What’s Flowering in my Garden This Week

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Homemade Grass Paint

I was thinking…why don’t they make spray paint for the lawn so that I can paint the bare spots in the spring until they fill in?

Well, it turns out they do make grass paint; the problem is that I can’t find any in Canada. If it exists here, I don’t know where.

Update: Check out this info here and here about Lawnlift grass paint available now in Canada

So my next thought was, why not make it myself? It can’t be too difficult…right. Well, yes and no. I found a recipe for grass paint, but I’m afraid it didn’t turn out quite as nicely as I had hoped. I really wanted something that worked like that spray-on hair product that you could buy a few years ago – except waterproof…and green. Well, it looks slightly better than nothing, and perhaps with some rain those bare spots will fill in a little more rapidly than they would on their own. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the recipe:

2 lbs lawn fertilizer

4 lbs epsom salts

1/4 cup green food coloring

Death From Above

I’ve heard about people who have to fight off docile deer and those fluffy little bunnies. They come up with all sorts of ideas to frighten, intimidate and punish the cute little wildlife that appear in their garden to have a look around and strike photogenic poses.

Common House Sparrow

Alas, but I wish I had such simple matters to deal with. No, in my garden fear comes from above. Yes, I have the viciously ruthless Common House Sparrow to contend with.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking…what could a tiny beady-eyed house sparrow do to your garden that a swipe with a broom couldn’t deal with?

Well, sparrows tienen los cajones (tiny ones albeit) of steel. They’ll pick away at my pea sprouts while looking me in the eye, then fly away when I rush at them hose in hand. They’ll laugh at me as they snack on my lettuce greens. With two broods a season, they have countless little beaks to feed and they’ll stop at nothing to get at my Swiss chard.

I’ve battled these villainous flying feathered fiends for years, and I’ve finally come up with a tidy solution to keep them away from the goods. I’ve built retaining walls – tiny jails to protect my veggies from the beaks of doom.

For four weeks after I sow my peas I protect them with a metal mesh from one end of my raised bed to the other. After they have reached about four inches in height they seem to no longer have the tasty bird-appeal they once did, and it’s safe to release the peas to grow tall and delicious.

My small planters of early greens are protected from seedling to salad by custom made wire mesh proctors.

I’ll be protecting my head lettuce this year for the entire season with my new lettuce coop. Built from flexible PVC hose and plastic mesh, this fortress of security is impenetrable. See the photo gallery for details.

Soil Mix for Raised Beds

I like to use a mix of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 manure or compost. When I mix up a big batch of soil for the raised beds, I use a large block of peat (107 litres or 3.8 cubic feet), a large bag of #2 expanded vermiculite (118 litres or 4 cubic feet) and four bags of manure (4×10 kg or 22 lbs). The manure or compost should be a mix of different types: steer, sheep, mushroom, worm castings, or whatever you can get your hands on. The more variety the better.

I use a large tarp spread across my lawn and a rake to mix with. Start with the peat moss, spreading it out and getting rid of all the clumps. If you value your ability to breathe then be sure to keep the peat moss moist while working with it. Next, add the vermiculite again making sure to keep the dust to a minimum. Mix them together and add the manure. The pile is getting fairly large at this point and to get a thorough blend you will need to lift the tarp from side to side to mix the ingredients.

Once the soil has been well mixed it’s ready to use.

Cheapest. Greenhouse. Ever.

Cheapest greenhouse on the block

Ok, I’ve definitely saved a few bucks over the years by salvaging and re-purposing, but this time I think I reached a new record for the cheapest creation in my backyard. It’s my new “greenhouse” made from a metal shelving unit I found in my neighbor’s trash and two dollar-store vinyl tablecloths I bought for $2 apiece. Total cost = $4 for this amazingly ugly greenhouse which I will hopefully only need to use for two weeks while I harden off my seedlings.

BTW: those are my Dahlias enjoying the warm Edmonton afternoon outside. I planted them on March 25th and they are a good 6 inches tall already.