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Posted on 05 October 2011 by urbangardencasual.com

The When, Where, and How of Garden Pests

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By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

As a gardener, I have learned a valuable lesson and that is plant and they will come.

It seems that pests have an internal clock by which they can time when I plant.

It never fails that during some part of my gardening season, I am visited by some pest.

While I welcome any organism to my garden and am willing to share my bounty, sometimes I have to say enough.

But to be able to control and repel ones guests to the garden, a few observations need to be made.

The first observation that any gardener should note is what plants are being affected, what part of the plant, and during what part of their growth cycle. This observation is very important because it can aid in the diagnosis of the pest.

The second observation that should be noted is Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 17 June 2011 by urbangardencasual.com

A Tale of Two Species: The Tomato Hornworm and the Gardener

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Every year I seem to get the odd looking caterpillar called the tomato hornworm on my tomatoes.

These little beasts always seem to appear over night with devastating affects.

Stripped stems poke upward and before I know it my tomatoes are stripped of all vegetation but is the organic gardener to do.

The first step is to recognize the pest. Some individuals feel it is deer damage or some other grazing type of animal consuming their crop.

But a telltale sign that it is a tomato hornworm is the fact that the vegetation will be missing from the top of the plant and will move downward. Also, this damage will start around midsummer and continue until the end of the growing season.

Next, the most obvious sign that Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 20 May 2010 by urbangardencasual.com

Rabbit Proof Your Garden

rabbitBy Sonya Welter

Urban gardeners have some advantages over their rural counterparts, and one of them is that there are fewer mammalian pests in the city.

Urban gardeners will have to deal with fewer deer, who will trample their seedlings and mow their lilies and hostas down to the ground.

Urban gardeners are also less likely to encounter bears, who will tear down bird feeders and strip berry bushes and fruit trees.

But rabbits are an almost universal pest in all but the most urban of gardens. Sure, they’re cute when they’re merrily gamboling in the front yard, nibbling on dandelions and clover, but they’re less cute when it’s your lettuce or Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 18 May 2010 by urbangardencasual.com

Beneficial Borders: An Organic Solution to Garden Pests

borageBy Sonya Welter

“Feed and the pests will come,” seems to be every gardener’s motto.

We may never see a pest but as soon as we plant the first tomato or pepper the swarms seem to appear.

But a unique concept of feeding and nurturing nature’s insect task force will bring even the novice gardener relief.

The concept is simple provide shelter, water, and food for beneficial insects and let nature take its course. So try a beneficial insect border around your garden and see how nature works without chemicals. Who knows you may decide to do a whole beneficial insect garden to reward nature’s insect task force.

SWEET ALYSSUM (Lobularia maritima)

This annual is low growing and produces white flowers that can form a border in a flowerbed or can act as a fast-growing ground cover that vegetables can be planted into. Many studies have shown that sweet alyssum is highly appealing to aphid eating hover flies.

CUP PLANT (Silbium perfoliatum)

This perennial grows Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 07 November 2009 by urbangardencasual.com

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies and Fungus Gnats

fruit-flyBy Vanesa Richins

Sometimes you might find tiny insects flying around your kitchen or houseplants.

There are two main culprits to consider – fruit flies and fungus gnats.

Most of us are familiar with fruit flies.

These pesky tiny nuisances always seem to appear when you have fruit in the kitchen for more than a day or two. They have a very short life span, so they reproduce quickly until a small cloud forms.

I had always heard that one way to get rid of fruit flies was to use vinegar. I tried balsamic vinegar with little success. On the last round, though, I bought a bottle of apple cider vinegar, which I put into a bowl. The fruit flies were soon drawn into the bowl, where they promptly drowned.

I’ve heard of traps that are a little more intricate – jars with small holes poked in the lid, filled with vinegar and honey. Some use bottles covered in plastic wrap. No matter what method, I would highly recommend Read the rest of this entry »

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