I've hardly been online as I am working for money (yay!) but spent a lot of the weekend with my fingers in the soil. Things are better out there this year. I was so ill last Spring getting over that hip replacement (not from old age - congenital defect) that it was more of a learning experience than a garden. In the intervening year the garden is now twice the size - my son added more SFG boxes. We planted more of what worked and we like this year. We at least last year we learned what does not work in our climate.
One thing that worked amazingly well was putting woodstove ash on everything this winter. The soil here is very acidic due to all the pine trees, and the ash seems to solve that and feed the plants. A peach tree we thought would die from losing the main trunk is thriving this year, three times as lush and covered with olive-sized fruit. Spraying BT on the blossoms earlier should make the fruit more edible, too. Meanwhile the fig is very healthy and the white mulberry tree that started as a 1-foot bare root twig last year is now 8-ft tall. I was not sure if the salt spray rose we are growing for rose hips would make it, but we dug it up and gave it more compost and it seems to be doing just fine. We lost two of our four blueberry bushes, but the other two are fruiting. And the Indian hawthorns (medicinal, for the heart) are doing well. Our strategy was to put dual purpose ornamental things in the front yard and veggies and herbs in the back. The DIY chain link fence enclosing everything is very nearly done.
Anyhow I just thought I would share that the herb bed, bell peppers, eggplant, jalapenos, carrots, Swiss chard, cauliflower, radishes, tomatoes, green onions, and cukes are in.The lima beans, romaine lettuce, early cabbages and peas are already sprouting. The garlic, red leaf lettuce, parsnips and late cabbage that overwintered in tented boxes are ready to harvest soon. And there are bees back in our hive boxes!
It's so alive out there. Geckos and spiders and frogs and butterflies abound (one little green male gecko was showing off his purple inflatable chin sack - very handsome!) . We have had very little problems with squirrela and birds eating our seeds and sprouts as we have four cats. Boy, am I glad they don't think the SFG boxes are litterboxes! I was really worried about that.
I live in the city near a park and battle squirrels all the time to keep them from eating all my birdseed. I have 30 years battle experience with squirrels, and the scars to show for it! I have always used havahart traps (havahart.com) for squirrels and raccoons with great success. The havahart traps catch the squirrels live and you have to release them far away from your property or they will find their way back. I've heard some amazing stories of people marking captured squirrels and then releasing them, only to have them return days or weeks later after what must've been an incredible little squirrel exodus! I take mine across a busy bridge over a river 1/2 mile from my house. So far none have crossed back over the bridge or swum the river to return. They are reportedly very territorial and will try to get back, and defend their territory from other squirrels. (Of course, you can just kill them by drowning, or whatever, instead of releasing them). Once I got rid of all my resident squirrels (and you'll be surprised how many there are once you start catching them), all I had to do was keep up with the new ones that come exploring in my squirrel-free zone. I'll go weeks without catching any and then usually catch two on the same day or over two days. Then it's quiet again for a while. In the past I've baited mine with peanut butter on crackers but I have found, by accident, that I now catch them without bait in 9/10 cases. My trap is in the same place near the bird feeders it's been for almost 2 years and I'm thinking the scent puts them at ease. Their curiosity takes them in. Occasionally, they ignore the trap and gorge on bird seed. Then I bring the feeders inside, bait the trap with peanut butter on a cracker and wait (usually less than 8 hours). If you have a mischievous, engineering kind of personality, you might get inspiration from You Tube. Watch the videos on "Squirrel catapults". Even if you don't build a squirrel catapult (which is for entertainment purposes only because they just come back repeatedly to get launched), it's worth a good laugh at the archenemy's expense. My wife promises to try to cook them if we get desperate, but I hear it's hard to clean them adequately and easy to get some serious diseases from them.
I got a good laugh from the squirrel catapult videos
While I was reading your post about taking your squirrels across the river, I was just picturing someone else living across the bridge. He also has a squirrel problem, and solves it the same way as you, by taking his squirrels over the bridge.
Net result of course is, despite a lot of effort, just as many squirrels for you both!
