m c nestor

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since Mar 14, 2017
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Recent posts by m c nestor

Our lawn in the house where I grew up was largely white clover and lawn daisies. We lived in Ohio and so drought was seldom a problem. It held up to up to twenty children running on it over many years. We even rode our bikes on it. We live in Virginia now and, again, we have white clover in the lawn. I planted a patch to have a small lawn in the back last year but it was completely taken over by some grass (not Bermuda). I turned the later under and planted my garden there this year with a smaller patch on clover in a center circle. I need more room for vegetables so I turned it under and now have my cabbages planted there. The garden is doing spectacularly.  I planning on planting crimson and red clovers on new beds this fall. My niece, who has an organic farm, does this on a large scale and mows it down in late spring in time to plant more crops. It's a beautiful sight to see.
2 years ago
When I have mint where I don't  want it, I just dig or pull it up. I have to be vigilant to remove the "resprouts" but , eventually, I have success. I find oregano much more invasive than mint as it propagates by seed. It becomes a lawn cover in just a few years.
I, also, find that mint is very beneficial in my garden and I usually give it free rein. It protects my cabbages, etc. It bolsters my tomatoes and it makes lovely tea. I have a wide range of varieties planted throughout the gardens. It is also great for Indian or Middle Eastern dishes. I don't see it as invasive, I see it as a gap filler.
2 years ago
We had a pond dug on a previous property. The frogs and snapping turtles moved in about day one. We bought fish (bass and bluegill) to stock it. They (fish) and the turtles ate them fairly quickly until we were down to a handful and finally one. The pond was spring-fed and the overflow went into the stream. We never had mosquitoes but that might have been due to the bats in the evening and barn swallows in the day. We are always careful about standing water that could become host to mosquito larvae.
2 years ago
I've never met a plant that a deer wouldn't eat. In drought years they have come right up to the kitchen garden and eaten the potato plants. Before I knew better, I planted a small orchard and they had it eaten down to the ground within a week. They have pulled the peanut plants right up from the ground and eaten leaves, stems, roots and peanuts. They are not my friends.
My niece, who now runs her own organic farm, did an internship at a farm in NC about 10 years ago and I had a chance to visit her. The owners had plant tall thickets as hedges and were successful in keeping the deer out of the gardens. The idea is that a deer will not jump over something if they can't see what's on the other side. I'm currently trying to grow my own hedges with thorny plants such as rosa rugosa, holly and black berries.
2 years ago
I've heard it said most of my life that the best rodent control is a good lid on a trash can. That being said, my first dog was a rat terrier and I've never seen anything better in action when it came to protecting the garden and property from unwanted guests. We named him, "Scarecrow". More recently, we had a male tuxedo cat that was the best mouser ever. Making a decision to not eradicate snakes also helped. Eventually, the right kind of predators seem to show up to do their job. I'm not shy about chasing down something with a maul or a mower either. The best defense is the first mentioned.
After prohibition when the distilleries were starting up again in Kentucky they drew a lot of rats to the area (Nelson County). They moved in cattle to eat the mash and so the rats infested every farm in the area. My father (a boy of ten or twelve) saved up his chore money and purchased a twenty-two. He proceeded to make 10 cents for each rat killed from all the neighboring farmers. Dad always claimed that king snakes were the best predators to keep in a barn. He never convinced his father of that. Most people share a great fear of snakes of all sizes and colors.
The best story of Dad and his brothers was the summer their mother noticed blood all over her kitchen knives. She was taking a bucket to the other side of the barn when she discovered three of her sons in possession of those knives. They had baited a hole and were spearing the rats as they came out. It was that they just put the knives back "as is" that she couldn't forgive.
2 years ago
Years ago, when the children were young and we were still in Ohio, we visited an Amish family (friends) that had moved two counties away. They had had a large pond dug for the purpose of harvesting ice in the winter. The ice/spring house was on the edge house-ward. Noah (the father) had managed to extricate the freezer section of an old refrigerator, minus Freon, and had  slipped it into the cinder block wall. He planned on keeping his milk, etc. there when it was cold.
When we moved to Virginia we had three acres and the old spring house was still standing. The original owners sold milk from their cows and would keep it cold by flooding the storage area. It finally caved into itself and only the frogs and copperheads made any use of it.
2 years ago
My husband in his helpfulness put about a foot or more of hardwood wood chip mulch around my fig trees last fall when I wasn't looking. When I started moving some of it out of the way, the figs had put out roots trying to get closer to the surface. Many trees have shallow roots that feed on nutrients closer to the surface and need oxygen as well. A tree can be smothered if too much is piled on. I've shared in an earlier post that my problem with the wood chip approach is it's appeal to carpenter ants. Between firewood and wood chips we have been inundated with the little buggers.
2 years ago
I've read a lot of murder mysteries and watched a lot of crime dramas on television and they often use lime to mask the smell of decay. I like the idea of letting the scavengers have it. Sometimes it takes a much deeper hole than two feet to cover the smell of decomposition. That's why graves are six feet deep.
2 years ago
I planted two or three oregano plants a few years ago on our last property and they in two or three years became a lawn cover over a rather large area. The blackberries were unaffected but they were quite a distance uphill from the oregano. We had bumper crops of blackberries for close to ten years running. The thorn-less cultivars out produced the wild ones at the back edge of the property. My husband was more than willing to pick those from the former but no one really wanted to be stuck with thorns so we generally left the wild ones for the deer and birds.
2 years ago
I wouldn't pull out the bolted plants. The flowers attract beneficial insects and seeds can be harvested from the mature plants. Planting in succession should keep you in supply.
2 years ago