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The Not So Scary Scarecrow

June 21st, 2018

We’ve been wanting to put up a scarecrow in the main garden, but haven’t gotten around to it. Last fall, when we went through my mom’s clothes, I picked out a few things that she always wore to use for my garden scarecrow. I figured she’d LOVE being in my garden helping keep the waxwings out of the strawberries.

This was one of my mom’s favorite shirts, so it’s nice to see it in the garden. My dad and sister thought it was great as well when I sent them photos.

I just threw this one together last minute. There are grand plans forming in my mind of making one with old garden tools, a shovel for the head/face, trowels for the hands, etc.  But I need to find a few more old tools and then figure out how to put it all together.

 Do you have any great tips for keeping birds out of strawberries & raspberries? What fun things are gracing your garden?

Cutworms

June 18th, 2018

This year has been an especially bad year for cutworms in the vegetable garden. Every morning, I patrol the garden looking for the tell-tale signs that they’ve been out and about. You can typically tell cutworm damage because the seedlings look like they’ve been snipped off at the base of the plant.

If you you use your fingers to make rings about an inch deep around the stem, you’ll find the cutworm, usually about 2-3 inches away from the stem. They can vary in size and are brown, so they can be hard to spot.

This past week I’ve dug up 10, the chickens have been turning them into eggs for me.  This is one pest that can do some serious damage in a vegetable garden. I lost about half of my second planting of lettuce to these little beasties. Last year they ravaged by beans and cucumbers.

Are you dealing with any pests in the garden at the moment? 

Munch, Munch, Munch

March 14th, 2018

The last two years have been great for acorns in our area of Maine, which translates to a large deer and turkey population. While deer are beautiful creatures, they’re also destructive to a garden. This winter has been particularly rough. Almost every shrub and tree in my gardens have been browsed heavily.

They hydrangeas were hit especially hard, I doubt there will be any blooms this coming summer. Now I have to take extra care to protect plants. Next fall you’ll find me wrapping things with burlap, adding fencing around the garden, and probably spraying some things with hot pepper oil to keep them safe from browsing deer.

Do you have issues with deer in your garden? What’s your preferred method of dealing with their winter browsing?

GRRRRR…..

September 28th, 2017

One of our most annoying garden pests are porcupines. Sounds strange, but it’s true. This summer they found my lettuce patch just as the butterheads were forming beautiful heads. They eat a lot of apples out of our trees, generally taking a bite out of one and throwing it down to get another.

They also love pumpkins and squash. I find bites taken out of my squash around this time of year, it’s frustrating to be sure.

Thankfully, they only gnaw on a few, which often heal up. But there are some that won’t, they eat a little too much. These will be thrown in to the chickens. Overall, I don’t have too many pest issues. The ones that I have can often be taken care of with an electric fence.

What’s your biggest garden pest? 

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?

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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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