Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Eco-Friendly Gardening Solutions

071210 036 Yesterday was garden maintenance day at Hearth Cricket. Well, every day is, really, but yesterday we caught up with some of the things we don't do very often.

First, I sprayed my new vinegar-and-citric acid weed killer between the paving stones. I’d waited until there was no rain in the forecast. Some weeds it killed almost instantly; others may take a couple applications.

071210 032Then I sprinkled half a cup of Epsom salt about six inches away from the roses. The magnesium sulfate will encourage lots of blooms over the next few months. Probably should have done it a month ago and then again at the end of July, but, well, I didn't. Note: never use any other kind of salt around plants unless you really won't miss them when they’re gone.

071210 021Next I made up a solution of one part milk and nine parts water to spray on the powdery mildew spreading on the leaves of the spaghetti squash and pumpkins. It started after a few heavy rains a few weeks back, but I thought the sun might remedy the situation. Not so much. This is the first time I’ve run into powdery mildew in Colorado, but we had it all the time in the Northwest.

071210 029The brassicas are crazy healthy. I swear one cauliflower matured in two days, and new florets of broccoli are ready to harvest every other day.  The green cabbages are getting huge, while the purple ones lag behind -- a nice way to space out their harvests. I did see a couple aphids on one of the cabbages, though, so gave them all a little spritz with water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

071210 031

The corn has almost caught up with the giant bloomin’ onion 

And the ants are busy among the paving stones. For the most part I leave them alone, but when they get too close to the house it’s time for the borax. Borax is a great way to battle ants if they show up inside the house, too.

071210 011

The perennial garden is getting established. Next year: asparagus!

Last week Stacey left a comment with the link to Arbico Organics. thanks for the reminder! They have all sorts of eco-friendly goodies, including beneficial nematodes you can add to your soil.


The giveaway continues for a copy of Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making and her Basic Hard Cheese Kit, valued together at $47. You can enter multiple times in any of the following ways:

  • Leave a comment on Hearth Cricket saying specifically that you want to win the cheese making kit, or let me know at if you want to enter the contest.
  • Add Hearth Cricket to your blogroll and email to let me know you’ve done so. Or, email and let me know if you already have me on your blogroll.
  • Tweet this contest and email to let me know you did.
  • Post on Facebook about this contest and email to let me know you did.
  • Recommend Hearth Cricket on StumbleUpon and email to let me know you did.
  • Bookmark this post on Delicious and email to let me know you did.

Thanks Ricki! I’ll announce the winner next Monday. Good Luck, everyone!


  1. I didn't know what to do about powdery mildew- now I do.
    THANK YOU!!!

  2. Some great tips for battling pesky problems. The biggest problem I have with ants is them going to the hummingbird feeders.

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. Thanks for the great green tips!

    My garden had powdery mildew last year, but I didn't try milk. Yesterday I discovered squash bugs and spent some time picking them off, squashing them (a little poetic justice), and scraping their tenacious eggs off the leaves with a popsicle stick. It's always something!

  4. Rayna, the original study I read was in Brazil and they used nonfat dry milk. And I removed a few of the worst leaves. Good luck!

    Ants love that sweet hummingbird food. Mason, borax confuses them, so if you can sprinkle a little along the path they use to get to the feeder that should deter them.

    Jenny, love squashing the squash bugs!

  5. But what can I do about my apples? I haven't found anything that will keep them from getting wormy except a pesticide, and I refuse to put a pesticide on apples.

  6. Oops, I forgot to tell you I want to participate in your drawing for the cheese making kit.