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Tagged with 'Guide'

How To Get Rid of Flies from Compost Bin

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How to fight flies from infesting your compost bin

How do I get rid of flies in compost bin? 

Hot composting reaches higher temperatures, making it less hospitable for flies. Add some Spice! Flies find these irritants repellent like cayenne pepper. Then increase the sun and ventilation. 


Quick Fixes for Fly-Free Composting:

Flies in your Compost Bin? Buzz Off with these Easy Fixes!


Ugh, flies buzzing around my compost bin! How do I get rid of them?

Answer: Don't let pesky flies sabotage your composting efforts! We've got you covered with simple, effective solutions to banish those buzzing bothers.

  • Balance is Key: Maintain a 2:1 ratio of brown (dry) materials like shredded leaves or cardboard to green (wet) kitchen scraps. This keeps things dry and discourages fly breeding.
  • Bury Your Treasures: Hide juicy food scraps deep within the pile and cover them with brown materials. Flies like easy access to their feast.
  • Turn Up the Heat: Hot composting reaches higher temperatures, making it less hospitable for flies and speeding up decomposition. If your bin isn't insulated, consider adding straw or leaves for temperature control.
  • Spice Up the Scene: Sprinkle cayenne pepper or diatomaceous earth (natural, safe for pets) on top of your pile. Flies find these irritants repellent.
  • Sweet Trap Surprise: DIY a fly trap with apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap in a jar. The flies are lured in by the vinegar but get trapped in the soapy film.

Long-Term Solutions for Happy Composting:

  • Location, Location, Location: Position your bin in a sunny, well-ventilated area away from your house. Flies prefer shade and moisture.
  • Lid it Up: Keep your bin covered with a tight-fitting lid to block entry points. Aeration holes are still important, so choose mesh or fabric-covered lids.
  • Water Wisely: Overwatering attracts flies and slows down decomposition. Only add water when the pile seems dry and crumbly.
  • Keep it Clean: Regularly remove finished compost from the bottom of your bin to avoid excess moisture and fly breeding grounds.
  • Friendly Fauna: Introduce soldier flies or composting worms to your bin. These natural predators munch on fly larvae and contribute to faster decomposition.

Bonus Tip: Freeze your kitchen scraps before adding them to the bin. This kills any fly eggs lurking within and reduces initial odors that attract flies.

Go Forth and Compost with Confidence!

By following these tips and maintaining proper composting practices, you can keep those pesky flies at bay and create rich, healthy compost for your garden. Remember, a balanced, well-maintained compost bin is a happy, fly-free bin!

Conquer the Seasons: Gardening Guide 2024

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Conquer the Seasons: Your Month-by-Month Gardening Guide 2024


Your garden transforms throughout the year, each month offering unique opportunities to nurture and coax your green haven to life. This comprehensive guide equips you with monthly top tips to navigate the changing seasons, from cozy winter tasks to the triumphant arrival of spring and summer fun.


What months are best for Gardening?

All year round there is something to do in the garden. Spring and Autumn/Fall are your best planting periods. March - May & July - September. 

How do you spend time in your garden in winter?

  1. Bird feeders and Water Baths 
  2. Make a snow angel?
  3. Light up your patch with lanterns
  4. Add some colour
  5. Try a firepit for outdoor heating

 What grows all year round in UK?

Broccoli, Brussels, Sprouts, Cabbages, Kale, Leaks and Parsnips.

What's a winter garden?

Hardy plants that thrive in bitter cold will do well in a winter garden. If you're looking for a low-maintenance garden, this could be for you. Try Boxwood, Winterberry and Witch Hazel. Pair these with Garlic, Onions, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach and Leaks for a range of plants and vegetables. 

What plant grows fastest in winter?

  • Herbs - instant growth to 8 weeks
  • Baby Carrots - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Kale - 4 to 8 weeks
  • Tomatoes - 10 to 12 weeks
  • Lettuce - 6 to 14 weeks
  • Peas - 9 to 11 weeks

 

December: Snuggle Up, Garden Sleeps

  • Embrace the slumber: Don't fret about bare branches and quiet beds. This is nature's time for rest and replenishment.
  • Clear the stage: Rake fallen leaves to prevent disease and pests, but leave some piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Compost crunch: Gather fallen leaves and kitchen scraps for rich homegrown fertiliser – your future garden will thank you.
  • Mulch matters: Protect vulnerable beds with a cozy layer of bark or straw, offering insulation against frost and a haven for beneficial insects.
  • Plan for spring: Seed catalogs become your winter companions. Browse and order your favorites for early sowing, letting dreams of vibrant blooms and juicy harvests fill the chilly days.
  • Insulate your taps: Avoid the freeze by protecting pipes and taps and turning off the mains supply.
  • Feeding Birds: Hang fat balls, and top up bird feeders. 

 

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January: Dreaming of Green Dreams

  • Potting party: Start seeds indoors for early blooms of pansies, violas, and lettuce. Imagine them gracing your doorstep as winter loosens its grip.
  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs slumber, it's the perfect time to shape them. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden come spring.
  • Tool TLC: Give your trusty tools some love. Clean and sharpen them to avoid spring-time rust and ensure they're ready to tackle the season's tasks.
  • Soil secrets: Unravel the mysteries of your soil. Test its pH to ensure optimal nutrient levels for spring planting. Knowing your soil is like understanding your garden's language.
  • Planter prep: Refresh and clean containers for upcoming balcony beauties. Imagine vibrant herbs and cascading flowers adorning your outdoor space as the days become longer.
  • Feed the Birds: Keep bird feeders and water bowls topped up. Add fresh water and clear any ice.
  • Harvest your Winter Veg: Parsnips, Swede, Sprouts, Turnips and Leaks.

 


February: Seeds of Hope

  • Sow indoors: Continue the indoor seed party! Peppers, tomatoes, and herbs eagerly await their turn to bring life to your garden.
  • Force some bulbs: Bring a touch of magic indoors. Narcissus, hyacinths, or paperwhites will reward you with fragrant, early blooms, chasing away winter's blues.
  • Tidy up beds: Remove any lingering debris and top-dress with fresh compost. Prepare the stage for your spring stars to shine.
  • Prepare for planting: Start chitting potatoes for an early harvest – the race to the first homegrown spud is on!
  • Build anticipation: Research new plant varieties and garden layouts. Let your imagination paint vibrant pictures of your future summer oasis.

 

 
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March: Spring Awakens

  • Seedling shuffle: Harden off your indoor seedlings – gradually expose them to outdoor temperatures, preparing them for their grand entrance into the garden.
  • Planting power: As the soil warms, sow hardy vegetables like spinach, radishes, and peas directly outdoors. Witness the magic of life bursting forth from tiny seeds.
  • Prune with precision: Cut back deadwood and overgrown branches from shrubs and trees. Give them a fresh start for the new season.
  • Weed warrior: Early weeds steal resources from your precious plants. Nip them in the bud to prevent them from taking over.
  • Welcome butterflies: Plant nectar-rich flowers like lavender and butterfly bush. Attract these fluttering friends and add a touch of whimsy to your garden.

 


April: Green Glory Explodes

  • Planting frenzy: It's a symphony of sowing! Direct sow a wide range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers outdoors. Let your garden become a canvas of vibrant colors and delicious possibilities.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have become overcrowded. Share the bounty with friends or expand your own floral horizons.
  • Mulch madness: Apply a fresh layer of mulch. It's a garden hero, conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, and keeping the soil cool.
  • Watering wisdom: Deeply water new plantings and seedlings, especially during dry spells. Give them a helping hand as they establish themselves in their new home.
  • Enjoy the bounty: Start harvesting early greens and salad leaves. Savor the taste of fresh, homegrown goodness – the reward for your dedication.

 


May: Garden Grandeur

  • Deadhead delights: Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming and encourage new buds. Your garden will be a vibrant tapestry of colour all summer long.
  • Support squad: Install stakes or trellises for climbing vegetables and tall flowers. Give them the guidance they need to reach their full potential.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and spent plants to create nutrient-rich gold for your future crops.

 


June: Sun-Kissed Harvest

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.

 


July: Summer Symphony

  • Weed warfare: Stay vigilant against weeds. They're relentless competitors for your precious resources. Regular weeding ensures your plants thrive.
  • Watering wisdom: Monitor soil moisture, especially during hot spells. Deeply water established plants to encourage strong root growth.
  • Pickling paradise: June is prime time for preserving! Pickle cucumbers, relish juicy tomatoes, and jam summer berries. Capture the season's bounty for winter enjoyment.
  • Pinch and prune: Continue pinching herbs and deadheading flowers for continuous blooms and harvests. Your garden will be a never-ending buffet for pollinators and you.

 


August: Bounty Bonanza

  • Harvest galore: Enjoy the peak of the summer harvest! Pick juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and plump berries. Share the bounty with friends and family, or preserve the goodness for winter.
  • Divide and conquer: Split perennials that have bloomed and are starting to spread. Share the extra plants with friends or expand your floral kingdom.
  • Plant for fall: Sow seeds for cool-season crops like kale, spinach, and lettuce. Get ready to extend your harvest into the cooler months.
  • Water wisely: Even with regular rain, monitor soil moisture for established plants, especially during dry spells. Deep watering encourages strong root growth and keeps them thriving.

 


September: Autumnal Abundance

  • Harvesting heroes: Continue harvesting summer crops and welcome the arrival of fall favorites like pumpkins, squashes, and apples. Savour the changing flavours of the season.
  • Planting for the future: Plant garlic and shallots for next year's harvest. These underground treasures will reward you with flavorful additions to your kitchen.
  • Bulb bonanza: Plant spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Imagine the vibrant burst of color they'll bring when winter loosens its grip.
  • Compost calling: Keep that compost heap going! Add fall leaves and spent plants to fuel your soil for next year's garden. Nature's recycling system at its finest.

