Some Bad Gardening Advice and Some Good Gardening Advice
Copyright © April 8, 2013 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
Some Bad Gardening Advice
For many decades I have heard people say "Don't plant any seeds until Good Friday." Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday.
In the spring of the year 2012 I decided to follow that advice.
Good Friday arrived on Friday, April 6, 2012. In my area of the southeastern United States most of my neighbors had plowed their gardens and planted their seeds at least two weeks prior to this date. But I decided to delay and not plant anything until Good Friday. Then I began planting my seeds over a four week period the same way I do every year. The reason I plant over a four week interval is to avoid a total loss in the event of a late spring frost, and to allow the harvesting of my vegetables over a four week period when they mature.
All of my neighbor's corn fields had tassels on their corn stalks when my corn was only one foot tall. My neighbor's corn fields had multiple ears of corn on their corn stalks when my tassels were just appearing. The hot, dry part of summer arrived and my corn was stunted in its growth. At the end of the summer I was only able to harvest about one good ear of corn from every three or four stalks of corn. The other stalks had miniature or shriveled ears of corn. I harvested enough good ears of corn to replenish my heirloom corn seed with fresh seed but there was not enough corn for us to eat as a family. Fortunately, we did not need the corn to survive so this did not inconvenience my family in any way. But I did learn the following simple lesson after experimenting with some time-honored gardening advice:
Do not wait to begin planting until "Good Friday" because it arrives at different times each year.
Instead begin planting your seeds each year at the earliest possible date in your geographical area.
Some Good Gardening Advice
During the spring and summer of the year 2012 I decided to experiment with aluminum pie plates in my garden area. I purchased a package of three new aluminum pie plates at the grocery store and I punched a nail hole close to the outside rim of each plate. Then I put a 24 inch long piece of string through each hole. I tied one end of the string to the pie plate and the other end of the string to a tree, porch post, or a pole I pushed into the ground. I hung each of the three pie plates near different corners of my garden. A very gentle wind would cause the aluminum pie plates to move away from the tree, post, or pole, and then swing back against the object and make a sharp "twanging" sound.
The summer of 2012 was the first year I did not have any significant damage to my vegetable crops from deer or other forest wildlife.
I do not know exactly why the aluminum pie plates discouraged the local wild animals from enjoying my vegetable crops. I do not believe the animals are terrified of aluminum. Nor do I believe it is due to the sun reflecting off the pie plates because the pie plates worked at night and on overcast days in addition to sunny days. It might be that the "twanging" sound is at a frequency that is unpleasant to wild animals. But I suspect that the aluminum pie plates were effective because of the unpredictable sounds they made on a random basis from more than one direction. With these unpredictable sounds coming from three different directions on a random basis it is probably more difficult for a wild animal to feel safe in the immediate area because danger could be approaching it from almost any direction (except upwind) and the animal would not know about it due to the random sounds being made by the pie plates (which could mask the sounds made by an approaching predator).
The aluminum pie plates may work for some other reason but I really don't need to know why. All that matters to me is that the aluminum pie plates protected my vegetable garden, my grapes, and my fruit trees all summer.
May I humbly suggest that you give these thin aluminum pie plates a try in your garden this year and see if they work for you as well as they did for me in the summer of the year 2012.
If you decide to use aluminum pie plates, or any other device to protect your garden area, then you should install that protection before you plant your garden seeds. If you wait until after your seeds have sprouted and the seedlings are already attracting a variety of wild critters into your garden area, then those critters will already be accustomed to feeling "safe" inside your garden and they may not be intimidated by any new devices (or scarecrows) that you install to scare them away. Therefore install your pie plates, scarecrows, or any other protective devices in your garden area before you plant your seeds. At the end of the harvest, remove those devices and put them away for the winter months so the wild critters do not become accustomed to seeing or hearing them all year.
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