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Posts Tagged ‘Nectar’

It’s been such a thrill to see our Mama Hummingbird as she cares for her eggs. I wrote last week about finding her nest and promised to keep you updated on the latest. Well, drumroll please…both of her eggs have hatched!

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I noticed Mama spending more time than usual in her nest. On Thursday she left her perch long enough for me to take a peek and I saw two funny-looking little gumbys laying in the shattered remains of their eggs. One baby was all curled up and the other bobbled it’s noggin, beak up, looking for it’s Mama.

I was able to grab a couple more shots on Saturday at which point the two little babies started to look more like birds than tiny aliens. You can see that they are starting to get their feathers.

I haven’t been able to get any shots this morning, but as soon as I do I’ll add it the to this post.

Below are some tips on how you can create a garden that hummingbirds will love to call home.

Provide Food and Shelter

Hummingbirds eat flower nectar and small insects (which is what they feed their babies). They also will eat a sugar and water solution from a feeder (1 part sugar to 4 parts water – NO RED DYE, no honey), but you must be diligent about keeping your feeder clean by washing it with a brush and warm water (no soap) every 3 – 4 days. I don’t keep a feeder because when I do the ants always find it and it’s a terrible mess.

Plants provide food, shelter and nest-building materials for hummingbirds and all manner of small creatures in your garden. And don’t be such a neat freak — our Mama Bird used lots of spider webs to build her nest, which is why I leave them all over the place (not really, I just never get around to removing them).

I’ve been watching Mama Bird as she makes her way around my garden. Two of her favorite stops are the lavender and the jasmine. Hummingbirds prefer red and yellow flowers, but will visit others as well. As you see on the list below, you can (and should) plant plants that will provide nectar for most of the growing season.

  • Azalea
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Canna
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Cape and Coral Honeysuckle
  • Columbine
  • Coral Bells
  • Currants
  • Firespike
  • Flame Acanthus
  • Flowering Quince
  • Four O’Clocks
  • Foxglove
  • Fuchsia
  • Gooseberries
  • Hosta
  • Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
  • Lantana
  • Lavender
  • Lupine
  • Manzanita
  • Monkey Flower
  • Penstemons – especially red and yellow
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  • Salvias
  • Summer Holly
  • Trumpet Creeper
  • Weigela
  • Yucca

Many of these will plants attract and feed other pollinators, like bees and butterflies, as well.

Provide Water

A reliable, clean source of water is another thing birds look for when deciding to build nests. The bees will thank you too. Did you know that bees drink water? They do — check it out.)

NEVER Use Pesticides

I use only organic or mechanical means of pest control and I leave some of the bad bugs in the garden so the birds (and beneficial bugs and lizards) have food. Pesticides will kill all the small bugs that hummingbirds eat for protein. Pesticides can also make birds sick, or could kill them.

Our babies should be in the nest for a couple of more weeks and I will, of course, be sharing more pics. Then they’ll be out on their own and hopefully coming back to my garden when it’s time to build their nests.

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Mary Beth and I have been trying to push ourselves to blog more often so in the past few months we’ve created several regular features. One is Sunday Zen, a photographic time-out where we go into the garden, usually ours, but sometimes other public and private gardens, and take photographs that reflect our mood. Tuesday’s Tips is where we share what we’ve learned to help make gardening and beekeeping easier and more productive. Another is Wordless Wednesday which honestly isn’t much different from our Sunday post, but we take part in this blogger tradition because we just love posting our photos.

Which brings us to the Garden Journal, which should become a more or less regular post on Thursdays. MB and I noticed that our recent postings have been short on the kinds of stories that we love to read on other bloggers’ sites — stories about the great stuff that happens in gardens. So we decided to get back to doing more of that. But, being kind of scattered, we need to actually put it on the list and have it tied to a specific day to get it done. Kind of pathetic we know, but whatever it takes, right?

Here is our first Garden Journal.

Mary Beth: I’m visiting family back East (on Block Island) and could not have timed it better — it’s been the hottest period on record. (Why can’t my luck be this good with the lottery?) Despite the crushing heat I have been enjoying myself and this morning the weather has cooled down a bit, thankfully.

If you’ll remember, before I left for Colorado I decided to put a “second story” on the TBH to make sure my bees didn’t get honeybound. I was so happy when I checked on my “girls” and saw that they’re doing so well. They’ve filled out all of the bars for except the last two of the TBH, but they seem to be having a problem going up into the second story.

