I am always looking for creative ways to water my garden with out wasting valuable drinking water, this article has some great tips!
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Conserving water is an important aspect of growing a "green" garden. The fewer resources we have to use, the better. And since water is an important part of most gardens (and also the most egregiously wasted — it drives me crazy to watch people put their sprinklers on and let the water all run down their driveway!) it’s a good idea to try to find alternative ways of watering than solely depending on tap water. Here are five that I’ve used for my own garden.
1. Rain Barrel
This is kind of a no-brainer, but I know that many people don’t have them because ready-made rain barrels can be pretty pricey. Luckily, there are very good instructions online for making your own, inexpensively:
- MAKE: Magazine has instructions for not only making a single barrel, but also for linking two or more together.
- Instructables shows how to make your own rain barrel with standard hardware store parts.
- Here are instructions from the city of Raleigh, NC for how to make a rain barrel from a plastic trash can.
2. Buckets Under Downspouts and Eaves
This is a good option for those who don’t want to go all out with a rain barrel, or who, for one reason or another, can’t have one where they live. If you’re an apartment dweller with a balcony or patio — you can use this tip, too. Simply set five gallon buckets or whichever watering cans you have under your downspouts, at the edges of roof eaves or overhangs, or just out in the open to collect the rain water. You won’t get as much as you would with a rain barrel, but some is better than none, right?
3. Kid-Size Swimming Pool
If you have kids and find yourself filling up a little pool for them to splash around in during hot weather, don’t just let that water flow out onto the lawn when you empty the pool! Use buckets or watering cans to get the water out, and use the water for your garden instead. Even if you don’t have kids, a small kid’s pool is another excellent way to capture rainwater as described in #2, above.
4. Buckets in the Shower
One of the easiest ways to capture water that would otherwise be wasted is to take a shower with a bucket or two. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the buckets fill (even if you do take short showers) and you can use the water for your houseplants or garden.
5. Cooking Water
If you’ve boiled a bunch of vegetables or pasta, don’t just pour that water down the drain when you’re done with it! Let it cool completely, then use it to water plants in your garden. It’s perfectly safe for them, and actually contains a bit of nutrition for your plants, especially if you’ve boiled vegetables.
These are just a few ways to gather otherwise "wasted" water and put it to use in your garden instead.
Thought I would share a few images from out little garden!! Everything is coming up as nice as they can, in the room that we have! Enjoying the first lettuce of the season with dinner tonight!!
Article by Debra Frick @ http://www.thriftyfun.com
I am going to start with some easy fertilizers that you might not have thought of.
Put into an old plastic bottle what is left of your morning coffee. Add to 2 gallons of water and spray it in your garden once a week.Your plants will get magnesium, potassium and nitrogen from the coffee waste. Rose Food can be made from coffee grounds also, you will need to dry the coffee grounds on a cookie sheet on paper towelling or newspaper. Sprinkle the grounds around the base of your acid-loving plants. Azaleas, roses, rhododendrons and blueberries are just some of the plants that will benefit from this treatment. Be careful not to overdo it with the grounds. Even acid-loving plants can get too much acid.
Fish Tank Water
When doing a tank cleaning, save all the water to go into your garden. Used fish tank water is full of nitrogen and other nutrients that plants need to thrive.
Manure Tea or Top Dressing
Do your kids have a bunny or guinea pig? Have them clean the cage into a big bucket and add water. Use this to spray directly on your garden or use with your houseplants. Yes, it is going to stink but as the bedding breaks down, it will become rich with nitrogen and other needed elements for your plants. Rabbit manure is considered a cold manure so it can also be use directly on your garden. The old soiled bedding will act as a mulch. Your plants will benefit from the extra water retention and all the nitrogen in the manure.
Eggshell Top dressing
Save all those egg shells from your big Sunday breakfasts. Wash thoroughly and let dry for a day or two. Grind in your food processor or in your blender to a fine powder. Apply to your plants. Eggs shells are made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate, the main ingredient in agricultural lime.
Fireplace ashes can be used to replace garden fertilizer and lime. They are also high in potassium. Sprinkle your fireplace ash over your garden beds, and work into the soil.
Note: Fireplace ash should not be used if your soil is alkaline, or be used around acid-loving plants.
