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Rabbit Fertilizer for Houseplants: Here’s What You Need to Know

Rabbits poop a lot. In fact, one bunny can produce a ton of manure in just one year. That’s a lot of cleanup. And, if you’re not using it, that’s a considerable waste. Use it? Yes, rabbit fertilizer is a thing.

Rabbit droppings are amazing for your garden. They’re organic, high in nutrients, and, best of all, free. So, how can you use them on your plants? And what about other droppings?

What Makes a Good Fertilizer?

Fertilizer helps your plants grow. It does this by providing a boost of essential nutrients. It’s like a multivitamin for your garden.

Horse and cow manure are traditional fertilizers. But you can’t use just any old poo. Different droppings contain different combinations of nutrients.

And some droppings are not simply useless but can actually be harmful.

What makes rabbit fertilizer so amazing? And what sort of manure should you avoid?

Consider the source

The best fertilizer comes from herbivores. Horses, cows, and rabbits fall into this category.

Other animals with garden-friendly droppings include:

  • Guinea pigs
  • Fish
  • Chickens
  • Sea birds
  • Bats

To name a few.

Carbon to nitrogen ratio

Carbon and nitrogen are important nutrients that all plants need. But the real magic is in the relationship between the two.

Nitrogen helps plants to generate proteins, amino acids, and enzymes.

The carbon in your soil provides energy for your plants to grow. That is similar to the carbohydrates that give us quick energy for growth and movement.

But the thing is, your plants can only utilize the carbon if the soil also contains the appropriate amount of nitrogen.

Horse, chicken, and cow manures all have a carbon to nitrogen ratio that plants love.

Rabbit pellets contain approximately two percent nitrogen, which is an even better balance than those three stand-bys.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus helps plants to develop strong networks of roots. It also helps your plants to produce healthy stems. And there’s nothing better for encouraging blossoms and fruits.

Rabbit droppings contain one percent phosphorus, and that’s great news for your plants.

Potassium

The K in the “N-P-K” formula for healthy plants is potassium. Potassium helps your plants to digest nutrients and to produce their own food.

“Bunny gold” is one percent potassium.

Other nutrients

Rabbit manure also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron, sulfur, manganese, copper, and cobalt.

In fact, according to Michigan State University, fresh rabbit droppings are four times more nutritious for plants as horse or cow manure and twice as nutritious as chicken droppings.

How to Use Rabbit Fertilizer

Horse, cow, and chicken manure are “hot” fertilizers. That means you need to compost them before you put them on your garden. Otherwise, they can burn your plants’ roots.

Rabbit manure contains less uric acid and ammonia than either horse or cow manure. As a result, it doesn’t burn.

It doesn’t need composting, either. While you can add it to your compost pile, you can also use it straight from the source, as it were.

Using rabbit fertilizer straight

Can you use your rabbit’s droppings right out of the litter box? You bet you can.

Untreated rabbit fertilizer makes an excellent topdressing for your garden, trees, or houseplants.

You can also work it into the soil to improve drainage, moisture retention, and soil structure.

Rabbit droppings don’t have a strong smell. But like all manure, it can attract flies. If this concerns you, bury your manure beneath a bit of soil.

Composting rabbit fertilizer

Although untreated rabbit manure won’t harm your plants, some people may be (rightly) cautious about applying raw dung to vegetable beds.

If you’re worried about potentially harmful pathogens, you might prefer to compost your rabbit droppings. It’s easy and will make your compost wonderfully rich.

Making bunny brew

Another way to use your rabbit droppings is to make rabbit compost “tea.”

Simply fill a five-gallon bucket most of the way with water and add a large scoop of rabbit droppings. Let it sit for a few days, stirring it every now and then.

You can use the water to water your plants. As for the sludge at the bottom, you can put that on your plants, also. Or, you can add it to your compost pile.

Rabbit fertilizer and worms

Worms love rabbit manure. And rabbits and worms can be a garden match made in heaven. But you have to do it right.

Rabbit droppings typically have quite a bit of urine on them. That boosts the nitrogen concentration. It also adds salts. Both of these can be toxic to worms if you use the droppings incorrectly.

Never use raw rabbit manure as your worms’ bedding.

