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worst garden pest you have encountered?

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  kimbertangleknot on 1/30/2011, 8:36 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:Old Hippie, if you want to know how NOT to use salt for slugs go to my blog. http://rocksinmygarden.blogspot.com/2009/05/to-salt-or-not-to-salt.html
I'm brutally honest about my mistakes experiments in the garden. I have no shame. What did work is beer, the higher the malt (in other words the cheaper the beer) the better. Burry a tuna can level with the dirt or mulch, fill it 1/2 of the way full, and leave it. They love the yeast or the smell of it, and they come running. Problem is they can get in to drink, but cannot get out and they drown.

As for tea and cinnamon, they were old farmer's ideas we wanted to try. We saved used tea bags for compost and for ants in the potatoes, we live in the south, having iced tea on hand at all times is the law. When we were out checking things, if we had ants on the taters, we just opened a tea bag (family sized) and sprinkled it around the plant. As for the cinnamon we shop at Sam's and they have the 20oz containers of seasonings, and we stock up in the spring. You can use the Dollar Store kind that are 2 for $1, they work just as well. The cinnamon burns the ants, I dumped a bunch on a hill one day, they attacked me, to see what would happen. The sun was beating down on the mound, and they came out once again to get me, but as soon as they touched the cinnamon they started writhing in pain, I smiled in sadistic glee.... It works for indoor ants too, just sprinkle around where they are getting in, or around the sink at night, just a bit, and they will stop coming in. One year my husband sprinkled the perimeter of our yard and that worked to keep them from coming in from the pasture behind and beside us.

I know the beer works. That's what my hubby and his friends use to do when they were kids. Bait the slugs to watch them die. I'm thrilled to hear about the tea and cinnamon. I have tons of tea packets that I'm not using, I'm sure that the hubsters would be happy to have some sweet tea for a change, and, if you have an Aldi's they too will have bigger canisters of cinnamon for cheap. I'm going to try both of those this year. I might just do a perimeter of cinnamon around my beds and maybe sprinkle some on the undersides of the newspapers I'm planning on putting down. Thanks for sharing the info.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  LaFee on 1/31/2011, 1:56 am

last year when I had slugs (huge fat RED slugs!) I put out a saucer of cheap beer.

They drank it (all of it - the saucer was dry the next morning, and I'd sunk it into the mix so it couldn't get spilled!), then headed over to the lettuce to soak it all up, leaving a slimy trail of destruction.

I don't have normal slugs...I was somehow blessed with frat-boy slugs -- big, ugly party boys with a huge appetite.

(Now I throw 'em over the fence to the empty lot where they can party undisturbed.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/31/2011, 9:26 am

@LaFee wrote:last year when I had slugs (huge fat RED slugs!) I put out a saucer of cheap beer.

They drank it (all of it - the saucer was dry the next morning, and I'd sunk it into the mix so it couldn't get spilled!), then headed over to the lettuce to soak it all up, leaving a slimy trail of destruction.

I don't have normal slugs...I was somehow blessed with frat-boy slugs -- big, ugly party boys with a huge appetite.

(Now I throw 'em over the fence to the empty lot where they can party undisturbed.

I wonder if a larger container, say a margarine tub would work. Fill it and then wipe a rim of oil or shortening around the rim so they slip and slide. I just cannot stand touching the things, even with gloves on, I stepped on one once when I was a kid, EEEWWW, that was it for me. Now if I had a fish pond, I might pick them off just to watch the fish eat them. Remember not to fill it but half to 3/4 way. Boy I would have fun with your slugs, I'd be up all night with a flashlight watching for them to get into that beer...... Heck I might even join them.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  LaFee on 1/31/2011, 10:26 am

Nah, you don't want to get into cheap French beer. Makes Bud seem like vintage Champagne.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/31/2011, 10:31 am

AAAHHHH, therin lies your problem, you need cheap malt liqueur (think Shlitz Malt Liquer Beer), or good Irish Beer, with lots of yeast. I did use one of hubby's Irish Beer, you had to gently swish the bottle until you no longer saw the yeast settled on the bottom, gently, so as not to get too much of a head, and pour, then swish again in the glass.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  LaFee on 1/31/2011, 11:00 am

problem is I couldn't buy any of those if I wanted to. I live in France, so cheap French beer is my choice, and using any of hubby's (expensive) Guinness would be grounds for divorce or homicide...or both.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  kiwirose on 1/31/2011, 3:16 pm

mine was cutworms (I assume) - but I would have little seedlings direct sown in my mm, they would poke up their adorable little heads for a day or two, then gone - never to be seen again. I assumed cutworms, but never knew for sure. No signs of slugs to blame.

squash vine borer did in my zuch but I was about sick of squash by then, and the japanese beetles loved my beans. Deer had a snack on everything - tore down my inadequate fence job - I am now a skilled fencer (well not really lol, but I am better). I had other pests too, but had birds and wasps on my side - which I loved. Hubby still doesnt' believe the the birds aren't eating our veges, rather the bugs.