October: Cozy Comfort

  • Leaf logic: Don't fear the falling leaves! Shred and compost them for nutrient-rich mulch, or leave them in piles for overwintering wildlife.
  • Prepare for winter: Insulate tender plants with straw or mulch to protect them from the first frosts. Help them weather the winter and emerge strong in spring.
  • Clean and store: Clean and store garden tools and equipment before winter sets in. A little TLC now will save you time and frustration come spring.
  • Bird bonanza: Attract feathered friends with feeders filled with sunflower seeds and suet. Witness the flurry of activity and enjoy the winter songbirds' cheerful melodies.

 


November: Rest and Rejuvenate

  • Prune with purpose: While trees and shrubs rest, it's the perfect time to prune them for next year's growth. Remove deadwood and overgrown branches for a neater, healthier garden.
  • Plan for perfection: Take time to reflect on the past year's successes and challenges. Use this knowledge to plan your dream garden for next season.
  • Seed dreams: Browse seed catalogs and order your favorites for early sowing indoors. Let your imagination bloom with the promise of spring.
  • Cozy contentment: Enjoy the quiet beauty of your winter garden. Bundle up, grab a hot drink, and watch the snowflakes fall. Nature's rest is a reminder of the vibrant life that will return in the spring.

 

This monthly guide is your roadmap to a thriving garden throughout the year. Remember, gardening is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the changing seasons.

 


Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Which is best for Gardeners?

Wormery-vs-Compost-Bin

Wormery vs. Compost Bin: Unraveling the Debate for Eco-Conscious Gardeners


In the realm of eco-friendly gardening practices, composting stands as a beacon of sustainability. But amidst the array of composting methods, two stand out as the frontrunners: wormeries and traditional compost bins. While both aim to transform organic waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments, they differ in their processes, outcomes, and suitability for various gardening scenarios.


Is a hot composter faster than worms?

Due to the increased heat allowed in a hot composter and without the need to keep worms alive at lower temperatures, a hot composter can be faster to decompose waste. 

What composter is best for dog poo?

Both will give you liquid you can dilute and feed to pot plants. Compost bins are good for creating soil you can use in the garden; worm farms can be used for cat and dog poo.

Is worm composting smelly?

Expect a good, earthy smell. It shouldn't smell much different than rich garden soil. You might expect worm waste to smell, but it simply isn't the case.

What are the top mistakes of having a worm farm?

  1. Mistake #1: Overfeeding
  2. Mistake #2: Too Wet or Too Dry Composting Bedding
  3. Mistake #3: Wrong Food
  4. Mistake #4: Too Hot or Too Cold
  5. Mistake #5: Forget to Harvest Worm Castings

How often do worms breed?

27 days from mating to laying eggs. Worms can double in population every 60 days.

Key differences of hot composters and wormeries?

  • Due to worms’ highly specialized digestive process, their waste contains bacteria and enzymes not present in compost. This is a more concentrated product of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • Worms can specialise in nutrients: 
    • Bacterial-dominant castings and compost are best-suited for annuals and grasses
    • Fungal-dominated castings and compost provide the most value to perennials and woody plants (e.g., trees and vines).

 


Wormeries: A Microcosm of Nature's Recycling Magic

At the heart of a wormery lies an army of tiny red wiggler worms, tirelessly devouring food scraps and other organic matter. These tireless workers break down organic matter into a rich, fertile compost called vermicompost. Unlike traditional compost bins that rely on heat and oxygen, wormeries thrive in a moist, neutral pH environment, making them ideal for indoor use or for those with limited space.

 

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Benefits and Drawback of Wormeries.

Pros of Wormeries:

  • Compact and Space-Efficient: Wormeries are typically smaller and more manageable than traditional compost bins, making them suitable for apartment dwellers or those with limited outdoor space.
  • Faster Composting Cycle: Wormeries produce compost much quicker than traditional compost bins, often within a few months.
  • High-Quality Vermicompost: Vermicompost is considered to be of superior quality compared to traditional compost, containing higher levels of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.
  • Less Odor: Wormeries generate minimal odor due to their controlled environment and the absence of odorous decomposition processes.

Cons of Wormeries:

  • More Demanding Maintenance: Wormeries require more frequent monitoring and adjustments to ensure optimal conditions for the worms.
  • Limited Waste Input: Wormeries can only process a certain amount of organic matter, making them unsuitable for large amounts of food scraps or yard waste.
  • More Sensitive to Environmental Factors: Wormeries are more susceptible to disruptions in temperature, moisture, and pH balance, which can affect worm activity and compost quality.

Traditional Compost Bins: A Versatile Composting Option

Traditional compost bins provide a larger and more versatile option for composting organic waste. They typically consist of open bins or tumblers, allowing for air circulation and natural decomposition by microorganisms. These bins can handle a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and even some non-organic items like shredded paper.

 

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Benefits and Drawback of Composters

Pros of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Handles Larger Volumes: Traditional compost bins can accommodate larger volumes of organic waste, making them suitable for households with more food scraps or yard waste.
  • Versatile Material Breakdown: Traditional compost bins can break down a wider range of organic materials, including yard waste, food scraps, and some non-organic items.
  • Less Maintenance: Traditional compost bins require less frequent monitoring and adjustments than wormeries.
  • Nourishes Beneficial Microorganisms: Traditional compost bins provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms that play a crucial role in nutrient cycling.

Cons of Traditional Compost Bins:

  • Slower Composting Cycle: Traditional compost bins typically take longer to produce finished compost, often around 1-2 years.
  • Odour Emissions: During the composting process, traditional compost bins may emit some odor, especially in the initial stages.
  • Larger Footprint: Traditional compost bins occupy more space, making them less suitable for small gardens or limited outdoor areas.

Choosing what's best for you, worms or no worms?

The choice between a wormery and a traditional compost bin depends on individual needs and preferences. For those seeking a compact and space-saving solution with faster compost production and high-quality vermicompost, a wormery is an excellent choice. However, for those with larger quantities of organic waste, a traditional compost bin offers a more versatile and robust composting option. Ultimately, the best choice aligns with the individual's composting goals, available space, and lifestyle factors.

Whether you opt for a wormery or a traditional compost bin, both methods contribute to sustainable gardening practices, reducing household waste, and enriching soil health. By embracing these eco-friendly techniques, gardeners can foster a harmonious relationship with nature while cultivating thriving gardens.


Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps

Treecycle-compost-Christmas-tree

Treecycle: How to compost your Christmas tree in 5 easy steps


As the festive season comes to an end, it's time to bid farewell to your beloved Christmas tree. But instead of tossing it out with the rubbish, why not give it a new purpose by composting it? Not only is it an eco-friendly way to dispose of your tree, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the easy process of treecycling – turning your xmas tree into nutrient-rich compost in just 5 simple steps. Say goodbye to waste and hello to a greener planet with our guide on how to compost your Christmas tree.


Can I compost a Xmas tree?

Christmas trees make an excellent base for compost. For best results remove needles as these can slow down the decompostion.

Can you put a Christmas tree In the garden waste bin?

A shredded xmas tree can easily go into your compost, however, without this prep work it could take years to compost. 

Can I burn an Xmas tree?

NO. A fresh tree will be holding a fair amount of water unless you have neglected it and let it brown whilst decorating for Christmas. If put in the fire the sap can combust and spit out causing a hazard. The oils can flame up chimneys as well as furniture. Creosote is also a highly flammable and corrosive substance created from the gasses from wet wood. Recycle your trees, compost your trees. 

 


1) Understanding the Importance of Composting Your Christmas Tree

As the festive season draws to a close, many of us are left with a beautiful Christmas tree that has brought joy and festive cheer to our homes. However, instead of simply getting rid of it, why not recycle it through composting? Composting your Christmas tree is not only an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it, but it also provides valuable nutrients for your garden. By turning your tree into nutrient-rich compost, you can give it a new purpose and contribute to a greener planet. In this section, we'll explore the importance of composting your Christmas tree and how it benefits both the environment and your garden. So, let's begin our treecycling journey!

 

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2) Preparing Your Christmas Tree for Composting

Before you begin the treecycling process, it's important to properly prepare your Christmas tree for composting. Start by removing all ornaments, tinsel, and lights from the tree. Make sure to also remove any tree stands or metal hooks. Next, use a saw or an axe to cut the tree into smaller pieces. This will help speed up the decomposition process. If your tree is heavily flocked or has artificial snow, it's best to skip composting as these chemicals can be harmful to your plants. By taking these simple steps, you'll be ready to transform your holiday tree into nutrient-rich compost and give it a second life.


3) The Step-by-step Guide to Composting Your Christmas Tree

Once you've properly prepared your Christmas tree, it's time to dive into the step-by-step process of composting. First, find a suitable location in your garden to set up your composting area. Next, create a base layer of brown materials, such as dried leaves or twigs, to help with airflow and drainage. Then, add a layer of green materials, such as the chopped-up pieces of your tree, to provide nitrogen-rich ingredients. Alternate between layers of brown and green materials until your compost heap is about three feet tall. Make sure to water your compost regularly and turn it every few weeks to promote decomposition. With a little patience and care, you'll have nutrient-rich compost ready to use in your garden come next holiday season.

 

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4) Top Tips for Successful Composting

Now that you're ready to compost your Christmas tree, here are some top tips to ensure successful results. First and foremost, remember to recycle as much as possible. Not only are you diverting waste from landfills, but you're also contributing to the health of your garden. Secondly, ensure that your compost heap has the right balance of brown and green materials. This will provide the necessary nutrients for decomposition. Additionally, regularly water and turn your compost to promote airflow and speed up the process. Lastly, be patient – composting takes time, so allow several months for your tree to fully break down into nutrient-rich compost. Happy composting!