My intent to get rid of squirrels was to do it humanely and sustainably, and without chemicals/poisons. If we all start killing squirrels, what kind of effect will that have on the food chain? If we all start re-locating them, what will that accomplish? Squirrels fighting for food in a more concentrated area? I just want to keep them out of my garden. They have plenty, and I mean plenty of oak trees in my neighborhod to feed on. Let them eat acorns while I eat my tomatoes. We can co-exist.
I think you are all using the wrong approach for squirrels. When TSHTF you might appreciate them more.
Who says we're using the wrong approach? What do you think happens to the little buggers after they get struck down with high velocity lead poisoning?;-) BTW, great recipes, thanks!
I find head shots are very humane. They die instantly. I get target practice to sharpen the eye for firearm use when TSHTF. Their meat sustains the creature at the top of the food chain ... me. Their remains get buried to enrich the soil. The squirrel overcrowding problem is eliminated allowing the surviving squirrels to happily thrive and avoid the diseases which come with overcrowding. Darwinian selection gets rid of the tomato eaters in favor of the acorn eaters. They get fat and sassy off the acorns for the next "harvest". All very sustainable and ecologically sound. What's not to like?
I've tried lead poisoning; there were just too many. I was being overrun. However, I haven't tried any squirrel recipes.. So far I haven't had the desire or need. How about a culinary review. Anybody have any haute cuisine squirrel recipes?
Dog sure likes 'em though.
We've got squirrels everywhere and they are digging into every flowerpot. If you plant a tasty seed, they will dig it up before it germinates. I've started my seeds indoors partly fot that reason. They don't bother the little plants once the seed is gone.
Although IME chipmunks will chow down on young tender shoots, dangit. I cover my herb pots/planters with chicken wire until the plants are big enough that the chipmunks don't find them good eating...
What do you think happens to the little buggers after they get struck down with high velocity lead poisoning?;-)
I missed the point that the lead poisoning was the high velocity type. ;-)
We are on the radio with our seminar ... say a little prayer for us please ! That we have a good turn out plus we have had rain and cold weather.
http://www.bepreparedradio.com/2011/04/13/family-garden-doctor-04-15-2011/ The Book is More food from your Garden .
"high velocity lead poisoning"! An actual laugh there. We just leave the cats outside now, though, and they chase 'em off.
All kidding aside, I'd imagine that you'd have to handle a squirrel very carefully and cook it WELL. Parisites, diseases, fleas...not my first choice but we may get to the point where they are a delicacy.
I am new here, I have been gardening for years, however I don't know what BT is? Can someone please explain?
The squirrels and chipmunks seemed to have stopped carving up my garden and yard. Not sure if it my automatic sprinkler worked(it's still set just in case) or the mouse traps I set which may have left a bruise or 2 and gotten the word out to the tree rat community, or if it's a seasonal thing where they have given up finding last fall's nuts. But I can garden in peace, for now.
I was thinking, maybe Dogs can come up with some type of squirrel repellent with his nuclear habanero peppers?
I am going to give the hot pepper sauce a try as soon as Dogs posts us a recipe ! Maybe it would work on AO 's neighborhood barking dogs too ?! ? Late at night in a squirt bottle perhaps ? His dilemma is posted somewhere close by .
OH and if you could come up with a good way to get rid of the pests that drive up and down the road yelling " I'm in love with your daughter!".. Let me know ASAP . They are not brave enough to pull in the driveway ... maybe afraid I will put them to work pullling weeds .
Don't forget the Trinidad Scorpion Tail peppers that make habaneros taste like a Krispy Kreme donut......
Anyway, my recipe involves rendering the aforementioned peppers into salsa and sitting on your back porch with a bag of tortillas, a couple of .22 LRs, and a box of Remington Yellowjackets.
They're high sub-sonic and the only thing the neighbors will hear is a thud when the little varmint finishes spinning and lands on the ground.
Does your grandfather have any recipes for salsiccia dello scoiattolo?
LOL. RWS 350 magnum air rifle in .22 is my go-to squirrel eliminator. Quiet enough not to rouse the neighbors and doesn't violate any firearm discharge laws in our community. Darn powerful for an air rifle. The pellets have gone clean through every squirrel I've shot. The family won't let me shoot a black one though. It's gotten so fat feeding off our bird feeders that it now waddles. I'm sure it'll apply for food stamps one of these days.
