Category Archives: Pest Control


It seemed like the tomatoes were green forever last summer, but I’d never have seen this lovely ladybug otherwise.

Ladybug Retouched


Could It Be Raccoons?

With the fishing line fence now approximately 7-1/2 ‘ high, it is unlikely that deer caused the damage three nights ago:  more tomato leaves nibbled, snap peas and a cosmos down to only a stalk. Surely, there would be some evidence of where a deer had landed if it had in fact, jumped the fence. Perhaps even some sign of hitting the top line, Continue reading

Crop Rotation

I know I am supposed to do this – not replant the tomatoes where they were last year. And, I do it and keep records. Plus I kind of know why – surely I read a better description of why when I first started gardening than I could offer off the top of my head.

So, while trolling through Pinterest, I found this cute little chart “Garden Crop Rotation – A Simple System” and with my new vow to only Pin valid information, I clicked through to find the original source.

I am happy to say the following:

  1. Original sourcing did exist
  2. It does look simple to follow
  3. The reasoning is good
  4. I learned something too!

Check it out – it explains much better than I could about the sequencing of the rotations. I am doing it on a three year rotation and have heard of complex plans for 7 years that I never bothered with.

What this plan explains so well is not only do the tomato-loving bugs (and the diseases that befall tomatoes) wake up next spring in bed where they can’t find tomatoes, but the sequence also utilizes soil nutrients as needed by particular plants and/or builds back soil depleted by the previous crops:

  • leaf needs nitrogen
  • fruit needs phosphorus but not too much nitrogen
  • root needs potassium and even less nitrogen than fruit
  • legumes resupply nitrogen for the leaf crops that follow

And so on…

It’s too late for me to do this for 2014 but I certainly plan to address it for next year.

Deer Proofing

Well, short of a 8′ fence surrounding Big Garden, the word “proofing” may be a misnomer.

Deer Provoking would likely be more accurate.

In the early years, I really had little problem with them. We’d see them in the yard, but they seemed unaware of my garden. Then, a couple of things happened that I attribute to changing my anonymous status:

  • We had a bad drought year and the thirsty critters discovered my tiger lilies near the pool and my hosta around the deck. I’d never seen deer this close to the house unless they were crossing the yard so their search parties must have been conducted at night
  • A new development went in across the street and some of their natural habitat was altered. It had always been my belief that there was so much for them to eat outside of my garden that they didn’t bother
  • I started growing okra and once they discovered those plants, they were hooked; young okra leaves must be deer crack

Over the years, I have tried a few things including sending my young boys out to take care of business (garden is too big around unless I fill then with a gallon of water a few hours ahead), hanging Irish Spring bars strategically (the soap went missing a week or so later and I actually thought the deer had eaten it in defiance before I found it nestled under melon leaves). I’ve tried a few different sprays and one did work fairly well. If you go this route, look for one that does NOT need to be reapplied after it rains.

Can’t remember the original source, but I have read that deer don’t like chives. One site suggests it is the smell – perhaps I should trim them when the okra are young so that garlicy-onion scent is pungent?

As the central diamond bed that has chives edging it has either needed to be divided or has offered volunteers, I have been edging the sides of the whole garden with chives. This year, I had enough to finish the right side and could get to the back if I did divide the original bed.

Of course, Donny scoffs at this and wants to grow his Better Boy tomato in an old 5 gallon bucket inside the pool fence. Now doesn’t that just sound attractive next to the Proven Winners and palms that I just paid good money for?

I did see a 42″ tall fencing kit with 16 poles and thought about ordering it, but it is really too short to deer proof, but $70 for a deterent isn’t too bad. I mentioned this to Donny who again laughed. He has other ideas, and being he is MacGyver reinvented, they may work.

So, aside from the chives, having a pool party of teen-aged boys, and the spray that worked well until last year, we are going to try a fishing line fence.

The theory of this is that the deer won’t see it but if they bump into several strands looping the garden at various heights they may move on.

My research says to try several systems and to switch them up. Saw a suggestion to make a tin can wind chime and that sounds fun. Didn’t find any on Pinterest so I’ll have to design my own – maybe spray paint the cans too?

I’ll let you know.

Boxwood Leafminers

Well, as it turned out, my talking boxwoods weren’t invested with garden fairies but with leafminers. Bummer. Two days later, the visual evidence was as strong as the audio – little yellow blisters were appearing on the leaves and the sound was even louder. Big bummer.

A quick call to a local nursery and a trip out to get the recommended spray and two sprays later, they are quiet but still look bad. How I wish it could have been the fairies!

May 7 – Oh, Deer!

Okay, I have spent most of the last 17 years without a problem, so if I sound grouchy now, realize, I have been fortunate until last summer. We live outside Cincinnati in area we thought was the COUNTRY once upon a time (mostly me, I sang Green Acres to Donny while househunting…). Despite the existence of deer all around us – at first, charming to see cross the yard, especially when the boys were little, we were left alone. There was and for the most part, still is, a LOT of cover and vegetation around for them, and I don’t think the population is huge. We only see 3-5 in the same trail ways, for the most part. But, last summer, they developed a taste for Okra plants (pre-bloom, never saw more than 10 pods despite 8 plants) and Heirloom Tomatoes. I came out one Saturday to harvest what I expected would be 30+ yummy, red globes only to find the plants stripped. I honestly suspected thieves, at first – so complete was their feast – no seeds were even left!
So, what to do? My two little boys tried to mark the territory for me but Big Garden is 35 x 45, roughly… Despite drinking lots of water, I just don’t think they have it in them to keep up. I tried tying up Irish Spring but found their tracks right nest to the soap – now, I either have germaphobic grazers or a nice place to wash my own hands after weeding.
Next on the list – I have read they don’t like the smell of onions etc – I am dividing the center herb garden of its 12 Chive plants in an attempt to create a mixed border on the 3 remaining (a perennial border runs across the "face" of  BG) open sides. I will mix this with my usual Marigolds and report back. Wish me luck – I really don’t want to have to learn archery…