Comment Archives: stories: Life + Outdoors: Dirt

Re: “The Feathered Killers

Wait until you have a broody hen (preferably a high status one), put a bunch of fake eggs under her and let her set a while, then when you get your day old chicks sneak in at night and stick them under her in place of the eggs.... She'll get up the next morning and think she's hatched them out and will raise them for you, and protect them from the other hens. High status hens confer higher status to their chicks too.

Posted by Dr S on 03/25/2013 at 12:39 PM

Re: “All That for a Bee?

Really I would liek to see an article about promoting native bees on your property - without the negativity - It is really easy and positive and means solitary and bumble bees

Posted by brian on 05/13/2012 at 12:59 PM

Re: “Mammals of Mass Destruction

Liked your article. We have a five acre place where we plant (without pesticides etc) fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, etc...all in gopher wire. Even this is not fail-safe (and of course brings heavy metals into the soil). Gophers do somehow get into our 24" high gopher-proofed raised beds, and the baskets we plant the trees in do rot, sometimes in 3 years. Over a 5 year period, I think it is safe to say we've lost at least a 3rd of our trees to gophers and maybe closer to half of perennials and veggies. We just keep trying. We also trap, albeit with intermittent fervor. When you loose this much, you give up the nice friendly attitude. (But I guess I still have a soft spot: this spring I found 3 tiny baby gophers whose mother had obviously been caught by a cat, and I just couldn't do away with them. So I fed them until they were a little older and then released them in the field away from any edible fruit trees. One bit me before it left. Call me nuts.) We also have habitat for gopher snakes, we have lots of neighborhood cats, hawks, owls, you name it--there are always plenty of gophers. I'm thinking of poisoning, but I'm afraid a cat or our ducks will accidentally get poisoned. Even if you place the bait down in a hole and cover it well, the gophers are always pushing soil around and to the surface. They seem to be attracted to wet soil, so watering a fruit tree well is a sure way to get them interested. Water as little as possible. We also love to sheet mulch, but gophers love when we make these safe havens for them. Mulch=yes; cardboard=no. Too bad they are an integral part of our ecosystem; otherwise, bring on the reproductive inhibitor hormones for gophers! Barring this, I'm thinking of selling up and moving.

Posted by lynn on 10/21/2010 at 6:19 PM

Re: “The Feathered Killers

Amy, I want to let you know about an awesome info/forum site called "Backyard Chickens". People from all over the world share problems/solutions regarding chickens and other pets/livestock in a beautifully moderated family-friendly forum. Easy and free to join, and tons of invaluable info shared. But be forwarned - can be very addicting! One tip I may offer...Put an older young bird in the coop with the big girls at night when it's dark. They wake up with a newbie present and don't seem to realize it wasn't there the day before! Good luck!

Posted by Brittany Stewart on 04/22/2010 at 4:14 PM

Re: “Monetize It!

Excellent article. The only caveat I have is that there already exist several people willing to certify medical marijuana as organic. Chris Van Hook's Clean Green program is based on the federal government's rules (he can certify organic for produce etc.) Growers can get certified now if they want to.

Posted by kymk on 04/01/2010 at 11:51 PM

Re: “Monetize It!

My wife just pointed out this story to me. It's pretty funny because a lot of what you write about I just tried to put into a hypothetical business layout for a 1000 member growing coop. You clearly know your stuff. Someone should be paying you to head up something like this coop ;)--*

Posted by nico on 04/01/2010 at 10:35 PM

Re: “Self-Contained

Since I live in an apartment, I don't 'technically' have permission to do gardening on the grounds where I live, but container gardening has offered me an interesting loophole to squeeze through. I like you ideas about re-using found waste material for planters;I think I will scrounge the alleys and start one today.

Posted by a1 on 03/16/2010 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Mammals of Mass Destruction

I mangage a golf course and the critters are getting the better of me and my crew. We have rodenators, two of them and the gophers are winning! They have wreaked havoc on our beautiful course and I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?

Posted by David on 03/08/2010 at 4:00 PM

Re: “Mammals of Mass Destruction

I mangage a golf course and the critters are getting the better of me and my crew. We have rodenators, two of them and the gophers are winning! They have wreaked havoc on our beautiful course and I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?

Posted by David on 03/08/2010 at 3:59 PM

Re: “Still More Garden Theft

It's just plain rude to steal someones plants....we nurture them and take care of them only to have some prick walk by and take them. It's happened to me with 10 year old 15' long ivys in pots. I started them from twigs. They were beautiful and a part of me and my life....they are missed!

Posted by Vexed on 02/12/2010 at 3:42 AM

Re: “Corporatize My Garden

What could possibly go wrong with a plant completely disease resistant, hardy, and drought resistant?
Ecology. and the millions of dollars to restore an invasive species.

Posted by Mathias on 02/10/2010 at 4:28 PM

Re: “Corporatize My Garden

"...I really don't want a new one. I want an old, difficult rose. A rose with a complicated history that makes mysterious and incomprehensible demands upon me. A rose that always lets me know that I'm not worthy of it. A rose that reminds me who's boss...." Amy, this definition of our beloved old roses just cracks me up. Maybe a few of us really are fascinated by the unpredictable..the exotic history...the more than meets the eye.... Of course there is always something to be said about well behaved consistency...and people don't always want their relationships and gardens to meet the same standards....but....well...a rose you can swoon over....that is a different matter altogether.

