Insecticidal Soaps – What is it & How to use it

Do you know what an insecticidal soap is? Does it differ from regular soap? Insecticidal soaps are specifically formulated to have insect-killing properties, while being safe for most plants. All regular soaps are made with a long chain of fatty acids.

Insecticidal soaps kill susceptible insects by washing away the protective coating on the surface of the insect and by disrupting normal membrane functions inside the insect. The insects must come into direct contact with the spray droplets for the material to be effective. Good coverage is essential and doesn’t affect your health.

The soaps have no residual activity toward insects. Note that repeated applications can sometimes have damaging effects on some types of plants. I normally dilute the insecticidal soap by matching the contents with water.

As with all pesticides, you should always follow label instructions carefully. Remember, with insecticidal soap, make sure you spray the insects. Spraying the leaves will not provide as a protective agent.

This is an organic way of controlling pests. More and more growers are turning to chemical free every growing season. Just remember, as with any chemical, too much is never good. Be sure to always follow the directions. Diluting is a good way to maintain, but on the side of caution.

Between my husband and I, unknowingly, we sprayed our potato plants in the spring with insecticidal soap for approximately four days out of a total of seven because the Colorado potato beetle was so prevalent. I didn’t know he sprayed and he didn’t know I had been spraying. Well, can you guess what happened? Our pretty potato plants went to potato heaven.

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

How to Eat Squash Blossoms

Squash have edible blossoms that you can eat raw or cooked. You can use either summer or winter squash blossoms. Only pick male blossoms because your female blossoms are the fruit producers unless you want to reduce production. Male blossoms are easily distinguished from the female blossoms. The stem of the male blossom is thin and trim. The stem of the female blossom is very thick. At the base of the female flower below the petals is where the squash is developing.

Always leave a few male blossoms on the vine for pollination purposes or self pollinate as you pick. However, there are many more male flowers than female. Harvest only the male squash blossoms unless you are trying to reduce production. If you want less production, then the female blossom can be harvested with a tiny squash growing below the blossom and used in recipes along with full blossoms. Use the blossom of any variety of summer or winter squash in your favorite squash blossom recipe.

To cut squash blossoms, use pruning shears or a sharp knife. It is best to cut them at midday when the petals are open, leaving one inch of stem. Gently rinse your blossoms in a bowl of cool water and store in a bowl of ice water in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. The flowers can be stored up to 1 or 2 days. One way to fix them is to sauté the blossoms in olive oil and garlic for a few minutes and serve. You can also batter and fry the blossoms in a little oil. If you’ve never eaten squash blossoms, you are in for a real treat. Besides, they are nutritious!

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardening 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.

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Happy Gardening!! Enjoy!!