pest control

eden72(7bAr)July 30, 2010

I tried a small organic garden this year and everything I tried to grow is pitiful! I have tomato plants, cucumber,beets,watermelon, cantelope, green beans and herbs. The only thing that hasnt been completely decimated by something that eats all the fruit and leaves have been the herbs. My cucumbers arent bothered by "eaters", however, in the past couple of weeks the plants and cuc's have all turned very yellow. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I have good soil, water regularly...but that's about all I know to do. I inspect them every day or two and don't see any pests, so I assume the damage is at night.

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If you can post pictures of the damage it may help. Sometimes the pattern of the damage helps with an ID. Your nighttime garden pirates may be rabbits or another mammal, or it could be an insect.

Also photos of the yellow plants. It might be nutrient or water levels or something like a squash vine borer; sometimes you can tell from pictures.

Is this your first garden in this location, or just your first attempt to grow organic there? Is your garden fenced, and if so, how?

One other note: in your zone beets are a fall or spring crop. Even if the survive the heat, they won't be very good. But it's almost time to think about fall vegetables!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:03PM
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Yikes, I know nothing! lol. This is the second time I have put a garden in this location. Same thing last year. It is at the back of my yard in a good sunny location, but no fence or even bordering. Basically I have 5 raised beds. However, I used an open compost bed...I really just piled up grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps and then in the spring added it with the dirt I bought, peat moss, humus and manure...just to see what would happen. This was an experimental garden...a learning experience...I have learned I am not very good. Never thought about mammal eaters:) I will take pic's and upload them. Just promise not to laugh! It is not finished. Thank you for helping!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:22PM
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Everyone starts somewhere -- and the mistakes, or rather "learning opportunities" never end. The fact that your plan includes compost puts you ahead of about 98% of the folks who impulse buy veggies at the local big box store.

What you are doing is basically lasagne gardening, which can work great. If you Google that phrase, you'll get more details and you may choose to adopt it more formally while you get your gardening legs.

Looking forward to your photos.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 2:34PM
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People often assume, without looking, that their soil is good but the only way to know what is going on in your soil is with a good, reliable soil test. Start planning for next years garden by contacting you counties office of your University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service about having a good, reliable soil test done and after sampling the soil for that dig in with these simple soil tests,
1) Structure. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. A good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.
to see what more might need be done to that soil to make it into a good, healthy soil that will grow strong and healthy plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Arkansas CES

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 7:06AM
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Wow kimmsr!! Thank you, thank you!! That was terrific info:)
As far as the pests go, I believe deer are eating everything. My pumkins and cantelope were eaten and the very tops of my tomatos (4' tall) were bitten off. Don't really know how to fight that. My parents have always had a beautiful garden, but the dear have eaten everything the past 2 years. Nothing they have tried has worked, and I have watched them jump 6 foot privacy fences with ease... any suggestions there???

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:03PM
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5 ways to fence out deer:
- Taller fence (you can use clothesline cable or similar to get some extra height
- Two fences around the perimeter, close together. Deer don't jump a fence if they don't feel they have room to stop and jump again
- Electric fence, baited with peanut butter. They learn to be afraid of it.
- Big dogs (kinda hit or miss)
- Garden cages that totally enclose the plants, including on the top (kinda a pain in the butt)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 9:37PM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

First, I must say that the previous posters gave you some fine information about your concern(s),

I wrote a garden column for our county newspaper for a number of years, and I always sprinkled a little humor here and there within the column in an attempt to make it more enjoyable.

(Believe me, this is not shameless self promotion, because I'm WAY beyond ever writing anything again in my life that requires adhering to a deadline.)

But if you're serious about growing a garden and eating the results of your labor, you MUST fence animals out of your garden--period.

Whenever anyone tells me--as they often do--that they grow a garden but don't mind insects and birds and animals eating most of it, I KNOW they are not serious gardeners.

So, following is my advice--and my attempt at humor--about fencing a garden rom a garden column I wrote (circa 2003) titled: "Newbie at Gardening? Clear a Bit of Land, Order Some Seeds...".

And the subsection is titled, "To Fence or Not to Fence?"

"If you expect any animal traffic in your garden spot--wild or domestic--you should definitely fence it. Wild animals, from rabbits to deer, will eat your plants. The family dog, while chasing the rabbits and deer, will trample your plants, and your cat and your neighbors' cats will consider your garden the ultimate litter box."

"The taste of homegrown vegetables is not enhanced by the addition of cat doody to the soil."

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:09AM
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