I decided to help them out a bit and put one of the bars that’s full of honey up in the super. That bar of honeycomb was deeper than the super, so I let it extend down into the TBH by removing the bar below it thinking that it might even help to get them up there. They seemed to be ok with that and hopefully they’ll get the idea soon. It looks to me like they have about 50-60 lbs of honey already and the hive’s full of brood too. I only saw one bee with a mite, but other than that they’re looking healthy.

I so wanted to take a bar of honey for myself but was afraid of the dry weather the East has been having — if the nectar flow slows down they’ll need all they have collected.

I apologize for not taking many photos, and the ones I did take are not that great, but I was so hot in my bee suit. I kept thinking I should have told someone I was working on the bees just in case I went down! When I finally peeled that sucker off I was soaking wet and feeling more than a little woozy. It was a good excuse to go to the beach with my sister Pam and swim in the ocean.  The water was so beautiful and we bobbed around laughing like kids.

So happy to report the bees are doing great! They were so gentle and it was pleasure to work with them. I’ll check on them before I leave and see how they are responding to the small change I made in the hive.

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Mary Beth: Raccoons have been visiting us since we got back and they have been downright rude! I’m pretty sure they were setting up house on our deck while we were living on Block Island — droppings and the shredded cat bed were my first clue that we might not be alone.

They come late night, hissing and growling at each other while they crash into things and dig around in my potted plants. They’ve even dug up the dahlia tubers I just planted in the garden which really tested my patience.

The other night I was so fed up with their antics that I decided to chase them away. I knocked on the window to scare them. They turned to look at me, their expressions clearly indicating a ‘Who the hell are you?!’ attitude and then they continued their late night porch party. You might be envisioning cute, cuddly Disney-style raccoons, but in this part of the woods these are BIG suckers. So when I opened the door a crack to see if I could scare them off, that look made me close the door, turn off the lights and retreat back into my bed!

My take away from all of this was that if I would be getting any sleep, I would have to remove everything in the yard that might be attracting them. That meant that I had to stop using the hummingbird feeder and bird feeders. And yes, I should know better, feeders attract bears as well and those are considerably larger and more fierce than the raccoons. So considering myself forewarned, I packed up the feeders. Now I only put a handful of birdseed out in a bowl in the morning and I bring it in the house at night. I also bought some Shake Away made from Coyote urine that should discourage the raccoons — hopefully this doesn’t attract the coyotes!

Our yard is home for lots of birds and I really enjoy watching and listening to them. There are so many interesting ones here in SW Colorado that I decided I would concentrate on adding to the plants in our yard that will attract birds. Then I won’t have to resort to putting out food that ends up attracting some fuzzy-faced creatures who really are kind of cute, just not at close range.

Pine Siskin (?) in Crabapple Tree

I think this is a Pine Siskin, although it may be a finch. Anyone know for sure? (BTW — apologies for the fuzzy pics. My zoom lens has mold (!) courtesy of the constantly damp weather on Block Island.)

Another thing that attracts birds right away is the sound of moving water. I have little pond with a pump that trickles water over rocks that sounds like a stream. It draws in all sorts of bird who bathe and drink here.

Pine Siskin (?) drinking from my pond.

Bluebird

Many birds will help out in the garden by eating insects — Pine Siskins love aphids. You can help them by providing them shelter. You can leave a snag (a dead tree for nesting), or a brush pile somewhere out of the way along with some nesting boxes so they will want to stick around.

Ray makes fun of me because there are so many birdhouses on our property, but almost all of them are being used. My swallows, chickadees and nuthatches come back every year. Right now I’m trying to entice the bluebirds that have been drinking from my pond to take up residence in a birdhouse I made them last year. And this morning I spotted a Flycatcher making a nest under our porch near the clematis vines.

Try putting up some birdhouses and making a little pond or fountain in your garden. You’ll be delighted with all the activity it attracts.

