5 Ways to Support Pole Beans

Do you know the best way to support your pole beans? Gardeners can use several methods to support their pole beans. Several stakes or bamboo poles leaned together in a teepee style with twine or heavy wire at the top to hold them together is an option.

Another way is to turn tomato cages upside down, or an old stepladder. For a fence type, you can use cattle panels, hog fence, chicken wire or even the cheap plastic fence. Sturdy posts are needed to support the fence. The choice is yours as to what is available to you.

You could also plant your pole beans the Three Sisters way, which is planting pole beans with corn and squash, called “three sisters planting”. The corn provides support for the beans, while the beans provide nitrogen for the corn. At the same time, the squash covers the ground keeping out the weeds. This method is also great for those who use square foot gardening.

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Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!

Business, Medical, Charity – IRS Mileage rates increase July 1, 2008

I have new 2008 tax information for those of you who travel, whether for business, medical, moving or charity. The IRS is increasing the mileage rates through Dec. 31, 2008. Mileage rates are increasing July 1st as follows:

Mileage Rate Changes

Purpose

Rates 1/1 through 6/30/08

Rates 7/1 through 12/31/08

Business

50.5

58.5

Medical/Moving

19

27

Charitable

14

14

This will definitely help at tax time.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email” . I will keep you up to date with my blogs and occasionally will give you free items like my Free Gardening Journal that you get when you subscribe.

Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!

Are insects bugging you? Not anymore!!

Are several bugs eating your plants? It is that time of year when the pests can be real troublesome. The squash bugs are in full force and are mating everywhere and are leaving their larvae (eggs) on my squash, pumpkin and zucchini vegetable plants. These larvae are brownish-orange dots laying in short rows of 4 to 8 and can be found on top or on the underneath side of leaves. Trust me, you don’t want these eggs to hatch.

Japanese beetles (shiny, copper) are attacking my sweet potatoes while the Colorado beetle (orange/cream/black striped or puffy dark orange with black dots around its lower body) is attacking my regular potatoes. Cabbage worms are aggravating my cabbage my giving it the look of swiss cheese.

Keep in mind, even though the homemade recipes work, the insects can become immune if used constantly. You must switch every time you need to spray. If these are issues you are dealing with, I found a great product for you. This is one of the handiest sprays that you could own. For an 8oz bottle, this product makes 12 gallons…that is a lot!

This product is called “Liquid Rotenone/Pyrethrin”. This product controls aphids, asparagus beetle, bean beetle, cabbageworm, cherry fruitfly, Colorado potato beetle, cucumber beetle, elm leaf beetle larvae, thrips, flea beetle, garden fleahopper, webworm, harlequin bug, Japanese beetle, mites, leafhoppers, leafrollers, raspberry fruit worm, rose chafer, sod webworm, squash bug (nymph) and squash vine borer, strawberry leafroller and rootworm vegetable weevil.

For those of you who know I am always in search of great products with great prices, you will want to buy this product from Gardens Alive! Remember, they still have the $20 for $40 offer…so now is the time to buy!

Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

Organic Nutrition – Vitamins & Supplements

Are you getting all the nutrition your body needs? Do you want to save money on your vitamins and supplements? In this article, I will answer both of those questions and tell you how. Most of us don’t eat healthy nor do we eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. When you are constantly on the go, your food intake generally consists of fast food or food that you made fast from home. Neither are generally very healthy for your body. People are becoming more and more health conscious everyday. In addition to eating my fresh vegetables, I take organic vitamins and supplements, which is something everyone should be doing to keep themselves healthy.

Over the last six months, I started shopping more at the local health food store. I recently bought a product from a local health food store called probiotics. This product cost me $87.95. The next day a friend told me about a website where she was saving money on all her health products. So naturally I had to check it out. After a few clicks, I found the same product for $53.00. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately drove to the store and returned my product. Saving money is one of the best things I can do for my and my family.

The moral of the story is you should shop around instead of settling for whatever is convenient. You need to save money with fuel and food prices still on the rise. So, do yourself a favor and go to House of Nutrition and save yourself a ton of money. They have over 25,000 Brand name products at over 50% off store prices on health and beauty products as well as vitamins and supplements.

For those of you who don’t want to miss a thing, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email” .

Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!

Organic Garden Recipes—More on Fertilizers, Pesticides & Fungicides

Are you in need of some organic recipes to use in your garden? Instead of using chemicals, organic gardeners like to take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Successful versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients that are already in your kitchen along with the kitchen blender.

