Archive | August 2017

Plant-derived Pesticides

The organic arsenal does include a number of pesticides, but organic gardeners, knowing that “natural” is not the same thing as “harmless”, use these only as helpers of last resort. Although they are comparatively benign, all can hurt non-target organisms like bird, fish, and beneficial insects. Some, including ryania, are very strong poisons to mammals as well; while if rotenone gets into your system, it may help trigger the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Always wear protective clothing when applying pesticides. Read the label carefully to be sure the pesticide you’re using is approved for the pest (and the plant) on which you intend to use it. Follow dosage directions; this is definitely one place where more is not better.

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Corn earworm damage

Neem, from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica. Multiple actions: repels pests, destroys their appetites, kills them by disrupting their growth. Also has some fungicidal properties. Useful against a wide range of pests including flea beetles, whiteflies, corn earworms, cabbage loopers, and root-knot nematodes.

Pyrethrum, from flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium and C. coccineum. Instant knockdown, which is very gratifying. But it doesn’t always last; if the dosage is improper or the insect has resistance, the victim gets up and staggers away as soon as you turn your back. If you use the proper amount, however, and manage to get it to land on the target, pyrethrum is useful against almost any invertebrate that may be plaguing you. (Be very careful about using pyrethrum or ins derivatives on cats; small amounts rid them of fleas, but if you overdo it, you will also be rid of Fluffy)

Rotenone, from several species of legumes in the genus Lonchocarpus. Use it and watch the beetles die. Mexican bean beetles, potato beetles, cucumber beetles — even the adults of these hard-to-kill scourges are not immune. Neither, unfortunately, are fish, birds, small mammals, or much of anything else. Rotenone degrades rapidly, but it’s very strong stuff while it lasts.

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Imported cabbage worm and the damage it can cause

Ryania, from a shrub called Ryania speciosa, and like rotenone, short lived but no joke. Use on the caterpillars of codling moths and cabbageworms, and the larvae of Japanese beetles, bean beetles, and potato bugs.

Sabadilla, from the South American plant Schoenocaulon officinale. Use only when all else fails, on things like thrips, squash bugs, and tarnished plant bugs. Sabadilla is extremely toxic to bees; be sure to apply it only after they have gone home for the night.

Peperonyl butoxide (PBO) may or may not be plant derived; it can come from sesame oil but is also chemically synthesized. It is an insecticide in its own right, but it is most commonly used as a synergist, combined with other pesticides (especially pyrethrum). It destroys an insect’s ability to fight off the pesticide, making the product more effective, and at lower doses, than it would otherwise be. But PBO is not on everyone’s organic-acceptable list, and may cause health problems, so you may prefer to avoid it.

 

The Story of Black-eyed Sue

By Anne Garde & Alan Okagaki,  National Public Radio – 1986

black-eyed-susan-1344895368GENI rose early, at four o-clock, the morning glory still iris away. I was worried. Anemone of mine, Johnny Jump Up, was looking for me, and I’d heard he was carrying a pistil, a 357 magnolia. Iironed a periwinkle blouse, got dressed, and took a sprig of a dusty Miller’s beer. Johnny Jump Up was one of several rhizomes who’d gone to seed in Forsythia, Montana. He was convicted of graft in 1984, arrested again in ’85 for digging up coreopsis. Johnny then drifted on the wind up to my neighborhood, the corner of Hollyhock & Vine. He was a petal pusher in a phloxhouse nearby.

I knew he was trouble when he rode-a-dendron to my house and said, “Hey, little Black-Eyed Susan, wanna come over to my place and take a look at my vetches?” I didn’t want to tell him in all the cosmos, there was no one for me but Sweet William, so I said no, I was taking care of a pet dogwood that had a litter of poppies, which was weird cause she was just spade. Johnny had no sense of humus. He stamped his foot with impatiens.

“You’ll rue the day you turned me down,” he snapped. Then he spit a wad of salvia into the petunia on my portulaca and stalked away. “Forget me not, Sue, cause I’ll be zinnia.”

