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Posts Tagged ‘hogitat’

Slugs must be at the top of the list of garden pests, they happily munch their way through our treasured crops often eating as much as we do, annoyingly leaving behind their calling card – a tell tale silver trail.

Slug

Last year we had a very wet April and May (which is when slugs breed) this resulted in a large increase in their population and although we had a cold spring this year many will have survived due to their large numbers, if they all breed successfully there could be a slug explosion in June and July.

There are many environmentally friendly ways to control slugs in the garden:

1  Place a slug deterrent such as Slug Gone around your plants, composed of sheep’s wool, sand, grit and potassium salts it acts as a barrier which irritates the slugs foot and absorbs its slime. Slug Gone wool pellets can be used anywhere in the garden, they are natural, organic and safe to children, pets and wildlife, the pellets hold twice their own weight in water and will act as an excellent mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and slow release fertiliser too.

Slug Gone 3.5 Litre

2  Install Copper Tapes around the outside of Pots, Troughs, Raised Beds or the legs of Mangers/Growing Tables the tiny electrical charge they give out will send the slugs away.

3  Apply Nemaslug, which is a biological control, every 6 weeks to the soil by simply watering it in, it contains millions of microscopic slug hunting worms called nematodes which invade and kill the slugs.

Nemaslug® Slug Killer

4  Build a pond in your garden; it will soon become a home to frogs, toads and newts whose favourite food are slugs, as well as benefiting and encouraging masses of wildlife.

5  Create permanent log piles in your garden to encourage Ground Beetles they can eat a surprising number of slugs for their size, the logs provide a summer nesting site and a perfect place to overwinter.

6  Attract birds to your garden by providing bird feeders, bird food, and a bird bath, Thrushes especially love slugs.

7  Encourage Hedgehogs to your garden by putting out hedgehog food (don’t overfeed them as they will stop foraging for the slugs), clean water and a place to nest or hibernate such as a Hogitat or a Hogilo they love a tasty snack of slugs.

 Hedgehog at snack bowl

8  Mulch the garden with bark chips, well rotted compost or manure all of which are inedible to slugs.

9  Patrol the garden when it has gone dark with a torch collecting them in a bag/bucket and disposing of them as you think fit!

I would not recommend using harmful slug pellets that contain metaldehyde, although they kill the slugs they will also kill their natural predators (insects, birds, mammals, amphibians) who unwittingly eat the slugs, as well as being harmful to pets, children and grown-ups.

Although slugs are often not wanted in our gardens they do have a place there and are a vital part of  our wildlifes food chain, it is all about creating a natural and harmonious balance.

Love your environment.

Gill

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The prolonged wet weather that we have endured over the last few months has had a devastating affect on our wildlife says the National Trust, Birds, Bats, Butterflies and Bees have all been affected.

Pembroke Nest Box

Pembroke Nest Box

Birds have struggled to find food for themselves and their young, caterpillars and insects have literally been washed away, we can help birds now by giving them protein rich foods such as live mealworms and putting up nest boxes for shelter.

Double Chamber Wooden Bat Box

Double Chamber Wooden Bat Box

Bats have been affected due to the lack of insects on the wing, although we cannot provide a substitute food source we can provide somewhere warm and dry for them to roost and breed by putting up a Bat Box (or two).

Sedum

Butterflies and Bees have suffered as they cannot go foraging for nectar rich flowers in heavy rain and even the flowers that they found were full of water. Bee Keepers and farmers are warning of honey shortages and reduced fruit crops. We can help them by planting nectar rich flowers in the garden such as Buddleia, Scabious, Sedum, Catmint and Lavender, if you have not got a flower border consider growing these plants amongst your vegetables or in containers and window boxes.

Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station

Butterfly/Bee Nectar Feeding Station

Why not put up a Butterfly/Bee Nectar feeding Station or a Butterfly and Moth Feeder to provide some instant food, as well as a Bee Hive or Bee Log for shelter and breeding. Have a look here for more advice on attracting butterflies to your garden.

Frogitat - Ceramic Frog and Toad House

Frogitat Ceramic Frog and Toad House

Frogs and Hedgehogs have actually benefited during the wet weather, they have had a plentiful supply of food including worms, slugs, snails and the insects that have been washed to the ground. It is worth looking after these true gardener’s friends during the winter months by putting a Frogitat or a Hogitat in a quiet, wild corner of your garden.

The Hogitat Hedgehog House

The Hogitat Hedgehog House

Lets hope that the change in the weather and the new position of the Gulf Stream remains throughout the summer, as we and our wildlife so desperately need some sustained sunshine.

