Quirky Garden Hacks Too!!

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Quirky Garden Hacks!! – 2

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Season 3 – Autumn/Winter 2019/20

Doin The Dirt Directory

Quirky Garden Hacks!! – 1

Quirky Garden Hacks!! – 2

As l wrote in ‘Quirky Garden Hacks’ [1] each one of these episodes to this mini series will be 3 hints for your pleasure, although in this particular episode l shall also just be adding in an update to the garden to date.

So following on from before …………


4 – Walking on Eggshells!

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There are many uses of eggshell in the garden, gardening process and also in the composting.

I tend to blitz all our kitchen waste and add it into the compost pile and that also includes egg shells. The blender/chopper makes a fantastic job of breaking them down to an even more efficient result than simply you crushing them in your hands.

Eggshell adds calcium – be this to the compost where upon it is a briliant way of slow releasing of the nutrient to the heap, or if you are a worm farmer adding crushed eggshells to your wormeries is also a terrific way to again add in a slow releaser to the residents as well as a great medium for reducing acidic levels in the soils becoming too excessive in the bins.

If using with the compost pile, I never rinse the eggshells out as this just adds a little extra nitrogen to their overall purpose.

You can add them directly to the soil, l have done this before because in addition to the calcium – eggshell also holds other nutrients such as sulfur, magnesium, potassium,  sodium and organic matter – these are all huge benefits to be included to your gardening process – although l would suggest breaking them up before adding to the soil to as fine a grounding as you can, as they do take time to break down naturally. In the grounded fashion the addition of eggshell dust can affect the soils in a beneficial manner, but in just the hand crushed method, the inclusion to the soil does nothing.

Another use for broken shells is as a natural pest control again slugs and snails although when doing this l do suggest washing out the shells, allowing them to dry naturally and then crushing with a rolling pin or using a blender but do NOT break them into a fine grounding. Slugs and snails are rather timid when it comes to the broken eggshells. it feels to them like how it would feel to us to be walking barefoot on broken glass.

5 – Vaseline on the Stem!!!

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Something you might think about having in your garden shed is a jar of vaseline – l have found it works wonders for four main reasons with regards gardening:

1] After gardening, rubbing into your hands even if you wear gloves will ensure that your hands remain soft. Dermatologists also suggest using vaseline  after gardening and especially if working with soil or water. The content will ensure that cracks in your hands seal and heal quicker.

2] Rub vaseline around the bases and stems of plants that are experiencing problems with aphids.  Ants and aphids share a symbiotic relationship – the aphids offer the ants a sugary substance and the ants offer the aphids protection from predatory actions from other insects and or parasites. By rubbing the vaseline around the stem base, you are preventing the ants for assisting the aphids and allowing for the aphid predators to continue to feed unassailed by ant armies!. The ants become stuck and then stop climbing the stem. This method works well on bushes, plants and trees.

3] Use a liberal dose of vaseline on garden tools after use. Clean the edges and or blades of the tools and then dry, then apply the vaseline – the content helps to keep rust away.

4] You can also use it around the tops of pots or containers to ward off snails and slugs. Suze and l have found that this can work, but if there is heavy rains it can after a much shorter period wash the content off. So we suggest renewing it every few days instead.

6 – Worms Casing The Lawn!

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When you see worms on your grass at night [mostly after it has rained] this is the sign of a very healthy soil, the absence of worms after adding moisture or the rains might mean a sterile soil and or a severely depleted nutrient soil. We have been experiencing excessive rainfall for the last 6 – 8 weeks and so l have seen a lot of earthworms late at night especially when l let Scrappy out for her late night before bed wee.

After the rains and in the morning you probably see these …

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Nope, not doggy poops! But it IS worm poo – they are referred to as ‘worm casings on your lawn’. They are a highly  rich nutrient source of soil or dirt or even miniature composts if you wish. They are also tremendous for the lawn itself. However l do know of gardeners and ornamental lawn growers who both detest the worms for this behaviour as much as the casings themselves as it makes the lawn look less than perfect and not so ‘flat’, and especially if the lawn has a lot of very active worms – which could in turn further award great opportunities to the likes of moles!