Ever since then, he’d cultivated a relationship with Lily of the Valley, a self-sowing biennial. One day, I aster what she seed in him. “Mum’s the word on this” she said, “He’s got a trillium dollars in the bank.”

“A trillium?” I snorted. “He’s lime to you. Besides, what about love?”

“Alyssum,” Lily said. “You bleeding hearts are all alike. Kid, you can go for a guy who’ll azalea with affection, orchid you can be like me and try to marigold”.

“Now begonia.”

I was in my kitchen, mullein over these past events. It was thyme to quit dilly-dahliaing. The calendula read August 3rd, and Johnny had sworn to propagate vengeance before the snowdrop. I hopped into my autolobelia and drove over to Daisy’s for help. Daisy was a pretty little transplant from Florida, who had wilted in the humidity there, but was now rooted in the well-drained soil of Bloom County.

Daisy mostly took care of her baby’s breath, but lately she had branched out and was columbining work with home life. “We’re all sick today, I think it’s gaillardia. Even the cat has got harebells. If we could take a knapweed be o.k.” Daisy’s face was blight yellow. She would not be of any help.

I beetled feet over to Sweet William’s garden plot. “Will, am I gladiolus to see you.” “Black Eyed Sue, I’ve been praying mantis see you. Let’s lilac in the snow on the mountain before it all melts down the geranium. Let’s ride a sage to Tansynia. It’s only a chamomile away.”

“Don’t be fritillary, honeysuckle,” I said, clinging to him. “Look, here comes the clematis of the story.” Oh, oh. Johnny had hired Pete Moss, a bearded iris-man to do me in. He was wearing a blue nectar and larkspurs. He had a larva men with him. The pests! They began to charge. In all the confuchsia, I said to Will, “Stem still and give me some ground cover.” I ran down the primrose path in my lady slippers, right towards Pete. “Don’t gimme any flax, bud, or I’ll slug ya. You’ll look dandelion in the alley. “Don’t gimme any flax, bud,” Pete quoted me verbena. It nettled me. I clovered him with a 2X4.

“Sound the timpansy,” we sang “We won.” Pete moaned, “Curses, foliaged again. I noticed Johnny Jump Up planted on the border. I’ve sunk pretty loam, Sue, but now I’m be turning over a new leaf.”

“Bouquet,” I said. And he did. Will & I lived pearly everlasting.

 

Wet vs Dry Fertilizer

Dry fertilizers are easier (and quicker) to apply, especially when large areas are involved, and though they are slower to take effect, they last longer. In most gardens, wet fertilizers are used for foliar feeding, sprayed directly on plant leaves for immediate uptake. They produce rapid results, but their action is short-lived.

Dry fertilizers are usually mixed with soil before planting. Later in the season they are used as side dressing, spread in a narrow band about a foot away from growing plants and then scratched in.

Ideally, dry fertilizers break down slowly, providing a steady stream of nutrients with minimal danger of root burn, weak hypergrowth, and other problems caused by too much, too soon. In practice, however, this doesn’t always work out. Dry chemical formulations are highly soluble, and while they are more durable than liquids, they disperse rapidly in warm, wet weather. They can work well, but it is important to use minimum amounts, mix them well with the soil, and keep them away from plant roots.

Most organic amendments, on the other hand, are minimally processed. They must be broken down by weather and soil microbes before the nutrients they contain are available to plants. While there are exceptions, as a general rule these natural products pose none of the dangers of rapid breakdown, and unlike chemical fertilizers, they offer long-term soil-building benefits. But there’s no denying they’re slow to download; you have to plan well ahead.

Aphids – the storm of gardens

This blog post is from botanichka.ru, a Russian garden site. It’s incredibly interesting to me that the same problems occur everywhere — and gardening is truly an international language! This has been translated from Russian so the syntax and grammar may not sound exactly right.

