Organic Garden Additives
Instead of using store-bought chemicals, organic gardeners take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Effective versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients already close at hand and a basic kitchen blender.
Liquefy two bulbs of garlic and 1-1/2 cups of water to create concentrated garlic tea, a good all-purpose insecticide that makes crops undesirable to pests. Strain any solids out of the mixture and add enough water to make a gallon. Use this concentrate right away, or freeze in 1/4-cup muffin tins to use later.
Garlic tea can be used in conjunction with seaweed fertilizer. Mix 4 Tbsp. seaweed concentrate, 1 Tbsp. vinegar and 1 frozen garlic-tea cube in a gallon sprayer. This can be applied weekly in spring to everything in the garden, then once every two to three weeks in the summer.
Habanero peppers make a good contact insecticide when blended with water. It too can be frozen in concentrate form. It can be added to the seaweed-garlic mixture but should be applied only where an active pest problem is observed.
To cure black spot, mildew or brown patch, make an effective fungicide from 4 Tbsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. gentle soap and 1 gallon water. Use sparingly and keep it off the soil, since this blend can affect soil pH.
Other kitchen items can help tomato plants. Aluminum foil wrapped around plant stems and kept above grade at planting deters cutworms. Broken eggshells can also be planted with tomato plants; the calcium will help prevent blossom end rot.
Learn about some of the unusual but effective practices of organic gardening.
Organic Plant Health Care
Learn how to add some compost and compost tea to organic plants instead of fertilizer.
Identifying and Dealing with Problem Insects
Gardeners often play detective when figuring out what's chewing holes or causing yellow or brown spots on favorite plants. Here are some clues to help solve common garden mysteries, as well as tips for dealing with pests.
Integrated Pest Management
An integrated pest management program employs the least environmentally toxic pest controls first before any chemical is used. Learn how to incorporate an IPM program in your garden.
Bugs, Grubs and Gophers
Follow this advice on the identification, treatment and prevention of the top three lawn pests.
Choosing the Right Organic Plants
Choosing the right plants for the area will make an organic garden much more productive.
How to Determine Your Gardening Zone
The newly revised USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help pinpoint your gardening zone to within a half-mile of your home.
Preparing Soil for a Garden
Learn how important it is to thoroughly prepare soil for the garden.
Shade Gardening Tips
Tips on how to cultivate a shade garden.
Learn key basics about fertilizer that will help you select the right type based on your soil composition and growing conditions.
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