As much as I love rabbits and have had many over the years as pets, I'm not a fan of rabbits gobbling up the vegetables we grow for ourselves. That's why it's a good idea to find natural ways to keep rabbits out of your garden without hurting them or the plants you'll be eating yourself. Rabbits in North America generally don't burrow too deeply, so it's natural for them to want to dig into your garden.
Looking out over the backyard and enjoying the view of four deer making their way down the hill, I realized that I have a ton of leaves back there. Naturally I would with as many oaks as we have, but we usually let many of them break down over the season. Still, I could really use a new wide rake in the garden boxes to not only break up the leaves and old soil, but to break up and mix in our chicken manure.
As I peruse the Baker Seed catalog, I can't help but ooh and ahh and dream big dreams. It's more exciting than toy catalogs ever were for me as a kid! The problem is I know I won't have time to grow more than a few favorite easy-to-grow items (I'm looking at you, tomatoes) with the busy schedules my family and I keep, especially now that my teen's doing a lot of things that require additional transportation. It almost feels like a chess game to manage the calendar sometimes!
When it comes to winter gardening, a lot of gardeners don't do a whole lot. I am known to merely keep up with my compost and that's about it in the winter time. But there's plenty to be done if you want to keep a garden year-round, not to mention pruning the plants you've got year-round. Winter pansies seed around this time of year, too, so if you grow those you should probably take care to make sure they don't spread like legion all over your yard right now.
In the past, I've suggested using the Handbook of Nature Study for your nature and garden study needs, and I still maintain that it's a great place for both free and inexpensive study guides, journaling pages and information about different aspects of nature. Each study, such as this winter tree study, guides you through the process without directing it, allowing you to keep it as self-directed as possible.
Have you ever heard of putting your garden to work, or making your garden work for you? Experts say there are many ways to do this, from growing your own food to implementing a great rain garden to help you manage both water as well as water issues, like flooding or pooling. A good retaining wall alone can help protect your property, and bushes planted in a garden can help prevent erosion from occuring while adding to the look of your garden overall.
For me, making sure to turn off the hose and getting my compost onto the soil pretty much sum up what winterizing means for my garden. Of course we harvest anything left over and clear out anything that's died, but I must confess that I've never checked the pH of my soil like this piece advises. I also never thought to plant garlic throughout the garden now, which makes perfect sense, of course.
My daughter and I have been tracking the seasons (also known as engaging in phenology!) and examining nature this year with the help of the book The Nature Connection. It's such a fun family workbook filled with drawing prompts, ideas for bringing nature inside your home and truly exploring your own backyard.
For as long as I can remember, I've always loved succulents. My grandmother kept succulents both inside and outside her house most of the year and we loved to look at her carefully-arranged terrariums, to see the little miniatures she arranged artfully around the plants. Today the cactus is one of the most popular of all plants, with an almost cult-like following. Did you know that you can even join a Cactus of the Month Club and be mailed a new cactus every single month? I'm not sure if that's insane or brilliant. Probably both!
If you love your gardening tomes, this book is one for you! A History of Botanic Illustration is a collection of botanical art that's 300 years old. Most plant lovers know that drawing plants was once our primary means of recording them, passing down their information through illustrated journals and diagrams before we could take photos, make field guides and create cool apps that identify plants in seconds.