Posted on Leave a comment

How is the Garden?

As you already know, one of the number one questions we get is: how is the garden? This question helped to encourage this site. The answer is a lot of good things are happening in the garden. While we still are keeping our eye out for slugs, snails and flies, for the most part they seem to be under control. But, Mother Nature is always full of surprises. So we will be keeping our eyes peeled. We have seen a few snails here and there. They are tricky because you do not always know what is in the shell. We currently have been treating the garden with the Organic Pest remedy: Oatmeal. Stay tuned for updates on if this Organic Remedy for snails is effective.

The Vole seems to have been taken care of. We have seen no more signs of eaten leaves although there are still a few flies around. The ants however seem to be our most difficult pest. We have been doing a regimen of ground black pepper and water solution, fertilizer for the plants health, marigold flowers (which ants dislike) and Neem Oil, all which should help. Some help more than others. Overall our Organic Remedies have worked although the verdict is still out on the ants, snails and slugs.

Our Roma Tomatoes, San Marzano Tomatoes, Squash, Pumpkin, Sugar Baby Water Melon and Green Bean Plants are all doing very well. They have developed root systems and have begun multiplying their leaves and growing tall. We believe a Vole was causing a lot of havoc in the garden. Now that we have addressed that problem the garden seems to be taking off. Two of our bean plants have been leaning over. Their stalks are very tall, lean and can normally bear the weight of its fruit (beans) thus far. However, we identified two bean plants that needed some additional support so; we staked them with a few wooden paint stirrers that we got from the paint section for free. We will still have to keep our eyes open for flies, snails and slugs so they do not eat the leaves and the harvest. We thus continue to treat the plants with Neem Oil (an Organic Pest Remedy).

Have you started a garden? Do you have house plants? Send us pictures and leave us a comment telling us all about it. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Saving Time in the Garden

Garden Sprayer

We do not have many big tools in our garden tool box but, we have a few key tools that have begun to save us a ton of time. The sprayer pictured above is holds a gallon. It pumps the air out of the container and you hold the lever down for a continuous spray powered by air pressure. The more pressure the more liquid sprayed. There are sieves to filter the liquid so, what you put in the container must be fairly liquid. For things that are less liquid like our ground pepper and water mix we use the water can. We can more than cover our garden space with 2 passes of the water can. The holes in the water can are larger and should be able to hold most mixtures you apply to your garden.

Besides watering the garden, we also fertilize on a regular basis. We have also been applying different mixtures to the soil and plants to discourage pests. You will find that your Organic Remedies are less processed than chemical remedies and, thus may require a water can or sprayer that can hold a less refined liquid.  Thus far the water can, oscillating sprinkler and sprayer are all we need to apply what we need to the garden as well as save time. The most expensive item was the water can because we opted for metal over plastic. There is always something to do in the garden so, anytime we can automate or save time in a manner that makes financial sense for our size garden we do so.

Did you know that you can use wooden paint stirrers to stake smaller plants? Do you know how to stake a plant? Read our article “Stake Holder” dated May 9, 2020 to learn more about staking. Curious as to how you can save time in your garden? Just Ask! Did you know that you can get globes that water your house plants as needed? All you do is fill the globe. Want to know more? Just Ask. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Organic Remedy for Slugs

Organic Remedy for Slugs

Velmer shared with us the rich benefits of used coffee grounds. She scored some major points with this natural resource. Coffee grounds can be used in compost (the filters as well). They can also be used as soil fertilizer. And they can be used as an Organic Remedy for slugs. Our cabbages and Brussels Sprouts have had a time with flies to slugs to snails. We were searching for the correct Organic Remedy to remove these ‘pests’ from our garden as they do not promote plant health and growth. In fact they eat faster than we do! We could barely keep up with how fast nature was moving.

Just when we thought one pest was gone, we discover that we are dealing with a few pests. Some of the pests are in different growth stages. So we had to lay down an Organic Remedy for flies, slugs and snails all at once. The great thing about many of the Organic Remedies (coffee grounds a case in point) that we have been using is that they serve multiple purposes. As the coffee grounds deter the slugs and as they are worked into the soil, they will also fertilize the soil. Typically you would till the coffee grounds into the soil for proper fertilization. Nonetheless, it should have some positive effects.

While our Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts plants may not ever recover, we believe that getting rid of the pests is an overall good idea for the garden. We want to put a big welcome sign out for those insects and animals that do promote the goals of our garden, such as lady bugs, butterflies, bees and birds. What else are used coffee grounds good for? Can you use any of these Organic Remedies around the house? Did you know that vinegar and water can be mixed and used as a Windex? Did you know that eliminating or reducing the use of chemicals in your home can improve your health? Did you know there are organic cleansers for the home on the market? As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Slug to Snail in 60 Seconds

Garden Snails

When you read Eliot Coleman’s books one of the things he will tell you is that, some of the best farmers are great observers of nature. What we have observed is while nature may take its time to produce a tomato, a slug can turn into a snail within a matter of a day. Either these slugs are very good at hiding or they are very fast at transformation. So, why should the gardener be concerned about such observations and nature?

The Slug was first larva. Most gardeners will tell you that some insects and animals are there to help the processes you need to occur in the garden to produce healthy fruit bearing trees while others are not helpful. Normally they are described as either good or bad bugs as some plants are described as plants and others as weeds. Some things will help you along the way and others things will not. Nonetheless, within it all is the overall balance of nature, which we are still observing. Observing implies that we do not all there is to know about nature.

As we identify those things that are helpful to our Organic Garden Pursuits and those that are not, we can begin to enhance the garden experience by managing these things. First we have to identify those things that are helpful and those things that are not. Then we can decide how to properly address them. An Organic Remedy for larva is different than that of a slug and even a snail. This is not always the case but often there are some differences.