 

Very often in suburban areas aphid damage, many trees and shrubs. Thereby causing irreparable damage to the gardener. This small insect harms not only garden plants but also indoor. It can be seen even with the naked eye. Vegetable, fruit, berry and flower cultures are damaged by various species of aphids. Often, many gardeners do not know how to treat already diseased plants. Let’s see what kind of insects and how to fight it?

Description aphids

Aphids ( Aphididae ) – is insects of the order Heteroptera ( Hemiptera ) ranging from 0.5 to 2 mm. The body is egg-shaped, soft and easily crushed, the legs are long, but the insects are moving slowly. There are wingless and winged birds.

Apterous female oblong-oval long mouthparts, thickened front. Winged insects have two pairs of wings, they fly and infect other plants. Proliferation of the aphids is because only one apterous female fertilization to 10-20 times every two weeks to give progeny 150 larvae.

Adult aphids – small insect green or black. In the middle of summer in some individuals grow wings. Thus, pests move considerable distances to find new sources of food. Aphids lives on buds, stems and the underside of the leaves on the tips of young shoots, preferring fatliquoring branches (tops).

Aphids – exceptionally large group of insects. According to the most conservative estimates it has about 4000 species, of which almost a thousand lives in Europe. Each year, describes all the new types.

Reproduction and air migration

Aphid lays eggs, certain types inherent in a live birth. Most species of aphids multiply over several generations using parthenogenesis. Certain generation is born winged and opposite-sex. In species that change hands, it happens before settling at a new plant or too rapid growth of the colony and the associated overpopulation. Winged individuals are able to travel long distances and create new colonies in new places.

According to new research, birth winged aphids may be caused by the particular aromatic substances, which are released by aphids when they are attacked by the enemy, for example ladybirds. These substances cause warning in the colony of great concern and increased traffic. This creates the effect of overpopulation, which causes a rapid production of winged offspring.

Damage from aphids

The damage to plants, aphids, many people underestimate, but in vain. Aphids are sucking plant sap from the stems and leaves, buds and buds. In the affected plant leaves are twisted, deformed buds and shoots, growth is slowing, the fruits do not ripen. Struck the weakened plants may not survive the winter. In addition to direct damage, aphid transmission of viral diseases on sugary secretions of aphids settled the black sooty fungus (black sooty mildew).

Aphids pierce the veil and sucks the juice plant. In places of mass tissue bites are deformed, and then die. Flowers on peduncles infected do not develop, wither as soon reveal. Sam spike quickly fade. Aphids, like mealybugs, root scale insects, whiteflies, leafhoppers, shitovki, Coccidae, suck out the plant a lot more juice than they need to maintain vitality.

Excess moisture and carbohydrate excreted aphids in the form of sugary secretions called honeydew or honeydew. This sticky sweet liquid covers the plant, making it difficult to breathe. Pad is a good substrate for the development of various fungi. Sooty fungus, e.g., a sheet may cover a continuous layer, reducing the rate of photosynthesis that inhibits the already weakened plants.

External signs of injury

Along with the clearly visible to the naked eye of the defeat aphids insects indicate warped tops of the shoots, twisted leaves and sweet selection (honeydew) on leaves and shoots. Subsequently, these secretions settles sooty fungus. If you see that some ants running around plants, be sure to check for the presence of aphids. Usually attracts ants honeydew that aphids highlights.

For aphids symbiotic ants. Some ants protect ( “shepherd”), aphids and receive from it in return release containing sugar.

Aphids live in large groups on the underside of leaves around growth points, on young shoots, buds, stalks, feeding on plant juices. They are dangerous in that weaken the plant, reduce its resistance to disease, and may also be vectors of viral diseases.

In damaged plant leaves curl and turn yellow, form nodules, buds do not develop or produce ugly flowers. In mature leaves appear sticky plaque, which can settle the fungus. Particularly affected by aphids roses, carnations, fuchsia, many Araceae, vygonochnyh bulb culture.

Many species of aphids can spread plant diseases in the form of viruses and cause the plants a variety of abnormalities, such as the Gauls and gallopodobnye education.

