First REAL winter storm Nov 16

winter storm_ Nov 2015a

Sure we had some light snow on November 6th but it only lasted a couple of hours and promptly melted off but it still felt like fall. This Monday November 16th we returned a day early from the San Juan River fishing trip because of a storm coming in. Didn’t want to be caught hauling an RV trailer on icy roads. Good thing we did as it turns out we had our first major snow and now it feels like winter. This pic was taken about 4 pm on Monday after coming home. We got about 5 inches total by Tuesday morning. Yikes! The garden is dead but isn’t out yet. I have to get it out soon before the ground freezes!

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Eldorado vegetable pest lecture

tomato hornworm revealed

Tomato Hornworm revealed-such a good camouflage artist!

Gave several garden lectures this week. The first lecture was on pests in the garden at this time of year out in the Eldorado Community Garden on Monday August 3. What a lovely garden! I hadn’t been out there for several years and it has expanded and is very beautiful right now (especially with all these rains).

There were lots of questions on gophers, squirrels, aphids, tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers, grasshoppers and other insect pests that are around now and organic control of them. We talked about all these pests and it’s amazing that any plants survive!

Attached are the handouts I gave out at the lecture:

CLass pests pics

ORGANIC INSECTICIDE CONTROLS

ORGANIC DISEASE CONTROLS

Here is some more info:

HOW TO CONTROL:

gopherstrap ’em. Sorry but it’s too hard to grow crops here anyways and to see an 18 yr old apple tree decimated from gophers is a travesty. Gophers are very territorial so you might not have as many as you think. Usually there are only between 2-4 gophers on a property.

squirrels-sprinkle fox urine granules around your garden (not coyote urine granules or human urine as one person asked)

aphidsAZAMAX-a new organic product available only at Newmans.  AzaMax is made from special Azadirachtin Technical extracted using patented extraction technology from the Neem tree but is not Neem oil.  The first week of Azamax applications will pretty much stop the reproduction of spider mites, aphids, or other pests.  You need to reapply Azamax to your plants every 7-14 days for a few times. Helps disrupt eating and mating.  You will then see dead aphids on your plants but they will not be eating them so you need to rinse off before eating your crops. Do not spray in middle of day when it’s hot as it can burn your plants. In fact, it’s good to spray this and Neem in the evening before dark. That way the plants won’t get burned and the bees have gone back to their hive (you don’t want a direct hit on bees) and by morning when it’s dry, it’s fine for bees to be around, just not when it’s wet. I can’t wait to try this on some kale that has them now. A landscaper friend who uses it in her gardens, showed me the dead aphids on her plum tree and it worked. Wish I had it back when the aphids were bad on the fruit trees earlier this year!

Tomato hornworms-handpick or if you have a heavy infestation, use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Just call it Bt when you ask for it at the nurseries.  It wrecks havoc with their digestive system. Is harmless to all other animals but deadly for caterpillars.

Cabbage loopers-a caterpillar that eats greens, lettuce, cole crops, kale, etc. Use Bt for all caterpillar problems.

Grasshoppers-use NOLO Bait or Semaspore. Same thing, different manufacturers. The problem is most people wait till they are inundated with grasshoppers and then say NOLO bait doesn’t work. Not true. You just need to start much earlier in the season because it takes about 3 weeks+ for it to work and it is not as effective once the baby hopper grow up. Plus you need to refrigerate NOLO. If you have lots of adult grasshoppers now, put row cover over your crops to act as a physical barrier between the hopper and your plants. I noticed last year when I had hoppers that they were gone in 3 weeks and I heard they won’t be as bad the next year as they did not lay eggs and this must be true as I’ve only seen one or two this year. Not harmful to other animals, bees, mammals or birds.

Squirrel ate second largest pumpkin :(

Squirrel ate hole through pumpkin

Ah Compost! Just when I  thought the squirrels left for the neighbors property, and I didn’t put out the repellant due to all the rain, a squirrel ate a hole ALL the way through my second biggest pumpkin which was just taking off in growth.  It’s done. I didn’t cover it as well either, not like MAX which gets triple coverage to keep them from getting to it. So now I only have MAX and one other little pumpkin with time running out. So I am very disappointed.

Closeup of squirrel damage

I still have the giant pear gourd, giant zucchini and giant greenie squashes and giant long gourds doing well and I have now covered them really well since this incident. They all look like mummies wrapped up super tight. It is soo hard to grow these giants and takes up so much time which is fine but then to have it destroyed is hard. I need my ranch dog, Sage, an Australian shepard back on the ranch. She died 2 summers ago of old age and kept everything in order-the coyotes, the rodents, and the neighbor dogs. Ever since she died the the rodents (pack rats, mice and squirrels are making a run on taking over the gardens. And the repellants are expensive. I’m almost ready to call a critter control guy…

Deterring squirrels from eating your garden..

Rock squirrel-photo courtesy of Tadam at pl.wikipedia

July 29th-So the battle is on against the squirrels. One of my friends tried the hot pepper spray to no avail. I guess the Rocky squirrels that live here in New Mexico are use to hot peppers and like their food hot! I hear they prefer green over red chili!

Right now I’m trying 2 products from Agua Fria Nursery. The first one I tried is called Shake Away, made of fox urine granules and is for small critters-rabbits,groundhogs chipmunk, and squirrels. It is very stinky. You put  down a tablespoon every three feet like a dog marking it’s territory around the garden fence perimeter. Apply it twice a week the first week, then 0nce a week and then once every 2 weeks. It seems to be working because I haven’t seen more damage on the tips of the pumpkins that I left uncovered the past few days.  I’m not sure if I saw some damage on some big leaves that were munched or if that was from before this stuff was down. Taking notes now..

My next line of defense is Plantskydd repellant for rabbits, voles,chipmunks, other rodents and deer. This is granules of dried bovine blood-yuk. I put some of that down too. It doesn’t say whether we need to reapply any of this stuff  if it rains, but I take no chances and put both of them around some more after it rains (LOL). I got some of those party whirley birds as I called them when I was a kid that are made of shiny mylar and spin in the wind. I am also covering completely with row cover any pumpkins or giant marrows so the pesky rascals can’t eat them..

UPDATE-Here’s the update 3 weeks later-August 16th. It really seems to work. The squirrels are not trying to eat the pumpkin patch anymore. Just keep up on sprinkling it around the perimeter. In fact I think the squirrels left the property because I haven’t seen them in awhile. Perhaps they moved to my neighbors where they think the foxes don’t live!