Just to yank this thread off in another direction, Cat and I were out on our morning trip through the gardens and I was very pleasantly surprised to find buds on all of my habaneros - orange, chocolate and white. I was ecstatic to find buds on my Trinidad Scorpion Tail pepper. This was my first year growing the Scorpion Tails and just getting the seeds to germinate was a hard won victory.
Take a picture of your fat squirrel and mail it to Joe Biden. He'll probably cite it as an example of how well food stamps stimulate the economy.
I got into a bit of a tiff with my family of single-row, in the ground, old school Italian gardeners this weekend. I've tended to water my garden frequently, since I have access to plenty of water. For example, if it rains on Friday, I will water again on Sunday. I find the SFG mix of soil dries out pretty quickly on sunny, warm or hot days. Mel talks in his book to not worry about overwatering because of the soil mox. But no, says my family. You must not overwater, especially the tomatoes! So tell me SFG's, how often do you water?
I am an SFG gardener, too. Water the tomaotoes only when the leaves wilt. Any more often and the tomatoes will crack open.
So far this season.....
Chinese Five Color Peppers: Dogs - 4, 5 Color Pepper - 0
Tabasco Pepper: Dogs - 8, Tabasco - 2
White Habanero: Dogs - 7, White Hab - 0
Orange Habanero: Dogs - 1, Orange Hab - 2
Ghost Pepper: Dogs - Disqualified, Ghost Pepper - Winner by forfeit. Rematch unlikely.
The salsa is going to be outstanding though.
To clarify my preceeding post.
These are the peppers I have grown and eaten so far this year - with the head to head scoring. With the notable exception of the ghost pepper - a friend grew those and she gave me one. I lack the courage to take a small piece and eat it, much less take a bite out of the thing. It is evil organic.
The Chinese 5 colors have a great citrusy taste and bite a fair bit harder than a jalapeno, but nowhere near habanero level. The tabascos taste like, well, tabasco and have a nasty way of sneaking up on you. Being a pulpy, wet pepper there is very little time between biting into one and the onset of heat.
The White habs have an amazing flavor. The heat takes about a minute to set in and is pretty intense but fades noticeably after 5 minutes or so.
The orange habs have the same taste as the white, although a little more pungent, and are definitely hotter than a white hab. The heat doesn't build slowly - it assails you in about 10 seconds and lasts a good 20 minutes. Yogurt doesn't knock it back. Neither does cream cheese. Water makes it worse. Milk only cuts the heat while drinking. The hiccups are borderline painful. I will try them again as soon as the next batch ripens...........
Waiting on the chocolate habs and the Trinidad Scorpion tail peppers to ripen before I consider adding them to the mix. Right now all I have is blooms on both. Not expecting pepper pods until mid-August for those guys.
I also figure if I tell myself I enjoy eating them enough I'll actually believe it. The endorphin rush is pretty cool.
Dogs – When you feel the need to step it up a notch. Travlin
Best viewed in full screen mode. Check his facial expression at 55 seconds.
I am at a loss for words.......but I'll recover.
I wonder if he's a banker by day and does this for fun on the side?
Pass the ghost peppers please.
Yah. I'll eat a baker's dozen of ghost peppers and cannonball with three fingers of Laphroaig neat before I even contemplate something like that. Wowsers...
His name is Gordo Gamsby. He was clowning it up in that video. He does sword swallowing and other sideshow acts. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Gordo+Gamsby&aq=f That's enough thread jacking for now.
Do you know antyhing about growing these peppers. I'm getting conflicting reports. Some say they are very difficult and some say they are not.
Yes. They are called Peter Peppers.
I'm not growing these this year but may try some next year. I have a friend who is growing them here in Virginia and she said they were pretty easy to grow. She calls them "Willy Chilis".
I haven't tried them yet but am looking forward to it. They fall between jalapenos and tabascos on the Scoville scale but apparently the range is pretty wide. My luck I'd get the 5 CEP outlier that pushes 100,000 SHU!!
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