5) The Many Uses of Your Tree Compost

As the leaves begin to fall and create a colourful carpet in our gardens, it's important to recognise that these fallen leaves can actually become a wildlife paradise. Autumn leaves provide an abundance of resources for a variety of creatures, making this season an excellent time to embrace the beauty of nature and create a haven for wildlife in your garden.
Firstly, fallen leaves offer shelter for insects and small mammals. They create the perfect hiding spots and provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. By leaving certain areas of your garden untouched, you can create safe havens for creatures like beetles, spiders, and hedgehogs.
In addition to providing shelter, autumn leaves also serve as a valuable food source. Many insects and other invertebrates rely on leaf litter for sustenance. As the leaves break down, they release essential nutrients into the soil, supporting the growth of microorganisms and providing a feast for earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers.
If you want to take it a step further, consider creating leaf piles in your garden. These leaf piles not only provide additional shelter, but they also become hotspots for foraging birds and small mammals. By piling up leaves in a designated area, you can create a buffet for hungry creatures, while adding an element of natural beauty to your garden.


Top Wildlife Gardening Jobs for November and December

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Top Wildlife Gardening Jobs for November and December


Welcome to November, fellow wildlife gardeners! As the leaves begin to fall and the temperatures start to drop, it's time to turn our attention to some important tasks in the garden. November is a crucial month for wildlife, as they prepare for the colder months ahead. So, it's the perfect time for us to lend a helping hand and ensure that our gardens continue to be a haven for all creatures big and small. In this blog post, we'll be sharing the top wildlife gardening jobs for November, so you can make the most out of this season and keep your garden thriving with wildlife.


What should I be doing in my garden in November?

  • Sowing and planting. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses are coming to the end now of planting season.
  • Tidy your garden

What can I plant in November?

Bare-root fruit trees, dormant when planted begin to grow in spring with the temperature increase.

Apple, cherry, pear and plum trees can be planted along with blackcurrant, raspberry and gooseberry. 

10 ways to help wildlife in autumn

  • Plant trees
  • Put your Halloween pumpkin to good use
  • Provide birds clean nesting boxes
  • Help hedgehogs for hibernation 
  • Create a bug hotel
  • Keep bird baths and feeders topped up

Understanding the Importance of Wildlife Gardening in November

November is a critical month for wildlife gardening. As the weather gets colder and the leaves fall, it's essential to understand the importance of wildlife gardening during this time. Many animals and insects rely on our gardens for shelter, food, and a safe haven. By taking on certain tasks, we can ensure that our gardens continue to be a thriving ecosystem for all creatures big and small.

One of the key jobs in November is to provide shelter for garden creatures. As the temperatures drop, animals like hedgehogs, birds, and insects need safe places to hibernate or seek refuge. Creating brush piles, nesting boxes, and log piles can offer them a cosy sanctuary. Additionally, it's important to maintain your pond for winter frogs and newts, as they require a suitable environment to survive the colder months.

November is also the perfect time to make the most of autumn leaves. Fallen leaves can create a paradise for wildlife, providing shelter and food sources. By leaving them in certain areas of your garden or creating leaf piles, you can create a haven for insects and small mammals.

Finally, attracting and feeding birds throughout the chilly month is crucial. Birds need extra food during winter, and by providing bird feeders and planting bird-friendly plants, you can ensure that they have a sustainable food source.

By understanding the importance of wildlife gardening in November and taking on these essential tasks, we can contribute to the well-being and survival of our garden's wildlife. Let's make this season a time of growth, abundance, and support for our feathered and furry friends.

 

 

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Top Garden Tasks to Benefit Wildlife in November

As we enter the month of November, there are several important tasks we can undertake in our gardens to benefit wildlife. These jobs will help provide essential resources and habitats for creatures big and small during the colder months.

Firstly, consider planting winter-flowering plants such as winter jasmine and mahonia. These will provide a much-needed source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, ensuring they have enough energy to survive through the winter.

Next, create a wildlife-friendly compost heap. This will not only help dispose of garden waste, but it will also provide a warm shelter for insects and other invertebrates. Make sure to avoid adding cooked food or meat to the compost, as this may attract unwanted pests.

Additionally, remember to keep bird feeders well-stocked with high-energy foods like sunflower seeds and suet. This will attract a variety of bird species to your garden and provide them with the nourishment they need to endure the colder months.

Lastly, leave some areas of your garden undisturbed, such as patches of long grass or fallen leaves. These provide important shelter and hiding places for creatures like hedgehogs and frogs.

 

Expert Tips on Providing Shelter for Garden Creatures During Cold November Months

As the temperatures drop and the winter months approach, it's crucial to provide shelter for the garden creatures that rely on our gardens for their survival. Here are some expert tips on how to create cosy and safe havens for them during the cold November months.

  1. Hedgehog homes: Hedgehogs are preparing to hibernate, so providing them with a safe shelter is essential. Create a hedgehog house by piling up leaves and twigs in a quiet corner of your garden. Make sure it's well insulated and protected from wind and rain.
  2. Nesting boxes: Many bird species will be looking for sheltered spots to roost during the winter. Install bird nesting boxes in your garden to provide them with a warm and secure place to rest. Different species have different requirements, so do some research to determine the best design and placement for the boxes.
  3. Insect hotels: Insects play a crucial role in our ecosystem, and providing them with shelter is vital. Build an insect hotel using materials like bamboo canes, hollow plant stems, and wood with drilled holes. Place it in a sunny spot and make sure to provide a variety of habitats for different types of insects.
  4. Log piles: Log piles are great for attracting insects, small mammals, and even amphibians. Stack logs and branches in a quiet corner of your garden to create a haven for these creatures. Over time, the decaying wood will provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife.

By implementing these expert tips, you'll be helping the garden creatures survive the cold November months and contribute to the biodiversity of your garden. So roll up your sleeves and create these cosy shelters – your wildlife neighbours will thank you for it!

 

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Making the Most of Autumn Leaves – A Wildlife’s Paradise

As the leaves begin to fall and create a colourful carpet in our gardens, it's important to recognise that these fallen leaves can actually become a wildlife paradise. Autumn leaves provide an abundance of resources for a variety of creatures, making this season an excellent time to embrace the beauty of nature and create a haven for wildlife in your garden.
Firstly, fallen leaves offer shelter for insects and small mammals. They create the perfect hiding spots and provide protection from predators and harsh weather conditions. By leaving certain areas of your garden untouched, you can create safe havens for creatures like beetles, spiders, and hedgehogs.
In addition to providing shelter, autumn leaves also serve as a valuable food source. Many insects and other invertebrates rely on leaf litter for sustenance. As the leaves break down, they release essential nutrients into the soil, supporting the growth of microorganisms and providing a feast for earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers.
If you want to take it a step further, consider creating leaf piles in your garden. These leaf piles not only provide additional shelter, but they also become hotspots for foraging birds and small mammals. By piling up leaves in a designated area, you can create a buffet for hungry creatures, while adding an element of natural beauty to your garden.


Attracting and Feeding Birds Throughout the Chilly Month

As the temperatures drop and winter approaches, it's important to remember our feathered friends and provide them with the nourishment they need to survive. Birds require extra food during the colder months, as it helps them maintain their body heat and energy levels. By attracting and feeding birds in November, you can ensure that your garden becomes a sanctuary for these beautiful creatures.
One of the simplest ways to attract birds to your garden is by setting up bird feeders. Choose high-energy foods like sunflower seeds, suet, and mealworms to entice a variety of bird species. Place the feeders in a sheltered area, away from predators, and keep them well-stocked throughout the month.
In addition to bird feeders, consider planting bird-friendly plants that provide a natural food source. Native shrubs like hawthorn, blackthorn, and honeysuckle produce berries that birds love. These plants not only offer nourishment but also provide cover and nesting sites for our feathered friends.
Remember to provide a fresh water source for birds to drink and bathe in. Use a bird bath or shallow dish and keep it clean and topped up with water. You can also add a small heater to prevent the water from freezing during cold spells.


Maintaining Your Pond for Winter Frogs and Newts

As the temperatures continue to drop, it's important to take care of your pond to ensure the survival of winter frogs and newts. These amphibians rely on a suitable environment to hibernate and survive the colder months, so maintaining your pond is crucial for their well-being.
One of the first steps is to remove any fallen leaves and debris from the pond. Leaves can quickly accumulate on the surface and decompose, releasing harmful chemicals into the water. Use a net or pond skimmer to remove any leaves and keep the water clean.
Next, check the water levels and top up if necessary. As the weather gets colder, evaporation can occur, and you want to ensure that the pond has enough water to sustain the frogs and newts.
If your pond has a pump or filter system, make sure to clean and maintain it regularly. This will help keep the water clean and clear of any debris that could harm the amphibians.
Finally, consider adding a pond heater or aerator to prevent the water from freezing completely. Frogs and newts need access to oxygen during the winter, and a frozen pond can be fatal to them. These devices will help keep the water oxygenated and provide a small area of open water for the amphibians.


Planning Ahead: Planting Spring Bulbs for Early Pollinators

Now is the perfect time to start planning for the arrival of spring and the return of our beloved pollinators. By planting spring bulbs in November, you can ensure that your garden will be buzzing with life when the warmer weather arrives.

Spring bulbs, such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips, are not only beautiful additions to your garden, but they also provide an early source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These hardworking creatures are essential for the pollination of many plants and play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

When choosing spring bulbs, opt for varieties that are known to attract pollinators. Look for bulbs that have single flowers rather than double, as they are easier for pollinators to access. Native species are also a great choice, as they are well-suited to the local environment and provide the most benefit to local pollinators.

