Change the World Wednesday, Greener Living

This week’s challenge  from Small Footprints at Reduce Footprints is:

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One More Green Thing

This week review your activities and come up with at least one more way to live green.  Similar to our  energy challenge, this will be easy for “newbies” who have plenty of options to choose from and tough for seasoned “greenies” who will have to dig deep.  Let’s see how green we can be.

I love when Small Footprints and I are thinking along the same lines.  This week it was time to green up the gardens.  As you know I have quite the struggle with my gardens.  Between the birds, chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, bunnies and deer we never know what will survive and what won’t.  While I can’t do much about Mother Nature, I can find ways to protect my gardens without harming my wildlife neighbors.

SavedPicture-2013622222038.jpgYou can see the netting at her feet

Last year, after catching a chipmunk finish off all the ripened strawberries, I resorted to covering my bed with bird netting.  To me it was a gift from the gods!  Yes, it’s made from polyester, but it didn’t harm the animals, allowed beneficial insects in to pollinate my plants, and didn’t block rain or sun.  My happiness ended when I saw how easily it began to deteriorate this year.  It has huge holes all over it and isn’t doing much to protect my plants.

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I did plenty of research over the winter months to learn what plants were deer-resistant.  One of the things I found repeatedly was not to worry about squashes, deer don’t like them.  So I took zero precaution to cover them, other than to cut up part of a broken water hose to give the impression of snakes.  This worked for my grandfather but he didn’t have deer living in the city my hoses didn’t trick these guys one bit.  But back to the information that deer don’t like squashes,  Ha!!   The deer love my squashes as much as the tulip  bulbs I planted last fall.

WP_20130717_006Clumps of dog hair through the gardens

I mentioned last week that I decided to try 3 things I found suggested as natural deterrents.  Not just one of the ideas but all three.  Dog hair, plastic bag, and an old CD.   I was so excited I told you how my squashes are now doing fantastic, no more salad bar for the deer.

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Then this  morning I went out to check the garden, boy do I need to get back to the weeding, and found the squashes were doing fine still, but the deer simply moved further down the garden beds to start munching away on the watermelons and pumpkins and have even taken to eating the leaves off a  baby maple tree.

WP_20130717_010This tree used to have many more leaves, dog hair was added to the planter.

Not being in the mood  to look for dead branches to cut down and plant through the gardens I spotted some tall stakes a neighbor purchased to support her bird netting.   I asked if I could use them and was told I could use anything she has out there, I knew that but wanted to be polite by asking.  I used the stakes and a spool of polyester thread I inherited with my grandmothers sewing machine more than a decade ago to string up old CDs.  While I could only come up with 4, I have more on the way after asking around to add to the string.

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A couple of the discs slid along the thread closer to the stakes which now hits the wooden stakes making a noise the deer, I hope, won’t like either.  Yes, I used some polyester thread, but I believe a little thread which was already on  hand, stakes no one needed, and plastic CDs which might have ended up in the trash is being greener than purchasing bird netting which is A LOT of new polyester and will only hold up one season.   An added plus is that nothing out here can harm the animals. They would knock the stakes out before they could get hurt on the thread.  I wanted very much to pack in the stakes with some concrete, but worried the thread could harm the deer if it was too securely set.

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Besides the garden, I took the No Plastic In July Challenge.

plastic free

I can report that I have been plastic free for a week now, in that time I have also had zero waste. I know I can’t have zero waste every week nor can I avoid new plastics coming into my home every day, but I feel good knowing I have made it a week on both challenges.

Small Footprints is right,  it does get harder to find new ways to lighten our presence on the planet, but new situations will still show up when you least expect it which will challenge you to think creatively to find a solution.

Is there something you can do to make your life just a bit more green?

