Getting the Right Organic Gardening Guide

March 15, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Organic gardening is now very popular because of the several be nefits that it brings. The problem is not all people have the knowledge for making one. They need an organic gardening guide. This guide should be something that a novice can understand easily. It should have step by step instructions and terms that are easy to understand, which covers everything from compost to organic gardening pest control.

To have an this kind of garden, means that you will not use any chemicals on any plants in your garden. Most chemicals used for pest control today are harmful not only to humans, but to the environment as well. A good organic gardening guide will have complete details on how you can grow your plants the proper way.

Chemical free plants have more essential nutrients than others, which use harmful pesticides to help in protecting the plants during growth. These pesticides can hurt our health in the long run. You really only need to use an organic gardening pest control method for your plants, not the typical chemicals that others use. This is a better method which protects the plants from chemicals. Today, some people get sick because of these chemicals included in the fertilizers, pesticides and more. Without the chemicals, vegetables can cure and prevent many diseases or illnesses when they are eaten regularly. This is one of the reasons why most people prefer chemical free foods.

To be able to grow plants full of nutrients, you will need fertile soil and compost, which is also made from natural materials. A good organic gardening guide can teach you how to make this compost. Once you feed your soil and your plants the right way, your plants will be able to take care of you the right way, also. They will give you better health. Feeding the soil means building the nutrients with peat moss, manure from animals and table food scraps. This is what makes up the typical home made compost. It’s simple to do when you have the right guide.

Disease Resistant Tomatoes – How to Identify Them

March 15, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Growing tomatoes isn’t too difficult but they can be prone to disease. Don’t despair though, as there are plenty of disease resistant varieties available but that in itself leads to another problem which is how to identify them.

Each variety is coded; e.g. “VF”, “VFFA”, “VFNT” but how on earth are we supposed to know what these acronyms mean? How do we tell which variety is resistant to which disease? That is where the coding comes in, which is fine if you know what each code means.

Below are the common designations, which should help you choose which variety of tomato plant is the one for you.

”A” means that the plant has resistance to the Alternaria alternata fungus which is a cause of Alternaria stem canker. The stems, leaves and fruit of the tomato are badly affected by cankers that vary in colour from dark brown to black. If the cankers are on the stem, there are often brownish streaks as well. Stem cankers can cause the death of a tomato plant before you can harvest the fruit.

”F” or “FF” indicates that the plants are resistant to the Fusarium oxysporum fungi which induce Fusarium wilt. This is a critical disease which causes the drooping and yellowing of the leaves beginning at the bottom of the tomato plant. Without treatment, Fusarium wilt can kill tomato plants well before the fruit can be picked. Some Fusarium fungi have become resistant themselves to the “F” resistance tomatoes, in which case, you need to choose plants with the “FF” coding.

”N” signifies that the plants are resistant to parasitic round worms, which often lie inactive in the earth. Effects of round worm infestation are root galls that are up to an inch in diameter. Afflicted plants are weak, do not react to fertilizer, and are inclined to droop when the weather is hot.

”St” specified tomatoes are not susceptible to grey leaf spot (Stemphylium). Affected tomatoes build up brown to black spots on older leaves. As the disease goes on, the spots become larger and the centres turn grey. The grey middles ultimately fall out, leaving behind small holes.

”T” indicates that the plants are resistant to the Tobacco Mosaic Virus. This results in a blotchy look to the leaves and smaller fruit and crop. Occasionally immature tomatoes will go brown.

”TSWV” points to resistance to the Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Signs of infection differ considerably dependent upon the variety of tomato, but consist of yellow and brown rings and brown streaks on tomato stems, leaves which have dead spots and tips, and seriously inferior growth. The tomatoes themselves may have red and orange discolorations when they are fully grown.

”V” means the tomato is not susceptible to the fungi which cause Verticillium wilt, Verticillium dahliae and V. albo-atrum. Signs of Verticillium wilt disease do not ordinarily become apparent until the plant is fruiting or it is not watered sufficiently. Signs include V-shaped gashes on the leaves.

Don’t forget that disease resistant tomatoes are not necessarily immune to disease but if they do become infected, they are less likely to sustain as much damage as those varieties which are not disease resistant.

As well as choosing the right variety of disease resistant tomatoes, remember that changing where you plant your tomatoes can help prevent disease but be sure to rotate them with other plants which are not susceptible to the disease you are trying to eradicate.

Make sure that your tomato plants are well watered, are in well drained soil and are mulched to retain moisture. Spray with systemic insecticide or fungicide if you detect symptoms of disease (as long as you’re not growing organic crops) and generally keep your tomato plants in as good a condition as possible.

Before planting your tomatoes, try to identify whether your garden already is home to any pests or diseases. Check the foliage and/or fruit of other plants in your garden and if you detect disease, take a sample to an expert to identify the cause. You will then be in a position to choose the right disease resistant tomatoes to plant.

By following sensible gardening practices, you will soon be able to eradicate the pests and diseases and end up with a bumper crop of tomatoes.

Liz Canham Liz is a keen gardener who has exchanged the relative ease of gardening in Southern England for the trials of gardening on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where her garden is at a 45% angle on the side of a mountain. She is webmistress of Gardening for All.

Knowing Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

March 14, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Knowing Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated pest management is a strategy for pest control. Its goal is not to eradicate but to manage pests such that its population is maintained below that which can cause economic loss to production.

In this strategy, the most important considerations that is given its priority is the safety to humans and animals and the environment.

By nature, Integrated Pest Management depends on a broad and interdisciplinary approach to pest control, incorporating various aspects of the basic control methods such as cultural, biological, legislative, and chemical.

