Friday, April 29, 2011

Garden Pest Control

Pest Control is a big problem in our backyard. Our garden has a cover to keep them out. If it's not covered, the squirrels will bury their nuts there. While doing so, they unintentionally dig up all our plants. Before moving to Virginia, when I thought of pests, mosquitos and the occasional mouse came to mind. Here, in addition to the squirrels, we have roaming cats, wild turkeys, raccoons, and possums, to name just a few. We found this possum in our backyard the other day. It was a mama carrying all of her babies with her. Yes, that's a fence she had to climb over because she couldn't fit between the slats!

I asked my Dad, who grew up on a farm, how they got rid of farm pests. He said they just got out the shot gun. He said gofers were a big problem on the farm, so they would pour water down the holes and wait until they came out. Then the dog would grab them. These might have worked in 1940's Montana, but I'm not sure if the neighbors would appreciate it now.

Now that we have expanded our garden to the deck, we have taken some extra precautions. Your course of action will depend on the types of pests you are trying to manage. Last year, I am pretty sure that a neighbor's cat was using one of our planters as their kitty litter box. Well, watch out neighbor cat. We are ready for you this year! 

One great addition is our new tin man scarecrow (this needs to be taken in when it rains). I know this method has been replaced by sound systems and other things on big farms. But it still works on a small scale, so we are going to try to scare off a few creatures with it.

We also have a watering can 
with really big eyes.

Here are some additional pest management ideas from the Department of Agriculture. The USDA also funds local Cooperative Extension Offices at universities around the country to provide information specific to those areas. These are a great resource for information on a wide variety of agricultural and landscaping topics, as well as offering free or inexpensive services such as soil testing, classes, and professional consultation.

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