Funny thing, my neighbor who is about 200 yards away uses chemical cides and fertilizers every year, the deer and birds decimate his garden and blueberries. One year he told me the deer came through one night and ate all the leaves off of his green bean plants, the next night they come through and ate the beans.
I often see deer tracks in and around our garden but they never destroy anything and eat very little, if any. Same with raccoons, although one year they did destroy our corn patch. I do notice birds in the blueberries but there is always plenty for us to pick.
Some have suggested we don't have problems with these critters because we have dogs, my neighbor also has dogs so I'm not sure this is it. My friend Tony who lives with us and is the primary caretaker of the garden now, suggest that it is because we are all natural and we send good vibes to the critters. We really don't mind the critters having a snack as they pass through.
Interested on what your thoughts on this are and if you have similar experiences.
strange about the japanese beetles for you . I have tons of them here. They swarm late in the year over the fescue but they never touch my garden. I have found that if I use my trusty dust buster diligently to suck up squash and potato beetles early in the year I can back off a little and it isn't a problem later.
some things I have noticed.
Gardens in urban areas have many more pest problems. I think it is due too a disturbance of natural predator prey populations as well as more enviromental contamination of the soil and air and the higher likelihood of gardeners to use chemical fertilizers.
Although many people appreciate the aesthetic qualities of neat little rows of plants they really do much better if they are randomly planted in the garden. Pests and diseases have a more difficult time moving through the garden to desimate it. This makes it a bit less efficent as far as grouping similiar plants with similiar needs but with a little thought your "random" planting can have some logical pattern that incorporates both schools of thought.
Any time you choose to plant alot of anything you are offsetting the balance of the garden and inviting a particular pest(s) to flourish by providing and over ubandance of their favorite food and likely an increase in their populations the following year. variety is your gardens friend.
Pests have a cycle covering years just like other animals such as deer. populations surge in years of abundance, begin to fail when population outnumber resources (this is when they become destructive) and level off again for a while. This is another reason why it is important to have a variety of plants in your garden.
people who really depend on the garden for sustenance (as in can't go out and replace desimated crops with store bought items) are a little more lenient in the pesticide department. thoughtful sustenance gardeners search for the root of the problem to fix it but in the mean time do what they have to do to feed their family and I withold judgment in those situations. do the best you can imo.
It talks about balanced ecosystems having no pest problems.
i had these tomato plants that were not getting touched by the deer. day by day they would walk by it, to this point i did not feed the plant, water it, anything. to see if i was crazy or not i got some seaweed fertilizer from a friend, sprayed it good like most people would. and guess what? within days they nubbed that plant down to stubs. and continued to do so until the season was over.
wild fruit trees also give signs for this, everyone around here who plants and cares for the fruit trees as modern people would all have deer problems, everything is eaten up to deer height unless you have a nice big fence. yet there are dozens of wild fruit trees around here, where the leaves and branches go all the way to the ground, fruit on the ground, and they do not touch them.
i have seen this with more than just deer.
There are others, however, like the green vegetable bug (an emerald green shield bug), that are introduced and have no predators. These creatures can and do destroy crops. I can't see a way to manage such pests without some form of intervention. I'm sure that eventually a suitable predator will emerge but that's unlikely to happen in my lifetime. In the mean time, I want my tomatoes and (dry) beans, both favourites of this little green insect.
IMHO the biggest mistake you can make is to keep your garden 100% weed free. What might be a weed to you could be home sweet home to a predator. My plants usually do fine so long as the weeds don't deprive them of sunlight. In a healthy soil there is plenty of nutrition to support a few weeds along with your edibles. The nutrition they do use goes back into the soil as compost anyway.
This can be true. "Weeds" like dandelion are a good food, and flower for insect friends (who battle foes). I interplant a short-statured buckwheat in between lettuce gardens to attract a myriad of wasps (I've seen at least 10 different species) to sting and control lettuce moths/worms. If you see little white 'flags' on the back of a catapillar you know that a insectivorous wasp has landed ship and planted eggs in it. Natural pest control at it's finest.
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