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Varmints in the garden

06/15/2013 in pests

When we aren’t able to fence the varmints out, we can try to discourage the animals by making our plants unpleasant to the taste.

For deer and rabbits, I generally get very good results with an egg mixture… mix an egg or two in a blender of water, use a water sprinkling can to apply).
Reading most ‘deer-away’ commercial ingredient lists usually turns up egg solids as the effective ingredient.

I make my own.

I use a fork to mix the eggs and water, but you can use a blender… if you are willing to clean up the mess afterwards…
Sprinkle the mixture over all the affected plants. Try to get all the leaves wet.

Unfortunately, some of the problem animals like eggs!


I caught this mouse in a squirrel cage, baited with carrots… Rats and mice will eat our plants, and they’re not gonna be bothered by eggs.

I’m getting some good results with datura and brugmansia.

teaI collect some leaves, stems, and/or roots, and cook up a nice herbal tea for the critters. after it cools, I’ll mix with some additional water… 1:1 and treat the plants that are being consumed.

It’s on you whether you chose to apply this solution to the vegetable garden.
Some people are terrified of the daturas/brugmansias.
They talk about the potential for the vegetables to absorb the toxins, as some studies seem to suggest about the insecticides and herbicides.
If you already use chemicals in your garden, you are unlikely to be concerned about this far-fetched possibility.

To all the organic people, datura and brugmansia are organic, and in my experience, they wash off with the first rain, and the critters begin eating those treated plants immediately.

These sweet potato plants were immediately set upon the day after the rain.


Tender-hearted gardeners aren’t making friends with catch and release.
With a very few exceptions, catch and release is a bad idea.
If you don’t want the varmint at your house, I certainly don’t want it at mine.

I’ve heard people claim that nobody lives anywhere near where they dump their catches.
They really don’t know that… and,  could be disrupting the balance of the critters that live there with all that dumping.

Those new critters are going to be in competition with the critters that are already there, for available food resources.

It’s often a death sentence for those dumped critters…  a slow death… of starvation.


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Worst weeds

06/11/2013 in invasive plants

I was talking to a fellow garden blogger today… and he mentioned that a part of getting his nursery certified was getting his cogongrass eradicated.

Cogongrass has been in the news, I see reports on “The Farm Monitor” and “The Ag Journal” on network television… I’d seen the field guide to cogongrass identification but I really didn’t know all that much about it… Went to google… made for interesting reading and viewing…  in watching those videos, I remarked on it’s similarity to Johnson grass…

cogongrass seems to be worse…

Cogongrass has been called one of the world’s ten worst weeds… This seems like a pretty serious claim, and I was curious what other weeds made the list…

Found a list for Mississippi:

Found this list:

It’s kind of hard to take it seriously though… a list that includes lamb’s quarter and purslane? Lambsquarter is a valuable food item at my house, and purslane could be… and neither is any great shakes as weeds… If you wanted to include annual weeds, chamberbitter (Phyllanthus niruri) and mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) would make far better candidates…

It seems like a list of the worst weeds should take into account things like rizomes, stolons, and the born pregnant qualities of the 2 above annuals.

A better list would be this list of Georgia invasives

My list?

Glad you asked…

In no particular order,

  1. nutsedge
  2. bermuda grass
  3. Florida betony
  4. johnson grass
  5. chickweed
  6. chamberbitter
  7. mulberry weed
  8. Chinese wisteria
  9. morning glories
  10. better place cogon grass on the list.
  11. Stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)
  12. wavy leaf basket grass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius)
  13. eleagnus
  14. privet
  15. Japanese honeysuckle
  16. dodder
  17. creeping charlie
  18. dichondra
  19. dollar weed (Hydrocotyle sp.)
  20. Houttuynia cordata
  21. duchesnea

With a bit of walking around other people’s gardens, I could easily extend this list to a hundred… bringing it down to 10 probably wouldn’t be as easy.

Do you have a bad weed? I’d like to hear about it.

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How to plant these poppies

05/15/2013 in poppies

Sometimes, I trade/share some of my seeds. More than any other flower, people seem to be interested in the poppies.
Who can blame them… I started my garden with them back in ’89. Poppies and chicory… the chicory didn’t make it… the rodents kept eating it…


As easy as these things are to grow in the vegetable garden, I tend to forget that there are people that will try to grow them outside the garden, even after being warned to plant them in the vegetable garden…

I scattered them in spots where I’d previously had luck with poppies, but no luck this time.

Some things wrong with this statement…

  1. poppies are naturalizers… if they were happy, they should still be there.
  2. You need to prep the soil… no scratching the top of the soil… get in there, and shovel dig the bed, and then add soil amendments, just like if you were planting lettuce
  3. Also… When scattering new seed, it’s a good practice to hold some seed back… so if something happened to the initial planting, the seeds can be planted again


Once planted, they should always be there… unless you make a deliberate effort to get rid of them… Matter of fact… the only time I ever lost a patch was when the electric company brought their heavy equipment and drove it back and forth over the top of my flowers… They didn’t survive that!

When planting these seed in poor soil… you probably shouldn’t expect much…

And… when the soil is really good, and you sow the seed too thickly… You will need to thin… if you allow them to thin themselves… the result will not be pretty.

I started my purple strain with white poppies and double red



They both still show up…

Someone that wanted a project could take these seed and select for about anything… I haven’t made any effort to keep the doubles around, although I had some nice double whites last year…


In selecting for color, I take a multi-pronged approach… I use the flagging that you can buy at any hardware store to mark the plants with the best flowers…

And… sometimes, I get colours that I’d as soon not keep in the gene-pool…


Personally, I want a lot of colours in my poppy blend, but someone who wanted stable colours would probably end up tossing a lot more plants on the weed pile.

You will need to use bird netting to protect the plants from the goldfinches, if you want to save seed to share…


As cute as the goldfinches are… they can’t have all the poppies…


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