Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gardening, Guinea Pig Greens & Grooming

I'm always looking for a simpler way to garden, especially when it comes to weeding. Check out this online article from Mother Earth News about using newspapers as mulch. It sounds like a great idea.

We had chili with cornbread last night. The chili was made in the slow cooker and was ready to eat when my very long day was over. I put the cornbread in the oven and then went for a walk with the boys, Jim and the dogs. When we got home, the cornbread was done. I love it when things work out the way I've planned.

The boys have gotten in the habit of picking bunches of dandelions to give to our guinea pigs. They seem to love them. Here's a little tip for other people with guinea pigs. Don't feed them cabbage leaves. We learned just yesterday that guinea pigs get gas too! Honestly, the room just stank after they ate the cabbage leaves. On that same subject, don't let your dogs eat broccoli.

Despite our spending freeze some money had to be allocated so Mel, our bichon, could get a haircut. Usually we do it ourselves with a flowbee but this time he was so matted that we weren't getting anywhere with it. I had to break down and take him to a groomer. The plan is to give him a trim every other week with the flowbee so we never get to this point again.


AnnMarie said...

Mulching with newspapers is great! I cannot imagine gardening any other way. That's how my parents did it, so I was surprised to learn as an adult that it's not that common. Last summer, I barely had a weed to pull after the first month. I had a goal of 15 minutes of garden work each day and I found I had maybe 5 mi nutes! LOL And until May 15, my garden had been part of our yard (and we didn't till it very well). Beyond weeds, the other advantage is moisture retention. Due to a lack of materials to use to put on top of the paper, I haven't mulched much of what I've planted so far this year. It's been tough to walk out and see everything dry all the time. But where I was able to mulch, the ground is still moist under the mulch, and to some extent in the rows as well. (Our lawnmower had to go in for repairs, that's why I couldn't mulch much. Looking forward to getting the mowing done this weekend instead.) I've used shredded paper in the past, but my husband didn't like it blown around the yard. I'm using it sparingly this year underneath other mulch. Grass clippings are the best--we have a mulching lawnmower, but I'm going to have DH bag the clippings a few times until the garden is nicely mulched! I use mulch around flowers, as well, often without the newspaper underneath since there isn't enough room between flowers there.

Be sure to only use the regular newsprint. Don't use glossies. I also use flour bags and other paper things that can't be recycled!

Rachael said...

dandelions are awesome for guinea pigs...especially males, as they are more prone to bladder/kidney problems and the dandelions help prevent that. Cabbage (and collards, kale, broccoli, etc) are too high in calcium for them to have regularly anyway, plus the above mentioned gas! dandelions, lettuces, beet greens, carrot greens, carrots, peppers, corn husks (but not the silks or thekernals), and most other non-cruciferous veggies are really good for them and they should get them often along with lots of hay (grass or timothy, not alfafa after they are 9 months old) and a vit. c fortified timothy-hay based pellet. (sorry, guinea pig nerd here...)

Katie said...

That sounds great. I love the idea of using flour bags and other paper things that can't be recycled!

Guinea pig nerdsa are always welcome! Thanks for the tips. BTW, what's the deal with those "gourmet" guinea pig foods with all the stuff like corn kernels and sunflower seeds that guinea pigs aren't supposed to eat? I can't understand why they even try to market those.

Rachael said...

konthey are just marketing gimmicks...people, as omnivores (well, some of us...) are encouraged to eat variety, so why not guinea pigs and other animals? not only can they make a junky food that looks more appetizing to people, but all that stuff makes good filler. seeds are so bad for piggies and bunnies too, but the companies aren't in it for the animals' health. I used to work in a petstore and I spent so much time talking people out of buying that stuff (and sending them to other stores to buy the good stuff we didn't sell, lol). But it sounds like your piggies are getting excellent care.