My garden 'was' an "all you can eat buffet" ........

for varmints and insects last year so I've launched an all out war without chemicals or poisons of any kind that can harm the veggies,animals or me.So far this year,it looks very promising!!

I was never a fan of Deet or other such chemicals,I think the jury's still out on that stuff and don't trust it.I wanted natural.

I got a cheap blender and dedicated it for making my "tea" recipe which I pour in a spray bottle:

Two cups boiling water.
4tbs cayenne pepper.
A couple of Habenaro peppers(optional)
1 tsp dish detergent.(add after blending).

Blend,let this mixture from hell steep for 10min,run it through a coffee filter then pour in a spray bottle(keep refridgerated).

Spray liberally on tomatoes,etc once a week and it won't harm the plants.A few peppermint plants placed on the boundaries on the garden helps too.We don't have a deer problem here so I think it would probably repel them too but can't be certain,but I can testify squirrels and chipmunks hate it!!

For a general bug repellant I use plain old garlic.I take a couple of cloves,peel them and partially crush(but don't smash)them.

I like to place the cloves in the plastic mesh that "Baby Bell Cheese" comes in but suppose that cheese cloth would also be good.

Try hanging a bag of that under your porch light and you'll see 95% of the bugs gone!Hang cloves on all the veggie plants too!!

Do you have 'coons,cats,etc that wreck your trash cans looking for food?? Grab a bottle of hot sauce out of the fridge and sprinkle a few jiggers on the trash bags,you won't even have to put the lids on anymore...lol.

If anyone else has any other hints or home made cures,I'd love to hear them!

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Don't know what sort of critters attack your garden

Our problem has been rabbits lately. I had 3 in the back yard the other day with bibs on. They don't go after tomatoes or peppers usually. I did put up a bunny fence this year and that has kept them out. I've had some problems with been and cucumber beetles now and then but have used Seven dust or spray lightly. So far the garden looks good but wouldn't mind a few more bees hanging around. My wife plants flowers everywhere but that doesn't seem to bring them like it did in the past. They just aren't around. We've lots of squirrels and chipmunks but they don't bother the garden. Last year I lost some tomatoes to what I think might have been thirsty birds. I've a bird bath out now and will keep it clean and filled to see if that helps. What you can't keep away, you might be able to bribe. Good luck.

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Since I have 23 acres of which 20 are considered to be 'fields' up the sides of small mountains on my property, I have found that colorado potato beetles winter out there and come back to the potato plants. As I find the adults, very few now, I crush them or put them into a small tomato paste can with a few tablespoons of gasoline. Then I look under the leaves for the yellow eggs the adult lays..crush them where they are. A few might escape but you can spot them easily once they hatch because they go to the top of the leaf and are very bright red. Crush or pick off what you can, use tweezers to get the rest and crush or toss them into the can. When I started out nearly 20 years ago and had 350+ potato plants, I found thousands of these nasty critters...I found two adults last year and about 20 red babies...evidently I didn't get to the eggs fast enough but never found any of those...everything went to pest he..

Last year, I did find that there was a strange occurrance with pests...what I would normally find in corn silk, I was finding on tomato plants, along with two hornworms which I had only seen one of in 20 years here. Derek was horribly infested with hornworms two years in a row, illing off hundreds every day. He had over 70 tomato plants (I have had as many as 280 plants at a time and only saw one in all those years so they must have wintered near his house unchecked before he bought it).

Slugs...I get quite a few of those because of my low-lying cabbage plants...I tried the 'beer in a saucer' trick with no success...but found an instant wonderful cure. It's such a pleasure to watch them die immediately that I feel like the Wicked Witch curling my hands in glee...take a salt shaker with you and sprinkle a few crystals on them. They immediately turn yellow and actually MELT.

