Sunday, October 18, 2009

Starting from Recycle

This year I was determined to grow more edibles, but wasn't too thrilled with the idea of spending money on seed starter trays and starter potting mix that I might discover on a dusty shelf next July.

So the 'ol gray-idea-maker kicked in one day while taking out the recycle. Sushi tray? Herb package? Tomato carton? Staring at them in the depths of the big blue can, I slipped into visions of the past where weird chia pet terrariums adorned my mother's kitchen window sill (bustling with tiny gnats and mushrooms).

I rescued the plastic trays from there circular demise; added a layer general potting mix, packed it in and reached for the seeds. I made gentle divots into the soil with the back end of a chop stick, dropped a couple seeds into each divot then covered with a thin layer of more potting mix.

Kale in old plastic sushi tray.
Wildflowers in old plastic herb package.
Okra in old plastic tomato carton.

Started on 30 September, within six days, most of the seeds had germinated (the wildflowers have taken 15 days). I give them a mist of water two times in the morning before work then again in the late afternoon.

Click here to see more pics of my recycled seed starters.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dead and Green

Don't worry, it's dead.
This urban monster was killed 'naturally'. By that I mean, with a natural product and not some retched toxic chemical. I'm talking about Diatomaceous Earth. DE, as it is generally referred to, is available at most local nurseries, home centers, and even some hardware stores. Make sure you select 'Food Grade' (NOT pool grade) which is harmless to humans and pets if ingested. The packaging may vary so be sure to read the labels carefully.

DE will not 'repel' scorpions; it actually will kill them, just not instantly. It's a fossil shell flour, and these microscopic shards gets caught in the exoskeleton as scorpions crawl through the powder eventually damaging their innards. In about 12-24 hours they're dead. It can also be used on other critters such as ticks and spiders.

You may be thinking that with the cooler weather upon us, the scorpions will go away. Eventually. However, for the next few weeks, they may still be active seeking the last bit of warmth before they disappear underground for the season.

A black light, a long stick, and flat tread shoes are the best tools for investigate in the night time to identify concentrated areas of scorpions. You can apply DE in these area, as well as around the perimeter of your home.

You may also want to contact a p
est control service to help deal with the issue. Although I spend many late nights in the garden 'manually' managing my scorpion population, I also use a great organic pest control service (Ladybug) for major treatments.

I don't yet know of any effective method for repelling scorpions. Most
pest control services primarily manage the scorpion food source, thus, causing them to migrate elsewhere or 'lay low' and not breed as much. So, for fun, I'll keep to my therapeutic ritual of black light hunting with my long stick and squash'em boots. Mwaaa-Haa-Haa.