January 12, 2015

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Today I Will …. Acknowledge that these circumstances are hard and I don’t see a way out. But instead of feeling stuck in between a rock and a hard place, I’ll lean on my Rock and look to Him for rest and peace. As I wait on the Lord, I’ll confess and repent of any sin that led me here. And I’ll focus more on God’s faithfulness than this season’s hardness.

Word of the Day: Rock – Hebrew: cela’. As stronghold of Jehovah, of security (fig.)

A friend of mine met up at a hotel with a man. A man not her husband. Her husband and she reconciled, then separated, then reconciled once more. Yet they remain with toes peeking over the edge of the breaking point.

Hearts breaking. Spirits breaking. Tempers rising like a flood threatening to break the dam of their resolve to stay together.

She told me it’s straight-up hard. Loving her husband feels hard. Not being annoyed with how loud he breathes or not allowing his finger tapping to grate her nerves. Not letting her heart and mind wander far from home. It’s difficult for her to imagine enjoying being married to her husband for the rest of this life.

Yes, it’s hard. And you know what they say about hard places … sometimes we’re just stuck between them and a rock. Which often makes us feel backed against a wall. But what if, instead of seeing these times as being restricting or hard-pressing, we view them as a time to lean against the Rock; you know, the Lord. Let’s look at Psalm 18:2, when David was running for his life from Saul:

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (emphasis added)

The terrain where David lived offered lots of high, lofty rocks to take refuge in. Some of these were caverns, some slits in tall rocks, some overhangs that offered shelter. Here’s the deal though: David had to flee to them to find safety from his enemy.

When we’re tempted to bail out,
because of  a relationship fallout,
& circumstances that drain the life out,
—we must hide out in our Rock.

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That’s when we need to press into the Lord.

Now, I know this can sound like a lofty idea. An over-used, somewhat frustrating, coffee mug slogan: “Just trust in the Lord. Lean on Him, not your own understanding.” How? How do we take refuge in God?

1. Rekindle your passion. Hard times can drag our attention and affection away from God. When we lose hope, we often lose heart. We quickly can neglect our relationship with Him, leaving us vulnerable to hard times becoming even harder. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” What is one of the best ways to guard your heart? Saturate it with the Word. Start with reading just one verse. Or listening to just one sermon (resources suggested below). The smallest piece of flint can spark a flame.

2. Retrace your path. Look back … what brought you to this point? Many times we are the unwitting and unwilling recipient of someone else’s destructive decisions. But there are times we play a key- if not lead- role in our circumstances. Pray for clarity and discernment as to the actions that led you here. If needed, confess any sin and repent–to the Lord and to those you sinned against. Unconfessed sin has serious negative effects: “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). But, look at the freedom that comes through confession: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (vs. 5).

3. Recount your past. Sometimes it seems like God’s not good, doesn’t it? Especially when nothing good is coming from your hard time. Ahhh, that’s when it’s so vital to shift our view from searching for an end in sight to looking back on God’s faithfulness in the past. Hebrews 13:8 affirms to us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Our circumstances might change, but God who was faithful then is faithful now and will be faithful to you every step of the way. Charles Spurgeon put it so well: “If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”

 

I spoke with my friend not too long ago. “I just don’t think happiness is a reality,” she said. Sometimes, in the hard times, happiness will be fleeting. But when we lean on the Lord, security, rest, and protection are always present. As you wait between the Rock and your hard place, take time to read the Bible and pray, confess and repent, and remember His faithfulness.

 

Continue the Conversation:
How God Cares for Those Who Don’t  via Desiring God

God’s Goodness in Your Pain  via The Gospel Coalition 

 

Free Online Sermons:
Desiring God – John Piper

Redeemer Church  – Timothy Keller

Radical  – David Platt

The Village Church  – Matt Chandler

 

 

xoxo,
Sam

May 8, 2014

How To Garden: Seasonal Planting and Zones

I hope you have dirt under your fingernails and seeds in the ground! And that you’re enjoying all the awesomeness of gardening. To catch up, click on the links below:

Monday: Choosing the Right Style of Garden for You -and- Mixing Your Soil
Tuesday: Companion Planting -and- Pollination
Wednesday: Pest -and- Animal Control

SEvilsizer Vintage Week

Today it’s all about Seasonal Planting and Your Zone!

