Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sitting on the deck...

We live in the country and we were sitting on the deck a few evenings ago. This is the third year, we can hear frogs at night. Lots of frogs not just an occasional frog. Why is this so amazing? Because we had not heard frogs in our area for a very long time. When I was a child, particularly after a large rainstorm, we could see and hear the frogs, they were everywhere. So that means, we must be doing something right, some of the animals are coming back. Could it be that there are more organic farmers in the area? There are. That same evening, we saw three monarch butterflies, had not seen those in several year either. This winter I watched a documentary on the disappearance of honey bees. They alluded that it's due to the new pesticides on the market. I only have to think of my missing frogs and monarchs.  If you go to, there is an article on the honey bees there, just search honey bees on that website. More and more if you check in the hardware stores and garden centers, there are organic fertilizers and organic ways of controlling insects on food crops. People are starting to come around. Safeway in Canada, has one of the best selections of organic vegetables that we've found. Every time you buy organic, you vote to change what grocery stores carry. If you decide to grow vegetables and fruit on your property, you vote to change the future of our planet. Gardening is easy if you follow just a few simple steps. Make sure your soil is rich in nutrients is the most important. Learn how to grow food to become part of the solution. If you live in an apartment, there are urban spaces available to grow vegetables to rent. Most importantly, money talks, vote with your hard earned dollar.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Signs of Spring

One of the first signs of spring is rhubarb. It just seems to pop out and grow out of nowhere. The first rhubarb cake is heaven to eat. Rhubarb jelly is easy and delicious.

A simple and tasty rhubarb jelly from
Their website is chock full of wonderful recipes and they have a wonderful canning cookbook too. I know their recipes have been tested for safety so they're always the first place I look for a canning recipe. One of my favorite sites on the web.
Rhubarb Jelly

Makes 3 X 250 ml jars

4 cups (1000 ml) rhubarb, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
3 1/2 cups (875 ml) granulated sugar
1 pouch (85 ml) BERNARDIN® Liquid pectin

• Make Juice: in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan, combine rhubarb and water. Bring to a boil; then simmer 5 minutes; remove from heat. Pour through a dampened cheesecloth lined strainer or jelly bag. Allow juice to drip 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

• Measure juice. If necessary, add water to yield 1 3/4 cups (425 ml) rhubarb juice.

• Place 3 clean 250 mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

• In a large deep stainless steel or enamel saucepan, combine rhubarb juice and all the sugar, mixing well. To reduce foaming, add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add liquid pectin, squeezing entire contents from pouch. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam, if necessary.

• Quickly pour jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jelly. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing discs on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jelly.

• When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.

• When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

• After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.
These are my Saskatoon trees and they've been waiting to bud out for two weeks already. We had such lovely warm weather and then it went down to freezing again. Sometimes it takes a rain for the trees to actually bud out. My Saskatoon trees are three years old now so I'm really curious to see if they are going to flower this year. Nothing like fresh Saskatoons!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seeding the garden

I couldn't help it, I know it's the last week of April but it's so gorgeous out that I just have to seed some of the garden. I did check with the weather man and even though we are suppose to get rain and snow at the end of the week, I'm going to start. On Sunday, we put in potatoes, last night I seeded Prizehead leaf lettuce, it's a red tinged lettuce that just tastes sooooo good. I also put in everlasting spinach (a spinach that grows in large leaves and does not bolt and can be harvested longer than regular spinach) and German Giant radishes (these don't bolt either and grow large...according to the package). I still have to put my onion sets in ....I usually put in around 400 to last most of the winter. All these plants are frost resistant...except the potatoes which take about 3 weeks to come up anyways and if they get hit by frost, they recover. Scarlet Nantes carrots and peas are also on my list. Carrots take forever to come up and peas are also frost resistant. Seeding my garden can take weeks as I add plants according to the weather and of course according to the time I have to do the seeding after work. I also started my lilies, callas and cannas in pots last night. We are winter hardy Zone three and all these are listed as winter hardy Zone 7-9. So the plan is to plant them in pots and enjoy them all summer and then bring the pots into the garage that is just above freezing. That was the plan last year too, but I forgot to bring them in and we had an early killer frost. The plants I started indoors a month ago are coming along nicely and will be put out once all danger of frost has past. Having said that, it doesn't mean I won't try and cheat to start some seed in the ground for tender plants and hopefully the frost won't get them. I try every year and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dusty old farmer

