Friday, October 16, 2015

Good Examples

From an Amish blog I follow.
“Tradition” – a song sung by a Jewish father in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” emphasizes that some things should be transferred from generation to generation. In truth, there are many values that need to be imparted to children.  Not only values in life but in gardening as well.  I’ve collected some good ideas that still hold true.

A repellent for deer:  In a tank sprayer, mix one gallon of water, three-tablespoons Louisiana Hot Sauce, one-teaspoon garlic powder and mix well.  Then add one-teaspoon dish soap as a spreader/sticker.  Spray on your plants once a week and after rain.  Make fresh each time.

The best way to remove earwigs from the center of daylilies without damaging the flower is to hold a bucket of soapy water under the bloom and then take a deep breath and blow in the flower until the earwig drops out into the bucket. 

Killing Japanese Beetles:  Early in the morning, gently shake the flowers and the Japanese Beetles will fall into a bucket of soapy water.  They are sluggish and won’t fly away.  Squashing them releases an odor that brings more insects.

If a daylily stem (scape) is too weak it will fall over in bloom.  Use colored duct tape to wrap the stem and it should stand the season.

Men and women used to wear broad brimmed straw hats when working outside gardening and farming.  Now days the baseball cap is popular for both.  The downside is your ears, cheeks and neck are now exposed to sun and as a result skin cancer is a real threat or reality.  Cover or slather on sunscreen all day.  A word to the wise is sufficient.    

If your garden has some disease issues, carry a bucket of water with a bit of bleach to dip your trimmers into after every cut.  It will keep from transferring the diseases to other valuable plants.  A stitch in time saves nine.

If you wash your porches and decks, make sure the solution is plant friendly.  The run off from toxic and caustic chemicals will kill even large plants.  I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Peppermint Soap.  It’s made with organic oils that not only clean but also tend to repel insects.  I get mine at Cornucopia in Galesburg but you can find it other places. 

Clean out all hummingbird feeders with a mild bleach solution when the season ends, rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.  This will get rid of all mold and diseases.

In a baggie, save pieces of ribbon and add cut material scrapes into thin strip.  Early in the spring, toss them onto bushes and soon they’ll be gone, incorporated into bird nests.  It’s not a bird necessity; it’s for our fun.

Spread some alfalfa pellets around your daylily plants early in the spring (not touching the leaves) for a good fertilizer.  When planting a new daylily, add a handful to the bottom of the hole, cover with a thin layer of soil and water, then add the plant.  Alfalfa is hot so you don’t want them to burn the roots by directly touching.

If soil in your garden isn’t routinely given good nutrients, it will show up in disease, decreased vigor and death.  Make composting and fertilizing an every year project.

Tree leaves (except walnuts) make excellent mulch.  Do NOT bag and send off to the dump.  Chop up by mowing and then rake under bushes, on top of perennials and over beds. They will end up composting into a good yummy fertilizer plus offer winter protection for the roots.  If you have too many, consider making a simple compost pile which becomes free fertilizer.  A penny saved is a penny earned.

Be careful – VERY CAREFUL – right now burning anything outside.  Bonfires, trash and even controlled burns are risky when it’s this dry. 

Putting vinegar on plant material is another risky business.  I know there are many on-line recipes that include vinegar for a variety of outdoor purposes but vinegar is caustic and may kill a plant.

As you put your garden to rest this fall, take a moment to enjoy what a grand summer we’ve had this year.  And take another moment to wish our farm neighbors a safe and profitable harvest.  Thanks for feeding the world.

And to end with another beautiful “Fiddler on the Roof” song:  “Sunrise, sunset.  Sunrise, sunset.  Swiftly fly the years.  One season following another; laden with happiness and tears.”  Aw wisdom. 


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