Instead, if you want to add it to bedding, pre-compost the manure for a few days.

When you think it’s ready, put a small amount of your pre-composted manure in a test bin and add a handful of worms. Allow the worms to bury themselves.

Wait 15 minutes. If the worms are huddled together or trying to escape — that is, if they’re on the sides and the ceiling of the bin — then the manure needs to age a bit longer.

You can also mix the pre-composted rabbit manure with a carbon-rich bedding material like wood chips or newspaper in order to improve the carbon-nitrogen balance.

How to Collect Rabbit Fertilizer

Many rabbits use a litter box, which makes things easy. But even if your bunnies do their business “outside the box,” there are still some efficient ways of gathering up their offerings.

Create a collection facility

Many hutches have wire floors, which allow rabbits’ droppings to fall through.

We don’t recommend bare wire floors for the entire hutch. That can be painful in the short term and injure your rabbits’ sensitive feet in the long run.

To protect your rabbits’ feet, cover most of the wire with a plywood sheet, but leave a few inches of wire near the walls. It will allow droppings to fall through.

Place sheets of corrugated PVC beneath the hutch to catch both droppings and urine for easy disposal. This video shows one way of doing this.

Wait, you can use the pee?

Can you use your rabbit’s liquid output, too?

Urine luck!

Rabbit urine is also rich in nitrogen. And if you’re ambitious, you can collect that, too, for your garden.

Check out this alternate urine collection strategy.

Build a worm bed beneath your hutch

If you have outdoor rabbits, another option is to build a worm bed beneath your hutch. This can provide you with worm castings, which are also valuable for your garden.

Start with a wall around the bed. It can be any size you like, but the walls should go down a minimum of 12 inches.

Next, lay down two to four inches of a carbon-rich material like shredded newspapers or wood chips.

After that, your rabbits will do their part.

Once you have an inch or two of rabbit droppings on top, mix the bedding and the manure, and wet it down. Keep an eye on the temperature.

Mix and water your bed every day for two to four days. Keep checking the temperature.

Once the bedding is cool, you can add your worms.

Weeds and Rabbit Fertilizer

One concern with some manure-type fertilizers is weeds.

Specifically, when an animal ingests viable seeds, those seeds sometimes pass through to the manure and sprout unwanted plants in your garden.

Rabbits eat a diet of hay, primarily. Fortunately, though, most feeding hay for rabbits contains no viable seeds.

That reduces the chances of this type of weed invading your garden.

What About Other Pets?

If rabbit droppings are such a great addition to your garden, what about other types of dung? Can you turn dog doo to garden gold, as well? What about cat scat?

Unfortunately, not all manure is created equal.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs and rabbits share a similar diet. Although guinea pigs are omnivores (unlike rabbits), pet varieties often eat a plant-based diet of feeding hay and compressed hay pellets.

This makes their droppings similar in nutritional content and similarly compostable.

But…

Guinea pigs can carry Giardia. Giardia is a parasite that can cause a serious and highly unpleasant diarrheal disease called giardiasis.

Although raw guinea pig manure won’t hurt your plants, you might not want it on your food crops.

To be on the safe side, compost your guinea pig manure for several months before using it to fertilize food plants.

Fish

Anyone who has ever kept fish knows that they produce their share of “output.”

And yes, you can use it in your garden!

Fish waste is rich in nitrogen, though lower in potassium and carbon.

Here’s a peek at one person’s aquaponics setup.

Chickens

Chicken droppings are a time-tested gardener’s friend. You can use it as a soil amendment as well as for fertilizer.

Chicken manure works very well on edible crops. However, this brings with it some health and safety concerns.

Raw chicken droppings contain a host of bacteria and other pathogens that can be harmful to humans. What’s more, they can live in the manure for as long as a year.

Always wear gloves when working with chicken — or any — manure. And don’t use raw chicken manure in your garden.

Not only does raw chicken manure contain bacteria and pathogens, but it’s “hot” manure that can burn your plants’ roots.

Always compost your chicken manure before putting it on your garden.

Hedgehogs

In some places, hedgehogs, like rabbits and guinea pigs, are popular small pets.

But hedgies eat a different diet from rabbits and guinea pigs. Hedgehogs are omnivorous, and their diet is markedly higher in protein.

