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Posted on 23 January 2012 by

Travel the Path Less Taken: Organic Control of the Leaf Miner

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day I was watching a movie about a coal miner and it made me think how life mimics the natural world.

This coal miner was trying to control an environment that he did not understand.

He felt that following the same path that his father had followed would lead him to a different conclusion.

We all know how that ends and the same applies to gardening.

When we see a pest, we seem to fall to the same habit that has caused so many problems.

This habit, one may ask, is chemical application. While this technique works quickly in the short term, it never works out in the long run. Which is where the movie comes into play along with the simple leaf miner.

The adult leaf miner attacks tomato plants by Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 03 January 2012 by

Mother Nature’s Weather Forecasters

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I have always looked toward nature as my predictor of the weather.

Learning the weather patterns of ones local area is very beneficial to gardeners.

It can help the gardener decide when to put the cold or cool season crops in and can provide some guidance as to fall and winter crops.

The key to this technique is knowing what to look for, when to look for it, and understanding what you see.


Wooly worms are famous as bad winter predictors. It is believed that if the caterpillar is solid black, the whole winter will be abnormally bad. On the other end of the spectrum, it is believed that if the caterpillar is brown or light brown this is an indication of a mild winter. Wooly worms have 13 sections and each section represents one week of the winter season. If the wooly worm is in bands of black and brown, this is an indication of a winter that is going to have a lot of changes.


In the fall, squirrels are busy collecting food for the winter. Some believe that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 31 October 2011 by

The Organic Tale of Basil and the Japanese Beetle

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was out in my garden space picking basil and discovered a pest that I love and hate.

This pest is smaller than me and has a beautiful iridescent color of green.

Many hate to see this little creature but for me it brings back memories.

This gardening memory of my dad and I picking beetles off the roses seems so special now but then I viewed this chore as a punishment.

Later on in our Japanese beetle endeavor, science caught up with the gardener and the Japanese beetle trap was developed. This trap uses the smell of sex, in the beetle world, to attract the beetles. They fall into the trap and cannot fly out. While in the trap, they expire.

Another approach that my dad and I never used is to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 21 October 2011 by

How to Control Japanese Beetles the Organic Way

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Every gardener fears that time of year that the Japanese beetle enters the garden space.

In the past, control was based on synthetic pesticides that had limited success.

But today the gardener has many different choices of organic control methods to choose from.

Plant Choice

One control method used by some gardeners is to avoid planting plants that the Japanese beetle loves. This includes apple and maple trees, grapes, roses, irises, basil, Echinacea, dahlias, cosmos, hydrangeas, zinnias, rhododendrons, and wisteria.

Japanese Beetle Traps

These traps were designed a few years ago to Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 13 October 2011 by

How to Keep Unwanted Guests Out of the Garden Space


By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was out at the community garden and saw my first turkey.

I was told when I started the community garden project in my community that guard turkeys patrolled the area.

How I laughed at this thought.

Guard turkeys on military property. Poetic justice in action I suppose.

As I inspected the raised beds, I noticed the last bed I planted with donated tomatoes had been disturbed. How funny this was to me. The gardens are in the open and no cover is around for them to hide from predators. Who am I to question Mother Nature?

So I repaired the damage, placed some of my hair in t Read the rest of this entry »


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