Making Eden

Tailoring gardens to suit your budget

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

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Dogs and Gardens

Posted on December 13, 2015 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (251)

Sharing your yard with a dog and losing your garden? There are ways to have a nice garden and a happy dog at the same time.

Some of these are:


To keep dogs out of garden beds and other special parts of your yard, create a separate place for dogs to play. Pick a shaded area that has easy access to water. Basically making a yard within a yard is one of the most common and easiest fixes.

Line the ground with wood/bark chips, leaves, ground rubber tires or other type of mulch. You can fill it with a mix of sand of some soil. Digging dogs especially like sand. Beware of putting too much sand in the mix or it will not provide the feel of cool dirt that the dog likes. This is definately better for the dog than a concrete slab.

Turf areas:

If dog urine is leaving burn marks on your grass, douse the area with a hose to dilute the effect of the urine soon after the dog urinates. Urine is alkaline and contains salt that slightly alters the soil pH. Another strategy is to rake an inch of compost onto the area. The compost contains soil organisms that help balance the soil biology and chemistry.

Garden maintenance, desing and planning:

* Move compost piles out of the dog's reach. Some dogs are inclined to dig through or roll in the compost.

* If you need to stake plants or have young trees installed, don't use thin, invisible wires that dogs might run into. Tying plants to stakes with thin strips of cloth works with small plants. Rubber wire-guards or multiple flags on the wires often work well with tree-staking.

* Leave a gap between your fence and garden plots to allow for dogs who like to run alongside fences.

* Build raised beds for vegetables, ornamentals and other garden plants. This way, you would restrict the dog's access and your plantings would not be disturbed. Container gardens can be a good solution for pet people, and they are easier to maintain than sprawling garden beds.

* Since dirt, leaf, mulch and other types of paths can lead to muddy messes for pet guardians, consider creating paths from rocks, heavy gravel, concrete, bricks or pavers.

* If your dog's fence running or yard crisscrossing is wearing unwelcome paths in your yard, be resourceful. Turn your dog's favorite route into a decorative pathway and landscape around it. To keep dogs on track, line the path with raised beds or ornamental fencing.

Discouraging dogs:

It is not uncommon for dogs to investigate and trot around plants. But there are things you can do to minimize potential damage. Start by planting sturdy plants that can withstand most doggie play.

* Some attractive, vigorous plants include

Peony, creeping phlox, verbena, coneflower, black-eyed Susans, Shasta daisy, Liriope, Russian sage, Mexican primrose. Other plants that resist breakage include serviceberry, ninebark, mock orange, dogwood, lilac, pine, butterfly bush and quince.

* Tough shrubs include escallonia, laurel, Pieris, evergreen huckleberry and viburnum.

* Salt-tolerant groundcovers that thrive near the ocean or in alkaline deserts and do well in full sun.

* Thorned and prickly bushes such as barberry and hollies will discourage some dogs. But for safety's sake do not plant varieties with long, sharp thorns or points, such as yucca, because they might injure a dog's eyes.

* A mulch that's uncomfortable or uneasy to walk on can discourage pet traffic. One good choice is a thick carpet of pine cones.

* Other scented borders such as Dogbane, some citrus plants and chillis can help keep dogs at bay as well.

Dog digging:

*Some dogs like to dig and there isn't much you can do about it. Give your dog her own sandbox or other acceptable digging area. Deter the doig from where you dont want them digging by making the ground cover as uncomfortable as possible for them and tempting them where you do want them digging by burrying toys and treats for them to find.

* If your dog is digging out of boredom then maybe try some interactive toys such as Kongs to keep their minds occupied. (The ones which you can smear peanut butter or fill with treats) Rotate toys so that they will retain a special appeal.

* If your dog is digging in pursuit of prey, use humane, ecologically friendly ways to discourage other animals from entering your yard.

* If your dog is digging to find stuff to chew on or eat, she may have a dietary deficiency you need to address. You can try switching food and adding nutritious supplements and veggies.

Repairing dog dug holes and preventing them again:

* Add bricks and dirt to fill doggie holes. After scraping nails on the bricks, most dogs will get discouraged.

* If your dog likes to scrape up sections of your lawn, lay chicken wire, burying the edges deep so they cannot pull the wire out. Over this, lay thick, sturdy sod. Wire discourages digging in gardens as well.

* If your dog repeatedly digs in the same spot, he may be trying to reach some decaying underground. Cover those spots with brick squares or pavers topped by decorative planters.

* Put a pile of poop in the hole. This has stopped many a dog from digging.

Crop rotations

Posted on April 25, 2015 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (32)


Crop rotation time is upon us (if you haven't done so already) and with this in mind I have drawn up a simply 4 way planner for people to be able to follow.