This makes their droppings inappropriate for use as a fertilizer.

Hedgies can also carry Salmonella.

Cats and dogs

That is a straight-up no.

Dogs are omnivores, and cats are obligate carnivores. It makes their feces unpleasant. It also makes it inappropriate for use as fertilizer.

Not only do cat and dog feces contain the wrong nutritional balance for your garden, but also:

  • Cat and dog droppings harbor harmful bacteria
  • They may also harbor parasites
  • It is very acidic
  • It takes an extremely long time to break down
  • The smell will make you unpopular with your neighbors

So when it comes to your garden, dog and cat “doo” is a don’t.

Rabbit Fertilizer for the Win

There are many reasons why connoisseurs refer to rabbits’ droppings as “bunny honey” and even “bunny gold.”

Rabbit fertilizer is nutritious, organic, and free. A single rabbit can produce between 200 and 300 pellets a day or up to a ton of manure a year.

You can use rabbit manure as is or compost it in a number of different ways.

And if your supply exceeds your demand, you can even sell it!

Have you used rabbit manure in your garden? Do you have any tips for our readers? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Winterizing Houseplants and Container Gardens: What to Do with All These Plants!

Winterizing houseplants and container gardens is vital if you want them to survive the colder months.

When it’s sunny and hot outside, it can do wonders for your houseplants to put them outdoors. It livens them up and gives them all the nutrients that can only come from the sun. Likewise, if you grow container gardens, the best place for them is outdoors in the sunshine.

But what happens when the weather turns cold? What to do with all these plants?

After all, most plants that grow in containers won’t survive outdoors once winter hits. That’s why winterizing houseplants and container gardens is so important.

Let’s learn how to winterize houseplants and container gardens so you can enjoy them again year after year.

Know Your Hardiness Zone

Before we talk about winterizing houseplants and container gardens, it’s important to understand what hardiness zone you live in.

When you know your zone, you can look at charts and maps to determine what your freeze dates are. That will tell you when to begin planning to winterize your plants.

Winterizing Houseplants and Container Gardens: What Are Your Options?

Winterizing houseplants and container gardens doesn’t look the same for every gardener.

How you do it will depend on whether you plan to bring the entire pot inside, replant it in the ground, or shelter it from the elements.

Here are the steps you should take for each method.

Bring the plant indoors

If the plant isn’t too heavy, you can bring the plant inside of your home until the frigid weather passes. Here’s how to do it.

A few months before you plan to bring the plants indoors, you need to begin a pest control regimen. This will kill and prevent pests from clinging to the plant and traveling with it indoors.

Fertilome Triple Action: Insecticide, Fungicide, and Miticide is a product that is designed for this use. When using it, be sure to spray all parts of the plant, including the soil, to kill any bugs in the pot.

If you prefer to use something organic, Greenive Neem Oil will also kill the bugs but without the harsh chemicals.

Whichever method you choose to use, you will need to dilute the product according to the directions and then fill a spray bottle, like the Chapin 20000 Garden Sprayer, with the mixture.

Ready the plant

Once the temperatures outside reach about 50 degrees, it’s time to move the plants indoors. But before you do, you will need to check that the plant is healthy enough to stay potted in its current pot.

If your plants have any of these indicators, you will have to repot them:

  • After watering, the plant quickly wilts
  • The soil in the pot dries out quickly
  • Roots are visible on the surface of the soil
  • The new growth on the plant has smaller leaves

If you have to repot the plant, use a new pot that is two-inches wider or less than the old pot.

Also, be sure to use a potting mix that will allow for good drainage and optimum growth. One such mix is Black Gold 1310102 8-Quart All Purpose Potting Soil with Control.

It is made for indoor plants and includes a slow-release fertilizer that will help your plant continue to grow and stay healthy.

Set it up for success

Now that your plant is happily sitting in a new pot, it’s time to remove any spindly stems or old foliage. This will give your plant proper airflow and help encourage growth.

Spray your plant again with the Fertilome Triple Action: Insecticide, Fungicide, and Miticide for good measure.

If you used a different potting mix that doesn’t include a good fertilizer, you will need to add some to the pot. Nature’s Source Plant Food is a good choice because it can be used for both indoor and outdoor plants.

