Cosmo spring garden 2020

flowerbug

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I have a trio. I call them the Looney Goonies. The 2 hens set a clutch of eggs under a portable building. The male was so lonely that he stayed under the building with them. They hatched 11, most died, got down to 6 strong chicks, them Mr. Snake showed up. I found him in the chicken coop eating eggs and called for Paris, my female Great Pyrenees. She HATES snakes. I chopped it with a shovel and she shook it to death. Once dead, she kills snakes again and again. She has literally shook them to pieces.
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We now have 4 keets, plus the parents.

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will they come to you? or are they pretty much wild?
 

baymule

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They are pretty much wild, the keets especially so. They go to the bird feeder to get the dropped seed and will fuss at me to pour some on the ground but that’s about it. I keep hen scratch on the ground for them at the Sheep barn, but they really don’t need me. In the winter they will come to the Sheep barn when I’m getting feed but don’t get close.
 

Cosmo spring garden

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They are pretty much wild, the keets especially so. They go to the bird feeder to get the dropped seed and will fuss at me to pour some on the ground but that’s about it. I keep hen scratch on the ground for them at the Sheep barn, but they really don’t need me. In the winter they will come to the Sheep barn when I’m getting feed but don’t get close.
I want Guinea hens but I can't have loud birds. My daughter is scared of loud crowing and I had to sell 3 of my cochin banta
They are pretty much wild, the keets especially so. They go to the bird feeder to get the dropped seed and will fuss at me to pour some on the ground but that’s about it. I keep hen scratch on the ground for them at the Sheep barn, but they really don’t need me. In the winter they will come to the Sheep barn when I’m getting feed but don’t get close.
I want your dog lol. I hate snakes. My chickens do help control some but last year I saw snake twice in my garden. I know good snakes are important but I rather not see them.
 

Cosmo spring garden

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Some pictures from the garden. I noticed something interesting today. My tomatoes that are planted in rows have aphids and some type of fungus where the leaves are turning yellow. But I had extra tomato plants which I planted at the edges along with buckwheat, radishes, sunflowers, and other things and those have no pest damage at all! I wonder if the pests cant find those tomatoes because they are hidden among other plants? Or the beneficial bugs eat them? Or the smell of the other plants offends them? Whatever it is, I am doing this intentionally next year. Also the volunteer tomatoes have no diseases. The ducks are so happy in the garden.
 

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digitS'

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My tomato plants used to have hornworms and I would have to watch out for those. One year, I saw a hornworm and damage. "I'll just leave him here and be back with the Bt spray tomorrow," I thought. The next day, there was no sign of a hornworm or fresh damage. I continued checking. Nope, none.

There were a few sunflowers nearby. I have had sunflowers near my vegetable garden every year for over 15 years, now. Never once have I seen a hornworm in all that time. My thinking is that the sunflowers attract so many birds that caterpillars of any type have a very dangerous environment. The cabbage butterfly larva never amount to much of a problem, either!

Cabbage? Aphids on those and cabbage relatives can be a real problem. Kind of accidentally, I had lots of strawflowers beside my cabbage one year. Good Heavens, the yellow jackets were constantly in those plants.

I have learned to think of those wasps as my friends. I'm just real careful around them so that we stay on good terms ;). Anyway, there were lots less aphids on the cabbage that year and the next when those plants were also side by side. I have noticed that yellow jackets feed on the nectar of fennel in swarms. They carry off insects to feed their young so they are like many birds, that way. I've seen sparrows also "licking" aphids from plants. That's appreciated but the wasps are probably more efficient.

Steve
 

Cosmo spring garden

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My tomato plants used to have hornworms and I would have to watch out for those. One year, I saw a hornworm and damage. "I'll just leave him here and be back with the Bt spray tomorrow," I thought. The next day, there was no sign of a hornworm or fresh damage. I continued checking. Nope, none.

There were a few sunflowers nearby. I have had sunflowers near my vegetable garden every year for over 15 years, now. Never once have I seen a hornworm in all that time. My thinking is that the sunflowers attract so many birds that caterpillars of any type have a very dangerous environment. The cabbage butterfly larva never amount to much of a problem, either!

