Squirrel Proof a Bird Feeder

I have shepherd hooks in my yard with all my bird feeders but have a problem with the squirrels climbing up the poles. I have tried oiling the poles using Pam, grease etc. and nothing worked.  I finally decided to try a Slinky! This has worked great. I bought the Junior size which is 1.5″ diameter and it works great. Had to twist the Slinky around the pole and then I fastened it at the top with a hose clamp.

It works great!


Saving Seeds

Gardening from seeds is cheaper than buying seedlings, and you have a much wider variety from which to choose. It’s easy to save seeds from many vegetables you have grown, or even purchased them from the store. Make sure you save seeds from the best produce. Some seeds, such as peppers. are easy to save. Just remove, dry on a paper towel, put in a labeled and dated envelope, and store in a cool and dry place.

Seeds from tomatoes require a bit more preparation. Scoop the seeds and the pulp into a container. Add about a cup of water. You want the seeds to float. Cover loosely and set aside in a warm place. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. When there is mold on the top the seeds are ready to harvest. Remove the mold and anything that has floated to the top. Dump the rest of the contents into a mesh strainer and rinse the seeds well. Let the seeds dry in the strainer. Finally, spread the seeds out on a paper towel to dry completely. This can take a couple of weeks.  Date, label and store in a cool, dry place.

Hummingbirds Everywhere!

Who doesn’t love hummingbirds?  The store bought nectar can be so expensive, so I researched how to make my own.  It is very simple and doesn’t have to be red in color as most people think.  I use a mixture of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.  In a measuring cup, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups water.  I microwave mine to dissolve the sugar and then let it cool.  Fill up your feeders and the hummingbirds will come!  You can use clear feeders or red ones…. No difference the hummingbirds love them all!


Editor’s tips: In the sun, warm sugar water can grow bacteria very easily.  Sugar can also ferment in hot weather, so keep an eye on your feeder. If the mixture looks cloudy or milky, clean it out immediately. For best results, keep your feeder in the shade and clean with warm water and dish soap every few days. This will keep those birdies healthy and coming back for more.


True Blue

If you’re trying to turn pink hydrangeas into a beautiful blue hue, add coffee grounds to the soil to change the color. The grounds add extra acidity, causing the plant to absorb naturally occurring aluminum in the dirt.

The effect is beautiful blue bunches of flowers.


How to Reuse All of Those Amazon Boxes

Amazon can be a great place to shop, but you end up with a lot of boxes if you shop very often. A great (and free) way to use those boxes is in the garden.

You can put it down before rock or mulch as a weed barrier instead of purchasing landscape fabric. Eventually, the box will break down. When it does break down it will become nutrients for the soil.


Sad Sunflowers

When sunflowers are getting their seeds ready to share with birds, squirrels, their sad faces begin looking down instead of up towards the sun. To harvest sunflower seeds for yourself to roast replant next year, tie a paper bag over the head as it dries to catch those seeds.

You can also cut the sunflower off the stalk as it begins to droop and place it in a box in a cool dry area to catch the seeds as they dry and fall off the head.

Plant your new seeds in the spring when the danger of frost has passed.


Propogation Done Beautifully

I always have cuttings from different plants around but I used to have them in plastic cups that were neither beautiful nor allowed me to see the progress of the new root growth.

I switched to glass canning  jars which are very easy to come by and now the cuttings look so pretty in my window.Being able to see the root growth is not only helpful for propogation, it  adds an element of decor.



Clematis May Not Be Dead After All

I planted a clematis vine a few years ago. Each year as it died, I cut it down. I always wondered why it never would get as large as other clematis that I had seen. After reading up on it, I realized that the new growth grows from the old woodsy vine that wasn’t dead as I assumed. So I stopped cutting it back and only cleaned up the dead leaves. The following year it was large and very beautiful!