This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.

Garden Newsletter: Owl Bird Deterrent, Tomatoes, Seed Reviews

In The Garden

This week is another short one due to travels. I serve as an investment coach once a month or so, usually in Atlanta, so away from the garden for a few. The them for us this week is back to basics.

If you didn’t see our previous newsletter after much crop lost, here’s what we discovered:

3 Most Important Ingredients for a Healthy Garden

  1. Good soil
  2. Ample sunlight
  3. Adequate water

Inadequate growing conditions will weaken your plants and make them more susceptible to pests and blight.


We’ve heard from many of you with various garden challenges and struggles since publishing about ours. Many have been afflicted by either drought or too much rain. For drought, drip irrigation really helps. For too much rain, straw bale gardening helps. Here are some additional ideas.


Tomato Plants Need Full Sun. Period.

The topic of site selection is still very much on my mind. Last time, we covered how the lack of sunlight is likely the major factor in squash and tomato “fails” and suboptimal production. We have learned there are many compromises if sun-loving plants are grown in limited sunlight conditions. Plus, such conditions stress the plant making it more prone to pests and diseases.

We know you oldtimers may be shaking your head, but we also know that you understand the desire to grow whatever you can wherever you can! 🙂 Meanwhile… OK! Lesson learned.

Whether it’s ourselves… our kids… our pets… or our plants, for the best success, the environment we “plant in” matters.
~LeAura Alderson,

garden meme, garden quotes, garden success


The Lost Tomato Plants

Tomatoes growing in the shade.

Tomato Crop

Thankfully, we did have a “fair” turnout with the rest of our tomato plants with more sun. Of course, those that did the best were in the sunniest of locations. And, the early blight came on really strong so that we had to cover some of the ripening ‘maters with shade cloth to keep them from sunburning. Rather ironic, but the technique is working well.


Tomatoes under shade cloth.

Tomato Harvest

So we’re happy to be picking a lot of tomatoes, in spite of our losses. Many of the Royal Hillbilly variety, the Black Beauties, and a few Dad’s Sunset, and a few Golden King of Siberia. These latter two are yellow types, which contain less acid.

Tomatoes: Royal Hillbilly, Black Beauties, Dad’s Sunset, and Golden King of Siberia. 2 Eggplants.

Owl Bird Deterrent Scarecrow

Now we have hardly seen many squirrel raids on the tomato patch. It’s likely the natural “bio-controls”, namely a family of barred owls, one adult and two young, hanging about the garden. And we also installed a mail order owl, dubbed “Owlfie”. He’s been working the garden beat in several locations 24/7. Consequently, we have many more tomatoes coming in the door than last year.

We’re not 100% certain if Owlfie is responsible, or the real life owl family that was hanging around our property a few weeks ago, or a combination of the two. Whichever it is, we’re grateful that we’re not finding our best, almost ripe half eaten tomatoes strewn all over the place.


“Owlfie” – our garden protector and bird deterrent!


Garden Site Selection

Next season, we’ll grow some tomatoes in our sunniest patch here in the backyard (6 hours full sun/day) and savor whatever we can harvest. The bulk of our tomatoes will be planted in the upper garden (9 to 10 hours of full sun). The ten plants up there now are way outperforming our “lower garden” crop of some 30 plants.

As we indicated in our previous newsletter, with the right conditions, our upper garden produced 4x more for 80% less work!

Never underestimate the importance of a healthy environment for a healthy crop.

We’ve begun planting the fall garden with leafy greens, broccoli, and a few other cole crops, including kalettes (Brussels crossed with kale). And next year, our sun-loving plants will be happily lapping up rays in the upper garden. We will make our trips more frequent and stay a bit longer.

Garden Lesson: Essential sun.
With ample sun, we got 4x the crop production with ~80% less work.


Cool Cucamelons!

Our cucamelons are starting to come in as well. They’ve been extremely prolific for the past two garden seasons, and they’re a delicious treat!

Cucamelon’s look like baby watermelon’s and taste like cucumbers. They have a refreshing lemony tang as well.

It Pays to Read Seed Reviews…

One other thing, since we’re on the topic of selection. It really does matter what variety you choose to put in your garden. And, the more info you can gain about the specific variety, all the better. We really like Baker Creek because they have gardener reviews and a star rating system. It pays to read them.

A selection of winter squash we made, Musquee de Maroc had fair reviews but we missed the comments saying it grew like crazy yet produced just one or two squash per plant. Now, we can testify to this observation as fact. One single plant is now attempting to cover two side by side arches with only a smattering of fruit. The one fruit actually grew so large it broke off the vine.


This is the Musquee de Maroc squash that fell off our vine.


Garden quote


That’s it for our weekly report!

What’s Happening in Your Garden?

That’s our report, folks.

Our biggest lesson is not to ask so much of our plants when we know better where to plant them.

How about your week?  We know gardeners love to share photos of your crop, craft and harvests, so if you’d like us to publish your photos, comments and/or articles, we’d be delighted to hear from you. We enjoy sharing tips from the community and especially what’s happening in your neck of the garden. You can post comments and/or photos up on our Facebook page, or send us an email.

As always…

“May your gardens flourish and your harvests be bountiful, and when you look upon your little Eden, may you see that it is good.”
~Coleman Alderson,

Tally hoe!



Grow Great Gardens!

Coleman Alderson

G. Coleman Alderson is an entrepreneur, land manager, investor, gardener, and author of the novel, Mountain Whispers: Days Without Sun. Coleman holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. He’s a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a licensed building contractor for 27 years. “But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And in the garden, as in life, it’s always interesting because those lessons never end!” Coleman Alderson

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Affiliate Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Pages on this site may include affiliate links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.

Want to submit your photos, videos and/or article content for publication? We love to share!