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Personal blatherings, living simply, gardening, cooking, canning, dehydrating, knitting, spinning and more.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Farmer Jane (Black Thumb of Death Gardening)

Edit: I have imported this from my The Black Thumb of Death Gardening Blog to my regular blog...  

Well.... here is Farmer Jane, aka, Me. Himself took the photo, being a pain in the hinny as usual.

You cannot tell, but my old overalls are hanging on me. I am wearing my old too-grossly-pink glasses. I do not want to ruin my new ones while I work. (I am a klutz.) This was yesterday, before the sunburn got to the serious fried human skin stage. I do not go in the sun. I am a Pale, a Celt to a fault. I will have to see if there is a good sunscreen that is not filled with pie-zons. Aloe vera with a few drops of lavender oil took the pain from it so far. Enough of this. Now...
I had to remove all the plastic around the beds. I was getting them ready to put some sort of cedar bark or something down, lifted the plastic, and found tons of ants having a good old time. Bloody hell. The ants were the small- and medium-sized carpenter ants. The big boys are over an inch long, a nightmare to see, especially when they are winged.  No termites, just these ants. I found some EcoSmart bug spray that uses essential oils, safe for around children, pets and food. It killed the smaller ants. Cool.

I had spent the last three days out there. I made cuts with a shovel in a dragon-scale-like pattern, then turned it all over, putting the dying grass-like clumps facing Middle Earth, hopefully to die off or slow it down some. I walked all over it to smooch it down. I would love to put cement stepping stones around the area, but they are expensive. I will have to rethink what I will do to keep myself from sinking into mud after a storm. I also turned the area behind the potatoes, to take a few stalks of corn.
The next photo below is what will be a larger plot of corn, or something like that. That will also have to be prepared when the weather allows.

I have poles with fishing line around the top and about one foot below that. I am using that hint from one person who used it to keep deer out of his garden area, (reported in an older issue of Mother Earth News). I will add a method a writer wrote about in Backwoods magazine, laying, yes, laying!, livestock fencing on the ground. It seems critters will not walk on it. They kept out deer, dogs, cats, bears... Tall fences, even over 8-foot tall, are not a deterrent to deer, so why not try something different?

When it got warm today, the flying carpenter ants, the big ones, were all over the place. I killed numerous nasties. The safe spray failed. These ants drink pie-zon for breakfast. I would love to find something that will kill them safely. (sigh) Himself will spray in areas way far from the garden. It cannot be avoided. We cannot allow those things to take hold, especially in the house. As it is, where they were trying to crawl up between a cement foundation and the wall, well, we hope they were just trying and not successful. The idea of having the house fumigated is horrifying.
Below is gross. I have no clue as to what the bugs are. I cannot find them online or in the gardening book. They were under the soil. I dropped them into a plastic cup of soap-water. This was just today's offerings. The last two days, I killed one other caterpillar or worm-thing and two, fat, ugly, albino grasshopper-like things that were under the soil. They died by trowel smashing before I grabbed the death-cup. Ick. Anyway, if anyone knows what they are and how to prevent them without pie-zons, please let me know?

Tomorrow, it is supposed to rain. I need a rest. I will take photos of the seedlings sometime this or next week. for now, I am tuckered-out.


  1. Debbi- I'm sure you've gotten an answer from thrillers already but as I'm catching up on email...

    The white things are beetle larvae (grubs). What species is hard for me to say but generally they are a problem because they eat roots. There are a variety of things you can get at your local nursery/garden store to deal with them. Do not assume they are not doing damage because you haven't seen it yet. They are tricky because the damage they cause isn't apparent until the plant dies because it's roots are too damaged.

    -erin in UT

  2. They are to-be June bugs. (I forgot the proper name for this beetle.) We now remember them coming out of the ground, and being ornery by finding ways to make them hiss.

    Supposedly, what I did to the soil may disrupt them. I am going to still do two things- first add "bloody bone" (blood meal and bone meal)to the soil, (they hate that stuff), a sprinkling is all that is needed. Then get some of the beneficial nematodes that snack on these monsters. i do not fish, so no use there. I can have my son-in-law who does dig for them but they may be gone by time they come up to visit.

    Luckily, last frost is not until June 10th. No plants are harmed by these grubs. By me, is another thing. I murdered a couple of sprouts already- carrots, radishes, sunflowers, borage and savory. I am getting better at this considering on how many little plants i have covering what was my fiber and craft room.

    Thanks, Erin!

  3. Nice photo, nice garden, nice larvae . That what I get for having a degree in the vet. field appreciation for larvae!