Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tenant For The Week

I'm not not sure exactly why I chose this paticular tenant to rent my blog this week. I had six other bids, but his caught my eye. Check him out. He's right under Teh Blogfather. Yeah, the little black square.

I appreciate his humour and I guess, I just feel like living vicariously through him for a little while. How, you might ask? Because he say's the F-word just as much as I would like to here in my blog, but unfortuantely when I slip up, I get "the phone call" from my mother. Sigh... hi mom.

Q is his name, and I find him amusing, mostly. Maybe just cuz he bitches a lot. I feel a kinship. Anyway, check him out.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Hate Slugs

Got a slug problem? Haven't we all. Hostas, Geums, Oriental Poppies, Lupins, Nasturtiums, you name it, they eat it. Big black ones, little grey ones, they do the same damage, nibble, nibble, nibble, and the plant is destroyed.

Better run down to the garden center to buy a chemical to kill them with; slug pellets, something like that, to further enrich the chemical arsenal that's already stashed in the garden shed. Right?

Of course I never use chemicals myself. (yeah,right) Far too expensive. And do they always work?

If you have a slug problem, my advice to you is, get a hedgehog. That's the answer. Hedgehogs eat slugs - the slugs that would otherwise eat your plants. Problem solved. But where do you get hold of a hedgehog? Not from the garden Center, that's for sure. "I want a hedgehog, please," you say, "a slug-eating hedgehog." "We don't do slug-eating hedgehogs, just slug pellets." "Oh," I say, "and what happens if a passing hedgehog eats the slug pellets?" "It dies of course."

And there lies the problem. Catch 22. Use slug pellets and you have to keep using them. And a very costly business it is too, for you simply kill off the natural predators that would otherwise keep the slug population down to an acceptable level. Dead hedgehogs in the garden are useless, whereas live ones are like gold dust.

Now you can't buy hedgehogs in the garden center of course, but what you can buy is hedging plants - hedging plants that will grow into fine hedges and provide just the right sort of environment for passing hedgehogs.

And if all this sounds too complicated, too time consuming, then a patch of scrub land in the garden, a small over-grown area with weeds and a bit of long grass (a miniature 'wildlife' garden really) will attract them as well. For some, they might already have the perfect area. I probably have several.

While you're waiting for passing hedgehogs to turn up and populate your garden, of course, you'll have to tolerate a bit of slug damage now and again, that's inevitable. But if you have a particular plant in the garden that's a cherished one, then sprinkle a handful of salt or some grit around it as a slug barrier. Slugs don't like this. Slugs like to glide over smooth surfaces, not sharp or salty ones.

But the best method of all, the guaranteed 100 % method of eradicating slugs, is to buy a flashlight, go slug hunting at night and then pick them off by hand. Simple as that. A fun activity, and an activity that will surely enrich your personal life.

What is it tonight, then? The bar, the movies, early to bed for a bit of 'this and that', or a bit of slug hunting by flashlight? It's got to be slug hunting, hasn't it? Slug hunting by flashlight. Great fun. Whoo-hoo!

Now if all this sounds too complicated, too wishy-washy, a load of horticultural mumbo-jumbo - pure hogwash - then there's nothing to prevent you from buying an assortment of chemical applications from the garden center to kill them with. But be careful, because one man's chemical solution to the problem is another man's time bomb.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yay! Spring Is Almost Here! Boing Boing!

Ah....the pull of Spring. How could I think that you ask? Easy when you live in the Willamette Valley. Yes, yes I know it's still January. But my daffodils are springing up, already reaching about 5" high.

I want to buy dirt! I want to get manure! I want to drool over all the new toys at the garden center at my local home improvement store! I want to get my knees dirty in my garden while pulling weeds! (Great relaxing activity for me. Especially if you are pissed off at your significant other...If ya gotta kill something...better it be a weed.)

Yesterday I gazed longingly out my window at my yard. My yard may be small, but I utilize a lot of it. Last year along with my flower garden, I had giant pumpkins, jack o-lantern pumpkins, peas (3 kinds), pole beans, tomatoes (five kinds), zucchini, a mystery squash, corn, strawberries, raspberries, cardoons, and artichokes. Oh, and I also have four Gravenstein Apple trees, and two plum trees. I love green stuff.

Whoo hoo!!! Dirty hands, here I come!