When you think of planting a garden, what season comes to mind? If you said summer, you’re not alone! I used to think that I was limited to gardening May -August too. But we’re not!

Veggies are grouped seasonally, so you have warm weather (a.k.a. spring/summer) and cool weather (a.k.a. autumn/winter) crops. Neat, huh?

So what’s the difference? 

SPRING/SUMMER VEGETABLES
When do you plant them? Every vegetable has a different germination period that will be noted on the back of a seed packet or can be found through an online search. You can start your plants from seed indoors several weeks to several months prior to the last frost of the season. After they have bloomed and are growing, you’ll want to transfer them to a bigger pot before moving them outdoors. Make sure you ‘harden’ them up by setting the seedlings outside for increasing lengths of time until they are ready to go in the ground. Once any risk of frost is past, you are free to plant seedlings in the ground. In case of a surprise frost, cover your crops at night with hardware cloth or an old bed sheet.

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Keep in mind that many factors affect when the best time for YOU to plant is: climate, altitude, seasonal temperatures. I live in the south, so my growing season runs from late March – early November {sometimes later with a mild winter}. However, those in the northeast generally grow from May-September. Here is a great resource for you to plug in your zip code and find specific growing dates per vegetable for your area from All Things Plants.

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A useful frost map

What are summer vegetables? Most summer veggies are almost always grown for their fruit (Think: tomatoes & cucumbers). They include, but aren’t limited to-

  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini and Yellow Squashes
  • Peppers
  • Okra
  • Sweet Potato
  • Herbs
  • Watermelon
  • And more!

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How much sunlight do they need and what kind of temps?
Ideally your seeds need to germinate & grow in temperatures over 70 degrees with 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Each vegetable has varying needs for sunlight and shade, so be sure to read up on your crops before planting.

How much water do they need? If you start your crops by seed, water consistently with no more than 1 inch per week. Once your seeds sprout, continue consistent watering from the base down. Summer plants enjoy drinking long and deep at their roots. Avoid watering the leaves as many diseases grow in wet conditions. If you do water the leaves, do so in the morning so the water evaporates before nightfall and cooler temperatures.

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Side Note: Inconsistent watering can cause damage to your crops, especially when the temperatures are very high. One thing you might see when watering is not done at regular intervals in the same amount are cracks on tomatoes. The epidermis (skin) on the tomato can’t stretch fast enough to keep up with the excess fluid inside the flesh of the veggie. A common question is, Can I still eat cracked tomatoes? Absolutely! Just check to be sure there isn’t mold, fungus, worms or flies in it. Cut around the cracked part and enjoy!

BONUS: If you live in a warm weather area you can plant some of your crops twice if you plant your first rotation early enough, like green beans. Once one batch is done growing, pull it up by the roots and plant another round of seeds. You can do this with some fall crops too, like kale.

FALL VEGETABLES:
When do you plant them? Most fall vegetables can tolerate a light frost–some can even deal with a light snow–but just like summer vegetables, cover your crops with hardware cloth or a sheet overnight if it suddenly turns cold or you’r expecting a heavy frost.

As I mentioned above, every area around the world had different growing seasons. This will affect when you put your fall crop in the ground. Plug your zip code in this link for specialized information.

What are fall vegetables? There are a few different categories these fall under-

  • Salad vegetables: lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard
  • Kid Won’t Eat These Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale
  • Root vegetables: carrots, beets, and parsnips
  • Leggy vegetables: celery and fennel
  • Flavorful vegetables:  garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives

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How much sunlight do they need and what kind of temps? Ideally your seeds need to germinate & grow in temperatures between mid-60’s to l0w-70’s degrees with 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Each vegetable has varying needs for sunlight and shade, so be sure to read up on your crops before planting.
How much water do they need? Water your fall harvest every day to keep the soil moist. This will protect them if a frost comes. These crops actually DO like water on their foliage, so feel free to water from the top down, making sure soil is wet.
Side Note: Fall crops have a tendency to ‘bolt’ if there is a spurt of warm weather, or inconsistent watering. This is when the vegetable sends a flower straight up. Once this happens, the plant pretty much should be allowed to go to seed (you can save these for next year!). Most plants will taste bitter once they bolt.
wp_000705                                                                                                                        Broccoli that bolted

HARDINESS ZONES:
The world is divided into different hardiness zones. Every area is mapped according to average annual minimum winter temperatures. They are divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones. This map helps gardeners determine when to plant. To use, simply locate where you live and compare the color on the map to the legend on the right-hand side. For example: northern Georgia is 7a and 7b. You can compare this to seed packets or online resources and use it to determine planting time.