Place the plant next to a window or other areas where it gets plenty of sunshine or use grow lights. Your plant should continue to thrive and grow until it’s time to take it back outside.

Winterize container plants so they remain outdoors

You may not have room inside your house, especially if you are winterizing a container garden. Or, some people may not have a sunny window where the plants can sit.

In that case, winterizing potted houseplants and container gardens and leaving them outdoors may be right for you.

If you plan to use this method, make sure you use the rights pots. That’s because some pots, like untreated terra cotta, can crack under the strain of freezing temperatures. To prevent pots from breaking, use plastic pots.

Here are steps to protecting your plants outdoors while the winter rages on around them.

Take a second look at your plants

Not all container plants can be safely winterized and left outdoors. To determine whether yours can, you need to know your hardiness zone and the zone of the plant.

For the best results, the plants should be rated two hardiness zones colder than your area.

For instance, if you live in hardiness zone seven, the plant should be rated for hardiness zone five for the best chance of survival.

Find a snuggle spot

Containers alone won’t protect your plants from the cold, but submerging the container in the dirt will give them that extra layer of warmth.

Start by finding an area of your lawn or garden that is protected from the elements as much as possible. Then, dig a hole that is a little deeper than the container.

Next, spread a layer of gravel in the bottom of the hole. This is important because, at certain temperatures, the soil in the pot will freeze.

Then, as spring arrives, that soil will begin to thaw. But because it will thaw sooner than the ground underneath it, you must provide a way for the water to drain — and the gravel will do just that.

Backfill the hole with the surrounding dirt, ensuring that the pot is a little lower than the surrounding dirt. Then, add mulch such as leaves or straw to the top of the dirt.

What happens in spring?

Once spring — and spring rains — come, it’s time to move the plant back to its warm-weather spot.

That’s because once the ground begins to thaw and the rains begin, the pot will soak in water if it’s not moved.

By now, the plant will be sprouting new growth and be ready for warmth again in a nice, sunny spot.

Winterize houseplants and container gardens by sheltering them

Sometimes, you can give your plants shelter and prevent the cold temperatures from killing them.

The idea behind this method is to create a space that provides warmth for the plants, despite the raging cold around them.

But don’t look for a sunny spot—the idea is to stop the swing between temperature ranges as that will kill your plants. Instead, look for a sheltered, shady spot.

Here is how to shelter your plants during the winter.

Huddle up

By cluttering your potted plants together against the wall of your home, you will accomplish two things.

First, the wall will act as a wind barrier, which will help keep the temperatures from dropping. Next, the clustered plants will each radiate heat keeping the others warm.

Add some heat

Now that your plants are gathered together, it’s time to add some additional warmth. Start by covering the pots with straw, leaves, or another layer of warmth.

Take an extra step by placing each pot inside of a larger one and filling the gap between the pots with soil or mulch. Doing this will reduce the temperature swings and give your plants a better chance of survival.

Build a silo

If you want an extra layer of protection, you can build a silo around the pots with stakes and chicken wire. Then, fill the silo with leaves, hay, or other mulch so that it covers the pots.

You can also use agricultural fabric to add some warmth. This extra heat is a great way to ensure your plants will last through the winter.

You can also put the clustered plants in an unheated greenhouse or hoop house to give them that extra layer of warmth.

Winterizing houseplants: A note about annuals

If you’re like most gardeners, you buy annuals for their beautiful bright flowers. But once fall rolls around, you throw them away and buy replacements once the weather warms up.

But what if we told you that it’s possible to winterize houseplants and container gardens that are made up of annuals?

It’s true.

By bringing your annuals indoors, you can keep them alive. Then, once spring comes around again, you can place them outdoors again to enjoy them for another season.

Here are the steps to bring your annuals indoors so they will be ready to beautify your yard again once the chance of a frost disappears.

Know your annuals

Annuals come in five types: cool-season annuals, warm-season annuals, tender annuals, half-hardy annuals, and hardy annuals.

The only type of annual you can safely winterize and leave outdoors is a hardy annual. The remaining types need to be brought indoors.