There's nothing like riding a tractor, no matter what size, especially for guys that use to be farmers. This is my husband tilling the garden second time around to kill the tons of weeds coming up. Tilling kills them because it exposes the roots to oxygen and the roots don't survive. Tilling also kills cut worms as it kills the vegetation that they live on. In other words, the cut worms starve. I've read that if one weed plant goes up into seed, that you them have seven years of seed in your garden. Weed seeds can also lay dormant for up to 20 years! No wonder I can't get rid of the weed seeds.
Spring weeds coming up in large numbers, even though we tilled them all up two weeks ago. Oye! have I got weeds! Fully grown weeds that have gone into seed should never be thrown into the composter or compost pile. I prefer to dry them out and burn them or put them into a garbage bag and let them rot for the summer to rot the seeds. We had sun dogs yesterday and mare's tails clouds and sure enough, the weather man is predicting rain and snow for Thursday and Friday. So glad the potatoes are in!

Monday, April 23, 2012

First tick of the season...blech!

He's inside a plastic baggie, waiting for his demise when I burn garbage tomorrow. Ticks are unsquishable, so the easiest for me is to dispose of him is to put him in the incinerator. It has an itty bitty head, but don't be fooled, it can cause great damage.
My seed potatoes were ready to go and so my husband and I put in three rows. We had tilled the garden two weeks ago to kill the first crop of weeds. Then we tilled it again to kill the second crop of weeds. Potatoes love soft soil so that they have room to grow. Our seed potatoes are scab free and are left overs from last year's crop. In all my gardening years, I have never had such a poor crop as last year when we had so much rain and flooding...then drought. The clay soil turned hard as rock. Gardening was a challenge last year. We will wait until the potatoes are up in about 3 weeks and then we will hill and mulch them. One year we believed what we had read on the web and never hilled the potatoes before mulching them. We had huge, easy to dig potatoes, but they were green! So hill them before mulching them we will!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Plant roots and bulbs you buy in a bag

The first plants in the garden centers are usually the roots and bulbs shipped in wood shavings that come in a bag. I bought calla lilies in a bag and various other plants. I brought them home and stored them in a cool place in the garage so they wouldn't freeze. I like to plant these up in gallon plastic pots, in potting soil, to give them a head start if I'm transplanting them later. The roots that I will be keeping in the large planters, are planted at the same time. I find, that if I wait until the weather warms up, the roots and bulbs have dried up and died. So if I see them out, I buy them early and I plant them within a few weeks. When picking roots and bulbs, make sure they do not have mold on them. Also make sure that they haven't dried up and died before you even bring them home. If they've been frozen, they will be soft or mushy inside the root when you touch them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Didn't quite make it

Sometimes, Mother Nature, loses her mind. Last year, in our area was one such season. Mother Nature sent us lots of snow and when it melted, we flooded. Just north of our place, the river backed up and the water headed our way. We were flooded on the north corner of our acreage. We had some scotch pines that were almost ten feet tall and they were waterlogged. Then the Spring winds came, as they always do in Saskatchewan and blew the trees over. Some of our trees were uprooted. Some died because the roots were exposed. Others just had a permanent lean to them. Not much a person can do but start again and replace the ones that didn't make it.
This tree in particular was around 8 feet tall. It's really disheartening to lose one this large. It was fine last fall, just didn't make it through the winter. Sometimes plants and trees don't survive even with good gardening and good intentions. We had record winds last Spring and mix that with a saturated garden, well it caused all kinds of problems. Because we have clay soil, it got hard. Too much water, then it rained very little and it looked like the tap had just been shut off.
This is the same tree and if you look closely, you can see a hole around the roots. No wonder the tree didn't survive. Roots that are exposed to air die. How did we miss this? We have over 300 trees on our acreage.  I also lost two Apricot trees to too much water. They were growing great and then they just simply died. So I have more ordered to plant again this Spring. Third time's the charm!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Goodies coming up early Spring!

