Something gardeners know is that they will face bugs!  Of course, the initial reaction is to run out and buy various commercial insecticides.  The trouble with using conventional chemical pesticides is that it undermines the benefits of raising home grown vegetables.

1.  A healthier solution would be the reduction and prevention of such a bug invasion to start with.  Companion plantings are an age old, yet effective, approach to pest control and help with better vegetables, as well.

2.  There are organic and natural sprays that you can use, as well as homemade solutions, ranging from a simple mixture of dishwashing soap and water to a natural, organic approach that is gaining in popularity, Neem oil.

3.  Or, you could fight bugs with bugs!  Two bug fighters that an organic gardener can easily introduce to their organic vegetable garden are lady bugs and praying mantis.  The simplest way is to just buy and release them directly into your garden.  You could do a little research and find plants and flowers you can plant to attract and keep them in your vegetable garden area.

An example of a companion planting is growing tomatoes along side carrots.  Carrot flowers can attract insects that feed on other insects that would otherwise go after your tomatoes. But, for the beneficial insect-attracting properties of carrots to work, they have to be allowed to flower.

Sage, rosemary, and radishes are recommended by some people as companion plants, yet listed by other people as incompatible.  Alliums inter-planted with carrots confuse onion and carrot flies.  Rosemary repels cabbage worms, geraniums trap cabbage worms and are recommended general companion for all brassica (cabbage, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc).  Marigolds will deter beetles and nematodes. Mints (such as hyssop, sage, and various “balms”) repel slugs, the nemosis of lettuce and cabbages.

An organic treatment that has recently started gaining popularity is Neem oil.  Neem oil has been used in India as a pesticide, miticide, and also fungalcide for millennia.  What is interesting is that it has also been used for its medicinal qualities as well!

Neem oil does not work the same way as commercial pesticides and does not kill garden bugs as quickly. Insects absorb the neem oil compounds just like natural hormones.  Neem enters their system and blocks the real hormones from functioning properly.

Bugs “forget” to eat, to mate, or they stop laying eggs. Some even forget that they can fly.  If eggs are produced they will not hatch or the larvae don’t moult.  Needless to say insects that are too confused to eat or breed will not survive.  The population eventually plummets and they vanish. The entire life-cycle is broken.

The neat thing is, Neem oil does not hurt beneficial insects.  Only chewing and sucking bugs will be affected.  It really is fascinating.

However, this is not something that happens right away.  People spray Neem oil as an insecticide and anticipate immediate results, since that is what they are used to from chemical poisons.  When that does not happen many people conclude Neem insecticide does not work!

It will deliver the results…but, you have to give it time to work.  It’s a much smarter way to deal with insect pests than to simply kill everything and then having to worry about the long term effects any residue may have on you and your family.

#1 Challenge to Organic Gardening

Yes, you are helping nature by doing organic gardening, but nature is more than soil, plants, sunlight, water and air.  You’ve got insects to deal with.  There will be good insects that will be beneficial for your organic garden, but there are also certain pests that you have to be vigilant about in order to get rid of them before they destroy all your efforts.  So, the first thing you need to do is identify what you’re dealing with.

Organic Pesticides

If you are new to organic gardening, you may be wondering about the pests.  How are you going to be able to get rid of them without turning to synthetic pesticides? The short and quick answer is that you buy an organic one.  There are actually many brands that are available commercially.  You just have to ask around what are the types that will work best in your location, with the kinds of produce/fruits that you are growing in your garden and the type of pests you’re dealing with.

So, in choosing the right organic pesticide, you must be fully aware what the problem really is that you’re facing.  To do this, you should:

  1.  inspect your garden thoroughly,
  2.  make  notes of what you’re seeing, and
  3.  you can also take pictures, if you are not so sure about the kind of pests that are impacting your garden.

Then you can go to the store and detail to an expert the problems that you are dealing with.  This way, you can get a product that will best fit and solve the problems that you’re having in your garden.

Alternatively, you could also mix up your own formulation to deal with your unwanted garden pests.  There are lots of natural and homemade applications you can put together yourself.

