1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 12, 2008

:286 Beneficial Nematodes

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:286 EcoTip: Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms that are used as an organic grub control for soil in lawns and gardens. The nematode enters the grub’s body releasing a bacteria that attacks and kills the grub. The nematodes then use their host to feed and breed. The fall is a great time to use beneficial nematodes while grubs are active and preparing for winter. Two applications 7 spaced days apart is best for breaking the cycle.

Credit: ARBICO-Organics

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

It is important to use the right nematode for the job. Some nematodes work best for mobile pests (see :241 about flea control) For soil grubs, beetles, weevils and borers you want to use a stationary nematode like Heterohabditis bacteriophora. They are available from ARBICO Organics.

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August 24, 2008

:237 Insecticidal Soap

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:237 EcoTip: If your garden has bugs such as aphids a strong stream of water may be all that is necessary to wash them from the plant. The aphids can’t crawl back to the plant so they die, but the beneficial insects like lady bugs will fly to a new feeding spot. If a strong stream of water doesn’t work – try insecticidal soap. It doesn’t contain poisons but will kill insect pests. I’ve used a few drops of biodegradable dish detergent in a spray bottle successfully when I haven’t had the purchased insecticidal soap available.

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 Additional Information:

I found insecticidal soaps available at Home Depot in the garden section – In fact they are now stocking a nice supply of non-toxic pest controls.

If you can’t find insecticidal soap locally you can purchase it from ARBICO-organics.

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June 8, 2008

:160 Vinegar Weed Control

Filed under: :160 Vinegar Weed Control — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:59 am

1:5:10:160 EcoTip: Today’s tip comes from the Butterfly Garden at the Norfolk, Virginia Botanical Gardens. They use vinegar as an herbicide. This non-toxic form of weed control is suitable for organic gardens (especially if you use organic vinegar from your health food store) and  doesn’t harm the butterflies or the environment, but controls most types of weeds.

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 Additional Information:

Spray the weeds foliage with the undiluted vinegar while they are young – especially before they go to seed. Vinegar is approximately 5% acetic acid. Be careful not to spray plants that you don’t want damaged. If you accidentally get some on the leaves of other plants, you can rinse them with water.

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April 5, 2008

:096 Copper Snail Barrier

Filed under: :096 Copper Snail Barrier — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :095

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:096 Tip: Copper foil tape can be used to protect potted plants, trees and garden areas from encroaching slugs and snails. As they slime their way onto the copper they get a mild shock that repels them. It is important to use uncoated copper and not art copper which has a coating to protect it from tarnishing. The coating prevents the copper from repelling the snail or slug.

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Additional Information

The University of California Davis has an incredible photo of the copper foil being used on a tree at:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/H/I-SM-HASP-TR.002.html

They also have additional information on nontoxically protecting your yard and garden from these pests at: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.html

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April 4, 2008

:095 Slugs & Snails

Filed under: :095 Slugs & Snails — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 4:19 am

pic_bananaslug_285x190.jpg

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:095 Tip: Slugs and Snails can quickly ruin a garden. Most baits for slugs and snails are quite toxic to pets, children and the environment.

One nontoxic alternative is the beer trap. You can make one by sinking a can or jar up to its rim in the ground then filling it with an inch or so of beer.

Tomorrow I will talk about keeping the slugs and snails out of potted plants.

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Additional Information

cleanairgardening_1995_4081735.gif 

This pre-manufactured Garden Slug Trap uses beer as bait to trap slugs. I’ve used the can method described above for snails and slugs both, but not tried any of the premanufactured units. It doesn’t look like snails would be able to get into it. It is available from Clean Air Gardening.

King County Hazardous Waste Management Program has a pdf on making your own beer trap at http://www.govlink.org/hazwaste/publications/SY_SlugTrap.pdf

slug-trap.jpg

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March 20, 2008

:080 Pull Weeds

Filed under: :080 Pull Weeds — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am
weed_photo2.jpg Weed Puller - source Hound Dog

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:080 Tip: Pulling weeds is a good way to reduce your families herbicide exposure. I spent about ten minutes a week for about a month, pulling weeds by hand and was getting pretty good at getting many of them up by the roots (you grab them by the base and apply gentle pressure until you feel a little give, then increase the pressure until it comes out). But I was not having any luck with dandelions, which would break off at ground level. Then I tried the Weed Hound. It works great!

After two months I’m down to pulling about 3-5 weeds a week.

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Additional Information

The Weed hound has a number of spikes arranged in a circle that must be placed directly over the weed. Get your fingers down into the grass and find the exact point where the plant joins the root. Center the Weed Hound spikes over the root then step down on it to drive the spikes into the ground around the root of the weed.

weed_hound_jpg.jpg

With most roots I give the tool a quarter to half turn then lift it weed and all out of the ground.

http://www.hound-dog.com/weed_hound.htm

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March 13, 2008

:073 Lead in Soil

Filed under: :073 Lead in Soil — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

ca4antls.jpg

Credit: NORTH CAROLINA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE 

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:073 Tip: Gardening in soil near buildings with lead based paint can result in the heavy metal being concentrated in the plant. Soil should be checked before planting edible plants near buildings with possible lead paint.

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Additional Information

The University of Minnesota has information about recognizing and dealing with lead in soil at: http://134.84.92.126/distribution/horticulture/DG2543.html

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