Seasonal Garden To-Do Lists

Seasonal Garden To-Do Lists

Spring, summer, winter, fall – there’s always work to be done in the garden. Use these free printable garden to-do lists to keep up with all of your garden chores, so you don’t overlook anything important. I’ve created a to-do list for each season (even winter). Just check tasks off as you complete them, and it’ll be easy to see what you have left. There’s even room to add your own tasks. [Read more…]

How to Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

Build a Carpenter Bee Trap

I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.

Carpenter Bee Damage

See those holes? They were made by carpenter bees. That’s pressure treated lumber, and they started boring holes in it as soon as we finished building our tree house. They continue to bore new holes in it every spring.

When we built a new roof overhang over the basement a couple years ago, they bored holes through the new cedar supports, before we had a chance to finish them, and they continued to bore holes through them even after we stained them. They’re destructive creatures, I tell you.

So, this year, it’s on. Since we’re not fans of chemical solutions, my husband and I decided to build some carpenter bee traps. We’ve been seeing them in catalogs lately, so we did some research, and came up with our own design. Here’s how it’s made: [Read more…]

How I Plan to Use My Harvest Printable

Harvest Planner Printable

Growing a garden this year? While you wait for all those beautiful fruits, veggies and herbs to start rolling in, spend a little time planning how you’ll use your harvest. Because too much zucchini is only a thing, if you don’t have a plan for it.

Flip through recipe books, and trawl the Internet for new recipes to try. Then, make a list of what you plan to make with all the foods that you’re growing, or intend to buy at your local farmer’s market.

Include dinner recipes that you can enjoy right away, as well as recipes that you can enjoy throughout the year. Then, track down all the canning recipes, freezing instructions and drying instructions you’ll need, so you’ll be ready to put up your harvest as soon as it comes in.

And be sure to keep an eye out for some giftable recipes, too. Having ready-made gifts on hand makes Christmas and other gift-giving occasions much easier. [Read more…]

Managing Native Bees in Your Garden

Native bees are fantastic pollinators, but they can also be fantastic pests. Let’s look at some ways to manage native bee populations, so you enjoy their presence in your garden.

Mason Bees

If you have fruit trees or fruit bushes in your yard, you want to attract as many mason bees as you can. These teeny tiny bees come out early in the spring (well before other bees), and they successfully pollinate 95% of the flowers that they visit. Honey bees only manage to pollinate 5%.

And since mason bees visit twice as many flowers in a day, it’s not hard to see why lots of farmers are switching to mason bees for their pollination needs.

Mason bees live all over the U.S. and south Canada, and they’re really easy to attract to your yard. You don’t need any special beekeeping equipment, just a simple mason bee house for them to build their nests in.

Cedar Mason Bee House

Here’s an example of a mason bee house. The females lay their eggs in the holes, and pack them in with mud. Then, the new bees emerge the following spring to mate and pollinate your garden.

Mason Bee Hatching

It’s really fun to watch them work, and since they rarely sting, you can get up close to watch all the action. We’ve had mason bee houses in our garden for three years, and I still love to watch them.

You can build your own mason bee houses following my instructions here, or you can order them from my shop. We build them out of cedar, so they’ll hold up to many seasons of use.

Carpenter Bees

These great big bees are the ones responsible for boring large holes in your house, deck, fence posts and outbuildings, and though the males can’t sting you, they sure do get aggressive when you get near one of their nests, which makes it hard for you to enjoy your yard, and often scares the kids indoors.

Homemade Carpenter Bee Trap

If you’re tired of watching carpenter bees destroy your stuff, you can build a trap to catch them. It’s designed in such a way that it only attracts carpenter bees, so you don’t have to worry about trapping other pollinators. You’ll find my building instructions here, or you can order some from my shop.

Need help with other pests or pollinators? Just leave your question in the comments. I’ll help you, if I can.