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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Ask the Farmer

A monthly column by Medway Community Farm

Wow, I can’t believe another month has gone by. This is certainly a busy time of year for us at the farm. We’ve gotten a couple of questions through the website which has been fantastic.
Do you have suggestions for Noninvasive and non-lethal ways to curb bunnies and woodchucks from turning yard into a wildlife salad bar?
You’ve asked the million-dollar question. When you think about it, there are three ways to prevent animals from coming into your gardens. You can erect a physical barrier such as a fence. The type of fence would be aimed at the type of animal you’re trying to keep out. Deer for instance would be a higher (and most likely doubled for depth) fence than it would be for rabbits. There are also chemical barriers which are aimed at creating an unwanted scent in the garden. There are several on the market, but people have used human hair or garlic as examples. There are also noise barriers which are meant to scare them off. To be honest, woodchucks are exceedingly difficult to get rid of. If you’re able, you may want to consider putting in raised beds that they can’t access.
What is the best way to rid plants of bugs, spray with water or release beneficial insects?
For small scale, like backyard gardens and the like, spraying the plants with just water will work to knock off several types of insects which delays their return and gives your plants enough growing time to be strong enough to withstand aphid pressure. But knocking them off into soapy water or using a neem oil spray (which I have used in the past) will kill them. The methods I have utilized in the past have been a combination of overhead watering, which knocks some of them off, yellow sticky traps interspersed among the crops, and the releasing of ladybugs, which love to eat aphids. As a matter of fact, we’re working with The Lost Ladybug project and we released ladybugs in the flower garden for aphid control at the end of June which is part of our youth education program.
When tomatoes start to appear should you pinch back leaves to let sun get to them?
Especially as our summers are getting hotter, you’d actually want to protect the tomatoes from the sun; the thicker leaves can prevent the tomatoes from sun scald.