You know the old saying "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched," well I have changed that to "Don't plant your garden before the fence is up"!! Ok, I know that's not quite the same thing, but it was a slight problem nonetheless. Seems we didn't plan enough time for the fence to go up before the time arrived to put in the plants, and so we had some deer visit the garden and eat a midnight snack of tomato, sweet potato, and pepper plants. Several of them were nipped right off to the ground, and others just topped. Therefore, we put all other plans on hold a couple weekends ago and finished attaching the wire fencing to the wooden posts already in place around the perimeter of the garden. Unfortunately, for now, hubby says no posting pictures til he finishes the wooden ribbon boards and tops off each wooden beam, and he will probably work on that within the next week or so, and I will put up more on the fence as soon as I can.
The fence protects against the deer, and groundhogs, and somewhat dissuades skunks, rabbits, (and neighbors) from entering the garden, but its not a guarantee against the raccoons. In the past, with our first garden, the masked critters have not bothered climbing the fence and messing with any of the plants or veggies, however this year already I have seen their footprints, dug up areas in the dirt, and well "little presents" left behind inside the fenced areas. I am hoping that they will lose interest, but most likely I will have to take "other measures" to protect our crops. One thing that has been effective before is to sprinkle ground cayenne pepper on the plants. This has worked well for me for chipmunks eating rosebuds, and deer eating the lilies. The hot pepper gives them an unpleasant taste and they won't continue grazing, and it doesn't hurt the plants at all, though it needs to be reapplied after rain or watering with a sprinkler and one must be aware of the direction of the breeze when applying or the gardener will be the one to be chased away! AAACHOOO!
Aside from the animals, we have to consider that BUGS are everywhere out there, and there are so many types that will gobble up your plants before they have a chance to produce a harvest. As I was walking through the garden the other evening I noticed that a lot of plants already had holes munched in the leaves, and I had to investigate farther to decide what to do about it. I discovered we had the following bugs feasting:
|Tomato Flea Beetles|
|Colorado Potato Beetle|
Last year I tried going the route of non-poison pest control, by using things like the cayenne, dish soap, and baby powder. However, with so much more at stake this year, I broke down and got a jug of insect killer. It is concentrated, and must be diluted in a pump-up sprayer, and then applied to the foliage (upper and lower surfaces) of the plants. Brand names I trust include Sevin, Bayer, and Ortho when it comes to any kind of bug stuff. Of course, read the label carefully, to see how many times the insecticide may be applied to each certain variety of plant you are growing, and more importantly, be sure to note the minimum number of days prior to harvesting that the poison may safely be used.
Note: Sorry this post was started over a week ago and I just got around to adding the pictures so I could publish it. I've been so busy but I will try to get another update posted this weekend.