The diet of aphids

Aphids can settle on almost any garden and indoor plants, it is important not to miss the moment and start a fight at the time. Especially attractive to aphids green fruit trees and shrubs, roses, chrysanthemums, many houseplants. For black – beans, garden cornflower, etc.

prevention

Carefully inspect all new plants brought into the house, or bought for the garden and bouquets of fresh flowers – they may already have aphids. Upon detection of the enemy – to urgently take measures to combat it, otherwise it will occupy your plants and the struggle will require you to disproportionate effort.

When it comes to aphids in the garden Put umbrella plants – carrots, dill, fennel, parsley and others. Thus you will attract to the garden tireless eaters of aphids – hover flies. Arrange the flower pots in the garden with wood chips – they can settle earwigs also big fans of aphids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Attract birds in the garden – arrange for these feeders, bird houses, ruining not found in the garden of the nest, the birds eat aphids in large quantities.

Lavender planted in the rose garden, the green scare aphids.

Thyme (savory), seeded next with legumes, to protect them from the black aphids.

The cherry tree trunks Sow nasturtium – it will attract the black aphids, reducing the load on the tree, in addition to combat aphids on nasturtium easier than on a tree.

Do not overuse chemicals unnecessarily – with the pests you destroy their enemies, hover flies, earwigs, ladybugs, lacewings, riders, ground beetles and predatory bugs.

It is important to a balanced feeding of plants – aphids prefer overfed or weak from lack of nutrients the plant. In addition to regular feedings strong healthy plants should be the right choice growing location, sufficient light and water, good air circulation – all this also is the prevention of the pest. It is important to loosen the soil under the plants, but better – mulch.

Ways to combat aphids

Insecticides against aphids

Aphids fairly easily destroyed by insecticides. Insecticides aphid separated into preparations contact, intestinal and systemic action.

contact action drugs penetrate the insect body surface and kill him. An example is the preparation of such formulations: Fufanon (Malathion)

Preparations intestinal action enter the digestive system of insects, causing his poisoning and death.

The most common combination of drugs produce a contact-intestinal action: Akarin, aktellik, Bankole

Systemic medications penetrate into all cells of the plant, including the fruit, and kept it for 2 to 4 weeks, not washed away by rain and irrigation. Systemic medications have the largest waiting time, easy to use, but the most dangerous. You must be careful to use them. The most advanced system drugs: Akhtar, Biotlin, Tanrek.

Folk remedies against aphids

Decoctions and infusions of herbs against aphids

Effectively act decoctions of herbs and crops, e.g. Dryopteris , wormwood , tansy , tobacco dust , yarrow , hot pepper , dandelion , garlic , onion , foliage of tomato , potato haulm , mustard , rhubarb (from black aphids). Wanted 2-3-fold processing at intervals of 7-10 days.

It is suitable infusion garlic or onion : 30 grams of minced garlic (onion) and 4 grams of soap pour liter of water. If pour houseplant liter of warm water, which dissolve 80 grams of sodium chloride, it is possible to get rid of the aphids, and ticks. Spraying and watering should be carried out at least three times with an interval of 10 days.

You can use the infusion of onion peel , tomato leaves . Treatment should be repeated 3 times at intervals of 8-10 days. When heavily infested by aphids small plants can be omitted in this solution, previously covering the ground. It is also possible around the affected aphids plants put for 2-3 days scented pelargonium, and aphids will disappear.

Pestilent insects are opposed to the infusion of cayenne pepper . 100 g of fresh fruits pour water and boiled for at least an hour in a sealed container liter. Then, insist two days, pepper rubbed, and filter the solution. Spray tenfold concentrate is diluted with water, add a tablespoon to soap powder.

Abundant watering with liquid fertilizer nettle can sometimes expel aphids in a few days. Plants rapidly absorb this nutrient, reinforcing mixture and for this reason in a short time become more resistant to pests.

Celandine harvested during flowering (take the whole plant). 300-400 g or 100 g of fresh chopped dry weight necessary to insist in 1 liter of water is boiled for 24-36 hours or 30 minutes. It also helps by Coccidae and thrips.

