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OUTWITTING GARDEN PESTS
Each year, I have one major gardening goal in mind. A thick slice of Apple Pie topped with vanilla ice cream, and the whole thing absolutely buried under whipped cream that has been sweetened with sugar and vanilla. Anything that gets between me and my goal makes me even more tenacious about outwitting garden pests.
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Animals in all sizes and shapes seem determined to separate me from that soul-satisfying bite of pure happiness. And I am just as resolute in my plan to have plenty of fresh, home-grown fruit for myself and my family.
My Grandma’s orchard contained at least five different kinds of apples, three varieties of plums, and both sweet and tart (pie) cherries, and she had to fight the wildlife for every last one of them. She would often come flying out of that screen door, a pie tin in one hand and a big spoon in the other, beating vigorously and using some very heartfelt language (in German).
Like her, I have spent decades pondering ways to deal with marauding deer, raccoons, and covetous humans who can’t keep their hands to themselves. Birds and other wildlife are very persistent. You can shoo them off, and they’ll just wait till you’re sick of watching for them, then creep back into the garden after it gets dark.
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The raccoons moved in on my nectarine tree as soon as it was large enough to start bearing fruit. I caught one in the act. The little opportunist sat high on his limb and hissed and chattered at me. The ground was littered with heaps of nectarine pits. I was inconsolable.
NOTE: The Nectarine is a smooth skinned, fuzzless Peach.
The following year when the fruit was nearly ripe, I bought a container of a sticky insect barrier called “Tanglefoot.” I doctored it up with lots of excruciatingly hot chili peppers. I painted it all over the trunk of the nectarine tree and the lower limbs.
Coons are fastidious, often washing their food before eating it and licking their paws like a cat. A mouthful of hot chili will make them sit right down and cry. Revenge is sweet!
This worked fine until the raccoons discovered they could jump from the apple tree to the nectarine tree. I had them planted too close together. My situation had to be dealt with harshly. (I sure do miss that tree!)
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HAPPY HARVESTING! Susan
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