Keeping Deer and Rabbit Out of The GardenOk, I know, I know, another post on keeping my garden safe from deer and rabbit. We live on a very open property in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, and there are quite a few deer families and jack rabbits that roam our property. I did not want to clog up our view with added fencing, but wanted to make sure I kept the furry critters away from my dahlias and other flowers this year. In my first post, Homemade Garlic Deer and Rabbit Repellent, I talk about protection for my garden using a garlic, cayenne pepper and egg spray. This works like a charm, but I wanted to add an additional deer and rabbit fencing as an outer layer of protection. I came up with an idea to combine fishing line and randomly placed shiny mylar ribbon to create an invisible fence. I bought some wooden stakes at the Home Depot and placed a few screws into the wood at 1′ and 4′. I put several of the stakes on the perimeter of my lower field to enclose the planting area. This was the start of my deer fence. I then took the monofilament fishing line and ran it from stake to stake, looping it around the screws as I walked. Then, at about 8′ intervals, I tied the mylar strips onto the fishing line. If you can’t find mylar, just use tinsel, or aluminum foil. The shiny strips move in the breeze and reflect light at night, and the cautious deer/rabbits avoid the area. Since placing the deer fence, I have yet to see any deer tracks in my garden. Hope this helps!!
Making Homemade Deer and Rabbit RepellentLast year I had some plants decimated by deer, and wanted to be proactive and get ahead of the curve. So I set out to make homemade deer repellent with common household items. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Peeled garlic cloves
- Cayenne Pepper
- Liquid soap
- Food Processor
- Boiling Water
Cuttings and Dividing Tubers: Dahlia PropagationStarting to propagate my dahlias this week, and using a couple of techniques. In this article i will outline how I am taking tuber cuttings to multiply my stock. First off, at the beginning of my season, i put my tubers into containers indoors, and cover them about half-way with potting soil so i can catch all the action. Depending on the type, and the warmth, it usually takes a few weeks before the eyes start sprouting, and another one or two before i can start propagating the dahlias. Below is an overview of the technique:
- Once the tuber has a number of sprouts, I select ones that are 3 or 4 inches in height for my cuttings. 2. Once I have selected a Dahlia shoot with two sets of leaves, I then use a sharp instrument (Exacto Knife), to take a cutting. Note: You want to get a bit of the dahlia tuber at the base to insure the best chances for rooting. 3. I take off the bottom set of leaves once I have the cutting. 4. This step is optional, but if you have rooting hormone, it can aid in getting the dahlia cutting to root more quickly. 5. Finally, take your cutting and place it in a mix of soil and vermiculite. The loose soil will give roots free reign, and encourage growth. Note: I also apply bottom heat and cover the cuttings with plastic to create a complete propagation environment. In about two weeks or so, the baby Dahlias will root. You can check by gently tugging on the cutting.
Sunflower Seeds to Sunflower PlantsPlanting and growing sunflowers is easy. These durable plants can be grown in most area summer months, and can bring great beauty to any landscape or garden. Below are the steps to grow sunflowers from seed:
- So, the first step is to find quality sunflower seed. Many of the top online seed stores sell sunflower seeds, and quality will insure a higher germination rate for your baby sunflower plants. You can also harvest your own, and that is detailed here: Collecting and Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
- Planting the Sunflowers. Sunflowers require some degree of warmth to germinate, and the soil should be between 55 and 60 degrees. The warmer the better, and here in Sacramento, our sunflowers grow like weeds in the high heat of the summer. Plant the sunflower seeds in groups of 3 an inch deep in your soil, and about 6 inches apart.
- Thinning your sunflowers. After a few weeks, when you have decent size baby sunflowers, go ahead and thin the herd out to a single plant in each of your groups.
- Caring for sunflowers. Sunflowers are pretty hardy plants and don’t need much care. Insure proper water during early growth, and you can add a small amount of fertilizer if you choose to do so.
Planting and Growing Sunflowers in the Garden