7 Steps in the general decision-making of IPM

1. Identify some destructive and beneficial pests in the area of interest.

Integrated Pest Management uses natural enemies to control pests infestation. Your knowledge in identifying these two groups of organisms, you can make some appropriate method that will selectively kill the pest while protecting the beneficial insect pests.

2. Know the biology of the organisms involved and how the environment influence.

Some pests and diseases  develops or appears when the environment is favorable for their development or appearance.

You should study in your area what insects pests or diseases are mostly apparent in winter, spring, fall or summer.

This way, you can decide what flowers are best suited in its particular conditions.

3. Select an appropriate cultural practice that will be detrimental to pests while favoring the beneficial organisms.

Cultural practices includes the selection of varieties that resists to pests in the field, proper field cultivation, right timing of planting, adequate plant nutrition and water requirements.

4. Develop a pest-monitoring schedule in your garden.

You should make records as to the kinds and populations of pests presence in the flower garden area.

Recording the populations and kinds of pests will give you the possible action to undertake in controlling them

5. Determine the tolerable threshold level of pests population.

IPM per se is aimed at economic pest control. You should know what level of pest population constitutes an economic threat.

When this threshold is reached, an appropriate control strategy should be implemented.

The strategy should take into account the pest species, the stage of plant development, the economic product, and the general environment.

When the threshold level occurs at the early plant growth, it may pose economic threat to your flowers.

However, if it is apparent during maturity, the economic threat may not be a problem. The flowers can still be marketable.

6. Decide  course of action immediately, if the danger is eminent to cause economic threat.

Sometimes the decision is to wait a while. If intervention is delayed, you must increase monitoring of the population dynamics of the pest to avoid any surprise disaster.

7. You should evaluate and follow-up your IPM program.

Strict follow-up and evaluation of IPM program would provide you an appropriate adjustments to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of control measures.

Common control strategies applied for an effective IPM Program

Biological control.

Biological control involves the exploitation of natural defense mechanisms and managing and controlling them to increase their effectiveness.

10 Strategies applied in biological control

1. Structural.

There are some plant species that possesses their natural defense mechanisms against pests attack. Certain species, for example, have hairs (pubescence) on their leaf surfaces and other parts that interfere with oviposition in insects.

Other plants have genetically conditioned structural features such as thick cuticle that sucking and chewing insects have difficulty penetrating.

2. Chemicals.

Certain chemicals extracted from plants have insecticidal action. The most common is the known pytrethrum extracted from the chrysanthemum family called, rotenone and nicotine.

Other species also include neem tree, mamey, and basil, which contains chemicals that repels insect pests or hinders their growth and development into adults.

3. Phytoallexins.

Certain plants exude toxins from the roots into the soil. These toxins prevent the growth of other species in the immediate vicinity.

The species hence maintains a kind of territorial boundary similar to that which occurs in the animal kingdom.

4. Parasitism.

Other insect pests survived with other insects. For example, the Japanese beetle is attacked by the larvae of a beetle, while the adult alfalfa weevil is a host for the eggs of the stingless wasp which hatches inside the weevil, eventually destroying it.

Cyst nematodes are parasitized by certain fungi (e.g. Catenaria auxilianis), and the root-knot nemtatode (Meloidogyne spp.) is parasitized by the fungus Dactylella oviparasitica.

Similarly, bacteriophages are virus that destroy bacteria. These viral parasites occur in the environment.

5. Prey-Predator Relationships.

Birds may prey on insects and rodents. Snakes also prey on rodents that destroy horticultural crops.

Carabid beetles (ground beetles) prey on aphids, caterpillars, slugs. Lacewings (Chrysopa) prey on aphids, spiders prey on flying insects, social wasps prey on caterpillars, and praying mantis prey on different kinds of insects.

6. Antagonism.

Nature has a built-in mechanisms for maintaining balance so that no single organism dominates.

If an organism is introduced into a new environment where its antagonizing organism is not present, the organism can multiply rapidly and pose a great economic threat to vulnerable cultivated plants in the area.

Antagonistic plants that exude toxins against nematodes are known to occur in nature.

7. Repellents.

There are some plant species that exude strong scents that are repulsive to certain insects.

Onion, garlic, and leek have been known to repel aphids, and mint repels cabbage butterflies and flea beetles. Horseradish repels potato bugs, and sage repels cabbage pests and carrot flies.

Marigold repel root nematodes.

By planting these appropriate plant combinations in a particular field, you can gain some degree of plant protection from specific insect pest.

8. Alternative Host (Trap Plants).

Pests have preference for the plant species they attack. If two hosts are available, one may be attacked.

Slugs prefer lettuce over chrysanthemums, and, as such, a good crop of the latter can be produced in the filed by planting lettuce among them as “decoy” plants or trap plants.

Similarly, nematodes may be controlled by planting certain species that prevent the development of the larva into adults.

This practice has the effect of decreasing the population of nematodes in the soil. Clotalaria plants are used to trap the larvae of root-knot nematodes.

9. Biocontrol.

This is used to control fruits such as peach and plum. This control is effected by treating fruits with a suspension of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which is found to delay brown rot cuased by the fungus Monilinia fruticola.

Biocontrol measures involving other bacteria and fungus exist.

10. Microbial spray (Biopesticides).

Scientists have identified and cultured natural enemies of certain horticultural plants. An infected field is sprayed with large populations of laboratory-cultured microbes.

An aerial application of spores of fungus (Collectotrichum gloesporiodes) has been successfully used to control the northern jointvetch in rice fields.

Another such discoveries were found to be effective to control soil borne diseases such as wilt of potato and verticilium wilt of eggplant.

Another commercially available microbial spray is the Bacillus thuringiensis spray, which is effective against caterpillars or cutworms, corn borers, cabbage worms, and other insect pests.