Manual Removal

Another way that you can do this and not have to turn to pesticides, even the organic type, is to do things manually.  Yes, this is harder. But just consider this as a challenge that you need to overcome to help yourself become an expert.  Of course, the size of your garden will factor in your decision.

If the plants are infested by unnecessary pests, what could be the problem?  One root of the problem could be the plants themselves. They may be depressed or stressed.  What have you done to them?  This type of gardening means that you are to take things personally.  You are being one with nature. So to succeed on this, you’ve got to take things seriously.

What makes a plant depressed?  You may not be spending enough time with it.  It may sound weird, but talking to your plants or even singing to them may help you with the whole process.  Throughout your gardening trek, you should be able to familiarize yourself with all the plants in your garden.  You have to know how to make your plants healthy, happy and productive.

If you have to pick out the pests manually, then do it.  This can be done as long as there are only few that can be found in your garden. You only resort to the pesticides once the situation becomes uncontrollable.

Nature’s Solutions

A third approach is that you can also add some insects and animals that will help you kill the pests.  This way, you are still staying in touch with nature and helping in the process of the food chain.  For example, a lady bug will eat up an aphid banquet.  Frogs and lizards can also help you sort your problems with some garden pests.

Above everything else, whatever problem you may encounter in organic gardening, just think about nature.  How will you solve things while still being able to help nature and be one with it?

Organic Gardening Helps Keep Families Healthy

By Barbara Volkov

Organic gardening is growing fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic products. Organic gardening is accomplished by using animal and vegetables fertilizers along with natural pest controls. The natural pest control includes using beneficial insects or being able to spray with natural substances to control garden pests. Those chemicals that get sprayed on the plants cause harm to humans, pets, and the plants.

Organic growing not only benefits human health but also enriches the soil by adding back the natural elements. You can actually feed your plants without the use of chemical fertilizers. Mother Nature has her way of adding to the soil by using decaying plants to enhance the soil. We humans have a bad habit of raking up all the dead leaves and plant material and throwing it away; instead we need to start composting all of it by gathering it all together in an enclosed pile. This decaying organic matter can be added to by throwing in our kitchen scraps and rotting fruit. If you live in an urban area a fulling enclosed compost bin is best to use but living in the country you can get by using an open compost pile. By adding this organic material to your yard and gardens will produce better quality fruits and vegetables along with embellishing the soil.

You can purchase organic pesticides at your local garden centers, home improvement stores and over the internet. There are natural substances you can try first such as a mixture of water and diluted soap to spray on areas of infestation. Weeds can be sprayed on a very sunny day with concentrated vinegar; this method should solve the problem. A garlic spray which is a mixture of garlic, water, onion, cayenne pepper and liquid dish washing soap can also be used. You can store this mixture for about a week in the refrigerator.

If you end up with grass snakes, leave them alone, they like to eat garden pests. Some of the beneficial insects include green lacewings which dine on mealy bugs and spider mites; lady bugs eat aphids and leaf-hoppers; praying mantis like mosquitoes and grasshoppers and beneficial nematodes will eat only the soil dwelling insects. These are only some of the beneficial insects and their partial diets that will act as organic pesticides in your garden. Organic gardening is a wonderful way to give your family healthier food, replenish the earth’s soil and save you money on groceries. When you grow your own fruits and vegetables you will know for sure what pesticides and fertilizers are used on them; buying from the market you really do not know for sure if they are actually “organic”. We tend not to buy the organic produce because they cost more so we purchase the regular produce and hope for the best. When we buy regular apples they have a coating that cannot be washed off; you have to peel the apple to get rid of the coating. We all know the skin of an apple has a large portion of nutrients and vitamins our body needs.

It does seem strange that we have to pay more for organic produce. You would think organic farming saves the farmer money because of not purchasing the chemical products. Are we just paying extra for the word “organic”? Since the economy has been so bad we are better off starting our own organic garden for a healthier family and for saving money. Organic growing is simple to do since we will not be purchasing those chemical fertilizers or pesticides, we will be using natural organic mixtures, compost, and beneficial insects.

