Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grow Potatoes On Your Deck?

I went to a friends house yesterday and guess what she was growing on her deck? Potatoes! She was growing them in a small garbage can! She took a small old garbage can and filled it with about a six inches of soil she then planted about 2 sets of potatoes. After the plants have grown but before they flowered she added another layer of soil....she continued building the soil as the plants appear until it reached around four feet. They were not ready to harvest but she said that when she dumps it over she should have a heavy crop of potatoes. I thought I would try this next year!

Happy Gardening...


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crazy Ways to Water........

We have had a lot of rain lately....I was thinking about last year and how dry it was..it had to be one of the driest. Here are a few ways you can keep your garden growing through the driest times.

1. Soaker hoses: you can get these in any garden supply store although I think they are a little expensive for my whole garden.

2. Plastic Milk Jugs: I poke about 25 holes in the bottom of a plastic milk jug. I make sure cap is off and fill with water. I usually do this in the evening.

3. Red Flower Pots: These are great! I dig a hole in the middle of my plants I place the red porous pot and fill back just leaving a lip of pot. I then only water in the hole of the pot...this has seemed to really work and it also keeps my garden tidy without the jugs everywhere.

4. Place a bag of ice near your plants in the cool of the evening.

5. Sprinklers: I remember my parents keeping the sprinkler on all night to water there vegetable plants...that was before water conservation.

6. Save your water that you cook your vegetables in....let cool and water your plants.

7. Rain Barrel: We have one of these in our garden nothing fancy and old garbage can. I have found that if I put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in it...it really keeps the mosquitoes away.

Happy Gardening...


Friday, June 26, 2009

My Favorite Herb that are Perennial?

I love the fact that I can plant a herb plant and it will be there next year. Here are a few of my favorite Perennial Herbs.

Chives and Garlic Chives: Chives: often grow their spiky onion favored leaves in early spring..these can be picked or cut through spring. In May they will grow many purple-pink flowers these can be eaten in salads. Garlic Chives: These produce flatter garlic flavored leaves which can be cut from April to late autumn they grow white flowers in August which can be eaten in all sort of dishes.

Lovage: The leaves of this has a celery taste. Harvest time March- November

Mint: This can have a minty or fruity favor such as apple mint. This starts growing early spring and dies back late fall.

Sorrel: This has pale green leaves like spinach but has a lemon flavor. This starts growing in early spring and you should have the herbs leaves until late summer. If it gets to hot it will begin to die back early.

Happy Gardening..


Thursday, June 25, 2009

What to use as mulch in your gardening beds?

I had a friend ask if she could use anything else but regular hardwood mulch to mulch her garden and I said Yes! Here are the few suggestions I gave her.....




grass clippings ( always make sure you use grass clippings that have not been sprayed with a chemical weed killer)

saw dust

ground corn cobs and stalks ( you can place these in a chipper shredder)

coffee grounds


partly finished compost

newspaper ( I do not use any that have color)

shredded paper (old mail through a paper shredder works great)

Spanish moss ( you can get this at a garden supply store)

pine needles (blue berries love them)

But..... what about black plastic?

I just don't like the look of black plastic but I have seen people roll it out and place dirt over the top and that looks pretty good.

One thing about black plastic it really heats up the soil to several degrees and that could make a big difference on your planting time.

I have been asked what you should use as mulch on onions and garlic? Grass clippings applied right after you plant should help with this problem. ****(always make sure you use grass clipping that have not been sprayed with any chemical weed killer)

I always recommend that if you use a natural mulch on your garden beds such as hay, grass clippings ect... remove these in the fall. I really think that helps prevent diseases to grow through the winter monthes...you can always plant and replace in the spring.

Happy Gardening....


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Minty Mango Salsa

My mint is doing great and I have been trying to find recipes to use it in..... here is one that I thought was Terrific! Enjoy!

Minty Mango Salsa

1 large ripe mango peeled and diced

1 medium sweet red pepper diced

1 can 4 ounces chopped green chilies

1/4 cup green onions

1 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons minced fresh mint

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger ( I left this out and it was still very good)

Tortilla chips

In small bowl mix together mango, red pepper, chilies, onions, lime juice, mint and ginger. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.


Happy Gardening.....


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Squash Vine Borers

We haven't grown squash in years but we do grow cucumbers, zucchini and melon. They used get attacked by the squash vine borer and the thing about these pest is you can't see them until it is to late...the first thing you will notice is wilted stems and leaves.