Earthworms and their casings are great for composting, and the worms are superb at aeration of the soils beneath the lawns – but then l am not of course after a pool table for a lawn so l am not bothered by the presence of the casings atop of the grass.

What l tend to do with them is not walk on them and flatten them, but rake them further into the lawn and more so when l am raking leaves the casings add valuable nutrients and act as an organic fertiliser to your grass. Additionally when l am raking the leaves l will have this nutrient present on the leaves which are heading for the compost!

The hack is ‘don’t despair’ the presence of the casings upon your lawns, the benefits far outweight the drawbacks.

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Leaves, and cased lawn to be raked.

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Raked leaves and casings all together to be added to the compost heap.

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All leaves and casings added to compost alongside dampened cardball scrunchies.

Ps: If you had ever wanted to try your hand at worm farming, but didn’t want to travel to the expense of buying a worm farm, then why not try making your own…. l am a failed wormery gardener … another tale perhaps in the future. These days l prefer the worms in the compost and under the lawn, but should you wish to further explore …?


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Gardening Updates

Ava the Avocado

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Ava is currently holding her own pretty well. She is currently residing in the conservatory after l made the decision to NOT keep her wintered in the greenhouse in case the cold actually killed her. Where she is now, is warmer than the greenhouse but cold enough to stop the spread of the fungal disease blighting her.

I water Ava once every five days with rainwater only. I have had to remove a few more of the older leaves  and she is not totally free of the problem, but the cold weather has slowed down the progress and this buys me time to thoroughly research it and try and be better prepared for Ava’s recovery come the return of spring and summer 2020.

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The Garlic Plantings

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You may recall three weeks ago l planted the garlic cloves Time To Do The Jiggy, Clothes On, Cloves Off!.

Well the assorted cloves planted are doing really well with top growth as root growth…

…. but the elephant are still taking their time, although they do have excellent root growth, so at least something is happening!

The Power Wee’d’in Bin!

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This soilage bin is about three weeks of age now, l have been adding once every five days bottled urine at 100% strength and undiluted in an attempt to break down the palm fronds, roots and so on. I checked on it this morning and it’s potent … not fit for drinking, but a stonking brew on it’s own! I did fork it quite a bit to ensure things were stirred around successfully and to further aid the breakdown and decomposition process. This liquid, will also when ready be able to be utilised as either a direct to compost breakdown liquid or indeed a diluted fertiliser.

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The Compost Pile

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Well, l am gearing up for my first official turning or flipping of content if you wish next month – the first 7 – 10 days of December will see the first turn, and l forecast that by the end of the first six weeks we should have a workable content which would be fine to use as a mulcher, but by around the 16 th week mark the compost will be the material l am after and that is a very fine compost soil.

I plan to write a total of 6 posts covering the  0 – Compost process or  Turns 1, 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20. So for those interested in creating a compost pile of their own, you can see what it looks like at those various stages.

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You can see the trio of bins above and the various stages of prep ongoing now .. the two furthest away are or rather were filled to the top two weeks ago, and now there is considerable differences in their heights. Whilst the bottom cubicle is what l class as the currently active heap. This is the unit that is taking all the garden’s current winter waste, chopped kitchen wastes, wet cardboards, shredded papers and raked leaves and winter worm casings.

The two cubicles furthest away will on Turn One all move to their immediate left [s] and the process will start. There is of course compost soils already sitting atop of the two units furthest away that was from 2018/19 but this was put here to soften down and break up further and upon inspection l have seen a very healthy worm culture performing that task exceedingly well. See below. This is very healthy compost soil, that will just need sieving.

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Every week l have been preparing the currently active compost bin in readiness to Turn 1 next week sometime.

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Shredded kitchen waste is adored by the worms and on this afternoon’s quick prod l noticed some very large blue greys in there [ the giants amongst worms] feeding on the shredded wastes. You don’t need to shred down kitchen wastes, BUT it does help the decomposition speed process. Smaller particles break down quicker. After every addition, l add in a dampened lasagne layer of cardboard and keep buckets of wet cardboard around so as to roll up into scrunchies which can be added to aid the whole breakdown process.

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Anyway, there we go, another three garden hacks and an update of the progressions in the garden.

l’ll take my leave of you now

Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …

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