Now that warm weather is here, it’s the perfect time to start planning your gardening projects. Growing things in our yard is always a daunting project because we have many deer in our neighborhood that eat most everything we plant. I lean towards projects that are simple and low cost because there is a good chance said project will have been nibbled down to stubs overnight.
A cute idea that caught my eye was the Bean Tepee on page 68 in 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (790.191 C678F) by Rebecca P. Cohen. With some climbing vines and stakes you can create a natural hideaway for the kids. To create a Bean Tepee, you’ll need:
1-2 packs of pole beans or any climbing vine
5 fallen branches or purchased stakes, 6-9 feet long
string or twine
Arrange the branches/stakes in a circle that meets at the top and pound into the ground til the structure feels stable. Use your string to securely wrap the top where the branches meet and you can even wrap in between and through the stakes loosely all the way down to help the vines climb. Just be sure to leave an opening between 2 of the branches for a doorway. Mix new soil or compost around each stake and poke 3-4 beans around each, about an inch into the ground. Water daily and sprouts should appear in 1-2 weeks. There’s a nice tutorial online courtesy of Mavis Greenfield at http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/how-to-make-a-bean-teepee/ . For more ideas, browse through Build Your Own Fort, Igloo, and Other Hangouts by Tammy Enz ( J 690.89 E61b).
And if you do have a deer problem in your neighborhood as well, the following is a good homemade repellant you can mix and spray. Younger children especially love spray bottles, so fill a few and send them out in the yard on a mission!
For 1 gallon of spray, beat 1 egg in 1 cup of water and sieve to get out white strings or clumps. Add to a gallon jug, mark your bottle – deer repellent - so no one drinks it! Add 1 Tablespoon of regular dish soap, 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil and 1/2 cup milk. Fill jug partially with water, shake to mix, finish filling gallon jug with water. You can also add a few tablespoons of garlic powder to increase the potency.
Leftovers can get smelly so refrigerate or set out of the way in the yard. Solution will become more potent if left to sit a day or 2 before spraying. You will need to spray after every heavy rainfall so if our spring rains persist, you’ll need to be diligent. For more homemade garden solutions, check out the Giant Book of Garden Solutions by Jerry Baker (B635 B167g) which features all kinds of recipes for pest and disease control as well as fertilizing.
May and June are also months when you’ll be seeing Monarchs returning North. If you’d like to attract butterflies to your yard, this is the perfect time to plant milkweed, goldenrod and other nectar-rich plants in your yard. Check out last September’s post All A Flutter for more suggestions.
Get in the gardening mood with some of these titles…
Henry Helps Plant a Garden JP by Beth Bracken
In the Garden JP by Elizabeth Spurr
The Curious Garden JP by Peter Brown
The Garden Thief JF Gertrude Warner
The Secret Garden JF Frances Hodgson Burnett
Organic Gardening for Kids by Elizabeth J. Scholl (J 635.0484 S368O)
The Poison Diaries YA by Maryrose Wood
Wither, Book 1 The Chemical Garden Trilogy YA by Lauren DeStefano