Cultural Control

Cultural control employs a variety of strategies to eradicate or minimize the proliferation of pests and diseases in flower garden.

5 Strategies applied in cultural control

1. Crop Sanitation.

It is discouraged to apply the monoculture and repeated methods of planting in the garden since this will encourage the buildup of the pests and diseases.

To do away with the buildup of these destructive organisms, you should used the crop rotation methods.

In crop rotation, it reduces the populations of certain soil borne diseases. In vegetable production for example, bacterial wilt of solanaceous plants which is a soil borne disease is reduced at a minimum or even completely eradicated.

Crop rotation is effective in controlling pests and diseases whose causal organisms don’t travel long distance such as, nematodes, weevils, certain wilts, and phytopthora.

2. Field Sanitation.

You should practice cleanliness in the garden to avoid the presence of pests and diseases. Plant debris must be removed and buried in the soil.

While applying sanitation in the garden, you’re also improving the soil fertility since the debris will decompose in the soil.

Infected plant remains must be burned or incinerated to kill the pathogens. Though burning is discourage, but when the diseases is apparent, you can do so in a case to case basis.

3. Use of resistant varieties

Through the intervention of science, plant breeders have made breakthroughs in improving the resistance of plants to pests and diseases.

By collecting wild plants, they crossed with some cultivated varieties that are susceptible to a particular organisms. Wild plants with genes that are resistant is transferred  to the gene of the susceptible cultivated variety to resist diseases and pests.

Resistant varieties exist for most of the major pests of horticultural crops.

4. Eradication of host plants

When the pests and diseases are discernible in the garden and uncontrollable, the best way you can do is to completely eradicate the susceptible host plants.

This method is applied to forestall an eminent pests and diseases epidemic.

On a small scale, eradication of host plants is conducted in the nurseries and greenhouses by removing infected plants.

Certain pathogens require two alternative hosts to complete their life cycle. In such case, the less economically important host should be eliminated to interrupt the cycle of development of the pathogen.

5. Mulching

Applying mulch in your garden gives you peace of mind, since mulch aids in the control of weeds, which may harbor some destructive pests and adds your production cost in weeding.

If you’ll use plastic mulch, it has the capacity to trap heat, which causes the temperature of the soil to increase thereby destroying some soil borne pathogens, including Verticilium.

Legislative control

Government regulatory commissions in every country of the world restricts the transfer of plants without passing through plant quarantine regulations.

This is strictly implemented to control the importation and spread of pests and diseases into areas where they don’t already occur.

Enforcement is especially strict with regards to plants that are of high economic importance.

Mechanical and Physical control

Pests can be controlled by a variety of mechanical or physical methods through human interventions.

8 Strategies applied in mechanical and physical control


A number of mechanical control measures may be applied to pests in the garden or the greenhouse and nursery.

A fly catcher is a strip of paper or polyethylene (yellow in color) coated on both surfaces with a sticky substance. Insects that land onto it get stuck to it and eventually dies.

Some larger mechanical traps are used to catch rodents. Certain lights are designed to attract insects, which then become trapped by other devices installed for the purpose.

2. Handpicking.

If your garden is manageable, handpicking caterpillars, bugs and other insects is good. After picking them, you can pinch them to death or you can carry with you a powder detergent solution placed in container. Once you catch them, put the insects on the solution to death.

3. Putting barriers.

Rodents can be kept out of the garden by fencing galvanized iron around it. A band of sticky paper (similar to fly catcher) wrapped around the base of a tree prevents crawling insects on the ground from climbing up the tree.

4. Proper tillage.

Proper land cultivation should be applied to remove weeds from growing in the area and exposing some soil borne organisms to the sun so they’ll be eradicated.

5. Mulching.

Putting a plastic mulch in your plots gives you lots of benefits, though the cost of plastic mulch is quiet high, but the return on investment is offset in the long run. The benefit in the use of plastic mulch have been discussed in the previous chapter of this book.

6. Heat treatment.

In the greenhouse and nursery, the soil and other growing media are routinely sterilized before use to kill nematodes and water molds.

To kill nematodes and water molds, the temperature should be around 50°C or 122°F.

To kill bacteria, fungi, and worms, the temperature requirement should be about 72°C or 162°F. For weed seeds, viruses, and some bacteria, the required temperature to kill them should be about 82°C or 180°F

7. Cold treatment.

Most post harvest protection of fresh products is achieved through cold treatment to maintain product quality. Cold storage does not kill pathogens but slows their activity.

8. Radiation.

Gamma radiation  in an appropriate dosage to harvested products prolong their shelf. In greenhouses, a glazed UV-absorbing material is installed so that radiation with a wavelength below 390 nanometers is not received in the greenhouse.

Chemical control

In integrated Pest Management, chemical control is considered the last method applied when the presence of pests and diseases are at their uncontrollable proportion. (Refer to the previous chapter on the discussion of this topic  under insecticides).


Cris Ramasasa, Freelance writer, writes about home gardening and Internet marketing tips. You can get a copy of his latest ebook “How to get started in Flower Gardening”  and “Vegetable Gardening Made Easy”, and get lots of tips, Free articles, and bonuses at:

How to Identify and Manage the Basic Types of Garden Insects

March 14, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Garden insects: know your friends & foes
Learn to identify and manage three basic types of garden pests

Why is it when 97% of the world’s insects are considered to be either beneficial or harmless, your garden attracts only the remaining 3%  that are considered PESTS? Although it may seem this way, there are both “good” and “bad” insects in your yard.

There is a constant battle going on to maintain a balance between these two groups. Toleration of some pests should be allowed as they provide a food source for the beneficial insects, allowing them to thrive in your yard and keep the pests in check. However, even in the best of gardens, uncontrolled outbreaks do occur. Preventing an infestation of bugs is an important part of gardening. By taking several precautions and putting forth a little bit of effort in the beginning, you will hopefully be rewarded with (almost) pest-free veggies and flowers.

