Organic Pest Control Tips

eco friendly gardening tips

As the weather warms and things begin to grow, so does the pest problem. Many people don’t like using pesticides to control these infestations, so here are a few organic pest control tips from a survey done by Mother Earth News Organic Gardening.

Slugs:

organic pest control slugsOne of the most effective organic remedies to control slugs,  beetles, cut worms and other  bugs is to have a few ducks, chickens or geese waddling around the garden.  They love fat juicy slugs and enjoy nothing better than keeping your garden bug free.  Plus, they provide organic fertilizer while on the job and lay eggs which you can eat.

If you don’t fancy keeping geese or ducks, some other slug remedies include:

  • sprinkling crushed egg shells around the plants you want to protect
  • creating beer traps – apparently slugs love beer!
  • hand picking

Cutworms:

organic pest control cutwormAnother effective remedy for cutworms in seedlings is to use rigid collars made from cardboard tissue rolls or disposable drinking cups.  Planting out your seedlings later when they are bigger and stronger is also helpful.  Some people have found that by turning over the soil a few times prior to planting allows birds to pick off the various worms and bugs which are unearthed.

Aphids:

organic pest control aphidsMany plants such as roses attract aphids. Rather than immediately pruning infected areas and washing with insecticidal soap, try companion planting some herbs and flowers that attract predators that feast on aphids.

Sweet alyssum and other flowers such as calendula, borage, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums which all  attract hoverflies and ladybugs which feed on aphids.

Organic Give and Take:

In general, many organic gardeners are willing to put up with some ‘bad’ bugs for the sake of the ‘good’ bugs in the garden.  Some suggest planting more vegetables than you need in order to reap enough.  If you have excess it can always be donated.

Birds are a great form of pest control, so attracting bug eating birds into your garden by companion planting what attracts them as well as providing nesting areas and feeders appropriate to the specific birds you want to attract.

Soil Quality:

It’s a good thing to remember that the better the soil quality, the less problems you will have with pest infestations.  Regular mulching and organic fertilizing is recommended.  Regular crop rotation will also help discourage some pests.

Most common effective remedy for the majority of pests:

Handpicking.  While it’s tedious and tiring, this method is still one of the most earth friendly and effective of all methods.

The Power of Perennials.

When planning your garden, plan for the future.

It’s not just about this season, or even the next.  Many of us don’t have a lot of time to spend in the garden.  Full time employment, full time parenthood, home maintenance and ongoing chores mean we’re full time busy.  However, gardening is good for us and if you have a garden, it’s worthwhile making it a pleasure rather than just another chore.

Here are some ideas as to how you can put in the time, thought and energy once and reap the rewards for years to come:

Xeriscaping:

Plan your garden so that it doesn’t need a lot of watering and endless care.  Xeriscaping makes the most of plants that grow naturally in your environment, meaning that they’ll survive and thrive on a minimum of attention.  It’s not only eco-friendly, it’s human friendly too!  See more about xeriscaping here.

Permaculture:

Permaculture is becoming a popular way for ordinary people with ordinary gardens to try their hand at urban farming.  If you fancy the idea of growing your own food and having a more sustainable lifestyle, then this is a practical option.  Choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables that are perennial rather than annual will help make permaculture an easy choice for those who like to plant once and reap twice, or three times or much more over subsequent years.

Choose Perennials rather than Annuals:

lavender is a drought tolerant plantAnnuals can be very pretty and brighten up the landscape immensely.  But plants that grow all year long, or die off in Winter only to re-emerge in Spring are a lot more productive. If you want to create an ongoing crop year after year, consider planting things such as:

Berries: raspberry, blueberry and some strawberry varieties will produce crops of fruit for years.

Rhubarb will keep on growing allowing you to harvest stalks almost forever!

perennial rhubarbFruit trees will also be a source of ongoing crops for years.  Apples, pears, cherries and plums are popular in this area.

Vegetables:  there are a few vegetables that will produce ongoing harvests.  Examples are perennial onions, asparagus, artichokes and chives.

Perennial Chives

Many herbs are perennial.  Examples are lavender, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, mint, majoram, curry plant, oregano and sage.  Many of these are quite drought tolerant  as well.  Learn how to spot a drought tolerant plant here.

For advice on how to create your own waterwise and productive garden, please feel free to visit with our professional horticulturalists in the nursery.

 

New In Store for Spring:

Michel Design Works INto the Woods

Along with all the beautiful Spring flowers arriving in the nursery, we have some equally beautiful and fragrant items arriving in the store.

 

Anticipate Spring  with these lovely soaps, lotions and candles.  You don’t have to wait for warmer weather, you can enjoy them right now.

We’ve just received new shipments from Mistral:

mistral for springmistral for springAs well as new shipment from Michel Design Works:

michel design works for spring… and it’s not just soaps, lotions and candles!  You’ll find an array of exclusive home decor elements and ideas in store as well.  Add some European panache to your home and lifestyle… whether you dream of an English country garden or a French gite in Provence, you’ll find inspiration here!

