Organic Gardening

Now that we’ve been living in our house for about 3 months, we’ve discovered what regular garden maintenance requires.  And it’s a lot.  It’s a lot of man-power, time and even research.  I say research because so far we’ve had to deal with powdery mildew infestations and lawn issues that I realized I wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with.  That’s when I decided I needed to find organic gardening solutions to these issues for our gardens health, our health and our two dogs, who spend a lot of time in the garden.

My first attempt was when I realized a couple months ago that one of our Crape Myrtles was showing signs of powdery mildew.  I noticed it one week and over the next couple of weeks I realized it had spread to other trees and I needed to deal with it.

Powdery Mildew on the leaves of one of our Crape Mrytles

Powdery Mildew on the leaves of one of our Crape Mrytles

Powdery mildew on the flower buds of a Crape Myrtle

Powdery mildew on the flower buds of a Crape Myrtle

Once this tree started to be infected I  knew I had to do something because it had spread across the yard

Once this tree started to be infected I knew I had to do something because it had spread across the yard

The Leaves get a white mildew coat and it begins to kill the branches and can continue to spread through out your garden.

The Leaves get a white mildew coat and it begins to kill the branches and can continue to spread through out your garden.

 

 

 

 

The First articles I read talked about water being the best “organic control”, spray it in the morning and the sun will help to dry it out because powdery mildew does not like water.  I tried that, but it was hard to remember before work to get out there and spray the trees down.  You have to spray in the morning because in the evening the water will actually spread the mildew because the sun wouldn’t have time to dry it out.  Next I tried to just cut out the infested branches.  I ended up cutting out a lot of the first tree I noticed the infestation.  It looked a little odd, but I really wanted to be done with it!  And then I noticed it had spread to other trees and I couldn’t butcher them all.  So I did some research and bought a container of Neem Oil.

Neem Oil to the rescue, easily purchased at Home Depot

Neem Oil to the rescue, easily purchased at Home Depot

It’s an organic oil used to treat a plethora of diseases and pest.  I followed the instructions on the bottle and sprayed all the infected branches and waited 7 days and sprayed again.  After the first week, I could tell the trees looked better already and after the second spray I am happy to say we are powdery mildew free! The powdery mildew has had no effect on our blooms and the tree I first cut branches out is now showing new growth of blooming branches!  I call that an organic gardening success and if we do have another infestation I know just what I need to treat the powdery mildew!

Mildew Free Leaves!

Mildew Free Leaves!

New growth and buds on the Crape Myrtle I first noticed the Powdery Mildew in.

New growth and buds on the Crape Myrtle I first noticed the Powdery Mildew in.

 

Our next organic gardening success was with our lawn.  I noticed it was getting big brown spots (in addition to a few pet spots) and decided to check the coverage and time we had our controller set to.  That’s when I realized a few heads needed some adjusting and our time for watering was way off for this heat.  I did the adjustments and set the clock for the hotter weather, but still felt like this lawn looked so lush and green when we first moved in we must need to treat it with something else.  I asked some experts in the office and headed to OSH for some organic lawn fertilizer, Dr. Earth to the rescue.

Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer

It’s completely safe for humans and pets and it worked great.  The best thing for me is that we bought a large bag and on the back of it is a schedule for fertilizing your lawn each season.  Some seasons require applying a greater amount of fertilizer than others.  Now it makes me happy to look out and see a consistently green lawn.  Don’t get me wrong it still has some problem areas, but overall the look completely improved after the fertilizer application.  It did require more watering, especially since it’s been hot, and you want to water it in after first applying it.  My pets had no issues with the product and it was so easy to use that I’m glad I’ve got a plan for every season.

On a side note, I’m totally excited because I decided to try to grow tomatoes.  I bought a couple varieties I researched were easy to grow, Early Girl and a Husky Cherry tomato variety.  I bought some organic soil and planted them in some garden pots and have been keeping them watered.  I planted late in the season, but the warm weather lasts awhile so I figured it is worth it to try.   And so far I’ve got 3 tomatoes starting to grow on my Early girl and counting!  And I’ve been cooking with the herbs I planted at the same time.  Success!

Mustang, protector of the 3 tomatoes and one of my gardening companions.

Mustang, protector of the 3 tomatoes and one of my gardening companions.

Like I said, having a garden takes a lot of work, there is always something that needs your attention, but I’m really excited that I’ve had some success in my adventures in garden maintenance, especially finding organic gardening products that are helping me along the way.

 

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