To grow good healthy produce the right conditions are helpful. Most garden vegetables need full sun at least six hours during the day. Plenty of organic material or compost needs to be added if your soil is on the poor side. When purchasing your plants pick the varieties that resist disease; only feed with organic matter when needed; mulch to retain moisture; water wisely and give your plants room for air flow. Some of these tips will help with your organic gardening project.

Barbara is happily retired and enjoys working in the garden and is doing a little organic gardening. She has a number of articles about gardening and gardening accessories on her website Gardeners Garden Supplies so come for a visit.

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The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control  is considered to be one of the most reliable and comprehensive guide on the garden shelf.  Rodale has been the category leader in organic methods for decades, and this thoroughly updated edition features the latest science-based recommendations for battling garden problems.  One of the things you’ll like is the all-new photos of common and recently introduced pests and plant diseases,  making it easier to quickly identify whether you’ve discovered a garden friend or foe and what action, if any, you should take.

No other reference includes a wider range of methods for growing and maintaining an organic garden.  The plant-by-plant guide features symptoms and solutions for 200 popular plants, including flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs, and fruits.  The insect-and-disease encyclopedia includes a photo identification guide and detailed descriptions of damage readers may see.  And, properly identifying the problem is all important in being able to select the appropriate course of action.

The extensive coverage of the most up-to-date organic control techniques and products, presented in order of lowest impact to most intensive intervention, makes it easy to choose the best control.  So, get your copy of The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way (Rodale Organic Gardening Books)today!

This review by Diane Hoffmaster “Turning the Clock Back”

(rated 5-stars out of 5)

This review is for: The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way (Rodale Organic Gardening Books)
I have been trying my hand at organic gardening for a couple of years now and I am learning, quite quickly, that it is NOT easy! I am so glad that books like The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control are around to help poor souls like me who just don’t have much of a green thumb!

There are 4 parts to this book. Part 1 deals with building a healthy garden so that you can grow healthy plants. This section deals with composting, cover crops, and applying healthy supplements such as seaweed spray. (I have never heard of seaweed spray! I am going to do some research on that!) It also covers topics such as choosing resistant strains of plants and planting at the right time of year. Even a week or two change in when you plant can help avoid certain pests. I do wish there was more information on heirloom plant varieties, it seems like the hybrid plants offer more resistance to disease and the fewer diseases, the fewer treatments necessary, however I love heirloom plants for their uniqueness.

The second section deals with Symptoms and Solutions and the third is Identifying Pests and Diseases. These are very informative sections that takes each individual plant and describes every possible problem you could have with it. You can search by plant type (begonia, carrots, etc) or disease type (fungal, viral, bug, etc) There are some not so pretty pictures to help you identify your garden pest. I discovered that the spooky looking critter on my grape leaves is a leaf hopper. Now, I just move on to the next section on how to get rid of him!

The last section is an extensive collection of how to get rid of your unwanted pest or disease. It includes biological controls, organic sprays and dusts, making your own homemade solutions, and planting things that repel other insects. This is a very thorough chapter and ends with a resource section that you can use to help find the ingredients that are mentioned in the book. Which is a great thing because none of the stores around here I have looked in carry diatomaceous earth and that seems to be a popular pest control method.

I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to grow an organic garden. It is not easy to do but this book will go a long way in making your garden more productive and help you spot issues early before they get out of control.

Disclaimer: I received one copy of this book in order to write my review. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

A quick check at Wikipedia will give you the following information about Neem Oil:

Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It is perhaps the most important of the commercially available products of neem for organic farming and medicines.

“Neem oil is not used for cooking purposes. In India and Pakistan, it is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, hair products, body hygiene creams, hand creams) and in Ayurvedic, Unani and folklore traditional medicine, in the treatment of a wide range of afflictions. The most frequently reported indications in ancient Ayurvedic writings are skin diseases, inflammations and fevers, and more recently rheumatic disorders, insect repellent and insecticide effects.

