So what are your best hacks for Paleo Gardening? How do you keep critters and pests out of your future bounty? I live in the Stockton area of the central valley in California.
asked byCaveman_formally_known_as_Dan (4303)
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on August 22, 2011
at 12:16 AM
I use a natural pesticide when I had a aphid attack called Neem oil. I don't like to do this but it was a pretty extreme infestation.
For broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and other leafy greens I make daily jaunts to check the leaves for green worms and pick them off by hand.
Corn - Drip some mineral oil in the top to keep away worms.
Realize that home grown produce isn't always picture perfect.
I cut around bad parts of radishes and other veggies when they have been dinged by some bug or critter- it's no big deal.
Also grow enough that you can share a little. I let the slugs have their icky way with my strawberries that touch the ground. And I get the ones that hang higher ( sometimes I get lucky and get a ground strawberry). Its better than tearing your hairout over slugs, which out number you hands down.
Lastly also plant some spicy peppers and intermingle them. I've found a couple half bitten peppers chucked accross the yard but the other plants seem okay :)
on August 21, 2011
at 11:58 PM
I like square foot gardening for a starter method. Easy to implement, easy to maintain, and your not likely to "overdo" it if your just out of the gate and getting your start as a gardener. Look for the book All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew for easy step by step instructions.
on August 21, 2011
at 11:48 PM
Short answer -- it depends on what crops you're growing and what your potential pests are for specific answers. But -- a couple of basic things:
Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants. Many insect pests only attack plants that are not in good health. (Kind of like our bodies, no?) Suggest looking up optimal soil conditions/ nutrients for the crops you are growing.
So, healthy soil is not only good for the plant (and healthy soil also = nutrient dense= nutrient dense food) but it serves as a preventative. I'm assuming you're referring to organic solutions, so along that line -- also suggest looking up "companion planting." There are many herbs and vegetables, that, grown together, provide optimal growing conditions AND pest control. Enviro-friendly physical barriers are also good for dealing with birds, deer, etc.
But again, it's hard to say more without knowing what you're growing. Growing your own food = awesome!
on August 22, 2011
at 02:07 AM
I grow almost all my own plant food with no sprays or chemicals, not even organic-approved, and the way I keep others away from the bounty is to customize for each location and situation. The first thing is to determine what pests you have and then tailor your approach to that. For example, rabbits are easy to keep out through cheap and low fencing. You'll have to be more clever for squirrels and rats, sometimes even resorting to traps or sturdy wire coverings they can't chew through. Gophers and other burrowing animals are easier, since their activity pattern is easily disrupted by underground containers and they are dumb enough to trap once you get a rhythm going. For ground squirrels, you might have to get a squirrelinator, worth its weight in gold if this animal is a problem in your area.
Insect control is usually a bit easier. The easiest thing is to plant a landscape that will attract predators. For example, if you plant flowering umbrels, they will provide a habitat for ladybugs and you will almost never have an unmanageable aphid problem. If you provide perches and water for birds, or leave your tomato cages up, the birds will visit often and eat many bugs. Next, arm yourself by learning about the different life cycles of the insects you do have. Learn how to find eggs, destroy their nesting and over-wintering sites, and don't be squeamish about picking them off with your fingers. Snails, slugs, tomato hornworms, grasshoppers and cabbage moths are usually kept very manageable by this technique. You might have to resort to row covers for certain plants at certain times of the year. Don't horse around with berries, just spring for the nets and put them on at the right time.
There are just some plants I don't try to grow anymore, and have found substitutions that aren't attacked so easily. Susceptible plants can also be grown as trap crops, keeping all the pests drawn to one area and then dealt with.
Keep something growing in your garden all the time. A lush and varied garden is always better for pests that one lone variety. Think "if you build it they will come" for your predators, and then you just have to sit back and let them do all the heavy lifting. I would keep dogs out since a good hawk or possum can do wonders for your pest population. If you have larger critters like deer or raccoons, a large dog is handy. The other thing to do is to not be so picky about your food. I have washed off plenty of aphids, cut around the part of a tomato that a rat has sampled, and tried to pick off slugs and snails. Sometimes I don't get them all. Slugs aren't tasty, but they haven't killed me yet. Aphids actually taste OK, kind of like fish sauce.
on August 22, 2011
at 01:25 AM
Given what my pet/companion animal/evil predator/7 pounds of terror has been up to this evening (discovered after searching for that squeaking noise outside my window) I'd suggest the classic control for many small wildlife pests - a good hunting cat. Several more baby bunnies have bit the dust.