Thursday, 27 October 2011

Autmun Hedgehog Orphans .

Orphaned  hoglets  (baby hedgehogs)

Some hedgehogs have late litters, in September or even October, this will mean that they will leave the nest in winter. They will be faced with finding enough food to eat, which is particularly difficult in winter months. They have to double their size and create enough fat stores for  hibernation.
You can sometimes see baby hedgehogs looking for food in broad daylight.

A baby hedgehog  will need to be at least 1lb in weight to survive, if they hibernate before reaching this they probably wont survive.

I agree that taking them into captivity can be controversial, but once the babies have gained enough weight they can be released, this will need to be done during a mild period and ensure that there is enough dry nesting material so they can build their winter home.

The  website mentioned below really informative and explains what do if you find a baby hedgehog and lots of general information on click and take a look!

Monday, 24 October 2011

winter wildlife tips

You and your family need food, water and warm shelter - wildlife do too.
There are lots of little things you can do to help the wildlife in your garden this winter.

  • RSPB advise feeding your garden birds through the winter months as they will be struggling to find food.
  • Place feeders about 10 feet from shrubs, or other places where cats might be.
  • Make sure your bird feeders are keeping the seeds dry. If seeds get wet, remove and replace with new this will prevent mold growth, clean regular to prevent disease.
  • Provide water for wildlife this is almost as important as food through winter.
  • Plan to Plant trees and shrubs that are native to your area and many can provide winter berries, other food sources, shelter and nesting sites.
  • Avoid cutting back hedges and leave a band of un-mown grass along it, this provides shelter and food.
  • Allow some of your plants to go to seed to provide winter food for seed-eating birds.
  • Be careful not to disturb creatures,when you are tidying and preparing for winter or they can waste energy trying to find a new habitat.
  • Make sure there are plenty of places to take shelter - dense shrubs, wood piles, long grass, rock piles.


European hedgehog tips. 
  • If burning garden leaves or refuse use a  incinerator or move the pile just before setting fire to it. This should prevent any hedgehogs that have made a home in the rubbish being harmed.
  • Hedgehogs are getting ready or may have already begun to hibernate at this time of the year . During hibernation a hedgehogs will wake up several times, and if you see one it is a good idea to offer food and water, then, if there are no signs of problems, let the little fella go on its way.
  • Keep a pile of logs in an undisturbed corner of the garden to provide shelter for insects and mammals - if you're lucky a hedgehog or toad may find a home there and feed on all your slugs and snails.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Preparing your garden for winter

                                                              Pictures taken in Alberta Canada

  • Autumn  -it the prefect time to move plants or remove plants .
  • Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring as well as plant bare-root shrubs and trees.
  • Divide perennials.
  • Remove weeds and spent annuals from your beds.
  • Look out for pests and diseases, and take appropriate action.
  • Take root cuttings from perennials.
  • Wrap terracotta pots in bubble plastic or pack in mulch for frost protection.
  • Bring plants that need a frost-free minimum winter temperature into a mildly heated greenhouse or conservatory, or cool room in your home.
  • Harvest winter crops.
  • Wrap potted plants that need protection in low temperatures in layers of horticultural fleece before freezing weather strikes. Move the pot to a sheltered spot.
  • Apply mulch, don't do this to early, I suggest after the first freeze, this will prevent pests and disease.

    Check out my winter wildlife tips!

      Wednesday, 19 October 2011

      Crafting - How to make Mr Grass head

      Let me introduce Gary Grasshead, made by my daugther.  Grass heads are a great fun to make and educational too.

      To make a grass head you will need:-

      Thin sock, or tights
      Plastic cup
      About two tablespoonfuls of compost.
      1 rounded teaspoonful of grass seed
      Elastic bands.
      Things to decorate with (felt, cloth, glue, etc.)

      What to do next:-

      Roll down the sock and sprinkle in the grass seeds.
      Put the compost in.
      Gently press into a rough shape and twist and elastic band around the opening to close it.
      Knead into the preferred shape the head must sit on top of the rim of the cup.
      Add ears and a nose by separating small areas of soil with small elastic bands. Spread the seeds so they are roughly even.
      Pour an inch of water into the cup.
      Sit the grasshead on rim with the excess sock hanging in the water. The moisture will gradually work its way up the fabric.
      The grass should start growing within a week!
      Refill the water regularly.
      Place on a sunny windowsill.

