Monday, June 08, 2015

Better Gardening Through Chemistry

Problem #1: Squirrels

I cleverly voted for tucking in one of our raised bed gardens right up against our property line and neighbor's fence:

Not only would it maximize our lawn space, but as a number of YouTube videos had suggested, the fence could be handy for securing taller plants. We added a chicken wire fence to keep out bunnies and the neighborhood kids. But there's one flaw we hadn't anticipated: the squirrels love the fence. They're happy to traverse it as easily as climbing stairs. So all our chicken wire is for naught. We've had a number of plants get burrowed into, and we're reasonably confident we've got squirrels to blame.

I cracked open my paper version of 1001 All-natural Secrets to a Pest-free Property to see what the author suggested. Apparently, hot sauce is the way to go. I mixed up a batch of the following cocktail: 1 quart boiling water, 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp. of Tabasco Sauce. I let it all cool and ended up with this yummy mixture:

For my first attempt, I filled up a spray bottle with the stuff. However, after a squirt or two I completely clogged up the nozzle. This stuff is way to chunky for the recycled Windex Bottle I was using. I resorted to just splashing it on from a water bottle.

Will it work? Who knows. But I'm comfortable that a dash of canyenne pepper will do minimal damage to the plants, so that's a good thing. The last thing I need is a cure more dangerous than the disease.

Problem #2: Mystery Mold!

Last week we had like 4 straight days of rain and overcast skies. After the deluge we noticed that some of the soil in the X-Garden had a white glaze to it:

It's possible that this stuff isn't actually a bad thing. But with my luck, it is. A while back my brother had passed me an article on use of Hydrogen Peroxide, and in my research on dealing with mold, I kept seeing it mentioned as a cure. What the heck, why not give it a try, right?

I mixed up a batch of 1 cup water to 3 tsp. of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and gave part of the X-Garden a good spray. I checked on it today and it didn't look like there was a huge change. But that's probably a good thing. I may step up the dosage if there's no effect in another few days.

Other good signs in the garden: this guy (or a sibling of his) is still with us:

and the first tiny sprouts of blue flax have appeared in our Tea Garden. No sign of the actual tea plant yet.

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