container-garden tricks (and trickster skunks), plus other recycling in the spring garden
IPLANNED TO WRITE about how to save on expensive potting soil in big pots, and other container-garden tricks, but I guess the local skunks wanted to be written about instead—those naughty tricksters! No sooner had I potted up spring pansies and violas, than the creatures of the night unpotted them (upturning the empty plastic nursery pots I’d used as a “false bottom” to conserve soil). The score, after two nights of mischief: Skunks 2, Margaret 0. Other key spring tasks here involve recycling at its best, too: I’m making new beds and smothering weeds with cardboard and newspaper, and of course there’s the biggest garden recycle operation of all, how to make compost, and lots of it. (More photos of the 2013 edition of the Pansy War and my temporary solution on the jump.)
The casualties on Night 1 were pots I’d prepped by the barn, to eventually be moved into the garden once they’d filled in. Yikes (but maybe they just wanted to make sure you knew my tip on recycling those pots and cellpacks by making a “false bottom” in the pot, like this).
After repotting, we decided some botanical body armor was called for, though I have to say, I hate doing things like this (a mix of tomato cages, netting and clothespins):
The 30-inch-wide bowl in the photo up top was the Night 2 battlefield.
The skunks don’t seem to root around and disturb the cardboard “mulch” I’m using here and there to prep some beds quickly and easily. (Here’s how to make a garden bed with cardboard or newsprint, if you need a refresher.) Every local animal makes an occasional pit stop in my big compost heap, though–which I don’t mind at all. My page of composting questions and answers can help get yours cooking along. Now if I only had the answer on how to get the skunks to limit their nocturnal investigations to the heap alone.