Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home sprays and remedies

I have a few friends in my BSF class that have recently started gardens or plan to, and ask me questions all the time! It thrills me! I love it when I can inspire someone to grow their own vegetables! I always point them to my blog. Yesterday the conversation was about bugs and fertilizers.  So, today I think I will share a few of the organic things I do in the garden to keep the bugs and critters away and make my garden grow, grow, grow!

Last year something that worked well for me was a hot pepper spray. Since I had an abundance of habanero's and serrano's from 2 years ago I have plenty to make hot pepper spray. Last year I only used the peppers, water, a little veg oil and a little Peppermint pure soap. 

It worked very well at keeping the flea beetles  from destroying my potatoes and helped with the bean  beetles as well.
This year I added a bulb of garlic to the mix. I pureed the peppers, garlic and a little water. Then I strained it, added it to the bottle and added a few drops of oil and soap. I sprayed EVERYTHING. I am hoping it will also deter the bunnies or whatever is eating my vegetables and fruits. I saved the pulp and added more water to let it soak for another bottle for later...peppers do get hotter after marinading for a bit!
Any kind of fencing or bird netting helps keep some of the critters out too! I plan to put bird net over my corn when I start it to keep the birds, deer and bunnies out!
From time to time I also use some diatamceous earth sprinkled around the garden for those little slugs and a few other pests. And of course squishing or a bucket of soapy water works too! Watch out for those eggs on the underside of leaves, especially squash! Destroy them!
Another good thing to use is BT (AKA thuricide, dipel, and a few other brand names). This is a live microorganism good for killing worms, tomato worms, plant eating caterpillars, mosquito larvae, and more. Still, use sparingly, some people can have allergic reactions to it.
I also try to spread things out around the garden like onions and carrots to keep soil pests from hopping from one veg to the next, destroying all of them.

Now, as for fertilizers...
  •  I usually start off with a good amount of composted manure worked into the soil! Great sources for this are farms or try the zoo! Don't get the cheap stuff at the store, it is cheap!
  • Throughout the season I also use a few things like Fish Emulsion, though if you are a fisher, throw all those heads and guts in a hole in the garden and it works wonders as well! My grandparents do this for their garden, they fish a lot! 
  • Some others might be bone or blood meal. I have also found that blood meal sprinkled around the garden deters the bunnies as well. Has to be reapplied after a rain. 
  • One of my other favorites is epsom salt spray (1 or 2 tbs in a bottle of water) on the tomato and pepper plants as they are blossoming. This seems to make a good difference in production and end rot, in my opinion.
  • You can also spread your grass clippings around your garden to let decompose into the soil. Good mulch and compost.
  • I have a pitiful compost pile, but many do quite well with a compost bin for their garden!  Or simply bury your scraps in the garden from time to time.

If you have any helpful organic tips, my friends and I would certainly love to hear them!
 I also recommend my Kentucky gardening friends to print or pick up at the local cooperative extension this Home Vegetable Gardening Guide. It has a lot of useful local information and planting charts!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chard Noodles

I had an abundance of Chard yesterday that needed a purpose! I had made spinach pasta noodles before for a recipe and I thought why not try chard!

I cooked the chard slightly, then pureed it. Mixed it together with about 5 or 6 eggs and a lot of flour! Rolled it out across the counter as thin as I could get it. Wish I had a pasta press!

Then roll it and slice it. It took me forever to slice these, the roll I had was about 2 feet long, I sliced about 1/4 inch slices and then unrolled them and lay them out on sheet pans. Again, wish I had a pasta press! I put them in the freezer and today I will vacuum package them.

I used the scrappy edges of the roll for dinner last night. My daughter LOVED them! Her twin doesn't care much for any pasta so I wasn't surprised at his response. But the youngest seemed to like them just fine too. They look like green beans here don't they? ;)
So, something new! I think we will be hooked up on pasta for a while!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Long overdue update

I guess an update is long overdue! I have been slacking big time on the blog and a bit on the garden too. It is now going pretty well, but a lot of it is behind, like the tomatoes. I did not do any seedlings inside this year. I planted several seeds directly and bought a few things at the store. I planted some tomatoes seeds directly so I will probably be salivating over everyone else's tomatoes while I am still waiting for mine! But I am sure I will get plenty! I did buy a Chocolate Cherry tomato plant and an Early girl. Gotta get a few early ones so I don't die of jealousy while you all are harvesting pots of tomatoes!

I did not photo two boxes because they are all covered up trying to protect them from the critters. Can't see much anyway!
beans are closest, with one little sunflower that my daughter planted in her impatient excitement before I could tell her where I wanted her to plant them. Behind that is a few pepper plants and chard that made it through the winter. Some other chard did too, but it bolted last week. In the far smaller/deeper box is sweet potatoes and a couple of cucumber plants.

The raspberries are going crazy, and I can't wait for them! The 8X3ft box is just full!

Here I have a lot of garlic, potatoes, carrots, and a few tiny and very late tomato plants.  The potatoes were started around Easter and most are about a foot tall now if you can see them behind the garlic. The garlic is getting scapes already! With the super mild winter they grew big and fast, at least on top, I hope they are the same underneath!

A view from the window. I can't wait for it to be overflowing. It won't be long. I am having to fight off critters. Maybe bunnies or deer. So far it has eaten a small 2yr old blueberry bush, strawberry plants, squash plants, a tomato plant, some sweet potato plants, beans, and that is what I know of! Been trying to cover or fence things off. Chased a bunny off a few times. Hopefully we will get it under control. Gonna be sure to cover the corn right away after I get it planted! Which will be very soon!

Oh I love my lilies! They are multiplying every year! And I love it! They are so beautiful! Wish they would bloom all summer! And, since the big maple tree is gone in the front, I think I will transplant a few up front and let them multiply up their too! I started with maybe 5 about 5 years ago!
This is on the side of the house. The lilies are doing well there too. They bloomed first here.

And the Herb pot is doing very well. 3 Thyme plants, a Rosemary squished in the middle front and an Oregano plant squished in there too. The thyme just goes crazy! I should cut down to one, I will never use this much thyme! And it was cut back recently! Glad it is in a pot! (If any friends want one, just tell me!)

I hope everyone is having great success with your gardens so far! Can't wait to see the beautiful summer harvests!