Fog was rolling through Ohio yesterday and we are getting quite a bit of rain.
Since the weather has been hot, it is badly needed. I know I usually go out early in the morning watering the garden and all my pots. We all know the garden hints and tips about watering early in the day so that the water has time to dry off and not leave a moldy atmosphere in our garden.
No, I have no idea where rain late in the day comes in to play. Now for my garden hints and tips.
I have been using these half concrete blocks as pedestals in my garden. On some of the large hypertufa troughs, I need to use four to six and on other more narrow ones, I can use two.
But a lot of the round containers I use will also set easily on these blocks. I have painted them in shades of charcoal, green, and tan. I like them to blend in with the surroundings. When you set them into the other plants or shrubbery, it elevates the container and brings it up closer so you can see the detail in the plant or blossom.
They are only about $1.25 each at the Big Box stores so try them out. You will like them, I am sure.
Using crushed nutshells as a mulch is pretty nice. Those shells will look a little different, I’m sure, but they will include nutrients just like other composting or mulch materials do.
They are even better at loosening up the soil since they are coarse and let more air in, but they take a long time to break down.
I would probably just dump the leftover shells when I crack the nuts when using them for desserts or other dishes, so it will take me a few years to get any quantity, but the small amounts can be added to regular compost too.
I guess the one nut to not include would be a walnut shell. Walnuts have that chemical juglone which is toxic to a lot of plants. But I don’t favor the taste of walnuts anyway, especially black walnuts. Give me some almonds, peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and pistachios. Hey, they will even look a little green sometimes, right?
Again I have diggers in the garden. I found this large “cavern” under my wooden boarder one morning a few weeks ago. I had just put in lot of time re-arranging my hypertufa troughs and placing them on the pedestals (see above). And this is what I find.
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I decided to outwit the critters with some hardware cloth.
I cut out a piece with a wire cutting tool that I think my husband calls “tin snips.” Yes, I googled it and that’s what this tool is. Anyway, I cut several sections about 2 x 1 foot pieces and trimmed all wire edges. Then I used duck tape and rimmed all around so that if I accidentally unearthed it myself in the future, I won’t get poked by any wire edges.
This hardware cloth is the same thing I cut and use to reinforce the larger hypertufa troughs. It is buried in the bottom and sides of some of my bigger hypertufa troughs.
Then I buried this under the level of my garden bed below the landscape timbers about 2 inches deep. I put it long ways rolled into a loose tube and under this landscape wood and then put all the soil back around it. I have a gravel garden bed path so I had to put all the gravel back on top too.
The little garden varmint will find a surprise next time he or she tries to dig and hopefully be discouraged and go dig somewhere else!
This garden tip is a real stretch and it is basically one I have heard but have not yet tried. I remember reading about it in an old magazine. I am pretty sure it was Fine Gardening.
Dog Food….dry dog food.
OK, here’s the thing. When you plant a tree or shrub or I guess a larger plant that you want to root well and deeply, you put dog food in the bottom of the hole. Now you see why I am surprised?
Anyway, when you dig the big hole for planting, you put a couple of cups of dry dog food along with your compost directly into the bottom of the hole. The dog food pellets will decay and will release nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other trace elements into the surrounding soil but will also attract earthworms and other beneficial organisms to enrich the soil around the roots of your shrub or tree.
The premise is that the roots will reach deeply into the soil and be protected from drought or even severe winter cold. Of course, you will be watering deeply when your plant is getting established.
Have you ever heard or this or done this? I am so curious now and I want to plant something big. Dogwood tree, maybe? It would be nice to plant one with the dog food and one without just to compare the progress of the two.
But if you have buried dog food and are willing to confess this, please let us know in the comments. Does it work? Did you see benefits?
Have a wonderful week and enjoy this coming weekend making a hypertufa pot, why don’t you? Sunday. Spend time with you family and create some great memories.
And stop to smell the flowers while they last. The Japanese beetles are almost finished eating mine.
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.