Pest Control for the Vegetable GardenWritten by Karen Gross
One of biggest challenges for vegetable gardeners is pest control. Anyone who has tried to keep a determined deer from eating sweet corn knows how difficult it can be to deter animals, including insects, birds, rabbits and other wildlife from what, for them is a natural smorgasbord. From their perspective, there sit these wonderful veggies, all neat and weeded, almost as if you placed plants there just for them. And so animals that we might otherwise enjoy can become a nuisance when it comes to garden.
While avoiding wildlife is nearly impossible, chemical pesticides are often an effective means of deterring unwanted insects. However, many gardeners are uncomfortable using these harsh chemicals that can leak into water supplies and harm environment. They also have concerns about using chemicals in foods they feed their families. Here are some ideas for more organic pest control.
Practicing crop rotation every year in your vegetable garden and using companion plants will improve your soil and keep pests under control. Most insects need time to become established in soil. They may take two to three seasons to get their life cycle established. By practicing vegetable rotation and varying type of plants grown in a particular area from year to year, you can avoid establishing plant specific types of garden pests.
Certain varieties of garden plants are less attractive to pests. To deter rabbits, plant green onions amongst lettuce plants. Plant several radish seeds in each hill of cucumber seeds to protect against cucumber beetle. And when planted near each other, cucumbers will prevent raccoons from eating all sweet corn, while corn will reciprocate by preventing cucumber wilt.
Tomatoes like to be near chives, parsley, marigolds, garlic bulbs, nasturtiums, gooseberries, asparagus, and carrots. Tomatoes have a natural defense for pest control against asparagus beetle and are also effective in keeping insects away from gooseberries. Carrots on other hand are nearly every garden pest’s friend. To control carrot fly pest, plant onions, rosemary, or leeks nearby. Potatoes like to be planted near corn, horseradish, broccoli, cabbage and peas. Avoid planting by tomatoes, melon, and cucumbers.
Some vegetable gardeners plant pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers among corn. The heavy growth and scratching of vines and leaves helps keep rabbits, raccoons and other hungry critters at bay.
Tricks of Trade
In addition to planting methods described above, there are a number of non-pesticide options for organic pest control. Human or dog hair spread around garden and hung from tree limbs acts as a good pest repellent, as do bars of soap hung from shepherds hooks or laid right in soil. Deer do not like smell of rotting eggs, so a mixture of 9 eggs with 2.5 gallons of water sprayed on ½ acre of crop will deter deer from entering area, but solution is diluted enough to avoid annoying humans.
Deer tend to be nervous and wary animals and can be scared off by annoying wind activated garden fixtures, plastic foil tape, scarecrows and whirligigs. Those that make noise, such squeaking, fluttering, or tinkling, work best. You may have to move these items around and rotate selection to keep deer from getting use to them. Dogs are also a good source to keep watch over garden and help scare off unwanted wildlife diners.
Tall fences (9 to 10 feet high) planted firmly in ground are best way to keep deer out of vegetable garden. An inexpensive chicken-wire fence at least 24 inches high is often enough to keep those pesky rabbits out of your garden. Or a solution of cayenne pepper spray on plants after a rain will sometimes deter rabbits from nibbling. Dried blood meal, which rabbits do not favor, can be sprinkled around when planting. The flavor will absorb though root system of vegetables, making them less appetizing. As an ongoing garden pest control, blood meal can be added to soil every two weeks.
The Magic of FlowersWritten by Karen Escaland
Flowers are natural gifts that beautify our environment. Whether used in an arrangement to grace kitchen table or placed in a vase by bedside, flowers provide a sense of invitation and welcome to guests and offer sweet fragrances of springtime in process. The gift of flowers can brighten anyone’s day and bring an abundance of happiness to those who receive them.
Flowers are Magic
The gift of a single flower is often a reflection of a romantic intention or some other form of feelings that are being expressed to another. Such an offering can bring magic to moment, if received by a special someone. More than simply offering a pleasant experience to senses, flowers can bring an acute sense of pleasure to heart of recipient.
According to previous studies, a floral aroma can have an impact on human emotions, in contrast to unpleasant odors, which can cause irritability and a sense of discontent. The very color of a flower may have a profound effect on an individual.
Flowers and Their Meanings
Contrary to what you may have been told, there are no specific meanings that are associated with flower types or colors. When giving gift of flowers, people tend to personalize experience by offering types and/or colors that carry a significant meaning to person or occasion. Due to widespread belief, however, that certain meanings are attached to particular flower types, Society of American Florists has composed a list of flower/meaning associations, in accordance with their histories.
Meanings according to type: Anemone - Fragility; Apple Blossom - Promise; Baby’s Breath - Festivity; Begonia - Deep Thoughts; Camellia - Graciousness; Daisy - Innocence; Forget-Me-Not – Eternal Remembrance; Holly - Domestic Happiness; Lilac - First Love; Orchid - Delicate Beauty;
Meanings according to color: Pink Rose - Friendship; Red Rose - Passion; Red & White Rose - Love and Unity; Yellow Rose - Zeal; Purple Tulip - Royalty;
Cut Flowers As a result of mounting global market and technological advances, an abundance of flower varieties are available throughout year. Some of most beautiful and diverse arrangements contain a mixture of fresh cut and other types of flowers or plants. Contained within this section are some of more common varieties that are available through most local florists.
One of more classic flowers – rose – is available in a variety of genres, including tea rose, sweetheart rose and spray rose. The nearly 120 arrays of roses that retailers commonly carry contain all shades of spectrum, such as those of red, pink, purple, orange, coral, peach and white families. The style of growth, as well as color, may differ from type to type. For example, tea roses will open from three to four inches, with stems spanning 12 to 30 inches in length; whereas stems of spray roses may contain several flowers each.