Friday, August 11, 2006

Calling Dr. Greenthumb

Anytime you plant a garden you will find yourself responding to emergency situations. Sometimes it will be insects eating your leaves, furry raiders eating the vegetables, or even plants gone out of control. There is a solution for everything and asking for help from a knowledgeable soul is the best way to find that solution. We had several emergencies in our garden this year and through research, patience, and the advice of fellow gardeners we were able to avert most problems, or at lessen their destructive possibilities.

One of my favorite places for advice on gardening is Homesteading Today: Gardening and Plant Propagation Forum. There are so many people here who know so much about gardening that it is a great resource. They are all so very helpful and patient in answering even the most basic new gardener questions. The gardens vary in size from small backyard hobby gardens to gardens that take up an acre or more of space.

Early this summer we found our squash plants over run with little yellow and black striped beetles. Turned out they were Striped Cucumber Beetles. Several pesticides are recommended for controlling them but we are growing our vegetables as organically as possible so we had to find another solution. In comes the good folks at Homesteading Today. They recommended a solution of 500ml water, 60 ml vinegar, and a couple of drops of dish soap. Mix and spray the beetles. Sure enough two applications later and our population of beetles is low enough that we are getting plenty of squash for our own uses. After the third application I haven't seen any more beetles.

We have a volunteer pumpkin who was taking over the whole garden. It was suggested we train the vine to climb the fence, and voila!, now we have plenty of room for our other vegetables and the pumpkin. Along with this problem was the need to keep the pumpkin fruit from hitting the ground and either rotting from the excessive rain or breaking off the vine.
The suggestion was to cut strips from an old t-shirt and use it as a sling to hold the pumpkin off the ground while supporting its weight as it grows. As you can see it worked like a charm.

Once you have decided to plant a garden, never overlook the internet as a source of information and knowledge. You can find a huge amount of information on pests, gardening techniques, and storing just by doing a search on Google or Yahoo. But the best advice in the world comes directly from those people who have and do grow gardens every year. You can ask a question and get a direct reply instead of having to wade through thousands of pages of information and they can give you ideas and suggestions that would be hard to find otherwise.


Blast said...

In regards to the beetle pest control. The dishwashing soap is a surfactant that is really effective in controlling pests on your canines. Coats the insects thus not allowing respiration. Very effective if used on a regular basis and if your lucky the dog enjoys a weekly bath.

Dee said...

Thanks for the info Blast. Luckily, living in Canada we haven't got alot of bugs that will infest the doggies. We also use Advantage year round so I'm sure that helps alot.