Gardening – Organic Gardening

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Organic Gardening takes on many forms.

It includes:
· Using compost for mulch and fertilizer.
· Using only plant matter for mulching, this can certainly include straw.
· Using manures for fertilizer in place of chemical fertilizer.
· Learning and applying proper techniques to grow healthy plants and avoid plant disease.
· Acquiring natural insect enemies, such as Ladybugs for aphids and preying mantis, to control insect problems.
· Using natural insecticides and deterrents such as garlic or soap sprays to deter insects. No chemical insecticides or pesticides.
· Using a little extra muscle power to control weeds versus getting out the weed killer.
· A willingness to give up a little potion of your crop to the bugs in order to produce and consume healthier food for you and your family.
· Conserve and recycle. By using natural materials like manure, composted weeds and kitchen scraps we are using organic materials and reducing what goes into the waste stream.

Select vegetable varieties with good disease- and insect resistance and plant more early maturing cultivars ensure insects and diseases have less time to compete.

Companion Planting
Here are some vegetables that do well when they are planted together:
corn-cucumbers and

Rotate veggies in the following sequence:
Root crops after potatoes,
Potatoes after sweet corn,
Sweet corn after a cabbage family member,
Peas after tomatoes,
Tomatoes after beans,
Root crops after cucurbits.

Dill attracts the tomato hornworm, so plant it on the opposite side of the garden from tomatoes.

Sage repels cabbage moths and black flea beetles. Don't count on sage working under heavy pressure from these insects, but it might be worth while to plant a little sage with cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Chives have some repellent properties for aphids.
Marigolds will repel a variety of insects.

Non-organic fertilizer is forbidden under any organic production system, but that does not mean the nutrients the plant needs cannot be supplied from organic sources. Soil testing is suggested to determine what nutrients need to be added to the garden.
(Gardeners note: Too much nitrogen can harm the garden. Know what levels exist before applying more).
Be sure manure sources are well composted to maximize weed seed kill and residual disease carryover.

Keep plants healthy.
Rotate vegetable plants and sites.
Space vegetables further apart to allow more air flow.
Plant to take advantage of the prevailing winds so air flow is increased down the row.
Don't go into the garden when plants are still wet.
Sanitation is important. Remove and destroy all parts of dead plants. They are a source of disease. Do it immediately after they are no longer useful! When thinning, remove thinned plants immediately.
Don't harvest vegetables when plants are wet.
Avoid overhead watering. Drip irrigation can efficiently deliver water and keep foliage dry.
Aerate the soil.
Leave adequate space between plants and rows.

Organic Insect Control
Rotations are the first and best way to preventi insect problems. The next best option is hand removal of old plant residue if working in a small garden. Organic growers tend to use organic insecticides as a last resort. Note: Check with your certifier to see if they are acceptable.
Sabadilla is certified acceptable under OCIA as a restricted use organic product, which means it is to be used only if no other alternatives are feasible.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an acceptable product but cannot contain petroleum distillates in the formulation, according to OCIA.
Insecticidal soaps (not household) can control a wide range of plant destructive insects, especially aphids.

CABBAGE WORMS - For control use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Read and follow label directions. Hand picking is also an alternative.
COLORADO POTATO BEETLES - Hand pick insects or use an application of Bt.
Bt should be applied when first instar larvae are present in the field. Bt takes time to work and is best on larvae control.
CUCUMBER BEETLES - Rotation ... Rotation ... Rotation!! Rotate the garden plants and sites.
FLEA BEETLES will most likely be one of the most difficult insects to control. Early maturing varieties may help lessen the time plants have to tolerate them. Properly acclimated (hardened) transplants are not as attractive to flea beetles as emerging seedlings.
APHIDS can be controlled by high populations of lacewings and lady bugs. Surrounding the vegetable production area with a mix of wildflowers helps maintain a population of predatory insects.

Organic Pest Control Aids
Healthy plants well-suited to the conditions they are growing in are usually able to survive pest infestations. But when you need to take direct action to protect your garden, you can use these pest control products (endorsed by the editors of Organic Gardening and acceptable for "certified organic" food production). They will not harm people, pets or wildlife. Still, be sure to carefully follow the application instructions whenever you use them.

