When Josey and I planted our garden my biggest fear was that nothing was going to grow in the acid rich very sandy soil. Apparently we must have done something right because we have seedlings shooting up everywhere.  After 2 weeks our beans and peas are looking spectacular and our row of carrots looks like a little green mohawk. Our pepper and jalapeno plants look healthy and the onions and chives are poking through. I was pleasantly surprised with our garden but a realization occurred after looking at those small helpless plants. Suddenly the rabbits and deer that we loved looking at in our yard became my newest worst enemy. How was I going to defend my little crop of veggies? I thought about getting a .22 caliber rifle and stationing myself on top of the roof of our house. However I remembered that prior to planting Josey almost cried when I told her that I would have to kill the ants in the spot where the garden was going to go.I think the exact quote was: “They don’t do anything to hurt people dad”.  A rifle was out of the question.

Our Gardens Carrot Mohawk

I knew that I should fence the garden in but time was of the essence so I opted for a spray bottle of Liquid Fence that I had in the garage.  I’ve used liquid fence in the past but it’s been awhile. Originally I had brought it home for the Hostas we have all over the yard but I switched to a product from Sweeny’s that is a once a season deer repellent stake ( they work remarkably well by the way). For those of you who haven’t used Liquid Fence it is a great product that does an amazing job of repelling but it is hideous smelling when it is first applied. I hate to be crass but you know how your garbage can smell when you first open the lid in the middle of summertime? Mix that with urine and that’s what Liquid Fence smells like when first sprayed. Without remembering this, I decided to spray the perimeter of the garden. So I walked and sprayed excessively around our garden (remember this was option # 2 after the .22 rifle and I was intent on defending these little plants). I also thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hit some of the hostas. You can’t be too careful right? It was only after the breeze shifted that I got hit with what I had done. I immediately went inside and started shutting doors and windows but it was too late. When I looked out the front door and saw my wife, son and daughter all standing in the front yard with their shirts over their mouths I knew I was in trouble.

Beans and peas

Fortunately, the smelled died down and the plants remain untouched by the rabbits and deer. But something smaller has now become my new worst enemy; the evil and devastating Potato Beetle. Last week Josey and I went out to the garden to add poles for the beans and peas to climb and we found that these little spawns of Satan were all over making meals out of our crops. After I calmed down and thought about how they are Gods creatures too and that they are just doing what they were designed to do I asked Josey what we should do. She said “kill them Dada”. Remembering the story about the ants I asked her why should we kill them? She said flatly, “because they’re eating OUR vegetables dad”. Apparently her mercy only goes so far.

Josey decided that the potato beetles needed to go so she went and got her bug box and started collecting them. She was squeamish at first but got braver (and angrier) as she worked. If she had one that was particularly wiggly she would throw it in the box and then shake it. She told me she wasn’t trying to hurt them but in fact she was trying to scare them. I told her that the shaking wasn’t working so instead she started making scary faces and yelling at them.

I wasn’t totally convinced that Josey’s scare tactics were going to work so the next day at the store I picked up a shaker container of Dragoon Dust by Bonide. It’s a product that is safe for vegetables and is both an insecticide and fungicide (in other words a bug and disease killer). I sprinkled the dust on my plants that evening and I hope it will take care of my potato beetle invasion. The beetles better hope for death too or else I’m going to send Josey back out to try some more of her “scare tactics”.

All the products mentioned in this article can be found at LeVahn Bros. Hardware Hank

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