Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Garden Notebook

Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Garden Notebook

Article excerpt

Perhaps nothing is as closely linked to a garden's success as the weather. For that reason I keep a homemade weather station in my back garden. By checking the station every evening and keeping weather records, I've learned that I average 25 percent more rain, have cooler temperatures, and get more snow than the nearest big airport (just 20 miles away). It's the kind of vital information I could get no other way.

The weather station was easy to make. I just sunk a pressure-treated, 8-foot 4-by-4 about 18 inches into open ground about 20 feet from the nearest building. I hung a minimum-maximum thermometer on its north side, a jumbo rain gauge on its south side, and a windsock from a cross member. I also tacked a yardstick against its east side to measure snow. You can find minimum-maximum thermometers at hardware stores and garden centers. The best rain gauge I've ever seen is from Productive Alternatives ($29.95, no credit cards), Box 329A, Fergus Falls, MN 56537; (218) 736-5668.

THE WELL-FEATHERED GARDEN

Nothing adds more life to a garden than the birds that inhabit it. With that in mind, Jan Mahnken wrote The Backyard Bird-Lover's Guide (Storey Publishing, Pownal, VT, 1996; $24.95). This book can help you get more birds to call your garden home.

Different sections of the book explain how to provide food, water, and nest boxes for birds. And when they come, scan the book's field-guide chapter (which fills more than half of this 310-page book) to identify them. The watercolors and descriptions of 135 common garden birds are perfect for beginning bird-watchers. …

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