The tick problem is really severe this year where we live. Unprecedented, acc. to folks who have been here longer than we have. It’s getting to the point where if we step outside we can pretty much count on bringing back either a big one or, worse, a little nymph (they’re harder to spot). I feel besieged, and so much left to plant and go out and enjoy… My husband is starting to sigh and say „well, there seems to be no other way except chemicals”, as much as he hates them (he’s more experienced at org. Gardening than I am).

There is Rocky Mt. spotted fever and a small bit (so far) of Lyme disease, and we have a 3 year old who just can’t seem to remember that she can’t roll in the grass anymore :(. Does anyone have any idea what to do? We can’t have guinea hens. We dress carefully and acc. to all the guidelines (e.g. Pants in socks, light-colored, etc.), and it’s a big pain to remember to put the organic tick repellent on every time we got out our door–just not possible. There is the fabric tick repellent, but that’s chemical as well, but at least it disappears after a while. Has anyone tried it? Or does anyone know of an organic (I guess I mean non-toxic except for ticks–or maybe even just a tick driver-awayer) garden/lawn treatment? Please, any help or leads would be so much appreciated–we moved here so our daughter could go outside, and we’re starting to feel a bit like prisoners, esp. With the tick-strip down as soon as we come inside…

A recommendation for ticks from the Dirt Doctor: Q. I called the Denton County Extension Office to ask how to treat my yard for ticks and fleas and they suggested I contact you. I do not want to kill the good bugs with the bad. I feed the birds and have a pet rabbit and two cats in the yard. I have not seen any fleas, but have removed several ticks from the rabbit. Can you recommend a way to kill the ticks without harming the rabbit and birds? — K.W., Dallas A.

Try the following: Broadcast fine-textured cedar over the entire site. It’s sold under such names as Cedar Flakes and Horticultural Cedar. Spray one of the citrus-based products like Citrex or Garden-Ville Auntie Fuego and apply beneficial nematodes. If someone tells you to use a toxic chemical such as Sevin, tell them to go jump in the lake.

I have found a great way to help control rabbits in my garden though, (just last night), we pulled in the drive, and there was one of the little buggers sitting there eating the spinach plants, (again), so I walked up to where my daughters sheltie was in his kennel for the afternoon, and opened the gate. My daughter took him towards the garden, and I though his presence would scare it away, but never dreamed he would actually chase the dumb thing. (the dog is a whole other story, rescue dog, scared of his own shadow 6 months ago).

He chased the bunny clear to the woods, and then returned triumphant! He was so proud. I think he finally understood something we wanted him to do! And the bunny was gone.  Probably not for long, but the dog is still here, and now that he he has a knack, we might as well let him chase them!