We have had very good luck getting rid of these pests by placing pieces of heavy aluminum foil 15-18 inches square around the base of each plant. The reflection seems to keep the borers away at least for a time.

I have never tried this but I have heard that if you do see some wilting you can look along the stem to see where the borer went in...the borer may not be far behind...cut the stem lengthwise just a little bit on both sides of the hole to see if you can find the borer and take it out. You still might lose the plant?

Happy Gardening...


Monday, June 22, 2009

A Recipe for a Great Container Garden....

I have many herbs growing in pots all around my deck...I also love flowers. I really think it makes my deck look interesting to have many pots growing many things...I have rosemary, basil and mint growing in pots along with petunias and marigolds.

I love sitting outside enjoying the smells and the blooms from my many different plants. Don't forget about hanging basket plants...My husband always grows a few tomatoes in hanging baskets every year...the tomatoes are easier to get to and it is another fun conversational piece. I think next year we are going to try to grow strawberries that way to see if we can beat the slugs.

Here is a recipe that I use every year in my container gardens and you probably have all the ingredients in you home right now!

Container Recipe

2 tablespoons black coffee

1/2 cup unflavored gelatin

1/2 teaspoon baby shampoo (or cheap shampoo)

1/2 cup of ammonia

1 gallon of water

1 heaping scoop of compost

Mix together and pour on as needed.

Happy Gardening.....


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Strange but Good....

We have been able to dig up many of our onions and this is one of my favorite recipes.....I hope you enjoy it!!!

Vegetable-Stuffed Baked Onions

8-10 medium onions peeled

4 strips bacon

3/4 cups carrots

1/2 cup sweet red pepper chopped finely

1-1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoons butter melted

1-1/2 teaspoons salt (less if you like)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 beef broth

Cut 1/2 inch off top of onion and trim bottom to be able to sit flat...scoop out center leaving 1/2 in shell of onion. (Chop up rest of middle of onion to add to your stuffing mix)

Place onion shells in a square pan and cover with water..bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp...place bacon on paper towel and save 1 teaspoon drippings

In the bacon drippings saute onion, carrots, red pepper until tender...remove from heat stir in bread crumbs, parsley , butter, salt, pepper, and bacon.

Drain onion shells and fill with mixture...place in ungreased shallow baking dish. Pour beef broth over onions. Cover and baked at 350 for 45-50 minutes

Happy Gardening.....


Friday, June 19, 2009

Mom's Clematis Recipe

My mom has the most beautiful Clematis...I have been asking her to share what she has been using on it and she has finally told me....

My mom's Clematis Recipe:

5 gallons compost

1/2 cup lime

1/2 cup bone meal

Mix all the ingredients together and spreed over base of plant. She does this early spring every year.

My mom also cuts her Clematis back hard in the early spring to encourage lots of new growth...she told me she cuts the Clematis down to around 8 inches above the ground don't be afraid to do this you will reap many new blooms. *Early Bloomers* There are a few Clematis you shouldn't prune back and they are..Alpine and Anemone if you prune back early you will be cutting off there only buds.

My mom also said she cuts all dead growth and messy vines after blooming to prevent disease's that go into the soil.

I hope your Clematis will look as good as my moms next year!

Thank you Mom!!!

Happy Gardening...


Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Small List of Helpful Hints............

A small list of helpful hints......

1. Make sure onion necks are exposed to the sun and not covered by dirt...by harvest time they will be already be partly dried and ready for your root cellar.

2. Do you have trouble starting lettuce in the heat of summer try placing lettuce seeds in the refrigerator for a few days then plant. Place a little mulch, straw or hay over this and keep watered.

3. Do you have a shaded location in your garden bed? You can plant lettuce,spinach and mustard greens there.

4. When planting carrots add a little coffee to their soil this helps prevent root maggots

5. Are birds pulling out your corn plants? Save those milk and juice jugs cover seedlings until plants are big enough that the birds can't pull them out. I placed a small hole at the top about the size of a dime to vent it..I didn't want my corn to get to hot.

6. When I tie back my tomatoes I always use a piece of nylon stocking never an old rag remember the plant is going to grow and it will need something to be stretchy.

7. I try to plant my corn when my apple blossoms begin to fall (I haven't had time to do this... this year)

8. Cutworms: Protect your plants by adding a ring of cardboard, a tin can that has the top and bottom removed ( be careful doing this) My favorite and cheap way is a bathroom Dixie cup with the bottom removed.

