We've been so busy gardening, we've slacked on getting a weekly post up, so I'm cramming some lessons learned over the past year into one informative post - refer back often!
- Apply neem oil continuously to ornamental lillies - from the bulbs under the soil in early spring through bloom time. Combine with hand picking the little red devil bugs and these beauties CAN thrive organically!
- Plant alyssum and dill around squash plants to keep cucumber and squash beetle away.
- DO NOT use weed suppression plastic or plantable pots - they are pure marketing gimmicks.
- Fertilize with fish emulsion and also use fish emulsion to make compost tea.
- Add acidity by applying coffee grounds to soil under hydrangeas and blueberries.
- Trim and prune, and trim and prune. And plant cover crops.
- Plant herbs everywhere! Especially as companion plants near what they taste good paired with - i.e. basil with the tomatoes, dill with cucumbers. For pest control near your porch or deck, plant rosemary, thyme, lavender, catnip, mints, and lemon balm.
- Plant daisies and marigolds among herbs, veggies, and your sitting areas to help repel plant chomping and biting pests.
- Clear out the debris in garden beds in fall and leave tall stalks for birds. Don't keep the decaying materials from that summer as the organic matter. It harbors pests that overwinter and eat your plants the next spring. Move the debris in fall to the compost pile and apply fresh compost or mulch or both to the garden.
- Please, for the sake of compost, take stickers OFF of your food before tossing it in the compost.
- Build natural retaining walls with yard debris and brush on downward facing slopes to help level the land and suppress erosion. Use thin layers over time to allow existing ground cover to grow instead of smothering, which can encourage the spread of more aggressive briars.
- Use larger particles of compost to help hold back soil erosion (as opposed to fine compost for garden beds).
- The landscape wants to be biodynamic. Diversity of birds is wonderful and requires carefully placed birdhouses and a strategically placed feeder or two. While you don't want decaying matter on your plants, you do want it near garden areas for grubs and beetles birds like to eat.
- Mixed perennial gardens which flower from early spring to late fall are inviting to bees all season. A beehive is in the future for the MitchaRachia Homestead.
- Gardens want to be whimsical. A combination of varying height and texture diversity flanked with garden art and visited by animals and children give a garden energy and style.
- Finally, in the words of Jeff Cox, author of Landscaping with Nature, creations of glens, grottos, and glades create natural areas in and around gardens, and, as I am starting to experience, become gardens in themselves...