Find your Tools!

May 29, 2009

Garden tools are so easily camouflaged in the garden. You put them down and they disappear. I paint the end of my tool handles bright red, and I never have trouble finding them. This picture shows a Japanese tool called a hori-hori. If you don’t have one, you should really consider adding it to your tool box. It is my most used tool in the garden.Hori-hori in the dirt

I learned this simple trick from my Dad, who learned it from his Dad.

Got an empty box of cereal?  Or pasta? Or crackers? Or butter?  Or mac and cheese?  Sure you do.  Got some scissors?  A herd.bunnies

Well then, you and your kids can have a grand old time on a rainy day making finger puppets out of the boxes.  Most of these boxes have some little animal or person printed on them.  All you need to do is cut out the figure, adding a little bit of extra material at the bottom for a strap to go around the finger (as shown).  Cut a tab on either side and connect.
template for finger puppets

It’s kind of surprising how much fun this is for kids.  At least for my kids.  Your results may vary.

I found some strawberry planters at the job lot the other day.  And it has been time to relocate the strawberries that have been living in our raised bed garden for a long time.  They are getting crowded in there and they are taking up valuable real estate we could be using to grow other things.  Like cucumbers, or kohlrabi, or tomatillos, or melons.  mmmmm….

Anyway…. those planters are great but it can be tricky to keep the bottom sections watered.  They have a tendency to dry out and then it is very difficult to get the soil moistened again.  To solve this problem I cut a bamboo stick to length, just a couple of inches taller than the pot.  And drilled out the membrane between sections (actually I asked my husband to do it, because I was holding the baby and the camera). Then drilled little holes all over the piece of bamboo.

Drilling holes in bamboo

I inserted this in the center of the pot and the husband filled the pot with an organic potting soil.

Adding soil to strawberry planter

Now the pot is ready for the strawberries!

Strawberry pot ready for planting.

Snake house

May 18, 2009

Yesterday I was digging in the garden, making room for 2 blueberry bushes.  I had to remove 30 sq feet of “sod” (in quotes because it was probably 50% weeds) and a small pile of lumber scraps that had collected at the side of the house.  This task would have probably taken me a half day if working alone.  With my 2 daughters helping, it took about 3 days.  And actually I’m still not finished, so I guess it will take more than that!

As I was working I noticed that under the pile of boards was a little brown garden snake.  I called the 4 year old over to see.  She was moderately interested but soon ran off to dig in the sandbox or swing on her swing.  I replaced the board I had moved, to cover the snake again and resumed my work.

As the day went on I found I really wanted to get rid of the pile of lumber.  What looks messier than a pile of lumber scraps?  So I took them away and apologized to the snake.  “I’m sorry Mr Snake, you’ll have to find a new house” I said.  But Mr. Snake did not move.  I banged things around, I tossed chunks of wood and did lots of things that would generally disturb a snake.  Not on purpose, mind you, but I was working hard.  The snake didn’t move.  I had unearthed a colony of earwigs while digging, so I wonder if he was just hesitant to leave his food source.  Whatever the reason, he was clearly not interested in moving on.  Which is fine by me.  Snakes are great animals to have in the garden.  They eat lots of bugs and slugs.  And since I live in New England, there is no reason to fear them.  If I were in Arizona or Florida, I might feel differently.

So I made him a house.  I put 2 scraps of 3/4 inch wood down with a larger plank on top.  Right over the snake where he stayed still on the cement foundation of the house.  He slid right in and I think he is there still.  I hope he eats all those earwigs.  Those things are creepy.  If he sticks around we’ll have to name him.  Any suggestions?

Snake House