That’s all for now folks! Please stay tuned for our last day tomorrow when we’ll talk about Pruning & Harvesting. You’ll be amazed at the results!

xoxo,
Sam

May 7, 2014

How To Garden: Pest & Animal Control

What do you think so far? Any thoughts on growing your own garden? I hope so! If yes, today’s post is a must-read to avoid frustrations. Just this morning we were watering our garden and who greeted us but a small brown bunny. We were wondering who had been munching on a few of our plants!

One of the reasons I love to work the land is to honor our Creator. I view it much like being a good steward of a fine piece of art. Though I know one day this earth will pass on, for now I want to be faithful to what the Lord has given me: a backyard, soil, seeds, sunshine and water. And  Part of raising a garden is learning how to live in tandem with critters (like our rabbit). And part is learning how to control the detrimental pests without toxins that could harm you or animals.

“O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24

Monday we talked about Choosing the Right Garden for You & Mixing Your Soil. Tuesday we discussed Companion Planting & Pollinators. It has been so fun hearing from you this week about your own gardening experiences!

SEvilsizer Vintage Week

Today we’re talking about pesticides and animal control. I’ll preface this by saying Joshua and I only use organic, non-harmful solutions.

I’ll start by saying, there are a TON of homemade recipes out there to deter or delete harmful pests from your gardens. If you have found something that works for you, by all means use it. That’s awesome! After trying quite a few ourselves, we’ve found these solutions just aren’t that effective. Sad, but true (at least for us).

For instance, we read that used coffee grounds kill ants, so we tried two tactics.
1. Dump grounds on ant hills. RESULT: Angry, caffeinated ants that moved 3 feet over and came back in double force with a vengeance. That was fun.
2. Line the exterior of our beds with coffee grounds. RESULT: Ants were kept at bay, but the grounds washed away after a few rainy days. That was a lot of work with little benefit.

aphids

Over the years I’ve tried hot pepper spray, vinegar, salt, herbs and more homemade recipes as pesticides. The only one I’ve found useful in getting rid of pests is a soapy water spray on my snap peas infected with aphids. I mixed a tablespoon of dish soap with water in a spray bottle, wet my peas, and gently rubbed the top and bottom of each leaf, getting rid of the pests. Keep in mind this only got rid of the aphids, it didn’t deter them from coming back. Bummer.

So, after much trial and failure of homemade pesticides, we’ve turned to commercially produced products. Please don’t let those words send you running. Every pesticide we use is food grade: this means you can eat it. Yes. EAT IT. No joke.

ORGANIC, NON-TOXIC PESTICIDES:
1. Diatomaceous earth (food grade, NOT pool grade. Repeat: NOT pool grade): DE is naturally occurring, soft sedimentary rock that easily crumbles into a fine, white’ish powder. It’s made up of all kinds of cool things like fossilized skeletons, organisms found in water, algae, and silica. When crushed, all these things break up into tiny pieces that feel like glass to insects. To humans, it feels like baking flour.

How Does It Work? The sharp pieces pierce and scratch the outer layer of insects, puncturing holes in to which DE is absorbed. This causes dehydration. When the insect dries up, it dies.

Benefits? Well, it’s non-toxic, so that’s a good thing. People actually eat this by the spoonful in the thought that it will rid them of any internal parasites. We haven’t done this ourselves, but probably have eaten it unbeknownst to us. Grain farmers toss DE in their silos en masse to kill insects. Hence, DE is packaged in our rice, flour, wheat and barley products. You may have had some in your Reuben at lunch!

It’s easy to use. Read the directions on the back of the bag for instructions and then decide what is best for you. We simply sprinkle it by the handful around the base of our plants.

Application: Outdoors in your garden, you can sprinkle DE on or around your veggies from seed to harvest with no harmful effects. Indoors, you can use DE to get rid of fleas, bed bugs (hope you don’t have these!), earwigs, cockroaches and virtually any other bug. The wonderful thing about DE is that it’s not chemical based, so if used indoors, you don’t have to reapply constantly. Just leave a pile of this stuff where bugs are coming in. They’ll die.