Trees and shrubs birds like for:

Shelter and nesting:

  • Crabapples
  • Birches
  • Hawthorns
  • Maples
  • Viburnum
  • Hollies
  • Bayberry
  • Berry Thickets
  • Cottonwoods
  • Cedars
  • Dogwoods

Food:

  • Chokecherries
  • Crabapples
  • Dogwoods
  • Hawthorns
  • Ash trees
  • Roses

Nectar for the Hummingbirds:
Spring Blooming:

  • Lilac
  • Columbine
  • Apple Blossom
  • Lupine
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Iris
  • Currant

Summer Blooming:

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Bee Balm
  • Crocosmia
  • Coral Bells
  • Foxglove
  • Penstemon
  • Phlox
  • Salvia
  • Honeysuckle

Late Summer Blooming:

  • Cardinal Flower
  • Hollyhocks
  • Salvia
  • Larkspur
  • Nasturtium
  • Goldenrod

Nesting Materials for Hummingbirds:

  • Willow Leaves
  • Ferns
  • Moss

These are short lists of common plants, to find plants that will do best in your area go to Attracting Wildlife With Native Plants and follow this link to find out how to certify your garden as a wildlife habitat. Here’s a link to a page on the Gardener’s Supply site that tells how to attract bug-eating birds.

Still more links: plans for building birdhouses — here and here.

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Mary Beth: This will be my last bee update from Block Island for a while because Ray and I are on the road. Durango, here we come!.

Monday, May 3: The apple trees are blooming on the Island. The buds started opening up around April 27th, which is really early. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this season everything seems to be about 3 weeks or more ahead of schedule.

I’ve had a nagging feeling that the nectar flow would be early this year. I also have a feeling it’s going to be a strong one. Last year it rained a lot and my girls were cooped up for so long during the bloom that they missed most of the early nectar. This year our weather’s been great and the bees may actually get to the apple blossoms.

So what’s been nagging at me is if my bees remain healthy, they’re going to need more room than they currently have in the Top Bar Hive, but I’m not going to be around to remove the combs if they get honeybound. Sooo… I built a super on my TBH! Yes, with all the spare time I had in between packing, weeding, pruning, cleaning, answering last minute calls from my clients, and a million other things, I decided to make a super to fit my TBH. I’ve been wanting to try it since I read Mistress Beek’s blog post last year about putting two supers on her TBH. (Great blog by the way.)

Here it is folks, it’s not pretty since I didn’t have time to paint it or, better still, to convince Ray do it and it’s a little rough around the edges to say the least!  (You would never know I was a carpenter for a few years.)

Here’s what I did:

I cut a Langstroth hive box down to fit on top of the Top Bar Hive — kind of like a bee penthouse.

I made two small ventilation holes for when the weather warms up. Then I cut off part of the cover of the TBH so the super could sit on top of the bars and made an inner cover, a new top and spacers for the TBH.

Next I cut some of the Langstroth frames to make bars with starters strips of wax and nailed on spacers.

I pulled a bar from the TBH that had a little comb on it and placed it into the new super to entice the girls to move “upstairs.”

It went pretty well except for dropping a few spacers into the hive which I did not remove because the girls were in good mood and I didn’t want to stick my hand in and piss them off.

Then I put the super on, snugged it up to the newly-cut edge of the old cover and viola!

What I’m hoping will happen is that the bees will begin to create comb in the super and store their honey in that. That should give them enough room so they won’t feel the need to swarm.

While I was looking through the observation panel on the TBH, I saw the weirdest thing. I saw the queen, twice. It’s weird because in all the many (many!) times I opened the panel to peer into the hive, I’ve never seen her. A couple of thoughts ran through my paranoid mind. Are they running her around because they are preparing her to swarm? (Bees will run the queen to make her lose weight in preparation for the swarm flight.) Or, did she run out of room to lay more eggs? Neither of those options is good so let’s just hope I was lucky enough to see the queen before I left and leave it at that.

One bit of good news is I haven’t spotted any more mites, although I have noticed more dead bees than usual. It’s hard to say what any of this means. I’ve done everything I can think of to prepare the hive, so I’ll just have to wait it out and get the occasional report from my beesitter.

I’ll try to send updates from the road. I’m so excited to get back to my garden in Durango and by the time I’ve traveled across the country I’ll have redone it at least three or four times!

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Mary Beth: Winter is coming, I think, and even though the weather continues to be unusually warm for this time of year, I’ve been getting the bees ready.

So, what about the bees? Every time I tell someone that Ray and I are moving back to Colorado (Ch, Ch, Changes), I hear this question. I’ll say, “We’re leaving.” and then, wait for it, wait for it…a look of dismay and “What about the bees?!” Of course it’s logical, but I’ve been a little surprised and amused that the fate of my bees worries them. On the other hand it’s nice that my friends and readers have become so engrossed in this story that one of their first thoughts is for the bees.

