decompose over time. Happy gardening!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

7 Great Ways To Get Plants For Free

Don’t you just love getting something for free? What better way to improve your garden than to add some green without spending any green?

Nikko Blue Hydrangeas

Self Seeding and Spreading Plants: These beauties will do the work for you! Plunk them in the ground and let them do their thing. Water them well for a few weeks until they are established and walk away. Seriously. Plants to try: Sedum, Vinca Major, Vinca Minor, Solomon’s Seal

When we moved houses we brought along a few Solomon’s Seal plants. They’ve since spread to fill in this bed.

Sweat Equity – Trade a little Work: Last Spring I spotted daffodils growing in the woods behind the building where I work. I struck a deal with the property owner to transplant half of them into a landscaping bed in front of the building in exchange for the other half of the bulbs. I brought about 7 large clusters of bulbs home.  


These little guys are just poking their heads up in the planting bed at work.

Dividing: Dig the plant up by the roots and slice it in half if it’s small or into more sections if it is a large plant. Be sure to leave plenty of healthy roots on each section. Hosta, Liriope and Scented Geraniums all take this well.

Layering: This technique works well for one of my favorite plants, the hydrangea. With an investment of a little work and some patience, you can have a sweep of hydrangeas for free. Here’s how: In the Fall, find a healthy lower branch of the plant without flowers. Without disturbing the leaves at the tip, break off the next lower set of leaves down to the branch. The place where you removed the leaves is the node. Gently lower the node to the ground, loosen the soil under the node, then pile about an inch of soil over the node and place a rock or brick over to hold it in place. Water occasionally if needed. Wait until Spring and check on your plants. New growth at the tip of the branch indicates that your baby plant has taken root. Leaving the rock or brick in place, snip the branch between the weight and the mother plant and wait a few more weeks before transplanting the baby. Try this with Forsythia too.

My layered hydrangeas; waiting for Spring.

Propagate in Water: My brother and sister-in-law had beautiful purple sedum in their wedding centerpieces. Afterwards, I took several of the cuttings and placed them in clear glasses of water on my kitchen window sill. Topping off the water occasionally, in a few weeks they had formed nice long roots. I then transplanted them into pots and eventually into a garden bed.

Sedum propagated in water.

Municipal Swaps and Give Away: A neighboring town hosts a plant/bulb/seed swap at their library. Bring a plant, take a plant. At the end of the growing season, our city offers a plant give-away. They remove flowers and grasses from municipal planting beds and heap them up in a parking lot. There is usually a mix of annuals and perennials, so it helps to know which plants you want and what type of care they will need.

This patch of Black Eyed Susan started from one little plant I found in the corner of my Grandma’s back yard.

Pass Along: These may be the best plants yet; plants with a story. I love to walk around my yard looking at plants that came from my Grandma’s garden in the Midwest. I have pink peonies from plants that my Mom recalls watching my Grandpa dig up from his mother’s yard nearly 60 years ago. I have Lily of the Valley from my in-law’s garden and loads of pass-alongs from my sister-in-law.

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.