House & Garden

House & Garden

This section contains items about various house-keeping matters in Royal Ascot that affect everybody, e.g information about refuse removal, water restrictions, etc. We also include a section on tips for the house and garden and invite people to send in your ideas for this section.
Royal Ascot Nature

Tips For House and Gardens

We all have the problem with fats and oils from cooking – how do you get rid of the stuff? You cannot wash it down the drain, easiest way to clog up your drains in short time! If you dispose of it in your garbage, they start smelling and attracting flies, particularly if garbage collection is still days ahead.
So what do you do?
Freeze it!
Keep old plastic containers (eg butter/margarine containers) handy and empty cooking fat and oils into that after cooking before it solidifies, put this into your freezer or freezing compartment of your fridge. When the container is full, you can then put it in your garbage bag on garbage collection day.
This also works for solid food discards that may cause a smell and/or attract flies in your bin – freeze them in a disposable plastic bag and place in your garbage bag on the day of collection.

Professional gardeners will tell you that more plants in gardens die because of over-watering than giving them too little water. How do you tell when your plants need watering?
You can buy an hygrometer which you push into the ground and gives you a soil moisture reading. Or, you can use the much cheaper “Finger Test”.
How does it work?
Simple – push your middle finger into the soil up to the second knuckle, if the soil is still moist around your fingernail, it does not need watering. But if it is dry, then you need to water.

Do your dogs keep digging up your flower beds and spoiling your garden? Dogs dig instinctively to bury bones and food, the reason is that in nature bacteria in the soil assist in breaking down the foodstuffs which make it easier for the dog to digest.
But did you know that if you take your dog’s faeces and put it in the soil in the flower beds, the dogs will tend to keep away from those areas. Adult dogs will not normally defecate near their feeding and sleeping areas, and the place in the garden where they dig is another ‘feeding area’ to them – so if they smell faeces there, they will not dig in that area. You’ll have to repeat this from time to time.

Many gardeners install irrigation systems in their gardens to save time. If you have an irrigation system, be careful that the system does not spray a fine mist, the system should spray visible drops of water. Why?
One obvious problem with mist sprayers is that a huge amount of water is lost from evaporation before it is absorbed into the soil, on a hot sunny day this could be as much as 80%. On windy days it is even worse as the fine mist is easily blown away.
But another problem not often considered is that mist sprays situated in amongst foliage creates a very wet microclimate which encourages various kinds of fungae, bacteria and insect pests to thrive – these can cause considerable harm to your plants.