Chives are one of the first things growing in my garden. After a long winter, adding fresh chives to salads or to your cooked dishes just screams Spring. They are easy care, grow back every Spring and just need to be weeded and watered. The chives can be completely lopped off and they will grow back time and time again.
Winter onions are just as easy care as the chives. I got some of the small onions that grow from the tops of the stalks and just planted them. Now I can go to the garden and steal some once they are a good size. Both Winter Onions and Chives will easily reproduce if you let them go to seed but I haven't had much problem of them spreading, they stay pretty close to the mother plant.

Monday, April 16, 2012

More on the war on bugs

Ants. A sure sign of spring when you catch one on your counter. I love the ease of use of diatamaceous earth but it can get pricy. A few more options for you made out of household supplies. First of all, you have to find the ant hill, then place cornstarch or cornmeal around the nest opening and the ants eat it then they blow up. Their bodies can't handle the cornstarch/cornmeal. Home made poison, that is quick and easy to mix up is 9 teaspoons of corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of borax. Take a clean empty small yogurt, chip dip or cottage cheese container and make holes all the way around about 1/4 inch from the bottom so the ants can crawl in. Then put about half a teaspoon of the mixture into the prepared container and place it in the shade outside. The ants will come and eat the poison. If you place the poison in the sun, it will turn hard due to the heat. If ants are in the cupboard, take an old spice jar that has the big holes on the plastic top, mix 9 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of borax, put some into the spice jar and lay the jar on it's side in the back of your cupboard. Boiling water poured over the mound will kill some of the ants, add tea tree oil and that will kill more of the ants. Remember if you have pets or kids, poison is poison and I'd stick with diatamaceous earth in those cases or the hot water or the cornstarch. My mom always had a bird bath in her garden because birds are thirsty! But while they're having a drink they can eat bugs too! This is one of the reasons I have bird feeders year round in my yard. In the winter with all the snow we get, the birds need the bird seed to help them survive. In the summer, the bird feeders attract the birds to come to eat and while they're there, they eat some of the bugs too. One drawback, the birds love fresh strawberries and raspberries and saskatoons, so barrier netting comes in handy to protect your crop. I read somewhere that small rocks painted red and placed around your strawberries, will discourage the birds from eating your strawberries because when they come to have a bite, they can't and the birds don't try again. I wonder if it works, might be something to try.  Hand picking bugs and worms and disposing of them or feeding them to your chickens is more labor intensive but you know for sure the bugs are gone! Potato bugs can destroy a patch quickly, when I had chickens, we use to pick and feed the bugs to them, they went absolutely crazy! Those chickens would clean up my yard of bugs lickety split. They also loved grasshoppers but I'd only let my chickens out when the hoppers were small because in the fall, we have monster sized hoppers in the fields of wheat...I didn't want them to choke on them, not sure they would have! I found a tomato horned worm once. My mom says that during the depression they had them everywhere! I took great pleasure in feeding it to the chickens!  :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seed shopping

When I go to the city, I can't help myself, I have to stop and look at all the seed displays! My husband, bless his soul, indulges me and smiles and even lovingly points out any new seed displays that I've missed. Yesterday was no different. So I picked up Oregano seeds that I did not have and Spearment and Stevia seeds! I'm going to be starting my herbs shortly in large pots in the greenhouse for the simple reason that those pesky black canola bugs love the herbs the best and devour them first! So I have to hurry to harvest before they arrive in my garden. Just as a side note, my beans have never had any pests whatsoever and last year I had these strange long black winged bugs eating the flowers. They got a shot of diatamaceous earth and that took care of them. So many new and strange bugs!

