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Cultivate Simple 22: Beyond Organic

March 18th, 2013

Today we’re talking about going beyond organic. Thinking about how the things we do in the garden have consequences beyond what we can see and often beyond what we’re thinking. We’re talking about pest control and how that affects the rest of your garden.


Who’s Eating the Codling Moth
Killing of Robins from spraying
Patured vs Free Range eggs – video

Books of the Week

A Great Video to Watch about Silent Spring

Cats in the Garden

November 5th, 2011

I’ve proclaimed my love of cats many times, and no doubt you’ve seen them in many photos. You’ve heard all about Miss Mama, the feral cat that moved her kitten into the garage, and Little Softie, the kitten that beat the odds. Up until Miss Mama, we had never had an outdoor cat. We really needed one, as we live in a rural area and have mice, chipmunks, and moles in abundance. With other natural predators in limited numbers, these little varmints can take over quite quickly. We used a variety of methods to deal with them, until Miss Mama moved in.

Now that Miss Mama is gone, Little Softie has taken over rank as chief hunter. She patrols the gardens keeping them clear of all little furies that love to eat strawberries and crocus bulbs. She’s still half feral, but is starting to come around, she loves a good ear scratch daily.

One of our indoor cats has also become a hybrid, spending his days in the garden and his nights in the house. Having cats in the garden is a wonderful thing. These two follow me around the garden and are never far behind. The force me to take breaks so they can get some love, and they make me laugh all the time with their crazy antics of climbing trees and chasing each other around.

The only problem having outdoor cats is that they don’t always eat their catch. We often find chipmunks under the cars, moles on our welcome mats, mice and birds in the garden beds, and last week a dead rabbit on the front porch. It used to bother me when they caught songbirds, but then I realized that predators play an important role in keeping the various species healthy. They keep the weak and sick from reproducing. I remember learning about this long ago in the movie Never Cry Wolf. Mother Earth News also had a great article about the importance of predators this summer.

Chiot’s Run will never be without an outdoor cat, not only do they help keep the rodent population under control, they are outstanding garden companions. We also appreciate that since we got outdoor our cats we no longer have to worry about mice building nests in our cars like we always had before.

Do you have any garden companions of the four legged type? What methods of rodent control do you find most effective in your garden?

Reading & Watching

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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.