Taraxacum officinale (300 grams of ground roots of either 400 g of fresh leaf insist 1-2 hours in 10 liters of warm water (not more than 40 degrees), filter and sprayed.

Tagetis (marigold) at the time of flowering (dry raw material bucket is filled 1/2, poured 10 liters of warm water, insist 2 days, filtered and added to 40 g of soap).

Other teas and infusions

100 grams of dried peels of citrus fruits pour 1 liter of warm water and leave for three days in a warm place. Then spray.

Tobacco and tobacco. 40 g of dry raw insist in 1 liter of water to 2 days, filtered and added to another liter of water.

Also, when a plant aphids are sprayed with a solution of tar of soap (10 g per liter of water) or to settle and the filtered broth wood ash prepared as follows: 300 g of the sieved ash is poured boiling water and put on fire for 30 minutes. Topped up with 10 liters of water before use.

Wood ash. 2 ash glass soaked in 10 l. water, add 50 grams. shaving soap.

Manual assembly

If all the plants appeared a few aphids – remove them with a damp cotton swab.

Of course, at first glance, it seems that destroy these “small parasites” can not be looking at moth aphid plant, hands down immediately, but do not despair so early! For example, my grandmother is struggling with aphids only traditional methods and I want to say, they work!

A Geranium by any other name…

 

by OCMGA Master Gardener Vicki Schilleman

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Geranium ‘Brookside Blue’

When you hear ‘geranium’, I’m guessing you picture the beautiful annuals that are so beloved by northern gardeners. While I, too, love those gorgeous full heads of color all summer long, there is another geranium that I love as much: the ‘hardy geranium’.

Hardy geraniums are distant cousins of the tender plants known as geraniums. The irony is that the hardy plants have technical rights to the name (they belong to the genus Geranium), but it is the tender ones that most people think of when they hear “geranium”.

Technically, the familiar houseplants are not geraniums. They belong to the genus Pelargonium. But the confusion is natural. Both the hardy and tender versions belong to the Geraniaceae family, and they both used to be in the genus Geranium. Then the tender ones got split off into Pelargonium, but people kept right on calling them geraniums.

Pelargoniums were brought to Europe from South Africa early in the seventeenth century. They found immediate favor, but it was their scented leaves and not their flowers that caused the sensation. By the time they came to the U.S., more than a century later, Pelargoniums’ large clusters of bright red, orange, or hot pink flowers had taken center stage, a position they still hold; scented-leaved geranium fans are passionate, but a minority.

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My Cranesbill: ‘Bikova’ clustered at the base of a tree peony

Meanwhile, back in the temperate British and American countrysides, numerous species of native Geranium, known to the populace as cranesbills, were finding their way into gardens. The cranesbills do double-duty, offering beautiful, long-lasting leaves as well as loose umbels of flowers in a wide range of pinks, blues, and purples.

You can usually tell these plants apart by general appearance: the leaves of Pelargonium are thicker than those of true Geranium, their flower stems are stiffer, and though individual flowers are smaller, they tend to be clustered more densely. And if you look closely at the individual flowers, you can usually see a tiny spur on the pelargonium flower stalk (geranium flowers don’t have them).

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Cranesbill ‘Bikova’ in bloom

Color helps too: although both kinds might be white, plants in the genus Geranium come in purples, blues, and blue-tinged reds and pinks; those in Pelargonium may be true red, orange-red, pink, or orange, but they do not sing the blues.

Note: Wild geranium, also known as cranesbill,  (Geranium maculatum) is a hardy perennial excellent for naturalizing, or filling in, under bushes or wherever there is dappled shade or part sun. The American native wildflower, with it’s flat, delicate-looking pink-lavender flowers and deeply notched foliage, is very easy to grow, ultimately reaching between 12 and 18 inches.