To create a vibrant and pollinator-friendly garden, plant your spring bulbs in clusters or drifts rather than individual spots. This will create a more natural look and make it easier for pollinators to find and access the flowers.

 


Concluding Thoughts: Preparing Your Garden for a Wildlife-Friendly Winter

November is a critical month for wildlife, and by implementing these gardening jobs, we can ensure that our garden remains a haven for all creatures big and small.

By understanding the importance of wildlife gardening in November, we can appreciate the impact our actions have on the well-being and survival of our garden's wildlife. Providing shelter, maintaining ponds, attracting birds, and creating a paradise with autumn leaves are just a few ways we can make a difference.

Remember to take the expert tips we've shared on board and create cosy shelters for garden creatures. Building hedgehog homes, nesting boxes, insect hotels, and log piles will provide a safe and warm environment for wildlife during the cold months.

Make the most of the abundance of fallen leaves and create a wildlife paradise in your garden. Leave certain areas untouched, create leaf piles, and watch as your garden becomes a bustling hub of activity for insects and small mammals.

Attracting and feeding birds throughout the chilly month is crucial. By setting up bird feeders and planting bird-friendly plants, you can ensure that these beautiful creatures have a sustainable food source.

Finally, don't forget to plan ahead and plant spring bulbs for early pollinators. By doing so, you'll be providing an early source of nectar and ensuring your garden is buzzing with life when spring arrives.

 


Don't make these mistakes when mowing your lawn for winter

mistakes-mowing-lawn-winter

Don't Make These Mistakes Mowing Your Winter Lawn


As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it's important to start preparing your lawn for the winter season. One of the most common mistakes people make is not knowing when to mow their lawn for the last time before winter. It's easy to assume that once the leaves start falling, it's time to put away the lawnmower. However, this can actually do more harm than good to your lawn. In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of knowing when to mow your lawn for the last time before winter and the mistakes you should avoid to ensure a healthy lawn come springtime.


When should I do my final mow?

Once grass stops growing should align with a temperature drop. This will be between October and November. However, with the fluctuating seasons and warm winter sun, sometimes you may experience a delayed growth with grass continuing to sprout even into December

What if my grass keeps growing in Winter?

Cut your grass when it exceeds 3 inches

When to cut my grass?

You should not remove more than one-third of the grass height

What's the earliest I can mow my lawn?

Perform the first grass cut of the year in spring, around mid-March. From there on, mow the lawn at least once every week. Try to keep your grass' height the same all throughout spring. For most lawns, the ideal height would be 2.5 - 4cm.

Is it too early to mow the lawn UK?

Lawns should generally be mown weekly or fortnightly between March and October.

Should I put grass clippings on bare spots?

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn can actually be healthy for the grass, as it helps build a strong and nutrient-rich soil. This practice is known as “grasscycling,”.

Is it better to cut grass before or after rain?

Is mowing before or after rain better? It is always better to mow before rain if possible. If your grass is dry, but you see rain on the way, it is a good idea to mow the yard before the rain arrives.


When to Mow Your Lawn Before Winter Hits

As the winter season approaches, it's crucial to properly prepare your garden for the colder months. One of the most important aspects of winter lawn care is knowing when to mow your lawn for the last time before winter. Many people make the mistake of assuming that once the leaves start falling, it's time to put away the lawnmower. However, this can actually do more harm than good to your garden.

To ensure a healthy lawn come springtime, it's important to understand when is the right time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter. The general rule of thumb is to stop mowing your lawn once it stops growing. As the temperature drops, grass growth slows down significantly. This means that your lawn will require less frequent mowing.

Typically, the best time to mow your lawn for the last time before winter hits is in late autumn or early winter. This is usually around October or November, depending on your location and the climate. By this time, grass growth has slowed down enough to justify stopping regular mowing. However, it's important to pay attention to the condition of your lawn and make adjustments accordingly.

 

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If you live in a region where the winters are mild and grass growth continues throughout the year, you may need to continue mowing your lawn sporadically. In such cases, it's best to mow your lawn when the grass height exceeds 3 inches. This will help prevent snow mould and other lawn diseases that thrive in long grass during winter.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh winters where the ground freezes, it's crucial to stop mowing your lawn early enough. Mowing your lawn too late in the season can leave it vulnerable to winter damage. The last thing you want is to have a freshly cut lawn that gets buried under a layer of snow.

Additionally, it's important to remember that while mowing your lawn, you should not remove more than one-third of the grass height. This is crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of your lawn. Cutting the grass too short can weaken it and make it more susceptible to winter stress and damage.

 


Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Preparing Your Lawn for Winter

Preparing your lawn for winter is essential for maintaining a healthy and beautiful garden. However, many people make common mistakes that can have a negative impact on their lawn's well-being. To help you avoid these pitfalls, we've compiled a list of the most common mistakes you should avoid when preparing your lawn for winter.

  1. Neglecting to remove debris: One of the biggest mistakes people make is failing to remove leaves, branches, and other debris from their garden before winter. This debris can suffocate your grass, prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, and create an environment for disease and pests to thrive. Be sure to rake up fallen leaves and remove any debris before the first snowfall.
  2. Over-mowing: While it's important to mow your lawn for the last time before winter, over-mowing can be detrimental. Cutting your grass too short weakens the roots and leaves your lawn vulnerable to damage during the winter months. Avoid scalping your lawn and aim to cut it to a height of around 2.5 to 3 inches. This will help insulate the grass and protect it from the cold.
  3. Failing to aerate: Aeration is the process of creating small holes in your garden to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grassroots. This is especially important before winter when the soil becomes compacted. Compacted soil can prevent proper water drainage and lead to waterlogged roots. Consider renting an aerator or hiring a professional to ensure your garden gets the aeration it needs.
  4. Forgetting to fertilise: While grass growth may slow down during winter, it still requires nutrients to stay healthy. Fertilising your garden before winter can help strengthen the roots and provide essential nutrients for spring growth. Use a winter-specific fertiliser with a slow-release formula to nourish your garden throughout the colder months.
  5. Neglecting to water: Even though it may seem counterintuitive, your garden still needs water during the winter months. If there is a lack of snow or rainfall, be sure to give your garden a deep watering once every three weeks. This will help prevent the roots from drying out and keep your grass hydrated throughout the winter.
  6. Failing to control weeds: Weeds can wreak havoc on your garden, even during winter. Before the first frost hits, take the time to control any existing weeds in your garden. Pull them out by hand or use an herbicide to prevent them from taking over your garden during the colder months.

Avoiding these common mistakes will ensure that your garden stays healthy and vibrant throughout the winter. By properly preparing your garden for the colder months, you'll set the stage for a beautiful and lush yard come springtime. Don't let these simple mistakes derail your winter garden maintenance. Take the time to care for your garden now, and you'll reap the rewards when warmer weather arrives.

 
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Is it too Late to Mow in November?

Many homeowners wonder if it's too late to mow their lawn in November. The answer depends on various factors, such as the climate and the condition of your lawn. In general, it's best to mow your lawn for the last time before winter sets in, which is usually in late autumn or early winter.

If your lawn is still actively growing and the grass height exceeds 3 inches, it's not too late to mow in November. However, you should aim to mow it before the ground freezes and the first snowfall. Mowing your lawn too late in the season can leave it vulnerable to winter damage, as freshly cut grass can be buried under a layer of snow and suffocate.

It's important to pay attention to the condition of your lawn and make adjustments accordingly. If you live in a region with mild winters where grass growth continues throughout the year, you may need to continue mowing your lawn sporadically. In such cases, mow your lawn when the grass height exceeds 3 inches to prevent snow mould and other lawn diseases that thrive in long grass during winter.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh winters where the ground freezes, it's crucial to stop mowing your lawn early enough. The last thing you want is to have a freshly cut lawn that gets buried under a layer of snow. So, if it's already late November and your lawn is still actively growing, it may be best to leave it be until the following spring.

Remember, when mowing your lawn in November, it's important not to remove more than one-third of the grass height. Cutting the grass too short weakens it and makes it more susceptible to winter stress and damage. Aim to cut your grass to a height of around 2.5 to 3 inches to help insulate the grass and protect it from the cold.


The Importance of Winter Lawn Care

Taking care of your lawn during the winter months may not be the most glamorous task, but it is essential for maintaining a healthy and vibrant garden come springtime. Many people assume that once the temperatures drop and snow starts falling, their lawn doesn't require any further maintenance. However, neglecting your lawn during the winter can lead to a host of issues, including disease, pest infestation, and weak, patchy grass.

One of the primary reasons winter lawn care is so important is because the condition of your lawn going into winter can directly impact its health in the spring. By properly preparing and maintaining your lawn during the colder months, you can ensure that it will thrive when the warmer weather arrives.

One crucial aspect of winter lawn care is preventing snow mould and other diseases. Snow mould is a fungal disease that thrives in cold, wet conditions, and can cause unsightly patches and damage to your lawn. By mowing your lawn to the correct height and removing excess thatch, you can prevent snow mould from taking hold.

Another reason winter lawn care is vital is to protect your lawn from pests. Many insects and rodents seek shelter in lawns during the winter months. By properly maintaining your lawn, you can reduce the risk of infestations and keep your garden healthy and pest-free.

Regular maintenance throughout the winter can also help to prevent weeds from taking over your lawn. Weeds are opportunistic and can quickly take hold in neglected lawns. By regularly checking for and removing weeds, you can prevent them from spreading and keep your lawn looking its best.

