Wax On, Wax Off, Eventually
Having just spent much of the day buried in my dishwasher, laboriously removing wax (a long story, involving canning jars that once held candles…), I am very happy to discuss something new. However, if such a thing should happen to you, know that a hair dryer will prove most useful, as will old newspapers (very absorbent of wax).
Gardening With Rotten Eggs
Deer, as always, are nibbling away at my garden on an hourly basis. Recently, a friend told me she had achieved amazing success in keeping browsing deer at bay. Every day, she blends three eggs in a gallon of water and sprays it on her plants. For once, the deer stay away in droves.
I decided to try it myself and quickly realized why this works so well. Even in cool spring weather, eggs start to smell pretty disgusting after a few days. After some initial experimenting, I settled on using eggs only on outlying plants in areas where we don’t spend a lot of time. I also decided NOT to use rotten eggs on roses, lilacs, and other sweet-smelling plants.
Why? Call me a fusspot, but roses that smell like sulfur are just not appealing. However! Does it work? So far, it sure does. My front garden is relatively untouched and shrubs I planted this month still have leaves and stems! Wow!
In spring, frequent egg spraying is a great idea, since tender new growth is appearing constantly. Also, when it rains, the egg spray needs to be replaced right away. You won’t need to spray daily in high summer; weekly seems to be enough. However, remember that in high summer, the eggs will also smell high, so keep them away from your favorite spots.
If your eggshells take too long to break down in compost, you can put them in the worm bin if well crushed. Despite rumors to the contrary, slugs and snails are not in the least bit deterred by crushed egg shells and they look totally tacky in the garden.
Sweeping Scotch Broom Away
All around the Northwest, Scotch broom has been gaining ground over the past few years. It’s wise to cut or pull it when it is in bloom, before it has a chance to set seed. Indeed, I prefer to remove Scotch broom in winter. The ground is soft, the roots come up easily, and the sneeze-promoting blooms aren’t open.
However, please don’t feel you need to wait until next winter to attack. As an allergy sufferer, Scotch broom is high on my list of weeds to eradicate any time, any where.
A Whack Attack
The good news is that Scotch broom is relatively easy to defeat, at least temporarily. Young broom plants can often be pulled out roots and all. They can also be weed-whacked, which is usually lethal in summer. This doesn’t always work in spring, when growth hormones are rampant in plants. At other times of year, one low whack is usually enough to off a youngster broom.
Older broom plants can be fatally cut back with a machete or brush cutter. When stubbed back or pruned to within a few inches of the ground, old growth Scotch broom is done for at any season.
Seed Casting Spreads Weeds
Whacking or pulling gets rid of broom for a while, but vigilance is still important. Scotch broom casts its seed far and wide–you can hear the seedpods crack open on hot summer days. When ripe, the split seedpods roll themselves up in little coils, sending the seeds amazingly long distances from Mama. Sometimes you’ll even get beaned as seeds go whizzing past your ears in late summer.
To keep the seeds from sprouting, spread 2-4 inches of coarse bark or any kind of mulch where ever you remove Scotch broom. Without light and air, the seeds will lie dormant instead of sprouting come spring. (Most weeds produce “seeds of disturbance” which germinate best when exposed to light and air.)
Burn, Baby Burn
If you attack Scotch broom now, please remember that, thanks to its volatile oils, broom can self-ignite when piled up (usually in July and August). If you have a shredder, finely shred your Scotch broom and blend it half-and-half with chopped ivy for fast and valuable compost (the best revenge).