For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   May 24

Your Questions About Gardening

Mary asks…

………….Garden tips?

Just got done planting our garden any one have any great tips for bugs, watering etc. The best one I heard this year was if ants are bothering your strawberry plants sprinkle baby powder around them.

GardenersCardiff answers:

1) To get rid of diggers such as cats and squirrels: Some people have told me that by spraying a 50/50 solution of lemon juice and water on the soil repels cats. Since the lemon juice is acid you don’t want to spray it on your plants. What has worked for me is to lay down chicken wire on any bare soil in the beds and then to cover it with some mulch, just enough to hide it. Cats and squirrels can’t dig so they will go elsewhere.

2) To get rid of scale insects and sooty mold, put liquid Ivory soap in a hose end sprayer and spray affected leaves and stems with the water and soap mixture. Leave on for 15 minutes or so, then rinse with a clear water spray. This removes the protective waxy coating from the insects so they die from dehydration, and removes both the mold and the sugar water excreted by aphids on which the mold grows.

3) To get rid of spider mites, make one of the following homemade sprays:

Glue spray: Take 2 quarts of water, mix in 4 ounces of glue (like elmers) and let it stand for 12 hours. Sprayed on infected plants this will glue the mites as it dries and flake off doing no harm to the plant. Do this in the evening, not in the hot sun during the day Clean out sprayer!!!

Buttermilk Spray: Combine buttermilk, potato flour and water to make a fairly thin mixture. Spray plants to suffocate the mites. This also will not harm plants and you may rinse it off after a few hours if you desire. Another buttermilk recipe uses 2 cups of wheat flour, 1 cup of buttermilk which you mix with 5 gallons of water. Use as above.

Or purchase Neem Oil from a garden center.

4) To get rid of thrips, spray the affected plant with a mixture of water and powdered garlic, release green lacewings to prey on them, release predatory nematodes to prey on the larvae in the soil (you can buy them from organic nurseries), release predatory mites that attack the larval and egg stage, spray the plants periodically with water strong enough to knock the pests off the plants, or use a biological poison called avermectin that is fermented from soil dwelling streptomyces organisms that is specific against thrips, mites, and loopers.

5) Another way to get rid of ants is to mix 1 part boric acid (borax) with 1 part bacon grease and 1 part sugar and place on the ant trails. The ants will eat the mix and carry it back to the colony as well. Boric Acid kills ants but is non toxic to kids, pets etc. The reason you mix both sugar and grease into the mixture is because ants eat eith sweets or fats and this mix gives you both so the ants should be attracted to the bait.

6) If you interplant basil plants with your tomato plants not only will you have your spaghetti sauce ingredients conveniently located, you are supposed to get a better yields of both. Interplanting marigolds with your vegetables is supposed to help repel nematodes and some other pests. The same is true of many other herbs (the lovely flavors they have are actually chemical defenses against insects and other plant eaters) so combine your herb and vegetable gardens.

There are oh, so many others. A site with lots of good ideas is Gardening In Harmony With Nature,

Sharon asks…

Gardening tips?

Im a newbie gardener and I would like to plant in front of my house where theres grass and bushes. I’ve heard that I have to overturn the dirt first, but are there any other things that I must do?

GardenersCardiff answers:

Delamomo posted a bit about what I was going to… Basically, laying down newspaper/cardboard is an excellent way to bring up worms and get decomposition going. On top of the cardboard/newspaper you can start laying some browns and greens… Whatever you have on hand. I use a layer of peat moss, then compost, then dried chipped leaves, then manure, then straw as a top layer of mulch. Or you could use pine needles or wood chips as a top layer, whatever works for you. It’s basically a layering system called lasagna gardening and is very healthy for your garden. Everything breaks down nicely and you just need to make sure you continue to add layers. If it’s a vegetable garden, I would continue throwing on dried grass clippings and straw as a mulch, and then mulch again in the fall with another couple of layers. It prevents you from having to do any tilling, digging, or weeding (except for the occasional one that sneaks through) and it’s really less work once you get the lasagna bed established and going. And you can let it ‘cook’ for a few weeks before planting, or you can plant right away. That’s what I love about it! Goodluck!


Lisa asks…

Whatre your best gardening tips?

GardenersCardiff answers:

Do you have an inside or outside garden?

Best gardening tip: Plant what you love and have the time for to make it more enjoyable and treasured! Look inside your kitchen cupboards and plant what you use the most of.

Regardless of the tips offered—if you plant something you love and use most often, you will “make it shine”!

For more gardening tips as well as info on herbs, vegetables, container gardening, indoor or outdoor gardening, go to:

Successful Gardening!
Kali S Winters

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