Never use Roundup in a garden, even on a very close up and personal touch, to get rid of weeds or grass. On a windy day, it carries to your plants...on a very still day, the mist lingers in the air and gets to your plants anyhow. Gather your grass clippings and lay down about six inches (right now I have three and need to add more in the next day or so) completely around your plants and in the walkways. They collect and store moisture when you water or it rains, stays moist enough that when it is scalding hot outside it smothers all weeds and grass, puts nutrients back into the ground, and it prevents the dirt from splashing back up onto the stems of your plants (especially tomatoes) which is the ultimate cause of spotted wilt and other diseases. Never use the FIRST mowing of the season clippings...they are full of seeds and will sprout in your garden. Hold off until the second cutting and add to it the rest of the season as needed.

Green cabbage worms...they love anything in that family, such as broccholi, brussel sprouts, etc. Get yards of really cheap cheese cloth and cover your plants...light, rain, etc. gets in, the plants will keep growing under it, and it will prevent the white with black spots on its wings moth from getting to it to lay its eggs.

Corn...put a few drops of mineral oil into the opening when the silk first appears...or use cheese cloth again to cover the stalk. This prevents the brownish corn moth from laying its eggs inside the bottom entry port of the silk.

If you have an abundance of tomato cages like I do, use extras to stake your pepper plants with. When they have a chance to stand upright and if they are planted rather close together, the peppers have a better chance at being shaded enough to grow well without getting sun scalded.

Cukes...build a wooden frame (have the outside pieces long enough so you can pound it into the ground near where your plants will be, staple small square metal fencing to it and try to get the metal fencing close to the ground. Plant your cukes nearby and they will gravitate to it and climb...the leaves are large enough to shade them and they won't get white on one side from laying on the ground and possibly attract slugs.

Watermelon/lopes....never touch the vines during the early morning when nighttime dew is still around. Once the dew dries off, you can move the vines around to where they are all over each other. The fruit needs shade to develop, and once they get about softball size, get a bucket, turn it upside down, and lay the fruit on top of it so it now gets the sunshine it needs. Turn the fruit a couple of times a week so it doesn't get a 'white' side, and when the curlycue tendril that grows next to the attached stem turns brown, the fruit is ready to pick.

Brussel sprouts...start your plants either in the house around end of May or beginning of June (zone 6 for me) or outside about that time. The plants are normally a cold weather plant and will actually do well in the summer heat, but by the time the plants are ready to start producing the sprouts, the darn cabbage worms will pretty much be gone and less of a problem. Do not pick any of the sprouts as they grow larger...but do break off the bottom leaves as the begin to show. That forces the growth into the sprout instead of the leaves...break off the whole top of the plant (main stem) when you get as many as you think you want on each plant and that will also force sprout growth. The most important thing....DO NOT PICK ANY SPROUTS UNTIL AFTER YOUR FIRST FROST. This is what gives sprouts the sweet taste you want instead of them being bitter. This is another reason why I suggest not even starting your plants until well into late spring early summer because they will be the last things you get from the garden and you don't want the sprouts to begin to get 'old' waiting for that first frost.

Field mice were my biggest problem...they love my corn and very carefully pull out each kernel without any evidence that they had been around. Haven't figured out that one yet as I have a cat and a dog who love to kill critters and if I put out regular mouse traps, one of them is bound to get nailed.

As I think of more stuff, I'll let you know. lol

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last year relished my tomatoes. This year if he comes back will be facing circular 4 foot welded wire cages around each plant, secured to a driven fence post. If that won't discourage him I'll get my old small animal shocker and spool of baling wire out and put on some insulators, which I may have to do to keep squirrels from going for the corn when it's ripening. Normally squirrels won't mess with the corn if the acorns are already falling, but there's a large number of them this year and fewer oak trees since I removed 2 and a couple neighbors removed even more. Sometimes I mix copper sulfate (tsp) and baking soda (tsp) per gallon of water and spray the plants to discourage insects and keep fungus off the curcurbits. My biggest defense is to grow things I'll eat and they usually won't.

