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My wife’s family grows alfalfa and I have been using hay from their barn floors for the last few years to deep mulch my garden. Been loving it and my garden grows great……….however…..I have been worried about this issue as they recently planted a field of “Round Up Ready Alfalfa.” You can no longer assume that alfalfa isn’t sprayed with herbicides. They have been using grass killers in alfalfa fields for years. Most garden plants aren’t grasses so maybe that’s why it’s been a bit of a non issue……but the effect of round up residues may potentially bring about different concerns. Thanks for sharing Jill. I’ll be keeping a close eye on things as I have been hoping this wouldn’t be an issue. The foods to help your soil microbes survive and thrive are now readily available for home gardeners. The bacterial component of your soil loves simple carbohydrates. Molasses is a good option, but even table sugar is of benefit because we are chasing the energy factor more than the extra minerals found in molasses. The ideal dose rates for both involve two tablespoons of either sugar or molasses, in a watering can full of water, applied to 10 m2 of soil. 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. « There is an Extension publication, EC 1586, ‘Using home remedies to control garden pests’ that offers a bit more information. » Hello am66,     Is there any way you can find a space in your back garden for the feeders, I assume that is fenced off for your greyhound as he would be a good deterrent to the cats.  I’m sorry you found feathers and remains of a bird but it is possible a Sparrowhawk could have predated the bird and not a cat as I think cats tend to take their prey away/ home and in tact.     There is an ultrasonic device that seems to get good reviews on Amazon website  HERE   and I know a fellow member on here (  Monkeycheese ) has just purchased two of them so maybe when he has had chance to test them out he can advise you how well they work.    Good luck, hope the cats get the message to stay out of your garden so you can continue to enjoy the visiting birds.    So … you’ve been reading my garden columns and I’ve convinced you that if a former news anchor can grow a garden on a balcony, how hard can it be? Before you begin, you need to narrow your wish-list to your top priorities. In a bigger garden, for example, you might have a barbecue area; in a small garden, you may have to settle for creating a paved space for a portable barbecue and devise a storage plan when it’s not in use. Small family gardens are hardest to plan as you’ll need to find room for a play area. Solution: While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for pests, there is one thing you can do to reduce the chances of your landscape becoming an all-you-can-eat buffet: garden in raised beds. While this won’t solve all your problems, a raised bed helps deter small- and medium-sized animals. Add a fence or netting to deter deer and birds as well.  Join our newsletter to receive the latest garden tips. New garden owners panic sometimes panic about things they’ve heard; received wisdom can be quite detrimental. Wisteria, for instance, has a reputation for being difficult. A brief explanation that I received while training at Cottesbrooke Hall has always stuck; in its logic, it is not difficult at all. The same goes for roses, which I also talk about. More is to be gained from doing, than reading, and the friendly tone of my book will hopefully get people to open the back door, secateurs in hand. Hello am66,     Is there any way you can find a space in your back garden for the feeders, I assume that is fenced off for your greyhound as he would be a good deterrent to the cats.  I’m sorry you found feathers and remains of a bird but it is possible a Sparrowhawk could have predated the bird and not a cat as I think cats tend to take their prey away/ home and in tact.     There is an ultrasonic device that seems to get good reviews on Amazon website  HERE   and I know a fellow member on here (  Monkeycheese ) has just purchased two of them so maybe when he has had chance to test them out he can advise you how well they work.    Good luck, hope the cats get the message to stay out of your garden so you can continue to enjoy the visiting birds.    To supply nitrogen – I have fond memories of my Dad planting his blue lupin cover crop in our vegetable garden. I was paid ten cents an hour to chop up and turn in this dense, metre-high mass. A few weeks later the soil was churning with happy earthworms and our nitrogen-rich soil was ready to plant. Legumes, like lupins, clovers and lucerne, fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and deliver this desirable ammonium form of nitrogen into the root zone. The ideal ratio between ammonium and nitrate nitrogen is 3:1 (in favour of ammonium nitrogen) and this ratio is a big player in pest resistance. You may struggle to achieve this resilience ratio in your garden without some legumes present in the planting mix. Failing that, we can help you create the garden you’d love to – and we only need some photo’s! Garden Gift Hub is one of the most thoughtful and interesting places on the web to find original and useful gardening and nature inspired products. Sorry to hear about your garden! Such a bummer. 🙁 failing garden featured garden gardening Plants vegetables “The Garden Bible” is built on case studies of fantastic-looking and functional garden spaces that started as problematic landscapes. The issues may not at first appear apparent because the solutions work so well. Every garden deserves a citrus tree. In all but the coldest districts, citrus trees feature in backyards. I have used non-organic hay in the garden that I know was sprayed with broadleaf herbicides for 10 years and never had a problem with my plants. Maybe the concentrations weren’t high enough. But, 3 years ago, a neighbor up the valley from us sprayed his fields with 2,4-D and within a week my 150 tomato plants looked just like yours do. I didn’t connect it until the next year when another neighbor sprayed his fields with 2,4-D and I lost my tomato plants again and all of my lettuce that was just starting to head, bolted. I started talking to people and doing research and apparently, certain types of 2,4-D can really drift given the correct conditions. It affects plants drastically just by drift. Maybe you should look into the possibility that a neighbor sprayed something like 2,4-D on fields or lawns. Once it affects the plants, thats it for those plants. I let mine grow but they put on little to no flowers or fruit. This year, I planted in the same spot and didn’t remove the plant residue last fall. I waited until a week after the neighbor did his spraying and then transplanted my plants. Bingo, I had no trouble with my plants and they put on a good crop for us. So, it doesn’t seem to linger in the soil, at least for us. BeMass power up premium erogan BioBelt Penigen 500 Tonus Fortis Eron Plus Zevs BioBelt power up premium

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