Monday, June 7, 2010

Hail netting in place

Hail netting

Hail? Not a problem anymore. We breathed a huge sigh of relief after the netting went up and I have to say that my husband did a great job of securing the metal posts and attaching the supporting wire to enable us to protect the garden. My initial thought was that it looked a little bit of an eyesore but if the neighbors have any objections, then that it just too bad. All of the heirloom tomato plants are doing great and I think by the end of June or early July we'll be taking a bite out of our first cherry tomatoes. So far it's too early for the corn, round zucchini, squash, beans or beets, but out on the terrace the lone purple cauliflower has just began to show its head. I've already started seeds for more cauliflower and cabbages for winter harvest.
Purple cauliflower
This year the peach tree is doing 10 x better than last. All that mulch and fertilizer boosted its health and there are dozens of young peaches like these all over. To keep the ants at bay I sprinkled a good dose of baby powder around the base of the tree and it works! No ants, no aphid farming, and what aphids there already were are kept in check with a pyrethrum spray plus a solution of stinging nettle "tea" made from the abundance of nettles in our garden. Now all we need is consistent sunshine and warm temperatures.

Young peaches

Today's high: 22°C / 72°F

5 comments:

  1. Thanks Kat! Yesterday our neighbor that lives above us said we did a good job, so the MotH suggested that he make one too (his plot is to the right). All he has to do is add a couple of supporting poles to the right side of his plot and connect to ours on the left!

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  2. Baby Powder you say? Never heard of such a thing, but I'm all ears. I have thatch ants that not only eat cherry and peach blossoms, but farm aphids on my apple trees.

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  3. Hey Rowena, your garden looks great! I wish we'd had a hail gaurd last spring when ice-cube-sized hail decimated our hostas and the bazillion container plants we'd just (naturally) moved out onto the deck. Thanks for the tips about protecting peaches! After reading your post, I rushed out and dusted talcum powder around mine (I already put wood ashes around the trunks of all our fruit trees as a pest preventive, but they apparently have no effect on ants.) We don't have nettles here, but I do have bags of nettle leaf tea because I enjoy drinking it. I'd be happy to share some with my peach tree, but am wondering if you spray it or use it as a soil drench around the tree?

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  4. Tom - I read somewhere on the internet that baby powder is a mean abrasive for ants. When they cross over it it's like going through barbed wire(!). Now I don't know if this will apply to all ants, being that there are some really big ones out there, but the small sugar ants that we deal with are helpless when I whip out the Johnson's. It would seem to me that this works best if you can prevent, or at least ward off the ants before they become a huge problem, and I was sprinkling baby powder even before they started patroling the area.

    ourfriendben - ice cube sized???!! Argh! Now about the talcum, I put a barrier up against and around the base of our fruit trees. There is no way those ants are getting up there without crossing it first. As for the nettle solution, it was the elderly gardener down the road that suggested it as a spray to ward off ants. I fill a 5 gallon bucket full of snipped leaves, fill it half way with water and let it steep...like forever. It stinks something awful but after straining the tea and funneling it into spray bottles, my husband mists the trunk and leaves whenever he sees any ants patroling the area. With the infrequent rain and watering the garden, that baby talc soon disappears and the ants are right on it if we don't reapply more talc.

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