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.
The author discusses the benefits and disadvantages of using different mulching materials in organic gardening, with a focus on straw and plastic. Straw is highlighted as an eco-friendly, affordable and effective mulch that protects plants while regulating soil temperature. It’s also useful for planning ahead for the spring planting season. However, small creatures like voles find it attractive. While plastic can heat beds quickly and prevent weeds, it raises soil temperatures, does not allow sufficient rainwater penetration, and can harbor rodents. It’s also non-recyclable and contributes to waste. The author encourages the use of other decomposable materials like compost, coconut husks, dried leaves and grass for mulching.
Some vegetables require pollinators for successful growth, benefiting both plants and bees. Examples of essential pollination-dependent vegetables include cucumbers, peppers, and various berries, along with fruit trees like apple, cherry, pear, and plum. Bees play a crucial role in pollinating a wide range of foods, including apples, blackberries, cucumbers, and strawberries.
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.
Traditional research is mostly focused on chemicals, growth hormones, GMO’s, and an array of company-funded projects but not on companion planting. Few researchers are venturing out and doing innovative work that benefits the small individual gardener or small organic farm. But times are changing, and …
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.