Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Living Healthfully: Organic Gardening (Week Three)

I'm documenting our first summer of gardening in hopes having a manual to guide us next year. We started a garden because we wanted to take a step in becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable. We're also trying to cut the grocery bill by a third, farm the land responsibly and grow organic produce for our family to enjoy.

I'm sure that whoever thought up the concept of Count Dracula or vampires in general found his or her inspiration while gardening because holy freakin' blood-sucking mosquitoes everywhere! My garden is home to more than just veggies and herbs; it is a hotbed for those little buggers.

I'm beginning to think I need to buy a mosquito netting suit in order to simply water the garden. I have to bathe myself in natural mosquito repellent (8 ounces bottle of fragrance and dye free lotion mixed with five drops of citronella essential oil and five drops of peppermint essential oil -- eucalyptus works fine, too) before I even think about tending to the garden.

So because of the great mosquito onslaught of Memorial Day weekend 2010, I haven't had much to time to spend babying my {plant} babies. I only have about five minutes per day to evaluate and water or else I'd lose more blood than if I were to actually donate a few pints.

But what I have learned from the past four weeks of gardening? We're not the only ones who like to eat from our garden.

Tomato fleas enjoy nibbling on tomato leaves.

Rabbits enjoy crunching on this unidentified leafy green plant.

Something certainly enjoys chowing on this pitiful {also unidentified} plant; because yesterday there was a lot more flower and leaf growing.

And the mosquitoes really enjoy eating hubby, our poor kiddos and me. G. has so many red dots on his face he could be mistaken for having chicken pox. Poor kid.

We'll be putting up some actual protective fencing this weekend to help keep the critters from creeping in and snacking on all our goods along with also constructing some raised bed boxes for the strawberry plants that remain in their tiny pots.

But the mosquitoes? Short of buying a bunch of birds and housing them in our backyard {forget Dracula; the movie The Birds was actually way more terrifying}, I'm not sure there's much that can be done in the organic realm.

Garlic only wards off vampires, right?


  1. My father in law goes to great lengths every year (and every year the lengths get more and more ridiculous!!) to protect his garden from the creatures that live on their mountain. They live in the woods of NH, and they have turkeys, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, and various other animals that help eat their veggies :) It's crazy! Can't wait to see what you come up with.
    {and didn't mean to hyjack your comments about my father in law... but it just reminded me about it, and he gets SO animated when he talks about protecting his garden, makes me giggle!)

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  3. @Corinne, Your FIL and I could have some serious conversations! I get all animated about my garden, too. It's like the darn thing is one of my children. I'm all protective and hovering and doting. It's a little ridiculous. But when you put so much time into the stinkin' thing -- well, it deserves a little animation when those stinky bunnies are destroying whatever the heck those plants are anyway!!!!

    {End rant. Sorry.}

  4. Ladies, you both (and Corinne's Father in law!) need to read this book:

    I reviewed it in one of my library posts, and we love it:

    But as for the mosquitos...I've got nothin' :)

  5. Can you build a bat house? I have a bat cave within a few miles of my house and they take care of those pesky mosquitoes. I was going to suggest fencing for the critters, but you seem to have figured that out already. I bet there is a granule out there for the mosquitos that is all natural. Maybe a plant store would have an idea.

  6. Yay for gardening! Something I am not prepared or will ever be prepared to do..ha! I blame it on nasty hayfever and general disinterest. By the grace of God, I have managed to keep two house plants from the brink of death for almost 2 years! That is a victory for me. Growing a tomato plant? Not a chance. But loving your stories of sacrificing yourself and your blood for the greater good. Way to go Hy!


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