Saturday, May 16, 2009

Organic Products

Ponder for a moment the old adage ... "A rattlesnake is organic, but it is very deadly."

In other words, just because something is organic it may not be healthy for you or the garden. Or it may not be the right approach for your battle.

Recently I have spoken to many customers experiencing insects of all types invading their roses, perennials, and vegetable gardens. Everyone wants a quick fix. Kill the bugs.

I ask "What kind of bug?" Response "I don't know."

"Have you seen any insects." "No, I just want to spray something to keep them from eating my plants."

The customer says "I have some (insert product name here), can I use that?"

"Well," I say, "Have you read the label? Does it say it is safe to spray on your tomatoes? Are there any precautions about number of days you have to wait before harvest?"

"But you sold it to me for my garden."

"Your rose garden or your vegetable garden? A product may be safe for your roses but not for edibles in the garden."

I know I am irritating a few customers as I do not just hand you a bottle and send you on your way. I really want you to know what is going on in your garden.

I am reminding folks of our weather extremes of the past few weeks. Cool nights, hot days. Then to warm nights to humid days, then to really hot days. Bugs are looking for shelter and water. What better place to find sustenance than your fresh vegetable garden.

Step back for a moment and survey the surroundings. Look under leaves, look for eggs, get the flashlight out and look around the garden at night.

Many insects will munch and then fly away. If you find something eating your veggies, put it into a jar of soapy water and swish it around. Or put it under the heel of your shoe. Many of the smaller insects can be sent on their way with a blast of water from your garden hose. Try using quart spray bottle with water and a little dishwashing liquid. The soapy water is enough to irritate most little buggers.

I have my own saying... "Gardening is an interactive sport." Get out there and see what is happening. The garden is never done.

And remember another saying... "The best thing you can add to your garden is your shadow."

Smelling the Roses