Local Farmers Almanac
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Invisible Fencing To
Keep Deer Away
Many people in Moore County have problems with deer eating their shubbery and gardens. If you have this trouble and don’t want a visual barrier, you can try this fencing idea. You can give new meaning to the words “invisible fencing” by stringing fishing line between corner posts. It’s a lot cheaper than a real fence and it’s practically invisible.
The first thing you need to do is place posts around your garden or yard no more than 10 feet apart. To create the fence, stretch 30-lb to 50-lb test monofilament fishing line between the posts, wrapping it tight around each post to keep it from bowing. Make 3 rows of of fishing line: one about 1 foot above the ground, another about 1 1/2 feet above the first and a third row 2 1/2 feet above the second row. You can camouflage the posts by planting climbing flowers at their feet in the summer and perhaps in the winter buy some potted trees you can plan to plant elsewhere in the spring.
The deer should be frightened away when they hit this barrier that they cannot see. Keep in mind if the deer are truly hungry they may still break through.. .but in Moore County our yards and gardens are really just like fast food to the deer - readily and easily available. For the most part if you just make it a little less convenient, they will go elsewhere.
Natural Recipes For A
Pest Free Garden
ALL PURPOSE INSECT SPRAY
Use as a spray wherever insects are causing a problem
1 garlic bulb, finely chopped
1 qt water
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tblsp cayenne pepper
1 Tblsp liquid hand soap
Combine first 4 ingredients together and steep for an hour. Then add liquid soap. Can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to a week.
ANIMAL REPELLENT SPRAYS
To be used as a spray on plants and yard areas where cats, dogs or squirrels are causing a problem.
2 parts cayenne powder
3 parts dry mustard powder
5 parts flour
Sufficient water to make a spray
1 garlic bulb, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 quart water
1/2 oz Tabasco sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 pint water
Dash of dish soap
Effective Slug &
Slugs and snails live in shady corners of your garden. They thrive in poorly drained shady areas, under thick foliage or groundcover. Slugs and snails avoid strong sunlight because it will literally dry them out. During the day, they often hide under large stones or leaves, household garbage or in improperly composted yard waste.
Snails lay eggs in the fall and these eggs hatch the following spring. Therefore you can expect extra snail problems after a mild winter when frost hasn’t had a chance to affect the snail eggs. On the other hand, slugs lay their eggs in summer and they hatch after only three weeks. A wet spring can cause the number of slugs to increase enormously.
If you find large, irregular shaped holes on the stems, leaves or petals of your plants that appear overnight, slugs and snails are probably the culprits. They also leave slimy trails on paving stones. If you see tell-tale eggs that look like pearls, destoy them. The key to keeping your garden safe from these destructive pests is to control them.
As with almost all garden pests you can choose from a range of chemical, biological and natural methods. The type of method you choose will depend on how serious you feel like the problem is in your garden. Always start by clearing the ground. Rake away leaves and do not leave equipment or empty pots around - they provide a nesting ground. You can make a barrier around plants, such as Hostas, that are known to attract snails and slugs.
Place a ring of egg shells, twigs or ash around the plant. Slugs and snails cannot move across such rough materials. You can provide an alternative “bait” by placing half an orange or grapefruit on the ground. It will atract snails so you can pick them up and dispose of them. Placing a bowl or saucer of beer or lemonade makes an effective trap for slugs that drowns them. Lastly, encourage frogs, thrushes and blackbirds into your garden as they feed on slugs and snails.
Effective chemical control includes slug pellets or granules. Sprinkle the pellets around the plants and under the foliage. They do not work when wet so try to choose a dry period. If it rains within 48 hours of applying then you will need to repeat the process. In addition you will need to use caution if you have pets or young children as this may harm them as well as birds and some beneficial ground beetles.
What To Do When
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects about the size of a grain of rice. Aphids suck the juices of the soft and fleshy new growth of a plant. Aphids are easy to detect and just as easy to control with a few simple measures.
You can usually find aphids in your garden by checking newly formed leaves and buds. Distorted yellow leaves with a grayish cast are sure signs of this pest. Turn over a damaged leaf and you are likely to find a small cluster of aphids. They also leave a sticky coating on the leaves from an excretion called “honeydew”.
If you find aphids act quickly to get rid of them. Fortunately there are several natural ways that are quite effective. You can elect to destroy them by hand simply rub an infested leaf between your thumb and forefinger, being careful not to damage the plant’s leaf. You can introduce natural enemies such as ladybugs or lacewings. They are beneficial insects that feed on aphids and are sold by some nurseries. Another effective option is to wash them away using an insecticidal soap and warm water. Aphids are attracted to the color yellow. You can set out a yellow bowl filled with soapy water to lead aphids away from your plants.
You can also fight aphids with insecticides, however you should avoid using insecticides on fruit trees or vegetables during growth or harvest times. There are two types of chemical insecticides for aphid control. Systemic insecticides are usually applied in early spring and work inside the plant. When aphids suck the sap, they quickly die from the insecticides. Contact insecticides are directly applied to the pests, killing them on contact.
