Category Archives: pests and pesticides

Beware Invasive Bugs

If you’re freaking out about Asian Giant Hornets, bee killers that pack a bullet-like sting, calm down. So far, only a few have been found near the Canadian Border (Blaine and Custer), but Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists are asking us to take pictures and report any possible examples. They are NOT asking us to kill bumblebees; sadly, over-enthusiastic folks have been waging war on the wrong insect, killing valuable, gentle bees that are prime pollinators. However, please DO be on the watch for Southern Green Stink Bugs (Nezara viridula), bright green, shield-shaped insects that develop black and white spots on their bottom half as they mature. I recently found some of these admittedly beautiful bugs on Bainbridge Island. When ID’d on line, I discovered that they are also being tracked by the WSDA as recent and worrisome invasive pests for farmers as well as gardeners. Continue reading

Posted in Health & Wellbeing, Hoarding, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Social Justice, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Safer Slug Solutions

This has been a banner year for slugs; yesterday I counted over 40 babies and moms in a single flat of 4-inch pots. I’m more laissez faire than I used to be and won’t kill slugs or bugs unless they’re doing obvious damage, but this little herd was mowing down my veggie starts before they could get started. Sorry, critters. It’s doom time for you. So what’s the best way to off a slug without cruelty? Ecologically speaking, it’s the oldest; predators. Toads, frogs, moles, shrews, and songbirds are all slug eaters, as are ducks and chickens. In an organic garden, predators can safely feed on slugs and bugs, and the balance of nature rarely gets out of hand. Continue reading

Posted in Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Pollination Gardens, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Teaching Gardening | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Forming A Future

What’s a working plant? Trees clean the air, capture carbon, and offer homes and larders for lots of critters, so if they’re healthy and well placed, they stay. Native shrubs are also habitat for native creatures, and many are beautiful to boot, so for the most part, they stay, as do most native annuals, perennials and bulbs. Hardy herbs are useful in the kitchen, as traditional medicinals, and are terrific pollinator pleasers, so they stay. Edibles stay unless they require more space or more fussing than I can provide. Ornamentals stay if they are utterly enchanting for more than two weeks a year. That seems fair, right? In return, I supply balance; I provide good soil, compost and other soil conditioners, and adequate water. I also control weeds and keep rapid spreaders from taking over. If the garden gets out of balance, my work load goes up and the pleasure factor goes down. That’s how good governance works. Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Pollination Gardens, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Food Or Fodder

Yes, deer fencing that is both effective and long lasting is not cheap, but if we plan to grow and harvest much of our daily food, fence we must. It’s worth taking some time to investigate effective fencing materials and techniques, from double-fencing to peanut butter wire. Double fencing can trick (some) deer into thinking a site is inaccessible by creating a baffling space between two relatively low fences. Usually, this involves two five-foot fences five feet apart, a model both farmers and gardeners report (at least some) success with. A peanut butter fence partners electrified wires with bait, and according to the ICWDM,
“The peanut butter fence is effective for small gardens, nurseries, and orchards (up to 3 to 4 acres) subject to moderate deer pressure. Deer are attracted by the peanut butter and encouraged to make nose-to-fence contact. After being shocked, deer learn to avoid fenced areas.” Continue reading

Posted in pests and pesticides, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged , | 2 Comments