You will need to re-apply outdoors after it rains if you see pest activity or for preventative measures. Read the directions on the back of the bag for instructions and then decide what is best for you.

 2. Fertilome Triple Action Plus II: FTAP is a mixture of pyrethins (natural, organic compounds normally derived from the chrysanthemum cinerarifolium), piperonyl butoxide (an organic compound derived from safrole which is an oil extracted from the root-bark or fruit of the sassafras plant), and neem oil (an organic oil pressed from the neem tree).

How Does It Work? FTAP is an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide that kills eggs, larval and adult stages of insects, and controls plant diseases. Pyrethins attack the nervous system of insects and act as a repellent. Piperonyl butoxide increases pyrethins’ effectiveness. Neem oil’s potent odor repels a wide variety of pests and it interferes with insect hormone systems, i.e. insects have a harder time laying eggs.

The important thing to remember when spraying this is to only get it on the leaves that your harmful insects are eating. They will either ingest it or be deterred by the smell. Be sure to not spray your flowering veggies that your beneficial insects will flock to, such as your bumblebees collecting pollen.

Benefits: FTAP is non-toxic and organic. You can use it up to the day of harvest.

Application: Follow the directions on the bottle. You will mix a small amount with water in a spray bottle. Apply on a 7-14 day rotation.

There are a lot of great organic pesticides and homemade recipes out there, but these are the two pesticides we use and have found effective. You will need to decide what is best for your budget, family, time, and insect action.

1234861_10151680721213391_527383340_n Make sure to look under leaves for camouflaged bugs

Remember some of the other natural ways to control harmful insects we’ve talked about already!

  • Plant flowers that attract beneficial insects that will prey on harmful insects.
  • Plant companion plants close together to confuse harmful insects.
  • Plant flowers that detract harmful insects (our favorite is marigold!) and ones that attract harmful insects (nasturtiums are great to lure aphids away from tomatoes).
  • You can set out traps for your pests such as beer in a bottle laid on it’s side. This will attract slugs.
  • Pick up decaying veggies/fruit that are lying on the ground.
  • If you have mulch around the base of your plants, be sure harmful insects aren’t making their home under it and feeding on the stalks of your plants. If so, pull it back.

ANIMAL CONTROL:
Chipmunks and rabbits are so cute with their chubby little cheeks and furry tails, aren’t they? Um, sort of. They’re not so cute when those cheeks are full of leaves and their tails are shaking in victory over consuming yet another squash plant overnight. Yep, that happened to us last year. For several days in a row, every morning we’d wake up, check the garden, and another plant would be nibbled to the ground. Ugh.

What can you do? Several things!

1. Study your yard to be sure what animal(s) are eating your harvest. This will help you determine what kind of controls you need.

2. If you have a fenced-in yard, be sure to patch up any holes where critters can sneak in for a midnight snack.

3. If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, never fear! You have lots of options.

  • Build a solid fence around your garden out of cheap material like bamboo or chicken wire.
    ~ If you can build a tall fence, do so at an angle as deer can jump high. A 45 degree angle will give them pause before jumping.
  • Cover your plants in wildlife netting, a mesh tent, or a greenhouse.
  • Plant protective plants on the perimeter of your yard such as bushes with thorns (blackberry/raspberry), bamboo, or evergreen trees. Think thick, dense, and prickly.
  • Research repellents for your critters such as egg/water spray (for every 1/4 acre, spray a solution of 5 eggs with 5 quarts of water). There are commercial repellents you can buy as well (ask your garden center for an organic one).
  • Some people say hanging up bags of human hair in a net, strongly scented bars of soap, or urinating around your yard deters deer. We haven’t tried any of these, but would sure love to know if you do and they work … haha!
  • Hang up metal pie pans to clang against each other. The noise can startle critters.
  • Try other visual deterrents like scarecrows or predatory animals like a plastic owl.
  • Set out baited traps (appropriate for the size of your identified critter). Place nuts or leaves inside to attract them.
  • Lay 1 inch or smaller chicken wire on the bottom of your garden bed to help prevent critters from burrowing from underneath.
  • You may also want to vary your perimeter plants to ones that are repellents to your critters. Here is a list we found of deer repellent plants (that will also attract pollinators. Yay!)