Farmer Valerie - thanks for the cinamon and tea tips - love the less than chemical controls - someone also mentions loads of flowers and water feature to attract birds and toads - that was a cool idea (hadn't thought of toads)

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  quiltbea on 1/31/2011, 7:42 pm

When you plant a new seedling, break a toothpick in half and put half of it stuck on one side right up against the plant's stem and the other half on the other side.

As the plant grows, it pops the toothpick out of the way and it will eventually break down into the soil.

I've never lost anything to cutworms doing this.


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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/31/2011, 8:18 pm

@LaFee wrote:problem is I couldn't buy any of those if I wanted to. I live in France, so cheap French beer is my choice, and using any of hubby's (expensive) Guinness would be grounds for divorce or homicide...or both.

Ah, ya, Guinness would be a good choice, but a bad decision..... Valentine's Day is coming, maybe you could ask for your own bottle or two and save it for the slugs.... I cannot help but wonder if a yeast solution would do the trick, I'll look into it, if I find anything I'll let you know.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FarmerValerie on 1/31/2011, 8:21 pm

@kiwirose wrote:

Farmer Valerie - thanks for the cinamon and tea tips - love the less than chemical controls - someone also mentions loads of flowers and water feature to attract birds and toads - that was a cool idea (hadn't thought of toads)

I have started saving old clay pots that are slightly cracked or just old, breaking a hole in the side at the top, turning them upside down, and placing them in the garden as frog/toad homes. I saw one that was special made, but cost $20, I am thinking I can make one with a new pot for $5.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  kiwirose on 1/31/2011, 10:24 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:
I have started saving old clay pots that are slightly cracked or just old, breaking a hole in the side at the top, turning them upside down, and placing them in the garden as frog/toad homes. I saw one that was special made, but cost $20, I am thinking I can make one with a new pot for $5.

Oh - I love that idea - I must go hunting for my old pots - I know I have some I can sacrifice! What an awesome idea, and my 8 year old would love that idea too! I'd love to hear/see my husbands reaction to my insistance that my sfg needs a water feature to encourage the toads and frogs to act as pesticides. He is so wonderfully tollerant - but does make the occasional comment - he does support my endevours 100% Smile

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  quiltbea on 2/1/2011, 10:34 am

FarmerValerie and Kiwi.....
I don't break up any pots for the toads.
I just lay a spare clay pot on its side under the leaves of a bush, like my hosta or bleeding heart (in a shady spot during the day's sunshine), wiggle it in a bit to anchor it and pull some grass and leaves to place inside for the toad to burrow under if needed.
There's cross-ventilation from the hole in the bottom and the open side, and I don't have to ruin a pot.
I love when I go into the garden and I've got a friendly toad hopping around for company.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FarmerValerie on 2/1/2011, 10:43 am

What a great idea!!!

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/26/2015, 11:39 am

Slugs, cabbage worms, SVB and now, for the first time ever, a raccoon!
Not sure what to do about Mr. Coon. Where there's one there will be many so Have a Heart is out. plus I don't think it's legal here. Any ideas for a good repellent that won't harm cats or other animals?

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  quiltbea on 4/26/2015, 12:09 pm

A good ole dog.

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Sorry to hear others have my sorrow

Post  Razed Bed on 4/26/2015, 3:23 pm

We too are plagued by raccoons.  They climb fences, tear through netting, dig better holes than I can, and they can even turn on your outdoor water faucets (and not have the decency to turn them off).

I was going to start a new post to relay what happened last night, when this one was high up on the latest topics.

To start out, we received yet another soaker rain after midnight, and thus it washed away our chosen form of pest control--essential oils.