9. Think about building a cold frame we use ours to harden off our plants and to keep lettuce a little longer (through the end of fall)

10. We have added chickens to our homestead this year we use the droppings in our compost bin and we enjoy eggs all year round. We only have 6 chickens on a 1 acre lot....so I think they are a perfect addition for a small gardener.

Happy Gardening.....


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Friends Recipe to Keep Bugs Away.....

I have a dear friend that reads my blog and she gave me her recipe to get rid of bugs...I have never tried this but by looking at the ingredients it just might work.

Bug Spray:

1 Cup Murphy's Oil

1 Cup of Antiseptic mouthwash

1 cup of Tobacco tea

Mix together place in a hose-end sprayer..... soak plants to the point of run-off.

what is tobacco tea?

Place a handful of chewing tobacco in a gallon of water place in sun...after water turns dark brown strain with old screen window.

* My friend said this gets rid of all bugs and I say why wouldn't it.......

Happy Gardening...


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garlic Spray

We planted our garlic in the fall and it is almost ready for us to pull up...and I will be glad because I really need to make a batch of bug spray. I still have been battling bugs on my herbs...I make this solution and it really seems to work.

Bug Spray:

6 large cloves of garlic chopped fine

1 small onion

1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dish soap (cheap)

1 quart of water.

I mix this all together and let it sit over night. I strain with some cheese cloth...I then put the solution in a spray bottle.

This will work on many plants just don't let the solution sit on your plants for many days...I always test it on one plant to even see if it will kill the bugs and it usually does!

Happy Gardening...


Monday, June 15, 2009

My Favorite Tool.... the Hoe

We have been busy working in the garden pulling weeds mostly...we have been getting so much rain it amazes me how fast the weeds seem to grow. I mostly hand weed because the raise beds make it easier...but after I hand weed I usually take the hoe through the whole bed. I started thinking this is my favorite tool in the whole shed.

I usually run the hoe along all my garden beds to stir up the soil and by doing this I am removing all smaller weeds, loosing up the soil which improves aeration. Many times after a hard rain our soil takes on a hard crust....this needs to be removed so the plant can get all the nutrients and moisture it needs to grow.

I hoe very shallow without going to close to the plant and never deep enough to hurt the roots. I scrap the top crust off making the soil look like new on top...it really looks nice after a good scraping.

I have many friends that mulch their beds with straw, leaves, hay, grass clippings etc.. I have not gotten into the habit of this...all my beds are plain dirt. I know if I did this I probably wouldn't have as many weeds and I wouldn't have to hoe.. I guess that would take all the fun out of me trying to battle the weeds every year. Plus it's good exercise.

What's your favorite gardening tool?

Happy Gardening...


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Raised Beds

When we first started gardening we started by planted all our vegetables and herbs in rows...It was very hard keeping up with weeds and we nearly gave up until we found out about square foot gardening or raised beds. We grow everything in raised beds all our vegetables, herbs and our fruit. Here are a few reasons why.....

We usually had big puddles in our beds after it rained our drainage has improved.

Soil warms up faster and dries out more quickly....this means we can plant earlier in the spring.

We don't walk up to our plants so we don't disturb the soil.

Our beds are smaller so we can reach the weeds easier....when we pull weeds it is easier to clean a whole bed in a matter of minutes instead of hours.

We can build our beds in the fall and have them ready for spring...remember we add lots of compost to all our beds in the fall.

We can plant our plants closer together so this leaves little room for weeds to grow.

Okay what are the disadvantages of raised beds?

Our garden beds dry out in the heat of the summer. (which means extra watering) (you could add extra mulch or even a soaker hose during this time.)

The paths down the middle get rather weedy.... we just mow between our beds and I kind of like the look. I have friends that pile up leaves or use straw to get rid of the weeds. I myself do not like this look so I would rather mow between the paths.

I wanted to remind you.... we don't use treated lumber for our raised beds so they do need to be replaced after a few years. I know lots of people that use cinder blocks which work great but they are a little expensive for me.

Happy Gardening...


Friday, June 12, 2009

Lettuce for all Seasons.....and a recipe

We love that we can pick lettuce almost all season long...until it gets real hot. There are so many different kinds of lettuce and they all like different temperatures so you can almost grow it all season.

We grow a lot of Romaine lettuce because of its crunchy texture. We can grow this lettuce in the summer months. Our favorites are Apollo and Jericho.