Do not throw away your banana peels. Use these peels for your rose plants and see them flourish. These are also full of potassium and help roses to grow.
Tea waste is especially useful for orchids. You can use your tea bags and tea waste, in summer and spring, to nourish all the plants in your garden.
Milk, mixed with water in the ratio 1 to 4, will give your plants nitrogen building protein. You can feed your plants with milk once every week. Great way to use that old milk that is starting to spoil.
Epsom salts contains sulphate and magnesium, which are good for plants like potatoes, tomatoes, roses, etc. One tablespoon of Epsom salt should be mixed with a gallon of water. Use Epsom salt once a month for your plants.
Garden Pest Sprays
These are recipes for getting rid of the pests in your garden:
They can be killed safely by pouring boiling hot water down into the nest in the ground. Fire Ants can be nasty and a real hazard to small children and pets. The only way to get rid of an infestation is to kill the queen. Wait until right before the next rainstorm. Sprinkle instant grits on the fire ant hill. The workers will carry the grits to the queen for her to eat. She’ll eat the grits and when it rains, she’ll drink. The grits will expand in her stomach and she’ll "bloat" to death. Once she’s out of the way, the leaderless ants will die off.
Diatomaceous earth kills earwigs, ants and box elder bugs. It can kill beneficial bugs too so be sure to only apply it just to the ground surface where you think insects at their worst.
Fruit flies can be killed with cheap wine left out in a small container.
Easy Insect Spray
Combine 1 Tbsp. of dishwashing detergent and 1 cup cooking oil into a gallon jug or plastic bottle. This is your master mix as this will make more than one batch of insect killer. Add 5 Tbsp. of the detergent and oil mixture into a gallon jug of warm water. Shake the jug to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a garden sprayer and apply to your plants.
Mix 3 Tbsp. of natural apple cider vinegar in one gallon of water. Spray during the cool part of the day for black spot on roses and other fungal diseases. Adding molasses at 1 Tbsp. per gallon will again help.
Bugs Off All Purpose Spray
Take 1 garlic bulb and 1 small onion and chop in a blender. Add one 1 tsp. of powdered cayenne pepper and 1 quart water. Let steep for one hour. Strain through some cheesecloth. Add 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap to help your mixture to stick to the leaves of your plants. Store in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Always be careful when using on plants this mixture can cause leaf burn. Do a check beforehand.
Back off Jack Insect Spray
Puree 1/2 cup of hot peppers (the hotter the better) with 2 cups of water. Strain the liquid through some cheese cloth. Apply for 5 to 7 days or until the pests are gone.
You won’t catch me trying this one at my place, for starters the compost bin is way to high, and my neighbours will begin to wonder if I lost my marbles. I found this article at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk, while searching for methods to break my own compost down faster, needless to say I am still searching for a good method!!
Gardeners at one National Trust property are urging the country to join them in peeing outdoors to help UK gardens grow greener.
A three metre long ‘pee bale’ has been installed within the walled gardens of the National Trust’s Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire.
Head Gardener, Philip Whaites, is encouraging his male colleagues to relieve themselves onto the straw bale when the call of nature occurs.
This helps activate the composting process on the estate’s compost heap – producing a free supply of compost material – and also cuts down on the estate’s water use.
‘For eight weeks now, male members of our garden and estate teams have been using the outdoor straw bale when nature calls, which all goes towards our eco-friendly composting system here at Wimpole,’ Philip explained.
‘The pee bale is excellent matter to add to our compost heap to stimulate the composting process; and with over 400 acres of gardens and parkland to utilise compost, we need all the help we can get.
Of course we’re very careful to make sure the pee bale is only in use out of visitor hours, as we don’t want to scare the public. And it doesn’t smell.
There are obvious logistical benefits to limiting it to male members of the team, but also male pee is preferable to women’s, as the male stuff is apparently less acidic.’
By the end of the year, it’s calculated that the ten men from the seventy strong garden and estates team will make over 1,000 individual trips to the pee bale, contributing towards the compost for the estate.
What’s more, the estate will have saved up to 30 per cent of its daily water use by not having to flush the loo so many times.
