Tag / organic pest control

Gardening Plants

23 Organic Products for Every Yard and Garden Issue

This year’s garden late June

For years, we have always tried to use mostly organic products around our yard and gardens. Since I started beekeeping almost four years ago, everything had to change. It was no longer an option to be non-organic. Going chemical free was important for the bees and important in the long run for my young family. Today I thought that I would share some products that we have found beneficial over the years. A huge thanks goes out to my friends at Country Garden, who are always eager to show us something new!

Gardening Plants

Fennel Doesn’t Have Friends: A Guide to Companion Planting

If you are like us, you enjoy growing, harvesting and eating home grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs.  As we have transitioned to gardening entirely organically at Tilly’s Nest, we have come to learn of some fascinating gardening techniques that can help you get the best from your plantings.  One such technique is companion planting.  Companion planting involves placing plants that can benefit from one another adjacent to each other the garden.  It also involves keeping some plants far away from one another, as they can be detrimental to one another’s growth.  In fact, this year is my first year growing fennel. I picked up one bulb and sadly, it has no home. I will have to plant it in a container.

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Diatomaceous Bombing

A little while back I had posted about tiny little bugs invading the outside of the coop and run.  Well since then, their population has been slowly increasing.  I never found them on the chickens or in the coop and I would only find them early in the morning and at dusk.  During the day, they seemed to disappear.   When I did discover them, they seemed to be content on the shakes of the roof and the painted wooden portions of the run.  I could not figure it out.  I had done an extensive Google search and a search on backyard chickens that yielded no leads as to what these little buggers were.  I saw and read about lots of bugs.  One thing was sure,  they were not mites and they were not chicken or dog fleas.  Regardless, their population seemed to be doubling daily and they had to go!

So last night after the chickens went into the coop to roost, I sprang into action.  Everything had dried out over the past couple of days from the recent rain and clear weather was predicted for the next few days.  I had a date with the bugs; my weapon, organic food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and lots of it!  DE is a great organic way to control pests.

I filled the pest pistol up completely with the DE.  I went over to the run and covered it entirely with the rolled up plastic that I use during heavy rain and snow.  After a few minutes it was secure.  I went to work.  I covered the entire roof of the coop with DE  being sure to blast up underneath the shingles.  Then, I inserted the pest pistol into various squares of the hardware cloth in different locations and filled the run with DE.  All the while, I covered my nose and mouth with a bandanna.  DE can be harmful if large amount are inhaled causing a lung condition called silicosis. Soon enough, a large cloud filled the run.  Meanwhile, the girls were locked up in the coop sound asleep unaware of the warfare that was taking place outside.  I was satisfied and went inside for the night.

This morning, I came out to discover no little bugs on the roof!  Lots of dead little bugs had slid down the outside of the plastic covering the run where the rain runs off.  At least one hundred were dead.  I’m not sure what they were but the sharp microscopic particles that make up the DE were able to cut into the bugs’ skeletons and dehydrate them.  So for now, Tilly’s Mom-1 Bugs-0.  I can claim victory.  I sure hope it stays that way.

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Bugs

Looking for bugs

Bugs.  Tiny little jumping and flying bugs are all over the coop.  They walk about on the cedar shakes of the coop roof and as I go to pinch them, they jump.  They jump like popcorn.  These tiny little bugs are everywhere.  What are they, I have no idea, but after a few moments out there yesterday morning, I already had the heebie jeebies.  I grabbed the food grade diatomaceous earth, held my breath and began to blast the bugs with the pest pistol.  DE filled the air, my hair and my clothes.  I removed myself from the coop area and I waited until the dust settled.  I went inside, continued to get the kids ready for school and showered.

A little later in the morning, I returned to the coop.  A few bug were still exploring the outside of the coop.  I brushed them off and they popped away like impatiens’ seed pod I used to pop as a child.  I looked inside the coop and saw no evidence of bugs.  The chickens were unfazed as well.  However, these little visitors were really starting to bug me!  I grabbed the poultry protector and sprayed down the entire coop and run.  Finally by the end of they day, they were no where to be seen.

This morning, I woke up and went out to the coop.  The bugs had returned.  I blasted them with poultry protector again.  later in the day, I asked the lady at the feed store about the little flying things.  She had no idea but thought that they could have just blown in from somewhere.  I took no chances.  I bought two more bottles of poultry protector while I was there.  I have no idea about these little bugs.  I can’t be sure of what they are or where they originate.  I just know that I do not want them bugging the girls.  This is the first time I have ever had this sort of thing happen with the coop and the chickens.  Bugs certainly have their place in this great big world of ours, just not near our coop.  Perhaps, whatever blew them in for this visit will blow them onto their next destination this week.  A girl can dream…

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Gardening with Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Three Feathered Heroines

Three Silkie Bantams enjoy a breakfast of bugs

Termites were found in one of the new planting beds at my son’s school.  As we are practicing organic gardening techniques, it was only natural to think of the chickens to help eradicate these unwanted pests.  My friend who owns the farm in Cotuit arrived around 9:30am with a large wire dog crate and three Silkie Bantam chickens.

We stirred up the soil and then placed the cage inside the raised bed with the chickens inside.  We kept the chickens caged for their safety and to help them focus on the immediate task at hand.  Within seconds of being in the enclosure they got to work.  As they dined on their delicious breakfast of termites, students came outside to see the chickens busy at work.

While the chickens did their part, we planted strawberries, beets and potatos.  Ever so often, we lifted the cage and retilled the soil to unearth a fresh batch of termites.  Soon enough, the chickens were full.  Their crops became pendulous and we knew that they had done their job.  Next time, you have a problem in your garden, don’t forget about the skills of your chickens.  Mine even made their own resume sometime ago to remind me of their talents!

You can find more pictures in today’s copy of the Cape Cod Times on page A3.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest