Monday

A-Z Garden Tips: Washing Wizardry



Even with garden gloves, any green thumber’s hands can get muddy and dirty. This is especially true during seed planting, deadheading, and other garden tasks requiring bare fingers.

Personally, I like to rinse off my hands pretty often, while I am gardening. But I don’t like kicking my shoes on and off to tromp into the hands for this purpose.

And I find it somewhat cumbersome to detach and reattach my water sprinklers or garden hose nozzles, just to rinse my hands.

So I have a much more convenient solution for hand washing. I simply recycle an empty laundry detergent bottle with a nozzle. I rinse it out completely and fill it with clean water. Then I keep it on the counter in my potting shed. When I need to rinse off my hands, I stick an empty bucket underneath (to catch any drips and runoff) and have at it.

An old dishtowel is handy for dry-offs.

Then I’m right back to the garden – that quickly.

Images:
LAN photo for PAH
All rights reserved

NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. Like this blog?  Check out Practically at Home on Facebook.


 

Saturday

A-Z Garden Tips: Vespiary Vigilance




A vespiary near the garden can lead to violence. That sounds pretty vile, but what does it mean?

What is a vespiary? It’s a wasp next. And, if disturbed, the vespirary can virtually erupt, with wasps swarming and buzzing and stining.

Wasp stings can cause pain, itching, rashes, and swelling. In allergic individuals, the reactions may be even more severe. For this reason, vigilant gardeners are cautious around wasp nests and particularly careful when removing them.

So how do you get rid of a wasp nest?


  1. First, it’s important to find out if you are allergic to wasp stings. A medical allergy test can be done.

  1. It may be helpful to determine what kind of wasps are living in the nest. Odds are, they are hornets, paper wasps, or yellow jackets. None of these are bees, as wasps are another species altogether.

  1. Choose your timing strategically. The best time to remove a wasp nest is in midwinter, when freezing temperatures kill off the inhabitants. The next best choice is early spring, before the colony is fully populated. By late summer, a large nest might contain thousands of wasps. Also, the wasps tend to be most aggressive later in the season.

  1. Ideally, the wasp nest removal takes place at night, when wasps generally are resting. Avoid using a flashlight, as this will draw them to you.

  1. If the wasp nest is up high (as it is likely to be), it’s far safer to call a professional exterminator than to try to tackle the job yourself. If the wasps swarm, you could risk falling from a ladder and suffering serious injury. Professional help is also advised, if the wasp nest is in a hard to reach spot, such as under house siding or beneath a deck or porch.

  1. Put on protective clothing, covering as much of your body, legs, feet, arms, hands, neck, head, and face as possible. Safety goggles can be useful. Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose, particularly when spraying the wasp nest.

  1. Pick and clear a way of quick escape before spraying, as the wasps are sure to evacuate the nest promptly. Remove flower pots, garden tools, toys, or other potential roadblocks.

  1. Spray the entire wasp nest liberally. Both organic and chemical wasp sprays and powders are sold. Keep in mind that these pesticide products are poisonous.

  1. Be sure to collect and dispose of any dead wasps after spraying, so pets and other animals do not eat them and ingest the wasp spray.

  1. Keep children, pets, and others away from the area for at least 24 hours.


Safe removal of the wasp nest and eviction of its wasp population can greatly increase gardening safety and enjoyment. Also, by losing the wasps, but not harming any bees, the natural garden pollination can continue unheeded.

Images:
Wasp Nest
By Sanjay Acharya
Creative Commons Licensing


NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.


Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. Like this blog?  Check out Practically at Home on Facebook.


Friday

A-Z Garden Tips: Underfilling Urns



We have a pair of oversized urns on our front porch, which we plant with various annual flowers and greenery each spring. First, however, these gigantic containers must be filled with potting soil.

Lots and lots of potting soil.

That’s a lot of heavy lifting, and it can be costly. But I found a simpler solution. Before planting in these urns, I gather a few pails of pine cones. We have several pine trees in the yard, so this is easy.

I fill each urn about halfway with pine cones. Then I dump in the potting soil and plant the flowers in it.

The pine cones eventually decompose, adding organic matter to the soil in the urns – sort of like mulching from underneath. This also helps to prevent over-compaction of the soil in each planter.

In the fall, when I clean out these containers, the soil comes out pretty neatly, as the roots are not embedded in the bases of the urns.

Gotta love simple gardening solutions.

NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.
Image:
Pixabay - public domain

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. Like this blog?  Check out Practically at Home on Facebook.


Thursday

A-Z Garden Tips: Trowels and Tools




When I first took up gardening, I had no idea. I bought a cheap set of hand tools (a trowel, a mini cultivator/rake and a weeder) and dug into my garden bed. For a while, I didn’t understand why my hands grew sore so quickly.

Then the tools began to bend in the hard clay-soil mix that is so plentiful around here.

Cheap garden tools are no bargain. 

Finally, I sprung for a nice set of hand tools for gardening. I picked the Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set, largely because I have had long-term success with Fiskars scissors for sewing.

(I have used The Original Fiskars Orange-Handled Scissors and Fiskars 8 Inch Pinking Shears for many years. Plus I use a Fiskars Paper Trimmer in my office. Gee, it sounds like I work for the company. But I don't.)

I figured their garden tools would be of similar quality.

And they were.

Years later, I am still using the same set of garden tools. I like the comfortably padded contoured handles and the rust-free aluminum blades. In fact, I later bought the Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears for clipping plants and the Fiskars Titanium Micro-Tip Easy Action Scissors for deadheading and picking flowers.

These garden tools cost a little more, but they simply last … and so do my hands.


NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.
Image:
Product promo photo
fair use

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. Like this blog?  Check out Practically at Home on Facebook.


LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin