laura sharpe

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since Nov 17, 2012
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Recent posts by laura sharpe

Ok to start with i didnt see a section I could fit this in other than compost and since they started in my compost heap well...here it is.

I tried composting in an old garbage can, it really was too small though and the pile never heated up (i was also lax at aerating it because the can was so full i tried just tilting it and hitting it . Well i need a better system but.....I got giant black wasps in it along with tiny sugar ants. I Thought at first they might be soldier flies i was so excited...i decided to dump the compost because it would not heat up in there and i had neglected the garden so i had a hole to dump it into.

I believe this is where I got the wasps from but those still might have been soldier flies as these wasps are much larger. I am near chicago and i think i have identified the wasps as great black wasps
http://www4.uwm.edu/fieldstation/naturalhistory/bugoftheweek/great-black-wasp.cfm

....to me these are big black and scary, but they are beneficial insects...but i want to get in and weed my neglected garden over there. They are totally all over the peppermint which wasps are suppose to hate.

Can anyone tell me how to work a garden occupied by ground digging wasps?
4 years ago
I could use some recommendations for artichokes which will grow well in the 10a 10b area. This is around 6 miles from the coast so does not get particularly hot....but it does get particularly dry .

Thanks all for suggestions for this garden...I found a wonderful garden in place but heavily overgrown with lots of space in it to slip some food plants and some herbs. The plants are neglected overgrown and extremely hungry. Started up the composting, san diego really has great program to help with that and I have a ton of refuse.
4 years ago
thank you all for the wonderful replies, the trip has been put off a week.

I highly suspect she is more than 10 miles from the coast but she is still in the middle of moving so I figure i will just be surprised...I will be there for plenty of time to think and look around.

I was highly excited at the idea of hot peppers growing as hedges, they are so pretty. I had not even thought of most of the fruits, i thought the trees would require too much water. Although my friend isnt much of a gardener, if told she should get a tree guy in there once a year she would likely do that to keep any fruits in good shape but there is tree litter to remember there as well.

Rats...yes that would be a problem. She has 3 male pugs all neutered so they wouldnt pee out a good amount of testosterone. I will have to avoid any fruits which might drop and attract rats. Will lemons attract rats? I know the illinois rat equivalents, skunks, squirrels and raccoon, have taken a nip or two off my hot peppers but they always spit them out . Not one of the cirtters have bothered my herbs and some...i would say most...are very pretty.

Btw yucca can grow well and is edible right? I think aloe is kinda ugly but I hope to slip a few in there because they are so useful .

thanks for all the suggestions.
4 years ago
Leaving to stay with a friend in san diego. I am unfamiliar with the area and what can grow and I am having a bit of troubles finding information. The area she lives is apparantly never frosts. Looking for food plant suggestions.

There is a low water landscape in place already which apparently needs some tweeking. There is an automatic watering system in place, not sure if it is drip or sprinkler yet.

I willl need to identify existing plants but i assume visits to local nurseries will help with that.

Plants I am hoping will work are some which I cannot grow in Illinois, at least outside, artichoke (possibly too big for the land i have to see), ginger, capers (mostly chosen because i understand it likes this sort of place)

More than anything though, plants which grow and look good much of the time and low maintenance are very desirable traits. My friend does not garden (he husband does a bit but is not experienced) so looking into a slow introduction to growing some of your own foods....they know i will be planting this but more or less i am thinking they will forget until they see food...hey look at that...its an artichoke!


4 years ago
yeah i have boric acid as well so i guess it seems stupid not to have used it. I guess the truth of the matter is I want the ants to live but live outside. They are what we call sugar ants. Small ants who are definitely repelled by eucalyptus oils....for fun my husband put one drop on the counter and they all ran away....I guess in the native aussy areas, there would be ants who have adapted to love the stuff.

I gave up trying to allow them to live, i sprinkled around the mound with sugar and instant yeast (all I had) so we will see if that works. I dont have corn meal.
5 years ago
I am having troubles with the same sort of ants, these smart critters moved thier nest to next to where i had buried some compost.

I left the nest in the yard last year, not hurting anyone i thought, but this spring I cannot keep them out of the house. I have sprayed eucalyptus oils around the house foundation and on the basement windows (which i strongly suspect is their point of egress) and this always keeps them gone for a day or so but apparantly it has no staying power. Clove oils discourages them, ground cinnamon makes them go...everything i do makes them go for a day or two then they come back. Clearly they have a well marked path to my kitchen.

I either need to kill the ant hill, make them move it (it is perhaps 6 meters from the house) or make coming my direction across the lawn less desirable.

Oh yes i was wondering if anyone had use eucalyptus mulch to keep bugs away and how long does it work.
5 years ago
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E7BGTU/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

bacillus thuringiensis bacteria that kills most gnat larvae

freezing sounds like a good idea if i were more upset about the rotting stuff having flies but as long as i can keep them from spreading around the house, i am a happy little camper....one without garbage in the freezer too
5 years ago
ok well that was a thing which bothered me for years but after posting about it i decided that i should really do something, so i did.

I grabbed a small sharp spatula and did to the outside of the pan what i always did to the inside when something stuck, i scrapped and scrapped and scrapped the outside of that pan. Then i tore up 3 SOS pads and scrapped more and in the end i had something I could live with but far from perfect...then i re seasoned the entire pan once (if i had done the inside too i would have reseasoned 3 or 4 times).

Now the question comes up, was it worth it. Let me admit, no. I did not want to do the entire pan simply for emotional reasons. I have been using that pan since my teens and i did not want to attack it and start again. I am thinking if i can make logic prevail, i should do the whole thing from scratch. But for now, it looks really good.
5 years ago
I have old cast iron pan and it is likely silly to insist I keep the inside seasoning but it is so perfect.

Outside it is pretty clear to me that some rust is under the seasoning and I would like to take it off and start to re season that part of the pan only. I was wondering if anyone used anything other than the self cleaning oven in a house to remove some of the seasoning but not all of it.

In case yu wonder why i am so worried about the outside of the pan, its been like that for years and it bothers me not in the least while cooking, it is because when I wash the pan and put it on the stove to dry, it is clear that water is caught in those parts and it hisses as the pan heats, of course I am sure it is simply rusting more and spreading s....
5 years ago
i bought some bacteria on amazon which really cut down on the flying things in the compost i put in there but it doesnt spread to the new stuff well.

I too am guilty of overfeeding my worms i think but what can you do, they do not like the fresh stuff so you really have to have some stuff in there aging

For the remaining fruit flies, I put a container of cider vinegar with a drop of dish detergent on the top and they stay away from the rest of the house, i tried white vinegar and juice and wine but cider works the best.

Now back to my too cool worm bin, i admit it i bought a worm factory, I have more vertical space to stack bins than horizontal. Let me be more direct, I have mats used to sprout seeds, these do not seem to hot to me, can i set one on top of the bin now and then to get them a bit warmer
5 years ago