Why are some bugs in your yard a good thing? A vast majority of the insects in your yard provide many services that improve your garden and lawn. Insects help pollinate the blossoms, which lead to more fruit, vegetables, flowers, and seeds. Insects improve the soil condition by crawling through the surface layer. Droppings and dead bugs increase the fertility of the soil. Earthworms and centipedes also help aerate the soil during their travels. Insects keep the numbers of bugs in line by capturing and eating other types of insects

Learn to identify and manage three basic types of garden pests:

Soil Insects: This type of pest feeds on the seed in the ground or small tender vegetation. They will also attack larger, established root crops (such as potatoes and carrots). Examples of soil insects include cutworms, white grubs, slugs, and mole crickets.

Sucking Insects: These insects have a mouth type to pierce the skin and to suck the sap from the plant. Sometimes the hole made by these critters is so small that it is unable to be seen without a magnifying glass. Severe injury or even death can occur once your plant has fallen victim to these sucking insects. A badly infested plant will become yellowed, wilted, stunted or deformed. Examples of sucking insects include aphids, leafhoppers, stinkbugs, spider mites, and squash bugs.

Chewing Insects: This group causes the greatest amount of damage to gardens and yards. They chew off all parts of the plant including leaves, fruits, vegetables and flowers. Chewing insects include Colorado potato beetles, tomato hornworm, cabbage looper, webworms, leaf miners and various caterpillars

There are even parasitic insects that live off “bad” bugs, eventually killing them! The braconid wasp larvae infests the tomato hornworm and uses it as a food source. Insects act as janitors for your yard. They search out any dead plants or animals and feast on them, which provides a cleaning service for you. Most important of all is the insect population control created through fighting among themselves.

Surveillance of your garden
Plant your garden in a location so you can constantly see it. If an insect attack occurs you can take care of it early.

Choose resistant plants
Your local nursery or Extension Office can help you select some plants that are less tempting to the pests in your area. Other information sources are seed catalogs and plant reference books at the library.

Proper conditions
Plowing and cultivating you garden brings soil insects to the surface. Birds and other predators can then feast on them as a snack.

Follow an organic fertilizing program and provide the proper amount of water. Strong and healthy plants will be less likely to come under attack by pests.

Practice “clean culture”
Remove debris, including old or dead fruit and veggies, before planting the next season’s crops. By either burning, burying or removing the debris, you will rid the area of insect infestation or disease. Keep surrounding weeds under control.

Encourage beneficial bugs
Do not use an indiscriminate insecticide. Try to use target-specific sprays.

Rotate crops
By moving your plants around yearly, any bugs specific to certain crops will be forced to relocate. Garden pests can be placed into three separate groups: soil insects, sucking insects, and chewing insects.

Be sure to check out Spray-N-Grow‘s organic and environmentally friendly insecticides

Bonide Bon-Neem Insecticidal Soap Concentrate
Bonide Rotenone-Pyrethrins Concentrate
Sluggo Snail and Slug Killer

Garden Pests – How To Get Rid Of Garden Pests And Keep Your Garden Healthy!

March 13, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Whether you are in Hawaii or Arizona, when the topic centers on gardening, one of the tests that gardening lovers commonly face is that of pest control. Even though organic approaches have been always present and have been applied for gardening, controlling bugs in the developed world right from the Second World War has for the most part employed synthetic chemical pesticides to ward off vermin of all sizes and shapes.

An ever-rising consciousness of the hazards and shortcomings related to chemical pesticides has of late led to an increasing tendency among the gardeners to go back to an organic process when contending with pests.

It is an accepted fact that with all forms of gardening, the use of an organic process can be very successful and reduces costs. It has become progressively simpler to search for numerous hints on the internet that if properly applied will assist in handling the most maddening vermin that break into and damage the garden.

Collecting information regarding the look, behavior, adversaries, and the life sequence of pests gives gardeners the chance to eliminate destructive insects from the garden, thus allowing only helpful insects to remain in the garden to carry out their work.

In the gardening scenario, controlling pests can be looked upon as being split into diverse yet markedly identical processes. Often, the most straightforward and clear form of assault initially launched in steering clear of the damaging and bothersome dilemma of insects, lies in the actual choice of flowers and vegetables.

By combining nature and science, growers of flowers and plants persist in developing the varieties currently existing so that they can withstand disease and insects. With a plethora of plant varieties present that are capable of fighting bugs and diseases, doing a little research and studying the seed labels will ensure good returns.

While the historical and long-established method of crop rotation calls for detailed scheduling and utmost consideration in gardening at home, pest control is hugely benefited by this and further practices that need gardeners to be conscious of insect affinity held out by the garden as the bugs’ host and breeding place.

Getting rid of damaged plants, developing the soil, snipping, and placing strong posts to support plants off the ground, comprise the organic culture practice that aids in restraining diseases and pests.

Frequently in the organic form of gardening, a simple means of controlling pests is the physical extraction and destruction of bugs from vegetables, flowers, and plants. Undoubtedly, the use of hands and footwear forms a successful though repugnant approach to most queasy gardeners with delicate bellies.

It is apparent with organic gardening, controlling pests by giving serious thought to the plants cultivated, garden spot, and the bugs involved will bring about prosperous and profuse gardens from Hawaii to Arizona.

Discover The Top 10 Tips For Keeping Pests And diseases Away From Your Organic vegetable Plants

March 12, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Everytime a new chemical is produced for commercial use a diluted version appears in the local garden
Centre which claims to do great things for pest elimination.  The truth is that by cultivating your own natural
Organic garden you won’t face the same Problems as those who choose to use artificial products and you
Will have much healthier organic vegetable plants. 