18 Comments

  1. It seem we each have our predators eating our garden produce.. While I would love to see deer… I wouldn’t like to think of them munching their way through my allotment.. Ours is the pigeons… and while ‘Herbert’ and the nets have deterred them from ours.. some neighbouring allotment holders have not been so lucky and have had their cabbages decimated ..
    Interesting to read about Dog hair… And Well done you over the plastic Free. I bought some things from the supermarket the other day and the amount of packaging your throw away plastic… until your attention is drawn to it your forget just how much of it there is…
    Hope your Deer Move on… Great photos… and your granddaughter is lovely……. looks like she is blowing grass?.. I still do that.. lol.. the child in me… :-) making a whistle.. :-) Well more like a croak… xxxx :-) :-)

    • Sue, what a shame your neighbors in the allotment are having problems with the wildlife. For my cabbage I have to resort to Hydrated Lime or the worms eat them. Stringing up some tin plates, CDs or other things that make noise help with birds as well. I enjoy the deer, and the other wildlife we have, I know they were here first so I just want to find a way to share the land with them. We have left a lot of the property wild so bees, bunnies etc all have a place to live and eat.

      It is so very sad how much plastic and other packaging is on everything we buy, it didn’t used to be like this and can go back to that way again if more people want it to.

      No, my granddaughter was standing in the middle of the strawberry bed eating what she found ripe, her snack garden. Now that the berries are pretty much finished for this year she’s taken to snacking from the lettuce she is growing in her own garden. I fear she will never have enough to take home and give each person a salad with their dinner. She’s been a stitch this year. She will tell me she doesn’t like certain foods, but if they come out of the garden she has to try them and then comment on what the taste reminds her of. For example, she wanted to take a bite of an onion, I was informed it tasted like pepper. She’s forcing herself to eat more produce as a result of being actively involved in the process.

      As for blowing grass, I used to do that as well but until you mentioned it I had forgotten all about it. Time to practice and teach the next generation.Thanks for the reminder.

        • She also has to share some of our bounty with the animals. When she pulled up some carrots she had to put 2 out for the rabbits.

          We don’t have many schools here putting in gardens, it would be such a good thing for the children, if for no other reason to teach them where their food comes from. It might also spur them to ask for a small garden spot at home.

          • Yes it might,.. Many children in the Bigger towns in built up areas think there food is from super-markets, and I was amazed once watching a documentary on children who had never seen a cow or horse or sheep for real… and they had no idea milk came from a cow.. being brought up in the country as a child farmyards were second nature and I would help out farmers as my school friends lived on farms, especially haymaking time… We loved it.. :-)

          • It is sad how little some people know about food. I watched the first season of Jamie Oliver’s show where he went into an elementary school in West Virginia and the children didn’t know what a potato looked like or many other foods I would have taken for granted they would know. I grew up in the city, but we had friends who had farms and frequented the farm produce stands along with having a small garden so I was always aware of where my food came from.

    • Live and Learn, this was simply wearing out of my netting. Nothing was eating from the bed, and the netting was tearing in mostly straight lines not something an animal would do. I originally put mine out to keep the chipmunks out and would have been frustrated if they had gotten in it last year. Today I gave up, it was in such bad shape that I removed it. It appears the strawberries are finished for this year so there’s not much they can do but dig up the carrots in the one corner.

  2. Dealing with the deer sounds like quite a challenge! Here the main garden pests are insects and squirrels. I’ve built some pretty crazy contraptions over the years trying to keep the damn squirrels out of my tomato plants, and the worst part is that they don’t even like the tomatoes! They always take one bite and then just toss it on the ground! Grrrrrr…

    Anyhow, my “greener” thing du jour was to give my garden a nice thick mulching with straw. Hopefully this will mean that I won’t have to water so much in the upcoming months!

    • Cat, squirrels are a problem here as well, but our biggest problem with them is having them get into our attics, you wouldn’t believe how hard they are to trap or how much damage they will do once they move in. I would so enjoy seeing some of the contraptions you have made to protect your tomato plants, can’t look any stranger than my CDs blowing in the wind right now. ;-)

      I so need to mulch my garden right now. We have currently headed into our hottest temps, usually not seen until August. I have a pile of grass clippings I saved from the landscapers who do the property next door but have been so busy I haven’t gotten around to spreading them, and they are really starting to stink from decomp right now.

    • Sarah, you have come so far I hate to have to admit how little I knew at your age and even though I always watched the trash that accumulated in our family I did produce a lot more than I wish I had. I cringe to think of my share in the landfills. Tracking things is such a good idea, and I think you are learning quite a bit through the process.

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