Prepare the containers

Your first step is to purchase enough containers to hold the annuals. These containers should be a minimum of a half-inch in diameter and should have drainage holes.

Instead of filling the containers with native soil, fill them with potting soil, perlite, and sphagnum moss.

Mosser Lee Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss is a great choice because it has a high rate of water retention, which will reduce your watering time.

Dig them up

Now it’s time to dig up the beautiful plants that have graced your garden during warmer months.

To do so, use a spade to dig a hole a few inches deep around the plant. Then, use the spade to carefully lift up the plant.

Plant them in a container, three inches apart. The number of containers you will need depends on how many annuals you plan to bring indoors.

Once the annuals are firmly planted in the pots, spread a two-inch layer of mulch around them and water the plants. Place them in a sunny spot near a window.

After the last frost of the year, you can replant the annuals in your garden.

Winterizing Houseplants and Container Gardens: It’s Your Move!

Now that you understand the methods of winterizing houseplants and container gardens, there is no reason to allow your plants to die off during the cold, winter months.

Instead, you can take some precautions that will help them get through the cold winter months. Then, once the weather warms up again, your plants will be ready to make your home beautiful again!

Do you have any tips of your own for winterizing houseplants and container gardens? Share them with us in the comments.

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What to Do with Leaves: An Eco-Friendly Guide

The colors of the fall drift to the ground in beautiful showers of russet oranges and vibrant reds, but we find ourselves wondering what to do with leaves. While a hint of pumpkin spice fills our senses with the promise of thanksgiving and Halloween, our gardens disappear beneath a blanket of a discarded summer. It’s a pretty and colorful sight, but a nightmare for the keen gardener.

Fallen leaves may form a thick layer to strangle the lawn and turn to sludge when the leaves start to decay. Left unchecked, the views from our windows may quickly transform into a scene from a horror movie as the fall transforms our gardens into a grey, sloppy vista. Now you find yourself wondering what to do with leaves.

What to Do with Leaves

If you are a yard person, you may know the potential the fall offers when you consider what to do with leaves. Whether you choose to use a shredder to break down the leaves or use a garden blower to move the leaves into a pile, you still have to do something with the resultant accumulation of waste. So what do you do with leaves?

Fallen leaves make a fantastic mulch for your flower beds and vegetable patches. Furthermore, the nutrient-rich leaves will decompose into a fine leaf mold when incorporated into your compost heap. When you wonder what to do with leaves, the answer is to use them to enrich your garden.

Why Clean up Fallen Leaves?

While many of us consider fall leaves an inconvenient menace in our gardens, they form a fantastic resource for nutrients to benefit our beds and borders. However, if you leave fallen leaves unchecked, they will rob your soil of the essential goodness needed to promote healthy growth.

Also, you have spent much of the summer keeping your lawn alive and maintaining it. If you leave the fallen leaves on your lawn, they will rot down into a thick, unpleasant layer that will kill your grass. Therefore, it remains essential to understand what to do with leaves.

How to Clean up Fallen Leaves

When fall whispers over our gardens, the trees shed the remains of summer across our properties, and while it may look beautiful at first, you may find the prospect of cleaning them up a little daunting.

The humble garden rake

The first thing that may come to mind when you consider what to do with leaves is using a garden rake. A rake is a handheld tool on a long handle ending with long teeth, usually metal, called tines. A garden rake is a useful tool for gathering up fallen leaves and forming them into piles.

However, using a garden rake to clear away a large number of fallen leaves may prove a back-breaking job.

A leaf blower

A leaf blower is a bit like a vacuum cleaner for your garden, except it blows rather than sucks. The device produces a powerful jet of air that enables you to quickly move leaves around your property without a great deal of effort.

When you use a good quality leaf blower, you may move the debris into convenient piles before disposing of them.

Use a garden shredder

A domestic garden shredder will chop up most garden waste into manageable chips. Shredding garden waste into smaller pieces makes it easier to remove in a wheelbarrow or bucket.

Purchase a good quality shredder, and it will last you many years and prove a sound investment for your garden.

The leaf mulcher

A leaf mulcher also referred to as a tree mulcher, may help you to shred leaves easily. You can shred ten wheelbarrow loads of leaves down to one small bag when using the device.

