Greetings everyone, I hope everyone is well and doing good. This week I will cover some information on wild plants, pest control, and gardening. Please understand that this information is not intended to take the place of formal education and garden experience. This column is intended for entertainment, learning, and to spark your interest in the world of gardening.
Here are a few wild plants you can eat- give them a try!
There are over 100 different dandelions with roughly the same structure. Dandelions have green leaves that that have a cut-like pattern. The flower stems are hollow and soft with a milky substance that comes out when picked. Dandelions are edible, from flower to root.
Dandelion lookalikes are easy to tell apart. The lookalike plants are often chicory, a sub family of the dandelion. They are edible but are bitter in taste. The easiest way to tell them apart is that chicory will have a woody or semi-woody flower stem.
If you are diabetic, use caution when using dandelions as studies show that they lower blood sugar.
If you have low blood pressure, avoid chicory as it is used to lower blood pressure.
There are a whole bunch of plants in the mint family. The most popular are spearmint and peppermint. There are others with a licorice flavor and others with a chocolate flavor. Most mints will smell like, of course, mint, and all will have blocky stems and semi oval leaves. The leaves will be fuzzy and jagged.
With the mint family, it is important to know for sure exactly what plant you have as not all mint plants are edible.
Mice– Here on Cheyenne River, we have two very common mice. The common house mouse is the mouse you will most likely see. The next is the deer mouse. Both types of mice can be controlled easily, but you must be persistent. The reason you must be persistent and proactive is mice reach their breeding age between 6 and 8 weeks in most cases and can have as many as 14 babies with each litter. It is important to be proactive to prevent rodent infestation.
Rats– We have one kind of Rat here in Cheyenne River, the Norway rat. They are either black or brown and reach sizes of 20 inches in length. Like mice, being proactive and persistent with control is the key as they can reproduce at 3 months age and reproduce several times and have a litter every 3 months.
The best way to control mice and rats is to never have them. In many cases, this is not realistic so constant control is your best defense.
Keep all food at least 8 inches off the floor in sealed containers. Clean up scraps from floors. A eat can smell food from a long distance.
Apply bait bricks and boxes under your home. Both nice and rats follow structure so place baits along foundation walls.
Rats and mice need water, so keeping a dry crawlspace is an important preventative measure.
Seal all holes around pipes and wires. Rats and mice only need 1/16 of an inch space to crawl through.
Do not leave any pet food outside. This includes open air bird feeders. Mice and rats love dog food and seeds. If you have a bird feeder, keep it in a rope or pole. A pile must have metal around it so the mice and rats can’t climb the pole.
Baits and traps
The best baits and traps are sticky traps and mouse kibble that also kills the mice or rats.
If you are sure you have rats, you will need large sticky traps. The best ones are not sold in stores but can be purchased through Olsen’s Pest Control.
In rare cases, live cage traps are needed for the big rats.
Watering– If you have not done so already, it’s time to get your irrigation laid out, tested and be ready for planting.
If you have a drip system, lay out your supply lines and lay out your drip lines according to your planting plan. Figure one plant per emitter.
If you are using overhead watering, test your sprinklers so you know they work and place them to ensure overlapping coverage. One sprinkler should reach the center of the next sprinkler.
If you have a dedicated garden meter, be sure to test your backdoor device.
Don’t forget, last but not least, to close your drain valves.