Time is of the essence when you are dealing with those things that are not helpful to your garden. I have found that in the case of the snail things moved very quickly. One day I had larva the next I had slugs and the next I had snails and some at the same time. Just as I was researching one Organic Remedy, my pest had transformed into something else. Yesterday I found that I had to conduct research for the pest and address the pest within the hour albeit it was a snail at this point. I mistook larva for an insect caught in a spider web and while I was still identifying my pest half the crop was being eaten up.

The good news is as one becomes more experienced and quicker to respond the better these issues can be addressed. How do you know when a plant is in trouble? How do you try to get at the root of the problem? How do you identify what the problem is? How can you solve a problem if you do not know what the problem is? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

Infectious Disease

Swiss Chard with Disease

In keeping good plant health, one must consider the nutrients the plant receives as well as the predators and disease the plants may experience. In our garden we have to address all of these. With lack of proper nutrition comes disease and with disease comes predators. The health of the plant must also be considered. Has it experienced shock? Was it over watered or under watered? Was it properly drained? Did it receive too much sun or not enough sun?

Many factors can contribute to the overall health of a plant. As we discovered it is not just enough to plant a seed, provide some light and water. Starting with one plant and getting to know the needs and overall challenges that come with that one plant is a good way to begin if you are just starting out. The Organic Journey is a patient one that takes an understanding of the cycle of nature. Just as we may resolve one pest or disease issue, here comes another. The cycle of the nature process may not be over yet and may give rise to another issue or predator.

Recently our Swiss Chard sprout, planted in one of our Soil Blocks, became sick and dropped its leaves. We are not sure what caused it yet. However, the mini garage as we call it, is indeed a garage that we think likes moisture too much. We believe that it was some type of yellow mold. When we removed the plant and went to select the next round of transplants we saw signs of the yellow mold all around where Swiss Chard had been in the clay tray with the other seedlings. Removing the disease plant allowed us to see how the disease was attempting to spread.

Because we were able to identify the mold, we could quickly address the disease and remove it by washing the Soil Blocks with a bleach and water solution. The good thing about these Soil Blocks, more specially Soil Pellets, is that they had a medium holding the soil together. We were able to easily remove the mold from the outside. It looked as if this medium kept the soil from getting infected.

We have found that the best way to address an issue whether its weeds or a predator is to:

  • Identify the issue
    • When you see a plant in trouble, ask why and investigate
    • Document the issue and enlist or consult other gardening experts
    • Conduct research regarding the issue
  •  Resolve the issue before it gets started
    • Research and Identify Organic Remedies
  • Follow through for 2 – 4 weeks after the issue has seemed to be resolved to ensure the issue has been resolved. This may vary depending on the issue you are addressing.
  • Reevaluate
    • Was the issue resolved
    • Did the plant survive
    • Did another disease or pest come in after you resolved that issue
    • What did you learn

What have been some of the challenges that you have faced in your garden? We will face them together; tell us all about it. Did you know that plants could get disease? What did you think are the best ways to address disease when identified? What can observing disease in plants teach you about the nature of disease? What can disease in plants teach us about disease in our bodies? As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Posted on Leave a comment

MiMi’s Inspiration

African Marigold

MiMi and mom gifted us a Cynoglossum Amabile (Chines Forget Me Not) growing kit. Soon after I picked up another kit of Echinacea from the same location. They like a good deal just like we do so it was perfect and the Echinacea has begun to sprout from the kit I got. I did use a different pot then what was provided by the kit. On May 26, 2020 we posted the article “Crowded”  including a video showing how to use growing kits (specifically how to activate the growing medium). Click the article name “Crowded” to view the article. 

After which, MiMi and Mom got a kit for themselves and decided to grow Lavender & Chamomile. Two of our favorite flowers. Both can be used to make teas and both look very beautiful. Lavender is one of those amazing flowers that can be used for almost anything such as making oil scents, perfumes and you can cook with it. So, we though that was pretty cool and hope MiMi is having an awesome learning experience like us. So, we felt inspired to check out this store too since they (MiMi & Mom) are so good at finding deals. And we did. They had a variety of several kits there.

We did not pick up a kit. However, we did pick up some unexpected good advice. We were telling the staff all about the problem that we were having with ants and how we were really looking for an Organic Remedy to the issue. And it just so happen that a few of his family members were really into gardening also. He told me that ants hate Marigold and a few other plants and herbs. We were considering putting up a boarder around the garden. After doing a little research on the matter we discovered that he was 100% correct about the Marigold and ants. Needless to say we got several packs of Marigold Mission Giant Yellow (there are several varieties of marigold) to plant around the boarder of the garden. We also got one full fledge plant: an African Marigold. Some of its flowers are still blooming. Other flowers on the plant have already bloomed as you can see. Naturally the plants are more. So, we got a plant (it looks like four plants in one pot) to get us started and several seeds to keep us going. The seeds will take a week or two to sprout and over 2 months to bloom. We will soon separate the plants out into separate pots to spread the ‘remedy’ around.

As with all our ant Organic Remedies we are being persistent and trying to give them time to work. Because we have serval remedies at work if one does not work than we hope the other will. In the interest of time we are trying multiple avenues. So far the ants seems to be checking the Marigold out and she is standing firm. We will be making observations regarding all our remedies. We are learning too MiMi. Stay tuned to see how things go. 

Where are some interesting places you have found help or information? Have you ever considered using a plant as a pesticide? What other Organic Remedies do you know of that you can share with the community? Did you know ants also hate coffee grounds? Did you know that coffee grounds are good for compost and as a fertilizer? Read more about coffee grounds in our May 24, 2020 article “Compost & Coffee Grounds”. As always you are the best part of what we do. stay healthy.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.