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Garden Fails

September 27th, 2017

Every year there are failures in the garden. I believe that failure is often one of the best ways to learn, it’s seems easier at times to figure out what works and what doesn’t when we have failures. This year one of my giant failures is in my ornamental cabbage crop. I seeded them in July, moved them outside in mid-August, then they were found by the caterpillars.

I had big dreams of pots of ornamental kale beside my front door until well into December, this is what they look like.


I don’t use any kind of pest control, even “organic” varieties. Often even those (like Slug-O) have consequences down the line. I’m thinking that I need to attract more wrens and birds to my garden. Perhaps a few guinea fowl will do the trick as well, they are fantastic at controlling squash bugs and cabbage worms. My dreams of giant drifts of ornamental kale are gone, but I’ve now learned that there’s just too much pressure at the current moment to try it. Perhaps I’ll just put one of my many pumpkins in the terra cotta pots by my front door. In the future, I may try ornamental kale again, but keep it under an insect barrier until it’s quite large. I may try seeding it a little earlier so it’s larger and more robust. I may just use my time to read a book instead though, sometimes it’s just easier to let dreams go.

What pest issues are you having this time of year? Are there any garden dreams you’ve had to let go of?

Tomato Hornworms

September 20th, 2017

It’s tomato hornworm season here in Maine, I’ve been picking them off my tomatoes like mad. I always watch for the parasitic wasp eggs, but none have been found yet. I never pick them all off, I always sacrifice a few plants in hopes that the wasps will show up. In my Ohio garden I always had the wasps.


The worst part about them is that they take bites out of all the tomatoes, which then get moldy and aren’t good for anything. They won’t ripen and are lost as a crop.

Tomato hornworms are a favorite of my muscovy duck and her ducklings, they’ve been feasting on 5-8 hornworms a day this week.

Do you get hornworms on your tomatoes & peppers? Have you ever seen one covered in parasitic wasp eggs?

UGH…..

March 17th, 2016

Well, we found our first deer tick last Friday. I took Tara on a hike on and when we got back this was crawling up her leg. Luckily, all those wild turkeys I see gobble them up.
tick
The cats always end up with lots of them, luckily they don’t get Lyme disease. I pick them off the cats almost daily in the spring/fall here. I guess it’s time for daily tick checks for the pets and for us, that’s the best way to find them early.

Do you have ticks in your garden?

Dealing with Pesky Deer Flies

July 26th, 2013

The deer flies have been TERRIBLE around here this year. Last week I worked in the garden one evening, when I came inside I had been bitten 6 times. One of the bites was on my eyelid. When I woke up the next morning my eye was pretty much swollen shut. The funny thing is that I also had a bite on my cheek on the same side, which was also swollen up about the size of a macaroon. That’s when I searched to find something that might work against them. I came across this post explaining how to build a deer fly trap.
Deer Fly Trap 1
I ordered up the supplies I needed: Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Brush On Sticky Trap Coating and Blue Plastic Cups. Yes the cup needs to be blue!
Deer Fly Trap 3
All you do is brush the sticky coating on the blue cup and you pin them to your hat. Really, it’s that simple. At first I was worried that it would catch other flying insects as well, like bees, thankfully that didn’t happen.
Deer Fly Trap 2
Our first test of our hats was a trip down to the mailbox, which generally ended with us running back up the hill swatting the swarms of deer flies that were chasing us. Mr Chiots arrived at the house with 9 stuck to his cup and I had 5 stuck to mine. We wore them the entire next day and didn’t notice a deer fly all day. That evening the final count was: 13 deer flies on Mr Chiot’s hat and 9 on mine. They work like a charm.

What’s the biggest garden pest for you, the gardener?

Free Protein?

November 4th, 2010

I’m not much of one to care about seeing caterpillars on my plate after eating broccoli, I figure it’s free protein. I’d rather see this on my plate than not see it and have broccoli full of chemicals. Of course you can use “organic” methods of keeping them away, but I don’t bother with those either or my wrens might go hungry.

Have you ever finished eating your broccoli and seen this on your plate? What did you think?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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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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