There was a raccoon fight around 2 AM, waking us up when it sounded like two ladies screaming.  It sounded like maybe there is one less raccoon in our neighborhood today, but there are about 2 dozen fewer plants in our garden.  The fight must have been inside the fence where our summer and winter squash seedlings had emerged earlier in the week.  It looks like the raccoons dug up the entire area, and there was nary a plant left in evidence. 

They also dug up an area where watermelon and Malabar spinach had been planted.  The spinach is totally gone, while the watermelon had not yet sprouted and emerged, but more than likely many were dug up.

The hard part is that there are raccoon babies this time of year, so capturing a female raccoon means starvation deaths for the babies, because the mother raccoon hides them well so that other males don't come and kill them.

If you release a mother raccoon from a havahart cage, don't count on being able to capture her a second time, even if you use expensive salmon.  She won't be caught a second time. 

I am going to try the clay pot sharp shards thing later today when it isn't as wet.  We broke a large pot earlier this week, so now it may have a useful purpose.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/27/2015, 12:24 pm

Razed Bed, what will you be doing with the pot shards?  If spreading them, how will you have enough to cover you big sounding garden?  I wonder if upside down plastic forks stuck in the ground would work, too, like you can do for cats?

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  mapspringer on 4/27/2015, 2:37 pm

Hands down, but not your typical pest---- Bermuda grass! Evil or Very Mad

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  yolos on 4/27/2015, 2:49 pm

SVB and Aphids and Japanese Beetles and ..... (slugs I think this year but haven't been out in my PJ's to find them).

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  quiltbea on 4/27/2015, 6:19 pm

My worst pest every year is the Japanese beetle.  Its decimated my rose bushes year after year.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  Goosegirl on 4/27/2015, 6:32 pm

Uh, I would have to say me.   who?me? dangit  I am my garden's worst enemy, which should be a testament to the success of SFG considering my great 4 seasons of harvest!

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  FRED58 on 4/27/2015, 7:17 pm

Aside from my own brown thumb?

There were raccoons at my old place who thought my six rows of Peaches and Cream, Platinum Lady and Heirloom Golden Bantam was much better than the two hundred acres of cow corn behind me. They took every last cob just as it was going into tassel, then headed for the farmer's field for dessert.

Then there were the carrots. I thought I had a rabbit, eating all the carrots as they got finger sized. Then one evening I got home late from work and watched as my faithful beagle Pudge dug a whole row out and ate them dirt and all.

Now? Who knows? I have noticed lots of rabbits around, and the area is practically infested with deer.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  TCgardening on 4/27/2015, 8:54 pm

Funny, our Jack Russell used to love carrots also. She had the decency to wait until I dug them up.
After todays thunderstorm hail moves to the top of my list. We had golf ball sized hail (not Texas or Oklahoma sized), pretty much decimated the garden. Wind toppled a 35-40 ft pine tree also. That pine provided much needed shade and the birds loved it.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

Post  Goosegirl on 4/28/2015, 7:33 am

TC - Sorry to hear about the hail and wind damage! sobbing  Hopefully you will have time before it gets too hot to replant some things in the garden.  I know the tree will take more time.  Our replacement Maple sapling is only about 12 feet tall now, and will take another decade or so to even come close to replacing the beautiful 30 ft elm we lost to Dutch Elm Disease.

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What We Did & The Result

Post  Razed Bed on 4/28/2015, 12:01 pm

Yesterday afternoon, we took our broken clay  pots and dropped the bigger pieces to make dozens of sharp smaller pieces.  We placed them down the 60 foot section of fencing, the 10X2 raised bed, the 4x4 raised beds, and in most of the containers.

When we went out there at 6:30 this AM, the 10X2 raised bed had minor damage.  Apparently, the raccoons walked over the first part and then discovered that severe tire damage might occur.

The 60 foot section also had minor damage, but we believe it came from the robin that thinks our worm-rich soil is its refrigerator. 

The 4x4 section had no damage, but this section also had some predator urine still surrounding the square.

There was minimal damage in our containers, and this looked like squirrel/chipmunk work and not raccoons.

This morning, an unfamiliar cat appeared in the yard.  She could be feral, but we do not know.  She was hunting chipmunks, and she walked over the 4X4 garden on her attempt to catch breakfast.

That's the fortunes of living in a large metropolis on a large plot of land, with half of it wooded.  You get seclusion and beautiful scenery, but you get both wildlife and urban domestic animals too.  The thousands of new homes have made the forest-like areas in our hills into a nature preserve.

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Re: worst garden pest you have encountered?

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