We also like loose leaf lettuce...you just pick its outer leaves and it will keep on growing. We have had lettuce grow for months and months. I like that we can grow this in the summer months our favorite is Red Oakleaf and Salad Bowl.

My ultimate favorite lettuce is Butterhead or Buttercrunch (Yum!) It is soft green with red heads and has a buttery flavor you can grow this in early spring and summer. Cool season Capitane warm season Esmeralda.

What about Iceburg? We have tried to grow this....I think we get to warm in the spring time. We just can't get it to grow.

We plant lettuce all around our garden...we have lettuce in our potato beds around our onions ect... When it starts getting bitter we pull it up....making room for are other plants to grow. This works really well in the early season.

Here is one of my favorite Salad Dressings:

Creamy Herb

1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise

2 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon soymilk or fat free milk

4 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small whisk together and then chill....wonderful over fresh crisped lettuce.

Happy Gardening...


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recommended Seed Spacing

When you plant your seeds do you ever think about how far apart you need to space them? I know that not every seed will germinate but if they did I want them to be spaced far enough apart. It saves me time not having to thin them out. This is my recommended seed spacing I hope it helps you....out in your garden.

Radishes 1 inch apart

Onions 2 inches apart

Parsnips 2 inches apart (I thin to 4 inches apart)

Carrots 3 inches apart

Kohlrabi 3 inches apart

Beets 4 inches apart

Leeks 4 inches apart

Swiss Card 5 inches apart

Leaf Lettuce 6 inches apart ( I usually have to thin this)

Broccoli 15 inches apart

Cabbage 15 inches apart

Collards 15 inches apart

There are many vegetables I left off here because most of the time I start my seeds indoors like tomatoes. I think it is a lot cheaper to start your plants by seed and planting at seed out it good rich dirt does produce a hardy plant that will give you vegetables. Remember to buy extra seeds at your garden center for fall planting!

Happy Gardening...


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heavy and Light feeders? What is Crop Rotation???

Last year we had to get rid of a few of our garden beds to make room for a greenhouse. That means after the beds were built we then added lots of compost to get the soil ready in those new beds. We also rotate our beds every year to prevent pest and to keep diseases down. Some plants like very rich soil and others do not.

We have 12 garden beds.... In the spring when we built our new beds we added the soil that we got from the beds and we then added at least 2 inches of compost to those beds. At the end of the season we add compost to all our beds to let the soil get rained on and snowed on until spring. The older beds have had this done many seasons so the soil is so rich...and some plants like rich soil (heavy feeders) and others like leaner soil not as fertile (light feeders).

Heavy feeders like (rich soil) : beans, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, kale , celery, corn, asparagus, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, artichoke, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.

Light Feeder like (leaner soil) : beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, parsley, sweet potatoes, potatoes.

You can improve your soil by adding heavy feeder's like spinach in the spring you then can plant beans right in their place in the summer. The soil will become richer because you had the spinach there in the spring..like wise if you have a light feeder such as peas in the spring replace them with another light feeder such as carrots in the summer.

Now...the next year you should rotate those beds... you should plant your spinach in the pea bed and so on... This is how I rotate my beds I never plant the same plants in the same beds each year and that includes plant families such as broccoli and cabbage they are in the same plant family...this means they get the same pests and diseases.

If you get nervous and can't decide what to plant and when...I suggest you plant beans. I believe beans plants are the best thing for any type of soil....it adds nitrogen to the soil and this will help any plant you plant afterward.

A few suggestions:

The first year I plant tomatoes and the next year green beans

The first year I plant parsley and the next year carrots

The first year sunflowers and the next year green beans

The first year green beans the next year sweet potatoes

I hope this helps you understand crop rotation...I would love to hear how you rotate your garden beds.

Happy Gardening....


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why Do You Plant Your Tomatoes So Deep?

We have had many people walking through our garden lately and I believe the biggest question asked is "why do you plant your tomatoes so deep."

Tomatoes have this great advantage over many other plants because their stems can grow roots when they're in contact with the soil. When you plant deep you are giving your plant a stronger root system and a strong stem. When we do this we always remove a few lower leaves( if you don't do this the leaves will wilt under the soil or they will rot and cause disease problems) then place the plant deep into the soil just up to the leaves.

We have bought many tomato plants at garden supply stores and they look so leggy...we try to dig a deep enough hole but there are times when we have had to plant the tomato plant sideways...to do this dig a shallow ditch sideways and lay your tomato plant on the ground with it's head just sticking out of the soil we then scoop up the soil around the stem and the leaves. the plant will look like a small tomato plant but within a few weeks your plant will grow into a big strong tomato plant. I can almost guarantee you will get more tomatoes then ever before!