Rosemary Hooper, Wimpole estate’s in-house Master Composter, provides composting advice to visitors to help them compost whatever the size of their garden or outdoor space.
Rosemary said: ‘Most people can compost in some way in their own gardens.
Peeing on a compost heap activates the composting process and helps to produce a ready supply of lovely organic matter to add back to the garden.With the ready supply of fallen leaves at this time of year, it’s a great time to get composting. Adding a little pee just helps get it all going; it’s totally safe and a bit of fun too.’
Tamzin Phillips, the National Trust’s Compost Doctor, said: ‘An average flush of the toilet can use anything from four and a half to nine litres of water each time, but what people may not realise is that this water is treated to the same standard as drinking water and shouldn’t be wasted.
What’s so great about the pee bale is that it’s using a natural solution to help the garden whilst saving flushing the loo for only when it’s really necessary.’
The pee bale is part of the garden composting ‘zone’ on the Wimpole estate, where the gardening team has been showcasing its mass composting facilities and increasing visitor awareness of the importance of composting waste.
Other more unusual composting facilities on the estate include a ‘dagging’ tank into which the rear end trimmings from the fleeces from estate’s sheep are stirred up on a regular basis to produce a liquid feed.
After a few weeks of stirring, the feed is used to nourish Wimpole’s famous squash plants, tomatoes and even roses. A comfrey bed established nearby means the leaves can be added to the heap and stirred into the dagging tank, which, along with the fermented straw from the pee bale is added to Wimpole’s rich and healthy compost.
Philip added:’Whilst the use of outdoor bale may not be standard practice amongst all my National Trust gardening colleagues, here at Wimpole we’re taking inspiration from historic methods of making compost which aside of being part of our heritage, also have minimum impact on the environment.”
You don’t have to live near Wimpole Hall to see behind the scenes on how simple, environmentally friendly composting works; National Trust experts share their hints and tips on best composting practice, including a short and easy to follow film.
In the second of a series of six videos featuring National Trust gardeners sharing their secrets, head gardener Richard Todd from Anglesey Abbey shows how to make your own low-cost compost bin from scrap pallets, how to get the right mix of greens and browns in your compost and gives advice on how to make best use of your home made compost in the garden.
Future videos offering priceless advice include composting, saving water, growing your own food, organic gardening and how to look after wildlife in the garden; all featuring National Trust experts in each area, passing on years of knowledge in a simple, easy to follow way. These videos will be on the website over the next few months.
My garden is being ravaged by caterpillars, when I am not sure on what to do, where do I turn but Google?! This is a great article I came across, that I thought I would share with you!
article by: Colleen Vanderlinden
Back when I started my first garden, a certain celebrity gardener and his books of gardening concoctions were all the rage. You could tell when it was fundraising time on our local PBS station because they’d have him live in the studio, telling us that all we had to do was use items such as baby shampoo, instant tea, and whiskey, and we’d be able to grow our best garden ever. Those claims seemed pretty far-fetched to me back then, and now that I know a little more, I know that several of those concoctions were either just plain bad ideas or that one item in his recipe was the one that was actually doing the work while the rest were either unnecessary or possibly harmful to plants, insects and other soil-dwelling organisms. So please know that my b.s. radar is at high alert when I see anything about homemade gardening sprays and the like. With that in mind, here are 15 homemade, organic solutions for garden problems. I use them, and they work. And not one of them requires you to pour whiskey on your plants.
1. Tomato Leaf Spray is effective in killing aphids and mites. It works because the alkaloids in the tomato leaves (and the leaves of all nightshades, actually) are fatal to many insects.
2. Garlic Oil Spray is a great, safe insect repellent. Simply put three to four cloves of minced garlic into two teaspoons of mineral oil. Let the mixture sit overnight, and then strain the garlic out of the oil. Add the oil to one pint of water, and add a teaspoon of biodegradable dish soap. Store in a bottle or jar, and dilute the mixture when you use it by adding two tablespoons of your garlic oil mixture to one pint of water.
This mixture works because the compounds in garlic (namely, diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide) are irritating or deadly to many insects. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves. What insects does garlic oil repel? Whiteflies, aphids, and most beetles will avoid plants sprayed with garlic oil. A word of caution: don’t apply this spray on a sunny day, because the oils can cause foliage to burn.
