Summer is in full bloom and we are enjoying the sunshine and the long warm days. One of our favorite pastimes is taking pleasure in our gardens. Fresh flowers filling the air with delicate scents and vibrant vegetables filling our tables with flavor and nutrition.
Gardening has many rewards, but those rewards only come from dedication and hard work. Just like owning any small business from tow truck Dayton Ohio to local catering, most small time horticulturist view the “work” as labors of love as we transplant and tow dirt and shrubbery from here to there. We are willing to pay the price in exchange for the lovely pleasures.
Ongoing challenges for any home gardener are the insipid weeds or the nebbish crawlees. Weeds and pests love the rich soil that you’ve supplied your lovely forsythia and bibb lettuce and can make a banquet out of your beloved flower beds. Although it’s nice to share, these guys don’t know the meaning of the word and will soon overtake the entire territory. If you are a naturalist and don’t want to use the nursery recommended pesticide, herbicide, fungicide or other noxious chemicals what do you do?
There are so many wonderful, inexpensive remedies that anyone can conjure up at home or get your hands on right out of your pantry. Methods that are effective and simple, honest solutions to employ when reclaiming your spot of paradise. Here are a few ideas that makes yard work less about the problems and more about the peace.
When aphids recently made an appearance on my girlfriend’s newly planted birch saplings, they made themselves right at home. These little sapsucking bugs fly and multiply rapidly – they don’t even need to mate to pump out nymphs that in two weeks time do the exact same thing again and again. It took no time at all before they had infested all the new, more fragile plants in the area of the original shade trees and were heading for total takeover.
This required fast action and my friend took off to the local nursery to find a container of fresh ladybugs. (Not all nurseries sell them, but you can mail order.) Ladybugs love aphids and it’s estimated a hungry ladybug can eat 20 aphids a day. You can buy a carton of about 500 live ladybugs for less than $10 and the going rate is often closer to $5. The bonus is after they have cleaned up the original infestation they’ll stick around and take care of any eggs or hatchlings. They also like to dine on fruitscale, leaf hoppers, mites and grubs. God love em!
Vinegar and Weeds
Once again in an effort to keep your yard as close to Nature as possible and not kill the cat with herbicides from the hardware store, what do you do about weeds? Pulling is an ongoing activity, and easy in container or bed gardens where fussing is half the fun, but what about between pavers or in the cracks of the patio? One of my friends says we should eat them! OK she makes a delicious dandelion salad, but our dinner plates are not where we want to see most weeds end up. The challenges can be met with a couple of different options right out of the pantry.
Pull out the vinegar. Combine 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of gin (No gin? – Use medicinal alcohol) and a teaspoon of dish soap with a quart of water. Give them a good dousing and watch within a few days as they shrivel away. Naturally clean-up is in order, but this combo will get all the way down to the roots. It’s especially effective when exterminating weeds with long taproots, like plantain, dock or the infamous dandelion.
Simple honest solutions are always at hand with a little bit of research. What did we do before all the “modern” solutions, anyway? Nature has a way of working with us, if we do our part to learn Her ways.
If you have an innovative gardening solution, leave a comment below and share it with the rest of us . We always love hearing from our readership. Enjoy your garden!