Below you’ll find the top ten actions you can take to maintain a healthy organic garden all year round
And keep pests and diseases off your organic vegetable plants. 

1.  Good cultivating practices

Always keep a powerful organic approach when cultivating your organic vegetable plants.  Don’t forget to feed the soil
Not the plant. 

two.  Keep your garden neat

Never leave rubbish scattered around put weeds on the compost heap straightaway.  This is extra important with thinned
Sprouts, because insect pests are attracted by the smell of bruised stems. 

3.  Keep your compost heap healthy

remember to only put healthy plant waste on your heap.  If any hint of disease, burn it{!}  Always burn prunings from
Fruit tree’s as they are probably going to become infected with mildew.  The ashes from these plants may be used as a manure
For your organic vegetable plants. 

4.  Sterilize your pots and seed trays

remember to keep pots and seed trays awfully clean and if possible sterilize with boiling water.  If you’re growing
Your organic vegetable plants in a greenhouse keep this extra clean and always pick off a pest or any
Fungus you find on a leaf immediately. 

5.  Keep you daily wariness

To keep your organic vegetable plants upto scratch you will need to be double vigilant especially in the summertime
Months.  Get into the practice of walking around the garden at least once a day.  Remove errant weeds and keep an eye
Open for the first signs of attack from pests and diseases. 

six.  Always buy healthy plants

In most nations the govt.   cover some plants with a certificate of health to show they’re free from illness. 
It is really easy to buy plants that have viruses or diseases. 

seven.  Don’t just buy healthy plants, raise healthy plants too{!} 

Safeguard plants you have raised yourself.  It can be difficult to remove the weaklings when you have grown them yourself. 
Remember a young plant infected with an illness is a drawback to all of your organic vegetable plants from the start. 

8.  Reduce Aphids

Hover flies are the most valuable pest predator in the garden.  The female will lay her eggs on the colonies
Of aphids so that larvae have a widely available source of food.  To draw in hover flies plant marigolds
( Tagetes and calendula ), poppies ( papaversp ) or nasturtiums ( Trapaeolum ). 

9.  Inspire other predators

It is tougher to attract more predators because they don’t always feed on flowers.  Wasps, ladybirds and
Lacewings can be encouraged by planting carrots between rows of onions so the smell of the carrots is disguised. 

ten.  Control birds and animals

The single most deleterious pests in the garden are the bigger ones like birds, deer, rabbits, moles and mice. 
The most effective control is to stop them reaching your crops.  Physically cover seeds with netting and protect
Crops by placing stakes in the ground with netting placed ott.  Do not forget to put jam jars over the top
Of the stakes to defend the netting.

Organic Gardening – Pest Control

March 12, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

Dealing with pests is one of the biggest problem of organic gardeners. An infestation of aphids or cutworms can absolutely devastate a garden. An entire row of plants can be wiped out in a matter of days or even hours.

Hence, prevention of infestations rather than treating them as and when they occur is crucial. This can be done by spraying your plants with solutions that deter many of the most common garden pests. There are many organic solutions available. However, you can make your own by using recipes that can be found in most organic gardening books. Most of them are similar to tea and are concocted with ingredients like hot pepper sauce and garlic.

Organic or Biological Control of pests in agriculture is a method of controlling pests including insects, mites, weeds and plant diseases that relies on predation, herbivory, parasitism or other natural mechanisms. Biological Control reduces pest populations by using natural enemies of the pests and typically involves active human participation. Classical Biological Control is the introduction of natural enemies to a new locale where they did not originate or do not occur naturally. One of the earliest success of biological control was with the cottony cushion scale, a pest that was devastating the California citrus industry in the late 1800s. The vedalia beetle, a predatory insect and a parasitoid fly were brought in from Australia. Within a few years, the cottony cushion scale was completely controlled by these introduced natural enemies.

Whenever possible, you should try to plant species that are native to the area where you reside as these plants have natural immunity to many common diseases in the area. There are also plants that are pest-resistant, and will not have as many problems with pests of other varieties.

You should also try planting early to avoid the worst part of the bug season. Insects have just a short period of each year in which they will be active and eating your plants. Thus if you plant early, you may just be able to harvest before those insects terrorize your plants.

One other method is to encourage natural insect predators like ladybugs, praying mantis, ground beetles, and birds to come into your garden. Plants like mint and rosemary can help attract many beneficial bugs that can help you keep the destroying insects under control.

It pays to keep a close eye on your plants as you will then be able to spot potential problems before they get out of control. If you see a hornworm on your tomato plant, pluck it off quickly and drown it in soapy water. By keeping a close watch on your plants daily, you have a chance to stop these problems before they become too difficult to handle.

If you are having trouble with a particular pest, you can take pictures and then try to identify the pest. Go online and try to search for it. If you cannot identify it, you can take your pictures to your local county extension office or library and ask for help identifying it.

Some pests can be prevented by installing netting over your plants. This is probably the last resort you would want to use to save your plants from utter devastation especially when you are experiencing a particularly bad season of beetles or other such bugs.

Just remember, netting will also prevent beneficial insects from reaching your plants, so if some pests make it through, it may be harder to detect them and for predator insects to control them.

Pest control is a very difficult part of organic gardening. If you lose a crop to insects, you may be tempted to abandon organic gardening and rush out to buy a chemical spray. A lot of organic gardeners experience this so do not feel bad. It can be frustrating dealing with pests especially when you have put in a lot of effort to take care of your plants all season.

But just remember, organic gardening has many benefits that is truly worth going through all that extra work. Your entire family will be rewarded with healthy foods that are safe to eat!

