Moles can be quite a blight on a gardener’s life. You’ve spent a lot of your time and energy on maintaining a smooth and beautiful lawn and garden, only for little mounds of earth to be pushed up higgledy-piggledy… Clear evidence that moles have taken over your garden!
Naturally this is very frustrating, but there’s no need to worry – there are a number of methods you can use to get rid of the moles from your garden:
One solution is to use mole traps. These are galvanised metal traps which are placed into the tunnel, set and ready to catch the moles. They provide a fast solution and are safe for the environment unlike poisons. One benefit is that they can be used year-round, in all weathers, and can be used over and over again. Mole traps are a quick and efficient solution to your problem, but are not very humane and there are much better alternatives.
If mole traps don’t appeal to you, you may like to consider mole smoke or mole repellent powders. These are simple, humane solutions that are also cheap and effective. Simply place the lit smoke or the powder into the mole tunnel and let them work their magic – soon the moles will head off to another garden! Obviously, once the smoke or powder has been used up, there is the chance that moles may eventually return, meaning this isn’t a permanent, guaranteed solution to rid yourself of moles.
A final solution is to use ultrasonic repellers. These are placed into the ground and work by vibrating. The moles interpret these vibrations as the movement of nearby predators, and will begin to leave the area in fear. To get the best use from the repellers, you should use two or more to ‘herd’ the moles away from the garden, rather than place them in the middle of all the holes. Doing this will result in the moles becoming confused, and they may scatter in all directions. So, for example, you may want to start off with the repellers very close to your house, and gradually move them down the garden to herd the moles away.
These ultrasonic repellers are a great, humane alternative to mole traps, although they may need longer to take full effect. It is possible to purchase solar or battery-powered repellers; the benefit of solar repellers is that they are completely free to run, although their performance may decrease during the winter months due to the decrease in sunlight. Battery-powered mole repellers will work year round, though obviously the batteries will eventually need replacing.
Now that winter is fast approaching, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to keep warm whilst enjoying your garden over the coming months. There are so many different types of outdoor heater that can suit any garden style, taste or price limit. Here we’ll run through just a few of the options available to you, along with their relative benefits and costs.
Electric heaters are a great source of heat, and are extremely easy to use which is probably why they have become so popular. All you really need to get up and running is a nearby electrical output, although these heaters work best in smaller areas, so are ideal if you’re looking to create an intimate patio setting, and work well in sheltered or enclosed areas.
One advantage is that, contrary to popular belief, electric heaters are actually quite eco-friendly. They don’t consume vast amounts of energy, and also don’t release soot and other nasties into the air. Another plus is that they warm up almost instantaneously, meaning you can have instant heat as and when you need it.
Of course, another advantage is that there are now so many styles and varieties to choose from, that you can find most styles to suit your own tastes. You can have stylish, free-standing heaters that can blend right in with your other garden décor, or you can have simple, wall-mounted halogen heaters for something a bit more functional. Of course, you have to take into account that they only cover a limited area, but if you’re only looking for a small heated area, then an electric patio heater could be right for you.
This is another type of garden heater that has recently become very popular. Originating from Mexico, these free-standing open fireplaces make a great addition to any garden, and are a fantastic traditional way to bring heat and ambience into your garden.
Whilst they were originally made from clay, there are now a wide range of materials, designs and sizes to suit all gardens and personalities. From traditional clay, beautiful cast iron and contemporary steel, there really is something for everything.
One thing to bear in mind of course is that you will need a source of fuel, which could start to add up if you don’t have endless amounts of wood laying about! Nevertheless, chimeneas look fantastic and come with added bonuses – My personal favourite is wrapping a potato in foil and throwing it in, for a delicious evening meal. You can also get some fantastic accessories, including scented firelighters to help delicately flavour your barbecues as well as creating a pleasant, fragrant environment.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, then a fire pit may just be the thing for you. Whilst it may sound like a bare open hole in your garden, a fire pit is actually a fire contained in a free-standing, decorative basket or bowl on legs. They too come in a vast array of styles and finishes, and many also include safety features which are ideal if you’re concerned about an open fire around small children and pets.
