Cat defences

We built a raised bed a while ago, which we filled with veg. We were very excited until we realised it was used by every cat as a litter tray. Something about the soft soil, I suppose.

We first added a net over the top of it, only to realise that the cocooning butterflies couldn’t get out!

My dad suggested a vertical net! We shall see how this goes.

Bamboo sticks and standard netting.

There’s a big potato plant growing in there, which must be off spring from two years ago!

Factory Setting Peas

I have a 52 litre plant pot in my factory. I previously has some plants in here but lockdown killed them.

Instead of replacing them, I threw a few peas in there and look how well they’re doing.

There’s also a few surprise parsnip seeds in there, for which I’m curious what will happen.

Hedgehog Hotel

For my birthday, Tim got me a hedgehog habitat. It’s very well made and I’m sure will do great for any passers by or spikey friends who are looking to settle down.

I expect this isn’t a great time of the year to put a hedgehog hotel down. They’re probably all already hibernating. On the other hand, I also read that they wake up sometimes, if they get too cold, and look for somewhere else.

British Februaries are not much warmer than Januaries, so hibernation might not be ending just yet. For any brave hogs who are out and about, they’ll be happy to come across this bit of safety. Apparently, the hole is smaller than cats and foxes are willing to go into (I find this dubious, but who am I to argue).

Finding a spot for it was a little difficult, and I think we went with the best of the worst positions at the moment.

At the back of our garden is a place where I throw the grass to dry out before composting or throwing it in the garden bin (or forgetting about it and leaving it there for six months – I’ve not experienced the mouldy smell others said might happen in this case). I cut a whole into the dirt so it can sit just underneath the surface level, where other dirt mounds up against it. My hope is that this’ll keep it a little warmer.

It is facing away from the north wind, as suggested. It’s right next to our pergola though, so we may end up distrubing it more than they’d like. Once I’ve cleared out more bramble bushes (I’ve filled my entire garden bin with one plant so far), there might be a better place for it to go.

Right next to it is a hole someone dug out – a dog, or a fox maybe? The garden it leads onto do not have a dog, so I’m not too worried about it. I’ve never been pro-fence anywhere, as it stops all sorts of wildlife from getting around. Including frogs, foxes, and hedgehogs of course. So, for the meanwhile, I’m fine with the hole.

A lot of mint

Websites say just keep it in doors in a jar of water. Last time I did that a bunch of sneaky bugs had hidden their eggs in a way my casual run under the tap did not remove. So now I’m freezing it. Mostly I use it for tea, and presumably the hot water will defrost it immediately.

Spider mites and garden centres

Unfortunately, my croton did not survive. I couldn’t rid it of the spider mites and eventually (after a number of tries) we had to move it to the conservatory for fear that there’d be spider mites wandering around my kitchen. From there, it was even more neglected. It lost all its leaves and gave up.

I didn’t even want to recycle the soil, so I had to put it in the bin. I’m not quite sure where spider mites live, but if it’s within the soil I don’t want to put that in my recycling bin nor my garden compost.

I have a small shrub in my office whose flowers had begun to wilt faster than I expected. I used the “Picture This” app to see if it could tell me if I’d over or underwatered it. Turns out, it was dying because of the small, white bugs which had made its home on the leaves. (I was quite impressed that the application spotted this, as I didn’t with my own eyes.)

I Google around for how these bugs managed to get into my house and office. Both parasites seem to come from the same place: they probably came from the shop with them already. Eggs, babies, or just well hidden and in small number. It’s not likely that a pregnant spider mite found my kitchen and the single plant that they’re interested in in there.

This has sort of put me off growing potted plants. However, croton seeds are purchased by the 100g increment an cost £15 for them. I just want one seed…