      Friday, 14 October 2011

      Organic Fruit & Veg Tips

      Top twelve non-organic foods to avoid:-
      1. Strawberries
      2. Bell peppers
      3. Spinach
      4. Cherries
      5. Peaches
      6. Cantaloupe melon
      7. Celery
      8. Apples
      9. Apricots
      10. Green beans
      11. Grapes
      12. Cucumbers
      Organic tips:
      • Packages that say pure or natural, is just a marketing tool.
      • Made with real fruit or whole grains, this means it probably has a minute quantity of fruit it in.
      • Enriched just means that it's been messed with.
      • One hundred percent organic - food contains only organically produced ingredients.
      • Organic means that 95 percent of the ingredients must be organically grown and the using 5 percent from non organic Ingredients.
      • Eat seasonal and local - tastes better and kinder to the environment too.

        Twelve cleanest fruits and vegetables which contain the least amount of pesticides
        1 avocado
        2 corn
        3 onions
        4 sweet potatoes
        5 cauliflower
        6 Brussels sprouts
        7 grapes
        8 bananas
        9 plums
        10 green onions
        11 watermelon
        12 broccoli

        My Dear Dad, collecting pecan nuts.

        The Benefits of buying local and in season means fewer fossil fuels are used, so its so much better for the environment.
        Choose local suppliers with ethical and organic practices, or best of all grow your own!

        Thursday, 13 October 2011

        Companion planting

        Companion planting has been used for many years by farmers and gardeners to help with pest control and pollination.

        Here's a list of companion plants, that may benefit the plants in your garden when planted in close proximity to each other.

        My favorites are geraniums and marigolds.

        Aster - repels most insects
        Basil - repels flies and mosquitoes
        Borage  - tomato worms.
        Caraway - loosens the soil and attracts parasitic wasps and bees.
        Coriander - repels aphids.
        Fennel - potato bugs.
        Geraniums - attracts caterpillars, luring them away from nearby plants.
        Horseradish - deters potato bugs.
        Larkspur, protects vines against vine beetles.
        Lavender - attracts pollinating insects.
        Marigolds - discourages most pests.
        Mint - deters white cabbage moth.
        Oregano - repels aphids.
        onions, garlic, chives & shallots - these repel. slugs, aphids, cabbage worms
        Parsley, repels carrot flies.

        Plants to attract beneficial insects.
        Although nectar is collected from any flower, my favourites are the nettle-leaved bellflower, Campanula latifolia, in soft grey-lilac, and Brantwood in deep blue. These are loved by bees.
        Here is a great link from the RHS perfect pollinator list

        Monday, 3 October 2011

        Garden pests - don't let them bug you!

        It is a hard balance to get right, protecting your garden from little pests who want a free lunch and encouraging the helpful little garden dwellers, who pay their dues.

        The usual suspects:-

        Slugs - don’t use slug pellets, some brands can be poisonous to other animals, they work by dehydrating the slug and it if it rains whilst this happening the slug re-hydrates, this defeats the object really and not a particularly nice way to go for the slug. I prefer the beer trap method; put some
        beer in shallow bowls, slugs love beer, I only use in early summer because you might attract bees. Oh yes,  put a stick in so that beetles can escape.
        • Place orange halves out the slugs are attracted to these and it makes it easier when collecting slugs by hand.
        • Put Copper wire or a gritty barrier like crushed egg shells around your plants, the slugs won't like that at all.
        • Cover seedlings with fine mesh or cut the top off an old plastic bottle, but be careful not to roast your plants.
        Plant a few garlic cloves, the plants absorb the garlic and it wards off the insects.  Also you can infuse some garlic into water and spray it on the aphids and you can do the same with Rhubarb leaves, but be careful with this one as rhubarb leaves are poisonous to humans.
        Spray with a powerful jet of water.
        Use the companion planting method.

        White flies
        White flies are attracted to the colour yellow, find a yellow piece of plastic or card and coat with grease, this works like fly paper.

        These little pests aren't really a problem, but if  you really wish to get rid of them, you can use 1:3 ratio of borax and icing sugar, place and cover on a piece of wood near where the ants have been seen. The ants like sweets things and will be attracted the bait, they will carry into the nest, ingest it and perish.
        Please be careful and don't place bait near pets or other animal activity.

        Encourage birds, frogs, hedgehogs and ground Beatles or even get some ducks and chickens, they can help you in your pest control.

        A garden is a happier place, when there is balance like in nature.