The book “Garden the Organic Way” is now available in softcover and would make a perfect holiday gift or reading material during the offseason gardening months. The book serves as a comprehensive guide to organic gardening, covering all stages from being an absolute beginner to harvesting delicious fruits and vegetables. It also emphasizes soil restoration and sustainable practices. It can help plan upcoming gardens, increase crop production, and enhance overall garden productivity. It’s available on Etsy via the link provided on the website.
Insects and Diseases
Harvesting vegetables at their peak maturity is crucial for optimal taste, texture, and disease or insect resistance. Certain vegetables, like lettuce and mustard greens, become unpalatable if they are left to bolt or overheat. The author also warns about losing crops due to procrastination, as waiting too long can leave plants susceptible to pest infestations. Quick harvesting upon detecting such issues is necessary to prevent total crop loss.
In managing gardens in different locations there are lessons learned about composting and the importance of crop rotation. The advice is to consistently turn compost piles to prevent grub populations, clean up and dispose of infested plants, and practice crop rotation to limit disease. Mild winters allow certain crops, like greens, to grow longer, but also enable disease to stay around and fruit trees to bloom prematurely, potentially causing a lost crop.
Growing broccoli, a nutrient-rich superfood from the cabbage family, requires special care. It thrives in full sun, cooler weather, and well-drained soil with pH 6.0-7.5. Over-fertilizing or neglecting watering habits can hinder growth. Transplant indoors-grown broccoli outdoors once it has true leaves. Conversely, direct seed outdoors for fall harvest. Different varieties mature at different times, thus enabling a stretched harvest season. However, they face threats from pests like cabbageworms, flea beetles, and cutworms, so protective measures are necessary. Some recommend a three-year family rotation to prevent disease buildup.
The article provides a comprehensive guide on growing corn, noting its origin, nutritional value, and various types. It emphasizes the role of appropriate space, fertility, and weather in corn cultivation. It also explains the prevention measures for cross-pollinating different corn varieties and GMO corn. The article offers tips on planting schedules for continuous harvests, fertilization, weeding, and harvesting techniques. It also mentions the traditional three sister planting method.
Lightweight row covers offer several advantages for protecting your crops. The biggest benefit is their effectiveness in controlling insect infestations. By placing the row cover immediately after planting, whether in spring, summer, or fall, you can prevent pests from damaging your crops. Additionally, the extra warmth provided by the fabric promotes faster vegetable development in spring and extends the growing season in the fall. This method is highly effective in controlling insects without the use of any chemicals.
Lady beetles, with about 450 species in the US, are commonly known for their beneficial role in controlling aphids, scales, mites, and other pests. They vary in color and size, ranging from orange, yellow, pink, tan, and white, with black spots, to entirely black, brown, or grey. In contrast, the Mexican bean beetle, resembling ladybugs, is a pale-yellow to copper-brown pest with 16 black spots on its wing covers. It exclusively feeds on bean leaves and pods. The Colorado potato beetle, another look-alike, has ten alternating stripped bands of black and light yellow to tan on its wing covers and is a vegetarian that feeds on potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. The larvae of these insects also have distinct characteristics, with ladybug larvae being black with red, orange, or black stripes or markings, while Mexican bean beetle larvae are bright yellow with short spikes protruding throughout their body, and Colorado potato beetle larvae are salmon-pink with black spots along the side. The eggs of these insects are similar in shape and color, ranging from yellow to orange. Lady beetles lay eggs wherever there is food for the young larva to feed on, while Mexican bean beetles lay their eggs on the plant they are feeding on, and Colorado potato beetles lay their eggs in mass or small clusters on the underside of the leaves. Lady beetles are valuable allies in organic gardening and can be encouraged to stay by providing them with flowers that offer nectar and pollen. Conversely, Mexican bean beetles and Colorado potato beetles are pests that can be controlled through various methods such as handpicking and crop rotation.
Beneficial bugs like the wheel bugs or assassin bug are considered good guys. Beneficial bugs like the wheel bugs or assassin bug are considered good guys. Wheel bugs are true bugs that look prehistoric. The blog describes their appearance at different stages, their flying and eating habits along with the consequence of getting bitten.