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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Elsewhere Online: Trench composting saves the day

Jane Perrone, over at Horticultural has a post on trench composting and it sounds interesting. I have much more waste than a typical compost pile can accomodate, so I might think about adding a trench or two to my garden instead of sending out tons of leaf mold, etc in the garden bin.

Googles Search: Trench Composting

Trench composting saves the day As fellow composter Simon Sherlock pointed out in the comments to my previous post, it will be some time before my new worm composter can take all my kitchen waste. Add too much in the early stages and the worms won't be able to eat it before some of the stuff putrefies, making the worms unhappy, and possibly dead. I forgot to say earlier that my solution to the excess kitchen waste problem, now that my allotment site has banned it from compost heaps, is trench composting. I am assuming the powers that be won't object because in trench composting,...

(Via Horticultural.)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Elsewhere Online: How to build a rain water collector

Heck, I'd almost build one of these if there was any expectation of rain in the next 12 months.

I am sure we will get some rain this Winter, but prospects don't look good. Then again, maybe I SHOULD build one of these so I can capture what little we do it.

Decisions, decisions...


How to build a rain water collector

In this instructable, I will show how I made a rainwater collection system to water my garden. This helps to conserve water and make good use of a free and renewable resource.



Note that this involves using many different tools and proper safety precautions should always be taken.

The beginning -...

By: iPodGuy

(Via explore.)


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Introduction to Cottage Gardens - VideoJug.com

I have often contemplated a cottage garden retrofit to my garden and this video offers some great insight.



VideoJug: An Introduction To Cottage Gardens


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Saturday, June 09, 2007

LIVE from the Garden - June 9, 2007

by Douglas E. Welch, agn@welchwrite.com
Reader/Listener Line - 818-804-5049

Links mentioned in this podcast:

The Lavender Fields - Photos
Animalbytes with Keri Dearborn
Squarefoot Gardening with Andy Helsby
A Gardener's Notebook Pictures on Flickr
A Gardener's Notebook Photo Sharing Group on Flickr

Listen to the Podcast

If first link does not play, try this one.

Podtrac Player


Theme Music: The One by The Woodshedders, aka the Hot Club of West Virginia, courtesy of the PodSafe Music Network

Lavender Photo Shopping BagLavender Photo Notecards BagLavender Photo Shopping Bag

I used one of my photos from our trip to The Lavender Fields to create these lavender themed products -- available from from CafePress.com


Support A Gardener's Notebook:

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Learn how to subscribe to a podcast

Learn How To Subscribe LogoEven if you listen to my podcasts directly from the web site, or see the Subscribe links on this page, you still may be wondering what this "subscription" thing is all about.

Well, here is a video that shows you exactly how to subscribe to podcast using iTunes or the Juice podcatching client.

Watch How to Subscribe to a Podcast


After you watch the video, you can use the links below to subscribe to A Gardener's Notebook and and receive each new episode automatically.


Subscribe with iTunes

Copy this link to Subscribe using other podcatching clients or RSS feed readers


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Guest Post: Beneficial Wild Creatures In Your Garden by Keri Dearborn

Beneficial Wild Creatures In Your Garden
Guest Blogger, Keri Dearborn

(After talking with my friend Keri Dearborn over at AnimalBytes.net, I got the idea to have her write this blog post. She is an expert on wildlife and a gardener herself, so it seemed the perfect combination. Enjoy! -- Douglas)

I see my garden as an oasis of native habitat in a nature-hostile world. If I can sit on my patio and watch an Allen's hummingbird raising her latest batch of fledglings or pick up a pot and find a slender salamander hunting for earthworms, my faith in the resilience of the planet is restored.

But some wild visitors offer more than beauty and soul rejuvenation. These critters are beneficial to your garden or to you directly. You should be inviting them into your garden and encouraging them to stay.

Ant Lion PitsSuper Pollinators
We all learned about honey bees in Elementary School. While a great producer of honey, the European honey bee is not an efficient pollinator. It also is in serious trouble with introduced diseases. Native bees, like that big black valley carpenter bee that comes through your yard at the same time every day and the California bumble bee with its single stripe of yellow are much better at pollinating plants. These bees live in small groups or are solitary. They are docile and seldom sting.

But bees aren't the only pollinators. Many plants are pollinated by flies, wasps, beetles and other insects. A flower fly may look like a skinny bee hovering over your flowers, but this fly does double duty: itís an important pollinator and their larva feed on aphids.

Super Predators
Wild predators are vital to a healthy ecosystem, even in your yard. If you have a problem with aphids, donít spray insecticide, attract insect-eating predators. Nobody eats more bugs than spiders and other insects. Learn the good bugs from the bad.

Ant Lion PitsYou probably know the lady bug and the praying mantis eat a variety of insect pests. But so do ground beetles, ant lions and paper wasps. The golden polistes, a large common paper wasp, is frequently sprayed and their papery nest knocked down from house eaves. Do they have a stinger? Yes, but they seldom sting people. These wasps prey on tomato worms and other caterpillars that dine on your flowers and vegetable garden.

The other predators you need are insect-eating birds: wrens, bushtits, California towhees, black phoebes and hummingbirds. Thatís right, hummingbirds are catching insects on the wing. This crew of birds can clean up the bugs in your yard in no time, but they won't come if you are spraying. Nobody wants to eat a toxic bug?

