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Carnage in the garden!


Last night my organically grown sweet corn crop was attacked by what appears to be raccoons. We had a little rain and the foot prints around the area look like raccoon prints. The corn crop was ransacked!

Looks like I will be keeping my “buddy” with me on the patio from now on:

My “buddy” is a semi-auto .22 rifle that will surely “ruin the day” of any animal that wants to feed on my plants. {grin}

It looks like I have only 5 surviving sweet corn plants left out of about 18..
Pity… I was hoping to grille some of that sweet corn.. :-(((

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oh N2 how awful for you, and I moan about the pesky rabbits!
I know very little about racoons-- they climb? so fencing not an option?

30 Jun, 2010


something got my sympathies.

30 Jun, 2010


What a b*mmer N2 ... so frustrating. Racoons are one pest we don't have!

30 Jun, 2010


Lauram, something also got my prized potted "Cherry tomato plant".
Leaves and blooms had started disappearing and it was not a case of "early blight" that is common to all tomato plants.
After a close inspection I found 2 big green colored caterpillars that blended with the plant's branches so well that I overlooked them. They had been eating leaves and branches. I knocked them off of the plant and squished them, but a lot of damage had been done. Look at your tomatoes carefully for any intruders!
Hope this helps and best of luck with the tomato crop!

3 Jul, 2010


Wonder if it's the same big green caterpillar that ate my eggplant - I'll post a photo.

3 Jul, 2010


I found what turned out to be a really tiny green caterpillar on a young cucumber -- I thought it was a fleck of leaf and brushed it off when it promptly curled into a ball,-- there were some eggs as well so i wiped it down but now its growing you can see the marks where this tiny thing had been chewing the skin!

4 Jul, 2010


Often a water spray nozzle directed at certain plants will dislodge pests.
An alternate method is to dust the plant lightly with Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous earth can be applied in a variety of ways. To use for flea and tick control, apply a light dusting over the lawn, in dog runs, around pet bedding or favorite resting spots. The diatoms grow in freshwater lakes or quiet salt water bays or estuaries, either as individual cells or in long strands that float in the water. They absorb dissolved silica (silicon dioxide) from the water to produce their shells. Almost universally, the source of this silica is volcanic ash which falls into the water and partially dissolves. When the silica is depleted, the diatoms die and their shells fall to the bottom of the lake or bay, building up layers of microscopic fossil shells interbedded with layers of volcanic ash and occasionally with layers of limestone, clay or salt. Another algae bloom develops after the next volcanic eruption, and the process repeats. The resulting deposit is called diatomite (Quarles 1992a; Cummins 1975). Only uncalcined (not heated to high temperatures) DE is suitable for use as an insecticide, as calcining reduces its effectiveness and increases crystalline silica content significantly. Calcined products are typically used for filtration (Quarles 1992a). Since DE is dusty and abrasive, it can cause lung damage if breathed heavily. Remember, however, that breathing any dusty material can be dangerous. Be sure to wear a dust mask if applying with a dry blower. Mixing into a water spray eliminates most of these problems. DE will not hurt earthworms or beneficial soil microorganisms. Diatomaceous earth is one of the few pesticides in the world classified as non-toxic although I’m not real comfortable with that classification. I think anything can be toxic if overused or misused. Fresh water DE that has less than 2% crystalline silica dioxide is the safest and best choice.

DE makes a very effective natural insecticide. The insecticidal quality of DE is due to its absorptive properties. When DE comes in contact with the insects, the powdery DE absorbs the body fluids causing death from dehydration. Said more simply, DE kills insects by drying ‘em up. You will see how drying DE as if you handle it with bare hands.

The best way to apply the dust over a large area is with a light weight apparatus such as Dustin’ Mizer, Spritzer or other similar blowers. Applying by hand can be done but wastes a lot of material and will dry your skin. To apply with water, mix ¼ cup of DE in a gallon of water and apply to the lawn and/or shrubs where pest problems exist. The Soil Mender Products, are the one I recommend and comes in its own applicator puffer.

The wet spray method does work but only after the liquid has dried. Mix from 1-4 tablespoons DE per gallon of water and spray on the lawn, shrubs, tree trunks and building foundations. When the mixture dries, it has the same dehydrating powers as the original dry dust. When sprayed wet the material covers the foliage and other surfaces better than dusting dry, thus giving better insect control. It seems to last longer when applied wet but the dry application is usually more effective at killing insects quickly. DE has no insect killing power while it is wet.

Only pure feed-grade DE should be used to feed animals. There is no residual danger or contamination, in fact, DE is actually beneficial to the soil. It’s loaded with trace minerals. However, there are a few precautions. Diatomaceous earth is very dusty and can cause lung problems if breathed heavily, so when applying it dry always wear a good dust mask or stand up wind. The second precaution is that DE sold for swimming pool filters is ineffective for insect control because it has been heated and chemically treated. Much of the surface area has been removed and it’s more dangerous to breath in this form. Finally, DE will kill beneficial insects too, so use it sparingly to kill problem infestations of harmful insects and don’t use it too often. Some people would have you believe that DE is untested, unlabeled and therefore unsafe for use. That’s just one of the feeble arguments left to the organiphobes.


11 Jul, 2010


DE is the best for fleas - living in my hot and humid climate we do have major flea problems. Since spreading it on my floors weeks ago I haven't seen a single flea.

11 Jul, 2010


That's GREAT Lauram!
I use it to control chiggers in Bermuda grass..

12 Jul, 2010

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