Plants for Pavers

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Pavers planted in the style of a rock garden

Pavers create lovely walkways through our gardens, but why not make the garden part of your walkway?! There are many plants that will thrive between pavers, sending leaves and flowers through the cracks as they spread their roots under the protective mulch of the stones. Which ones you choose will depend on the size of the spaces between the stones, and on whether you want just a bit of green fuzz or something more like a rock garden.

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Pavers planted with sweet alyssum

In the latter case, you might like to try old-fashioned pinks, Dianthus deltoides. In early summer, this long-lived perennial sends up green wands topped with fragrant flowers in shades of red, pink, and white. But they’re equally valuable for their sturdy tufts of narrow, dark green leaves, which start early in spring and stay good looking for a long time. An alternative is sweet alyssum, an annual that self-sows so reliably that it’s effectively perennial. Alyssum can have a somewhat weedy appearance; the stems are lax and the leaves are pale, but it’s fragrant white, pink, or purple flowers will keep coming all summer as long as you shear it back from time to time.

If you want the low, mat-like look and would like to have fragrance to boot, choose Corsican mint (Mentha requienii), which has tiny, round intensely fragrant leaves, or one of the various creeping thymes (Thymus serphyllum). T.s. ‘Coccineus’ has crimson flowers and dark foliage, which T.s. ‘Albus’ has lighter green leaves and dainty white flowers in early summer.

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My considerably less formal pavers planted with thyme and moneywort

Don’t forget that not all paved places are created equal. Where conditions are hot and dry, the pinks and thymes will thrive, the alyssum will be ok, and the mint will fade away. Should the pavement be in damp shade, on the other hand, the mint will be happy, the heat lovers won’t, and you could also think about using moss. It is a slower grower that will take much longer than plants to fill up and spaces, but if conditions are right for it, the effect can be beautiful.

Slug and Snail Woes

downloadThe first thing to realize is that snails and slugs cannot be vanquished. Pressure from these slimy scourges may abate for a while in a drought, but with the rains they will be back, as inevitable as death, taxes, and telemarketers at dinnertime. But although they will be with you always, populations can be kept to tolerable levels through a variety of controls.

Not counting predators, of which there are mercifully many (wild birds, ducks, geese, chickens, toads, turtles, and snakes among others), control methods include poisons, traps, hand-picking, and barriers.

The poisons are metaldehyde, a chemical that is also toxic to mammals and birds, and iron phosphate, a natural mineral that its marketers claim harms nothing except slugs. The traps — fancy plastic “snail hotels” or unfancy empty tuna fish cans — are filled with an attractant, most commonly beer, and are buried just below ground level. Slugs and snails come to drink, fall in, and drown. Traps can often be effective, but they sometimes attract more pests than they kill, thus compounding rather than solving the problem.Schneckeneier-entfernen_Thinkstock_94071218_6081

Hand-picking is self-decriptive: you wander around at night, when slugs and snails are most active, finding them with a flashlight and plucking them off the plants. Then, to kill them, you either sprinkle them with salt or drop them in a can of soapy water. Hand-picking is time consuming, messy, and in the case of the salt, somewhat grisly.

There are two main barriers. The most commonly recommended one is diatomaceous earth, the powdery remains of prehistoric shellfish. It feels smooth to the touch but is unbearably gritty to slugs and snails, which must exude so much slime to crawl over it, they dehydrate themselves and die. Unfortunately, once it becomes thoroughly wet, they can slide over it on the water layer, so it’s least effective when most needed.

Diatomacious earth is environmentally benign, no danger to fish or friendly insects, and harmless to birds and mammals — assuming they don’t inhale it. Remember to wear a mask if you’re sprinkling out large amounts.

If you have raised beds or other confined garden areas around which to use it, the longest-lasting and most effective barrier is copper, which reacts electrochemically with the beasts’ slime so they will not cross it. Strips of copper at least 2 inches wide around a raised bed will keep lettuce safe in a rainstorm, which is really saying something. Be sure to install the strips in dry weather and to keep checking from time to time for stragglers and newly hatched babies. The pests can’t get in, but they can’t get out either.