Category Archives: how to

smoke signals

from the comments

Carole Corlew:

Erica, kale will grow very nicely in a container. It likes the cold, as you know. I don’t have personal experience with deer (rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and lately a raccoon!). But I have heard of some things that can help if you don’t have a tall fence.

Fragrant bars of soap hung from branches or a bamboo stick, etc., about 30 inches from the ground. Think Irish Spring. Or human hair (ask a barber for trimmings) in mesh bags three feet off the ground. Plant spray made of three raw eggs in a gallon of water. Supposedly deer hate that. Also, row covers can help for a while, anyway.

I’ve also had success with mirror mobiles. I had one that was just a long fishing-wire string with small round mirrors attached. I laced it from a piece of wire protruding from a fence and nothing bothered my garden for ages. It would swing around in the sun and wind and it must have freaked out the varmints. Then the Iowan managed to knock it off onto the brick walk and broke a lot of it.

So I bought some very thin fishing wire and a bunch of little mirrors from a craft store. One mirror, glue, attached to the back of an identical mirror. Either one string or attach multiple strings to, say, a wire hanger, which is not pretty but will do the job. Speaking of, you also might string fishing wire between posts in the garden because supposedly that confuses deer.

Good luck!

DIY, Growing Food in Winter

These are lettuce and pea seeds I put in last week. They are growing in my back yard, in a plastic container that held spinach. Yes, it is cold. And it freezes and sleets and ices up, still. But this is winter gardening and people do it even in colder climates than northern Virginia.

You just wash a plastic container that has a lid, punch some holes in the top and bottom, put in some soil (I use a seeding mix) and sprinkle in seeds. Water, close the container, label it with a permanent marker. Place it outside in a sunny area. Now you have a greenhouse environment for your seeds to grow. I may need to transplant these into a larger container before it gets warm enough to plant in the garden.

I also have some flowers and pampas grass sprouting.

Your seeds really want to grow, even in harsh conditions. Like us, they are animated by the life force.

from the comments

Carole Corlew:

It’s not possible to duplicate hush puppies that had been deep fried in an iron kettle perched on a wood fire outdoors. With the hand-cranked ice cream under a tree, still in freezers covered by newspapers. The freezers had to be repacked in fresh ice and salt and covered with newspapers and towels, left alone for a while. This “ripened” the ice cream, or hardened it. Absolute ambrosia.