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Organic Pest Control Recipes Posted on 17 Jun 10:52 , 0 comments

WHY GO ORGANIC?

 

In 2007 it was estimated that there are over 3 billion pounds of poisons and insecticides manufactured in the United State each year
for home and garden use.

Pesticide use in agriculture is down slightly, from 948 million pounds in 2000 to 877 million pounds in 2007. But that's only about 1% per year, and still close to a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally introduced into the environment and our food supply each year.

These are a major threat to groundwater in every state and the problem keeps growing! It's also a major health concern.

 

More than 3.4 million people suffer from medically related side effects from the use of pesticides. Some of the immediate side effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches, low energy and loss of memory. Tests and research has proven that many forms of cancer are caused by 65% of all the pesticides.  

 

The herbicide glyphosate has more than doubled in use, from 85-90 million pounds in 2001 to 180-185 million pounds in 2007. According to a report from the Organic Center, this increase is likely a reflection of the rising popularity of Monsanto's RoundUp Ready genetically modified cr8ops. (Glyphosate is the active ingredient of RoundUp.)

 

 

Today we have a few
DIY Recipes for Organic Pest Control

**Please remember that some (not all) organic sprays can harm beneficial insects. Just be cautious**

Organic Insecticidal Soap Spray

Option 1:
Add 1 tablespoon organic liquid castile soap
*I prefer Dr. Bronner's* to a spray bottle.  Fill with water and use on your garden every other day or as needed on "bad bugs"

Option 2:

Chop, grind, or liquefy one garlic bulb and one small onion.  

Add 1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and mix with 1 quart of water.  

Steep 1 hour, strain through cheesecloth, then add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap (I use Organic Dr. Bronner's) to the strained liquid; mix well.  

Spray your plants thoroughly, including leaf undersides.  

Store the mixture for up to 1 week in a labeled, covered container in the refrigerator.  

 

As we have said in previous articles:

Be careful of where and how you use these recipes.  Even organic pest control options can work on "good bugs" as well as "bad bugs."

  

Spray to Control Nematodes

 
Nematodes are tiny parasitic worms that live in your soil. If you've ever grown tomatoes and found that the leaves were beginning to yellow and fall off the plant, then you have a nematode problem. While some nematodes are actually good for your garden, most are not. This mixture can also be used to spray on your plants to control grasshoppers and caterpillars.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons of organic molasses

4 cups of water

 

Instructions
Mix the molasses and water in a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Use warm water to help the molasses dissolve better.

Spray the "Molasses Tea" on your soil around your plants every couple of days to keep the nematodes away.  

  

  

NEEM Oil Spray

 

This recipe is for edible vegetables and fruit, but be sure to wash all produce before cooking/eating (you can also use this on non-edibles too).

1/2 an ounce of organic neem oil  

1 teaspoon of natural liquid soap (preferably organic like Dr. Bronners etc).

2 quarts of warm water

Spray bottle

Mix all ingredients in a jug, then transfer to the spray bottle. This homemade pesticide works best when used fresh, so use within 24 hour of mixing it up.


We've added Organic Neem Oil at
Mary's Heirloom Seeds to help you grow a healthy, organic garden!


 

About Neem Oil
A magnificent oil with numerous benefits for both therapeutic and medicinal use. Among other properties, this oil is anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. Used widely in creams, dental products, hair care products, and in gardens for natural pest control. Can be applied directly to the skin or included within skin care preparations that are designed specifically to treat problematic skin conditions. Our Neem oil is cold pressed from whole Neem tree nuts.
The oil has a half life of three to 22 days in soil but only 45 minutes to four days in water. It is nearly non-toxic to birds, fish, bees and wildlife, and studies have shown no cancer or other disease causing results from its use. This makes neem oil very safe to use if applied properly.
Neem oil fungicide is useful against fungi, mildews and rusts when applied in a 1 percent solution.
Apply neem oil only in indirect light or in the evening to avoid the product burning foliage and allow the preparation to seep into the plant. Also, do not use neem oil in extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold. Avoid application to plants that are stressed due to drought or over watering.

There has been concern about the use of neem oil and bees. Most studies specify that if neem oil is used inappropriately, and in massive quantities, it can cause harm to small hives, but has no effect on medium to large hives. Additionally, since neem oil insecticide does not target bugs that do not chew on leaves, most beneficial insects, like butterflies and ladybugs, are considered safe.


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Companion Planting Posted on 15 Jun 19:38 , 6 comments

Companion planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another. 

Companion planting exists to benefit certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the need to use chemicals, and in some cases came mean a higher crop yield

Generally, companion planting is thought of as a small-scale gardening practice, but it can be applied on larger-scale operations. It has been proven that by having a beneficial crop in a nearby field that attracts certain insects away from a neighboring field that has the main crop can prove very beneficial. This action is called trap cropping.
COMPANION PLANTING

Beans: All bean enrich the soil with nitrogen fixed form the air, improving the conditions for whatever crop you plant after the beans are finished. In general they are good company for carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, potatoes, brassicas, beets, radish, strawberry and cucumbers. Beans are great for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grain plants because the nitrogren used up by the corn and grains are replaced at the end of the season when the bean plants die back. Summer savory deters bean beetles and improves growth and flavor. Keep beans away from the alliums (onions).
What is a Brassica?

