Gardening Matters with K.C. Fahy-Harvick

Timely Tips
SLUGS IN THE GARDEN Cleaning all dead leaves and plant material out of the garden in the Fall (especially over the crowns) will help keep the slugs out. Also pull the mulch well away from the plants. If you have plants that overlap each other (like Hostas) there is really no need for mulch in those areas.

Home remedies work to some extent, and if you have a small garden with a small problem, by all means try them, but for a large garden area these methods will be annoying at best. Things like: BEER put out in shallow dishes at ground level. The slugs crawl in and drown. But, the beer has to be fresh to work! Hey, these guys aren't stupid! SALT sprinkled in a solid line around the plants, they won't crawl through salt. In fact, you can sprinkle salt directly on the little buggers, and they disintegrate. Gross! O.K.. have you stopped ordering escargot yet?! THE BEST REMEDY you're not going to like this, but, trust me, it is the best slug solution. It's been scientifically proven that cutting the slug in half with your pruners or scissors, and leaving them on the ground is the best method. It keeps the other slugs away. (Don't ask) Now we've really sealed the deal on your escargot ordering! Slugs need moisture to move, so going out in the early morning when there's dew, or after a rain is the best time to find them. The chemical treatments are ghastly, and harmful to your pets. I wouldn't have it anywhere near my yard.

DEER PROBLEMS Sorry to say that there really is no such thing as a 'deer-proof' plant. There are some things that they prefer over others, but depending on your area and the winter weather, they will eat anything and everything. Feeding them does not keep them out of your garden, it just brings it to their attention. If you're in an area where the deer have gotten used to human presence, then a dog barking, you yelling, or hanging out deodorant soaps probably won't help either. But if they are still relatively wild, all of these things do help some.

There are two spray products on the market that work. Both make the plants taste bad, don't wash or rain off, and last all season (3-5 months). ROPEL is a systemic, which means that if you spray any part of the plant, it will go into the entire plant. Soaking tulip bulbs in Ropel before planting them works to help keep animals from digging them up, and stays in the bulb long enough to work when the tulips first start to emerge in Spring. Thus, giving you a chance to get out and spray the tulips again to continue working for the rest of the spring. TREE GUARD is not a systemic, so you have to spray all parts of the plant, but it also does not wash off. A little goes a long way, as it goes on white and dries clear, so you can see where you've sprayed. WARNING: both of these sprays will not wash off your hands either, so be sure to wear gloves when using. SPECIAL HINT: When my dog was a puppy I used Tree Guard on my wooden table legs that she wanted to chew. It worked!

There is one sure thing that no animals bother in the garden - Daffodils. So if we could just make everything taste like daffodils we'd have it licked (so to speak).

WEEDS - USING PRE-EMERGENTS When using pre-emergents for weed control, like Preen, be sure that you first remove all of the existing weeds from the garden. These treatments only work on the surface of the soil, so if you apply it, and then pull weeds, and disturb the soil, the seeds coming up from underneath will still germinate. These chemicals only work by keeping the seeds from germinating, they do not work on weeds already growing. Also, please know that these chemicals do not know the difference between weed seeds and other seeds, so if there are things in your garden that you want to grow from seeds, don't apply these products.

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K.C. Fahy-Harvick
240 Sylvan Road
Rochester, NY 14618
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