Watering your lawn during the winter months may seem counterintuitive, but it is still essential. If there is a lack of snow or rainfall, your lawn can become dehydrated and suffer from winter desiccation. By giving your lawn a deep watering once every three weeks, you can help prevent root dehydration and keep your grass healthy throughout the winter.

Overall, winter lawn care is crucial for maintaining the health and appearance of your garden. By taking the time to properly prepare and maintain your lawn during the colder months, you can ensure that it will bounce back in the spring, ready for a season of growth and beauty.

So, as you start preparing your garden for the winter season, don't neglect your lawn. Remember to mow it for the last time before winter hits, avoiding common mistakes such as over-mowing and cutting the grass too short. Pay attention to the condition of your lawn and adjust your maintenance routine accordingly.

By giving your lawn the attention it needs during the winter, you'll set the stage for a lush and healthy garden in the spring. Don't underestimate the importance of winter lawn care – your lawn will thank you with vibrant, green growth when the warmer weather arrives. So grab your winter lawn care tools, wrap up warm, and get ready to give your lawn the care it deserves. Your garden will reward you with a beautiful landscape come springtime.


How to Dispose of Halloween Pumpkins Sustainably

How-to-Dispose-Halloween-Pumpkins-Sustainably

How to Dispose of Halloween Pumpkins Sustainably


As Halloween comes to an end, many of us are left with the remnants of pumpkin carving and decorations. Whilst it may be tempting to simply throw these pumpkins in the bin, this is not the most sustainable option. Pumpkins are a versatile and nutrient-rich fruit that can be repurposed in numerous ways, making it important to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to dispose of pumpkins sustainably, reducing waste and benefiting the planet.


Can Birds Eat Pumpkins?

Wild birds, geese, ducks and chickens can all safely eat the skin, flesh and seeds of pumpkins. However, painted pumpkins can potentially be toxic .

What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkins?

Pumpkin seeds contain many nutrients; calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. They are also high in calories and protein essential for energy and strength in winter. 

How much is too much Pumpkin?

If possible it is best to limit overeating of pumpkin. If feeding pet chickens it should be offered every other day as it would count as a treat in a balance diet.  

Can I dump my pumpkin in the woods?

No, simply put pumpkins are not natural to woodland and broadly speaking it is best not to deposit pumpkins in the woods. Although it will be a good source of food, it can also attract pests and upset small animals' stomachs. 

However, if distributed appropriately before it rots pumpkins can still be given to wildlife on raised platforms away from hedgehogs.

What's the best way to dispose of my pumpkins?

Composting.

Can I leave pumpkin out for wildlife?

Not without careful distribution, it's best to avoid randomly leaving pumpkins out. Hedgehogs can become ill but birds will generally be fine, so hunt for raised areas or stick to composting. 

How long do carved pumpkins last?

Untreated pumpkins will often last between 3 and 5 days depending on temperature and weather. You might get 1 week in colder temperatures. 

Will foxes eat pumpkins?

Apparently so, along with squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer, rodents and more.

 


Understanding the Environmental Impact of Pumpkin Waste

It's easy to view pumpkins as simply disposable items, destined for the bin. However, this approach not only contributes to unnecessary waste but also overlooks the incredible potential that pumpkins hold.

Pumpkins are not just an emblem of Halloween; they are a versatile and nutrient-rich fruit that can be repurposed in various ways. Understanding the environmental impact of pumpkin waste is crucial in realising the importance of disposing of them sustainably.

When pumpkins are dumped in landfills, they undergo a process called anaerobic decomposition. This means that they break down in an oxygen-free environment, producing methane gas as a by-product. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 25 times higher than carbon dioxide. By simply throwing our pumpkins in the bin, we contribute to the release of harmful greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate change.

Alternatively, by choosing to compost our pumpkins, we can make a positive impact on the environment. Composting involves the natural decomposition of organic materials, such as pumpkins, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment called compost. This process not only reduces the amount of waste in landfills but also creates a valuable resource for gardening and agriculture. By recycling our pumpkins through composting, we can minimise greenhouse gas emissions, enrich the soil, and promote sustainable food production.

 

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Composting your Halloween pumpkin is a relatively simple process. Start by removing any candles, wax, or non-organic decorations from the pumpkin. Chop the pumpkin into smaller pieces to accelerate the decomposition process. Mix the pumpkin with other organic materials, such as leaves or vegetable scraps, in a compost bin or pile. Keep the compost moist and turn it regularly to ensure proper decomposition. In a matter of weeks or months, your pumpkin will break down into nutrient-rich compost, ready to be used in your garden.

 

Apart from composting, there are alternative sustainable uses for leftover pumpkins. For instance, you can make pumpkin puree or soup, roast the seeds, or use the shell as a natural serving bowl. Get creative and experiment with different pumpkin recipes to reduce food waste and enjoy the nutritional benefits of this vibrant fruit.

 

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Step-by-Step Guide on Composting Your Halloween Pumpkin

Once Halloween is over and you're left with a carved pumpkin, it's important to know how to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. Composting your Halloween pumpkin is a great way to recycle it and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you just how easy it is to compost your pumpkin.

  1. Remove any non-organic decorations: Start by taking off any candles, wax, or non-organic decorations from your pumpkin. These items cannot be composted and should be disposed of separately.
  2. Chop your pumpkin into smaller pieces: To speed up the decomposition process, it's best to cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces. You can use a sharp knife or even break it apart with your hands. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will break down.
  3. Mix with other organic materials: It's important to mix your pumpkin with other organic materials to create a balanced compost pile. You can use leaves, vegetable scraps, or grass cuttings as additional ingredients. This mixture will provide the right balance of carbon and nitrogen for decomposition.
  4. Choose a composting method: There are a few different methods for composting your pumpkin. You can use a compost bin, which is a contained system that helps control moisture and temperature. Alternatively, you can create a compost heap in your garden. Just make sure to turn the heap regularly to promote decomposition.
  5. Keep your compost moist: Composting requires the right amount of moisture to work properly. Make sure your compost heap is damp, but not soaked. If it becomes too dry, add some water to the heap. This will help the decomposition process.
  6. Wait for the magic to happen: Depending on the size and condition of your pumpkin, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for it to fully decompose. During this time, the microorganisms in the compost heap will break down the organic matter, turning it into nutrient-rich soil.
  7. Use your compost in the garden: Once your pumpkin has completely broken down, you can use the compost in your garden. It's a fantastic natural fertiliser that will enrich the soil and promote healthy plant growth. Spread it over your flower beds, vegetable patches, or even potted plants for a nutrient boost.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can recycle your Halloween pumpkin and contribute to a more environmentally friendly way of disposing of it. Composting is not only easy, but it's also a great way to create valuable soil amendment for your garden. So next time you carve a pumpkin, remember to compost it and do your part for the planet.

 
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Alternative Sustainable Uses for Leftover Pumpkins

Pumpkins are not just for carving and decorating. They can be transformed into delicious treats and useful household items, providing sustainable and creative alternatives for your leftover Halloween pumpkins. Instead of throwing them away, consider these alternative sustainable uses for your pumpkins.

One popular use for leftover pumpkins is making pumpkin puree or soup. Pumpkin puree is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, from pies and bread to pancakes and smoothies. Simply scoop out the flesh of your pumpkin, remove the seeds, and blend the remaining flesh until smooth. You can store the puree in the freezer for future use or incorporate it into your favourite recipes right away.

Speaking of seeds, don't throw them away! Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a nutritious and tasty snack. Simply clean the seeds, removing any excess pulp, and let them dry. Toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt, and your favourite seasonings, then spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy. Not only are roasted pumpkin seeds delicious, but they are also packed with nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you're feeling crafty, consider using the pumpkin shell as a natural serving bowl. Simply cut off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the flesh and seeds. Clean the shell thoroughly, making sure to remove any residue. You can then use it as a creative and eco-friendly way to serve soups, stews, or even salad. It adds a rustic touch to your table and reduces the need for disposable dishes.

Another option is to turn your pumpkin into a bird feeder. After carving out the pumpkin, attach a sturdy branch to the top, leaving it long enough to hang from a tree branch. Fill the pumpkin with birdseed and watch as feathered friends flock to enjoy the treat. Not only does this provide food for birds during the colder months, but it also adds a charming and decorative element to your outdoor space.

If you have a garden, consider using your leftover pumpkins as compost. Instead of sending them to landfills, where they will produce harmful greenhouse gases, composting allows them to break down naturally and contribute to nutrient-rich soil. Chop the pumpkin into smaller pieces to speed up the decomposition process and mix it with other organic materials like leaves and vegetable scraps. Keep the compost pile moist and turn it regularly to ensure proper decomposition. In a few weeks or months, you'll have valuable compost that can be used to nourish your plants and promote sustainable gardening.

By exploring these alternative sustainable uses for leftover pumpkins, you can minimise waste and make the most of this vibrant fruit.

