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Gardening Quote: Thomas Jefferson

September 13th, 2009

In 1793, Martha Randolph wrote her father from Monticello and complained of insect damage in the garden. Jefferson’s response summarized a basic philosophy of gardening:

“We will try this winter to cover our garden with a heavy coating of manure. When earth is rich it bids defiance to droughts, yields in abundance, and of the best quality. I suspect that the insects which have harassed you have been encouraged by the feebleness of your plants; and that has been produced by the lean state of the soil. We will attack them another year with joint efforts.”
I love this quote! He was a true gardener, growing the soil. This is exactly what I try to do here at Chiot’s Run, I try to build good soil so I can grow healthy plants and pretty much let nature run it’s course after that.

How do you handle pest problems?

8 Comments to “Gardening Quote: Thomas Jefferson”
  1. Helen at Toronto Gardens on September 13, 2009 at 7:35 am

    In my little patch, pests fall prey to the mighty pinching fingers and stamping foot. I also spend some time flinging, which works for snails and slugs.
    .-= Helen at Toronto Gardens´s last blog ..Flowers for the day =-.

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  2. Daphne on September 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

    It depends upon the pest. Mostly I let nature take care of things. This spring we had a great influx of aphids. Then I started seeing more ladybugs and lacewing eggs. I ended up with a lot of the good guys and the aphids slowly disappeared. I do pick off certain insects however. Cucumber beetles and slugs are often hunted down and killed. I will also kill any squash vine borers I see. I think this is more out of spite than actually thinking I can control them. I no longer grow winter squash except C. moschata which is resistant to them. I’m sad to not be able to grow pumpkins, but at least you don’t see me sobbing over dead vines in August.
    .-= Daphne´s last blog ..Applesauce =-.

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  3. tj on September 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    …That is so true! :o)

    …I many times will walk around with a small jar filled with soapy water and pick and plop nasty insects right into their sudsy demise…*insert sinister laughter here*…lol ;o)


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  4. Dave on September 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    With those worms I stick the bag with a pole then twist like cotton candy. Then dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. I’ve used a homemade pepper spray on occasion. It seems to work on nearly anything.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Greenhouse and Shed Project: Digging for Drainage =-.

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  5. MAYBELLINE on September 14, 2009 at 12:22 am

    I’m with you on the healthy soil.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to eliminate cockroaches from a vegetable bed?
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Wasco Rose Festival =-.

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  6. ruralrose on September 14, 2009 at 1:22 am

    i used to have these on all the fruit trees in this old orchard, every season i would go out with a big stick and disturb the nest, it has been 4 years now and not a nest, wish all pests were this easy to get rid of – peace for all
    p.s. my chickens live in my orchard and they are also very good at eating bugs!

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  7. warren on September 14, 2009 at 9:59 am

    My grand-pappy taught me to handle those rotten worms with a propane torch attached to a long pole…it’s not toooo dangerous….
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Now I am experienced =-.

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  8. June on September 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Not only do I agree with the philosophy — strong soil, strong plants — but I am struck by the unity of purpose coursing between Jefferson and his daughter: There is a problem in the garden, and they will address it together in another year. What true gardener doesn’t look upon present disorder in the garden by plotting out a better way, then looking forward to the time it can be accomplished at last?

    Our best tactic against garden pests is chopsticks. They pinch up slugs and snails like nothing else.
    .-= June´s last blog ..Savoring the harvest: Sungold tomato nuggets =-.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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