The most basic version are fire baskets, which are literally steel or iron baskets in which to burn wood or coal. Most come with a grill, and it’s also wise to check whether a tray is supplied which can collect the fallen embers and ash, making cleaning up a lot easier.
If you’re looking for something slightly more decorative, then a fire bowl may be just the thing. These are a lot more contained, and usually come with a lid or insert, making them perhaps slightly safer.
All will usually come with grills, meaning they can make a stylish alternative to the standard barbecue. What’s great about them is that they are generally small and lightweight, making them ideal to stick in the back of the car if you’re taking a trip to the beach or going camping. The only downside of these fire pits is that, due to the fact there is no chimney, they can smoke rather a lot.
For the ultimate statement in outdoor heating, you could always opt for an outdoor fireplace. There’s nothing quite like the ambient glow of an open fire inviting you in, and these can really enhance the environment if you’re entertaining outside. While this category could technically also include chimeneas and fire pits, the difference in style and cost warrants its own special mention.
They are by far the most expensive of outdoor heating options, but can be such beautiful, permanent fixtures and could even add value to your home. You can opt for ready made fireplaces that make the whole thing a lot easier, and even better means you can take them with you if you ever move home.
It will probably be cheaper to build your own, and whilst this could be a bit more effort, it means that you can build it to look like an existing wall, for a truly authentic feel (although you may want to check your local planning codes beforehand!). Outdoor fireplaces are great both for when you are hosting guests, or even if you just want to relax outside with a book and a glass of wine. You can cook a huge variety of things on them and they can create a real focal point in your garden.
Now that we’re into September, there’s no use denying that the dreaded spider season is once again upon us, when our 8 legged friends descend upon our homes to escape the cold outside. Over the last week or so alone I’ve had to catch about 5 of the things, and they just seem to be getting bigger and bigger! Luckily there are now a number of different ways to help protect against these invaders.
If you’re looking for something a bit less up close and personal than the classic cup + paper technique, you could try out a spider catcher, or spider vacuum, which won’t hurt the spider, but more importantly keeps the thing at arms length! These little contraptions are great to have ready to hand, and can also be used for hoovering up any other unwanted house-guests you may come across.
However, this still may be too close for comfort for some people (myself included!), and so there are also a number of defences you can put up to protect your home. Why not spray spider repellent around window frames and other entrances to create a natural barrier that is environmentally friendly and won’t harm the creatures. Or if you have a real infestation of spiders and other creepy crawlies, you can clear the whole area in one go with a smoke fumigator – perfect for attics and garages, although maybe a little heavy duty for most cases!
Perhaps the most effective way to guarantee whole-house protection is to opt for an ultrasonic spider repeller. This device works in two ways to help clear your house of spiders, and stop them coming back! It uses ultrasonic sound waves thought to be extremely uncomfortable for spiders and other crawling insects to drive them from your home; kind of like nails scraping on a chalkboard constantly. It also uses electromagnetic waves that turn the wiring of your home into one giant repeller- anywhere near a wire will be protected! Sounds perfect no? It is thought electromagneticism affects their nervous system, making them flee your home. Additionally, you can also get smaller, battery-powered repellers – perfect for greenhouses, sheds, attics etc.
So, you no longer need to live in fear of the 8 legged freaks! Take back control of your home, and enjoy a stress-free, spider-free Autumn.
August is a busy month for gardeners – the majority of the time in my garden has been spent watering! In most areas of the UK we’ve actually had a fair bit of sunshine this summer, which is marvellous for sunbathing but hard work for gardeners!
On the plus side, tomato blight seems to be thankfully absent this year – the warm dry weather is to thank for that. However we have had some short, intense periods of rain which have been fantastic for the plants, and also for the weeds!
If you are finding you are running out of space to compost the spoils of your weeding escapades, it may be time to invest in a compost bin! If you already have a bin, a compost rotation system involving two or more compost bins can be a very valuable addition to a well functioning and efficient garden. This system works by filling up one bin whilst the other gets busy composting. You can then empty one whilst the other is composting – fantastic!
Those of you who have been growing your own potatoes, broad beans and other veg will find that you have a constant supply of peelings and shells finding their way to the compost from the kitchen – we’ve found some fantastic compost caddies which can store uncooked kitchen food waste – especially useful when winter approaches and we all feel less inclined to visit the garden!