The 4 way planner works by separating vegetables into 4 groups, separating your vegetable patch into 4 sections (or if you have a big enough yard having 4 separate vegetable patches) and rotation cycles lasting 4 years.


The picture shows the rotation chart for the vegetable groupls and garden beds themselves.


Leafy Vegetables can include: Cauliflowers, Cabbages, Brussels Sprouts, Turnips, Radishes, Silverbeet, Spinach


Legumes include: Beans, Black Eyed Peas


Alliums include: Onions (All types), Shallots, Chives, Leeks, Garlic


Roots and Fruits vegetables include: Capsicums, Tomatoes, Celery, Beetroot, Parsnips, Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Corn


Hope this makes things easier for people wondering how to rotate their crops and with which plants.

Weed Mat

Posted on March 2, 2014 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (37)

One question I get asked quite regularly is whether or not to put weedmat in a garden. My answer is always no and here is why.


Weedmat does not stop weeds from growing, It may deter a seasons growth if you are lucky but weeds will inevitably start growing on top of weedmat. If you do not keep on top of these weeds (as you would have to without the mat there to begin with) the weeds roots will grow through the weedmat making them harder to remove and destroying the mat you have.


Weedmat will also cause problems for your garden and soil sush as:

* It will slow or stop rainfall from soaking into the soil.

* It prevents worms from getting to the organic matter/mulch in the topsoil

*It hinder or stop the aeration of the soil.

* If your garden bed is uneven then its slippery surface will let mulch to slide off showing patches of plastic.

* Contributes to plastic pollution.


At the end of the day the best prevention is regular maintenance, weeding and spraying. I have spent many years working on and maintaining gardens and have not come by any other method to work as well as regular maintenance.


Extra Hint: If you are struggling for time always pull the weeds that are closest to seeding( starting or at flowering stage). Remember 1 year of seeds equals five years of weeds.

Home Made Bug Spray

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (30)

A cheap and easy way to control garden pests is to collect:


• 2 tbsp. liquid dish washer

• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 garlic clove

• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

• 1 gallon bucket equals 3.7 litres

• 1 spray bottle

1. Add the dish washer, vegetable oil ,crash garlic , cayenne pepper and the 3.7 litres of cool water to the bucket, stir the insecticide with a long spoon or shake it very well.

2. Put the mixture in a spray bottle.

3. Mist the plants with the solution on the undersides and tops of the leaves and the stems daily until you control the infestation. Once under control, spray monthly

For best results spray in the afternoon allowing the mixture to work overnight without burning the leaves during the days sun.

Leaf Mould

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (95)

Leaf Mould is a great soil conditioner that you can easily make at home.


Leaf Mould is the fallen leaves decomposed by natural processes. The end result is a great soil conditioner that will add nutrients and encourages good soil organisms before finally breaking down into a vital ingredient which increases soil fertility.


To make it simply get out a lawn rake and collect fallen leaves into a pile. Pick them up and put them into either a hessian sack or a wire mesh cage and simply leave to break down. If its summer or the weather is hot and dry it does help to dampen them down to help the leaves rot more quickly.


Keep the leaves moist until they break down into a fine dark crumbly state. Once done ( depending on the freshness of the leaves collected between 2-6 months ) simply spread around your plants , water in and enjoy.

Setting up a compost bin

Posted on January 5, 2014 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (27)

If you have or a considering starting a compost bin then there are a few things you should remember:


1. Compost needs air so the organic material can break down


2. Compost should be damp but never soggy ( if it is too soggy then throw in a copy of the local news paper to help absorb some of the moisture.)


3. Compost bins should not smell rancid....if they do something is wrong


4. Turning compost is crucial, make sure you keep turning it over on a regular basis


5. Finally when emptying a compost bin leave a little behind as a starter for the next one. The bit left behind will contain the microbes and bacteria to help break down the next lot.


Making Eden can help set up your compost bins and/or areas for you

Plant propagating

Posted on December 14, 2013 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (27)

Propagating plants doesn't need to be hard for beginners. While certain plants may strike better with different ways of a propagating a general method will work well for most varieties.


Take cuttings earlier in the morning and place them into a plastic bag, plant as soon as possible.


In general aim to have four or five leaves at the top of the cutting and remove leaves from the lower part (about 2-3cm) in preparation for it to be put into the soil.


Soil can either be straight propagating mix or a mixture of 1 part loam to 5 parts general potting mix.


Depending on the size of the cuttings you should be able to fit 4 cuttings to a standard 10cm pot. Its generally best to plant the cuttings closer to the edge of the pot spacing them evenly apart so they don't touch each other burying the stem up to the first leaf.


Rooting times vary widely for a lot of plants anywhere between 6 weeks and 4 months so be patient, if the cutting still looks green and alive keep watering it.