Organic Pest and Disease Control

March 11, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

A plant’s main enemies are pests (such as rabbits, insects, slugs and snails, and nematodes) and diseases (like fungi, bacteria, and virus). Most can be controlled using ecologically friendly methods. Rather than setting a goal of a pest-free garden, learn how to work with nature to keep problems at an acceptable level. Vigilance is the key to growing good plants; paying close attention to how the plants are growing will pay off. Finding a pest or disease problem in the early stages, when it is relatively easy to deal with, is preferable to suddenly discovering that the crop or plant in question is seriously infected with some problem.

Pest control This can be approached in stages, depending on the problem. Animals (rabbits, gophers, etc.) can be kept away from food crops by surrounding the area with a wire fence with the base buried in the soil. In the flower garden, plant species they do not like to eat. Protect the stems of trees with a wire guard for the winter (make it high enough to allow for snow) and spray shrub stems with a hot pepper spray after the last rain in fall. Deer and elk are difficult to repel without enclosing the entire garden with a high fence, but there are plants that they are less likely to eat (see list on p. 68).

Large insects, such as caterpillars and beetles, can be picked off by hand and dropped into a bucket of soapy water. When larger plants, like trees, are attacked, the soil directly under their foliage can be covered with drop sheets and the plant shaken to dislodge the pests. The drop sheets can then be carefully lifted and the pests destroyed. Caterpillars that congregate in webbing “nests,” like tent caterpillars and fall webworms, should be controlled during the day, when the young larvae have left the nest, by spraying them with Bacillus thuringiensis. Another alternative is to wait until evening when the caterpillars have returned to the nest. Prune off the nests and immerse them in a bucket of soapy water to kill the larvae.

Plants can be protected from damage by soil-dwelling caterpillars, like cutworms, by enclosing them in a barrier made from half a frozen juice can or a circle of heavy-grade tinfoil pushed slightly into the soil. Wireworms (orange and curl into a half circle) and millipedes (dark brown and curl into a spiral) both live in the soil and feed on plant roots or burrow into root crops. They are seldom numerous, except in reclaimed pastureland, but destroy them when digging.

Quick-moving small pests, such as flea beetles, carrot flies, and leafhoppers, can be kept away from young plants — the most vulnerable — by covering them with a floating row cover supported on wire hoops made from cut-down clothes hangers. This also gives protection against late frost and against sunscald on newly planted plants.

Slow-moving small pests, like aphids and mites, can be washed off many plants with a strong stream of water, however, this should not be used on plants with large, soft foliage, or on the fragile growing tips of plants. Mites can also be kept to a minimum by spraying frequently with water, using a hand sprayer, and soaking the undersides of the foliage. Planting flowers that attract native predators also helps to control aphids and mites.

Insects can be lured to bright yellow or red traps coated with a nondrying sticky substance, which holds them. There are also traps baited with scent lures called pheromones. These are scents released by insects to attract others of their species. When used in a trap, they may imitate a female scent and entice many of the males to enter. The unbalanced population results in a large reduction in the number of eggs laid, and young hatching.

Many natural predators can be used to help solve a pest problem. They can be released into the garden and will target a specific pest or range of pests (see p. 546). Naturally, it takes time for the predator population to build up sufficiently to bring the problem under control, so there is always a lag between introducing the predator and solving the problem. They rarely completely kill off all the problem pests, but they will bring the population down to acceptable levels. Remember, spraying for pest control will often wipe out the beneficial insects as well.

Nematodes are microscopic wormlike creatures, some of which attack plants, but others are beneficial and attack plant pests. They are especially useful for controlling some lawn pests and are simply mixed with water and applied with a watering can. In warmer parts of the country, one application will give several years control, but in the North, the cold kills them and they need to be reapplied if the problem occurs again.

Bacteria are also weapons in the fight against plant pests. Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki, commonly known as BT or Dipel, was the original strain that attacks the caterpillars of certain species of moths and butterflies. There are now several other strains of this bacteria that can control Japanese beetle larvae, mosquito larvae, Colorado beetle larvae, and more. A large range of these predators and lures are available by mail or through your local nursery.

If none of the above methods control the problem to your satisfaction, you may have to resort to spraying with one of the organic controls listed on pp. 544–545.

Disease control. This is more difficult than pest control because the disease has usually got a hold on the plant before any symptoms appear. Many fungal diseases are spread by very small spores that float on the breeze and land on a plant leaf. They “germinate” and insert a small thread (called a hyphae) into the plant tissue. This feeds on the plant and grows, forming a network of hyphae between the cells inside the leaf. It is not until this point that the plant begins to show signs of stress — different colored spots, wilting, or fungal tissue visible (as in mildew). Such leaves should be picked off as soon as noticed and put in the garbage — not in the compost. If caught in time, this may be enough to stop the further spread of the disease.

Many plants, providing they are not under stress from poor growing conditions, can emit defensive secretions that can either kill fungal spores or limit the damage they can cause. It therefore makes sense to grow plants properly, giving them the soil conditions, acidity or alkalinity, and moisture they grow best in. In addition, allow good air circulation through plants, especially those, like phlox and bergamot, that are prone to mildew. Stagnant air in the middle of a large clump of stems is a mildew heaven.

Other fungi are great opportunists. Although they are not able to directly infect a plant, they can gain entry through stem and leaf wounds. Many cankers fall into this category. They can attack a plant only when it has been damaged by careless hoeing or gain entry through a wound caused by mower damage.

Fungi are important agents in plant decay, and most work in the gardener’s favor. They help break down compost and are responsible for rotting wood in forests and returning the nutrients to the soil. Without them, the woods would be choked with dead trees. Some, such as coral spot, will also attack living material that is under stress from another cause. The appearance of small, bright coral-pink fungi on a branch indicates a problem.

