Organic Gardening

Use these organic gardening tips to cure common gardening diseases and pests with things from around the house.

Many people give up on gardening because they have experienced pests or disease and don't like to use chemicals. However, the answer to gardening woes need not be abstinence or chemical warfare. There is usually a simple, safe and cheap answer to gardening problems that doesn't even require a trip to the garden center! Organic gardeners have for years been concocting garden cures from everyday household items. They have also perfected the art of prevention. The combination of prevention and simple household mixtures can bless anyone with a green thumb!

An everyday spray bottle can be used for these recipes.

Homemade Pest Sprays

1. An effective pest spray that can keep soft-bodied bugs from eating your tomatoes and other fruits can be made of water and hot sauce. A spray bottle of water with a tablespoon or two of hot sauce will keep a good many pests from dining on your tomatoes.

2. Another good all-purpose bug spray for garden plants can be made by mixing the following: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, one tablespoon liquid dish soap and enough water to fill the spray bottle.

3. By dipping your bulbs in athlete's foot powder prior to planting, you may be able to avoid fungal diseases later.

4. Squash vine borers can turn your bumper zucchini crop into no crop at all. To stop this from happening, coat the first six inches or so of the plant with petroleum jelly. I usually top this with some cayenne pepper powder for good measure.

5. Two to three tablespoons of black strap molasses mixed with water can help prevent and if caught early, cure some plant diseases. My grandmother had the most beautiful roses in town and insisted that molasses was the only reason why!



6. Slugs hate eggshells. Crushed eggshells around plant stems discourage slugs and other soft bodied pests. It's a little like having to crawl over knives!

7. Empty your vacuum bag around your plants. Not only will this stuff be a good mulch, for some reason pests don't like hair. If you have a dog, this is really effective!

All organic gardening cures don't come from a bottle. To garden without a degree in chemistry, you need plenty of prevention. Some of the easiest answers are the simplest! Read on.

Organic Prevention

1. Plant marigolds in between your tomatoes and make sure you don't plant your tomatoes too close together. Why? Marigolds release chemicals that bugs can't stand. They are a major deterrent to many pests. Planting tomatoes too close together encourages disease. It also enables the bugs to hide from you!

2. Grow up! Grow cucumbers and tomatoes along fences where they can be staked or naturally climb upward instead of on the ground. This will keep the plant leaves less moist and susceptible to both disease and pests.

3. Compost! This "╦ťblack gold' is the best disease prevention ever! A healthy plant is less susceptible to pests and disease and compost gives necessary nutrients to the plants, acts as a mulch when top dressed, and helps squelch weeds!

4. Water in the early morning. What? Everyone knows you water in the evening. Not so, I'm afraid. The leaves of the plants stay damp at night from evening watering. This makes them much more prone to disease and pests. When plants are watered deeply in the early morning before the sun is hot enough to burn them, the leaves dry fairly quickly.

These tips will help any gardener succeed, but the best advice is vigilance. The garden must be checked daily to catch problems early. Don't forget to look at the undersides of leaves and the base of stems. Happy Gardening!

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