Posted by Cindy Graebner on 01/29/2010 at 11:15 AM

Re: “Still More Garden Theft

Erin, I thought she was turning a lousy-feeling situation into an amusing story we could all cluck over and shake our heads at. I don't think she's actually suggesting we implant microchips in our $5 plants. Rare $10,000 specimens, maybe, but that's not for us home gardeners to worry about. Theft really feels horrible, as does vandalism. It's a heck of a lot different then having your plant just up and die on you. I do landscaping and I've had little issue with theft in this area, but I've had persistent vandalism issues in one garden. I can't even tell you how awful it feels to design a garden, maintain it monthly, talk sweetly to the plants, and one day come and find these lovingly coddled plants shredded, uprooted, broken, and left to die. I'm feeling sick just thinking about it. I'm laughing to know the story behind the Blue Chip. If I'd been there you coulda had mine with no drunken brawl needed. Pruning three of those things two summers ago gave me the worst sinus infection of my life from all the hairy white dusty fuzz on the undersides of the leaves. Two courses of antibiotics and six months later I took the drastic action of cutting out all sugar, dairy and alcohol for a month (life was not worth living) and taking some foul orange powder from moonrise, which finally killed the infection. I will never plant a Buddleia again, I don't care how cute they breed them. But I am sorry you lost yours. Blue Chip sounds too small to give sinus infections.

Posted by Genevieve on 01/27/2010 at 11:44 PM

Re: “The Business of Bees

Amy - I am a local who has just purchased my first batch of mason bees! They are living in the crisper of my fridge (they arrived in naked cocoons, no tubes, so that I can insert them into the pre-made tubes of their future home). Any idea when I should start thinking about putting them outside? I am keeping a weather eye out for the first blooms. My frost-bitten Glory Bush has exactly one flower and my fuchsia has a few small buds. Not being a Humboldt native I'm not exactly sure when to expect the last frost of the year. Any insight is appreciated! Thanks!

Posted by Jen on 01/26/2010 at 10:43 PM

Re: “Still More Garden Theft

How cool would that iPhone app be?! Drive through town and steal back your stuff? Awesome.
I agree with you, Amy, about your plant having a story. Anything is more fun with 'provenance'. My favorite plants are ones that I've nurtured from clippings. I wouldn't mind someone snitching a clipping but cleaning off my hydrangeas so they can make wreaths to sell is beyond nasty. And if anyone received a plant of any sort in a lovely red pot last Mother's Day, it was stolen off my porch.

Posted by beachcomber on 01/22/2010 at 12:47 PM

Re: “Still More Garden Theft

I disagree with Erin- the difference is that natural plant death is one thing- theft is unneccessary and mean. A person puts effort into their garden and gets daily enjoyment. A thief is an ugly intrusion.

Posted by really on 01/08/2010 at 10:03 PM

Re: “Still More Garden Theft

Amy, I think you are over reacting.
No one likes to be stolen from, but to say: "Now, if you put anything sparkly in your front yard and don't chain it to a fencepost, you're pretty much asking for it to get stolen." is a little over the top.
Everywhere there is teenage hoodlums, etc who for no reason, other than the thrill, will take a garden ornament or plant from the front of a house.
How many times have you been stolen from?
I think that your article is playing in to a fear of losing items. You just can't be so attached to things that it 'ends your world' when it is stolen. Or causes you to never put pretty things in your yard again.
Don't get caught up in the one instance that you were made to feel vulnerable and write an article that tells people to beware or that we need GPS-enabled microchips for our plants.
Plants are plants. You said yourself that they freeze, dry up get old and die... Garden ornaments are garden ornaments, not your first born child or your vehicle.

Posted by Erin on 01/08/2010 at 12:30 PM

Re: “Mammals of Mass Destruction

Have been looking for a safer, more humane method of gopher eradication, dry ice pellets put in the runs, then sealed, dry ice is concentrated carbon monoxide, not damaging to the enviornment, just puts the gopher to sleep for good. Eueka Frozen Foods carries dry ice. I will be trying this myself, hope this helps others.

Posted by Sandy on 12/20/2009 at 10:34 AM

Re: “Don't Water

"And just recently a woman was quoted in the newspaper as complaining that it will now cost her $174 to water her garden." On Tuesday this woman stood before the City Council and said that she had made a mistake about what the cost of her new water bill would be. I believe it was 50% lower than she had calculated.

Posted by Paying attention on 12/18/2009 at 8:02 AM

Re: “Gifts of the Garden

I wholeheartedly endorse your selections. (Are we gardeners so alike?) But who can resist those watering cans. I finally selected an emerald green one for myself, but of course I wanted one of each color so you really can't lose. Goes to scope out the purple hoses I've been needing a new hose. And PURPLE! <3<3<3 But I'd best not buy one just in case.

Posted by botias on 12/04/2009 at 3:44 PM

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