Hawks also play an important roll. Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks will maintain a balance among your seed-eating birds. Red-tailed hawks hunt rodents and rabbits by day, while owls hunt them by night.

And while you might not think of a snake as something you want in your garden, think again. The gopher snake not only preys on gophers and mice, it is harmless to humans. It is such an efficient hunter, a rattlesnake doesn't want to compete with it. When a gopher snake moves in, the rattlesnake moves out.

Even a rattlesnake is providing a service by reducing rat and mice populations, but few people are comfortable having them around. To keep rattlesnakes away, provide habitat for their predators. Both red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks prey on rattlesnakes. California kingsnakes are immune to rattlesnake venom and also eat rattlesnakes. The beneficial kingsnake is harmless to humans.

Super Defenders
With all the hype about various diseases swilling around us, there are a few animals that offer humans valuable protection. Case in point the species that started this joint effort, the western fence lizard. For more on how the western fence lizard helps protect you from Lyme's disease check out my post on www.animalbytes.net .

West Nile virus is a real concern in Southern California. Removing standing water that offers mosquitos a breeding place is the first line of protection but there are a variety of predators that will help your efforts. Orb spiders with their classic webs are extraordinary insect hunters and mosquitos are on their menu. Admire that web, donít knock it down. Birds, that eat flying insects, like the black phoebe provide mosquito patrol during the day. While at night, bats are eating mosquitos by the ton. Bats are vital members of the southern California ecosystem. Iíve seen big brown bats, Brazilian free-tailed bats and a western red bat in my neighborhood. We put up a bat box last fall and April 25 we noticed bats milling around the bat house at twilight. Good bye mosquitos!

Go Native
There are few native animals I would deter from my garden. (Yes, I have had rabbits that munch my lettuce. (Desert cottontail) The key word here is "native." Most infestations and seriously troublesome critters (from insects to rats) are non-natives, they have few predators and even the weather may encourage them to over reproduce.

Why invite wild animals into your garden? Many of them can be beneficial. But it is also a global issue. Southern California is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, just like Borneo and the Amazon forest. Our native plants and animals are disappearing rapidly as their habitat is lost to human development. Some of these creatures are international residents. The hermit thrush that spent the winter in my yard is now in Canada or Alaska, while black-headed grosbeak and western tanagers have just returned from Mexico and Central America.

If you want to save the world, there is no better place to start than in your garden. Iíve had 114 native animal species in my yard, including 63 species of native birds. How about you?

How do you go about attracting beneficial wildlife to your garden? Check out my post ďCreating a Garden That Attracts WildlifeĒ on AnimalBytes.net.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Elsewhere Online: DIY newspaper seedling pots

You have probably seen something like this before, but this has nice, illustrated instructions. A great way to recycle a bit of your newspaper.

DIY newspaper seedling pots

Outside it may be Nor'eastering, but inside it's time to get your seedlings started for summer planting. Eric from Japan details how to recycle your newspaper into biodegradable seed-starting pots. (Continues)

(Via Lifehacker.)


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Elsewhere Online: How to Make a Garden Feel Welcoming

I received in this excellent article today as part of the Fine Gardening newsletter. It has the warm feeling of someone giving you a tour of their garden, something I always love.

Great ideas, too.

How to Make a Garden Feel Welcoming by Gordon Hayward

Use furnishings to create familiarity, invite lingering, and give a sense of coherence

Objects and structures can make a garden feel inviting and personal. A weathered birdbath (B on Site plan) passed on from the author's grandmother enhances a hosta bed.

Every time I walk past the 75-year-old birdbath in our garden here in southern Vermont, I recall when I first saw that cast-stone ornament as a boy in my late grandmother's garden near Oyster Bay, Long Island. It sat in the center of a boxwood-edged rose garden that was crisscrossed with crushed-oyster-shell paths. While visitors to our garden don't know what associations I hold with that birdbath, they can tell that it's old, that it anchors the broad curve of a hosta bed, and that birds do surely visit it. Objects such as this, rife with history and meaning, make our garden feel personal, anchored, and peaceful.

(Continues)

(Via Fine Gardening.)


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line



Frame from drip irrigation videoWhile the rest of the family was out on an excursion with Nonna to see the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, I finally get a garden project completed to prepare for the quickly approaching Southern California Summer.

In this video, I show the repair of the drip irrigation line in one of my rose beds. This line has been in place for over 10 years, so it isn't surprising that it needed a little refreshing.

Link: Repairing a damaged drip irrigation line video

Pop It At popcurrent.com



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Sunday, February 11, 2007

What I'm Reading...



Readymade is from the folks over at Readymade magazine, a great monthly available via subscription or on the newstand.



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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cold weather, frost damage, and the 10-Minute Gardener Introduction

by Douglas E. Welch, agn@welchwrite.com
Reader/Listener Line - 206-338-5832


Listen to the Podcast


Theme Music: The One by The Woodshedders, aka the Hot Club of West Virginia, courtesy of the PodSafe Music Network

Pop It At popcurrent.com


Support A Gardener's Notebook:

Join AGN Mailing List | iTunes Review | Digg.com | Podcast Alley | Call the Reader/Listener Line @ 206-338-5832



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