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5 Eco-Friendly ways to dispose of Halloween Pumpkins

As Halloween comes to an end, many of us are left with the remnants of pumpkin carving and decorations. Instead of simply throwing these pumpkins in the bin, there are several eco-friendly ways to dispose of them, reducing waste and benefiting the planet. Here are five suggestions for disposing of Halloween pumpkins sustainably:

  1. Composting: One of the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of pumpkins is by composting them. Chop your pumpkin into smaller pieces, mix it with other organic materials such as leaves or vegetable scraps, and create a compost pile or use a compost bin. Turn the compost regularly and keep it moist to facilitate decomposition. In just a few weeks or months, your pumpkin will break down into nutrient-rich compost, ready to be used in your garden.
  2. Feed Wildlife: Another eco-friendly option is to feed wildlife with your leftover pumpkins. After carving out the pumpkin, leave it in your backyard or garden on a raised platform for animals to enjoy. Squirrels, birds, and other creatures will appreciate the treat and it's a great way to support local wildlife. However, it is important to note that not all wildlife are 100% safe to eat pumpkin leftovers, namely hedgehogs. By selectively putting chopped-up pieces on platforms for birds and squirrels and raised areas for deer you can feed those that are safe to eat reasonable quantities. 
  3. Donate to Farms: Contact local farms or animal sanctuaries and see if they accept donations of pumpkins. Many farmers use pumpkins as food for their animals, such as pigs, goats, or chickens. By donating your pumpkins, you're helping to provide nutritious food for animals and reducing waste.
  4. Create a Pumpkin Pit: If you have enough outdoor space, consider creating a pumpkin pit. Dig a hole in your garden, bury the pumpkins, and cover them with soil. Over time, the pumpkins will decompose and enrich the soil, providing valuable nutrients for plants.
  5. Repurpose as Halloween Decor: Rather than throwing away your carved pumpkins, consider repurposing them as Halloween decor for next year. Dry out the pumpkin shell thoroughly and store it in a cool, dry place until next Halloween. You can use them for decoration or even carve them again with new designs.

By opting for these eco-friendly ways to dispose of Halloween pumpkins, you can minimise waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Remember, every small step towards sustainability counts, so make the most of your pumpkins this Halloween season!

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Why you Shouldn't Dump Pumpkins

Did you know that pumpkins have a much greater potential than being used as mere decorations for Halloween? It's easy to overlook their value and simply throw them in the bin once the festivities are over. However, dumping pumpkins can have detrimental effects on the environment and contribute to unnecessary waste. Let's take a moment to understand why you shouldn't dump pumpkins and explore more sustainable alternatives.

Dumping pumpkins in landfills leads to a process called anaerobic decomposition. This means that the pumpkins break down in an oxygen-free environment, producing methane gas as a by-product. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has a global warming potential 25 times higher than carbon dioxide. By throwing your pumpkins in the bin, you are inadvertently contributing to the release of harmful greenhouse gases, which worsen climate change.

But there's good news! You can make a positive impact on the environment by choosing not to dump your pumpkins and instead opting for more sustainable options. Composting is a great way to dispose of pumpkins responsibly. By composting your pumpkins, you allow them to naturally decompose in an oxygen-rich environment, reducing methane emissions and transforming them into nutrient-rich compost. This compost can then be used to nourish your garden, promoting sustainable plant growth and reducing the need for chemical fertilisers.

In addition to composting, there are numerous alternative uses for leftover pumpkins that are both creative and sustainable. For example, you can make pumpkin puree or soup by blending the flesh and using it in various recipes. Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a nutritious and delicious snack. You can also repurpose the pumpkin shell as a natural serving bowl, reducing the need for disposable dishes and adding a rustic touch to your table. Furthermore, consider turning your carved pumpkin into a bird feeder or donating it to local farms, where it can be used as animal feed.

By embracing these alternative uses and disposing of pumpkins sustainably, you can minimise waste and make a positive impact on the environment. Remember, small actions can lead to significant change, and every pumpkin you choose not to dump contributes to a more sustainable future. So, next time you find yourself with a leftover pumpkin, think twice before tossing it away. Instead, get creative, reduce waste, and do your part to protect the planet. Happy sustainable pumpkin disposal!

 

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Ghoulishly Good Advice: Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins

harvesting-storing-pumpkins

Ghoulishly Good Advice: Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins


Welcome to our latest gardening post, pumpkin enthusiasts! As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp, it's time to start thinking about harvesting and storing your pumpkins. Whether you're growing them for Halloween decorations or delicious autumn dishes, knowing how to properly harvest and store pumpkins is essential for getting the most out of your garden. So grab your gardening gloves and get ready for some spookily good advice on how to preserve those beautiful pumpkins for months to come.


Knowing the Right Time to Harvest Your Pumpkins

As pumpkin enthusiasts, we know that timing is everything when it comes to harvesting these beautiful gourds. Knowing the right time to harvest your pumpkins can make all the difference in their quality and longevity. So, how do you determine when exactly to pluck those ripe, orange treasures from the vine?

First and foremost, it's important to understand the growing season of pumpkins. Pumpkins are warm-weather crops that thrive in the summer months. They need plenty of sunshine and heat to grow and ripen properly. Generally, it takes around 75-100 days for pumpkins to fully mature from the time they are planted as seeds.

Once you've calculated the estimated growing season, you can begin monitoring your pumpkins for signs of ripeness. The most obvious sign is the colour of the pumpkin itself. As we move further into the season, the vibrant green hue of the pumpkin will gradually fade into a rich, deep orange. This change in colour is a reliable indicator that your pumpkins are ready to be harvested.

pumpkin harvest tipspumpkin harvest tips

In addition to colour, the stalk of the pumpkin also provides valuable information about its ripeness. When a pumpkin is fully mature, the stalk will turn brown and begin to wither. This is a clear signal that it's time to pick your pumpkins. However, it's important to note that if you plan on using your pumpkins for carving jack-o-lanterns, it's best to leave a few inches of the stalk intact. This will help prolong the life of the pumpkin and prevent it from rotting prematurely.

Another useful tip for determining the right time to harvest your pumpkins is by examining their skin. A fully ripe pumpkin will have a tough and hard skin, which indicates that it has reached its peak ripeness. On the other hand, if the skin feels soft or easily punctures, it's a sign that the pumpkin is still immature and needs more time to grow.

Lastly, it's essential to consider the weather conditions when deciding to harvest your pumpkins. Ideally, you should aim to harvest your pumpkins on a dry, sunny day. Moisture can promote rotting, so it's crucial to pick your pumpkins when the weather is dry to minimise the risk of spoilage.

 


Steps for Successfully Harvesting Your Pumpkins

Now that you know when to harvest your pumpkins, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to pick those perfect gourds. Follow these simple steps to ensure a successful harvest and keep those pumpkins in tip-top shape.

 

Step 1: Prepare your tools

Before you begin harvesting your pumpkins, gather the necessary tools. You will need a sharp knife or garden shears or secateurs to cut the pumpkin from the vine, as well as a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Having a wheelbarrow or a basket on hand will also come in handy for carrying your freshly picked pumpkins.

 

Step 2: Cut, don't tear

When it comes to separating your pumpkins from the vine, it's important to use a clean, sharp knife or secateurs. Make a clean cut about 2 inches above the pumpkin, leaving a short stalk intact. Avoid tearing or breaking the stalk, as this can lead to premature rotting.

 

Step 3: Leave no pumpkin behind

Inspect your pumpkin patch carefully and make sure you harvest all the ripe pumpkins. Even if they're not as large or perfectly shaped as others, it's best to pick them all to prevent them from spoiling on the vine.

funny pumpkin harvesting tipsfunny pumpkin harvesting tips

 

Step 4: Handle with care

Once you've harvested your pumpkins, handle them with care to avoid any damage. It's best to carry them by the stalk or the base, as the sides can be easily bruised. Avoid dropping or throwing them, as this can lead to internal damage and increase the risk of rotting.

 

Step 5: Clean and sanitise

After you've harvested your pumpkins, it's a good idea to clean them to remove any dirt or debris. Gently scrub them with a soft brush or cloth using water and mild soap. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue. This step is important to prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi, which can cause decay.

clean and inspect pumpkin headsclean and inspect pumpkin heads

 

Step 6: Cure your pumpkins

Before storing your pumpkins, it's important to cure them. Curing involves allowing the pumpkin's skin to harden, which helps extend their shelf life. Place your pumpkins in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area for about two weeks. The ideal temperature for curing pumpkins is around 80°F (27°C), but make sure to avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause sunburn.

 

Step 7: Choose the right storage location

Once your pumpkins have been cured, it's time to find the perfect storage spot. Ideally, you should store your pumpkins in a cool, dry, and dark place. A temperature between 50-55°F (10-13°C) is optimal for prolonging their shelf life. Avoid storing them in a fridge, as the cold temperature can cause them to deteriorate quickly.

 

Step 8: Check for signs of decay

Regularly inspect your stored pumpkins for any signs of decay or rotting. If you notice any soft spots, mould, or an unpleasant smell, it's best to remove the affected pumpkin immediately to prevent the spread of decay to the rest of the batch.

 

By following these simple steps, you'll be able to harvest and store your pumpkins like a pro.

inspect pumpkins with catinspect pumpkins with cat

Essential Tips on Properly Storing Your Pumpkins

 Congratulations on successfully harvesting your pumpkins! Now, it's time to ensure that all your hard work doesn't go to waste. Properly storing your pumpkins is essential for keeping them fresh and delicious for months to come. Here are some essential tips to help you preserve those pumpkins like a pro.