Cabbage? Aphids on those and cabbage relatives can be a real problem. Kind of accidentally, I had lots of strawflowers beside my cabbage one year. Good Heavens, the yellow jackets were constantly in those plants.

I have learned to think of those wasps as my friends. I'm just real careful around them so that we stay on good terms ;). Anyway, there were lots less aphids on the cabbage that year and the next when those plants were also side by side. I have noticed that yellow jackets feed on the nectar of fennel in swarms. They carry off insects to feed their young so they are like many birds, that way. I've seen sparrows also "licking" aphids from plants. That's appreciated but the wasps are probably more efficient.

Steve
That's amazing! I love how nature works. And stawflowers are beautiful! Will have to add to the garden.
 

Zeedman

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Cabbage? Aphids on those and cabbage relatives can be a real problem. Kind of accidentally, I had lots of strawflowers beside my cabbage one year. Good Heavens, the yellow jackets were constantly in those plants.

I have learned to think of those wasps as my friends. I'm just real careful around them so that we stay on good terms ;). Anyway, there were lots less aphids on the cabbage that year and the next when those plants were also side by side. I have noticed that yellow jackets feed on the nectar of fennel in swarms. They carry off insects to feed their young so they are like many birds, that way. I've seen sparrows also "licking" aphids from plants. That's appreciated but the wasps are probably more efficient.
My experience as well. Next to ladybugs, wasps are my most important insect predator. I grow peppers under cages with floating row covers, to get pure seed. Protected by the covers, the aphid population inside can explode. Once enough peppers have set, I open one side of the cage - and within a day, wasps are swarming on the aphids. After a week or so, there is hardly an aphid to be found... and at that point the ladybug & lacewing larvae control the aphids.

Interesting about the fennel, I had no idea it could attract wasps. A lot of it grew wild when I gardened in California, not sure it would survive winters here... might be worth looking into. Okra attracts large numbers of wasps too, not sure if they are there for the plants, or for the aphids present.

Every year I grow either a yardlong bean or a cowpea in each of my gardens, chiefly because they are very effective in attracting wasps & ladybugs. The wasps on those plants are numerous, but far less aggressive than they would be elsewhere - even yellow jackets and hornets. The nectar seems to intoxicate them, they leave me alone as long as I move slowly through the row.
 

flowerbug

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@Zeedman you would need to try the perennial herb fennel to see if it will survive. supposedly hardy in zone 4. haven't tried here. the other kind (the bulb type) did not overwinter here.

my one attempt at okra did get results, but a ton of black aphids on them. since we normally do not have aphid problems i thought that was odd. have not repeated the planting of okra since then.

with cabbage, even with plentiful wasps/hornets checking the plants and my own manual intervention made me realize i just wasn't going to grow it any more. i would need to net the plants (since i won't spray) and i'm not really interested in growing things i have to baby to get a decent result. i have enough other gardens to cope with and so i can grow plenty of other things instead that i don't have to watch so closely.

bunching onions are just flowering. i divided them up and put them in rows. i think i have enough now to start eating some. :)
 
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digitS'

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Cosmos, if we are fennelling too much with your thread, you need to tell us. We even have a delete button ;).

Fennel may become invasive, so it doesn't have a delete button in some parts of the US. I didn't realize that until I saw @Zeedman saying it grows wild in California and looked that up.

I don't remember that the plants came back the next year but I know that the flowers were too late to produce seed. I'd hoped for those but it didn't really matter. Bulb fennel, I didn't really know what to do with that, the time I grew it.

Steve
 

Cosmo spring garden

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Cosmos, if we are fennelling too much with your thread, you need to tell us. We even have a delete button ;).

Fennel may become invasive, so it doesn't have a delete button in some parts of the US. I didn't realize that until I saw @Zeedman saying it grows wild in California and looked that up.

I don't remember that the plants came back the next year but I know that the flowers were too late to produce seed. I'd hoped for those but it didn't really matter. Bulb fennel, I didn't really know what to do with that, the time I grew it.

Steve
Steve,
I am enjoying and learning so much from all these comments so please don't stop. That's what's so great about TEG, everyone has something to share and the rest of us benefit from that knowledge. I will have to try growing fennel.
 

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