So here is the answer.

Out of the three hives that I ended up with after the swarm season, the Top Bar Hive is the only one that survived.

The Hippie Shack

For some reason the other two lost their queens after they swarmed (read about it here and here) and I ended up shaking out the remaining bees in front of the TBH in hopes that they would be accepted into the hive. Losing the Blue and Green hives made me very sad — I was surprised by how much I’ve come to love my bees.

As for the Hippie Shack (named in honor of the laid-back nature of these bees), I checked it recently and it didn’t have as much honey as I thought it should. I think the hive was being robbed. I put an entrance reducer in to make the the hole smaller to give the guard bees less area to defend. Now, even with the warm weather prolonging the season, I’m worried that they won’t have time to store enough food to make it through the winter.

Since Ray and I decided to leave after the holidays, I’ve been trying to figure out how to leave the bees with enough food. I researched fondant ‘bee candy’ and it seemed like a good solution, so I made a frame to hold it and placed that in the hive.

This small frame holds 5 pounds of sugar fondant!

Another good thing about the bee candy is it won’t cause the moisture problems inside the hive that the sugar syrup did in the early spring. I placed the fondant between the false back and the last comb hoping it wouldn’t attract any more robber bees.

I hope the warm weather will last long enough to let them build up their supplies. Every day they’ve been coming in with a lot of pollen, which is a very good thing.

I think she's posing!

Dandelions and the last of the aster are blooming, so I think this is where they are getting the bright orange pollen.

Another sign that the bees are preparing for winter is each day a few more drones have been getting kicked out of the hive. I watched this play out one day — those girls are ruthless!

Poor drone!

One poor male was pulled by his leg and tossed out like yesterday’s paper. It’s a cruel, cruel world my friends, but there is not enough to go around in winter for lazy freeloaders.

I moved the hive from it’s original spot so it will get maximum sun exposure all winter. This should allow the bees to break cluster on sunny winter days.

I also wrapped the hive to give it a little more insulation and to keep the wind out. Now it’s up to the bees. Other than a few more feedings before we leave for Colorado, my girls are on their own until March.

You may wonder why I haven’t given the hive away. I did consider moving the hive to my friend’s property, but I was afraid if I moved it up the steep, bumpy road to my friend’s house, a comb or two might break off ruining any chance of the bees’ survival. So I decided to leave them where they are on my family’s property. I’ll fly back east in the spring for a visit and check on the bees and I’ve arranged for my beekeeper friends to check on them now and then. Fortunately the TBH needs little maintenance and the bees will take care of themselves.

Becoming a beekeeper has been a wonderful journey. Learning about honeybees opened up new worlds for me, not just the world of honeybees in my garden, but the important roles of all pollinators and how critical every last one of them is. It’s led me to examine the negative impact we’ve all had on our environment. I’ve been reading about the decline of the honeybee from Colony Collapse Disorder — just one of many examples of our carelessness towards our environment. But the good thing is it’s made me more aware of what I’ve been doing.

So, with that new-found awareness, I try to do my part to help by adding native plants to the existing flower gardens. And I’ve decided that I will delay mowing the outer fields until after the first frost to allow time for the last of the butterflies to emerge from their cocoons and to let the wildflowers reseed themselves for next year.

Of course, at the center of it all is the honeybee, the incredible little powerhouse.  If you have not yet read any books on honeybees, you should. Some of the things you learn will astound you.

It’s been a great year even with the loss of two hives and no honey to harvest. And next spring I will have a hive in Colorado with even more challenges — bears, skunks and who knows what else, but I have a plan!

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Mary Beth: Is there anything more amazing than a butterfly, especially a monarch? From its very beginning as a tiny larva, to the chrysalis, to the magnificent winged creature migrating thousands of miles to begin the cycle anew, there isn’t a moment of its life cycle that isn’t breathtakingly beautiful.

Swamp Milkweed grows wild on the back slope of my garden and for the past three years I’ve been encouraging it to expand. It provides food for my honeybees and for the monarch butterflies that call Block Island home. Both of them love it and, although it threatens to take over the back half of my garden, I’ll keep letting it seed itself because it is a valuable food source for these pollinators (monarchs are second only to bees in that category) and a critical link in the life cycle of the monarch.

