Under Construction

Keeping everyone cool here when the temperatures exceed 95 has its challenges. Our summers put everything to the test when it comes to just surviving. Plants are monitored daily with container plants needing watered at least once per day. The animals..well its not uncommon for us to refill water morning and evening. It just gets that hot here. The chickens seem to fair better than the rabbits, so we've had to take extra measures to ensure their safety. One of them includes finishing a roof over their enclosure.



This has been part of our plan for the area since the start. Trying to find time to construct it has been our challenge! There is nothing like pressure as your motivation. With the sun scorching down and knowing my dear husband was going to have to manage animal care while the kids and I were away for a week got the ball rolling. With just a couple of days to work on it this is what I've finished so far. I do plan to cover the whole enclosure with chicken wire like the chicken yard. I have the bamboo roofing tied on here until we get back.

By covering the rabbit enclosure with chicken wire, we'll be able to turn the chickens loose in there to take care of any weeds (surprisingly the rabbits would rather dig than eat grass, lol) and fire ants. The chickens LOVE to eat them. I guess its a spicy treat or something. This will save a lot of labor and be much healthier for everyone. Since I use the rabbit manure for my garden, I don't want to treat the area with any sort of fire ant or weed killer. It seems like a pretty good deal to me!

This is NOT about construction...



I plucked this huge tomato hornworm off of one of my tomato plants this year. Can you believe how large they grow? It's no wonder they can consume branches of leaves at a time on my poor tomato plants! This year I'm thankful the population of these boogers has been low. Last year I was put through the test taking care of this problem. For those looking for an organic way to handle them try bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Some labels just say "caterpillar killer" on them and it has Bt as the active ingredient. Bt is a protein that caterpillars can't digest and that is what kills them. Humans are not harmed at all by it. You do need to reapply it on your plants after a good rain and every few weeks to keep your plants protected. Bt is not selective in the type of caterpillar it kills so be careful on where you use it. I have dill and parsley that swallowtail butterflies use for their host plants. It will kill their caterpillars too.

One personal satisfaction I get when I find a giant tomato hornworm on my tomatoes is that they "pop" green slime when I stomp on them. Gross I know, but hey...someone has to pay! Thankfully the damage done by the hormworms usually doesn't cause major harm to my tomato plants. In most cases the plant will recover just fine. I have even seen a few plants eaten to nearly nothing and recover but I still don't like 'em.

4 comments:

  1. Feed your hornworms to your chickens for a tasty treat. Carry a jar with you as you walk through the garden looking for pests. Put them in the jar and them give them to the chickens. Be careful, there is usually a lot of pouncing when you empty the jar, and feathers fly. The chickens appreciate the treat and the hornworms die. And you don't have to scrape hornworm slime off your shoes (grin).

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  2. You're rabbits should be very happy! I'm glad we don't have fire ants around here, ouch!!! Kim

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  3. Thanks Stephanie :) We love watching the chickens fight over an insect. Its cheap entertainment around here, lol. I used to feed the hornworms to the chickens, but I got worried about them being poisonous since the tomato leaves are. I didn't look that up to see for sure, so thanks for returning good times to our home.

    Kim - We love making a nice home for the rabbits. We're hoping to make it a fun place to hang out and play with the rabbits.

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  4. Thanks for the gardening hydroponics article, we will add to our hydroponics garden blog, http://www.hydroponicswholesale.com/blog thanks Jeff Hydroponics

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