However, a leaf mulcher may not necessarily dispose of larger items of garden waste. If the problem consists mainly of leaves, then a leaf mulcher represents a good investment. Otherwise, consider purchasing a more robust garden shredder.

How to Use Fall Leaves

Once you have gathered up your leaves or shredded them, you may wonder what to do with them. Fall leaves constitute a tremendous amount of solid waste, which takes up a great deal of landfill space. Furthermore, it is a tremendous waste of a natural, organic source of nutrients.

When you wonder what to do with leaves, consider an alternative to landfill disposal. While leaf fall management may prove a nuisance, it is a valuable resource that you can use to your advantage in the garden. Try not to bag it up for disposal in a dump and use it in the garden instead.

Make mulch for your garden

Use a leaf mulcher or a shredder to chop the leaves into small, manageable pieces. Once you have achieved this stage, you may easily transport the shredded pieces around the garden using buckets or wheelbarrows.

Use the mulch in a thick layer around trees and shrubs. The mulch will help to protect the roots and retain moisture in the soil as well as provide nutrition. Furthermore, a layer of mulch around your flower beds will help to suppress weeds and encourage beneficial bugs, like roly polys (isopods), to take up residence in the leaf litter.

The vegetable garden

If you are lucky enough to have a vegetable patch, then you no longer need to worry about what to do with leaves. Dig the debris into the soil of your vegetable patch. As the waste decomposes, it will enrich the soil significantly and give the earth a rich texture perfect for sowing seeds.

When you wonder what to do with leaves, you must consider their use as a soil enhancer. As the leaves break down, they improve the condition of the soil and add vital organic matter, which is ideal for growing vegetables.

Make compost

Rich, organic compost is the mainstay of the garden. Nothing is better for fertilizing the garden and improving the soil.

Consequently, fall leaves offer an essential ingredient for your compost heap. By combining the debris with garden and vegetable waste, you may create a compost that is rich in nutrients to feed your plants.

Grass clippings, fruit, and vegetable scraps, and even eggshells provide the perfect ingredients for compost. Leaves will add texture and vital nutrients that are invaluable for a healthy, growing garden.

Make leaf mold

Leaf mold is a natural organic compound that is the result of leaf decomposition. It creates the most fantastic ingredient to add to your compost or use as a mulch around your plants. Even better, leaf mold constitutes one of the very best soil improvers that nature offers.

The best way to create leaf mold is to chop the leaves into fine pieces using a shredder or leaf mulcher. Moisten the leaves and bag up the result. You will need to store the bags in a cool, dark environment, and after a while, you will end up with a material that is fine and crumbly.

Lawn treatment

If the layer is not too thick, you may use a lawnmower to chop up the fallen debris. By going over the area a couple of times with a lawnmower, the blades will gradually chop the leaves into fine pieces.

The chopped waste will decompose into the lawn, providing the grass with much-needed food. However, this method may only work with a thin layer of debris because otherwise, it will form a thick layer of detritus that may harm the lawn.

The last resort

Perhaps you don’t have a garden, and yet the fall fills your yard with debris. Consequently, your only option is to gather the waste and bag them up for curbside collection.

A leaf blower or a rake will aid with the collection of leaf waste. Use compostable bags because they will rot away in the landfill together with the leaves and offers an eco-friendlier method of disposal. Furthermore, you may maximize bag space by shredding the waste before you bag them.

Make sure to look for a local green dump, a place that you can take decomposable items like leaves and branches instead of the landfill before putting them out for garbage collection.

What to Do with Leaves Explained

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The weather takes on a cooler, crisper aspect, and there is a freshness to the air that promises wonderful things to come. Furthermore, the colors of the trees change to a rich tapestry of reds and oranges as though an artist has painted the landscape.

However, as the colorful canopy falls to the ground, we wonder what to do with the problem. Using shredders and leaf mulchers to chop the waste enables us to compost the waste or create a rich and nutritious mulch for our gardens. Making your own leaf mold to enrich your soil proves an excellent use for the leaf waste. Alternatively, you may chop up the debris and bag them up in compostable bags for curbside collection.

Do you have any advice to share? Why not comment below with your suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful Jewelry making business and sells his creations online.