Monday, March 25, 2013

Recipes for a Healthy Garden

Rhonda Massingham Hart’s book, The Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb, is jam-packed with quick tips and clever tricks for saving time, money, and resources as you garden.

Here are two natural, homemade recipes to help your garden grow bountiful and beautiful.
Growing Medium for Container Gardening
Container growing is easy and can be cheap. The most important investment is not the container but the growing medium. Here’s a standard formula for mixing planting medium:
  • 1 part soil 
  • 1 part peat moss 
  • 1 part perlite, vermiculite, or sharp, clean sand 
  • 1 part compost (optional) 
Find a container large enough to suit your needs and stir in the above ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

You can customize mixes for the type of plants you are growing. For plants requiring free drainage, such as cacti or succulents, add an extra part of sand or perlite. For those with specific nutritional requirements, mix in fertilizer accordingly.
Tomato-Leaf Tea Insect Spray
Tomato-leaf tea works in two ways. The first is through toxic alkaloid compounds in the leaves (likewise in potato and tobacco leaves) that kill aphids and corn earworms (also known as tomato fruit worms). The second is by attracting trichogramma wasps, which come for the spray but stay to parasitize earworm eggs.

Make tomato-leaf tea by soaking 1 or 2 cups of chopped leaves overnight in 2 cups of water, then strain through cheesecloth, and dilute with 2 more cups of water. When spraying, be sure to cover the undersides of leaves and the growing tips, as this is where aphids congregate. The spray is not a contact poison to people and pets, but it can cause allergic reactions. Don’t ingest, and be sure to wash away any leftovers.
Excerpted from The Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb © 2009 by Rhonda Massingham Hart. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Stalybridge Chiropody said...

Thanks for drawing my attention to this book, looks like just what I need to get started in my garden!