Members of brassica commonly used for food include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Turnips


Beets: Good for adding minerals to the soil. The leaves are composed of 25% magnesium making them a valuable addition to the compost pile if you don't care to eat them. Beets are also beneficial to beans with the exception of runner beans. Runner or pole beans and beets stunt each other's growth. Companions for beets are lettuce, onions and brassicas. Beets and kohlrabi grow perfectly together. Beets are helped by garlic and mints. Garlic improves growth and flavor. Rather than planting invasive mints around beets use your mint clippings as a mulch. 

Broccoli: Companions for broccoli are: Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato. Celery, onions and potatoes improve broccolis' flavor when planted near it. Broccoli loves plenty of calcium. Pairing it with plants that need little calcium is a good combination such as nasturtiums and beets. Put the nasturtiums right under the broccoli plants. Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas. Foes: Grapes, strawberries, mustards and rue.

Cabbage: Celery, dill, onions and potatoes are good companion plants. Celery improves growth and health. Clover interplanted with cabbage has been shown to reduce the native cabbage aphid and cabbageworm populations by interfering with the colonization of the pests and increasing the number of predatory ground beetles. Plant Chamomile with cabbage as it Improves growth and flavor. Cabbage does not get along with strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, rue, grapes, lettuce and pole beans.

Carrots: Their pals are leaf lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Plant dill and parsnips away from carrots. Flax produces an oil that may protect root vegetables like carrots from some pests. One drawback with tomatoes and carrots: tomato plants can stunt the growth of your carrots but the carrots will still be of good flavor.  
Cauliflower:  Plant with Peas, beans, celery and oregano  (Peas and beans help fix nitrogen to supply to cauliflowers)
Avoid planting Cauliflower with Nasturtium, potato, strawberry and tomato.

Chards: Companions include Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.

CHIVES:  Adding chive to your garden where you grow parsley, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, kohlrabi, mustard, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, roses, squash, strawberries or tomatoes will help those plants. Companion planting chive with carrots will improve both the growth and flavor of your carrots. Grapes benefit from chive’s ability to repel aphids.

Beets and carrots are good companion plants for chives. When chives are planted near carrots that have been allowed to bloom, it confuses both onion and carrot flies. Wild carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace will provide a lovely addition to your garden and provide the same benefits.


Corn: Amaranth, beans, cucumber, white geranium, lamb's quarters, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower. A classic example is to grow climbing beans up corn while inter-planting pumpkins. The corn provides a natural trellis for the beans, pumpkins smother the weeds and helps corn roots retain moisture. Corn is a heavy feeder and the beans fix nitrogen from air into the soil however the beans do not feed the corn while it is growing. When the bean plants die back they return nitrogen to the soil that was used up by the corn. A win-win situation. Another interesting helper for corn is the weed Pig's Thistle which raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them. Keep corn away from celery and tomato plants by at least 20 feet.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are great to plant with corn and beans. The three plants like the same conditions: warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture. Let the cucumbers grow up and over your corn plants. Cukes also do well with peas, beets, radishes and carrots. Radishes are a good deterrent against cucumber beetles. Dill planted with cucumbers helps by attracting beneficial predators. Nasturtium improves growth and flavor. Keep sage, potatoes and rue away from cucumbers.

Eggplant: Plant with amaranth, beans, peas, spinach, tarragon, thyme and marigold. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and does well with peppers as they like the same growing conditions.

Leeks: Use leeks near apple trees, carrots, celery and onions which will improve their growth. Leeks also repel carrot flies. Avoid planting near legumes.

Lettuce: Does well with beets, broccoli, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, onion, radish and strawberries. It grows happily in the shade under young sunflowers. Dill and lettuce are a perfect pair. Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.

Melon: Companions are Corn, pumpkin, radish and squash. Other suggested helpers for melons are as follows: Marigold deters beetles, nasturtium  deters bugs and beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. 

Onion: Planting chamomile and summer savory with onions improves their flavor. Other companions are  carrot, leek, beets, kohlrabi, strawberries, brassicas, dill, lettuce and tomatoes. Intercropping onions and leeks with your carrots confuses the carrot and onion flies! Onions planted with strawberries help the berries fight disease. Keep onions away from peas and asparagus.

Peas:  Plant with Beans, carrot, corn, cucumber, radish, turnips, SAGE, spinach, mint and potatoes.  Avoid planting with Onions and garlic. 

Peppers, Bell (Sweet Peppers): Plant peppers near tomatoes, parsley, basil, geraniums, marjoram, lovage, petunia and carrots. Onions make an excellent companion plant for peppers. They do quite well with okra as it shelters them and protects the brittle stems from wind. Don't plant them near fennel or kohlrabi. They should also not be grown near apricot trees because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree. Peppers can double as ornamentals, so tuck some into flowerbeds and borders. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn't fully develop until maturity.