“Formulations made of neem oil also find wide usage as a bio-pesticide for organic farming, as it repels a wide variety of pests including the mealy bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, thrips, whiteflies, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leafminers, caterpillars, locust, nematodes and the Japanese beetleNeem oil is not known to be harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms or some beneficial insects such as butterflies, honeybees and ladybugs. It can be used as a household pesticide for ant, bedbug, cockroach, housefly, sand fly, snail, termite and mosquitoes both as repellent and larvicide (Puri 1999). Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and rust (fungus).”  (Emphasis added)

What is important to the organic gardener is that it is generally a safe and effective insecticide that does not appear to harm beneficial insects…or your pets!  Gardeners should be aware that Neem oil does not work like chemical pesticides and the process for it to work is much slower.  That means, you have to be patient when looking for results.

Whereas chemical insecticides give almost immediate results and you can visually see the insects dying in front of you, Neem oil works on an insects neurological and reproductive systems.  It causes them to get confused to the point of forgetting they can fly, forgetting to eat, and more importantly, renders them unable to reproduce.  It is this life-cycle destroying effect that slowly eliminates your bug problems.

Neem oil can be an effective and affordable addition to your organic pest control efforts.

Prices accurate as of 11/19/2012

Good Bug Bad Bug

Good Bug Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser, updated 2nd edition, is an indispensable field guide for quickly and easily identifying the most common invasive and beneficial insects in the garden; plus the best organic advice on how to attract the good guys and manage the bad guys – without reaching for the toxic chemicals. Includes strategies for dealing with the “new bugs in town,” those worrisome strangers that are starting to show up due to climate change (and some that have just flown in from abroad).

Forty-one bugs, presented in full color on laminated card stock, with concealed wire binding. Sturdy enough to take into the garden for easy reference. An attractive gift book for adults and curious kids alike. The 2nd edition contains a number of color photographs not seen in the 1st edition and presents three new “bad bugs” to add to the rogues gallery of insect pests.

Add a copy of Good Bug Bad Bug to your bug fighting arsenal, get some ladybugs and praying mantis, along with Neem oil, home-made soapy water, and Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth and you’re pretty well armed in your battle against the bugs. The book will come in very handy in helping you determine when to use which solution to best handle your garden pest problem.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

This little known, natural material, makes a great organic pesticide when used correctly.  One of the biggest benefits of using it is the fact that it is safe for human and pet consumption, so there are no worries about any harmful effects when using food-grade Diatomaceous earth.

Note: There is a variant made for use in swimming pool filters and this should be avoided at all cost.  Do not confuse a pool-grade D.E. product with food-grade Diatomaceous earth.

While not widely known among home gardeners, patents for Diatomaceous Earth formulations have been issued by the U.S. Patent Office since the late 1800’s.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a series of studies on it between 1963 and 1970 and what the tests results showed was that D.E. was more effective at grain protection than the use of typical pesticides that were (and still are in some cases) used to protect stored grains.

Today, you will find food-grade Diatomaceous Earth dumped by the scoop fulls into grain storage bins to kill insects that would otherwise destroy the grain.  As much as 20% of grain can be loss to pest damage when not treated.  And, since food-grade D.E. is 100% safe, it is a much better alternative to other chemical treatments that might be otherwise used.

The important thing for the home gardener to know is that food-grade Diatomaceous Earth comes in a powder form and is effective at killing insects that are exo-skeletal, such as ants, fleas, and roaches.  An added note is that it is also effective at killing bedbugs. An additional benefit of using D.E. is that because it is not a chemical, bugs cannot become resistant to it.

Unlike, Neem Oil, food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is fast-acting.  Whereas, Neem Oil can take weeks to eradicate a bug problem, food grade D.E. will kill exposed bugs within a matter of minutes.

How does it work?  What makes Diatomaceous Earth so effective?  Well, if you were to view it under a microscope, it would appear to be crystalline in appearance, with lots of sharp edges.  It is these sharp edges that do the damage to the insects.  It cuts into the surface and joints of the insect and thus causes them to lose moisture and dries up the insect.  This loss of moisture can kill them in as little as 20 minutes or up to several hours.