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Gopher vs Groundhog (woodchuck)

species Marmota monax from the squirrel family, Sciuridae, order Rodentia
up to 13 pounds, 6 kg
head and body 20 inches(50 cm) long; tail 18 inches
found in eastern and central United States, across Canada, and into Alaska along forest edges abutting meadows, open fields, roads, and streams.
good swimmers, can climb tall shrubs and sizable trees

any of 38 species from the family Geomyidae, order Rodentia
0.5 pound (250 g)
head and body 6 inches (15 cm) long; tail 3 inches (8 cm)
range from southern Canada and the United States, south through Mexico and Central America, to northwestern Colombia. Found from coastal areas to above the timberline in high mountains.
two to three-year lifespan

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_gophers_groundhogs_and_woodchucks_all_the_same_animal#ixzz1PF5sjsbz

I have goundhogs here that my dobie mix kills (along with raccoons, wild turkeys, possums, and rabbits). The average size for his kills is in the ten pound range and they are extremely destructive. He travels back and forth between my property and my ex MIL who lives across the road from me with 46 acres. She's happy to have him over there killing her critters, too, and encourages him with biscuits in the morning if he shows up. lol

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that's the one

The ground hog. Curious sort of creature. They don't seem to have a great fear of humans here in Maryland. Sometimes I see one digging a burrow right beside a busy road, usually just outside a treed area.

We didn't have any of those nor gophers in Florida. We had a "gopher" but it was a turtle.



When I lived in the country area of north Florida, we'd catch these "gophers" and sell them to black people who eat them, a turtle soup I guess. It was a quarter to 50 cents depending on the size. They in turn could clean the shell later, sometimes decorate them, and sell it, especially to tourists.

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I have fewer woodchucks since I've been able to eliminate them one by one if they stay too close to the home. They dig everywhere, but it seems I kept them at bay. They come if you whistle or bark at them at times, especially the young ones. I only get rid of them because they dig those dang holes or burrows, which in turn may attract something else. The coyotes may have done a service for me as well, but they aren't that big of a deal in Ohio, but they're here. Wild life is only 50ft. from the house as the woods surround me. I had to get the cat once off a oak tree as it got up there and just wouldn't come down, but meowed all night for days. The oak limbs seemed to be the toilet for the raccoon and they are aplenty here. Which is the other varmint I deal with. Maybe, the cat didn't want to cross that limb again, I don't know. Now, this yr. its the ticks, they're the worse I've ever seen them.

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are 'wet weather' critters....the wetter the spring (and it was horrible this year), the heavier the infestation. Even Frontline Plus hasn't been able to keep up with it and I'm picking off ticks off my dogs (for some reason the cat is totally 'immune' to them and always has been) every day that are already dug in.

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Another tip

For hard skinned veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, etc. Hose them off well and before you go to prepare them for canning and have to stand in front of a sink washing each one well in order to get them into a pot of boiling hot water to soften the skins for peeling, take a five gallon bucket, fill it with your veggies, put them into your top loading washing machine on GENTLE (warm water and no detergent of course) and walk away. They will actually be cleaner than you can do by hand and the spin cycle will complete because a five gallon bucket's worth isn't heavy enough to stop that cycle. Now you're ready to drop them into the boiling water to scald while the next batch is in the washing machine getting ready for their turn. I've done this for years and no damage has ever been done to my washer and it beats the heck out of the back breaking work of standing over that sink to do a whole garden every year.

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but then you lose...

...all the minerals from the dirt. Wink

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You don't wash your veggies

before processing? I'm not understanding what you mean...if you wash the dirt off in the sink it goes into the sewer system (or septic tank) so it's the same using the washing machine. If you don't wash them before processing (in the boiling water), what do you do with the water? You can't reuse it for consumption because of the critter, bug, and pet contamination that might be there. I imagine you could use it after it cools off to water plants or put into a compost bin in gradual amounts since compost bins need moisture to work.

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I was just joking. Rinse with garden hose, follow up washing or soaking in kitchen sink. Biggest problem is any year I grow greens like mustard or turnip. They get a lot of soil splashed on them that seems to stay there. Nothing worse than gritty greens.

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