News

All Natural Snake Repellent that really works!

August 14th, 2008

All Natural Snake RepellentBecause snakes are always on the move looking for new territories, you need a snake repellent that stops them before they get comfortable near your home!

The first line of defense is cleaning up any clutter that may be around your property. Do not make it easy for snakes to hide. Make sure all garbage cans are tightly closed. The garbage will attract rodents, which in turn attract their predator, the dreaded snake.

The second line of defense is a good snake repellent. There are many different types of snake repellents on the market, many with chemical additives that are harmful to your children and pets. We prefer using All-Natural NOCDOWN III Cedar Oil for a “chemical free” snake repellent.

Unlike mammals, which mainly rely on their sight and hearing, snakes rely primarily on a smell receptor known as Jacobson’s organ; they can’t tolerate the odor of cedar oil repellent. It will make the snakes weak and disorientatedand they will quickly leave the area.

NOCDOWN III Cedar Oil Snake Repellent is a concentrate that you mix with water. It is in compliance with the USDA National Organic Program for use with livestock and crop production.

Every 2-3 weeks, spray the repellent on and around areas where snakes are present: rocks, boards, flagstones, even cracks and fissures in foundations and crawl spaces. When spraying areas of soil, we recommend applying a thick layer of NOCDOWN III. This method works great for campers.  It’s a great way to keep snakes away from campsites and tents!

All-Natural NOCDOWN III Cedar Oil Snake Repellent spray solves your disturbing and sometimes dangerous snake infestation problems.

Funny looking mold on my mulch

August 8th, 2008

Dear Master Gardener: I have two questions. My first questions deals with this funny looking mold (I think) that is appearing on my landscape mulch. Could you give me some more information about this mold? Here is a photo.

mulch mold
 My second question deals with my Veronica plant. As the plant grew this spring, it started to have the bottom leaves turn brown and die. I did not treat it any differently than the year before so I am a bit confused as what approach I should use for my plant. I have also added a photo of this plant.

brown veronica plant

Thanks for your help!

Photo of the Heirloom Tomato Plants we purchased!

August 1st, 2008

customer gardenHere are some photos of our English garden, finally redone. I thought you might like to see some photos of the wonderful plants we purchased from you. The Amish Paste and Brandwines have exceeded our expectations. Keep in mind, this is an organic garden, totally–no pesticides, no artificial fertilizers. Regards, Lyn

customer garden 

Nematode for Grub Control

August 1st, 2008

I am looking for a particular species of nematode for grub control. Can you ID the species that you distribute? Thanks for any help. Darrell

Pumpkin Plant Has No Female Flowers

August 1st, 2008

Just wanted to ask a quick question. All my pumpkin plants are doing great and I have a large number of pumpkins. But the cotton candy pumpkin, has a large number of male flowers but no female flowers yet?? Is there a problem? I do notice some white powder on some of the leaves on this plant which I am planning on treating this evening. Does it normally produce female flowers late? Thanks, John

How to apply Milky Spore Powder

July 28th, 2008

This short video shows how easy it is to apply Milky Spore powder to your yard. You will notice we are using the Milky Spore dispenser for easy application of the powder.

Meaty Topic

July 27th, 2008

Do you ever wish you could wave a wand and make dinner appear like magic? Well, here’s your wand! We have added canned meats to our line of incredible products, and they make meal preparation a cinch. Besides being delicious and convenient, they’re wholesome–prepared with no artificial ingredients. They have a long shelf life, so keep several on hand for last-minute meal preparation…and for camping trips and nutritious meal-starters for dorm room dwellers.

With the addition of a few simple vegetables, noodles and seasonings, you can serve delicious stews, casseroles and soups in a flash. Mix taco seasoning with our pre-cooked ground beef and simply heat in a skillet or microwave-safe dish, then layer with corn chips, shredded cheese, and sliced lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and you have a tempting taco casserole in a minute. Or, boil some of our homemade egg noodles and toss with fresh or frozen vegetables, add some chicken chunks and season to taste, then cover with ready-made crust or biscuit mix. Bake for recommended time for a fast and fabulous chicken pot pie.

Add precooked beef cubes to some sauteed onions, bell peppers, and fresh or canned tomatoes. Season with paprika and kick it up a few notches with black and cayenne pepper. Serve over a bed of noodles and dinner can be ready before you can say Hungarian Goulash.