Peppers, Hot: Chili peppers have root exudates that prevent root rot and other Fusarium diseases. Plant anywhere you have these problems. While you should always plant chili peppers close together, providing shelter from the sun with other plants will help keep them from drying out and provide more humidity. Tomato plants, green peppers, and okra are good protection for them. Teas made from hot peppers can be useful as insect sprays. Hot peppers like to be grouped with cucumbers, eggplant, escarole, tomato, okra, Swiss chard and squash. Herbs to plant near them include: basils, oregano, parsley and rosemary. Never put them next to any beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or fennel.

Pumpkin: Friends of pumpkin include corn, melon and squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles . Oregano provides general pest protection. Again dill may help repel those frustrating squash bugs. See squash entry for more tips.

Radish: Companions for radishes are beet, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumber, lettuce, melons, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and members of the squash family. Radishes may protect squash from squash borers. Anything that will help keep them away is worth a try. Radishes are a deterrent against cucumber beetles and rust flies. Chervil and nasturtium improve radish growth and flavor. Planting them around corn and letting them go to seed will also help fight corn borers. Chinese Daikon and Snow Belle radishes are favorites of flea beetles. Plant these at 6 to 12 inch intervals amongst broccoli. In one trial, this measurably reduced damage to broccoli. Radishes will lure leafminers away from spinach. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves does not stop the radish roots from growing, a win-win situation. Keep radishes away from hyssop plants, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips. Radishes are a good indicator of calcium levels in the soil. If your radish grows and only produces a stringy root you need calcium.

Spinach: Plant with peas and beans as they provide natural shade for the spinach. Gets along with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean. Plant spinach with squash. It's a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt. 

Squash: Companions: Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles.
Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines. Generously scatter the dill leaves on your squash plants. Keep squash away from potatoes.
Tomatoes: Friends of tomatoes are many and include: asparagus, basil, bean, carrots, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pea, pepper, marigold, pot marigold and sow thistle. One drawback with tomatoes and carrots: tomato plants can stunt the growth of your carrots but the carrots will still be of good flavor. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor.
  Dill, until mature, improves growth and health, mature dill stunts tomato growth. Enemies: corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight contaminating each other. Keep apricot, dill, fennel, cabbage and cauliflower away from them. Don't plant them under walnut trees as they will get walnut wilt: a disease that attacks tomatoes growing underneath these trees.

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

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Using Diatomaceous Earth for Organic Pest Control Posted on 15 Jun 08:06 , 0 comments

Last year I offered a workshop for 10 Ways to Avoid Chemicals in Your Garden.   
One of my absolute favorite options for non-toxic pest control 
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE).  It is so safe you can eat it.  Seriously!

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, organic garden pest control and household insect killer. Diatomaceous Earth kills by physical action, not chemical. It is safe for pets and people. The tiny diatoms scratch off the insect's waxy coating, and dehydrate it. DE kills spiders, roaches, silverfish, ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, bedbugs, lice, mites, earwigs, flies, fleas, ticks, box elder bugs, crabs(std), pubic and hair lice, scorpions, crickets and harmful insects. Diatomaceous Earth is used in the home, yard, animal housing, etc. Sprinkle a 2 inch wide border around the foundation of your house to stop insects from entering. 

Diatomaceous Earth kills aphids, white flies, beetles, loopers, mites, snails, slugs, leaf hoppers, and harmful pests. Use Diatomaceous Earth inside your home, greenhouse or outdoors on fruits, vegetables, grains and grass. Apply Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth up to and including day of harvest.

Click Here to see Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in our Store

Are you ready for another amazing revelation?
Bugs can not become immune because they are killed by physical action, not chemical.  

Tell those garden pests to EAT DIRT!
 
What is Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?  Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. 
How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to your Veggie Garden:
-Fill a shaker container with diatomaceous earth. Avoid creating dust by using a spoon to transfer the powder to the container. Although diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, you should not breathe the fine dust. Consider wearing a disposable face mask if you will be working with large quantities of the powder or if you have respiratory issues.
-Shake the powder onto the vegetable plants. The best time to do this is in early morning or late evening, when the plants are wet with dew. The moisture helps the dust to adhere to the plant. Diatomaceous earth won’t harm insects when it is wet, but it will be effective once it dries. Shake the powder on the vegetables as well as the leaves; the powder can be easily washed off the vegetables prior to consumption. 
-Apply the powder to the garden bed and to the area surrounding the garden. This will keep many crawling insects from even reaching the vegetable plants.
-Pour a thick ring of diatomaceous earth around the base of plants to deter snails, slugs and squash bugs.

**ONLY use FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth**
Avoid brands that list "Other" ingredients.  The stuff for pools is TOXIC!
DO NOT USE ON FLOWERS.  Do not use on flowering plants

 And there you have it! Non-Toxic and Natural Pest Control with Diatomaceous Earth from Mary's Heirloom Seeds.


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