Nothing is healthier and more satisfying for your body than fresh-picked veggies from your own garden. Growing your own vegetables is not only healthy for your body but great therapy for your mind. I don’t know about you, but every time I harvest a fresh vegetable that I grew myself, I feel mentally and physically great!
Here are 5 tips that you may not know to get the most out of your summer vegetable garden:
You only need these vegetables for one season, so fertilize & push the heck out of them. What have you got to lose? Fertilize every two weeks with granular, slow-release food, such as Espoma’s Garden Tone but don’t stop there! Use Van Wilgen’s Organic Fish & Seaweed every two weeks too! Fish & Seaweed fertilizer used on your veggies in the hot summer is the best. They drink it up without burning AND it makes your veggies taste better!
Add a little Garden Lime to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash. All of these veggies are prone to Blossom End Rot due to a lack of calcium. Lime gives them the added calcium they need to stop the rot! If it’s too late and your poor tomatoes are already showing signs of rot, use Bonide’s Rot Stop as your quick fix. It’ll work, I promise!
Keep soil as evenly damp as possible but don’t water overhead. Contrary to popular belief, your veggies do not like to have their foliage watered. Always water slowly and at the base of plants. Don’t let the soil dry out too much between waterings and no puddles! Overhead watering leads to many more disease problems, so keep it low.
4. DISEASE CONTROL:
Start spraying disease-prone plants before the disease actually shows up. Use organic Fungicides such as Copper by Bonide. Fungicides used weekly two to three weeks before the disease usually shows up could stop it altogether. By being proactive, you can stop Septoria Leaf Spot on tomatoes & Powdery Mildew on cucumbers and squash before it even starts. This means less spraying in the long run and much healthier veggies all summer.
5. INSECT CONTROL:
If you’re looking to go organic, there are many choices, but one organic product may not kill them all. To get all types of veggie garden bugs, you have to sometimes mix it up or be sure to pick the best active ingredient. Neem oil is best for sucking types of insects such as aphids and leafhoppers. Pyrethrins are best on leaf chewing beetles. Insecticidal Soap kills Plant Bugs such as Squash Bugs. Spinosad, such as Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, is best at controlling leaf-eating caterpillars. When in doubt, just pay us a visit and we’d be happy to recommend a product that will work best for your needs. You can’t go wrong!
Follow these steps now, and you’ll be enjoying delicious, fresh veggies in no time!
Want to attract butterflies to your yard? In addition to nectar-rich plants, such as butterfly bush, here are some simple “extras” that you can include to ensure butterflies pay you a visit year after year:
Sun: When a beautiful butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it’s cold. It needs the sun to warm it up to pump blood into its veins and fly. Cut back branches of overhanging trees and shrubs so you have ample sunshine.
Basking: Butterflies love to bask in the sun. Provide them with a big, flat rock to sunbathe in your garden. Bring a cup of coffee outside and look to see butterflies basking in the cooler morning hours.
Butterfly House: A butterfly house or hibernation box is a wonderful garden accessory for your butterfly haven. Place it several feet above the ground in a lightly shaded area. Butterflies will seek refuge in the narrow openings of the house where predators can’t enter. A butterfly house also provides protection from wind and rain in summer storms. To be a good backyard host, place your butterfly house near nectar-rich plants.
Puddling: Male butterflies love to hang out by the water cooler and discuss their female counterparts—the only difference is their water cooler is usually a mud puddle! Males love mud puddles on a sunny day (especially after a good rain) and drink the salt and minerals from the soil, which they later pass to females during mating. Salts and minerals greatly improve the health of a butterfly egg, ensuring generations to come. You can make your own at home, by adding sand and water to a saucer and placing it in your garden; you can even add a pinch of salt.
Butterfly Attractant: Butterflies are pollinators that only drink liquids, and they love nectar. Place a homemade butterfly feeder in your garden and butterflies will be well-fed in their new haven. Butterflies love rotted fruit with a little fruit juice poured over to keep it from drying out—simply place it in a saucer and suspend in a shadier spot. We hope these extras help you attract more butterflies to your backyard and give you more opportunities for butterfly watching and picture taking!
Now is the time of year where those pesky insects are showing up to ruin all your hard work in the garden. This year both aphids and scale are especially tenacious. But not to worry! With the right product, you can stop unwanted bugs in their tracks!
Aphids, aphids everywhere! From black to orange to green to gray. Aphids are very commonly seen feeding on the new, beautiful growth of many plants, from climbing honeysuckle to roses to boxwood and peppers. They don’t discriminate and cause twisted-looking leaves, buds that don’t open, and plants that look generally unhappy. The good news is that with the right products they are easy to eliminate:
-Bayer Rose & Flower Insect Killer
-Eight by BonideOrganic
-All Seasons Horticultural Oil by Bonide
-Neem by Bonide
-End All by Safer
Scale is a sneaky, almost undetectable insect unless you know what to look for. They can be found on indoor and outdoor plants such as Citrus, Holly, Pachysandra, and more. It is usually flat in appearance and sometimes cottony and white. They hide out typically on the underside of leaves making discovery even more difficult until they reveal themselves by noticeable leaf drop, sticky leaves or floors, and black Sooty Mold.
Scale is best eliminated by either:
-All Seasons Horticultural Oil by Bonide or
Just remember, it’s important to spray the top sides of the leaves, the undersides of the leaves, and stems. Thoroughly coat all parts of the plant. Allow one week and reapply. Then one week after that you can apply a third time for good measure!