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Goat, Anyone?

Gotta love Seattle.  I’ve actually never been there, always wanted to go.  Last fall I met a wonderful Seattlite (ok, I know that’s wrong but sounds so right to me).  She keeps me up to date on the happenings there.  Here’s a novel idea from some west coast revel gardeners: use goats instead of pesticides to keep your land free and clear of unwelcome visitors.  Check it out here.

I’ve heard of other natural ways to keep pests away.  My other favorite is from the Self-Sufficient Gardener, who regularly emphasizes that pests are just a natural part of gardening, not all are bad, it’s important to know the difference between the good ones (beneficial) and harmful pests, and that one of the most important methods of pest control is planning.  A resilient garden grounded with healthy soil and packed with diverse and sturdy (think heirloom over hybrid) plants will put itself in balance.  Check out some quick advice from him on how to deal with pests here.

QUESTION: How do you deal with pests?  Have you been seeing any this year?  Do you plan your garden around them or just wait to see what shows up?  (I have to say I’m guilty of the latter in that I do only minimal planning – such as placing marigolds around my tomato garden – but just wait to see what shows up for the rest).  Do you use any organic pesticides or other products?  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

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2 responses to “Goat, Anyone?

  1. Ralph ⋅

    I haven’t done much over the past couple years for insect control. This year I am writing down which plants get eaten up by bugs and which don’t. Planting in the ground next year I will try avoiding what got eaten up this year, possibly put some of their favorite snacks out of the way to lure them elsewhere.

    I went from a mowed grass unplanted area behind the row I do plant to a slightly smaller fairly wild grow if you can area. The wild area was intended to give a home to all those helpful bugs out there. I’ve randomly thrown seeds back there, most notably red clover which is back for it’s 3rd year since planting. Last year I had catnip growing ‘wild’ after I threw some seeds around.

    The in ground wormwood from last year is now about 3 feet tall. It looks real healthy and has zero signs of being attacked by anything other than me. I question how effective the wormwood will be able to protect plants around it since some of my worse eaten plants aren’t far from the wormwood. I planted a couple smaller wormwoods in the outer corners and I’ll see what happens when they get larger. Check:
    http://www.seedman.com/pest.htm

    BTW, Seedman has a pretty good selection of unusual seeds. I got many of my seeds from them when I first started planting again a few years back.

  2. Ralph ⋅

    I just read a newspaper story where they are using goats to clean up an invasive weed species in Staten Island. Using certain animals to clear out plants or bugs is something I’ve heard of many times on various homesteading type programs. The problem gets controlled, the animals eat healthy free food, and everyone benefits. I am glad to see the city or any of it’s agencies using that technique rather than chemicals.

    http://gothamist.com/2012/06/22/staten_island_dump_hires_goat_herd.php

    http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/2012/06/goats-take-on-staten-island-phragmites.html

    The Parks Department is also looking into similar natural solutions to manage land. Hopefully they will have the funds they need to continue this and similar initiatives.

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