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Archive for the ‘Home and Gardening’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How to protect young trees from deer, rabbits and other pests

I have some very young apples trees in my meadow that the deer love to munch on. The plants in my meadow seem to be the preferred food of the wilds around here. I am surrounded on wild untouched forest on three sides and a long meadow on the other. The animals are very plentiful here and I have a lot of trouble keeping them out and away from my own food.

I have to protect my trees from the animals or risk losing everything to the deer. Rabbits are not so bad around here because the coyotes are very bad. I have actually never seen a rabbit around here in three years. But I know that rabbits are a severe problem for other home owners so I have included them in this article.

For every tree you want to protect you need three things.

1. Posts, stakes or saplings. Anything you can pound in the ground to support your protective netting.

2. Chicken wire, deer netting or other mesh that can keep animals away from your trees.

3. Baling wire, zip ties or other flexible fastener to attach the netting to the posts.

What you need to do is put four stakes or poles around the tree in a square form. Place them 2 to 3 feet away from the tree on all sides. This will keep the deer from reaching your trees.

Next take your roll of netting and fasten the loose end to one of the poles.

How to protect fruit trees from deer and rabbits

Unroll the netting as you walk about the square. At each corner, since I used chicken wire, I formed it into a nice neat corner so it looks good.

You can connect the wire to each stake if needed. My chicken wire is rigid enough that I did not need to do this. The chicken wire is on the outside of the stakes so it stays put just fine.

When you get back around to the starting point you can cut the wire or netting to fit and put the rest of the roll aside.

Fasten the ends to the pole and now your tree is deer proof.

How to protect trees from animals

But if you have rodents or rabbits then you must go a bit further to protect your tree. In this case you must use chicken wire to protect your trees. Deer netting or other plastic material will not stop rodents.

Use more twigs, stakes, tent stakes or saplings and fasten the netting down every foot or so. This keeps it close to the ground so that nothing can slip through. Now you need chicken wire for the next step for best results. Lay out some of the chicken wire along the entire perimeter of the protective box you have just built. Lay it flat on the ground and then fasten it all the way around with zip ties or baling wire. It should be about a foot wide for best results. If you have a roll of chicken wire that is 2 feet high then just cut it in half after you measure out how much you need.

You can use a few garden stakes to secure the ends of this wire down to the ground if you want.

Now when rabbits try to get at your tree they will actually be standing on the chicken wire you laid flat. If they try to dig they will just be digging at the wire and most likely they will give up and leave.

Now your trees are protected from the animals.

Here is a video I made while protecting my own trees: How To Protect Young Trees From Deer & Rabbits & Small Animals

Thank you for reading and I hope it helped you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

PostHeaderIcon Building A Simple DIY Summer Salad Shade To Extend Growing Season

With the summer heat coming on and the lettuce in my garden wilting more each day, I decided to build a simple shade frame to place over my lettuce during the hot summer months. This is a very simple light weight and portable wooden frame with some burlap over the top to shade the lettuce from the intense heat of the sun’s rays.

Complete summer shade frame for salad

I prefer to put all of my vegetables and plants into the ground as compared to using pots or raised salad tables because I can let nature take care of the plants for me. With my lettuce planted in the garden soil, I do not have to worry about watering my plants every day. I can also go away for a weekend without fear of losing all my plants. We get enough rain where I live so I never have to worry about setting up a watering system either. Pots and salad tables require a lot of daily watering in order to keep the plants alive. If you leave, you either need an automatic watering system or you have to make sure someone cares for your plants.

I used 1×2 wood to build a 4 foot square wood frame. The frame stands 2 feet high so that I can use it for other vegetables as well if I want. My garden rows are 4 feet wide so I built my frame to fit the garden perfectly. My salad bed is 4 feet long as well, therefore the 4 x 4 dimensions.

This was very simple to build and went up quickly with a circular saw, power driver, drill bits and some screws.

I cut all the pieces first. There were 5 pieces of four foot long boards for the top of the frame and then I cut six 2 foot long legs to hold it up. Using a drill bit to drill a pilot hole prevents the wood from splitting when the screws go into the wood.

Building a simple salad shade frame

When I had the frame assembled, it was sort of wobbly so I added two more 4 foot boards along the sides as a support. Now the frame sits stable and firmly on the ground.

I have some burlap that I placed over the top and down the sides half way to shade my lettuce plants from the sun. I used a staple gun to fasten the burlap in place all the way around.

Putting burlap on my homemade salad shade frame

This was a very simple DIY project that went together quickly but does the job. My lettuce has been growing happily now for a week and the heat of the sun does not bother it. Rain passes right though with no problem as well.

Now my lettuce will grow though the warm months but still get enough sunlight to produce lots of food for me.

You can watch the video here:
Make a simple salad shade frame

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PostHeaderIcon Using Vinegar And Dish Soap Organic Weed Killer In My Yard

Some of my YouTube channel viewers had suggested that I used vinegar and water to kill the weeds in my yard and around the electric fence. I do not use chemicals on my property and plan to keep everything organic as much as possible.

I bought a 1.5 gallon sprayer at Harbor Freight and got a couple gallon jugs of vinegar. I already had the next ingredient left over from the last time I lived in a real home which is Dawn dish soap. For explanation, I now use my own homemade soap for everything from bathing to dish washing to laundry.

So, to kill weeds using no chemicals and in an environmentally safe manner you simply pour the vinegar straight into the sprayer. Add a couple tablespoons of dish soap to the sprayer and mix it well. For short term weed spray, this is all you need. I have heard that using salt in the mix will kill weeds permanently but have yet to try that. I will do that experiment soon and post my results.