Whilst it’s here let’s get out and enjoy it.

Gill

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Bonfire Night is a traditional celebration in memory of Guy Fawkes, who on this day in 1605, was discovered attempting to blow up the houses of parliament. 

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason & plot
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

The traditional burning of a great bonfire at this time, probably goes back much further than that to the Celtic Samhain or summers end, when there were harvesting celebrations, animals were brought in from the summer pastures and food was stored in preparation for the heralding of winter.

Don’t forget Garden Wildlife on Bonfire Night

With all the excitement of bonfire night don’t forget about the wildlife in your garden.  Make sure the bonfire isn’t set up too far in advance, as hedgehogs and other small mammals will be looking for somewhere to hibernate at this time, and may find a pile of leaves and wood enticing.  Why not provide hedgehogs with an alternative home like one of these Hogitats

Place fireworks away from trees and hedges where birds may be roosting…. And when bonfire night is over, remember that now is an excellent time start feeding garden birds.  We love this range of Bird Feeding Goodies so why not take a look.

apple_feeder_med

Birds and bats will also be looking for warm places to roost as the weather gets colder.  The Wooden Bat Box is perfectly designed for this and the Bird Nesting Pouch is always popular in our garden as an overnight roosting place at this time of year.

batbox_med

If you decide to tidy up the garden before your bonfire night party, leaves and other garden waste can be collected up in super quick time with the Green Hands Leaf CollectorsAnd if you don’t know what to do with all those leaves once you have them in a pile why not put them in a Leaf Composting Sack or Leaf Mould Compost Bin.  With the helping hand of some Compost Magic they will break down nicely into a lovely rich leaf compost.

green_hands

Activities for Bonfire Night

Make A Story Stick
People have been telling stories around the campfire since ancient times, and story sticks have perhaps been around for that long.

To make a story stick, find a sturdy stick and decorate it with coloured thread, ribbons or streamers.   Pass the story stick around the campfire.  Whoever holds the stick has a turn to speak and so adds a few sentences to the campfire story…In this way an interesting and original tale unfolds.

Make a Guy

A very traditional and endlessly appealing activity for children, make a guy by stuffing old clothes with straw and tying the ensemble together with string.  Make a head from an old pillowcase and paint on a makeshift face.

Make a Bonfire Picture

Tear up thin strips of orange, red and yellow tissue paper and stick onto black card to make a bonfire.  Use brown paper or pipe cleaners for the wood, and put star shaped stickers or sequins in the sky.  

Make Edible Sparklers

Dip chocolate fingers into warm water and then into hundreds and thousands to make your very own edible sparklers

Ask an Adult to Roast some Food

An activity for adults only, take a selection of food, wrap in foil and roast on the burning embers of the bonfire.  Ideas of suitable food include:

  • Pre steamed corn on the cob with butter
  • Mushrooms brushed with olive oil
  • Garlic bread
  • Chunks of pepper and aubergine
  • Pre-cooked potatoes in garlic butter

Make some Children’s Punch

Take some warm apple juice and sprinkle in cinnamon for a warming drink

Make some Bonfire Toffee

You will need:

1 lb demerara sugar
1/3 pint water
1 ¼  oz butter
2 level tablespoons of golden syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar

Method

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan
Dissolve over a steady heat
Slowly bring to the boil and cook slowly
Drop ½ teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of cold water
If it sets hard it is done, if not cook for a little longer
Pour into an oiled or buttered tin
Break up when set

Make some Toffee Apples

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 large tablespoons of golden syrup
Add 1 large tablespoon of sugar and the juice of half a lemon
Allow the ingredients to boil to a deep toffee brown
Insert lollipop sticks into the apples
Dip each apple into the toffee mix
Dip into cold water
Place onto greaseproof paper to set

Make some Traditional Lancashire Parkin

You will need:

6 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon each of salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
10 oz oatmeal
6 oz black treacle
5 oz butter
4 oz dark brown sugar
¾ pint milk
1 egg

Sift together flour, salt, spices and soda
Add oatmeal and mix
Heat the treacle, butter, sugar and milk together until the butter has melted
Cool slight, add the egg and beat well
Poor mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well until smooth
Turn into a greased baking tin
Bake at 175 C for around an hour

London’s Burning, London’s Burning
Fetch the engine, fetch the engine
Fire, Fire!  Fire, Fire!
Pour on water, pour on water

 
Remember to always stay safe on Bonfire Night.  Check advice from the fire service here

Happy Bonfire Night

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