Most of the fungicides listed in the chart on pp. 544–545 are preventative, rather than curative. They should be applied before the disease strikes to form a protective layer on the foliage that kills the fungal spores on contact.

Bacteria are minute organisms that can be rod-shaped, spherical, or spiral, and there are several million in a typical teaspoon of soil. They are important in breaking down dead plant material, but a few attack living plants, generally causing plant tissue to disintegrate. Soft rot of iris is a typical bacterial disease. They are difficult to control and long-lived in the soil, but generally specific to one species or group of plants. Avoid replanting the same species in soil where a bacterial disease has been diagnosed. Some bacteria attack certain insects and are used as insecticides.

Virus are submicroscopic primitive life-forms that live inside cells of plants and animals. They tend to be very specific, limiting their attack to a single genus or plant family. Some virus are used as insecticides but others attack plants. There is no cure and infected plants should be dug up and disposed of in the garbage. Infected plants usually have foliage with strange mottling or streaks, and are often puckering as well. The recently discovered virus attacking hostas is typical in this way. Plant infections can be spread by hand, shears, and other gardening tools. Newly infected plants may take several years to show symptoms, during which time the virus can be spread to other plants. Virus are also spread by sapsucking insects, such as leafhoppers, so controlling these insects is very important. Many modern varieties of vegetables, especially tomatoes, have built-in resistance to some of the virus and other diseases that attack them. This information is usually indicated by a series of code letters in seed catalogs.

Compost Tea

Homemade compost or special compost preparations available from garden suppliers are the basis of this tea. Simply put a shovelful of finished compost in a burlap sack and immerse it in a bucket of water for about a week. Strain the resulting tea through cheesecloth or some other material to remove all solids. Use the tea full-strength to water any and all plants in your garden. Compost tea not only provides a wide range of nutrients, but it also boosts plants’ natural defenses against disease. Spraying plants with aerated compost tea can convey even greater benefits. To make aerated compost tea, follow the instructions that come with the compost preparations procured from a garden supplier.

Herbal Sprays

While herbal sprays do not appear to actually kill insects, they do seem to act as an effective repellent, and spraying plants with a tea made of garden herbs may help to keep them pest-free. Sage, thyme, rosemary, and white clover seem to help ward off attacks from leaf-eating caterpillars. To make, either soak 1 cup of fresh leaves overnight in 2 cups of water or pour 2 cups of boiling water over 2 cups of fresh leaves. To use, strain, dilute with an equal amount of water, and add a few drops of liquid soap (not detergent) to act as a spreader.

Stinging Nettle Spray

Stinging nettles grow as weeds in the eastern parts of the country but they can be used to make a spray that helps plants resist disease attacks.

When collecting nettles to make the spray, wear long pants, cover the arms, and wear good work gloves. Place about 1 pound of nettle leaves and young stalks in a bag and soak it in 1 gallon of chlorine-free water (tap water that has stood uncovered for 48 hours). Cover the bucket and leave it in a warm place for a week. The mixture will have a strong smell when uncovered and may need straining through a cheesecloth. Dilute with five times its volume of chlorine-free water and spray plants that are known to be susceptible to fungus diseases. Spray every 2 weeks for continued coverage. It also helps deter aphids and acts as a foliar feed. Store any unused spray concentrate in a glass jar, it will keep for a month.

Starch Spray

This forms a sticky coating on the leaf surface, which traps the pests and holds them until they die. It works best on small pests like aphids and thrips, rather than on large beetles and caterpillars. Mix 2-4 tablespoons of potato flour (available in health food stores) in one quart of water and add a few drops of liquid soap as a sticker. Shake well and spray onto the plants, covering the entire leaves. It will wash off in rain or can be hosed off after a few days.

Garlic Oil Spray

A mix of garlic, mineral oil, and soap gives very good results against many sucking and chewing insects. These include aphids, cabbageworms, leafhoppers, larval mosquitoes, squash bugs, and whiteflies.

Some plants are sensitive, so try it on a single shoot first. If there is no damage after 48 hours, spray the entire plant. Soak 3 ounces of finely chopped garlic in 2 teaspoons of mineral oil for 24 hours. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of insecticidal soap in 2 cups of water and add it to the garlic and oil. Stir well and strain. To use, add 1-2 tablespoons to 2 cups of water and spray on the pests. Store the remainder in a glass container for future use.

Hot Pepper Dust

Grow your own hot peppers to provide the source for a repellent dust that will help protect plants from cabbage maggots, carrot root flies, ants, and other pests. Dry the harvested pepper first, and then grind them with a mortar and pestle (always wear protective eye gear and gloves when working with hot peppers because the dust can be very irritating to your eyes). Sprinkle the dust along plant rows just after seeding or around the base of young plants. Apply more dust after rainfall or watering.

The above is an excerpt from the book The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Planning – Selection – Propagation – Organic Solutions by Edited by Fern Marshall Bradley and Trevor Cole. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Fern Marshall Bradley and Trevor Cole, editors of The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Planning – Selection – Propagation – Organic Solutions

Author Bio
Fern Marshall Bradley, co-editor with Trevor Cole of The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening, is a writer and editor whose favorite topics are gardening and sustainable living. A co-author of Reader’s Digest’s Vegetable Gardening, she also conceived and edited The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Insect and Disease Control, The Expert’s Book of Garden Hints, among others. Bradley is a former gardening books editor for Rodale.

Trevor Cole, co-editor with Fern Marshall Bradley of The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening, was curator of the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Canada, for over 20 years. He was educated in horticultural science at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the U.K. Cole’s previous offerings include numerous magazine articles and the books Care-Free Plants and The New Ottawa Gardener.

