Ypsi Cooks

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Varmints

Luckily at our home garden we haven’t had many pest problems. At our annex garden we have. My parents house is surrounded by a few hundred acres of woodlands for animals of all sorts to live in. Deer, raccoon, turkey, opossum, skunks, bugs, birds, it is all there. Last summer I watched a flock of wild turkey walk into the garden and hang out with the watermelons. They ate some bugs, enjoyed the freshly turned dirt and then left. A couple years ago we had pole beans decimated by deer, and last year had our corn ravaged by raccoons. They stripped the corn, took a bite and moved on to the next ear. Tomatoes at my parents are always hit hard by tomato bugs. We are always looking for ways to keep animals away from the food we plant.

I also understand that some will be given to the animals. I see it as a tithe, but I am not willing to loose it all.

What we have tried so far:

  • Fishing Line: WORKS. Last year to keep deer out of the garden we used fishing line strung at about waist height around the garden. The idea is that deer will jump over a fence, but if they can’t see it they get easily spooked and go the other way. So far it seems to have worked.
  • Plant prickly plants: MAYBE WORKS. We attempted the Three Sisters method for some of our corn. It worked OK, but was a pain to plant and maintain. The beans overwhelmed the corn dragging the stalks down, and it was difficult to move around the squash. Unbeknownst to me raccoon don’t like prickly things (like corn and squash) and will avoid them. Looking back the Three Sisters plantings of corn we not hit by raccoons like the corn by it’s self.
  • Relocation: WORKS. After our first year of serious gardening we noticed that tomatoes and eggplant did better at our house than my parents. We have yet to have a tomato bug, and my parents have tons. So we planted them all at our house. It worked great. This isn’t an option for everyone, but has worked for us.

What I am thinking changing this year:

  • Surround the corn with barbed wire…I mean beans and squash. I am fine with squash roaming in the corn, especially if it is playing a role as a defender.
  • Marigolds as a bug deterrent.

The other threat to the garden are weeds, but that is another post for another time.

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