Milkweed

Milkweed blossoms in early July

So I provide food and water for the butterflies, and they give back endless hours of fascination and joy — there’s nothing that lifts my heart more than company of the monarchs as I work in my garden.

In a good butterfly year, the elm trees that separate the garden from the rest of the property will be draped in monarchs, though we haven’t seen this phenomenon for some years now. Wondering why they always come back to that spot, I did a little research and found out that some scientists have speculated that the monarchs might leave a scent on the trees that attracts the next generation.

All summer I watched for signs of the monarchs. First there were the little larvae.

Tiny monarch larva

Then they fattened up and became plump caterpillars hungrily munching great chunks of milkweed. (Honestly, between watching the bees and the butterflies, it’s amazing I got any work done.)

LargeLarvae

Hungry caterpillars

Soon milkweed city grew quiet and I started to search for the chrysalis. And I searched and searched. I’d almost given up on that mid-September day when I was sitting in the garden eating grapes. Suddenly a small green capsule caught my eye.

Chrysalis

The chrysalis was hard to spot

I kept a close watch on the chrysalis for the next couple of weeks.

Chrysalis2

Almost ready to hatch

Gradually it turned dark and I could more clearly see the butterfly folded up inside. I knew it would hatch very soon, so I made sure I always had my camera with me at all times so I wouldn’t miss the big event.

The next day the sky opened up. As it had all summer, it rained buckets.  Suddenly, in between downpours, the sun burst through the clouds. I grabbed my camera and ran for the garden. Surely the butterfly wouldn’t hatch in this foul weather.

Chrysalis3

Minus its inhabitant, but still beautiful

BUtterfly1

The female monarch — newly hatched and drying her wings

Butterfly2

A magnificent creature — her wing webbing is thicker and she lacks the black spot on each of her hind wings that mark the male butterfly

I missed the hatching, but got beautiful pictures of the minutes-old butterfly. This gorgeous creature, the fourth and longest-lived generation of this season’s monarchs, is on her way to Mexico now. She’ll spend the winter there, reproduce, and finally die.

Butterfly3

Soon she'll be off on her long journey

Vaya con Dios little butterfly. Send your babies back to my garden!

P.S. See our Resources page for links to lots of monarch butterfly information, including how you can make your garden more monarch-friendly.

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Bees from the third swarm moving into Green Hive.

Bees from the third swarm moving into Green Hive.

Mary Beth: Crazy days! For a couple of weeks things were so chaotic that I got the point where I didn’t want anything to do with my bees. Thankfully they’ve settled down, but those bad girls sure gave me a run for the money. At the end of the swarming, four in all, I ended up with three hives — the original Old Blue, home to a much smaller, much crabbier bunch of bees; Hippie Shack, the Top Bar Hive which houses the very laid-back bees from the first swarm; and Green Hive, the bees from the third, much smaller swarm. The second swarm was the one that got away.

I’m not sure what will happen over the winter, but based on what I’ve seen in the last few days I’d predict that the Hippie Shack will make it through just fine. I’m a little concerned about Old Blue, but if they can expand their numbers enough I think they’ll limp through. Unfortunately Green Hive looks underpopulated and there really isn’t very much activity in the hive, so I’m thinking that they may not have the resources to survive the long, cold Block Island winter.

Old Blue on the left and Hippie Shack to the right.

Old Blue on the left and Hippie Shack to the right.

Swarms aside, the thing I’ve found most interesting about this first bee season is that the honeybees haven’t been hanging out in the garden much. I had high hopes that I’d be watching the girls working hard to pollinate my vegetables, fruits and ornamentals, but that hasn’t been the case.  It’s most likely because I don’t have large enough patches of any one type of plant. Honeybees typically visit only one kind of plant during each outing and, while my garden has lots of plants, they are probably too scattered to make it worth their while. So instead of heading to the garden, the girls been gathering nectar and pollen from the plants in the swamp and beyond.

Rose petal in the swamp behind the hive.

Rose petals floating in the swamp behind the hives.

This week the milkweed is in full bloom and the bees are going crazy for it. They are working this area all day. One very curious thing I’ve noticed is that some of the bees get stuck to the leaves. They eventually work themselves free, but the poor things kind of flop around for a while until they get their feet unstuck. Has anyone else seen this?

One of the girls working the milkweed.

One of the girls working the milkweed.

Poor little bee with her foot stuck to the milkweed leaf.