3. Hot Pepper Spray is a great solution if you have problems with mites. Simply mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, a few drops of biodegradable dish soap, and one quart of water and let it sit overnight. Use a spray bottle to apply the spray to infested plants.
Hot pepper spray works because the compound capsaicin, which causes the "heat" in hot peppers, is just as irritating to insects as it is to us (have you ever sliced a hot pepper and gotten any of it in an open cut? Ouch!) This mixture also helps repel whiteflies, but it may have to be reapplied if you start to see the mites or whiteflies returning.
4. Simple Soap Spray is useful in taking out a wide variety of garden pests, including aphids, scale, mites, and thrips. Just add one tablespoon of dishwashing soap to a gallon of water and spray the mixture on the pests.
Why does this work? The soap dissolves the outer coating or shell of the insects, eventually killing them.
5. Beer for the Slugs: sink a tuna can or pie plate into the ground, and add a couple of inches of beer, to about an inch below the top of the container. The slugs will go in for a drink and drown.
Beer works because the slugs are attracted to the yeast. It’s really important to sink the container into the soil and keep the beer about an inch lower than the soil. This way, the slugs have to go down after the beer, and they drown. If the beer is near the soil, the slugs can just have a drink and then go and munch some hostas when they’re done with happy hour.
6. Citrus Rinds as Slug Traps. This works. If you don’t have beer in the house, but you do have oranges, grapefruits, or lemons, give this a try.
7. Newspaper Earwig Traps work well for reducing the population of these sometimes-pesky insects.
8. Soda Bottle Yellowjacket Traps work by attracting the yellowjackets away from seating or picnic areas, and then ensuring that they can’t escape the trap.
9. Red Pepper Spray works well for making your plants less tasty to mammal and bird pests. If bunnies, deer, mice, squirrels, and birds are regularly messing with your garden, make the following mixture and spray target plants weekly. Mix four tablespoons of Tabasco sauce, one quart of water, and one teaspoon of dish soap. The capsaicin in the pepper spray will irritate the animal pests, and they’ll look for less spicy fare elsewhere.
Fungal Disease Solutions
10. Milk for Powdery Mildew. The milk works just as well as toxic fungicides at preventing the growth of powdery mildew. This mixture will need to be reapplied regularly, but it works wonderfully.
11. Baking Soda Spray for Powdery Mildew is a tried-and-true method for preventing powdery mildew. It needs to be applied weekly, but if you have a problem with mildew in your garden, it will be well worth the time. Simply combine one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, one tablespoon of dish soap and one gallon of water and spray it on the foliage of susceptible plants.
Baking soda spray works because the baking soda disrupts fungal spores, preventing them from germinating. The oil and soap help the mixture stick to plant leaves.
12. Vinegar works very well for weeds in your lawn and garden. The main issue with vinegar is that it can harm other plants. I recommend using a foam paintbrush to brush the vinegar directly onto the leaves of weeds you’re trying to kill. This prevents the vinegar from getting onto other plants and ensures that the entire leaf surface is coated with the vinegar.
13. Boiling Water for Sidewalk Weeds: Boil some water, and pour it over weeds in the cracks of your sidewalks or driveways. Most weeds can’t stand up to this treatment, and your problem is solved. Just be careful when pouring!
14. Vinegar and Salt for Sidewalk Weeds: I personally prefer pouring boiling water on sidewalk weeds, or pulling them. But if you have some really stubborn weeds, you can try diluting a few teaspoons of water into some white vinegar and pouring that onto your sidewalk weeds. Please note that this concoction will kill just about any plant it comes in contact with, so keep it away from your other plants, as well as your lawn.
And the Best Homemade Garden Concoction of All
15. Compost! Seriously, whether you’re an apartment dweller with a fire escape farm or a rural farmer, you need to be making and using the stuff. It adds nutrients, improves soil structure, increases moisture retention, and increases the number of beneficial microbes in your soil. And that’s all besides preventing organic matter from making its way to the landfill.
I hope these ideas for safe, homemade organic garden concoctions are helpful. By having just a handful of inexpensive items on hand, you can take care of most common gardening dilemmas in your own, green way.