We have done this ever year... and we actually look for those sad leggy plants at the store now mainy because we can get them pretty cheap.

How do you plant your tomatoes?

Happy Gardening..


Monday, June 8, 2009


We love eating cucumbers in our family and we make the best bread and butter pickles around if I say so myself. There are a few common problems you can have growing cucumbers and I thought I would address how to fix those problems in this post.


First of all cucumbers need to be planted where they can get full sun...they like well drained soil. We always add a good amount of compost and then make a raised hill and place our cucumber plant in the middle of this hill. We make the hill so that when it rains the water runs off the hill... cucumbers plants do not like to sit in water!

We feed our cucumbers with compost tea about a month later.

Problems we have had...

Fruit sometimes taste bitter? This is because they did not get enough water while they were forming..we water more often when we see blooms appear.

White coating on leaves? This is powdery mildew...I spray with baking soda recipe every 7-10 days. I try to avoid watering the leaves and evening watering....I only water the soil!

Yellow or Brown spots: Downy mildew this usually means we have had a lot of wet weather. I pull up the plants as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants. ( I *Do Not* compost these plants!

Wilted or shriveled up leaves: I usually find squash bugs on my plants. I pull these up as soon as possible and I again Do Not compost these plants. I have heard that you can use spun row covers to prevent this problem. We now use crop rotation and it has helped us with this problem.

Plants wilt quickly: Cucumber Beetles is usually the problem here...again you can use a spun row cover. Make sure you are not over watering if you do not see any pests.

Baking soda Recipe

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 quart of water

I mix into a spray bottle and spray on my plants for 7-10 days I have found this really does help with powdery mildew.

Happy Gardening..


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Help your Plants Get Their Food

I bet you knew all plants need food to survive...but what are we feeding are plants? If you just till up your soil and plant you might be feeding them a bunch of clay. If you add organic matter you will be feeding them great nutrients for your plants roots to absorb and grow. The most important minerals are nitrogen, potash, potassium and phosphorus. What happens when your plants get these and how can you help your plant get them?

Nitrogen: This encourages leafy growth. Your plants can get this from rain and snow. You can help by giving you plants animal manures (remember not cat or dog droppings)

Potash: This helps build your plants tissues, and root development and helps with disease resistance. You can help by adding animal manures and compost.

Potassium: Helps your plant grow and make fruit. You can help by adding wood ashes.

Phosphorus: Promotes development of a good strong root system. It also helps to get your plant to grow more quickly. You can help by adding bone meal, and rock phosphate.

I am a big believer in organic matter... so start a compost pile today!

Happy Gardening....


Friday, June 5, 2009

What is Wrong with My Tomatoes??

We have planted all of our tomatoes and we are now waiting for them to grow and give us some great tomatoes to eat, and salsa to make. I now can see that our tomatoes are having a few problems not just aphids. I thought I would write about a few problems you can have with your tomatoes and ways you can take care of those problems.

1. Reddish Purple Leaves: This is a phosphorus deficiency....this happens when your soil is under 6.0 test your soil. I use fish emulsion for a short time to correct this problem.

2. Yellow Leaves: This is a nitrogen deficiency. I spray my plants with fish emulsion and if they have not been planted I try to plant them as soon as possible.

3. Slow Growth: This is potassium deficiency. I have found that if I add a good amount of compost to the soil in the fall this helps this problem a lot. Right now you can always add a little compost tea.

4. Black End Rot: This happens when you water infrequently when fruit is developing. Once you see the black spot you can not fix it....you can cut that spot off and eat the remaining fruit that is what I do why waste? You can fix this problem with regular watering and mulching well.

5. Holes in Leaves: This is probably the tomato horn worm. You can fix this by picking and removing pest.....but if you see that they have white eggs on it's back leave it there this is a good thing these eggs will produce parastic wasps and they will help kill any remaining horn worms that you find on your tomatoes leaves.

6. Little holes in your fruit: Birds...keep a bird bath near your garden. Birds peck at fruit in the hot days of summer to get a little moisture.

Happy Gardening...