Poor little bee with her foot stuck to the milkweed leaf.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that the real workers in my garden have been the bumblebees. These plump fuzzballs have been feverishly pollinating the garden while my prissy honeybees wander off in search of greener pastures. I’ll have them to thank for my tomatoes, squash, beans and the like. Kudos to the bumblebees!

Marybeth puts sage and lavender into the smokepot.

Marybeth puts sage and lavender into the smokepot.

Barbara and I suited up and opened Hippie Shack to see how the hive was doing. We were so relieved to see how very hard at work they’ve been building their new hive, which is about halfway full of comb. And my worries about a virgin queen were laid to rest when we found lots of larvae in the comb cells. There was also a decent amount of honey.

Workers tending to bee larvae on the TBH comb.

Workers tending to bee larvae on the TBH comb.

The Top Bar Hive, what some call a more natural hive, is designed to let the bees build their combs without a foundation. Most of the combs in the Hippie Shack were nice and straight and there was only a little wild burr. What little there was was easily removed with a small tool I made from a piece of copper.

MB lifted out a few of the bars so we could inspect the comb. This one is still a work in progress. A finished TBH comb extends all the way to each side and tapers to a squared-off bottom, matching the shape of the hive box.

MB lifted out a few of the bars so we could inspect the comb. This one is still a work in progress. A finished TBH comb extends all the way to each side and tapers to a squared-off bottom, matching the shape of the hive box.

When I removed the burr a little honey got on my glove, the tool, and the wall of the hive. The girls rushed in to recover it — no way they were letting any of it go to waste.

The bees were determined to recover every last bit of honey that got smeared onto my tool and glove.

The bees were determined to recover every last bit of honey that got smeared onto my tool and glove.

My biggest challenge with the TBH was putting the hive back together without squishing anybody. As you can see from the pictures, the bees were everywhere and that made it really hard to slide the bars back together. Unfortunately I did crush one of the sister bees and everyone, including me, got all worked up. I had to smoke them a bit more to get them calm enough to close up the hive. Too bad that smoke doesn’t work on me. I get really upset when that happens, but the bees seemed to take it in stride and they were back to business as usual a few minutes after the top was back on.

Trying to move the bars back into place without crushing any bees was extremely challenging.

Trying to move the bars back into place without crushing any bees was extremely challenging.

My girls have their work cut out for them. Over the next few months they’ll need to reproduce enough workers to lay in a nice amount of honey to get them through the winter months. Hopefully it’ll be smooth sailing from here.

One of my largest garden beds.

One of my largest garden beds.

Deer News: From looking at Tweets and search keywords it appears that deer troubles have increased a lot in recent weeks. The deer fence that Ray and I built around our garden has kept the deer out of the vegetable garden, but the flower beds are still vulnerable. For these areas I use an organic spray recipe that I got a few years ago in my Master Gardener class. I’ve had great results with it and highly recommend that anyone having trouble with these pesky, destructive animals give it a try. I’m not guaranteeing anything, with deer you never can, but this concoction will give you a fighting chance. Be forewarned, its pretty stinky, but it’s definitely worth the trouble. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.

Deer Spray Recipe:

There are many recipes for homemade deer spray online. Here’s how I make it.

4 raw eggs
1 tablespoon or more of hot sauce, the hotter the better
1 teaspoon dish soap
2 teaspoons of garlic juice or garlic powder
2 teaspoons of white pepper

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender with a quart of water. It helps to strain it before putting it into your sprayer because it will clog it, which is really annoying.

2. Pour in a gallon sprayer, add more water to top it off to a gallon and let it sit out of the sun for a couple of days so it gets good and smelly.

3. Spray your plants with a fine mist to coat all the foliage and flowers.

4. Respray new growth and after it’s rained.

I no longer measure anything out because I make gallons of this stuff every season. I use it on my gardens and all of my client’s gardens as well. I think the secret is to switch it up a bit from time to time, because deer will get used to the spray after a while and it won’t be as effective.

So you should add things like a few drops of clove oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, or 1 cup of milk, etc. to change the smell and taste a little. I’ve been adding a sliver of Irish Springs soap to my batches lately and this seems to work really well. I find that the deer may take a bite here and there, but after tasting the spray they move on.

We’ll be posting more photos from the garden soon. Meanwhile, Barbara’s back on the West Coast working on a special post about farmer’s markets. Until then, bee well!

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