Category Archives: odds&ends

Bug Spray


It’s about to be Japanese Beetle season. I found this on FaceBook.

An addition from John Snippe: Add a tablespoon of soap to that (even use it to replace the oil, actually)… and it will work better with crushed fresh garlic. Oh, and add a teaspoon of cheyenne pepper… anti- snails/slugs and nibblers.

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Front bed

The largest part of this year’s yard project is done. Grass is out; mulch is in. Tea bushes are transplanted.  I hope moving hasn’t killed them. I need to get the cover weeds out of the older part of the bed so we can mulch there, too. We used a thick layer of mulch to kill the grass there and it was effective. But, that mulch has turned into dirt and needs refreshing.

I moved the Euonymus that I had planted in that bed to the back yard where the deer can’t get to it. It’s supposed to be a bush but, right now, it’s a stick because it was snacked on heavily last summer. But, it’s not dead as evidenced by the leaves popping out. So, I have hope.

Our Japanese maple was accidentally mutilated by some yard guys who were taking down dead chunks of the maple on the corner of our lot.  After some consideration, I got a new tree.  The mutilated one was in too much sun and looked like crap for most of the summer. So, we finished the job the yard guys started and put a new tree in the front Partial Shade bed.

I found parts of a man’s shoe and a patch of nails while I was digging the grass out.  And I’m constantly amazed at the amount of quartz that grows in our ground.

 This is our most prolific crop.

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Winter 2014

This has been the most severe winter here since we started the garden and raised beds. We have had two periods over the last three weeks when it reached single digit temps, the most recent this week when it got down to 2 degrees one morning. Even with the cold frame covers, we lost most everything, kale, chard, lettuce, etc. Looks like the garlic and carrots made it, but it will be a wait and see situation.

Today it is partly sunny and 65 degrees. Welcome to winter in North Carolina. I pulled all the dead stuff and replanted kale and chard and arugula and spinach and crossing fingers that it will be more “normal” until Spring.

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Made me laugh

In part because Chuck and I are both such novices at vegetable gardening and we have started doing it at or after the half century mark.  I have loved messing with flowers ever since I  first put grocery store geraniums in a pot and they didn’t die, but had only had some herbs before this experiment began.

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Over the last two weeks the weeds and grass have been coming back through the mulch around the Hazels. I knew I needed a thicker layer of mulch, but wanted to address the weeds with something first. Kitty found a recipe for weed killer consisting of a gallon of vinegar mixed with a cup of table salt and a tablespoon of liquid soap to help it cling to the weeds. So I sprayed the weeds today before adding more mulch and was amazed at how quickly it started to work. There was significant wilting just after thirty minutes. Here are some before and after photos demonstrating that.

It clearly worked faster on the broad leaf weeds and clover. It seemed to be working slower on the grass. I expect that I will have to continue to treat the mulched areas over the Summer, but I am pleased with how this concoction is working so far.


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We joke about farming quartz on this property because we have only dug 2 holes that didn’t have some obnoxious rocks in all the digging we’ve done here.

Today, Chuck pulled out the mother of all of them.  (We hope there won’t be another one that size.)

I set it by the bench in the labyrinth to hold a cup or glass in case someone needs a place to rest such a thing when they have reached the center.


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rare sighting

I can’t remember the last time I saw a praying mantis. This dude just showed up on my office window screen the other morning. Great natural pest control. Go forth and multiply!

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Critter Netting

Installed critter netting today using standard 1″ PVC pipe and netting found online specifically designed for farming purposes. The pipe will allow us to use clear plastic in the winter for greenhouse/cold frame growing. I need to get some tent stakes to help anchor it. The wind today is blowing it around a bit.

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