Tip: Keep Picking Those Vegetables

Do you know exactly when to pick some of the more popular vegetables? Pick vegetables to keep them producing. Pick green beans when pods are 3 to 4 inches long, but still smooth and smaller around than your little finger. Pick zucchini when it’s less than 5 inches long. Tomatoes are best when left to ripen on the vine, they lose flavor when picked to soon. Cucumbers are meant to be picked before they start turning white on the bottom, remaining all green. Pumpkin last several months when picked after the stem is brown and the pumpkin is mostly orange. If corn cobs feel full through to the top and the silk are dark brown, then grab an ear and snap downwards.

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

Tomatoes – Caterpillars on Tomatoes

Do you know what to do if you find several large caterpillars munching on your tomatoes? What should you do to get rid of them?

It sounds like you are probably seeing tomato hornworms, which can grow to an alarming size! Like most caterpillars, hornworms can be controlled by using Bt, Bacillis thuringiensis. Bt is an organic way of taking care of those hornworms.

However, since tomato hornworms can do a lot of damage in a short time, you may want to remove the ones you see by hand. I use a beer bottle or the like to place over the branch where the hornworm is located. Then, you can commence to give the hornworm an all over body ache by bouncing if off the bottle walls until the hornworm lets go of the branch. The hornworm falls in the bottle and you can quickly pull the branch out of the bottle. Take the bottle and shove it neck first into the dirt. This is where it suffocates and puts nutrients back into the soil as it decomposes. In the late summer or early fall remove your bottles.

If you see a caterpillar with what looks like grains of rice all over it, feel free to relocate it elsewhere in the garden rather than killing it. It has been parasitized by a certain wasp laying its eggs on it. These small wasps are harmless to humans, but will help keep the hornworm population in check. At some point, the parasitized hornworm will die anyway.

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Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!!

Slimey Slugs – Controlling Slugs Organically

Are some of your vegetable plants and flowers being badly damaged by slugs. Do you think you should replace them in the fall or is there still a chance the flowers might come back next year? How can you control slugs organically?

Most perennials have reasonably hardy constitutions, so I wouldn’t give up on them yet. If you can control further slug damage, the roots should be able to generate new foliage this year. There are several ways to miminize slug damage. You can hand pick the slugs off of the plants.

Sometimes, you may not see them. In that case you can also use beer traps, or surround your plants with copper as a slug barrier. The slugs won’t cross the barrier as their “slime” reacts with the copper, giving them an electric shock. There are also iron-phosphate-based slug baits that safely and effectively control these pests. Some just dump salt on them. Your choice!

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 valuable information and occasionally will give you free items like my Free Gardening Journal that you get when you subscribe.

Happy Gardening from the Master Gardener Girl!! Enjoy!

Huge Savings on Fertilizers, Insecticides and Everything Else!!!

I found this great deal and yes I will be placing my order. If you don’t know it already, I love a great bargain. I know you guys love a great bargain too. So, here is the ad:

SAVE up to 67% Off every item- This Weekend Only!
If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be celebrating the coming holiday outdoors – going to see the local fireworks display, watching a parade, or cooking up some delicious treats on the barbecue. And all of these outdoor activities are sure to spark interest in your lawn and garden.

In honor of the Fourth, we’re dropping prices on every item on our website! Order now and you can take up to 67% OFF EVERY ITEM! This offer expires 7-07-2008.  Use offer keycode 145690

The place to get this great deal is at Gardens Alive! For those of you who know I am always in search of great products with great prices, you will want to buy products from Gardens Alive! this weekend! Remember, they still have the $20 for $40 offer…so now is the time to BUY!  When you check out, be sure to use the Offer Keycode: 145690

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog by clicking on “Subscribe to Master Gardener Girls’ Gardening Blog by Email so that you don’t miss out on great information and great deals.

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

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!!