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Lessons Learned From a Backyard Garden

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posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 03:27 PM

Anyone have any ideas on how to naturally get rid of earwigs? I don't use poison. We have two apple trees that are good producers, but the last couple years, the earwigs have gotten into the blossoms and laid eggs or something, so every single apple is ruined at harvest.

Try SMC leaf wash. I use it for spider mites and other pests. Its 100% organic. If you cant find it by brand . Look for anything organic with "Neem oil" Very good for pest control and can be used on plants in flower/fruiting

Also experiment with different fruit/plant oils. See which plants they leave alone and don't mess with at all. Take some of those and chop them in a blender and make a "tea bag" boil it up and keep pressing the liquid out of the "bag" Kinda like making tea.

Boil this down till its kinda thick. Mix it with some warm water. shake well.
Add to a spray bottle and (once at room temperature) spray the ones that are getting thrashed. I always find that if a certain type of plant never gets messed with theres usually a reason/defense against that which is attacking . Why not just use it on the rest

Hope that helps ya ..

[edit on 17-4-2008 by d11_m_na_c05]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 04:29 PM
Good read, thank you. S&F.
I just two days ago started some in dept reading about gardening, especially about the three sisters.
I will start to seriously get into gardening as soon as it gets warmer.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 05:42 PM

Originally posted by d11_m_na_c05
Also experiment with different fruit/plant oils. See which plants they leave alone and don't mess with at all. Take some of those and chop them in a blender and make a "tea bag" boil it up and keep pressing the liquid out of the "bag" Kinda like making tea. Boil this down till its kinda thick. Mix it with some warm water. shake well. Add to a spray bottle and (once at room temperature) spray the ones that are getting thrashed. I always find that if a certain type of plant never gets messed with theres usually a reason/defense against that which is attacking . Why not just use it on the rest

Thanks for the advice. After reading your post, I realized I have a lot of lemon balm growing by the fence that the earwigs never seem to bother, so I'm preparing the "tea" right now and will give it a try. I read a few things online about a garlic oil mixture as well. Another suggestion is putting out tuna cans (don't rinse, the fish smell attracts them) buried at soil level with a sugar mixture and a thin layer of cooking oil on top. If none of these work, I'll give the Neem a try. Thanks again.

[edit on 4/17/08 by kattraxx]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 05:50 PM
reply to post by kattraxx

No problem . Let me know how it goes. I have been running an indoor garden year round for a few years. I don't get too many pests . But when i do they are extremely hard to get rid of. I am an all organic person . Cant have my crop tasting like chemical's ..

For the times of the year i work inside/outside. I usually start my outside crop indoors so i can let them get big enough so if im fighting off anything i have time to do so . Seedlings can be ravaged very quick . If there around 6' tall when transplanted they seem to do allot better . And by then i have treated them with neem oil to at least defend against mites. IMO the worst thing that can happen to your garden .

Good luck . You will never taste anything like something you grew yourself.
Kinda like kids . They suck unless there yours :p

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 06:00 PM
Okay then,

What about those who live in an apartment with a small patio, like five feet to five feet in Southern Nevada?

Had a friend's plats turn to twigs in the July 120 to 125 F sun....

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 06:43 PM
reply to post by Ihavenoidea

Consider a container garden . Reader's digest came out with an excellent book Crops in Pots by Bob Purnell. You can check it out at your local library. Consider those kits from Wheatgrass they also have mushroom growing kits. I have used both; they are easy. Since you don't have much land consider learning about edible herbs that grow in your area. You could take long nature hikes and pick edible herbs. Most of the uncultivated nutritious weeds are way more nutritious than the cultivated crops.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 06:49 PM
The sun up here in the high desert can be brutal as well. But you can grow quite a bit in a container garden on your patio. You might have to position your containers so they get morning sun and shade them from the harshest afternoon sunlight.

Here's a good site on growing vegetables, etc., in containers on a patio.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 07:17 PM
A little more on the shade for desert grown tomatoes I posted earlier.

A couple, friends of my daughter, had a discussion on whether shade would allow tomatoes to make it or not.

To that end, they each grew tomatoes in the same garden.
None of his non-shaded tomatoes made it and most of her shaded tomatoes did.

Shade cloth is the same stuff nurseries use and you can see examples at Home Depot or Walmart.
Both stores carry it.

Somewhat the same thing happened to tomatoes in my Central California garden.
Perhaps 10% of them split due to excessive heat and constant sunlight thoughout the day.

Got dogs?
Fence your garden.

My three doxies and one wanna-bee Chihuahua have tried to dig out my plants in big containers.
I used an organic fertilizer - blood meal and ground bone I'm guessing - so I had to move the containers inside the garden fence.

The dogs also dig in the garden if I leave the gate open.
Lucky so far, no plants dug up.


Growing potatoes in tires?
I have two big pickup tires I was going to get rid of, but this sounds interesting.

Edited to say: I found The Redneck's post, but it appears I need some more tires.

[edit on 17-4-2008 by Desert Dawg]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 08:25 PM
What a wonderful thread.