If you notice, I have consistently used the phrase “food-grade” because I want you to fully understand that anything less than food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is to be avoided.  And, by food-grade, that does mean you can consume it and many people do.
I want to avoid any confrontation with the FDA and all their regulations, so I won’t go into all the benefits proponents of eating food-grade Diatomaceous earth say can provide to your health.  Let it suffice to say that that is how safe this product is.

Very Affordable

A final benefit of food-grade Diatomaceous earth is its price.  It is very affordable and you should not hesitate to use it generously.  It is a contact insecticide, that is, it does not attract insects and they do not consume it, they must make contact with it by walking through it or having it somehow make contact on them.

There is, however, one down-side to using D.E. and that is it does not discriminate good from bad bugs.  So, it will also kill good bugs, like ladybugs and should only be used when your garden becomes overrun with bad bugs.  Unfortunately, the loss of some good bugs is part of the cost of using Diatomaceous earth.

A final note on using food-grade Diatomaceous earth, it looses its effectiveness when wet.  So, this should be applied as a dry powder, using a duster.

For small applications, you can also get a bulb type applicator.

However you choose to apply it, food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is another weapon to add to your organic pest control arsenal.  And, since it is effective against ants, fleas and bedbugs as well, it can also serve you well inside of your home, too.


Expert Author Kimberley Pacholko

A collection of natural and homemade remedies for the organic gardening enthusiast.

Spraying guidelines:

o Water the plant first (if it is dry) before spraying.
o Never mix a chemical fungicide or pesticide with any of these homemade treatments, wait at least 10 days.
o It is crucial to spray all pest controls and fertilizers very early in the morning or late in the evening.
o Spray only when the temperature will remain below 85 degrees F for several hours after you spray.
o Spray both sides of the leaves.
o Test a small area of a plant first. Leave it for a couple of days to determine whether it is safe for the whole plant.

Attract beneficial insects: (also kills slugs)

o 2 tbsp/25ml brewers yeast
o ¼ cup/50ml sugar
o 1 tsp/5 ml honey
o 1/3 cup/75 ml warm water

Mix together all ingredients. Dilute 1 tbsp/15ml to 2 cups water; spray on plants in spring and early summer to attract beneficial bugs. (Filling a small bowel or container with this mixture and then burring it up to its rim will also kill slugs)

Bordeaux mixture: (primarily a fungicide but it also repels insects such as flea beetles and leafhoppers)

Using a plastic bucket, dissolve 3 ounces of copper sulphate (bluestone) in one gallon of water. Then slowly add 5 ounces of hydrate line, stirring thoroughly with each addition. The resulting mixture is ready to use as a spray or as a drench without further dilution. After using this mixture, wash your equipment well and store it in a glass or plastic container; it is very corrosive to metals. Also be careful when handling the hydrated lime because it is very caustic.

Cornell University Formula: (fungicide, miticide, or pesticide)

Basic ingredients:

o 2 tablespoons fine horticultural oil
o 1 tablespoon mild liquid dish soap (not detergent)
o 1 heaping tablespoon baking soda
o 1 gallon (4.5L) of water

Optional ingredients:

o 1 tablespoon or the equivalent of 8-8-8 fish emulsion/liquid seaweed (make sure your product does not contain sulfur)
o 5-7 droplets of a liquid plant vitamin mixture
o Bacillus thuringiensis var. Kurstaki (Bt), at the recommended concentration (controls caterpillars)
*(You can apply this spray ever 2 weeks but you will probably find you only need to spray once a month.)

*(Try to use this spray solution before disease symptoms develop or as soon as you notice a problem.)

Insecticidal soap: (Aphids, mites and white flies)

o 1 cup of vegetable oil
o 1 tablespoon mild dish soap

mix 1-2 teaspoons of this oil/soap mixture with 1 cup of water(note: Homemade sprays have a slightly greater risk of burning leaves so always test this spray on a few leaves first. If no damage has occurred after a day or two go ahead and spray the entire plant.)