I also picked up my onion sets, 400 cute little onions to plant in about a week to ten days! The seed potatoes are just starting to show up in stores, have to get some of those too!

Anyhow, I love seeds and the plants I can grow from them! Never met a seed display I did not like!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Natural Weed Control

I was surfing for inspiration when I came across a feature that discusses natural ways to kill weeds. The ingredients? Salt and vinegar. Being a farmer's daughter and wife, I was all too familiar with soil salinity and thought, that this mixture wasn't so "natural". I have bought some commercial preparations that had vinegar as a main ingredient and it worked relatively well to a degree, the tops of the weeds were killed but the roots were not, so they grew back. Upon doing further research, I found that others had similar experiences, the weeds grew back. The salt actually prevents anything from growing period. So yes, this may have been some grandmother's preparation that worked really well...but no, I'm not going to use it in my garden. Vinegar alone would be OK as long as the spray does not go onto your regular plants. Vinegar is indiscriminate and just kills all plants. I have a huge yard, I simply cannot mulch everything! Hot boiling water I know works wonders on weeds and again anything else it touches. My uncle actually has a torch hooked up to a long line that connects to a bbq gas tank. He says it works like a hot damn and is very easy to do. Again, it doesn't only kill weeds, but it's quick and doesn't harm the soil. Yup, I think I'm going to go with that one! Of course I still pick weeds by hand and put them into a garbage bag, tie it up and leave it in the hot sun for a good part of the summer to rot the seeds. Never ever put weeds in your compost! Old fashion tilling also kills the weeds because it exposes the roots to air and the roots don't like that. Lots of options for chemical free weed control, be it organic or not. I have to keep reminding everyone that just because it says organic doesn't mean it's safe! Happy weeding!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Self watering set up and rain barrels

I'm trying to take the work out of watering my garden. I did buy a soaker hose that doesn't clog up even if it gets buried. At our old place, I had 5 gallon pails that had holes drilled into the bottom to water my roses slowly. It was easy, fill the 5 gallon pail of water and the pail did the rest. I do have a 1200 gallon tank that sits under an eaves-trough spout and that can easily be filled with one rain storm. I hooked up a garden hose to it and it slowly trickles out watering whatever I have that needs it. It's usually the strawberries. I really don't want to set up an irrigation system. The rain barrels I have set up at various other water spouts around the house work in the same manner as my big tank. My mom has sold her house and has given me her 500 gallon plastic tank from her place. That should help with the watering. I don't want to use the tap water on my garden as it's just too expensive. Mulch, as always saves a lot of evaporation and watering. The three rain barrels that I have around other eaves-troughs in front of my house, have certainly paid for themselves several times over. Water, seems to be such a commodity where I live. It's either feast or famine and when it's a feast, I gather as much as I can of it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Seedlings off to a great start!

They've been sitting in a South window for about a week in full sun....still the little seedlings are reaching for the sun. Going to have to get the green house fixed so I can put a heater into it along with my young seedlings. Not all of my birdhouse gourds came up yet. The Swan gourds are leading the way. My tomatoes are show offs and are off to the races, nearly all of them have popped up out of the ground. The biodegradable pots that they've been started in will go directly into the ground of the garden when it's time. I'm really curious to see how well the pots will decompose. I am not a fan of peat pots, so I'm hoping I picked a good alternative. Being in a colder climate, we have to start long season plants to give them a head start in the garden. The whole reason behind these new biodegradable pots is to not disturb the root system of the seedlings so that there is less transplant shock. A lot of bedding plants, it really doesn't bother BUT seedlings like gourds, squash, cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe, it really affects the plant if the roots are disturbed, sometimes killing the little plant. Be careful not to keep the soil too moist as this encourages disease in the small seedlings. Once up, leave the top crust of the soil dry out a bit so it's not wet all the time. But water enough to keep the small plant healthy. By the way, I still lose some seedlings every year to over happens to everyone!

Love a good garage sale!

