17 May 2012

La Belle Hobby Farm: How to Keep Out Pests Part 1

In gardens, beauty is a by-product.  The main business is sex and death. 
~ Sam Llewelyn

 nd nowhere is this more apparent than in a sustainable garden.  A gardener must be inventive if she wants to live in rhythm with the land, grow crops that are free of harmful pesticides, growth hormones, and not the product of the Frankenstein-Nazi combo of Monsanto non-reproducing seeds.

One Saturday a couple of months ago, I visited the local farmer’s market and asked one of the stands whether they used sustainable and/or organic practices.  And the lady (quite nastily) said that their crops wouldn’t survive and their business wouldn’t be viable if that were the case.  I just said, “Ah” and walked away without buying anything.  To give her props, I think their farm is a fairly large one.  So maybe it is tough to sustainable farm in large quantities.  I don’t know (note to self, research that.)  But if that is true, then that makes the case for smaller farmers more attractive and compelling.

Hence, my desire to don overalls.

Now all this sounds very romantic (except maybe the overalls.)  Until you get to the nitty gritty (great band by the way) of growing things and trying to keep down pests, etc.  As you’ve seen, my efforts so far have been sad.  But it’s Virginia, folks ~ I still have time to get those little green babies in the ground! 

In the meantime, how does one sustainably keep out pests?  Well, it depends on the type of pest you are trying to keep out.  But the other day, I found one pest control “device” that works really  well!  I think it may even cause some humans to run away very fast from, well, wherever it goes!

I'm just going to check for mice down here, don't mind me!

This beauty is a Black Rat Snake ~ about a 6-7 footer I would guess.  At least he (or she) was keeping the mice and mole population under control in the cellar!  Black rat snakes are common in Virginia and quite harmless.  You can find out more here.  Another great site is the Virginia Herpetological Society (and no, they have nothing to do with herpes!)

I actually feel sorry for them ~ they usually end up squashed on the highway.  As long as this one doesn’t find a way to crawl into bed with me, he/she can stay as long as they want to.  Just keep the mice away!

By the way, I’m shooting for Memorial Day weekend.  Anyone want to come help dig in the dirt?

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

How do you keep pests out of your garden?  And what do you think of sustainable and organic practices? 
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