How to Deal With Garden Pests

March 11, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

While tending to my own garden, I have found that one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a gardener is to walk outside to check on your plants. It’s just a routine walk to make sure that your garden is thriving, but you end up finding holes in all of your plants that looked fine only hours before. The explanations for some of these plant-destroying holes are garden pests. Some of the main garden pests are slugs, worms, caterpillars, birds, snails, and the occasional gopher. Although you can never wipe out these pests entirely, after all your hard work in the garden you have to do something.

Insects are one of the worst things to have in your garden; they can live under the soil, in old weeds or piles of leaves, or in a number of other places. In order to help keep insects away, always try and eliminate places in your garden and near your garden that these insects and other plant diseases could be living. Remove old leaves, weeds, or any other decaying matter that insects and diseases could be living in from your yard. Also, regularly turn over your garden soil and break apart any clumps of dirt so that you can eliminate the living spaces any insects that might be hiding underground.

Another way to rid your garden of the pests is to use dormant spray, which is used to keep destructive insects and diseases under control. It is best that you use dormant spray when your plants are dormant, usually around February or early March. I have used dormant spray many times on my garden and it has worked wonders on keeping insects out. But as I learned from experience, dormant spray is only effective if you follow the correct instructions. When I first decided to use some on my garden, I just dumped it everywhere in hopes of killing everything harmful. Unfortunately I ended up killing my entire garden along with my neighbors. Some insects can be beneficial to your garden though, so be sure to find out which insects help your garden.

Another pest problem I’ve had besides insects has been birds. Whenever I see birds in my garden I run outside a chase them away, but as soon as I step inside they come right back. The solution that I’ve come up with to keep the birds away from my garden is to put a bird feeder in my yard. Instead of costing me time and money by eating my garden, the birds eat at the bird feeder. In the long run it’ll save you money. Not only can a bird feeder help keep birds away from your garden, but they can also be a new part of your yard decoration. Although not completely eliminating my bird problem, my bird feeder has made the problem smaller. Getting a dog has also helped.

If you start seeing mounds of dirt around your yard, and your plants keep unexplainably dieing, you can assume that you have a gopher problem. Thankfully, this is one of the few garden pasts that I haven’t had. However my friend has struggled with a tremendous gopher infestation, so I decided to research it. Gophers are rodents that are five to fourteen inches long. Their fur can be black, light brown, or white, and they have small tails. One method of getting rid of these root-eating pests is to set traps. The key to successfully capturing a gopher using a trap is to successfully locate the gopher’s tunnels and set the trap correctly. Another way to get rid of them is to use smoke bombs, which you place into the tunnel and the smoke spreads through out it and hopefully reaches the gopher.

If you suspect that your gardens are being pillaged by any of the pests I mentioned, I encourage you to try your hardest to eliminate the problem as soon as possible. The longer you let the species stay, the more established it will become.

Dealing With Garden Pests

March 10, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under 20

One of the most frustrating things that can happen to any keen gardener is finding holes and other ailments in your plants as you wonder through your garden. What should have been an enjoyment of your gardening efforts soon turns into a nightmare as you find more and more evidence of pests in your garden. These pests come in many different shapes and sizes, with some of the most common being worms, slugs, caterpillars, snails and birds. Since they are a natural part of the environment, it is impossible to totally eradicate these pests, but you can still do a lot to protect your garden and your efforts.

While garden pests do come in many different varieties, those belonging to the insect family can wreak the most havoc on any garden. Insects have been known to destroy entire gardens in a matter of hours. The first step to dealing with insects, is prevention. Reduce the areas that insects and other diseases thrive. Decaying matter, weeds, and old leaves provide ample breeding grounds for these pests. Clear them as soon and as often as possible. Regularly turning the soil in uncultivated parts of the garden can also help you eliminate any insects that might have taken up shelter underground. Where possible, do create your compost heap in a part of the garden as far away from your most vulnerable plants as possible.

Another popular pest and plant disease control method is the use of dormant sprays. These sprays are most effective if used when your garden’s plants are dormant too, which in the northern hemisphere, is around February. Because these sprays can be quite potent, it is very important to follow the usage directions carefully. Just spraying indiscriminately, will be both ineffective, and result in you killing off huge tracts of your garden in the process. While you do want to kill off pests, you do not want to kill every living creature in your garden. A lot of insects and bugs are beneficial for the healthy growth of some plants, so you do need to do your research, and use such sprays carefully.

Another oft ignored pest that wreaks havoc in many gardens is the common bird. Many gardeners try and keep these at bay by chasing them away on sight. It can get tiresome just keeping an eye on your garden, hence the popularity of scarecrows. These can be less effective in places with little wind, as the birds soon get used to them. A better approach could be the installation of a bird feeder in the garden. As well as keeping the birds from the more vulnerable plants in the guardian, a bird feeder can add to the overall character of your garden. Lastly, domestic pets like dogs and cats can help eliminate the problem of birds in the garden, although such pets can themselves damage your garden.

Some gardeners are unfortunate enough to suffer gopher infestations. The first sign of this is seeing dirt mounds around the garden, and the inexplicable death of otherwise healthy plants. These rodents can be anything between 5 and 14 inches long, and are often black or a light brown in color. Their preferred diet of plant roots is what kills off most plants where gophers are found. An effective way of dealing with them is using specialized gopher traps. Once you have located their tunnels, you can use the traps, or in more extreme cases, use smoke bombs thrown into these tunnels to eliminate them.

The main trick to dealing with garden pest though, is swift action. Once you spot signs of pests, eliminate them as soon as possible, before they become established. Once done, follow the guidance above, and eliminate their breeding grounds, and by extension any chance of the pest problem recurring. If your garden is close to your neighbors, it can be beneficial to coordinate pest elimination efforts, to ensure that all the areas near your vulnerable plants are pest free.

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