What makes You an "Easy" Gardener?

Zeedman

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It was mice in the potatoes that turned me against mulch in the veggie garden, @Zeedman .
This year, I contemplated widespread use of agricultural weed barrier, to make weed control easier. Before shelling out the big bucks for a roll of weed barrier, I laid tar paper under the gherkin vines as an experiment. It turns out that mice really like to raise their brood under that shelter, coming out from there to gnaw my plants... so scratch that plan. I removed the tar paper, and had no other rodent problems all summer. With straw or hay, they can't hide from the cats. 🐱

One winter, I lost an irreplaceable perennial onion due to rodents eating the bulbs. The onions weren't mulched intentionally, but were covered by fallen leaves. Because of that incident & mice once chewing on carrots left in the ground, I never mulch root crops.

I seldom mulch any member of the gourd family either, since the mulch just harbors squash bugs & cucumber beetles.
 

Trish Stretton

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I have only ever used two pesticides-snail bait which was always lightly sprinkled in a small glass jar that had something over the top to stop the rain from washing it into the soil, because the label mentioned that it may cause genetic deformities- that was a number of years ago and it doesnt say that any more. When the jar was filled up with slugs and snails, the lid went on and it was sent to the dump, minus any bait.

The other, that I still use and will continue to do so, is rat bait....but these are a wax based type that cannot dissolve and wash into the soil....and I place them either inside a shed, woodshed, tool shed, under a metal lid in two spots in the front yard and 4 in the back...because they get taken more often than the front yard ones.

The recommendation is to nail or wire them in place so the rodents cant take them away. My thinking is....take them away back to your burrow. Maybe the new occupant will eat what you leave behind and not turn up at my place. I got through about a kilo bucket per year- for the last two years.

Over here, rodents are not native and are causing absolute havoc with our native insects, lizards and birds (we dont have any native mammals). I include possums in this rodent category too and have recently found a non pesticide possum trap to use to kill these rodents- have yet o set it up, but then I have been away this last week, so next week that will happen.

Since learning about the need to really up the levels of carbon in the soil, planting for beneficial insects and giving them time to build up, I havent had to use insecticides-slug/snail bait for years. This is the only one I have ever used.
I do still have the odd loses, but having to go to the supermarket to buy something isnt such a hardship at the moment and I would rather concentrate on building soil fertility, and population diversity and go shopping for the odd thing.

At the moment, I am learning about the need to provide for fungi in the soil-mychorizzal mycelium, so that has been my main focus over the last little while.
Michael Phillips and Paul Stamets have been my inspiration in this area.

With plant feed. All I use as a supplement is liquid seaweed fert- I still have a 10 liter bucket of home made stuff, but once that is used up, I will be buying it.
The reason for this is that somebody pointed out to me that if everybody picked up the seaweed off the beaches, the ecosystem of the beaches will suffer.
The bought stuff is made from sustainably harvested off shore sources.

The other fert I use is home made liquid fish fert during summer, made from the skin and bone of the fish I catch. Other than that its just leaves and twigs collected from the various trees and shrubs as well as returning back to the soil, the spent plants that grow here.

I havent got everything right and dont think I have all the answers but do feel like I have made a major breakthrough in the last couple of years and now I have the time to spend on my gardens, rather than just throwing a few minutes at them and running off to work again, I am quietly optimistic that things will just get better even faster.
 

flowerbug

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picking seaweed off the beach to me is just an issue of the added salt, rinse and use sparingly IMO for just the trace nutrients.

i think most shorelines are being negatively influenced by humans as it is to have excess nutrients, so pulling some of that seaweed off there and bringing it back inland would be a way of recycling the upland nutrients that are being washed down. same with the results of harvesting some of the seafood and bringing that inland (to feed us, then also using the waste to feed the gardens)... as long as it isn't poisoned by certain pollutants it should all work out ok through time.

non-native rodents are certainly a hard issue to deal with. good fencing and traps help. i wish i could get the fences here done properly, but even with the fences i have up now it helps a lot.
 

Zeedman

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The other, that I still use and will continue to do so, is rat bait....but these are a wax based type that cannot dissolve and wash into the soil....and I place them either inside a shed, woodshed, tool shed, under a metal lid in two spots in the front yard and 4 in the back...because they get taken more often than the front yard ones.

The recommendation is to nail or wire them in place so the rodents cant take them away. My thinking is....take them away back to your burrow. Maybe the new occupant will eat what you leave behind and not turn up at my place. I got through about a kilo bucket per year- for the last two years.
:epWow! And I thought I had a rodent problem! I only bait in the basement, attic, and outbuildings, and have probably used a kilo of bait total in the last 10 years.

If I counted all the dried apricots I've used as bait in the traps though, it would be about 2-3 kilos for the same period.
 

Trish Stretton

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:epWow! And I thought I had a rodent problem! I only bait in the basement, attic, and outbuildings, and have probably used a kilo of bait total in the last 10 years.

If I counted all the dried apricots I've used as bait in the traps though, it would be about 2-3 kilos for the same period.
I put it down to living near farm land, near a stream, having railway across the road, a defunct timber mill a bit further across the road And a council dump 100m down the road.....where they did nothing in the way of pest control.
One old timer I spoke with said they had gone to dump stuff just on dark and noticed that the rats were on one side of the face and the cats were lined up on the other...he said, it looked like a turf war was about to erupt so he shoveled his stuff off real fast and got outa there in a hurry.

My old rodent control was my old dog. Every winter something would try to find nice warm home and he would deal with them. The new one is great for warming my toes in the middle of winter, but useless for 'hunting'.

The up side of my rat bait, is that I now have little lizards in my back yard and so too does one of my neighbours.
 

Ridgerunner

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Rural or urban you're going to have mice and rats. They fit in too well around anywhere mankind is and survive even where he is not But with a food source like that dump just down the road they are going to multiply like crazy. You'll never eradicate them, the best you can hope for is to try to keep the numbers under control where you are.

Your earlier post reminded me it was time to check the poison bait station in an outbuilding. It did need replacing so they are obviously still around. That "dog-proof" bait station locked in a building where the dogs can't get to it. My bait of choice for snap traps is peanut butter. It doesn't take much and I always have peanut butter around. I wire snap traps in place so critters can't drag them off. I used a couple of those in my black eyed peas this year, the mice were getting too many.
 

flowerbug

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we used to have these plastic bait stations that were formed to look like rocks. inside them were some thick wires that could be put through the bait chunks so that the animals could not steal them away easily.

what happened?

the chipmunks and mice moved in.

eventually i just gave up on the baiting as i think it was attracting as many varmints as it was removing.

instead i've taken up to three approaches:

1. remove nesting habitat for the varmints
2. remove hiding places they could run to if i was hunting so i had a better chance of removing them
3. encouraging predators by not removing or hunting them or discouraging them

yes, there's always going to be mice/chipmunks around here, but they're getting to be far fewer than we've had before and a few is just what's going to be acceptable.

for very sensitive plantings i want to protect i have hardware cloth that mice or chipmunks can't chew through. it works, but it's a pain in the butt enough that i don't use it often or for very large areas. in the future i may set up some areas with this and a hot wire to keep them from climbing over to get in.

oh, and those bait stations, we filled them with some extra mortar so now they're just decorative plastic cement filled rocks...
 
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Zeedman

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I wire snap traps in place so critters can't drag them off. I used a couple of those in my black eyed peas this year, the mice were getting too many.
In years past, mice have done a lot of damage to my cowpeas, and stolen a lot of seed. This year all of the peas (English and Southern) were untouched. No questions, no complaints... I'll count my blessings.
 
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