Thursday, June 4, 2009


In just a few days we will get to begin picking our two rows of strawberries. We will need to plant a another row this year because our first row will be three years old and then they will not produce as many strawberries. It is good to rotate the beds every 2-3 year's or at least add new berries to your patch. We grow our strawberries in "hills" We cut all runners when they form not allowing them to jump over to make a new plant. This keeps our strawberries tidy and we get larger strawberries this way.

Where to plant Strawberries: We have our strawberries in two long raised beds but you can plant strawberries about anywhere.

1. They like a sunny location

2. Southern exposure is best

3. A place were there is good air circulation

4. They need good drainage (watch out for tree roots)

5 Good soil pH 5-6 We top dress with compost every year.

We will make our new raised beds this fall so when spring comes we will add our new plants... we can either "catch" some runners or dig up small plants to add to our new bed. We always plant so the crown is at surface level...planting to deep can cause the crown to rot. We have never used straw because I have always thought that it would attract slugs..because of it retaining moisture...but as I have written before we are having trouble with slugs never the less. I am now thinking straw might be a good idea. We are still using egg shells but that is not keeping them a way from my delicious strawberries.

Happy Gardening...


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Corn tips and tricks..

We have been putting our corn in a few rows at a time so we can have corn all season. I know that many people think corn is one of the easiest vegetables to grow but I disagree. We have the hardest time growing corn but I do have a few tips that I have tried and they have worked about every season.

We have many hungry raccoons in our area and I have learned that if we plant beans with corn it does help keep them away a bit. I have seen many people plant squash or pumpkins letting them ramble along the cornstalks and cover the soil. I know this might work but it is too messy for me.

Corn does not like compost.... well atleast seeds and seedlings. Do not add compost to the top of the soil after planting I have found that compost will rot your corn seeds and little seedlings. I always wait until my corn plant is about a foot high then I will give them a top dressing of compost or a good dose of compost tea.

The most common pest that I have is the European corn borer larvae and corn ear worms. To prevent this problem you really need to start in the fall...you need to make sure you clean up all corn debris and turn over the soil each season. To keep the ear worms from eating your corn now you can add a drop of mineral oil to each silk just before the corn begins to form.

Another problem I have had is having many ears of corn without having many kernels in each cob. I plant my corn 10 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart. When I walk through my corn now I shake the stalks insuring good pollination...I really believe this has helped some.

Crows: They like to eat the early seedlings..if I see crows pulling up new seedlings I just add a row of gutter guard. This is 5 inches wide mine is wire but you can buy it in plastic. I just place this over my seedlings cover the sides with a good amount of soil and when the plants are just about bending I then remove it...I then know that roots of the corn are settled and will be harder to pull up.

Happy Gardening..


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What to do about Aphids

Yesterday I spent most of my morning picking Colorado Potato Beetles from my two beds of potatoes and.... yes it was a yucky mess! I just hate to pick those pests off but it was needed. I picked two bowls full. While I was out in the garden I checked everything and I found many aphids on my tomato plants. I thought I would tell you how I get rid of aphids the organic way.

Aphids: These are very tiny insects they get on your plant and suck the juices out of the leaves and stems..this just weakens the plant.

There are many predators for aphids...my favorite the lady beetle larvae, lacewings, small wasps and syrphid fly larvae.

I never spray chemicals for aphids it is not good for the plant or for you. I use my hose and spray a strong spray of water on all my plants. I have also mixed some soapy (dish soap) water together and sprayed if I felt they were getting out of hand.

If you are having a Really Bad problem I suggest getting some floating row covers to protect your plants. You can usually get these at a garden supply store. I think you can get them over the Internet.

I have heard of people ordering lady beetles and placing them in their garden... I think this is a great idea. I have never had aphids that bad to do this.

Happy Gardening..


Monday, June 1, 2009

Tomato Pests

Many people have asked what pests like tomato plants... here is a small list of what pest may be bothering you tomato plant.

1. Colorado potato beetle I find these eary spring.

2. Missing leaves might suggest a hornworm.

3. Blister Beetles these use come out about mid-summer.

4. Fruit Flies This is after fruit begins to ripen.

5. Slugs I have these when my fruit is on the ground and there are a few overly-ripen close together.

I have found the easiest method to get rid of the Colorado Potato Beetle and the Tomato Horn Worm is to get out early and pick them off...starting the beginning of the season....before they take over your garden.

I pick them and place them in a bucket with 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon liquid soap. This way they won't crawl back up the bucket and get out and it is safe to throw the remains in my compost pile.

I have many recipes that you can use to spray them but if you want immediate results you can always hand pick.

Happy Gardening..