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Tips to keep your garden organic & healthy      

As an organic gardener, I do not expect my vegetables-fruits-nuts-herbs-flowers... to look perfect.
I also prefer heirloom plants which are usually slightly unusual in shape or color and are not everyone's cup of tea.
I will not use any GMO which is why I have my corn seeds saved from year to year because corn is one of the biggest crops that is almost completely taken over by GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) which is some scientists' idea of a better crop using some rather scary methods.

My buyers do not care about the way my produce looks either because they understand that I grow organically so there likely WILL be a bug chewed hole every now and then - LOL

I do get someone once in a while who expects a perfect tomato or peach... often they do not buy.
I wish them a good day and pity them because they would rather have cardboard tasting food that was picked way before it was ripe and shipped for many many miles OR food that was sprayed with toxins and grown in soil that goes through cycles of being depleted and then pumped up with that blue fake fertilizer or some other manmade chemical to have their food "look pretty" instead of a real piece of fruit or a vegetable... that might have a little blemish.

Yes, I want taste and nutrition for my edibles and I want function for "healing" plants.
It is funny, many of the most healing plants leave something to be desired as far as looks.
So for those of you who want good nutritious food with hopefully very little bug or other varmint damage, but you aren't obsessed about it - I would like to offer you a few organic gardening tips that hopefully will lessen the impact that the little critters will do in your organic garden.

First and foremost - buy good quality seeds (hopefully organic and non-GMO or save your own)

Second, make sure you are rotating your plants as much as possible from year to year to avoid plant diseases as much as possible and to confuse the bugs a little too.

Third, make sure your hands are clean before you go out into the garden AND it is a good idea to wash them before moving on to the next type of plant so you do not transfer any bugs or diseases from one section of the garden (or type of plant) to another.
* If it is pruning time, make sure you are cleaning your hands and your pruners after each tree/bush in case one of them has an infestation of bugs or some plant disease.

Fourth, as far as feeding your soil which in turn feeds your plants - Just remember that soil is a living thing and will reward you if you take care of it.
Till at little as possible to allow the worms and beneficial fungi... to thrive.    If you are tearing up the soil to often, eventually these organisms will either die or move on.
Instead, use mulch and compost (there is a page here on my website about composting - look up above in the menu) as a topdressing to conserve moisture and to feed your soil.

Now, I will move on to a few hints and tips for protecting your organic garden even further.

I just read about an organic gardener from the Pittsburgh area through her article Don't let beetles bug your plants. Her name is By Jessica Walliser and here is her article for THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW Friday, July 10, 2009: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/ae/s_633134.html

Here are remedies that have worked for my garden at Diana's in Hubbard, Ohio.

There are of course no foolproof methods   -   These ideas and tips are examples of what has worked for the garden at Diana's in Hubbard, Ohio and that of friends/family over the years.

Use your own discretion & common sense.    If you have an allergy to something - do not use it.

1.)  Orange (citrus) Peel Sprayorange peels smell good too
Oranges  (citrus fruits) contain natural pesticide compounds called limonene and linalool.
Can be used against soft bodied pests = aphids, fungus gnats, mealy bugs and as an ant repellant.

Pour 2 cups boiling water over one orange peel.    Let this steep 24 hours.    Strain liquid into a jar (compost peel).    Use liquid as a spray mixing in a few drops of a natural soap on insects.

2.)  Marigold Spray
Known to repel asparagus beetles, tomato hornworms, leaf cutting and chewing insects.

Directions:   Mash 1 cup of marigold leaves and flowers.    Mix with 1 pint of water.
Let soak for 24 hours.    Strain through cheesecloth.     Dilute with 1 1/2 quarts of water then add 1/4 teaspoon of castille (or any Natural) soap and spray affected areas.

3.)  Lime Spray
Target insects: Cucumber beetles, mites and general purpose.

Mix 1 ounce of hydrated lime, 1 quart warm water and 1 teaspoon of castille (any NATURAL soap).    Use up to twice a week.

4.)  Horseradish Natural Pesticide
Aphids, blister beetles, caterpillars, Colorado beetles, whiteflies, soft-bodied insects Possibly slugs.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil,  add 2 cups cayenne (any hot) pepper, a 1 inch piece horseradish root -fresh/chopped,  and 2 cups  scented geranium leaves, any kind.    Let steep for 1 hour,  cool, strain and spray.    * Can be made without the scented geranium leaves if you don't have them.

5.)  Elder Leaf Natural Insecticide:
Aphids, carrot root fly, cucumber beetles, peach tree borers, root maggots and midges.
Elder leaf has fungicidal properties so may be useful against mildew and blackspot diseases.

Simmer 8 ounces of (elderberry) leaves in 1 pint of water for 30 minutes.   Stir thoroughly, then strain.   Take 16 oz. of warm water and mix with 1 tablespoon of castille soap (any natural soap).    Add soap mixture to the elder water,  spray as needed.      * Set your sprayer to apply  large droplets  as this mixture will plug up a sprayer at the fine setting.

6.)  Garlic Spray
For:   Aphids, cabbage loopers, grasshoppers, June bugs, leafhoppers, mites, squash bugs, slugs and whiteflies.    May also help to repel rabbits!    * Never use oil sprays on Blue Spruce as it will remove the blue waxy coating on the needles!    Garlic contains naturally occurring sulfur so it can also act as an antibacterial agent and fungus preventative.

Directions:   Throw a handful of garlic into a blender wtih 1 quart of warm water, let steep a few hours, strain out the solids and spray onto the pests.   Also spray the plants as a preventitive.

Stop by for a garden tour -if the weather & time permits
Grasshoppers... &

Want to eat


Cucumber Beetles...

your food !


Fight back!


Welcome the birds

As well as Bees to

your garden to help!

 Honey Bee

Please don't kill the good while trying to get rid of the bad !

Use organic methods to fight off bug infestations.

I often have vintage and new books about gardening, among other topics for function and just for fun, for sale in my online store: http://OrganicGiftsByDiana.eCrater.com/ or at
Diana's Gift Shop (It is known as Hubbard Ohio Gift Shop on facebook) is conveniently located at 6177 Youngstown-Hubbard Road in Hubbard, Ohio 44425
Wednesdays and Sundays from noon to 5:00pm
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 5pm

Try my goat milk soaps. Need a great gift basket ? Visit Diana's in Hubbard Ohio