Sunday, June 12, 2011

Never Hire a Butterfly to Protect the Garden

As beautiful as they are, butterflies are just no good at protecting the garden.

See the pretty beans getting ready to climb the tepee poles? Well, today only a few remain standing, cut off as if snipped with scissors. Some say the culprit was a deer, some say a bunny. I'm not certain but very few bunnies survive the stray cats, most deer do.

My husband made a trip to the farm supply store to purchase posts and organic deer deterrent. We strung fishing line between each pole about chest high (to a deer) around each garden bed. Then I placed tomato cages over a couple of the bush beans and hung pie tins from twine between the garden rows. A final tin hangs in the middle of the tepee and give a little added noise protection. The organic deer spray is quite nice smelling, sort of minty/menthol.

Butterflies are also no help whatsoever when it comes to grape blight called black rot, a common fungus in Missouri that lives on the ground rather than on the grapes. Our local extension office provided some direction on how to treat it, annually. The grapes will begin to develop and then start to turn red and then wilt away to blackness. My husband said he has started to see improvement so hopefully this multi-step program will be successful.

They also let in Tent Caterpillars which I promptly removed from the tree before they decide to spread. Isn't it amusing that we plant pretty flowers to attract butterflies and decorative moths and then become upset with the resulting caterpillars? In this case, neither the mom nor her offspring are terribly attractive and the damage far outweighs allowing them to stay.

On the Brighter Side:

We do have some wonderful black raspberries and blackberries.

With many more on the way!

The Stella D'Oro day lilies are doing well and the hostas magnificent, although I saw a few slugs sneaking in

Well, tomorrow is another day. I think I'll hire the assassin bug next time.



Manny said...

I am so envious of your garden. It is beautiful. My mother just planted her beans this weekend and unfortunately she hurt her back. She really needs to take it easy at her age.

If you get a chance, check out my blog about my date at the Pope's choir.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

LOL! Well Assassin bugs certainly have the right name don't they.

Laurie Neverman, The Common Sense Woman said...

Your garden is lovely!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Thank you!

man with van in London said...

You garden does look splendid, I suppose you give a lot of effort around it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Thank you! We try.

man with van in London said...

I think I can give you a solution for the bug/caterpillar problem... It's simple and natural. All you need is some lime solution -
take a brush and cover the bark of the trees up to a meter and a half (5 feet) beginning off the ground. You should start doing that in the during the autumn season and repeat the process in the beginning of the spring.
the bugs like to lay eggs in the bark of the trees (usually not very high) and the lime solution prevents that from happening - the result - healthy, bug free trees.

P.S Looks like a lovely garden. Congrats!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Thank you. We'll have to try that.