Insecticidal soap Kills aphids, lace bugs, leafhoppers, mealy bugs, spider mites and other soft-bodied pests that it strikes directly.
Beetle buster Bacillus thuringiensis san diego stops Colorado potato, elm leaf and other beetles from feeding.
Caterpillar control Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki is a naturally occurring bacteria that stops cabbageworms, gypsy moth larvae, tomato hornworms and other caterpillars from eating.
Horticultural oil Smother scale and the eggs of many tree and shrub pests by spraying them with light petroleum-free oil. New formulations can be used during the growing season as well as in winter.
Row covers Cover vulnerable plants with light fabric that allows light and water to pass through but not pests.
Mosquito Dunks Eliminate mosquitoes from standing water without harming fish or wildlife.
Red sphere Traps Protect fruit trees from apple maggot flies with these apple-shaped sticky traps.
Yellow sticky traps Capture whiteflies, aphids, gnats and other pests indoors.
Diatomaceous earth An easy-to-spread powder (made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic plants) creates a barrier that cannot be safely crossed by slugs, ants, fleas and many other soft-bodied insects.
Green lacewings and parasitic wasps Releasing these beneficial insects into your garden can help control aphids, mealy bugs, thrips and other garden pests. Be sure to create hospitable conditions in your garden before you release them, so they stay on the job for a while.
Beneficial nematodes Microscopic worms you pour onto your lawn prey on Japanese beetle, masked chafer and other grubs.
Water wand Knock pests off plants with a strong stream of water with the Jet-All Water Wand.
Organic Tip: Place fruits like pumpkin and squash on a bed of sand.
Snails and slugs do not like sand and will not cross over it and you so not need to use slug and snail poisons.

Make your own nature-friendly sprays...

Insecticide Garlic Spray:
1 Garlic Bulb; 2 Cups Water; 1 Gallon Water
1. Take an entire garlic bulb and two cups of water and blend in blender.
2. Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
4. Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
5. Mix liquid with one gallon of water.
6 Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.

Insecticide Soap Spray:
Liquid Dish Detergent
1. Put one tablespoon of dish detergent per gallon into a sprayer.
2. Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.
Re-apply after rain or one to two weeks.

Hot Pepper Spray:
This can be used to repel, deer, rabbits and other pests from your flowers and some vegetables. Note, use caution with vegetables as a peppery taste may remain on the fruit.
6 Hot Peppers, the hotter the better; 2 Cups Water; 1 quart Water;
1. Put hot peppers and two cups of water into a blender.
2. Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
3. Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
4. Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
5. Add liquid into a one quart container. Fill container to top with water.
Apply liberally to plants. Re-apply every week to two weeks or after a rain.

Fungicide/ Powdery Mildew Spray:
1Gallon Water; 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda; 1 Tablespoon Bleach; 1 Teaspoon Dishwashing Liquid
1. Snip and remove leaves that are worst affected.
2. Mix ingredients with water.
3. Spray remaining leaves top and undersides.
4. Apply a heavier dose on leaves that have signs of infection and only lightly on unaffected leaves as bleach can actually harm and discolour the leaves.
Extremely important: Do not use too much bleach! Use no more than 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. We hesitate to recommend using bleach as it can harm your plants if too much is applied. Use it at your own risk and try to avoid spraying it on healthy leaves.

contributed by Piet Vermeulen

Insecticide – Add 500 grams of rhubarb leaves to a few litres of boiling water and boil for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and strain the liquid into a container. Add soap flakes - not laundry type - and spray on leaves to kill off all kinds of bugs like aphids and spider mites. You can also use dish detergent instead of soap flakes.
Caution: Rhubarb leaves contains oxalic acid and is poisonous if taken orally. It causes the heart to stop and it can be fatal.

Garlic and soap insecticide - Pulverize in blender: a couple of whole cayenne peppers, a large onion and a whole bulb of garlic and add a little water. Cover this mash with a 4 1/2 litres of water. Leave for 24 hours and strain. Spray daily on roses, azaleas, and vegetables to kill an infestation of bugs. Bury left overs among the plants where insects occur.

All-purpose weed killer - Boil a litre of water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Pour directly on weeds on sidewalks, driveways, etc. while still hot.

Take me to Organic Food...


Winter Garden Care: To Spray or Not to Spray? / Using Winter Annuals Effectively / Guidelines to Planting Seedlings / Februaury in the Kitchen Garden / Start a Kitchen Garden / Container Recipes / Garden Plants Perfect for Attracting Beneficial Insect Parasites and Predators / The Living World of Conifers / Preparing Roses for Spring / Pruning is Rewarding / Spring Seed Sowing / Spiders and Pesticides / Cold Blooded Wildlife: The Gift of Nature / Predatory Ladybirds: Nature's Solution to Aphid Control / Organic Plant Nutrition / Organics and Chemicals / Irrigation Practice in Landscaping - An Alternative View / Drip Irrigation in Landscaping

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