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 An example of a bamboo fence

 

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 Use what you have! This is wildlife netting, a trellis, and a screen door to guard against critters.

 

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Covered Greenhouse

That’s all for today folks! Thanks again for joining us this week. We have two more exciting days to go. Coming up tomorrow we’ll discuss seasonal planting and zones. Friday, we’ll cover pruning and harvesting.

xoxo,
Sam

May 6, 2014

How To Garden: Companion Planting & Pollinators

Welcome back to our Gardening Like Grandma series. Yesterday we covered Soil and Style of Garden. This week we’re looking at how to start and maintain a successful garden. When done properly from the ground up, gardening doesn’t take much extra time out of your schedule. Plus, it puts fresh food on your table year-round, saves you money, and nourishes your body with real food!

And my favorite reason to garden is found in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Being a responsible steward of God’s creation honors Him. 

SEvilsizer Vintage Week

Today we’re talking about two of the coolest aspects of gardening: Companion Plants and Pollinators. Let’s jump in!

What is Companion Planting (CP)? CP is planting a diverse mix of plants in close proximity to each other that are beneficial to one another and ‘get along.’ Plants actually have friends and foes. Planting two ‘foes’ next to each other can cause one or both of them to wither and even die. Amazing, huh? How?

11aa Nasturtium lure aphids away from tomatoes

You may have heard of the “Three Sisters” as the most famous CP: corn, beans, and squash are planted together on a small soil mound. Why plant these crops next to each other? Great question!

~ The beans use the tall corn as a trellis.
~ Squash is a dense ground cover which deters weeds from growing, soaking up nutrition that the beans/corn needs.
~ Beans provide their own nitrogen so the corn isn’t depleted.  

a2 A bed of Marigold, Carrots, Basil, Onions and Strawberries.
The basil and marigolds are 2-3 feet tall!

What are the benefits of CP? 

  • Growth Aid: Short plants deter weeds from growing that could harm tall plants. Tall plants offer shade and support to shorter plants.
  • Natural Pest Deterrents: Pests will often find our veggies (a.k.a. their dinner) by smell. Potent smelling flowers and herbs repel insects, and even some animals, by confusing them. They aren’t sure which plant to eat!
  • Natural Pest/Insect Attractors: Some CPs attract harmful pests to themselves and away from veggies.
    ~Other CPs attract beneficial insects (like spiders, praying mantis, and ladybugs) that eat harmful pests.
  • Space Savers: Interspersing fast growing, tall plants in with shorter, viney plants gives you the freedom to triple or quadruple the amount of crops you harvest. Some will grow up, while others grow out.
  • Avoid Monoculture: Having one crop in an area is like hosting a buffet for pests, but several rows of plants of different colors, aromas, and times they ripen doesn’t give pests who like one particular type of veggie much to munch on.

What are common CPs?

That’s a great question. One day I may come up with my own list, but honestly, there are so many great ones already out there that it’d be crazy right now to reinvent the wheel. Below is a very useful chart that has proven successful for us. However, if you don’t see a plant on here that you want to grow then a quick internet search should provide you with its ‘friends’ and ‘foes.’

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Pollinators and Pollenizers:

Odds are you’ve heard of pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. But did you know YOU can be a pollinator too? How? Easy!

That old saying about the birds and the bees is spot on. Pollinators move pollen from the male anthers of the flower to the female stigma of the flower to accomplish fertilization. There’s a whole lot of other scientific facts we won’t get in to, but needless to say, many veggies and fruits have female/male parts and the female flowers need the male’s pollen in order for it’s fruit to mature.

12 A bumblebee pollinating a female flower on a squash plant

Bees and butterflies, birds and bats are all wonderful pollinators. They collect the nectar from the flowering part of the plant, and while doing so, get pollen on their bodies. Flitting from flower to flower, these pollinators take pollen from male flowers and deposit it on the female flower, hopefully causing fertilization.

