Garden Security

I like to garden. Truth be told, I’m not very good at it. I get a little better every year, but I am not one of those people who can just look at a plant and make it grow.

This year I decided to get serious and build a 500 square-foot garden. So, being the technical type, I took measurements, used software to design the layout, researched planting dates, and of course, planned my garden security.

Plants have several threats. They are attacked by small animals like the rabbits in my yard, bugs, diseases, drought and the inattentiveness of geeks like me. Here are the threats I planned for, along with the corresponding countermeasures:

  • Threat: small animals
  • Countermeasures: Garden fence (perimeter security) and honey plants. I bought a fence with one-inch holes, which are too small for something like a rabbit to get through. I then dug a perimeter ditch and buried about 8-10 inches of the fence to protect against burrowing. Where the fence meets the house, I attached it with some screws to avoid the critter squeezing through a less well-protected area. To lure the small animals away from the main garden area, I plan to plant something like alfalfa in a five-gallon bucket. This is my “honey plant,” which will hopefully be more attractive due to its accessibility.
  • Threat: Insects
  • Countermeasures: BT, handpicking and honey (companion) plants. The primary defense against the “bad” insects is to plant other desirable plants with properties desirable to the “good” insects. The good insects then come along to check out the plants, see some tasty bugs and gobble them up. Plants like borage and yarrow are good at attracting good insects like lady bugs. The second countermeasure is simply to inspect the plants and pick off the bad insects. If all else fails, I can then resort to the safe chemical BT. It’s worth noting that I don’t need to get rid of all of the bad bugs. There is a point of acceptable risk where some bad bugs remain but my veggies are thriving.
  • Threat: Infrequent watering
  • Countermeasures: Paying more attention. I sometimes work late and forget to water my garden. The countermeasure here is simply to do a better job. It’s not unlike some of the manual processes we put into place in our security program when we recognize a deficiency. A future upgrade will integrate a soil moisture sensor into my home automation system, resulting in an automated system to detect the threat of lack of water and execute a response. It’s not unlike an OSSEC active response. :)

What’s the point of this post? The point is that information comes in many forms and we can use our information security skills in daily life. The information here comes in the form of vegetables. That’s what I am trying to protect. When viewed in the context of threats, vulnerabilities, risks, countermeasures and trade-offs, maybe this will be the year my garden thrives. Let’s hope for juicy tomatoes!

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