Summer Gardening Tips (Pests, Propagation, and Planning)

Summer is in full gear. Which means there is a lot to do in the garden, there always is isn't there? The tomatoes and peppers are beginning to produce and in a couple short weeks should be ready to pick. Here are a few summer gardening tips to help you in your garden. Watch for Pests Always be vigilant in the garden. Pests can appear at any time, some of which will decimate a crop in a few short hours if you aren't observant. Squash vine borers are out. I found one yesterday on a zucchini. The eggs are laid at the base of the plant and when they hatch the larvae burrow into the stem and eat they way up which eventually kills the squash plant. If you see sawdust at the base of your squash cut the stalk and kill the larvae inside. Then cover the base of…

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5 Common Garden Insect Pests

Every garden experiences pest issues form time to time.  Insect pest can be frustrating and sometimes when you discover what is damaging your plants it's already too late to do anything about it.  Here are five common insect pests that you may see in your garden for today's Friday Five post!   Pest #1: Flea beetles You'll first notice flea beetle damage when you start to see tiny holes in the foliage.  Mature plants can resist flea beetle damage but younger ones are very susceptible to it.  In my garden they target eggplants more than any other type of plant.  I'll see them on tomatoes and potatoes but the damage is not nearly so dramatic. To deal with flea beetles try using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or diatemaceous earth (Amazon Aff).  A combination of those treatments may be necessary! For companion planting consider planting catnip. Just don't let the catnip…

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Black Blister Beetle Battles

Another unforeseen issue has arisen in my garden: blister beetles!  These voracious beetles are systematically devouring the foliage of our plants.  So far they've taken turns tasting our tomatoes, tomatillos, and even a clematis.  I'm not heartbroken over the clematis as it's a sweet autumn clematis that grows like a weed - it will come back.  But I do want the tomato plants in the vegetable garden to prosper and so I need to find a way to eliminate the blister beetles before the foliage is all removed. I have what are called black blister beetles.  Blister beetle larvae are predatory insects that love to eat grasshopper eggs but when the larvae mature they become vegetarian and only eat the leaves of your favorite plants... Black Blister Beetle with droppings I noticed our blister beetles when I saw some strange droppings on top of the leaves and on some tomatoes…

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5 Ways to Control Garden Pests (The Friday Fives)

As gardeners we deal with all kinds of issue that can make gardening frustrating and difficult.  One of those issues is pests.  Pests come in many forms from thousands of kinds of insects to birds and animals.  No method of pest control is 100% effective all the time so gardeners need be creative problem solvers in the garden.  The best advice is to research the specific pest issue then come up with a strategy to thwart it. If you take a little time and target the treatment with the problem you'll be more effective and won't have to resort to chemicals - which I feel is very important!  So for today's Friday Five we'll bring up 5 Ways to Control Garden Pests.  Like I just mentioned, these methods will not work 100% of the time for every pest but they are helpful and will make your garden more successful! 5…

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Bunnies in the Garden

What do you do when cute little furry bunnies that eat your strawberries? Good question! I'm not sure I have the best answer and maybe you have some suggestions for this issue but over the weekend I found a solution that so far seems to have worked.  First let me share with you how I found bunnies in my garden. On Saturday I was out in the vegetable garden filling a few raised beds (including the Greenland Gardener bed I mentioned a few weeks ago - more on that later this week) and picked up the hose to water a few plants. I looked to the strawberry plants and though "they could use a drink" and began to spray at the base of the strawberry plants as best as I could when something ran out - the first little bunny! It was soaking wet from the hose but otherwise unharmed. …

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Aphids on Ornamental Peppers!

Insect pests (like aphids) are always frustrating to find on your plants. I've dealt with aphids many times before but I still never like to find them again. Inevitably I do. Aphids are one of the most common insect pests in every garden. If you garden you will eventually find them on one of your plants. I've had them on plants like spirea, hostas, asclepias (butterfly weed), and now my ornamental peppers! The solution is simple and non-toxic which is great if you have children or pets around. Soapy water! We have a spray bottle that we keep in the kitchen for cleaning up with a little bit of dish soap and a lotta bit of water. I just take the bottle and spray my plant away making sure to cover each leaf thoroughly top and underside. But the aphids will come back! In a few days the aphids will…

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The Vegetable Garden Has Been Breached! (Deer Again!)

Cucumber Plant - Deer Damage I was startled the other day when the eventual invader leaped out from behind my shed and scampered off into the woods. I jumped because I thought the deer had gone. I thought that they had picked up and moved on after the neighbors behind us moved in with their dog.  I wish I was right. When it revealed itself from its hiding place behind the shed I was a little concerned but not overly so. Since the deer attacks a couple years ago I began a new strategy: deer resistant plants. Many of my plants are deer resistant which means as long as there is something better to eat the deer will avoid it (never count on this - if they're hungry they will eat anything!). Russian sage, artemisia, heuchera, rosemary, sages and salvias, verbena, and all kinds of other things have been planted…

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Vegetable Garden: Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Cabbages

Things are growing very nicely in the vegetable garden. The tomatoes (which are our favorite crop no matter what else we try) are growing like crazy, the zucchini has almost produced it's first zucchini, and the cabbage are'll see... Here are two of my raised beds full of tomatoes. The bed on the left contains mostly Roma tomatoes while the one on the right is a mixture of several different kinds like Panto Romanesco and Woodle Orange. You may also notice the large pieces of cardboard in between the beds. Those are temporary until I can get mulch put in between the raised beds but for now will keep the weeds down. One day the cardboard will completely break down and degrade into the soil. I have three other raised beds with tomatoes like Brandywine, Black Krim, and Cherokee Purple not pictured. The first of mountains of zucchini and…

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I’m No Mr. McGregor

We all know the tale about that famous gardener who is protective of his garden and the hungry and curious little Peter Rabbit. The silly rabbit invades Mr. McGregor's garden (not to be confused with Mr. McGregor's  daughter's garden) to gorge himself on the fruits of the gardener's labor, then loses his clothes in the process of fleeing from Mr. McGregor's wrath and returns home sick and exhausted. I understand the damage those little bunnies can do but last night I was definitely no Mr. McGregor! While I was mowing around our yard four bunnies ran out from their hiding places afraid of the sounds of the riding mower. I couldn't bring myself to continue mowing until I knew they were out of the way and safe so I gathered up those that I could and put the bunnies in a tall bucket until I was finished mowing. I was…

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