  1. Handle with care: When it comes to storing your pumpkins, it's important to handle them with care. Avoid dropping or throwing them, as this can lead to internal damage and increase the risk of rotting. Instead, carry them by the stalk or the base, as the sides can be easily bruised.
  2. Keep them clean: Before storing your pumpkins, give them a good clean. Use a soft brush or cloth and mild soap to gently scrub away any dirt or debris. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue. This step is crucial for preventing the spread of bacteria and fungi, which can cause decay.
  3. Let them cure: Curing your pumpkins is an important step in extending their shelf life. Allow the pumpkins to sit in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area for about two weeks. This process allows the skin to harden, which helps prevent rotting. Keep the temperature around 27°C (80°F) for optimal results, but make sure to avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause sunburn.
  4. Find the right storage spot: Choosing the right storage location is key to keeping your pumpkins fresh. Look for a cool, dry, and dark place to store them. A temperature between 10-13°C (50-55°F) is ideal for prolonging their shelf life. Avoid storing them in the fridge, as the cold temperature can cause them to deteriorate quickly.
  5. Maintain proper airflow: Good airflow is crucial for preventing the build-up of moisture, which can lead to rotting. Make sure to keep some space between your pumpkins and avoid stacking them too closely together. This allows air to circulate and prevents any trapped moisture from causing decay.
  6. Regularly inspect for signs of decay: Even with proper storage, pumpkins can still deteriorate over time. It's important to regularly inspect your stored pumpkins for any signs of decay or rotting. If you notice any soft spots, mould, or an unpleasant smell, remove the affected pumpkin immediately to prevent the spread of decay to the rest of the batch.
  7. Consider alternative storage methods: If you're limited on space or don't have access to ideal storage conditions, consider alternative methods. You can try preserving your pumpkins by canning, freezing, or dehydrating them. These methods can help prolong the life of your pumpkins and provide you with delicious pumpkin puree or dried pumpkin slices for later use.
wednesday sexy outfit pumpkins harvesting tipswednesday sexy outfit pumpkins harvesting tips

By following these essential tips, you can ensure that your harvested pumpkins stay fresh and tasty for as long as possible. So go ahead, take pride in your gardening skills, and enjoy those perfectly preserved pumpkins throughout the autumn and beyond. Happy harvesting and storing!

 


Common Mistakes to Avoid During Pumpkin Harvest and Storage

Ah, the exhilaration of a successful pumpkin harvest! But before you start celebrating your bountiful crop, it's essential to be aware of some common mistakes that can sabotage all your hard work. Don't worry, we've got you covered with this handy guide on the most common mistakes to avoid during pumpkin harvest and storage.

Mistake #1: Harvesting too early or too late

Timing is everything when it comes to harvesting pumpkins. Picking them too early can result in underdeveloped and flavourless pumpkins, while waiting too long can lead to overripe and mushy ones. Remember to follow the signs of ripeness we discussed earlier, such as the colour change, stalk withering, and hard skin. Don't let impatience or delay ruin your pumpkin harvest!

handling pumpkins guidehandling pumpkins guide

 

Mistake #2: Neglecting proper handling during harvest

While harvesting, it's crucial to handle your pumpkins with care. Dropping or throwing them can cause internal damage, which can lead to rotting. Always carry them by the stalk or the base, as the sides are prone to bruising. A little bit of TLC during the harvest goes a long way in preserving your pumpkins' quality.

Mistake #3: Skipping the cleaning step

Don't underestimate the importance of cleaning your pumpkins before storage. A quick scrub with mild soap and water helps remove dirt and bacteria, preventing decay. Remember to rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Neglecting this step can leave your pumpkins vulnerable to spoilage.

Mistake #4: Not curing the pumpkins

Curing is a critical step in the pumpkin preservation process. Allowing your pumpkins to sit in a warm, dry, and well-ventilated area helps harden the skin and prolong their shelf life. This step cannot be skipped if you want your pumpkins to stay fresh for an extended period. So be patient and give them the time they need to cure properly.

Mistake #5: Storing in the wrong location

Choosing the right storage spot is vital for maintaining the freshness of your pumpkins. Avoid storing them in areas that are too warm or too cold, as extreme temperatures can cause spoilage. Opt for a cool, dry, and dark place with a temperature between 50-55°F (10-13°C). Remember, the fridge is not your pumpkin's friend!

pumpkin carving guide airflowpumpkin carving guide airflow

 

Mistake #6: Ignoring proper airflow

Good airflow is essential for preventing the buildup of moisture, which can lead to rotting. Avoid stacking your pumpkins too closely together and give them enough space to breathe. This will allow air to circulate, reducing the risk of decay.

Mistake #7: Failing to inspect for decay regularly

Even with the best intentions and practices, pumpkins can still deteriorate over time. Regularly check your stored pumpkins for any signs of decay, such as soft spots, mould, or an unpleasant smell. If you notice any issues, remove the affected pumpkin immediately to prevent the spread of decay to the rest of the batch.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll ensure that your harvested pumpkins stay fresh and delightful for as long as possible. Don't let all your hard work go to waste by falling into these traps.

sexy witch pumpkin guidesexy witch pumpkin guide
happy child pumpkin carving jack o lantern happy child pumpkin carving jack o lantern
boo

How to Keep your pets safe on Fireworks Night

Fireworks Night pet care

Paws for Thought: Keeping Your Pet Safe on Bonfire Night


As Bonfire Night approaches, many of us are eagerly anticipating the dazzling displays of fireworks that light up the sky. However, while we may enjoy the colourful explosions, for our beloved pets, the loud noises and bright lights can be overwhelming and frightening. As responsible pet owners, it's important to take precautions to keep our furry friends safe during this time. In this blog post, we'll discuss some tips and advice on how to ensure your pet's safety and wellbeing on Bonfire Night. So, let's take a moment to pause for thought and consider how we can best protect our pets during the fireworks festivities.


How to help my pet on bonfire night?

  • Close windows and curtains to muffle the sounds of fireworks
  • Blackout curtains or your pet's safe area from bright flashes
  • Mask the sound with music or the TV
  • Try not to react to any fireworks

How do I keep my dog calm on bonfire night?

Give your pet space, distract and reassure them to quell any anxiety while keeping curtains and windows closed.

Can I leave my dog alone on bonfire night?

No, no matter how calm they may be if you suspect fireworks nearby anything could happen to cause even the calmest of dogs a sudden anxiety attack or worst case scenario panic attack leading to sudden heart failure. Sometimes your neighbours may decide to have a very loud firework this year that can unexpectedly cause windows to rattle or strobing flashes that can panic any animal. Try to find a local pet sitter or family member to be with them just in case.

Should I let my cat out on bonfire night?

No, cats move fast and can panic quickly running into danger. A cat curfew is advised to ensure they can be watched and cared for. In the wild even your calmest cat could end up stuck in a tree or lost in the woods, or worse into traffic due to sudden fear of fireworks.

What should I do with my rabbits on fireworks night?

Keep your small animals under close watch. Rabbits, guinea pigs even chickens can experience sudden death from freight during unexpected events. Anything from a loud car to lightning can panic their tiny hearts to the point of no return resulting in organ failure within 24 hours. 

  • Cover outdoor cages to protect them from bright flashes and failing debris
  • Move cages indoors 
  • Move your rabbits or small animals inside with you and keep them distracted with food and toys
  • Bond with them with a special treat 

 What can calm my cat?

Lavender is great for calming all pets with natural sedative properties. You can also try copaiba, helichrysum and frankincense which are considered safe for cats.

What colours calm pets?

Purple is considered calming and can help cats sleep better.


Understanding Your Pet's Fears About Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is a highly anticipated event for many of us, with its stunning displays of fireworks lighting up the night sky. But for our beloved pets, it can be a terrifying experience. The loud noises and bright lights can cause immense fear and anxiety, leaving our furry friends feeling stressed and vulnerable. It is important to understand the fears that our pets may have during this time and take proactive steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Dogs and cats, as well as other animals, have heightened senses compared to humans. They can hear sounds at frequencies that are much higher than what we can perceive. Fireworks, with their deafening booms and high-pitched whistles, can be extremely distressing for them. The sudden loud noises can startle them and trigger their fight or flight response. They may become scared, anxious, and may even try to run away in an attempt to find safety.

It is important to recognise the signs of fear and anxiety in our pets. Dogs may exhibit behaviours such as trembling, panting, pacing, hiding, or seeking constant reassurance from their owners. Cats, on the other hand, may hide, cower, or become overly aggressive. It is essential to be attentive to these signs and respond accordingly.

Understanding your pet's fears about Bonfire Night will allow you to take proactive steps to keep them calm and secure. This may involve creating a safe and quiet space in your home where they can retreat to, providing them with a comforting environment. It is also helpful to close the curtains, play calming music or white noise, and provide them with familiar scents, such as their favourite blanket or toy.

By understanding the fears that our pets may have during Bonfire Night and taking proactive steps to keep them calm and secure, we can ensure that they are safe and protected during this festive period. In the following sections, we will discuss in more detail the proactive steps you can take, how to prepare your home, extra care measures to consider, and immediate actions to take if your pet becomes distressed or lost. So let's continue on this pet safety guide for Bonfire Night to ensure our furry friends can have a peaceful and stress-free experience.

 

family with pets on bonfire nightfamily with pets on bonfire night

Proactive Steps to Keep Your Pet Calm and Secure

Ensure your pet is properly identified. In case they do manage to escape during the festivities, make sure they are wearing a collar with up-to-date identification tags. It's also a good idea to have your pet microchipped, as this provides a permanent form of identification that cannot be lost or removed.

During Bonfire Night, it's important to stay calm and relaxed around your pet. Animals can pick up on our emotions, so remaining calm can help to reassure them that everything is okay. If you notice that your pet is becoming stressed or anxious, try to distract them with toys or treats, or engage them in activities that they enjoy.

By taking these proactive steps, you can help to ensure that your pet feels safe and secure during the fireworks festivities. Remember, our furry friends rely on us to keep them safe, so it's important to be organised in protecting them from the fears and anxieties that Bonfire Night can bring.

fireworks pet safety sleepingfireworks pet safety sleeping

How to Prepare Your Home for the Big Bang Night

Bonfire Night can be a thrilling and mesmerising event for us humans, but for our furry friends, it can be a scary and anxiety-inducing experience. To ensure your pet's safety and wellbeing during Fireworks Night, it's crucial to prepare your home and create a calm and secure environment for them.