An interesting fact is controlling your ant population may also help you avoid aphids. Ants rub the bellies of aphids causing them to excrete honeydew, which the ants eat. If you find ants herding aphids in your garden, set out ant traps. You should also destroy any ant hills you find near your garden.
|Avoiding Powdery Mildew Damage To Your Plants|
Powdery mildew is a disease caused by many different types of fungi. It first appears as a white or gray powdery coating on the surfaces of plants such as Zinnias and Begonias. The disease may distort the leaves, turning them yellow or brown before they eventually fall off the plant. The fungus spreads by spores that are carried by the wind, or through physical contact. Unlike other fungal diseases, powdery mildew develops in dry weather, although it is more severe in wet weather.
Powdery mildew is most active on plants from mid-spring to early fall. It thrives in areas with warm, humid climates (like the Sandhills!). Shady damp areas in the garden are particularly susceptible. Look for the disease in places where sunshine is blocked by trees, buildings or fences and where soil drains poorly.
A few simple precautions can protect your plants from powdery mildew damage. Limit cool, damp conditions. Improve drainage and prune to allow effective air circulation. Water in the morning instead of the evening. Rake up and remove plant debris that can harbor fungal spores. Locate sensitive plants such as Roses and Lilacs in sunny dry sites. Simply remove plants that experience serious mildew attacks.
As a last resort you can spray with fungicides such as Benomyl and triadimefon. Spray carefully, being sure to reach underneath the leaves, Do not apply chemicals on windy days or when rain is expected. Always read fungicide labels carefully before use.
Sage has a captivating aroma, which combined with it’s spicy, interesting foliage and lovely blooms make it a perfect addition to flower beds, borders or kitchen container gardens. Many Sage plants bear flowers in color ranging from blue to scarlet. These dainty blooms are luminous against the herb’s foliage. Most Sage plants grow gray-green foliage and many varieties keep their leaves in winter making them attractive cold weather bedding plants. In addition this herb can thrive in poor soil conditions and during hot weather in drought like conditions.
When buying your Sage plants look for sturdy plants with multiple stems. Avoid plants that are tall and gangly. Plant in full sun. Sage prefers an abundance of sun and thrives under blazing sun in exposed areas. It does need well-drained soil, although it does not seem to matter if the soil is acidic or alkaline. Sage is relatively pest free so don’t plan on using pesticides - especially if you plan on eating the edible flowers. Whitefly nymphs can attack the Sage seedlings so check for this pest when you buy your plants. Simply wash them off and bring ladybugs or lacewings into your garden to devour these pests.
To harvest, cut leaves as you need them. For drying, cut 5-6 inch off stalks when in bloom and dry them on a screen in a shady, well ventilated area. Let them dry slowly to prevent mold and store in airtight jars. If you cut off the flower spikes for drying while the Sage is in bloom this will encourage a second set of blooms. In late summer you can cut several branches for cooking in the winter. Tie a bunch of branches together and hang upside down in your kitchen for a delicate fragrance.
You can plant Sage near Cabbage to repel cabbage moths and next to Carrot plants to inhibit carrot flies. Do NOT plant near Cucumbers or flower beds as Sage will hinder their growth. Since Sage is also a natural tick repellent it should prove to be very popular with gardeners in the Sandhills who’s family members include cats and dogs!
Add A Pinch
Rosemary is as well suited for a fragrant hedge as it is for a kitchen container garden. There are two basic forms of Rosemary: upright and creeping. Both feature evergreen, needle-like leaves that smell strongly of pine when pinched. Most varieties also offer delicate flowers, ranging in color from pale blue to white. The upright varieties grow in the form of a shrub and can be used as a wonderful fragrant evergreen hedge. Creeping Rosemary is well suited for hanging baskets or even as a ground cover in your garden.
When buying new plants look for strong stems and supple leaves. Avoid straggly plants. You will be happier if you choose plants that are pliable with evenly spaced leaves. Rosemary needs lots of sun and well-drained soil. Too much moisture will cause root rot and your plant will turn yellow and wilt. To prevent this add fine gravel or compost to your soil in the garden or container. This will provide good air circulation.
Harvest foliage as needed. Pull off the leaves or pinch off 1 to 2 inch of a stem to help the plant become bushier. You can cut sprigs of Rosemary and freeze whole for future use. Frozen Rosemary has a stronger flavor than fresh. Never harvest more than 20 percent of a Rosemary plant at any one time or you may injure or even kill it. In addition the flowers are edible. Their flavor is more subtle than the leaves and can provide an attractive garnish for meat, vegetables and salads.
In the fall you can choose to dig up your Rosemary plants and replant them in large pots and move them indoors for the winter. Plants grown indoors are susceptible to mealy bugs. They are white insects that look like tiny fluffs of cotton clinging to the stems. If this happens simply pick them off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Rosemary can be a great addition to your garden - whether indoors or outside. It is a zesty, fragrant, flowering herb that can be used and enjoyed all year long.