It’s Time to Start Thinking ‘Spring’!

Spring primulas

It’s time to start thinking ‘Spring’ and we have just the right plants to brighten up your garden

 

Check out these cheerful Primulas:

Spring primulasand how about these potted Daffodils?

spring potted daffodils
not to mention these gorgeous Hellebores

spring helleboresThings are beginning to warm up and it’s time to get your garden prepared for this wonderful season. Click here for a few tips to help you get started.

We have what you need to create your dream landscape. Whether you prefer to plant from our potted items or start with a seed, you’ll find everything from flowers, to shrubs, to herbs, annuals and perennials as well as a good range of West Coast and GMO free seeds.

non gmo seedsCome in and spend some time in the nursery and the store.  We’ll help you with advice, products and plants… everything you need to get off to a successful Spring garden!

spring is almost here

Brambles Bistro Recipe: Carrot Patch Carrot Cake

carrot-cake

Brambles Bistro Recipe: Carrot Patch Carrot Cake

carrot-cake

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Method:
Sift together sugar,flour,soda,salt and cinnamon.  Stir in oil.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add carrots, nuts and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Pour into a floured and greased 13 x 9 x2-inch cake pan.   Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Do not overtake.  Cool in pan.  Spread with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup melted butter
1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1-pound bag confectioners sugar

Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla, mixing well.  Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.  Spread on cooled cake.   Enjoy

Proper Growth of Trees – How to Plant and Maintain Trees in a Nursery Bed

planting trees

Do you love the cool breeze that trees offer?

Also, don’t forget that spot where you like to sit and read or think in its soothing shade. That purified air that you feel and breathe as you walk along a tree-lined path. If you do enjoy the existence of trees and their many benefits, you will need to learn how to plant and maintain trees from their young age in the nursery bed.

planting trees

A walking path, full of grown trees.

Planting and maintaining trees is not as simple as it looks. There are steps to consider to ensure you do it in the best way possible.

planting treesTo save nature, always plant a tree.

Steps on Planting a Tree

1. Select and mark the planting location
You should choose a spot that is preferably 20 feet from any building premises or even other trees to make sure the tree has enough space for proper growth of the roots as well as the canopy. Don’t forget to mark the spot you have chosen either by placing a stake into the ground or spraying with paint.

2. Check the measurements of the root ball
Why do I need to measure the root ball? It’s to expose the root flare. Also, the height of the root ball determines the depth of the hole to plant the tree. To expose the root flare, you need to remove the burlap and the soil around the root ball.

3. Dig the hole
make sure the hole is big enough to accommodate the root ball. Preferably it should be at least twice the size of the root ball. You can use a shovel, which you can purchase at any garden store to dig the hole.

4. Place the tree in the hole
It’s time for you to plant the tree. Gently put the tree in the hole. You need to make sure the hole is not too shallow or too deep. Place it in such a way that the roots are not exposed and ensure the crown is above the ground. You can also position the tree in the direction you want it to face. At this stage, remove the burlap and any wire basket around the root ball.

5. Refill the hole
It’s advisable to use the same quantity of soil you dug out from the hole. You can decide to mix the soil with compost or using superphosphate (not preferred since most commercial fertilizers can over-boost the growing tree and make it thrive improperly) to provide the necessary nutrients for the tree’s growth. Make sure the root flare is not exposed. You can mix the soil using a shovel and leave enough space for the roots to grow. Also, water just a little

6. Staking
To assist the tree to grow upright, you can use stakes but only for the first year. It helps in the establishment of roots as it protects the tree from coming into direct contact with animals or humans.

planting treesA beautiful canopy formed by trees, a great view indeed.

Maintaining the Trees

1. Watering
After planting the tree, it’s time for you to do the watering. You can choose to water regularly for at least two years or use drip irrigation. Preferably you can do watering every day up to the sixth week, to ensure that the best establishment of the roots is achieved.

2. Mulching
You can use wood chips, leaf litter, or pine bark as mulch. It helps the tree by keeping a proper moisture in as well as getting rid of any growing weeds. It also protects the tree from lawnmowers and trampling. Use organic mulch since while decomposing they add nutrients to the soil. Do you want to plant grass? You can also check on how to keep birds from eating grass seeds by using the grown trees leaves as mulch.

3. Pruning
It helps remove any dead, broken and diseased branches from the tree. Prune gently to avoid any damage to the healthy parts. You can use a gardening shear or a knife to do the work. If the tree is okay, then there is no need of pruning.

planting treesTrees are the primary source of all fruits.

Final Thoughts
Now you can grow that seedling at the backyard of your home with the simple steps we just discussed. Also, grow grass in your backyard to make it a perfect place for nights out. Still, you ought to learn about how to use best lawn sprinklers to water the lawn. You should plant trees since they are more beneficial to you in many ways.

planting treesHi there! I’m Lucy – founder of GardenAmbition.com and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.