Firstly, start by identifying a safe and comfortable space for your pet to retreat to during the festivities. This could be a quiet room or a corner of the house where they feel secure. Make sure this space is free from any potential hazards, such as open windows or wires that could be chewed. Providing them with their own den-like area, such as a crate or a cosy bed, can also help them feel more secure.

Next, take steps to minimise the impact of the loud noises from fireworks. Closing the curtains or blinds can help block out the bright lights that can startle animals. Additionally, playing soothing music or turning on the television at a moderate volume can help drown out the loud bangs. These familiar sounds can create a sense of normalcy for your pet and distract them from the outside noises.

Consider using products that emit calming pheromones, such as diffusers or sprays. These products can help create a sense of calm and relaxation for your pet. You can also consult with your vet about potential natural remedies or medications to help alleviate anxiety during this time.

In addition to creating a safe space and minimising the impact of loud noises, make sure your home is secure to prevent any potential escapes. Ensure all doors, windows, and gates are properly closed and locked.

Lastly, consider the impact of fireworks on wildlife. Keep in mind that wildlife may also become stressed or scared by the loud noises and bright lights. Avoid setting off fireworks in areas where there may be wildlife nearby, such as fields or wooded areas. This small consideration can help protect not only your pet but also the local wildlife.

By following these steps and taking the time to prepare your home for the big bang night, you can help ensure that your pet feels safe and secure during the fireworks festivities. Remember, your furry friend relies on you to keep them safe, so take the necessary precautions to make this experience as stress-free as possible for them.

 

bonfire night cat looking out windpwbonfire night cat looking out windpw

Extra Care Measures: The Do’s and Don’ts

While taking proactive steps to keep your pet calm and secure during Bonfire Night is important, there are also some extra care measures that you should keep in mind. These do's and don'ts will help ensure your pet's safety and well-being during this festive time.

  1. Do keep your pet indoors: It's best to keep your pet indoors during the fireworks festivities. This will help protect them from any potential dangers and reduce their exposure to loud noises and bright lights.
  2. Do provide plenty of exercise: Before the fireworks begin, make sure your pet has had plenty of exercise. A tired pet is more likely to be calmer and less anxious during the festivities.
  3. Do provide distractions: Keep your pet entertained and distracted during the fireworks. Play their favourite game, give them puzzle toys, or engage in activities that they enjoy. This will help take their mind off the loud noises and keep them occupied.
  4. Do stay with your pet: Your presence can be comforting to your pet during this stressful time. Stay with them, provide reassurance, and offer a calming touch. Your presence will help them feel safe and secure.

 

  1. Don't punish your pet: It's important not to punish your pet if they display signs of fear or anxiety during Bonfire Night. Punishment can only worsen their stress and make the situation more distressing for them. Instead, provide comfort and reassurance.
  2. Don't leave your pet alone: Avoid leaving your pet alone during the fireworks festivities. They may become scared or anxious and could potentially harm themselves or damage property in an attempt to escape.
  3. Don't force your pet to confront their fears: Forcing your pet to face their fears can make their anxiety worse. Allow them to retreat to their safe space and respect their need for comfort and security.
  4. Don't forget to secure your home: Ensure that all doors, windows, and gates are properly closed and locked to prevent any potential escapes. Take extra care to secure any potential escape routes and create a safe environment for your pet.

By following these extra care measures, you can help ensure that your pet has a safe and stress-free experience during Bonfire Night. Remember, our furry friends rely on us for their safety and well-being, so let's make this festive time enjoyable for them as well.

 

family watching tv fireworks nightfamily watching tv fireworks night

Immediate Actions if Your Pet Gets Distressed or Lost on Bonfire Night

In the unfortunate event that your pet becomes distressed or goes missing on Bonfire Night, it's important to take immediate action to ensure their safety. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this stressful situation.

First and foremost, try to remain calm. Your pet can sense your emotions, so it's crucial to stay composed and level-headed. Panicking will only make the situation more difficult to handle. Take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand.

If your pet becomes distressed during the fireworks, provide them with a safe and quiet space where they can retreat to. This could be a room in your home or their favourite hiding spot. Ensure that the space is secure and free from any potential hazards. Close the doors and windows to minimise the noise and light from the fireworks.

Offer comfort and reassurance to your pet. Sit with them, stroke them gently, and speak in a soothing voice. Your presence can provide a sense of security during this frightening time.

If your pet manages to escape during the festivities, act quickly. Check your immediate surroundings and call out for them. Use familiar sounds or their favourite toys to try and lure them back. It's important to stay in the vicinity of your home as your pet may return on their own.

Notify your neighbours and ask for their assistance in keeping an eye out for your pet. Provide them with a recent photo and any distinguishing features that can help with identification. Distribute posters or flyers in your local area, including veterinary clinics and animal shelters.

Contact your local animal control or rescue organisations to report your pet as missing. They may have received information about found pets or have protocols in place for missing animals during events like Guy Fawkes Night.

Utilise social media to spread the word about your missing pet. Post a description and photo on community Facebook groups and ask others to share the information. This can greatly increase your chances of being reunited with your furry friend.

Remember to keep your pet's microchip information and identification tags up to date. If someone finds your pet, having proper identification can greatly facilitate their safe return.

By following these immediate actions, you can increase the chances of finding your pet if they become distressed or go missing on Bonfire Night. Remember, time is of the essence, so act quickly and seek assistance from your local community. Together, we can help keep our pets safe during this exciting but potentially stressful time.


11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Garden Facts you didn't know

11 Interesting Facts About Your Garden

  1. 20'000 slugs live in your garden 

  2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

  3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

  4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

  5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

  6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

  7. Music helps plants grow

  8. A sunflower is not just one flower

  9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

  10. Pumpkins are fruits

  11. Peanuts are not nuts

 

1. 20'000 slugs per average UK garden.

Over 390 billion slugs live in UK gardens. There are on average up to 20'000 slugs per garden in the UK, 200 per square metre!

2. Hydrangeas can change colour from PH levels in soil

A more alkaline soil (PH 7+) will result in pinker blooms, while more acidity (<PH7) will produce blue blooms. Blue tones can be found by adding organic matter to your soil, like egg shells and coffee grounds. Overtime the balance will change. 

3. Vanilla Beans are from an orchid variant

The vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia) produces vanilla beans and is the only orchid that produces an edible fruit. The vanilla orchid is not the only interesting variety; oncidum hybrid (Sharry Baby) is said to smell like chocolate, the cymbidium Golden Elf smells lemony, and the phalaenopsis violacea has a cinnamon scent.

4. Apples and Strawberries are types of Roses...

Apples, strawberries, pears, peaches, cherries, raspberries and more of the rose family and cousins of the classic red rose.

5. Baking soda can sweeten tomatoes

By reducing the acidity of the soil, tomatoes sweeten their taste. However, it is a delicate balance where a high PH can produce a healthy plant with no tomatoes. The balance of acidity and sugar determines the sweetness and smaller varieties will prove to be sweeter on average. Genetics play a large role in natural sweetness but some say baking soda works. 

6. Butterflies prefer weeds to flowers

Trading beauty for scent, butterflies will navigate towards nectar regardless of how visually appealing your garden may be. Research by the Smithsonian Institute, discovered popular flowers have been bred for enhanced colour and size, but at the cost of fragrance in the process. Therefore, untouched and non-selectively bred weeds, like dandelions and clovers, are actually more interesting to butterflies. As a bonus a natural weed garden will not contain pesticides, even better for our pollinating friends. 

7. Music helps plants grow

As Prince Charles discussed, "I just come and talk to the plants, really. Very important to talk to them; they respond." As with most fables and tales of time, the story is based on some fact and adapted over the years. Studies have shown, vibration, like music, or a voice can affect plant growth. As shown on Myth Busters, the comparison of a silent greenhouse to one with a vocal soundtrack, found that plants with vibrations grew more. 

Studies from 1848, by Gustav Fechner in the book Nanna (Soul-life of Plants) stemmed the subsequent research into the matter. A 2007 paper from South Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology proposed that two genes involved in a plant's response to light—known as rbcS and Ald—are activated by music played at 70 decibels (conversation level). The higher the frequency, the more active the genetic response. However, a Canadian research paper revealed seed germination was only influenced at 92 decibels. 

Marini of the Korean research states, "Plants exposed to wind produce a growth-retardant hormone called ethylene, which causes the plant to be shorter and to have thicker stems. So plants exposed to wind can better survive very windy conditions." Wind or vibrations could therefore be one and the same in their influence of plant growth adapting to potentially volatile environments and requiring a genetic growth response to survive. 

8. A sunflower is not just one flower

The classic brown center and even the yellow petals are actually 1,000 – 2,000 individual flowers. The large petals are individual ray flowers, which do not develop into seed. Pollination and seed development are contained to the brown area taking about 30 days from the time the last flower is pollinated to maturity.

9. A teaspoon of soil contains more organisms than people on the planet

If you ever wondered how organic material decomposes so quickly in the garden, especially in non-domestic areas, the level of organisms existing in that space may explain it. 

Table 1: Relative Numb​er and Biomass of Microbial Species at 0–6 Inches (0–15 cm) Depth of Soil
Microorganisms Number/g of soil Biomass (g/m2)
Bacteria 108–109 40–500
Actinomycetes 107–108 40–500
Fungi 105–106 100–1500
Algae 104–105 1–50
Protozoa 103–104 Varies
Nematodes 102–103 Varies

10. Pumpkins are fruits

Similar to avocados, pumpkins not vegetables but fruits, because they produce seeds. This also works the other way with Rhubarb, a vegetable.

11. Peanuts are not nuts

Peanuts are actually legumes like beans and lentils. This may explain why they have more protein, niacin, folate, and phytosterols than any nut... as they are not nuts. This demotion of nut status comes directly from the National Peanut Board.

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