I love garage sales because you never know what you're going to find! This huge basket is my latest find. It has handles and is pretty lightweight. I gave it a bath in soap and water and let it dry for several days. What to do with my wonderful new basket? I have three shoebox fulls of seeds. So I sorted and filled that basket to capacity! I can take it out to my garden, choose what I want and either empty the bag of seeds or use some and save the rest for next year. Incredibly, when I'm done seeding my garden, almost half of these seed packets will be gone! I've already emptied several packets of seeds to start my bedding plants. Love love love my new basket!

Gearing up to seed some "cheat" potatoes

Last year was a really late Spring and miserable Summer. It was dry and the garden grew but not like when it had rain water. Early Springs allow me to seed veggies early, like potatoes. By the end of this week, weather permitting, I will be seeding a couple of rows of potatoes just because. Getting a couple of weeks on the potatoes means having fresh potatoes for barbeque season! I do have some small potatoes left over from last fall that have no scab on them and that have a lot of eyes, that are germinating. I don't like buying potatoes in the the grocery store as they are sprayed with chemical, unless they are organic. Potatoes are on the list of vegetables that are to be avoided because they are sprayed. I'm trying to live a chemical free life as much as possible. My potatoes are usually seeded whole with the eyes/germs intact. I find I have better yields this way. There are some gardeners that prefer cutting the potatoes to seed them. Each to his/her own. It is important to remember that potatoes get scab because they have been seeded where organic material such a manure has not fully decomposed, at least that has been my experience. So if you are creating soil, as in the lasagna garden way, adding manure may not be the best thing for potatoes. I like to add manure in the fall and give it plenty of time to decompose into the soil before planting. Sometimes, it's a whole year before I plant potatoes where manure has been added. So I usually add manure on only half of the garden at a time. It is important not to seed diseased potatoes because it will only contaminate your garden and your current potato crop. Oh I can taste barbequed potatoes already! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Don't forget the flowers!

Now is the time to start tender plants like tomatoes and cucumbers inside while the weather is too cool for them to grow outside. What people often forget are the flowers. Yes, you should have flowers in your vegetable and fruit garden. Flowers attract bees for pollination and some flowers even repel pests off of some of your vegetable plants. Carefully thought out vegetable gardens reduce pests and increase yields. For instance, growing your tomatoes near the asparagus bed helps the tomatoes. But you don't want to place onions, garlic or potatoes near asparagus. Companion planting helps by attracting the good insects and repelling the bad insects that  are attracted to your garden vegetables. Sometimes the plants provide a climbing support as does corn plants with vines such as pumpkins and squash.

I really love flowers in the vegetable garden. It makes the veggies pretty. It creates a living space with beautiful color and texture. There's nothing more enjoyable than picking peas and brushing up against a favorite flower. It's all about balance and not having only shades of green. Bees and beneficial instincts love the flowers added for color and it attracts them to your veggie flowers. Marigolds deter beetles, so this year I'm planting them around my broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and turnips. Birds love flowers too and that means if they hang out in your garden...they will eat the bugs. 

Gardens are mini ecosystems, it simply fascinates me on how to create a garden that is balanced.

Mother Nature has a sense of humour!

We went from thunderstorm warnings, to some rain, to a beautiful rainbow. Two days earlier....

Then, a winter storm warning....up to 40 cm of snow. Luckily, we didn't have that much, it worked out to about 10 inches of snow. Heavy wet snow. My strawberries are buried again... My husband went to feed the horses and said there was a 4 foot high snow bank in front of the hay shelter. The trees, that average from 6 feet to over 10 feet have been bent over, buried or bent out of shape due to the heavy wet snow. When everything melts, we'll assess the damage....which shouldn't be too long since the long term forecast says we're due for a fast warm up. I love Saskatchewan! lol