Sadly, natural pollinators, especially bees, are on a rapid decline. And if you live in a neighborhood, they’re even less likely to be buzzing around your garden. Did you know that bees perform 80% of all pollination? Without bees, the fresh fruits and veggies we eat would cease to grow. “Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.” {source}

67810_10151535079728391_1191444726_n A butterfly enjoying a butterfly bush

You have two options if natural pollinators are low:
1. YOU be the pollinator! This is an easy, yet tedious task. Research your plant to find out which flower is the male and which is the female. Open the male flower and either pull out the inside or swab it with a cotton swab or paint brush (the point is to collect pollen). Very gently open the female flower and lightly swab the male flower parts, paint brush, or cotton swab around the inside of the female flower.

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2. Plant flowers that attract natural pollinators. We have sunflowers, several butterfly bushes, plenty of bulbs (lilies/irises), and a whole lot of other flowers spaced strategically to invite pollinators. We placed flowers in a diamond pattern around our yard to direct natural pollinators flight over our veggies. When our yard was just grass, we saw a few bees here and there, and never any butterflies. Now that our backyard is a garden, the bee, bird, and butterfly populations are much improved.

One reader wrote that her husband doesn’t like to spend money on flowers, especially annuals, and asked my thoughts on that. I totally agree. My husband and I are very frugal and don’t like to spend money on needless things. However, in the case of companion plants and pollinators, we do buy annuals and perennials. Particularly when they double up as edibles, such as sunflowers, nasturtiums, chives & basil (once they go to flower). Click here to read about more edible flowers and how to use them in cooking. {p.s. not all flowers are edible, so please do research before taste-testing!}

Also, a great idea is to swap bulbs and flowering bush clippings with others. Last year we were walking around our neighborhood and stopped to check out an older woman’s flower garden. She popped out of her house to say hello and it turns out she was looking to thin out her flowers. Guess who became the delighted recipient of what had to be 100 or more bulbs?! (that’d be me) Also, our black eyed Susan & lemon balm are both gifts from a friend re-landscaping her yard. Ask around for who has what to give … and share what you have!

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Back to pollination: between the two options above, I would recommend inviting natural pollinators in to your yard. You’ll have beautiful flowers (many which can be edible if you plan for it) and a lot less work! One of my favorite rules of thumb: let the garden work for you, not the other way around! With proper and wise planning, you can limit much of the excess grunt work that deters many from gardening.

What If I’m Afraid of or Allergic to Bees? That’s a very valid question. I once raked under a row of azalea bushes and uncovered more than old leaves. A large underground nest of bees swarmed and liberally stung me. More than 30 times. Ouch! But I want to reassure you that neither Josh nor I have been stung in our yard. We haven’t even been chased by a bee. In fact, we often work side-by-side with our pollinators. Sure, they get a little flustered when we have to shake up their feeding time by picking veggies next to flowers, but they always go straight back to their flowers … not us!

However, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeves, pants, and a hat, and have an EpiPen or other form of allergy medicine with you. And while I know swatting at bees or running from them can be a knee-jerk reaction, that tends to aggravate bees. Stay calm. Remember, we’re working in tandem with them! Give them their space and they’ll give you yours. (side note: this should go without saying, but if you find a nest that is in a place where you, your kids, or pets frequent, it might be best to have it re-located).

One last note: many bees aren’t active during early morning or after dusk. Observe your yard for flight times and patterns of your bees and if you can, work around the times they are least active.

15 Bees and the most beautiful birds covered our sunflowers .
If you have space, these are some of the easiest and most prolific pollinating flowers.

Last, but Not Least: Pollenizers:

I had a blueberry bush last year that budded with fruit, but the small, hard, bitter balls weren’t edible. Lesson learned: fruit trees and bushes come in two types- self-fruitful and cross-pollinated. If you are growing fruit, you’ll need to take into account their special pollination needs.

1. Self-Fruitful trees/bushes only need pollen from the same kind of tree/bush as it is. This means you don’t necessarily need a different variety for your fruit to set.

2. Cross-Pollinated trees/bushes need pollen from a different variety of the same type of tree for it’s fruit to set. For instance, we have three different varieties of blueberry bushes planted near each other so their pollen can mix it up!

What needs Cross-Pollination? Apple, Pear, Blueberry, Japanese Plums, sweet Cherries.

Other fruit trees/bushes can benefit from cross-pollination, but it’s not necessary. Before buying a tree/bush, research the pollination needs of the specific variety you are choosing.
That’s all for now folks!
Tune in tomorrow for Pest and Animal Control. 
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xoxo,
Sam