Monthly Archives: June 2016

Battle Japanese Beetles – Organic Tips

Last year, Japanese beetles arrived early and stayed late!

Drowning Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles win!

As an organic gardener, all I could do was try to drown as many as possible but I was outnumbered.

They started with my green beans literally wiping out 8 foot high pole bean plants and chewed through my Bumble Beans, too.

Japanese beetles eat green beans.

Green beans fall to Japanese invasion

Japanese Beetles destroy Chinese Cabbage

Japanese beetles make lace with Chinese Cabbage.

Japanese Beetles strip my apple tree of leaves.

Every leaf on my apple tree turned to lace. Japanese Beetles!

Then they moved to my Chinese Cabbage. By the time they were done, the plants looked like a bit of lace tatted by devils.

Then they moved to my blackberries. They finished their backyard rampage by stripping every leaf off my 25 foot tall apple tree while I stood by, helpless.

So, this year, I plan on fighting back…organically, of course.

I have ordered 50 pounds of Surround – kaolin clay – from one of my very favorite (and quirky) places to buy plants and products in person and online  — Edible Landscaping.

I need to spray it on the plants when I first sight the Japanese invaders.

However, this summer’s weather is wreaking havoc with predicting their arrival! So, I was wondering if there was a web site that could tell me when these little devils would be arriving in my neighborhood.

That’s how I found Big Bug Hunt!

NOTE: Big Bug Hunt is just getting started which means they are just beginning to collect data so they can’t help us this year. That’s where we come in. Gardeners are asked to report bug sightings in their  back yards and zip codes.

The web site has a few hiccups so you’ll have to be patient if you want to participate.  And I hope you do so I can get a better handle on when the Japanese Beetles will arrive in my backyard!

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Great Ground Cover for Shady Spots

Gardening in the sun comes easy to me. In the shade? Not so much.

Organic gardening is easy.

Sunny days make organic gardening easy.

That’s why I was really glad to see Garden Rant publish a WONDERFUL article by Susan Harris, who is one of my favorite garden writers, that is packed with ideas for filling in the shady spots in your landscape, literally.

I have found some these plants, like Comfrey, on my own but, if I’m being honest, accidentally!

So, here, in one place, courtesy of Garden Rant, is a really solid list of plants to help fill in the blanks in the shady bits of your yard, garden, landscape.

Comfrey grows in shade and is good for your garden.

Comfrey feeds your soil and attracts pollinators.

BTW, Comfrey is a real find for any gardener. Nancy Bubel, author of The Seed Starter’s Handbook and my heroine of seed-saving fame, wrote a beautiful article about the joys and uses of comfrey way back in 1974 for Mother Earth News…and it is as information packed today as it was 42 years ago.

NOTE:  Mother Earth News posted this warning about the article that is important for you to read if you intend to use Comfrey for tea, as a vegetable or for your livestock:

This article was originally published as “Comfrey for the Homestead” in the May/June 1974 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. At that time, comfrey had not yet been declared potentially poisonous to humans and animals and this article contained information about using comfrey as a vegetable, in tea and as livestock fodder; none of these applications are advisable, according to FDA and FTC recommendations. Comfrey contains at least 8 pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can build up in the liver to cause permanent damage and sometimes death. Because of this, comfrey preparations are not sold for oral or internal use in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or Germany.

I planted my Comfrey before I knew any of this….but I use it only for improving soil, speeding up composting and attracting tons of pollinators.
Enjoy!