Sunday, June 26, 2016

Woodchuck Rascals!

Our vegetables have been severely challenged by woodchucks. They've eaten half the greens in our greenhouse, our hot peppers, our corn and associated beans. Every year they do some damage because they tunnel under fences but we quickly block and trap them. This year they snuck into both our greenhouse and hot pepper patch and decimated them before we could react. 

We tolerate deer that nibble some of our corn, peas and tomatoes every year for these browsers don't decimate whole rows. They simply taste a few plants and move on, leaving much more than they eat. Woodchucks are different: they consume whole rows. And instead of chewing off a few leaves, they often eat or pull out whole plants, leaving roots to dry up and die!
A Woodchuck on Alert Having Eaten Most of a Parsley Bed
Rabbits Are Not as Destructive as Woodchucks
Corn Damage: Rabbit, Deer or Woodchuck? 
Woodchuck Ambling Through Corn: June 22, 2016
Woodchuck Returning the Next Day
Woodchuck Pepper Damage: No Leaves Left, Only a Flower
Deer Eating Corn After Midnight
Four Pea Stems Chewed by Deer: <20% of the Plant

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Making Birds Ignor Strawberries

I found an interesting technique for fooling birds so they leave ripe strawberries alone: paint pebbles red and scatter them around the strawberry bed. Theory: birds peck the red stones, find they are inedible and then leave red tidbits alone. But do decoys work?

I spray painted around three dozen pebbles "gloss cherry" red and placed them near bunches of ripening strawberries. Some berries are still being damaged but it is still early in the season. Very likely there will be other pests that will reduce our harvest. Already I'm finding slugs eating ripe berries and since they don't have eyes, red stones won't deter them! Chipmunks ate a lot last year and I think they go for the smell of ripe berries. 

Red Painted Stone Near a Ripening Strawberry
Undamaged Strawberries and Red Stone
Bites Taken Out of a Strawberry Near a Red Stone!
A Slug Eating a Strawberry, Ignoring the Red Stone!