Category: ‘In The Garden’


September 29, 2011 Posted by Tlittle

Composting is the act of recycling organic matter into soil, utilizing a compost area in the garden allows you to not only recycle the waste of the garden but also elements from the house. Composting at home can be achieved with a number of different methods but is most commonly done by designating an area or pile to add matter too, or with the use of a drum/bin. The act of composting basically means to provide an aerobic environment for microbial life to digest the food provided, being aerobic the environment must also have air and water.

Lawn clippings, trimmed/fallen branches, and leaves are common contributions added to the compost from the garden.  Waste vegetables, eggs/shells, paper, pizza boxes, tissues, napkins, bread, grains, meat, seafood and pasta, Coffee grounds, Dairy products all of which would otherwise be thrown away and are thus free. Composting can reduce yard waste that needs to be hauled to the dump by anywhere from 50 to 75% and in turn returning composted soil back into the garden it will add to the garden fertility and stimulate healthy growth and complex root development. Compost loosens boggy clay soils and aids in the water retention of sandy soils, furthermore the increased microorganism balances levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus eliminating the need for soil amendments to be added.

Depending on where you live and the surrounding environment/climate will depend on what maintenance your compost will require, a good rule of thumb is to keep the compost moist and aerated.


Bird houses

September 24, 2011 Posted by Tlittle

If we are to consider the natural pest control provided by birds, and the habitat loss to birds from housing development and, it makes sense to accommodate these animals in order to control insects and small pests from the house and garden and allow them to exist in a healthy urban abundance and distribution.

Bird houses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are able to assist in the nesting of birds in the spring, provide shelter in harsh weather conditions, exist as a focal point of territory, and sanctuary on a migration pattern. Most migratory birds that were raised by their parents the season before will return to that point to do their own nesting in the following season. If attracting migratory birds is your goal, you will also need to provide more than one house as they will arrive in flocks.

As mentioned before, the benefit of having abundant birds in the backyard is the balance they create on the food-chain by predating on insects around the house, and mice and rodents in the case of raptors thus keeping the home owner in a more healthy environment and also in a position to not have to resort to insecticides and other synthetic pest control that can have a negative effect on the environment. Birds also passively contribute to the food chain by spreading seeds and recycling matter they eat through waste, which in turn fertilizes the garden.

Attracting raptors, notably owls to your garden is of great benefit as they will control any vermin and rodents that live in the area, owls can eat multiple rodents each night (keep in mind they are nocturnal). The difference between an owl box and a bird house is the size of

the entry hole and the height the box is positioned (around 12-15ft) furthermore nesting material should be provided for the owl at the base of the box. Birdhouses are an easy installment to the house and are very cheap to establish.

Encouraging Pollinators

September 22, 2011 Posted by Tlittle

Pollinators refer to the ‘vector’ animals that pollinate flowers enabling the creation of fruit and vegative reproduction. Common pollinators in the USA include Bees, Hummingbirds and butterflies.

The diminshment of pollinators is of great concern and significance, as without their presence plants will not be able to reproduce (unless they are ‘Asexual’ ie; they reproduce solo) which would devastate  vegetative biomass, damaging the bottom of the food chain leads to the the greatest effect on biodiversity.  This doesn’t just mean that we couldn’t have pretty gardens, it is estimated that 30% of all food we eat is the result of the work of pollinators (grains, fruits, vegetables) and only 20% of all crops do not require their involvement. It is estimated that if pollinating flowers for crops had to become manual labor, it would represent the biggest industry in the world.

Planting flowering plants is the natural way to not only attract  but provide for pollinating species. Seeing as habitat loss is the major threat to pollinators it helps a lot if you plant flowering plants throughout your garden where possible. Keep in mind that both Butterflies and Hummingbirds are migrating species, so they require food stations throughout their travels (think of water stands in a  marathon) so it is not just sufficient to provide small spread out nation parks for the the provisions of these animals. Limit the use of pesticides where possible int he garden as they will kill off the caterpillars that meta-morph into Butterflies and Bees. It is said that Bees are attracted to yellow, so if you aren’t too comfortable on the presence of Bees, it is best to limit yellow flowering plants.