Friday Wrap: Diggin’ the Dirt

katie daisy

{In case you haven’t noticed, I adore Katie Daisy designs.}

We’ve had sunny days with 60-degree temps this week, which means this girl has been totally diggin’ the dirt. It also means this week’s Friday wrap is all about gardening in some form or fashion.

Here are a five faves from the week that fell into the “must share” category.

{ONE} Feeding the Hummingbirds

hummingbird feeder

My glass hummingbird feeder somehow cracked over the winter, so I knew the day was coming that I’d need to replace it. I found this darling mason jar feeder at Lowe’s. It was the only one on the shelf, but you can get them here. Once I got it home, I boiled up some of this sweet nectar, filled the jar and then hung it in the garden with care. Now we wait for those magical birds to appear. <3

{TWO} Repelling Bugs – Naturally

bug repellant

I love a good natural remedy when I can find one – especially if it enables me to keep Deet off of my skin. Remember the time I posted this recipe for homemade bug spray? Well, I found essentially the same thing in the Handmade Market here in Fayetteville. I went ahead and bought some of this, since it was already brewed and bottled. And I’m stocking up on it now, because I have a feeling we’re in for a bugpocalypse this year. We had such a mild winter, the bugs didn’t freeze. #winterthatneverwas

{THREE} A Bee & Bug House

bee and bug house

Okay, so not all bugs are bad. The girls are in a garden club at school, and when I spotted this interesting-looking house near their project garden, I asked Avery what it was. She had all of the details. “Each of the spots attract different kinds of friendly bugs that are helpers in the garden – like ladybugs. They go in the smaller hole, and things like bees go in the bigger holes.” Very cool, and P.S. someone was listening at school.

Speaking of friendly bugs and bees, I spotted this sweet bumble in Mimi’s garden yesterday. He’s so fluffy!!

bumblebee

He was so busy drinking from all of the flowers he didn’t even care that I was this close.

{FOUR} Fresh Veggies

fresh carrots fresh lettuce

While I was in Mimi’s garden yesterday, we pulled up a handful of carrots and snipped some fresh lettuce. Oh, so yummy! It made for such a delicious lunch. I actually didn’t intend to hop right into her garden and bunny-nibble through all of the produce. The real reason for my visit was to gather some Black-eyed Susans for my front garden. Mimi offered to share some of her spouts, and I left with three boxes full of plants. Such a happy day all around.

{FIVE} Garden Hands

hand cream

The only real “side effect” of gardening (other than a few bug bites, potential sunburns, and gardening elbow – which is a thing, but we still love gardening anyway!!) is the dirty hands. I use a natural nail brush to scrub the dirt away and then treat my skin to some luxury hand cream.

While I was in the Handmade Market getting the natural bug spray, I found this “perfectly perfect hand creme” made in London. The girl in the store said it reminded her of a spring day. I completely agree. And I’m a sucker for good marketing.

That’s a wrap! Here’s to a fantastic weekend, my friends. If you need me, I may be back in the garden – or at the garden store…

garden happiness

XOXO

-Kate

Fiveonfriday

The Diary of a Real Housewife

 

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How to Protect Your Garden Goodies

For the first time in my life I planted lettuce in my garden. I know, I’m gettin’ crazy. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s way easier than I thought, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how quickly these seeds have sprouted. I’m talking just days ago I sprinkled seeds in the ground and now look at them!

lettuce crop

As I’ve been admiring my row crop, I’ve also noticed a few pesky critters starting to show up – like I’m going to be handing out forks and bibs. Um, no. I’m usually good about sharing, but I really don’t feel like giving up my tender lettuces to the wild rabbits, bugs and weeds.

What’s a gardener to do?

Well, this one called her one-and-only Mimi who knows a million things or two about gardening. She gave me a few ideas (all natural, of course) that I wanted to share. I also found a few ideas online to round out the list for us.

If you have wild rabbits, squirrels or other vermin:

Chicken wire placed carefully on top of your plants like a tent will physically keep animals away. They won’t be able to reach through the wires. The leafy greens can still grow through the holes, but at least you won’t lose an entire head of lettuce to an entire burrow of hungry bunnies.

chicken wire

Crushed red pepper…like the kind you find at pizza joints next to the sprinkle Parmesan. Spread this around the base of your plants to deter any nibbling animals. This spice is too hot for their little tongues.

Crushed-Red-Pepper01

If you have slugs or other bugs:

Beer traps. Yes, beer. Pour some into a plastic cup or Mason jar. Then tuck it down into the soil next to your plants. Slugs will be drawn to the yeasty smell and will crawl right into the container. Cheers!

beer trap

Crushed egg shells also work for slugs. Spread them around the edge of your garden and the slugs won’t cross the line, because it wouldn’t feel so good on their squishy bodies. “No shell up in here, baby.”

crushed egg shells

Liquid soap is the answer for aphids (those tiny whitish bugs you find under leaves and that make small webs). Simply put a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle with water. Wet the surface of all of your affected plants to get rid of these suckers.

liquid soap

Natural insecticide sprays can work well for pretty much any kind of bug in your garden. Here’s a recipe to try. To make homemade 2% insecticidal soap, mix together 5 tablespoons soap (like the Castile soap shown above) to 1 gallon of water. Then add one of the following items to enhance your solution:

how-make-insecticidal-soap-plants-2

    • Cooking Oil: To help the solution stick, add two tablespoons of light cooking oil per gallon of water.
    • Vinegar: This also targets powdery mildew. Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar per gallon of water.
    • Garlic or Pepper: To repel chewing insects, add a teaspoon of ground red pepper or garlic per gallon of water.

Here’s another recipe…mix 1/2 cup brown sugar to one gallon of boiling water (to dissolve sugar). Let the solution cool and pour into a sprayer to apply on your plants. So simple. I haven’t tried this one, but it had raving reviews. Doesn’t hurt to try, right?

If you have rascally weeds:

Dig by hand right after a rain, when the soil is good and loose, to pull the invaders all the way to their roots.

hand-garden-tools-300x300Natural weed killer is also good if you’d rather take the “spray and pray” approach. A simple recipe is 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of table salt and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. Mix together, pour into a bottle, and spray carefully onto your weeds. You don’t want to kill everything, including your prized petunias.

natural weed killer

That should cover most of your gardening nightmares. Let me know if I missed anything, or if you have other natural tips to try. Here’s hoping no matter what crawls, hops, or flies into your garden that you enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

-Kate

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