Bugs Are Afoot
Here are some insect pests to watch for, along with suggestions for wiping them out:
- Japanese beetles: Handpick the copper-winged green ghouls in early morning; drown them in soapy water. Or, let parasitic wasps kill them. Destroy their larvae with milky spore or parasitic nematodes.
- Aphids: Crush the pear-shaped sapsuckers with your fingers or KO them with a blast from the hose.
- Slugs: Drown the slime balls in shallow tins of beer buried at soil level. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or wood ashes around plants.
More Vegetables in Less Space
Get more out of your garden by interplanting quick growers like lettuce between crops that take longer to mature, such as broccoli and cabbage. You'll be tossing the greens in your salad bowl long before the broccoli and cabbage need space to spread out. It's like having two vegetable beds in one.
Whoever came up with the slogan "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" must have been a gardener. Here are ways to embrace these 3Rs.
Reduce water consumption: Pick drought-tolerant and native perennials that are happy growing where you garden. Set soaker hoses to water the soil, not the sidewalk. Collect rainwater. Make sure the barrel is covered so mosquitoes don't breed. Cool off water you boiled to steam vegetables, then use it to perk up patio pots.
Reuse any- and everything: Plant annuals in a worn-out boot. Transform a golf bag into a tool caddy. Cut pantyhose into strips to tie up tomatoes. Turn an old wooden ladder into a plant stand.
Recycle a la Mother Nature. In other words, compost. Keep the pile going with disease-free garden debris, untreated grass clippings, dead leaves, and vegetable scraps. Do not add meat, oil, or dairy products. Water and turn occasionally. Voila: brown gold!