In the time it takes to boil water and heat chicken chunks in stock, you can create chicken and noodles, the original comfort food. Or, for a more exotic twist, Chicken Paprikash recipes are abundant on the Web. This dish requires only a few basic ingredients on hand in most kitchens. The precooked chicken quickly sauteed with onions, spices and sour cream will wow family and guests.

Why wait for meat to cook when you can open a can of ready-to-use chicken or beef and have a complete, well-balanced meal prepared in an instant? Using whatever seasonings you have on hand, the possibilities are endless. Bon Appetit!

How to get rid of grasshoppers

July 26th, 2008

grasshopper sitting on a plant

The control of grasshoppers is a tricky issue. Like the Japanese beetle, it's better to attempt control in the egg-laying season or the early hatching season. Once the adults begin to invade your space it gets much more difficult.

There is an all-natural bait made from the spores of a protozoan Nosema locustae (sold under the name Semaspore) that is effective in controlling young grasshoppers. Once the hoppers mature, its effectiveness diminishes.

Some non-chemical alternatives would be: the use of row covers, leaving border areas of tall grass where the grasshopper will feed instead of your garden and/or adding several praying mantises to your garden. Poultry, snakes and toads think they're a good dinner, as do robber flies, spiders and blister beetles. These methods all have a lot of limitations. Some other organic options have been often suggested, such as planting the herb horehound as a repellent, or cilantro or calendula as a barrier crop. Diatomaceous Earth can also be used and will remain effective until it is washed away by rain or watering. However, make sure to follow directions when applying it so beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies aren’t exposed to it. Also on the list of possible sprays is Neem Oil, but again its best use is on the younger hoppers.

For a chemical alternative the best time to control with insecticides is when the grasshoppers are between 1/2 and 3/4 inch long, generally mid- to late June, depending on your area. Most of the eggs have hatched by this time and the younger grasshoppers are more susceptible to the toxins. Spraying later might not be as effective, as the larger hoppers have laid their eggs and moved on or may be in adjacent undeveloped land that you cannot treat. The common insecticides listed for yard and garden use include; carbaryl, acephate, and permethrin. These are found under several popular brands and you should read and follow the instructions carefully. Remember: these are non-selective killers and can wipe out good guys, too.

It's difficult to tell what will work best and there are a number of homemade remedies out there if you do a little research online–but, there are no guarantees and sometimes they can be harmful if not mixed correctly.

You might consider hiring a number of small children to run about your yard every day and collect or scare them away. Of course, this will cost you lots of cookies and Kool-aid!

Can I mulch my garden with sawdust only?

July 26th, 2008

Can I use sawdust as my primary garden mulch if it is kiln dried, without changing my pH levels?

Why Blossoms Drop on Tomato Plants

July 24th, 2008

flowering tomato plantBlossom Drop in tomatoes can be caused by several things: extremes in temperature, nitrogen imbalance, humidity, or lack of pollination or water. The most frequent cause is the temperature. Tomatoes do best with daytime temps ranging between 70 and 85 F and night temps between 55 and 70. Anything outside that range for extended periods can cause the plants to abort the flowers and move into survival mode.

During weather extremes, there are often no insect pollinators in the garden, so along with use of Blossom Set Spray you might try hand-shaking the flower to carry the pollen from anthers to stigma to ensure you’re getting pollination. You could also plant some bee-attracting plants near your tomatoes to help attract more bees.

Some other guidelines to follow might be backing off the fertilization of the plants; if your soil is rich in humus you might be overfertilizing. Just apply a balanced fertilizer, like a Tomato-tone, when you plant and again when the plants begin to form fruit.

If the humidity in your area is higher than 70% or lower than 40% then it interferes with the pollen’s ability to stick to the stigma. If you have low humidity, try misting the foliage during the day. If you have consistently higher humidity then you would want to look for varieties that are not bothered by humidity. Otherwise water deeply only once a week during any dry spells–remember that frequent, shallow watering only weakens plants.

One other possibility is that your tomato plants may have just gone crazy and created too many blossoms. With that competition it has to drop some of the blooms to balance out what it can support with the food supply.