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Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

I was reading the article about God’s Miracle Dust and was just wondering if you guys have used it and how much success you’ve had. We had our first garden this past year and were swamped with some crazy looking orange juveniles that grew into even uglier brown adults, a breed of stink bug I believe. They nearly ruined our pea crop. We tried Sevin dust since that is what my granddaddy used when I was a child, but I would prefer a chemical-free effective solution. We and our grandchildren are exposed to so many toxins, I’d like to eliminate as much as I can.




Dear Michelle,

Stinkbugs are one of the most pervasive nuisance pests there are, originating in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. They were first discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the 1990s, although they are thought to have arrived much earlier. They damage fruits and vegetables, including apples, mulberries, blackberries, sweet corn, field corn, soybeans, tomatoes, lima beans, green peppers, and peaches. They are particularly troublesome in the mid-Atlantic region, the Ohio Valley and the eastern seaboard.

There are several means of combatting them, but unfortunately God’s Miracle Dust isn’t one of them. Diatomaceous earth just doesn’t really work with this pest. The following suggestions were taken off a gardening message board:

1. Floating row covers

2. Pyrethrin spray or dust

3. Pick the ones you can catch and drop into a can or bucket with a little rubbing alcohol (especially the wintergreen kind)

4. Watch for the red egg clusters and pick those

5. Spray the ones you see with Organic Gardening’s recipe: Two cups water, one cup rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon Neem oil (or vegetable oil), one tablespoon liquid soap (like Dr Bronners, not dish detergent), 25-30 drops of mint oil or cinnamon oil (or both). Shake well and spray on bugs with a hand sprayer (not a hose). This will kill all bugs and caterpillars upon contact, even Japanese beetles and grasshoppers.

6. Trap or bait crops can be very effective. My favorite is to plant Crowder peas (field peas) across the garden from my tomatoes. Not only do the stinkbugs love them but they are also extremely heat hardy and drought hardy, and will produce a crop of peas for you, stinkbugs notwithstanding. I use the peas as a magnet, then spray them with the mint spray every few days.

They seem to like the color yellow, so bait crops with yellow in the flowering part of the foliage would be an attractant. Another suggestion was bats. It seems that stinkbugs are nocturnal and bats are an excellent way to kill nocturnal flying insects.

I hope one or more of these suggestions work for you. There’s nothing so frustrating as putting in all the work and effort a garden takes only to have it overrun by insects and pests, rendering any harvest inedible.

The Editor




Dear Editor,

I have followed you guys for a long while now. I have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to. I am trying to raise meat rabbits but I have not got a good set up. I am going to try to revamp it. I feel that if they are happier and I am better able to keep it clean, then I will have more success. I am planning on doing a fence around part of the yard for them, attached to a hutch where they can get out in the sun and grass. I am wondering two main things though: first, how high can a rabbit jump? I am putting a fence on the ground so that they can’t dig out, but I don’t want them to be able to jump out either. Also, can I house all my females together? What about the males? I don’t know if they will fight or what. If I can keep them together like that, it will make it a lot easier. Thank you for any advice you can offer.



Dear KW,

You’re going to need fully closed in pens for your rabbits and they will need to be individual pens. You need a separate pen for each female while she is pregnant and getting the little ones old enough to separate. If you leave the male with the female after she is out of heat. she will kill the male. If there are other rabbits in the same pen or males too close by (even in other pens), she will probably eat her babies at birth. Generally, a 36” high fence is sufficient to keep most rabbits from jumping over. Domestic rabbits can’t jump quite as high as their wild cousins.

I would recommend some good books on farming rabbits. Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits is an excellent resource. Good luck with your venture!

The Editor
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