You can make garlic and water insecticide that can be kept in a frozen concentrate form and used later. The garlic mixture can also be added to a seaweed fertilizer, such as kelp, for an extra boost of nutrients every few weeks. A homemade pesticide can be made from habanero peppers (or any other hot pepper) and a homemade fungicide made from baking soda. Plus, tips on the use of eggshells to prevent blossom end rot and aluminum foil to ward off cutworms.

Garlic Tea concentrate:

Ingredients:

Liquefy two bulbs of garlic

1-1/2 cups of water

Directions:

Mix to create concentrated garlic tea, a good all-purpose insecticide that makes crops undesirable to pests. Strain any solids out of the mixture and add enough water to make a gallon. Use this concentrate right away, or freeze in 1/4-cup muffin tins to use later.

Garlic tea can be brewed in combination with a seaweed fertilizer:

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. seaweed

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1 frozen garlic-tea cube

Directions:

Mix in a gallon sprayer. You can apply this application weekly in the spring and once every two to three weeks in the summer months. Habanero peppers also make a good contact insecticide when blended with water. It too can be frozen in concentrate form. It can be added to the seaweed-garlic mixture but should be applied only where an active pest problem is observed.

For curing black spot, mildew or brown patch make an effective fungicide:

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. baking soda

1 tsp. gentle soap

1 gallon water

Directions:

Mix in a sprayer or watering canner. Use this mixture sparingly and keep it off the soil as it affects soil pH.

Tomato Tips: A few other items in your kitchen can help tomato plants. Aluminum foil can be wrapped around the lower 2 inches of the stems of the tomato plants and kept above grade at planting deters cutworms. You could also use paper towel or toilet paper rolls, and tomato sauce cans, with no top or bottom. Broken eggshells can be put in the hole with the tomato plants providing calcium to help prevent blossom end rot.

If you are in need of a good seaweed fertilizer, I have two links under my recommended link section for Gardens Alive! and Yardiac.com in the upper right corner of my home page.

And now I would like to offer you free access to my gardening journal when you subscribe to my blog, a 16 page journal that you can use season after season. Click on Subscribe to My Blog.

Happy Gardening! – The Organic Home and Gardening Gal & Master Gardener

Heirloom Tomatoes – How to know if your tomatoes are heirloom

Do you know what an heirloom tomato is? A particularly large number of heirloom tomato varieties are available today, mainly because tomatoes normally do not cross-pollinate. An heirloom tomato is a variety that has been around for 50 plus years.

Seed saved from heirloom fruits, non-hybrid varieties, produce plants fairly identical to the parent plant. Many of the odder colors and types that have resurfaced lately have their origins in these older, self-saved varieties. The plant type is usually large, sprawling and late compared to current commercial varieties.

Disease resistance may also be expected. If the gardener wants to try a few truly weird or tasty types of heirloom tomatoes, these usually mature some fruits almost anywhere except in the shortest-season areas in Northern states. Specialty seed houses and exchanges are a source of the widest variety of heirloom tomatoes imaginable. I also have seeds of many heirloom varieties mentioned below.

Heirloom varieties can include Green Zebra, Beefsteak, Mortgage Lifter, Arkansas Traveler, Brandywine, Bloody Butcher, Amish Paste, Stupice, Marglobes and Rutgers to name a few. These tomatoes made this list because they perform well under a wide range of conditions and delivering the flavor people want from homegrown tomatoes.

If you like them enough to start saving seeds, which is the first step toward cultivating varieties that are especially well-suited to your garden, you can save the seeds in a cool dry place for next year.

And now I would like to offer you free access to my gardening journal when you subscribe to my blog, a 16 page journal that you can use season after season. Click on Subscribe to My Blog.

Happy Gardening! – The Organic Home and Gardening Gal & Master Gardener

Homemade Organic Recipes – Insecticides, Fertilizers, & Fungicides

Are you into to Organic Gardening and are looking for some easy and inexpensive ways to take care of insects and fungal diseases? Well, I have got the solutions for you. I have 12 recipes for you.

Click here to see the list of organic recipes.

A lot of the items used in these recipes were found at Gardens Alive! They are also running a special right now where you can get $20 off a $40 order.

For those of you who don’t want to miss a thing, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email” .

Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!