Spring is just around the corner. No, really – we’re not joking this time!
Not only does the warmer weather mean that we are a few days closer to planting the garden, it also means the sound of baby chicks peeping at you at your local farm supply or pet store. Just yesterday while getting hay for our horses we saw baby chicks, ducks and even a piglet.
Whether you’re an urban gardener with one or two pet chickens, have a yard or acreage for a small flock our Backyard Chickens Collection is perfect for you! While planting your garden think about your feathered friends with this collection of greens and grains that will treat your poultry, fowl and other barnyard friends to some delicious fresh food. The great thing about this collection is growing it yourself knowing you are feeding the absolute best food to your flock!
Buy two and have plenty of production for your feathered family, sharing with your family and storing extra grains for the winter months.
This week we presented a talk on “Growing Milkweed for the Monarch – and Why It Matters” at the High Desert Gardening & Landscaping Conference in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Stephen detailed the larger implications of the loss of Monarchs and what all of us can do for them and all pollinators.
The regal Monarch butterfly has been gaining a lot of press because of their rapid decline. All of us – home gardeners, small growers and full scale farmers and ranchers – need to take a holistic approach to saving the monarchs as well as all of our precious pollinators, including birds, bees, butterflies, insects and bats. Without them, we lose about 2/3 of the food we are used to seeing and eating everyday.
The Butterfly Garden Collection is a great way to attract butterflies and pollinators to your garden. Pollinators are an important part of your garden’s ecosystem. More flowers attract more pollinators giving you the benefits of improved production of the fruits and veggies you love. The varieties included in this collection are specific for attracting butterflies of all types but will also bring in pollinating insects and bees. Start today with beautiful flowers and fragrances and get those gorgeous butterflies into your garden today or just plant a butterfly garden to enjoy!
Garden Questions Answered
What’s your biggest gardening question?
Many of you ask how to deal with furry and feathered creatures snacking in your garden.
Squirrels, rabbits, birds and deer love your garden and the greens you grow as much as you do. In fact, they probably consider you to be their best friend – what with you growing all of those tasty greens and all!
Some folks use different types of fencing, sometimes combining more than one type to help keep unwanted critters out. Other gardeners will use netting, flashy hanging ornaments or organic sprays as deterrents, while others go full out and construct enclosures to keep unwelcome four legged visitors out.
What do you use that has been effective? What works for you?
We are putting together successful approaches to this furry and feathery problem and want to include your techniques that work. Please email us with your success stories and we’ll include them in an upcoming article!
Meanwhile, here are some examples from our own gardens:
Gophers – In our area, there are colonies of gophers living in the vacant field next to our house and garden. They will mostly stay on their side of the fence, but occasionally come under and cause havoc to our garden. Our dogs love to dig up their tunnels, but so far haven’t been able to capture one.
When we were constructing our raised beds, we installed hardware cloth in the bottom of the beds before putting the soil in. The hardware cloth is stout enough that it deters the gophers from trying to dig through and has held up for 6 years now. The challenge is that they will still come up in the walkways under the wood chips where there is no barrier! We resort to gopher traps for this – the Gophinator is by far the best and most effective trap of several designs and approaches we’ve tried.
We don’t trap any gophers that don’t get into the garden. If they are on the other side of the fence we leave them alone.
Squirrels – We generally don’t have squirrel problems, but one summer had a rogue agent that was climbing the fence and dining on our garden. The solution was to borrow a live trap from a friend, capture the little bandit and release it into another area that was far from any houses. In this case, we were able to relocate it without harming it.
Do you feed wild birds? You may be bringing in unwanted visitors like squirrels, mice and possibly raccoons as they scavenge the seed dropped from the feeders. There are a couple of solutions to this challenge: stop feeding the birds – this removes the food source and will decrease the visitation of wildlife, or move the bird feeder to a spot that is the furthest possible distance from your garden and use a feeder design that minimizes the amount of seed dropped by hungry birds.
Javalina – These wild relatives of pigs have poor eyesight, but a very keen sense of smell. If you put fresh kitchen scraps onto your compost pile, you might be attracting these large and destructive critters. If you live in javalina country, don’t locate the compost bin or pile next to the garden, use leaves and manure with kitchen scraps aged for a couple of weeks in a bucket instead. This way it isn’t as appealing to them and won’t encourage repeat visits.
From the soil to the seed to the food you eat – we’ll help you grow your best garden!
“We believe in a world of healthy soil, seed, food and people. Everyone has a fundamental need for vibrant food and health, which are closely linked.
We work to achieve this by challenging and changing conventional gardening thinking, providing successful and unique methods and techniques while inspiring the power of choice and action for the individual.”