Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Groundhog update

Well so far so good.

It has been a week and Mr Groundhog has not been seen.  PHEW!  And the garden is growing.

New beans and peas are sprouting up again.   I harvested my spinach as well since is it a cool weather plant.  Cucumbers are growing, tomatoes are appearing and zucchini  :)

We are extremely dry here, to the point they are whispering drought.   :(

I have been watering my garden daily, but the poor plants are still thirsty.   My dear husband hated to see me carry water to the garden so often,  so we decided to purchase some triple shredded mulch.

I watered everything very well and then placed the mulch around the base of each plant, keeping it about 2-3 inches away from the stem itself.     

Last evening a line of much needed rain came through, infact it is still raining this morning.  I was able to fill my rain barrel again which was near empty.   My plants are loving this much needed rain.    More is forecast for this evening.

Tomorrow I will have to reapply the cayenne pepper mixture, fox urine, ammonia and epsom salts. 

Life is good !

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

We were rolling along

Last week I posted about the groundhog that really got under my skin to say the least.

Things were moving along fine, I had my ammonia rags stuffed into the fence and used (smelly)
cat litter tossed near his burrow and where he had tunneled under the fence.

The Red Fox Urine arrived and very carefully, wearing gloves, I squirted some every 10 feet.   You do not need much as it is concentrated------so they say?  We also have chipmunks running rampant here so I thought, two birds with one stone  :)

I think the chipmunks stood back and laughed at me while squirting the fox urine, which is to be applied every 7-10 days.   LOL

I planted additional sweet peas, pole beans and lettuce.

Fast forward to Father's Day, I went to check my garden and I saw RED again.   The area that I had not sprinkled the used cat litter had a hole dug under the fence.....and yes my lettuce, kale and zucchini leaves were chewed back.....AGAIN!!   I was so mad, he completely destroyed my kale, I pulled out the plant   :(

I do not know how many shades of RED there are but I was every one of them !!  I also feel it was partly my fault because I felt since the fox urine was there, I did not have to use the cat litter for 2 days.

Now, there is cat litter scattered around the length where he favors, I applied Epson Salts all around the perimeter and over the plants as well.  Actually while reading up on Epsom salts I found it is good for the garden.   Hey, that's a two for one!

And I made a concoction of cayenne pepper and water and sprayed it on the leaves of the plants that the groundhog ate, hoping IF he attempts it again, his mouth will burn!!

The only issue with these homemade concoctions, is if it rains, you must reapply once its stops.

And...guess what?..........it is raining..........................


Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Well, my garden WAS coming along.  

 I had planted, leaf lettuce, spinach, peas, pole beans, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash, kale and 5 tomato plants.

Saturday I went out and weeded it, everything was growing lovely.   I even discovered  my first zucchini starting !!   Yes, I was excited, the mushroom soil we added did the trick.  :)

Sunday while taking my cat for his daily walk around our yard, I discovered............

my lettuce was GONE! 
 Kale was chewed back, green beans and peas were topped off and zucchini leaves were chewed.   I saw RED !!  I found that the local groundhog had burrowed under my fence !!!

Living in the country is great, but man oh man, I do not like sharing my garden with the local wildlife.

So...........I did a search.   There is nothing you can do to stop the groundhog from burrowing, after all that is what they do.  Grrrrrrrr.......but what you can do is try to persuade him to leave your garden alone.

They do not like noise, so I tied aluminum foil pans all around the garden and added a wind chime on a shepherds hook also.  I soaked rags with ammonia and stuffed them into the fence.

Did you know, cats are a natural predator of groundhogs?   :)   Did I mention I have cats?   :)

No, I did not set my cats free to go after the groundhog, but what I did read is that if you take their USED litter and sprinkle it around the garden and toss it in the groundhog hole, the kritter will leave!

There are other alternatives too

Epson salts - sprinkle them around and on your plants, around the perimeter of the garden as well.

Cayenne pepper - 4 spoons of pepper to 2 cups of water.  Spray around your garden and on your plants.

Then you can do what my husband did......he purchased Red Fox Urine.   We are waiting for it to arrive and will fill you in on the results.

As of yesterday, the groundhog was not back, BUT I have not yet checked today...........I am feeling a bit leery about checking


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dwarf Lilacs

One of my favorite bushes I own is a 
Miniature Lilac.    They are known for their fragrance and it certainly is lucious.

This is not a photo of my bush, but a very close resemblance

Like all bushes, they do require some pruning. 

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, I decided it was time to tackle my bush.  I do not just prune, I sculpt too.    :)   Yes, it has to look even and just as beautiful.

Here are the recommended steps for pruning your Dwarf Lilac


Dip, spray or wipe the blades of the pruning shears or loppers using rubbing alcohol or a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water. Clean them this way between uses and between plants. If you are pruning the lilac to remove diseased sections, clean after each cut to prevent the spread of disease.


Cut spent flower heads off after the lilac has finished blooming, when one or two new shoots become visible under the flower cluster. Make the cut just above a new shoot or bud.


Cut branches back selectively to shape the dwarf lilac bush as desired, removing no more than one-third of any stem and making a clean cut just above a bud facing in the desired direction. Dwarf lilacs generally require little of this type of pruning. You may only need to cut one or two overly vigorous, out-of-place branches back.


Cut one or two of the lilac's oldest stems back to the base of the plant if the shrub is several years old and becoming bare or scraggly looking at the base. This encourages the growth of new, vigorous stems.


Monitor the dwarf lilac throughout the growing season for damaged, diseased or rubbing branches. Prune off the problematic portions to just above a branch or bud growing in the desired direction. Dispose of any diseased portions you remove away from desirable vegetation.


Remove all but one or two of the healthiest, strongest new shoots or suckers that grow at the base of the plant in late winter or early spring.

Things You Will Need

  • Rubbing alcohol or bleach solution
  • Sharp pruning shears or loppers


  • Spacing dwarf lilac shrubs well at planting allows ample sunlight to reach the entire plant, minimizing scraggly growth and the need for pruning.


  • Whenever possible, avoid pruning the lilac in summer, fall or winter, because the lilac blooms on growth produced during the previous growing season. Delaying pruning for more than a few weeks following bloom can greatly impact flowering the next spring.