Fall Garden Update: Pest Patrol - S2E23

October 4th, 2017 · 26 mins 29 secs

About this Episode

This is Season 2, Episode 23 of the Small Scale Life Podcast, and today we are going to talk about the Fall Garden. How are things going? What is happening with the new seedlings? If you follow Small Scale Life on Instagram or Facebook, you already have a clue on what has been going on in the garden. As a gardener, I have to tell you: it isn’t always smooth sailing. In this episode, I will be talk about the new seedlings and some serious garden pests who have made a mess of the Fall Garden.

In case you are new to Small Scale Life, we are dedicated to intentional living through learning, doing and growing. We are focused on:

• Gardening,
• Healthy living, and
• Having adventures along the way.

Welcome to October! We have gotten over two inches of rain here. The rain barrel is completely full, and the garden has absorbed the water. Beyond this rain, I have also been fighting pests in the garden as well (as a spoiler alert: I just picked off two dozen slugs off plants and from the garden beds). Even with these challenges, plants are still growing and producing. So, as the harvest moon rises in the east, I thought that it was time for another Fall Garden Update! In this episode, I am going to talk about going on Pest Patrol. Grab your rubber boots, your flashlights and follow me out into the garden.

Fall Crops

Two weeks ago (and as I discussed in Season 2 Episode 21), I took the seedlings growing in the trays and planted them into the Square Foot Garden Beds. I planted almost all of the sugar snap peas into the Western Bed. I put the seedlings in two rows across the entire length of the bed. I figured I would install a simple trellis system consisting of two 2"x4" posts, two 3/4" conduits, some fencing and zip ties. Once the sugar snap peas got a little taller and sent out more tendrils, I would install the trellis. Unfortunately, that plan has been delayed a bit due to some unwelcome visitors to the garden. More on that in a minute.

Like the sugar snap peas, I took the green bush beans and planted them into the Eastern Bed. They completely filled out the open area in front of the compost tomatoes. Two weeks later, they are look pretty good; however, there is some leaf damage from some pests.

Finally, I do have some reserve Fall Crops that have not been planted in the garden beds yet. I have lettuce, spinach and a few sugar snap peas growing happily in the seed trays. In addition, I pre-soaked some sugar snap pea seeds (soak them in water overnight), and I planted 3/4 of a tray this week. I figure if we have a mild Fall, I might get some new seedlings down in the beds and perhaps can get some sugar snap peas before the hard freeze. Time will tell if it works out or not.

Rabbit Terminators

In previous garden updates, I mentioned that there are a number of rabbits in this neighborhood. These furry terminators seem to have an insatiable hunger. So much so that they chewed through the flimsy plastic Walmart fencing that ring each of the garden beds. Seriously. They ate through the plastic fencing!

Earlier in the season, I repaired the holes by using chicken wire and zip ties. These rabbits would not be denied: they chewed new holes and got into the beds. While it really wasn't a big deal to lose a couple pepper leaves, it WAS a big deal for the rabbits eating down the sugar snap peas. In a course of a week, they grazed over the peas every night, and my two healthy rows of peas turned into a few plants on the edges of the West Garden Bed. I had peas every 2"-3", and now I don't have many plants in the middle of the bed. I now have pea stubble, and I had to do something.

I wanted to salvage some peas this fall, so I went ahead and pulled out the flimsy plastic fencing on Garden Bed West. I was going to beef up the stakes that support the fencing, but I needed to get the new fencing up before nightfall. I replaced the flimsy fencing with good old fashioned chicken wire, and I affixed the fence to the stakes with zip ties. The chicken wire is taller than the cheap plastic fencing, and it should provide some protection from the furry menace.

Sluggish Menace

The light was fading as I was working on the fencing. I slowly unrolled the fencing around the garden and attached the fencing to the wooden stakes. As the sun started to set, I began to notice creatures slowly slinking out from dark areas near the stakes. I actually bent down and looked closely, and then it hit me. I had a slug problem!

Slugs will feed on leaves of plants and ripening fruit. I had noticed some damage on the basil leaves, tomatoes and a couple of the peppers, but I just kept doing my thing. Having DEALT with slugs in my gardens before, I should have known the signs and done something earlier.
When I finished with the fence project, I threw the plastic fencing away and went back to the garden. I drabbed a red solo cup and began picking off the slugs one at a time. Once I had collected about 20 slugs, I drowned them (and my sorrows) in beer. The slugs did not last long.
The battle is not over, however. I was out before I completed this article and pulled over 24 slugs off the garden beds (sides of the beds and soil). I also pulled them off the sugar snap peas and green beans. Disgusting balls of slime met a similar fate as their brothers and sisters a few days ago!

Garden Beds

The mature plants in the garden beds continue to produce fruit. The Early Treat Tomato Plants are loaded with new tomatoes, and the Cherry Tomato Plants continue to produce fruit as well. I am very pleased with the red and green bell peppers, particularly the red bell peppers. They are getting massive and there are quite a few of them. The basil has really grown since I last harvested the leaves. It is time to harvest more!

The compost plants are chugging along. The tomatoes are showing buds, and we'll see if they bear fruit before the frost. I have my doubts. The melon plants are showing some buds, and one melon has started on one of the vines. Again, I have my doubts on this one maturing to anything substantial.

Next Steps

In the last Garden Update Podcast, I talked about building a wicking bed. Given the remaining two weeks before the first frost, I am actually going to put this project on hold until the spring. I am going to plant the seedlings I have, and I will get a container for the lettuce and spinach. There just isn't time to build the wicking bed, particularly with most of my tools in storage. Don't worry! I will build this project; we will just have to wait a bit longer.

I do need to replace the fence around Garden Bed East, and I need to install a trellis for Garden Bed West. These are projects I can still complete given my limited power tools and equipment here.

In addition, I have to get to the Farmer's Market to pick up supplies to make salsa and some other goodies. The season is almost over! It is time to get these last projects done!

Your Turn

How about you? What is left to do this season? Are you harvesting anything from your garden?
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Thank you again for tuning into Small Scale Life. We do appreciate each and every one of you. This is Tom from Small Scale Life. Remember to learn, do and grow. See you really soon!