Thursday, June 26, 2014

DIY Tanglefoot Bug Catchers for the Garden

So the other day I showed you how to make bug catchers from yellow paper and a sugary substance. I was using them to try to catch cucumber beetle in my garden.
I'm here to tell you they did not work!
 The sticky stuff dried right up and was not sticky anymore. The ants just loved them though.

I found a product that I'm told will work better.
This stuff is very sticky and does not wash off well with water and does not dry out.

You will need some yellow cups. I could not find plastic ones so I got paper ones from Walmart for 97cents. I'm sure they will get ruined when it rains but for the price I'm ok with that. I'll just make more.

 Make sure you punch holes in them before spreading Tanglefoot on them or you will have a mess to deal with.

Put on some disposable gloves to keep your hands clean. I did not do this step and regret it! Trust me this is an important step!
Now spread a thin layer of tanglefoot on the outside of the cup.

Next poke a stick into the hole you made (I used ones I found lying around my yard) and stick them in the ground in and around your plants.

And that's all there is to it.

Oh look! I already got one!
It looks like I've got a little bit of weeding to do. Don't look at the weeds in the background thanks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My DIY Mini Orchard (phase 1)

Just because you live in the city doesn't mean you can't have fresh homegrown fruit. 
I wanted to have fruit trees so I decided to plant my own mini orchard.

I have had this haphazard flower bed in the back yard for about 5 years now and it just never looked good.

decided I wanted to plant pear trees a couple of year’s ago when my mom moved from her country home and I lost my supply of fresh pears. Looking around my property for the best place to plant them I stood there looking at that ugly flower bed. It’s the perfect spot, it gets full sun and the soil is right. The best part is its right along the fence line between us and our nosey neighbor. In the summer when the trees are full they should block him from seeing into our back yard. Perfect! 
I started by laying out bricks that I salvaged from the porch we ripped out a few years ago. They are laid out so that there are 4 circular areas for the trees.

The project started out with just 2 trees and a few flowers, it has morphed into 6 trees, many flowers, and 2 phases. The first phase will be 4 trees, 2 pears and 2 apples. I already had the pear trees so I planted them first. I wanted to get them in the ground right away.
Next I dug a trench and laid the bricks at ground level so the mower can run on them as an edging. Can you see all the weeds? That’s my next step.

I decided I didn’t want to dig up all of the plants and dig out the whole bed so I’m weeding and moving plants by section.
I reused the flowers that were already in the bed. I cleaned them up, divided the crowded ones and 
moved them to their new homes. I’m torn on whether  I want to add mulch so for now I’m leaving it 
out. It still needed something so I salvaged some old decorative garden fencing I had laying around.

I spruced them up with a new paint job; I think they look much better. Don’t you?

And here it is all done.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DIY Bug Catchers for the Veggie Beds

It's that time of the planting year when I have cucumber beetles eating my garden. These little buggers just love to destroy my cucumbers, zucchini and watermelon. I have been looking for a way to get rid of them and came across a post for homemade bug catcher strips ( the sticky kind). So I'm going to see if they work for catching cucumber beetles.

What you will need.

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey or corn syrup
2 Tbsp water
Yellow strips of paper

First cut your paper into strips ( I decided to use yellow paint chips I picked up at the hardware store) and punch a hole in them for hanging

Add string to them for hanging.

Mix the sugar, corn syrup and water together in a sauce pan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the sugar mix into a shallow bowl and dredge the strips until covered on both sides. Next hang them to dry.
They will drip a bit so place something under them or your counter will be very sticky.

See the drop on the bottom. Very sticky!
I made some without the string to lay on the ground around my plants to catch the beetles that try to burrow into the soil around the base of my plants.

There you have it.
I'll let you know how it works.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Building a compost bin with recycled plastic shutters

I (now when I say " I" I mean my hubby) built this a few weeks ago when I started cleaning up the yard and needed a place to contain the yard waste.  I had these vinyl shutters laying around from when we resided the house and decided they would work great for this project. I measure the shutters and decided 2 per side would be perfect. 

What you will need:

-6 vinyl shutters
-4- 2x4's 8 ft long, each cut into 3, 30 inch pieces ( I know what your thinking, why didn't I use 3-
2x4x10, yes I know a 2x4x10 cut in 4 equal pieces is 4- 30 inch boards. But 4 8fts are cheaper than 3 10 ft boards)
-Box of deck screws (3inch long)

Screw 4 30 inch pieces together to make a square.

Then screw 1 of the 30inch pieces into each corner of the square so it looks like a box without a top.

Now screw 3 of the remaining 30 inch pieces together to make a U shape and screw that onto the top of "the box".

It should look like a box frame with one side missing on the top.

Now screw 2 shutters to each side so they are standing on end, side by side.
Make sure the slots are pointing up so the compost does not fall out when the bin is filled.

And there you have it.

 I made 2 of them and put them side by side. I guess I could have built one that was 2 bins connected but I didn't think I was going to need 2 until I got the first one filled.
Total cost: -2x4's 10.28
                                -box of screws $2.99
                   -shutters free
= $13.27

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pests on My Strawberry Plants

In another post I showed you my strawberry bed and mentioned that I did not have to many problems with pests. Well they made me a lier today. Yes I went out to my garden this morning to see how things were growing and discovered this.
Now I've seen this before (a few years ago when I first planted this bed) so I knew what it was. These little buggers are Leaf Tiers. They are little yellowish green worms (caterpillars) that have a black head. They eat the leaves and curl them into a cone. 

Here he is. Yuck!
I think I may have rustled them up yesterday when I was cleaning out the bed because I did not see them before. Anyway I have decided for now to hand pick them and squish them. I will change my strategy later if this becomes futile. What I do is carefully pick the leaf affected and lay it on something hard. Smash it with a rock. These little bugger are very fast and will wiggle out of the leaf and drop to the ground when they sense danger so go quickly. If you feel so inclined to check them out go ahead and unroll the leaf but do it on a hard surface and have your rock ready. Buggers move fast!
Check for them every few days and be vigilant.