We're about 2 months into the spring growing season, and if you're like us, you already have pests trying to enjoy the hard work you've put into your garden. You also may be wondering when these plants will ever yield produce for you and your family. After some trial and error, we've learned which products and planting methods work best to make your garden thrive. We're excited to share our finds with you!
Eli's vegetable bed (the namesake seen romping in the background) got some visitors from last year's squash bugs. Last year they invaded our butternut squash bed and destroyed it before we could identify what the strangers were. Squash bugs look very similar to stink bugs, and the babies look like little white ticks. This year we started by squishing them by hand, but that was a little gross. Instead, we used the same product as last year with great results! All Seasons Horticulture Spray Oil has kept the bugs at bay for weeks now. Find it here:
For smaller items, such as lettuce, kale, broccoli rapini, Swiss chard, and other items you've planted less of, pyrethrin works great to kill small pests like worms and harlequin bugs. (Harlequin bugs look very similar to ladybugs, so be careful when identifying! Instead of a pretty red body with cute spots, harlequin bugs have a slightly more roachy shape and an orangeish-yellow body with larger spots.) Our favorite pyrethrin:
A great pest prevention spray is Neem oil, which you purchase in concentrate and mix with water. This oil smells great to us, but repels many pests. Our choice:
Some other alternatives to eliminates pests include strategically placing pest-repelling plants in your garden. Those include marigolds, borage, lavender, calendula (shown below), and our beloved lemon balm, which keeps wasps away but attracts bees. Citronella is still the go-to for mosquito repelling, and it grows nicely in pots. Put some on your patio table to make dining outside very pleasant!
Let's talk about how to make your plants grow in your particular area for a moment. If you're gardening organically, artificial growth accelerators like Miracle Grow are a no-no. There are some wonderful alternatives, and this is our favorite:
Sprinkle a few tablespoons around your tomato plants during their growth, and your plants will flourish! The leaves will be stronger, the tomatoes more abundant, and that amazing tomato vine scent will be captivating.
We're big fans of organic alfalfa meal, which keeps your soil healthy and full of nutrients, which leads to healthier plants and a more bountiful harvest. This version is great:
We hope this list helps you with your gardening venture this season. All links lead to Amazon for your convenience, but you'll be able to locate the items in some local nurseries. We'd love your feedback on our recommendations, and to hear if they've made a difference in your growing!
Bless your garden,
Dallas Farmer Gal