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I also had some problems with straw bale gardening. At least with manure you test a sample before you put it on the garden. Just water some bean or tomato seedlings with some compost tea made from your manure. The Edible Balcony garden team has installed Glowpear planters in the courtyards and balconies of several clients with huge success. A client overlooking Bondi Beach has recently harvested tomatoes, spinach and even ginger. Lettuce and hostas are popular food for slugs, which can nibble garden plants to pieces. Don’t forget mole crickets. Very destructive to gardens and a real problem in Florida..even the pythons won’t touch them (lol). Deterrents fall into two categories: scent and sound. The problem with the latter is that we have a dog who will hate the high pitched emissions. That leaves finding things that moles don’t like the smell of and either sticking them into the tunnel or sprinkling them around the garden and watering them in. Epson salt provides the plant with the magnesium it needs to produce the “green” in the leaves. Put a small circle of ES around the plant. Don’t forget to water it in. That way the plant can take what it needs when it needs it. I use the triage method and cut those dead or dying leaves off the plant. With regards to my tomato plants this year, I cut off leaves at the lower end of the plant and buried the roots deeper then before. In some cases I planted the stem of the plant on it’s side. This way it gave the plant more area to produce roots. You should see the stems this season,larger then I’ve seen before. Two fingers thick, easily. With regards to the mulching,I was told that saw dust robbed the soil of nitrogen. However are saying that and purchasing a truck load we were committed to using the saw dust and continue to do so. Saw no evidence of that happening. Mulching still keeps the weeds down to a min, as well as protecting our plants from the hot sun. We have raised beds and at least half of the bed is composed of leaves from our back yard We use compost that was a 50/50 mix of leaves and grass,then topped it off with a 0.05 mixture of compost and manure. Then we added an evergreen mixture of top soil to bring the level of the soil to our desired level. I know everyone has their preferences, but we use miracle-grow once a week and our garden is thicker,greener and taller every year. We also have started to make a compost tea. We’ll get back with those results later on. One other thought,at the end of last years season we took what was left from our compost pile and spread it over our raised beds. We think that has helped out too. While it seems that extra work has paid off in that area of gardening soil development, garden pest such as Japanese beetles are eating up our rose bush’s,blackberries and now they are visiting our green bean plants. Hand picking was fine when there was a few, but this year they brought there whole family for a visit. FYI- Hand picking, Shop van and neeme oil. beginning in the morning. Some success. This year we introduced 1500 ladybugs into our garden. We also left alone wasp,bees,spiders and grasshoppers. Need to keep an open eye on the leaf hoppers! Want to keep the garden chemical free as much as we can. Did not mean for this to be so long,sorry about that. Anyway good luck and good gardening to you all from Southern Patriots Victory gardens in the homeland of America. Be prepared for what’s to come! Good Day mate ! SP Hi Jill, I’m so sorry about your garden. I’m a hydroponic/ soil gardener, but I’m 100% organic so I haven’t had that issue. Chalk it up to being hyper-attentive to what goes into our garden, courtesy of extreme food allergies and sensitivities. Something you might want to look into as a way to put nutrients back in your soil (in the event you can’t find organic fertilizers) is rotating your crops and beds. Alfalfa and soy are often used as a reconditioning crop every 3rd year, as they are very rich in nitrogen and other nutrients. You may want to consider having a few different planting areas and while two have crops, the third has alfalfa or soy. At the end of the season, till it in and let it compost over the winter. It was the old way of controlling weeds and restoring nutrients before herbicides and liquid fertilizers took over the mainstream. Gardening is a beautiful and healthy thing, right? Bright flowers, fresh food, dappled shade from a leafy tree… unfortunately, it also means lots of plastic. The gardening industry consumes hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic each year and, according to Penn State scientist James Garthe, only about 1% of that is recycled – a far lower rate than other industries (about 25% of plastic in milk jugs is recycled, for example). So how can you keep rodents out the garden, and from potentially entering your home?  Dear Real Living: I read with significant consternation the Friday, Jan. 17, article headlined « Prevent a garden slugfest with baits, maintenance. » Perhaps my having attended Pentacle Theatre’s production of « Dr. Doolittle » inspired me to point out a gross injustice. The article itself was fine, but the accompanying photo clearly pictured a Pacific banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus). This species, by far the largest and most obvious slug in our parts, is NOT a garden pest. These critters feed on detritus and dead plant material, not on living vegetation. As such, they actually help clean up our yards, not exfoliate them. Unfortunately, the SJ article will most certainly encourage people not aware of these slugs’ good intentions to dispatch them at every opportunity. Bad for the garden, truly tragic for the banana slugs. — Alex Bourdeau, West Salem Alternatively, creating a soakaway may be the answer. This requires a large hole at the lowest point of the garden and filled with rubble or broken bricks, and then covered with 300mm of soil. The soakaway will need to be quite large to have the desired effect – up to 1.8m (6 ft.) deep and the same across. There is not always a need for underground pipes to a soakaway although on land that has insufficient gradient to drain into a soakaway naturally, underground drain pipes of some sort will be required. Both clay and plastic pipes are available – the latter being easier to use and lighter to handle. Stewart acknowledged some parts of the garden are overgrown and said she already had plans to address the issues this week.  Lettuce and hostas are popular food for slugs, which can nibble garden plants to pieces. Wow, thank you for sharing your experience! Our garden was a flop this year, which is a real bummer. However, take this break has renewed our zeal for next year, and I’m already looking forward to some fresh delicious produce next year. “The biggest lesson I learned from Michael…is that first gardens sleep, then creep and finally leap,” she said, because gardens change as they grow. “The second biggest lesson I learned from Michael is that there are no mistakes, but there are learning lessons. You plant something in the wrong spot, and you can dig it up and try it elsewhere, or try something different next time.” Dear Real Living: I read with significant consternation the Friday, Jan. 17, article headlined « Prevent a garden slugfest with baits, maintenance. » Perhaps my having attended Pentacle Theatre’s production of « Dr. Doolittle » inspired me to point out a gross injustice. The article itself was fine, but the accompanying photo clearly pictured a Pacific banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus). This species, by far the largest and most obvious slug in our parts, is NOT a garden pest. These critters feed on detritus and dead plant material, not on living vegetation. As such, they actually help clean up our yards, not exfoliate them. Unfortunately, the SJ article will most certainly encourage people not aware of these slugs’ good intentions to dispatch them at every opportunity. Bad for the garden, truly tragic for the banana slugs. — Alex Bourdeau, West Salem Atlant Gel BioBelt Tonus Fortis TestX Core power up premium BioBelt TestX Core Maca peruana eracto TestX Core

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