Petunias: (toxic to tobacco hornworm, Colorado potato beetle, some caterpillars)

Make a tea of chopped up petunia leaves steeped in boiling water.

Baking soda: (good for powdery mildew)

o 1 teaspoon baking powder
o 1 L water
o A few drops of mild liquid dish soap

(Put the ingredients into a spray bottle and mist directly onto the plant leaves, both sides.)

Horsetail: (good for powdery mildew)

o 1 cup chopped horsetail (horsetail is a plant)
o 1 L water

Mix together and boil for 20 minutes. Cool; strain. Spray on plants or use it as a soil drench to prevent damping off.

Garlic: (Insecticide and fungicide)
o 5-10 cloves garlic
o ½ L water

Mix in a blender, strain and spray on plants.

Bug Juice: (insecticide)

o ½ cup of a specific pest and mash well
o Mix with 2 cups water; and strain

Mix ¼ cup of this bug juice with a few drops of soap and 2 cups of water. Spray on plant surfaces. (Use non-food utensils and wear plastic gloves.)

Hot-pepper spray:(insecticide)

o Blend ½ cup of hot peppers with
o 2 cups of water

Using a blender combine the peppers and water, blend then strain. Spray on plant surfaces. CAUTION: hot peppers burn skin and eyes. (use of gloves and protective eye wear recommended.)

Dormant oils: (over wintering stages of mites, scales, aphids, and other insects.)

(Dormant oils work by basically suffocating the insect). Spray on dormant orchards and ornamental plants to control overwintering stages of mites, scales, aphids, and other insects. Temperature must be above 40 degrees F. (Caution: some plants are sensitive to this oil, like Japanese maples and blue spruce. Test an area on a plant first, and remember to spray before the plant brakes out in leaf.

Summer oils: (Use to control aphids, spider mites, scale, psylla, mealy bugs, and some caterpillars.)

(Summer oils are lighter than dormant oils. They also have fewer impurities, making them safer for your plants.)

Note: vegetable oil provides similar control.
o 1 cup cooking oil
o 1 tablespoon mild liquid dish soap
o 1 cup water

Elemental Sulfur: (Fungicide)

Sprayed or dusted on plants to help prevent many types of fungal diseases. Use this as a last resort as it can also harm beneficial insects, soil microorganisms and the plants themselves. (I tend to save this treatment for my prize roses.)

Copper: (Fungicide)

Sprayed or dusted on plants to help control many types of fungal diseases. Bordeaux mixture is a strong fungicide use only as a last resort and with great care. It is also harmful to beneficial insects and soil microorganisms. It is considered very toxic to humans.

Bleach: (soil fungi)

o Mix 3 tablespoons/50 ml liquid house bleach
o 1 gal/4 L water
Applied as a soil drench it may help to get rid of fungi. I rather reluctantly tried this with an entire hedge of honey suckle. It really did seem to help.

Beneficial nematodes: (grubs, leather jackets and other soft bodied insects)

*(Follow the manufactures instructions for application and follow up care…you will usually have to keep the soil continuously moist for approximately 3 days after application.)

*(Also be sure to read the package to find out which insects that particular product targets….there are different nematodes and each one targets different insects.)

Neem Oil Products: (insecticide, fungicide and bacteria)

(Is a broad-spectrum insect poison, repellent, and feeding deterrent. It also stops or disrupts insect growth and sterilizes some species. It appears to be easy on beneficials and of low toxicity to mammals.)

Dilute and apply as per manufactures instructions. (Full spectrum Neem oil products will offer some systemic action.

Pyrethrins: (insecticide)

De-rived from the flowers of pyrethrum daisies. It attacks an insects central nervous system, providing rapid knockdown…but at low doses insects may detoxify themselves. The addition of synthetic synergists, like piperonyl butoxide (PBO), prevents insects from detoxifying insecticides. But they may be toxic in and of themselves so you may wish to avoid them.