Now I'd like to see some thoughts on the amount of food/plants necessary to grow in order to sustain an average adult say over the course of a year.

Any ideas?

Yield seems like an important thing to understand.

[edit on 17-4-2008 by loam]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by loam

Hi there I have a balcony area of only 3 x 9 feet to grow some food and with physical conditions etc decided on concentrating on what they call the Super Vegetables eg beans/peas carrots broccoli and corn.
Corn outta question so am doing peas/beans baby carrots in polystyrene box's broccoli in poly box's too and gunna do lettuce and silverbeet/spinach.
the baby carrots just came up brocis up beans and peas are flying.
Everything from seed.


posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 11:34 PM
Have any of you tried plastic mulch with drip irrigation? Here is some information.


The plastic virtually eliminates any weeds and can be used for several years. It also helps increase the carbon dioxide level in the leaf area which increases production. I buy rolls that are 5'X5000' for I think I paid $90 each last year. Some of the plastic is solid black and some are black on one side and either silver or white on the other. The black works well early in the year because it warms the soil. The silver or white works well for crops that are planted in the hot part of the year.

The drip irrigation is basically a small plastic tube with small holes every so often. It can be easily modified to put out liquid fertilizer. You know the Peters brand fertilizer that you pay $4 or $5 for a small box of maybe a pound at the most? I would buy a 20lb bag for $7, I think the name was Nutri-Leaf and is the same thing. It dissolves in water and can be sprayed on the plants or put through the drip irrigation system.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 04:22 AM
I would like to share some tips i know and i use them very often (you might know them as well but... why not).
Spinach: can grow with almost nothing, Just wattering. Once the "seed" comes on top of them don't cut the plant out. Let the seed drop and next year in the same spot will grow again. Or you can collect it and plant it yourself. I've planted spinach that produces seeds like "sting". I collect it and plant it again. Each plant can produce a very big amount of seeds.
Lettuce, garlic, onion: Don't cut or remove the plant from the ground in order to eat it. Just take the bigger leafes. If you do, the plant will continue to grow producing more leafes for you to eat. In lettuce though, don't take all the leafes because the plant will eventually "dye". Take only the bigger outter leafes. If you leave the lettuce with a very small amount of leafes then the plant will become "fragile" and wind will break the remaining. Garlic and onion leafes tastes exactly the same as the plant itself.
Try planting other "green" plants also, just for salad (raw or boiled) (I don't know the names in english so....):
Cichοrium Spinosun: It's bitter tasted, raw or cooked (with beef) produces a small bush and green leafes wich you can eat. Very nutricius.
Cichorium intibus: It's bitter tasted (not that bitter as the one above). Raw or boiled. If you leave the roots on the ground and cut the leaves, it keeps producing all year. Just a bit of water in spring and summer.
Claytonia (Portulaca Oleracia): Sweet tasted. Raw mostly mixed with lettuce and cucumber. Get seeds one year and you never get rid of this plant for the rest of your life. It reproduces it self veeeeery easily and produces "tons" of seeds that goes all over the place (plant the seeds in a limited space or your land will fill up in some years by the seeds). Natural enemy of colesterol. A bit of watering.
Lathyrus ochrus: Sweet tasted. Raw mostly mixed with lettuce and cucumber. You eat the leafes only(well it only produces leafes). At the end of its life it produces seeds like lentil only a bit bigger wich you can collect and replant or leave them drop and grow again. Only watering.
Broad beans: exept from the obvious, you can eat the soft leafes as a raw salad.
Artichoke: Bitter taste. Raw or cooked. comes in small plants in stores wich grow "almost" easy. Over here we use the one with the thornes (it tastes better than the one without the thornes). Every April, May the plant produces the artichokes. Could be up to 10 or 15 per plant. The plant itself takes alot of space because the leafes spread around. 1,5 meters (i think 4-5 feet) distance for each plant is needed. The leafes eventually dye in the summer but the roots grow again "every" year (they will live longer than you will). Beware, the roots tend to expand all around the plant in time, almost 10-30cm deep. So in five years it could also grow in a distance from the original spot. You can cut the root if it's on your way for planting something else. The original plant will not wither.

And i would need help from you on a problem that i have. Snails. Millions of them (we eat them over here but how many can you eat
). They eat almost every plant. I use to poison them but do you have anythink else in your mind?

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 04:40 AM
One more thing to share. When i plant (almost all of my plants) i place in the hole 2 spoons of chemical fertilizer (i know that is bad but it does the ob) and a handfull of manure. Once every week i water each plant (500ml is enough) from a barrel wich contains manure and water (i refill the barrel with water or if it rains it refills it self
. The most of the manure goes at the bottom). The water in the barrel get the nutricius ingredients from the manure helping the plants. Especially if the soil is poor.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 05:22 AM
To keep small animals and birds away use a plastic owl and hang it from a pole.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 05:42 AM
There seems to be a lot of this at the minute, and I think that the food shortage has been anticipated for some time, as a lot of celebrity-chef type food programmes over here have been focusing on aiming for self sustainance or at least a kitchen garden for about the past year or so now. Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearly W being the most notable.