Natural vinegar and dish soap weed killer

One important note is to spray this solution on a warm sunny day when there is no rain in the forecast for the next two days to give the solution time to work.

I sprayed the whole perimeter of my garden and chicken run which is 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. I had enough to spray the inside edge of the garden as well, which is 50 by 50 feet. After all that spraying I still had enough to spray two walk ways between the rows in my garden. Not bad coverage for a gallon of vinegar.

After only 30 minutes stuff was turning brown and shriveling up. I was quite amazed really at the fast results.

The next day most of the plants that had been sprayed were totally dead and dried up. By the third day everything that I had sprayed was dead and brown. This stuff is very impressive.

Natural Vinegar And Dish Soap Weed Killer

Now the bad news. On the fourth day new growth started to show up and by the sixth day you could hardly tell that I had sprayed the place at all. We had rain on about the fourth day which brings out new growth with a vengeance.

This stuff works but it is only for a short time until the weeds grow back again. As I said, I plan to try adding salt to the mixture and doing the whole experiment again. How it works from what I have read is that the soap is only there to hold the vinegar to the plants. Otherwise the vinegar would slide right off and be gone. So the soap clings onto the plants, trapping the vinegar to the leaves. The sun beating down on the vinegar leaches out all the moisture from the leaves and they die.

So there you have an all natural and environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds from your yard.

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PostHeaderIcon Use Diatomaceous Earth & Wood Ash To Treat Chickens For Lice & Mites

I lost a chicken the other day to mites I think. It was completely covered in them. Literally swarming with them. They must have infested the bird very fast because I was just holding him a couple days earlier and he was strong and healthy plus I never saw a single mite on him. He died in the night a couple days later.

I burnt his body first thing to help prevent further infestation of the other chickens. The next thing I did was to clean out the chicken coop and put in fresh bedding.

I ran into town and got some diatomaceous earth from TSC to spread out for the chickens to dust bathe in. Diatomaceous earth is composed of tiny fossilized water plants and look like a powder. The stuff from TSC is gray in color and mixed with red lake earth which is supposed to have a lot of health benefits. Diatomaceous earth can also be taken internally to kill off internal parasites but it is harmless to animals and humans.

Use Diatomaceous Earth To Treat Chickens For Parasites

Diatomaceous earth works because it has tiny microscopic razor sharp edges which literally cut up small parasites. The parasites then dry out and die through their wounds. Diatomaceous earth is safe to take internally as well to treat tape worms and other parasites. It cleans out the digestive tract as well, leading to better overall health.

Be careful working with diatomaceous earth though because you do not want it in your lungs.

I read online that some people use wood ash and literally bathe their chickens in the dust to kill off lice and mites. I decided to hit them with both together.

TSC sells diatomaceous earth in a small bag, a 20 lb bag for only $12.99 and a larger 40 lb bag for $20. They were out of the smaller sizes when I went there so I got the 40 pound bag.

I spread some of the diatomaceous earth around inside the chicken coop and then in the chickens favorite dust bathing places. The chickens will dig into the earth and form a small bowl shaped depression where they will toss dirt and dust into their feathers to help kill off parasites. Putting the diatomaceous earth into their favorite dust bathing holes allows them to automatically treat themselves next time they use the dust hole. My chickens have about 4 or 5 places they like to lay in the dirt so I treated all of them.

I also have a bunch of wood ash left over from my winter heating. I am happy I did not toss it out yet. I spread it out in the dust beds along with the diatomaceous earth and let the chickens self medicate.

Another benefit is that since chickens will eat just about anything and have stomachs made of iron, they ate some of the diatomaceous earth out of curiosity. This treats them internally for worms and other internal parasites.

Four to five days later, all of my chickens are still alive and well. I have been checking them for mites or lice and have found nothing at all so far.

I will continue to spread out diatomaceous earth on a regular basis in the chicken coop and in their dust beds from now on as a preventative treatment.

You can watch the full video I did of the process here:
Video How To Use Diatomaceous Earth To Treat Chickens For Lice

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PostHeaderIcon Making Improvements To My New Winter Greenhouse

I just got this nice little greenhouse to start some cold hardy winter vegetables for $20. It is a cheap construction, but with a few dollars in improvements it is a very nice winter greenhouse.

First I used some zip ties to hold the bouncy, flexible wire frame shelves in place. They are cheaply made and bounce all over. They are also not exactly flat and do not stay in place. A few zip ties in the middle of each shelf made them nice and solid.

I went to the dollar store and got some car windshield sun shades. These are the cheap foam type construction with a foil coating on one side. I put the foil side in, facing the plants inside the greenhouse and used dollar store clothes pins to hold the sheet in place. I used one sun shade on each side of the greenhouse. These serve two purposes. One is to reflect sunlight into the greenhouse and maximize the amount of light they receive from the weak winter sun. The other purpose is that they help insulate the greenhouse due to the foam on the outside. It will keep out the cold better.

The final thing I did is only because I am starting my seeds indoors. I put a garbage bag on the bottom shelf as a drip catcher to stop any water that runs out of the planters from hitting the floor and making a mess.

I opened up a large black trash bag and simply spread it out on the bottom shelf.

The black trash bag will serve another purpose, which is to help heat up the inside of the greenhouse during the day time.

I will use some sort of mass to heat up in the sun during the day and reflect heat back all night. Maybe bricks painted black or something.

For now I have a pretty decent greenhouse for about $23.

I will be planting a bunch of cold hardy vegetables right away and then later in a couple weeks when they go outside I will use the greenhouse to plant some slow growers such as tomatoes.