Bacillus thuringiensis: (Bt) (caterpillars)

Is a crystalline toxin produced by bacteria and sold as a liquid spray or as a dust. When ingested by a caterpillar, this toxin affects its digestive tract, causing it to quit feeding and die in a few days. Be careful when spraying and wear a mask.

Diatomaceous earth: (DE) (slugs and other soft bodied insects)

Is a non-toxic mineral product, mined from fossilized shell remains of an algae known as diatoms. This powder has microscopic, sharp edges that pierce soft bodied insects and cause them to dehydrate. Dust plants with the powder preferably after a rain or you can mix 1 ounce of DE with ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap and a gallon/4.5 L and spray it on your plants. It also harm to earth worms and birds so use as a last resort.

Corn Gluten Meal: (Lawn weeds like dandelions)

Corn meal Gluten can be applied with your average fertilizer spreader. It acts to basically suffocate the little weed seeds so that they cannot germinate. Apply in spring before the weeds have germinated. Do not sow new lawn seed with-in 6weeks of this application as it will also prevent lawn seeds from germinating. I prefer to treat my weeds in spring and then over seed early to mid autumn.

Sabadilla: Nicotine:

(Try to avoid these powerful yet natural remedies due to their potentially harmful effects.)

Kimberley Pacholko is a Certified Staging Consultant, Interior Decorator, Professional Gardener, Garden Designer and owner of White Swan Properties. For more information call (905)-725-7926. Web:

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Its early June and time for the annual invasion of Japanese beetles.

These 1/2″ long, green colored beetles feast upon flowers, especially roses, and leafy parts of your garden plants.   If they haven’t already sprung up in your neighborhood, I’m sure the coming weeks will bring the equally reliable sproutings of those yellow bags that people use to trap these garden pests.

There is a yard and garden commentary in our local weekly newspaper, the Mt. Olive Messenger (Mt. Olive, NC).  This week, Dr. A.J. Bullard’s commentary addressed ways of dealing with the Japanese beetle.   He is not an organic gardener as such, but from time to time does have solutions that organic gardeners can use.

I have mentioned companion plantings elsewhere in this blog and along those lines, he mentions potted geraniums.  Potted so that you can move them to where you need to have your plants protected.  In particular, you want white geraniums.   The essential oil of geraniums is an old biological remedy to ward off mosquitoes and head lice and even taken to improve circulation and other medicinal purposes.

The point is, geraniums do have insecticidal properties, but what is not so well publicized is the attraction that white geraniums seem to have for Japanese beetles.  All it takes is one bite of the geranium leaves and its instant death for our little green pests.  But, they are not attracted to geraniums of any other color.

By accident, Dr. Bullard noticed that its the color white, more than anything else, that seems to attract Japanese beetles.  He had 75 five-gallon buckets of various colors scattered throughout his orchard.  He had set them out to augment watering his plants during hot, dry spells.  What he noticed was that the white buckets would fill with dead Japanese beetles, while the other colored buckets…red, green, and orange, were empty of beetles!

So, if you’re inflicted with Japanese beetles in the coming weeks, you may want to put out a few white, 5-gallon buckets of water near your garden area to help control these pests.   You don’t necessarily want to put the buckets IN your garden, you don’t want to attract these beetles into your garden, but rather a short distance outside of your garden to keep them away.

Of course, you can also use the potted, white geraniums as well.  After all, its a much more attractive solution to the Japanese beetles problem.  Hope your garden is off to a good start.  The season is just beginning, but you start getting your first tomatoes and even zucchini’s in the coming weeks.

The Neem tree is considered to be one of the most promising trees of the 21st century. It has great potential in the fields of pest management, environmental protection and medicine. Used widely as a bio-pesticide for organic farming, as it repels a wide variety of pests, including the mealy bug, aphids, ants and mosquitoes. Use as a repellent and larvacide. Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew and fungus. Dilute at the rate of 4 teaspoons per gallon of water. Adding a surfactant, s

Sale Price:$20.99 as of 11/19/2012

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