My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

You can do what with what?

freeking outSo……I watching this show on Netflix called Man and Beast……where poor natives in Asia use cow urine as an insect repellent….

But as a medical professional, I know that pee is pee, generally sterile, unless the patient is sick…………..

And I’m thinking: How cheap is that? ………….

Yet, as a gardener and a dog owner, I know that too much urine in one spot is a plant killer……………

But I am always interested in self-sufficiency……….just in case the SHTF and the stores close ………..

So……….It looks like another experiment is on the horizon………..

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Low Tech Stink Bug Catcher

Introducing low-tech stink bug catcher……….

$29.95……….or you could just get your own Popsicle stick and piece of tape……..

This is duck tape…..think I’ll try packing tape next……

stink on a stick

stink on a stick

Either way, it does work better if the tape is tight on the stick, especially when you’re weaving it in-and-out of the leaves on the plant.

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Cabbage White Butterflies

So, I finally found out what those white butterflies are: Cabbage Whites. They are the first butterflies that I see in the spring and they persist all through the growing season. Cabbage White Info.

cabbage white

cabbage white

At the same time I found out what they are, I also found out why I do not consider them a problem in my garden. It’s because I do not kill wasps—unless a wasp has the nerve to build a nest in my door jam or under my patio rocker—and wasps eat Cabbage White larvae.

Also, I’ve noticed that birds like to eat the butterflies. So, if you do have a problem with Cabbage White, I suggest putting out some birdseed. Just enough to keep the birds interested in your yard. Usually, I only put the birdseed out in the winter…but I could extend that.

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Lettuce and Slugs

definitely homemade shelf

definitely homemade shelf

Okay, hang with me here.  This is about gardening in the end.  Recently I had to buy a new stove.  (Took some doing to find one that did not have Made in China on the side of the box.)  The new stove did not have a flat top, so I had to make a custom sized spice rack. (One thing leads to another, right?)  I did not want just a boring wood look, so I antiqued the wood. First, I cut all the piece to fit, then I shaved off all the sharp edges that would show, even taking the ax to it. Then I sanded it to prevent splinters. Then I used a rasp with 4 different patterns and tapped it over the wood.  Then I stained it, getting extra stain in the cracks. Then I hung it.  Nice. Looks like its been hanging there since 1950.

And that got me to thinking about LETTUCE….

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Battles to save Big T

Assissan Bug

Assissan Bug

The heat is on…   So, I’ve got all the tomatoes pruned off my indeterminate and stellar tomato plant.  My goal now is just to keep the plant alive until the weather cools again.  And that’s all about watering.

It has been an epic battle.

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Wet and Humid = Fungus

powder mildew

powder mildew

Early/ Late Blight are fungal diseases that affect plants in the nightshade family: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and others.  Blight appears during periods of high humidity or rainfall.  Darks brown/black spots appear and are then encircled by yellow.

Black spot is a “soil borne’ fungi or bacteria.

Powder Mildew, (blanket name for many species of fungi) is a fungal spore spread by wind and over-wintering in plants and in plant debris.

Yellow Leaf can be caused by lack of sunshine, water and/or nitrogen.  If the bottom leaves turn yellow and the problem continues toward the top of the plant–particularly in the cabbage/ broccoli family– the plants need high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer of blood meal.  Blood Meal is a quick nitrogen fix for yellowing leaves.   Or it can be caused by fungi or bacteria.  If you eliminate the questions of sunshine, water and nitrogen, it is safe to assume fungi or bacteria are the real problem.

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Kill Voles without Baiting the trap

 

Or you can bait a mouse trap with apples and peanut butter, but you still need to cover the traps with a bucket.  

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Ant Killer Update

bigger stick

bigger stick

I had a terrible thought last night when I went to bed:  What if a hummingbird took a sip of my sweet, yet deadly formula.  It would devastate me to kill a hummingbird.  So I went back to the store-bought bait traps for ants.  And I noticed that they have a twisty-turny neck design.  Almost like a ‘W’

The bottle that I showed you yesterday is now sitting inside an old suet basket.  I updated the picture on the previous post.

Also, I found another bottle with a really long neck, and I put a stick in it that’s big enough to keep hummingbirds out, but yet allows just enough room for an ant to get in.  Hummingbirds might have long beaks, but they’re not that long and they can’t bend.

But I might just be over-thinking this thing.  I should just refill the store-bought traps with my formula when they get empty.  That’ll work, until the plastic springs a leak.  Or until I can find something with a twisty-turny neck.

Perhaps, I’m being too cheap about this whole thing.  If you look up the word penny-pincher in the dictionary, it’ll have my picture beside it.

 

 

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Ants are 4ever

Suet basket keeps hummingbirds out of poison

Suet basket keeps hummingbirds out of poison

So everybody knows that aphids and ants have a symbiotic relationship.  There are plenty of good bugs out there that would eat the aphids, but they are not going to mess with the aphids while the ants are defending them.  So one must get rid of the ants to get rid of the aphids.

I bought some ant traps at HD and clipped the traps to my steal mesh supports, sort of behind the bean plant and in the shade.  Day two I saw ants crawling in and out of the trap.  Day three I saw only a few ants on the plants.  All well and good.  However, there are a few ant survivors and that’s enough to start a new colony.  Turn around twice and bam I’ve got ants again, and the traps are all dried up.  

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Tomcat and the Voles

catTomcat was no sissy house cat.  He was a cat of the variety that used to hang around my grandfather’s barn.  As children we knew that some of these cats could be played with and some could not.  Tomcat was one of the latter.

He showed up on my doorstep, skinny and wounded, about three years ago.  I managed to peroxide his wounds whilst he munched on kibbles and bits, and I was ready to jump in any direction.  He recovered.  After a few months of pow-wowing, I said:  If you’re going to hang around here, then you’re going to have to have rabies shots and some de-worming...and ear mite meds too.  And, completely covered in protective gear, I managed to ease/slam him in a cage.  I have never heard such hissing as I did while we motored down to the vet’s.  I don’t think he ever forgave me for that.

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