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dual purpose flower beds

This idea seems to be catching on more and more. Flower beds with a dual purpose. Landscaping with a purpose. I love perennials and I love how they grow without tending to them much. It takes time for small plants to grow into big plants, in the meantime, how do you fill the remainder of the bed? Some plant root veggies like carrots and beets. I've also seen potato plants nestled in between new mugo pines and poppies. At first when you think about it, it kind of goes against the grain. But if you really think about it, why would you not put veggies in and pick wonderful veggies and provide greenery for background for your beautiful flowers? It just makes sense. I love seeing the faces of people who drop by to visit and realize what's in the flower bed. It's a great conversation piece and is almost always followed by the comment, "What a great idea!". You can have beauty with the yummy quotient. Just remember to use organic fertilizer, my fav is still manure tea. In my front flower beds, I grow grapes. The vine runs along the flower bed and the foliage is gorgeous. The blue grapes are nestled underneath and people have no idea what "that plant" is until the foliage is pulled back to reveal beautiful clusters of grapes. They make the best grape jelly ever!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting Ready to garden!

Last week I picked up 4 bales of pine shavings, a bag of nincompoop, cocoa husks, peat moss, manure (a variety of chicken, horse and cow) and my husband ordered 6 round bales of slough hay. My organic horse manure is not cured yet so we have to turn the pile so that it heats up to kill the weed seeds. I'm not a big fan of peat moss due to the fact that it depleats the peat bogs and affects the environment. I'm looking for something to replace it all. I've also been asking people for their bags of leaves that they are sending to the dump from cleaning up this spring. I just bought a new composter that kind of looks like a sausage. I can easily throw out a gallon of veggie peelings a day from my kitchen and pick up a gallon of coffee grounds a week at work. Lots to compost! Out of all the stuff I bought, the cheapest was the pine shavings at $6 a bale. It's usually used for bedding for chickens and horses, but will be just perfect for what I want and need. It's a bit of a brain adjustment not to plant the garden in my soil. It has tons of weed seeds and the soil that I'll be building will/should not have any weed seeds which will be a bonus. I'm not convinced that growing potatoes in a barrel is the way to go...but we shall see.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting Ready to start seeding the garden!

My husband could not wait anymore, he had to start the tractor and go out to till the garden. Not all of my garden will be in raised beds. So he tilled the whole garden plot and already you could see tons of little white strings in the dirt....the weeds had felt the warmth of the sun and they got the cue to grow! He will wait another week and then he will rototill the garden a second time to get the second batch of weeds. This double tilling will calm the weeds down for a bit. Some gardeners seed their lettuce, radishes and spinach in the late fall so that the plants grow early in the Spring. Because I don't have raised beds just as yet, that would mean that if I did that, I'd have a bzillion weeds. So, once the garden has been tilled a second time, I will seed my Prizehead leaf lettuce, my radishes and my perpetual spinach and some swiss chard. The Prizehead leaf lettuce is a red tinged lettuce that has a wonderful taste. It grows really well and does not bolt immediately. I love washing up large bowls of this lettuce and adding salt and whip cream and tossing. Yum! This year, I'm trying a different variety of radishes, the Cherry Belles that always grew really well at the old farm, do not grow well in my new garden, go figure. So I found a new to me Heirloom variety called German Giant, that according to the package can grow to the size of baseballs and they don't get woody. Gotta try them! Perpetual spinach is a variety I tried last year. The leaves grow in the same manner as chard but they are spinach. These leaves are easy to wash up and they cook up deliciously! Lastly, Swiss Chard is an old stand by that grows all summer and into the late fall. We love our greens! Even though it's been a nice winter...I am soooo ready to garden!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Creating a bird bath in your garden

I came across this site this morning:

It describes with little mini videos how to create a bird bath from a large rhubarb leaf. I've been wanting to try this in my garden and found the directions really simple. The rhubarb should be starting to grow any day as some of my perennials are starting from the bottom already. I know it's April 1st and we usually have a foot of snow on the ground. Usually a good dump of rain washes everything up and gets the new perennials growing. If I have a good amount of rain, the rhubarb leaves are huge. I have tons of paint and so painting the new bird bath should be a breeze. Thought I'd share in case you were thinking about a new bird bath for your garden!