[Market-farming] update on "cougar"/red fabric mulch

Liz Pike strawbry_wine at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 19 14:04:16 EDT 2006

Hey everyone, finally getting around to an update on
the electronic cougar.  It did it's job, we got a
smallish harvest of blueberries.  Would love to have
had more but I was just as happy to have the plants
put more energy into root growth and establishment
than berry production at this point.  Now we're gonna
put it to work out in the garden where we found deer
evidence in the bean patch.  We'll see if it works

Now here's a head-scratcher (actually 2) I'd like
comments on:

In the garden we have tomatoes, beans, potatoes,
peppers, cabbage, and eggplant growing like
gangbusters.  And a whopping total of 9 bean plants
half-eaten.  Why didn't the deer &/or the woodchucks
eat more??  Deer & woodchucks are EVERYWHERE here, far
more numerous than any place I've ever lived; there's
really no reason for them to have avoided that
garden...there's no housing close by, the plot is open
to easily see predators & there's good grazing along
the outskirts and it's close to water.

Today, after weeding the beans, I wondered if it might
be the red fabric mulch we used on the beds.  I found
a roll of 5' wide red fabric mulch laying somewhere
around here and we used it on all the beds--you can't
miss it its so bright.  It was free, there was a lot
of it and I didn't really care whether it increased
yields or not due to color, just that it would keep
down weeds.  Has the intense color  kept out the deer
and woodchucks, too??  Head scratcher #1.  

Headscratcher #2:  It doesn't keep out weeds!!!  To my
surprise (& horror) that mulch has started "pillowing"
& I yanked it up to look underneath.  The prettiest
crop of foxtail millet I've ever seen.  No weeds, just
grass.(We're gonna yank off the mulch and string up
the electric poultry netting around it and let the
chickens and turkeys into it...they'll go crazy over
the feast.)  Obviously this mulch allows in sunlight
which I didn't think it was supposed to do.  The
ground underneath is nicely moist and cool.  Now I'm
wondering what the fabric is...


Liz Pike
Hillsville VA    

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