Monday, May 25, 2009

Perennial - Creeping Speedwell

Flower Fave of the Day

Last year I planted Creeping Speedwell (Veronica Repens). It was a very small plant that I bought for $1.49. It did nothing last year. This year, however, it is in beautiful bloom! It has low growing, mat-forming foliage with clusters of small flowers, in this case, white flowers. Blooms during the spring and summer and is great for rock gardens, edging, borders and ground cover.

This perennial likes sun or part shade and grows to about 3" high.

How to stop slugs and snails from eating your plants

Something's Been Eating My Sage!

Do the leaves on your plants look as if some beastie has been nibbling? You may have slugs or snails. I noticed that my Sage has become a meal for snails or slugs, which I know lurk during the day in my garden, then dig into my plants at night.

They also love my Hostas. A friend of mine gave me some beautiful Hostas from her garden, which are very precious to me. I notice that they too are being eaten, so I've researched some ways to organically control these pests. These methods are also good for veggie gardens where slugs and snails like to feast.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
DE is readily available from your local nursery. It's a very fine dust of diaton skeletons. These are made of silicon and very sharp to a slug or snail, and even ants. The snail or slug will get miniscule cuts as they slither their way through the dust. It may not kill them but it will deter them!

How to use: Sprinkle the dust around base of plants, and on leaves.


Egg Shells
Egg shells not only deter slugs and snails, they also act as a fertilizer. They are especially beneficial to fast growing plants like fennel, peppers, green beans and tomatoes. They deter slugs and snails in much the same way as DE.

How to use:
  • Rinse shells thoroughly and air dry
  • Place in bag and crush
  • Spread crushed shells around bases of plants

Make a Beer Trap
This method seems to be favoured by people I've talked to and in books I've read. The critters fall into the beer and drown - cruel, I know, but it's them or your plants.

How to use:
Bury a recycled pie plate, plastic container in soil so that the brim is level with the soil. Some people just place a saucer in their gardens. Fill with beer to near to top of container. Check trap daily to dispose of pests and refill with beer.

Copper Strips
Studies have shown that slugs and snails get an electric shock when in contact with copper. You could try Doff Copper Slug Tape - 4m - Protects Approx 12 x 5 inch pots.

How to use: You can purchase copper backed paper and staple it to 3" wide boards, placed as a border around your garden.

I'd love to hear about your methods to control slugs and snails - what did you do and did it work. Or if you have general feedback on the content of The Bloomin' Blog, feel free to leave a comment.

And if the are non of these work, you may find a solution in 29 Ways to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs in Your Garden

The Truth About Organic Gardening, by Jeff Gillman
The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, by Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley
To buy these books, click on the Indigo link to the right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Make A Lasagna Garden: Control Weeds, Fertilize, and Recycle!

Save Your Back - You Don't Need To Dig!
Does the thought of digging out a new garden make your back ache? Or do you have an existing garden where the soil needs some help? Lasagna Gardening may be your answer.

I discovered this method a few years ago. We had a window replaced, and the workmen pounded the earth so much, that the garden underneath the window ended up like rock. We could barely turn the earth. Then I found out about Lasagna Gardening, sometimes called No-till or No-dig gardening.

Go Organic
I was amazed at how much the soil condition improved. This year I am using Lasagna Gardening in my vegetable garden. Experts say that the Lasagna Garden is more beneficial than tilling, for not only plant health, but also for the health of the microscopic and other little creatures, like worms, that make the earth healthy. It is an organic way to fertilize, control weeds and recycle newsprint.

There are many different "recipes" for a Lasgana Garden. Below is the method I've used.

  1. Newsprint - shredded or whole sheets. Use only black and white uncoated paper, not glossy coloured paper
  2. Organic material, like mulched leaves, grass clippings, or straw
  3. Compost
  4. Triple Mix
  5. Topsoil
  6. Mulch

  1. Thoroughly soak newsprint. This not only aids decomposition of newspaper, but also stops the papers from flying around on windy days.
  2. Lay newspapers over garden bed
  3. Layer with remaining ingredients in order noted above
  4. Repeat layers as necessary

To replenish my existing garden, I found one layer to be adequate. However, if you are creating a new garden over top of grass, or even concrete, then you will need several layers, finishing off with the mulch.

To see more Lasagna Garden "recipes", you may want to view some videos I found on YouTube below. You might also want to view this web page for detailed instructions:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finally figured out rudimentary template customization

It took a while, but I've now figured out how to make look like mine, and not the same as 50 million other blogger templates. Still needs improvement, but it's a start!

Comments about look of new template welcome.


Related Posts with Thumbnails