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Community Gardens

Pests, Plugs & Posts – all in a morning’s work

April 27, 2013

The polytunnel at Goresbridge Community Garden is full to overflowing with plug plants for the village planting scheme. A couple of weeks ago we looked through the catalogues and chose a variety of plants for the flower scheme and they arrived last week, typically just after the morning class had finished, in two cardboard boxes.

Plug plants potted on for the village planting scheme

Plug plants potted on for the village planting scheme

Potting upA few of the gardeners went back to the garden later in the day and transplanted most of the plants from their plug trays into modules. Unfortunately not all of the trays were cleaned and when we arrived at the garden this week we noticed that some of the plants had been nibbled.

snailLiam started to check under each tray and lo and behold, the polytunnel was like a boarding home for molluscs. Every single pot and module had at least one if not three slugs or snails hiding under it and they were immediately dispatched. It did however, give the gardeners a dilemma. We’re gardening without chemicals which means NO regular slug pellets but the worry is that there’s a lot of money’s worth of plants that might potentially be breakfast for our hungry ‘little friends’.

Tidy Garden at Goresbridge

Grow mat pictured at the front donated to the garden by www.soweasygrow.ie

Should we or shouldn’t we give in at the first major hurdle? The answer is no, we’ll do our best to manage the situation without the chemicals. We checked the tunnel and every pot in it from top to bottom and eradicated each and every slug and snail – there were just too many for the bird table and I think the ones that were placed on it managed to slither away before they were eaten. We then set about garden hygiene – tidying, moving and getting rid of anything unwanted that might lurk under it. Community gardeners will be popping in and out of the garden throughout the week and checking whether they’ve moved back and in the meantime I’ve been brushing up on this old post I wrote last year giving 14 methods of organic slug control. I’ll let you know how we get on!

the fruit and flower bedAside from a big garden tidy up, the fruit bed was weeded and raked over ready to take a sowing of some annual flower seeds that we’ll be adding to the bed the Bridge Boys prepared last year. Also Peter was lured back by the banter, tea and biscuits to build something that I’ll unveil in the next couple of weeks out of recycled bits and pieces that had been left in the compost shed.

reuse recycle

Things are certainly looking up in this pretty little garden. How are your own growing preparations going?

Green

How to Make Coconut Shell Bird Feeders

October 11, 2011

Coconut Shell Bird FeedersFeeding birds in the wintertime not only helps them find food when it’s scarce, but has other benefits too, and what better way to do it than to get down & squelchy making your own bird feeders.

According to *research undertaken by the University of Exeter and Queen’s University Belfast, birds that are provided with extra food during the winter helps to ensure a more successful breeding season the following spring.
It’s also much more economical making your own fat feeders than buying them, and great fun if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty (just wear rubber gloves if you do).
So with that in mind this morning a group of twenty of us made enough feeders to keep our local bird population full for months!
So what do you need?
Coconut Shell Bird FeedersLard (at room temperature)
Peanuts
Bird seed
Grated cheese
Raisins
Coconut shells, yogurt pots or small disposable cups
 String
Mixing bowl
I deliberately haven’t added quantities here as we made lots (the picture shows a 2kg bag of peanuts).  However, I would estimate that one pack of lard would be enough to fill four half shells, with the other ingredients added until the mixture ‘just looks right’.
What’s next?
A friend donated some empty coconut shells, pre-cut & holes drilled (thanks Pat!) to tie the string to.  We left the coconut inside, just scoring it with a blade to give the mixture something to stick to although I’m not sure that was necessary. Then we added all the ingredients to a bowl and squished and squelched it between our fingers until everything was combined (which caused great amusement & delight!)
Coconut Shell Bird FeedersThe mixture was then packed into the shells. Once we ran out of shells we made holes in the bottom of yogurt pots, poked & tied string through them and filled those. When they were filled we used plastic drink cups! NOTE: We have since learnt how harmful single use plastic is to the environment and are now using biodegradable bun cases.
Once the containers were full they were placed in the fridge for an hour or more which allowed the lard to set. Once set they’re ready to hang outdoors as they are.
Have you ever made your own bird feeders and do you use any other ingredients/method?
* Source: Science Daily