I bought a house two years ago with a huge garden (by uk suburban first time buyer standards), about 9x60 metres, with the idea in mind of cultivating the land and growing my own. The garden hadn't been used since the seventies and was completely overgrown with weeds, brambles etc, and the soil was strewn with debris under the surface like bricks, glass, carpet, car parts, and a saucepan set. I've finally got the land into shape, turfed about 250 square metres, built a patio, greenhouse and ordered a small polytunnel (our weather is no good for tomatoes etc!). Looks like I'm in the nick of time! and possibly need to re-evaluate the proportions of leisure garden/ kitchen garden space.

Our garden backs onto some hills, so what i intend to do this spring is plant out a load of trees (apple, pear, plum, hazelnut, etc) on the land to the rear of the garden, to create a decent supply of fruit for myself and my neighbours.

As I'm a novice just starting out, I don't really have any cool tips to share regarding cultivating the land, but as a keen cook what I would advise is make lots of chutneys and preserves with your surpluss. A rudimentary chutney or preserve is easy to make (chopped fruit/veg/onions in a pan with some sugar/pectin/vinegar/spices to your taste, cook on a low heat for an hour and then put it in jars!), eliminate food wastage, and will keep you fed through the winter. They are really tasty as well!


posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 07:34 AM
reply to post by loam

Just work out how much you'll eat and how long maturation is for the individual crops. For example I plant spinach weekly (harvest at 40 days), lettuce every other week (70 days), and carrots every three weeks (80 days). Figure out how much you'll eat between harvests and that's how much you plant, plus a little more in case of losses. Nice thing about lettuce and spinach is if you have to you can always take a few leaves early leaving the plant in the ground.

Also if you don't have a cellar or some kind of cool, not cold, storage it might be a good idea to build one. Mine is just made of cinder blocks in the basement corner that is most below ground (doubles as a shelter). Potatoes keep a lot longer in there.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by Dimitris

And i would need help from you on a problem that i have. Snails. Millions of them (we eat them over here but how many can you eat ). They eat almost every plant. I use to poison them but do you have anythink else in your mind?

Try stale beer in a shallow pan.....snails love it, crawl in and drown. My chickens will eat slugs, but will cheat and help themselves to things like strawberries and young veggies, so they don't get to work till things are in full swing. Crushed eggshells and ash will deter them if spread around a bed once you've cleared it of the pests.

Remove any 'cover' for them like rotted wood and rocks. We tried raised beds within a rock border, but had to remove the rocks because the snails loved them so.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 09:58 AM
My friend jameswillard has opened a thread called, 'Conspiracy Of Eggs.' There were many great ideas posted there on gardening ideas. I was going to post this info there, but guess it makes no difference. But for those in apartment living or short on space; here is an idea that you might find helpful:

Growing Tomatoes Upside Down

Tomatoes are a sweet and delicious fruit from a very tolerant plant. They're so popular to grow because they're so easy. As a vine, they're also good for the gardener with very little space. This article will tell you how to grow tomatoes hanging from the ceiling - although it could be adapted to suit a hanging basket, too.

1. Set up your hanger. Choose a sunny place indoors. Your plant can be hung from a hook in the ceiling or tied around a beam. Using string or twine, knot a basket that your upside down milk bottle will sit in without slipping out or toppling sideways. Attach it to your ceiling, ready for the plant.
2. Take a small tomato plant; bought or grown from seed are both fine. Water it well and set it to one side.
3. Take your large plastic milk bottle and cut off the base. Remove the lid.
4. Take your tomato plant out of its pot and set it upside down in the milk bottle, with the plant poking through the pouring hole.
5. Fill in the milk bottle with a mixture of good compost and garden soil, and water it. Now you see why the hanger was put up first - it's impossible to put the plant on a surface without covering it in soil or damaging the plant.


* Water your tomato plant regularly and make sure it gets plenty of sunshine - sunlight is the key to dark, ripe tomatoes.
* Your tomato plant will grow downwards, so hang it somewhere it won't be in the way.
* To adapt it to suit a hanging basket, cut a hole in the bottom of the basket liner and follow the above steps.
* Make sure the hook or beam are secure, as the plant can get quite heavy.

Things You'll Need

* A large plastic milk bottle
* A young tomato plant
* Compost and/or garden soil
* Trowel
* Scissors/craft knife
* String or twine
* Hook in the ceiling (optional, if you have something else it can be hung from)

Edit: Btw, this excerpt was in my gardening notes and I do not recall what site it came from. I am in no way claiming it as my own.

[edit on 18-4-2008 by sizzle]

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 02:22 PM
Okay, thanks.

But instead of being grown in soil, how about being grown in water instead.

I know this is possible but I don't know the name for it.

hydro something....

Faster growth.

posted on Apr, 18 2008 @ 02:26 PM
Something I learned from my Mother was to take an empty milk jug; punch holes in the bottom and sides then bury it next to tomato plants or any other plant that does best with deep slow watering. You fill it up about once a week and the plants love it. Leave a couple of inches above the dirt. You'll use less water and have less waste.

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