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All about creating abundance by gardening!

   Jul 16

We’re all Faced with Challenges while Gardening – Read on to Find Out How to Overcome Them!

chores in gardenThere is lots of benefits to gardening but along the way we are faced with challenges. Persevere and use these methods to overcome them.

Top Gardening Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Get solutions for common organic vegetable gardening challenges, including pest control, soil fertility issues, weed control and summer drought.

The perfect garden — free of all pests, weeds and weather surprises — does not exist. Nor does the perfect place to garden, because every climate is friendly to some crops and hostile to others. Thankfully, tackling gardening challenges, while frustrating at times, is part of what makes growing your own food such a lively adventure.

Smart garden troubleshooting is often crucial to successful food production, and working out the best solutions may require years of trial-and-error experimentation. To help you get a jump-start, we asked more than a dozen longtime organic gardeners to share their expertise on tactics for solving common organic vegetable gardening problems. Following is a roundup of their collective wisdom.

Organic Pest Control and Critter Control

Dealing with insect pests, rabbits, deer, voles and other critters is perhaps one of the most frustrating and ubiquitous gardening challenges. Organic vegetable gardening can make this issue trickier in that you’ve wisely opted not to use harsh chemicals to keep such troubles at bay. In the case of critters, good fences can make for good harvests (and offer the kindest solution), and diligent monitoring for pests will prove well worth your time.

Irritating insects. An hour north of St. Louis, in New Douglas, Ill., Carol Lentz aims to check her plants for insect pests at least every other day. “Check the whole plant for signs of trouble, especially the leaf undersides,” she says. Squish any eggs you see, and handpick adult potato beetles, squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles and put them in a pail of soapy water to reduce their damage to plants and prevent a second (or third) generation.

Those darn rabbits. In Fargo, N.D., Joe Calvert says rabbits are second only to his short growing season on his list of gardening challenges. “Even in an urban environment, if you don’t have a fence around the garden, you may as well not even plant because the tender young plants are too tempting to rabbits,” he says. To keep rabbits out, add inexpensive poultry wire around at-risk beds or around the bottom of a perimeter fence. Folding 6 to 12 inches of the wire out from the bottom will also fend off critters that may try to dig under the fence.

In the piney woods north of Covington, La., Carrie Lee Schwartz says containers are sometimes safer than an open garden. “I hang delicate crops, such as lettuce and strawberries, in planters on my porch to keep them close to the kitchen and away from rabbits,” she says.

Pesky groundhogs. When Tim and Mary Ann Kirby began gardening near Pittsburgh, Pa., they had a diligent guard dog that chased away wandering animals. “He has since died, and the critters have been a headache,” Mary Ann laments. “We have a good fence, but it’s not enough to keep out groundhogs and raccoons.” She says groundhogs were the more problematic of the duo, first devouring broccoli and then helping themselves to cantaloupe. In addition to having a guard dog around, a couple of strands of electric fencing low to the ground can help deter groundhogs. On many homesteads with big gardens, growers set up permanent post-and-wire fencing or rigid livestock panels, and then add poultry netting and electric fencing for further protection.
Deer, grasshoppers, weather woes and climate complications,

Grubbin’ grasshoppers. Grasshoppers can devastate organic gardens, particularly in areas with hot, dry weather. These long-legged leapers are especially damaging to lettuce, beans, corn, carrots, onions and cabbage-family crops grown for fall harvest. Among the best organic controls for grasshoppers are excluding them via row covers or screen barriers (get free used screen material from hardware stores that repair damaged screens), and employing poultry to patrol garden areas and snatch up the grasshoppers as snacks.

Hundreds of grasshopper species live in North America, and you’ll be dealing with a particular type. Melody Gould has been gardening in the Tampa Bay area for more than 10 years, where eastern lubber grasshoppers are often a food-grower’s foe. For control, gather and drown the hoppers in a pail of soapy water when they’re still showing the black-and-yellow coloring of youth. Gould explains that if you don’t catch them when they’re little, the lubbers will grow into huge, 3- to 4-inch grasshoppers that can clear all of the vegetation off a full-sized tomato plant overnight.

Oh, deer. The drought that has caused northeast Texas and other areas to shrivel has led to desperate hunger among wild things. “The shortage of greenery for wildlife has caused our worst gardening problems ever,” says Carole Ramke, who has been gardening organically in Kilgore, Texas, for more than 20 years. She had to build chicken-wire cages around her sweet potatoes — inside the garden fence — to protect them from deer. The deer started eating things they’d never eaten before, such as okra, watermelon vines, green persimmons and whole limbs of fig trees. “Our smaller melons even had tooth marks from raccoons, coyotes and deer. We were finally able to put a stop to the damage by installing an economical double electric fence around the garden and orchard,” Ramke says.

In addition to fencing, consider trying a deer repellent. While no repellent, commercial or homemade, can provide 100 percent protection, some do work well. Researchers in Connecticut found that egg-based repellents and the commercial brands Bobbex and Hinder are your best bets.

Weather Woes and Climate Complications

Chatting about weather isn’t just small talk when it comes to organic vegetable gardening. Weather can make or break a growing season or the success of certain crops, and a savvy gardener should eye the forecast and pay attention to overall climate trends. (Our When to Plant app includes links to long-term weather forecasts.) In Bath, Ohio, Pat Kennedy has spent decades learning and relearning that one can’t control the weather. “We recently had one of the wettest years in Ohio history. But at least my garden wasn’t flooded, I didn’t feel an earthquake, and no tornadoes or hurricanes came through,” Kennedy says. “Some things grew, some didn’t. The melons had so little flavor that they ended up in the compost pile, but both the hot and sweet peppers made the best crop ever, and I actually had artichokes! Start each season prepared, flexible and hopeful, and remember that there is always next year.”

Soil and Weeds

Timing and Season Extension

Find out more on this at Mother Earth News (source of article)

 

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