Sustainable....At Least The Weeds Anyway. - Back to Down-Home Country Basics Blog at - 238858

Back to Down-Home Country Basics least the weeds anyway. 
Jun. 6, 2011 4:41 pm 
Updated: Jun. 20, 2011 12:11 pm
I guess I'm just venting my frustrations.  This organic gardening thing is harder than it sounds.  I sounds so simple!  You just plant the seeds, no chemicals, and watch it grow, right?  Wrong!  The weeds have decided to declare war on our organic/heirloom oasis, and the bugs...well I swear sometimes I hear them laughing at me while I'm pulling the massive piles of weeds out.  Sure there are organic pesticides (tried them) and organic weed killers, fertilizers, etc. but when you're growing 1/2 acre of produce it gets to be more expensive than visiting one of those healthy stores and coughing up $8 a pound for organic tomatoes.  But, I will persist.  My family will have healthy produce (God willing) and I'll fight the good fight.  And hopefully in the fall I will sit back and have a good chuckle about it all whilst canning my crop. :)
Jun. 6, 2011 4:47 pm
Have you tried shaking black pepper on any bug infested plants? Also, dish soap like Dawn w/ some water sprayed on plants helps w/ insects. Both are totally safe for pets and people after you wash the produce. Good luck!!!!
Jun. 6, 2011 4:49 pm
Also, we use black garden matting in the garden to keep the weeds down, and we have used straw as a mulch to help keep the ground moist and help w/ weeds.
Jun. 6, 2011 5:32 pm
I haven't tried the black pepper. Will the dish soap hurt the veggie plants?
Jun. 6, 2011 5:37 pm
Get ready for a shocker! Your best bug organic spray? The bugs themselves! Pick them into a covered container. Then, add them and 1 qt of water to your blender and blend away! Strain into your sprayer through four thicknesses of cheesecloth and spray lightly. Whether it'd the involuntary cammibalism or a bacteria/virus is not known but it works beautifully. Don't worry about having a beautiful suburban showplace type garden. Let the low growing weeds have their space in the rows. They'll keep the ground cool and help retain moisture. When weeds get tall, and before seeds develope, harvest them for your compost- free fertilizer and natural nitrogen to keep the compost working. More benefits than a groundcloth can offer,
Jun. 7, 2011 10:11 am
My advice - mulch, mulch, mulch! When you pull weeds, on a hot day, lay them down in between the rows, That gets even with them, (if you pull them before seeds set in, that is). Get your hands on some straw, lay it on as thick as you can, tucking it in around and between the plants, like tomatoes, peppers. Anything, even layers of newspapers works to mulch, and keep the soil cooler. These also decompose to enrich the soil. We've also used strips of rubber conveyor belting between rows, which makes great paths, and few weeds. I must try Mike's buggy bug spray. Sounds like a good get even thing. Diluted dish soap spray is great on aphids. It won't hurt the veggies.
Jun. 7, 2011 10:12 am
I've used grass clippings in flower beds for great mulch. Should work in gardens.
Jun. 7, 2011 12:37 pm
I remember reading somewhere that spraying a mixture of cayenne pepper and water onto the plants would keep pests away. I can't remember if it was a remedy for furry critters like squirrels and rabbits or if it worked for bugs, too, but it might be worth a try. I like Mike Harvey's idea, but I'm afraid I'd never, ever, ever be able to bring myself to use my blender for people food again after pureeing bugs in it LOL!
Jun. 8, 2011 6:10 am
I take the Me vs Nature route every year and sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. It's probably why I over plant. I lost all my squash last year to squash borers and so this year, I may just actually break out the dish soap & water solution to make sure I don't lose them again. They are growing so well right now. Good luck and I look forward to the updates.
Jun. 20, 2011 12:11 pm
I'm with you Keri, I don't know if I could stomach blending up bugs in the blender. I may try the dish soap route though. We bought some Weed Zap, which is an organic mixture of cinnamon oil, clove oil and I believe lemon juice. It does make the weeds wither and die, but it is expensive. I tried mixing my own, which worked, but that essential oils are expensive as well. Time will tell how things will go! :)
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I'm a mom of 2 boys (yes they keep me VERY busy), a student working on my bachelor's degree online, and a very avid cook.
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