Joe Portale

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since Oct 17, 2013
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Tucson, AZ Zone 9A
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Recent posts by Joe Portale

Hi folks.  My wife is telling me I am obsessing, but my artichokes are runts.  They are Green Globe variety and should be at least 3-4 feet high by now.  They (6) are only about 10".  The outer leaves look good, then a new set will start in the center, the outer drop dead.  The plants get good sun, good water and are fed with an organic seaweed fertilizer once a month.  These were started from seeds that came from different packs, not sure about the lot numbers.

Anyone want to venture a guess at what is going on?
I am a believer that God gave us everything we need and for most things we can get by naturally. However as a cancer survivor, I can say that there really is no easy way out from the Big C. Trust that the universe gave some folks the brains to figure out treatments and go with that. There are way too much hokum to trust your life on. Just ask Steve Jobs. He had a very curable form of pancreatic cancer and took the alternative route and he died.
9 years ago
The culprits are/were squirrels. So far three have met an untimely end. One fell in a half full rain barrel, another got whacked by a car in front of our house and the third was presented to us as a prize by our Golden Retriever. There is a fourth still out there. I surrounded the Mulberry saplings with tomato cages and fine chicken wire. This seems to be keeping the marauders at bay. The little trees are popping new leaves, so hopefully things will work out. Now if I can keep my wife from feeding the last squirrel who she believes must be lonely with his sibling gone.
9 years ago
There is a family of squirrels using the back end of my yard as their barracks. The dogs are constantly going after them and tearing up the decking and around the fence going after them. So far, the little tree rats have stayed one step ahead of the dogs, but sooner or later their luck will run out.
9 years ago

Dominik Riva wrote:Well, I have no clue about the ecology of your region but none the less I'm willing to take a crap shot at this mystery and suggest: locusts

Regards,
Dominik



Hi Dominik,

Sweden, huh? I live in Tucson, Arizona. It is Zone 9A and we are a considered a high desert.
9 years ago
Well, this really has been a hard year in the garden so far. First the the heat and wind dried everything out faster than I could replenish the water. Next came the Great Bunny Apocalypse where hordes of the fuzz balls tore up almost everything in sight. My blackberries decided they did not want to live anymore and just keeled over. Now something ate the crap out of my 2 3' Mulberry Tree saplings. All the leaves and some of the smaller branches are just gone...poof! The trees had leaves when we went to work, then in the 10 hours, we were gone, naked trees. Now the trees look like naked sticks in their pots. I have ruled out javalina or deer. No tracks, or other sign that it was them, plus deer do not come into the city. Javalinas would leave signs plus the flower beds were not touched. There is a bunch of rock squirrels near by, but there was no enough damage to have been those guys. No bugs that I can see. Plus it happened during the day. Anyone have any ideas? Oh, I'm in Tucson, AZ
9 years ago

Dave Redvalley wrote:I've had good success by placing a clear glass bowl over the entrance to the nest at night. With the clear glass the hornets don't bother to try to dig their way out and they just sit in there all day and die. It usually only takes a few days and the nest is wiped out. I will generally leave them alone as well, but (in the words of Seinfeld)"I am the master of my domain" and if they cause problems they must go!



That is a slick idea. Next time there is a troublesome hornets nest where it should be, I will try that.
9 years ago
I agree about living and let live. However things that are poisonous, aggressive or just plan hurt like hell need to stay on their side of the plot or face my wrath. Hornets get aggressive and attack for almost no reason at all. Bad tempered things. When I was in the service stationed in S. Korea and a short stint in Japan I seen those giant hornets. Those things ware just pure evil with compound eyes. To make matters worse they get as big as 3 or 4 inches. They were big enough that we would shoot them for target practice.
9 years ago
This is no answer, but if you kill off the ants you may get some unintended consequences. A number of years ago we were just under siege from red ants on our property, mainly in the back yard. There were enough mounds that the back yard looked like a moon scape. Those little buggers were getting into everything. To make matters worse, my wife and toddler nephew would come in the house after trying to play in the yard bitten to hell. The ants never bothered me probably because they knew they were not intimidating me. Anyway, it came down to a decision between my wife or the ants. So, I mixed up sugar and borax and destroyed every colony. Within 3 months, we started finding termite tunnels all over the place. They were up the wood fences, the firewood pile, up the side of the house, all over some cardboard we were saving for the raised beds, it was a termite apocalypse. It seems the ants were keeping the termites in check. By removing them, the termites had no natural enemy to keep them in balance. Now we only mess with ant hills that are close to the house. The rest can go about their business chomping on termites. Oh, by the way. A squadron of Ant Lions have taken up residence now so they seem to be keeping the red ant population to manageable levels.
9 years ago
Here is a good video with a different how to.

http://youtu.be/XF42nrZvb-g
9 years ago