Archive for Home remedies for plants

January 3rd – Is It Winter or Spring?

There is still a lot of new growth on many plants that would normally have gone dormant by now.

There is still a lot of new growth on many plants that would normally have gone dormant by now.

Well, it’s January 3rd and I’m already gardening! You know I can’t stay away from it for more than a few days.

We have had such a warm start to winter. Even when it has gotten cold overnight, the days are pleasant — so pleasant that here in the mid-Atlantic region, we have daffodils sprouting and cherry blossom trees flowering. Although it’s warm now, we will pay for it in February and March, according to the weather people. A classic El Niño with ice storms to come, so until then, I am getting as much done as I can and enjoying every minute in the garden!

I was a lucky gardener and received some fun gardening-oriented gifts for Christmas, too. A really nice gardening seat and tool tote, a pointsettia, a rosemary topiary and some beautiful allium bulbs. These were such thoughtful gifts! I spent this weekend planting the allium bulbs. Normally one would not do that this time of year, but because our temperatures have remained in the range you would expect an October day to be (between 50-70 degrees), I went ahead and got them planted. I just know they will be gorgeous this spring!

The pointsettia doubled in size this last month, and is loving the east exposure.

The pointsettia doubled in size this last month and is loving the east exposure.

I also finished getting the roses ready for winter. They were still blooming until just this week! The last of the leaves dropped, so I scooped them all up. Its a good practice to always do that, as the leaves can harbor diseases which can cause black spot on the next year’s growth if left on the soil below the plant. Better safe than sorry, so I collect them. I had a little bit of it on my older roses this last summer and tried something new: a spray of half water/ half spoiled milk, and much to my surprise, it worked! I removed the affected leaves, sprayed, and within a couple of weeks new growth had sprouted showing no signs of the black spot. Remember this for next year in case you see any. I love it when there are simple home remedies that work! And have no harsh chemicals, either.

Rosemary is a fantastic plant to have inside over winter, the scent is wonderful, it cleans the air and you can cook with it . How great is that!

Rosemary is a fantastic plant to have inside over winter, the scent is wonderful, it cleans the air, and you can cook with it. How great is that!

Inside the house, I re-potted my rosemary topiary and lightly watered the pointsettia. They both really don’t need much water this time of year, and both like bright light. I have the perfect east facing window that I keep the pointsettia next to, and in previous years this has proven to be just the right exposure. It even kept color long into March. I love to have the rosemary in my kitchen, and can’t resist brushing by it to release the wonderful scent. I often use it in cooking, and it is just so pretty, too! These are also natural air fresheners.

Looking forward to seeing what kind of weather tomorrow brings, but I’m hoping to get back out there in the garden. Hope to see you!

This Heat Is Good for Something — Weeds!

With all the heat and rain, we are getting lots of unsightly weeds.

BEFORE: With all the heat and rain, we are getting lots of unsightly weeds.

With the temperatures in the triple digits these days, I am seeing lots of weeds coming out of the cracks in the pavement, especially along the gap where the curbing meets the asphalt.

I have a super easy, inexpensive and totally earth friendly way of getting rid of them — VINEGAR! In the heat of the day (the hotter and sunnier the better), just spray it on the weeds. The weeds will be dead the next day. (I buy a huge jug from the warehouse store — about $2.99 — which lasts the whole summer.) I prefer to scrape them out with the edge of a shovel, never to see them again. If you choose not to remove them, they will eventually disintegrate on their own.

AFTER: One day after spraying with vinegar- all weeds are dead and gone!

AFTER: One day after spraying with vinegar — all weeds are dead and gone! Much better.

Happy Weeding!

Happy Weeding!

The alternative is expensive weed killer, which is very toxic to wildlife and the waterways, so I urge everyone to give vinegar a try. It works great for me, and I hope it will for you, too.

Now if I could just find a great way to keep the wire grass from growing into my garden without having to dig it out — that would be fantastic!

Earth Friendly Home Remedies for Plants

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to all! I love this time of the year here in my garden with everything springing back green and healthy. With that comes a few challenges in the “beat the clock” arena as well: fungus, mildew, slugs and hungry deer to name a few. I have some great Earth friendly and inexpensive ways to thwart these challenges before they even start — can’t beat that! Here are a few of my favorites.

Chamomile tea is a cure-all for fungal diseases. It has antibacterial and fungicidal properties. Mix a really strong brew of 16 chamomile tea bags in 1/2 gallon of water,  simmer for 20 minutes, and allow the tea bags to steep for several hours.  Use as a spray.

Another easy home remedy for fungus: 2 dissolved aspirin (325 milligrams each) in 1 quart of water, used as a spray. I haven’t tried this one, but I am going to — simplest remedy of the bunch!

Use these sprays on the rose foliage to keep them disease free through out the season.

Use these sprays on the rose foliage to keep them disease-free throughout the season.

A spray for black spot and powdery mildew on roses is 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap per 1/2 gallon of water. Shake the bottle before spraying to keep the baking soda mixed in. Use this throughout the season for beautiful, healthy rose foliage.

The next four tips I’ve talked about before, but they really work great:

• Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide sprayed on weeds kills them in hours.

• Borax for ant control.

• Epsom salt to soften up stumps for removal.

• Red pepper sprinkled around flower beds to keep squirrels at bay.

If you can stand the smell this next one works well. 12 rotten eggs and 4 beef bullion cubes in a gallon of water (left to spoil for a week), then sprayed on plants to keep deer (and probably everything else) away.

Spread coffee grounds around the base of hostas and other tender leafy plants like these lily of the valley, to keep slugs at bay.

Spread coffee grounds around the base of hostas, and other tender leafy plants like these lily of the valley, to keep slugs at bay.

Used coffee grounds spread around the base of hostas, or other leafy plants, like lettuce and cabbage will deter slugs. Also, the grounds are high in nitrogen, so they will provide a nice slow release of nutrient. This is one of my favorite tips. I spread the coffee grounds around a different plant in the yard every morning, works great!

There are so many of these easy home remedies for plants that are very Earth friendly. Why not try a few rather than spread harmful store-bought chemicals into the environment?  Your wallet will thank you, too.

Enjoy these beautiful days!