Thursday, April 22, 2010

Welcome Stones Crossing Church MOPS Group!

Hello ladies! It was great to meet you all yesterday morning and be able to share a little bit of our gardening adventures with you! My husband and I are by no means experts at gardening - but I think that's the point - you don't have to be a "Master Gardener" to get started and grow your own veggies! Especially with the square foot gardening method being as hassle free and successful as it is as opposed to traditional means of gardening (i.e. tilled plots with straight, wide rows). So I hope you all jump in and get your hands a little dirty and grow some great veggies in your yards this year!

And you can always refer to our past gardening posts to live and learn through some of our successes and mistakes!
I did mention composting quite a bit and probably should have covered it a little more - so here's more resources for those of you interested in that:

Falling in Love Over Compost You too can learn to compost, and boost your garden.

Backyard Composting
Composting is the natural process of breaking down organic materials into a soil-like material. Compost added to soil improves soil structure, and adds nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. Benefits of composting:

  • Increases the organic matter in soil
  • Improves soil fertility
  • Decreases the volume of household trash to landfills
  • Lowers your household water bill....
Download the complete article in PDF format

Also a few of you had some really great questions about keeping deer away and rotting pumpkins and melons that I didn't have a really good answer to, but after some googling - I found some great answers!

Battling Aphids, Caterpillars, & Mites the Natural Way

One thing I have to deal with every year on my plants and in my garden are unwanted pests. You can purchase organic soaps, and I have, from the store but making an insect soap at home is just as effective and less expensive.

3 drops of nontoxic dishwashing soap
32 ounces of water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Spray bottle (be sure to label as insect soap)
Mix all ingredients together in the spray bottle. When spraying on plants be sure to saturate them, but avoid the blossoms.

National Gardening Association Pest Control Library
Use our "mug shots" to identify pest problems in your garden. Click on names for photos and complete descriptions

Phytophthora Fruit Rot

This fungal disease affects all cucurbits, especially winter squash and pumpkins. It is most common in humid areas of North America. Fruit in contact with soil are especially susceptible. The infection begins as a watersoaked spot or depression, later producing spreading white mold. Rotten spots grow rapidly, and fruit may eventually collapse. The disease may set in after harvest. The fungus survives in soil for at least two years.

Prevention and Control

Use a minimum 2-year crop rotation excluding other host plants (eggplant, pepper, tomato). Plant only on well-drained soil or raised beds. Elevate fruit off soil surface.
Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Plant Pathology/

by National Gardening Association Editors

Although most people think of Bambi as a cute forest creature with retiring behavior, due to an growing population, deer have become a major garden pest throughout the country. Although they tend to keep to forest edges and fields grazing on grasses and leaves, they become more daring when food is scarce, venturing into suburban yards. Deer graze and browse leaves, stems, and buds of many woody plants, as well as alfalfa, roses, corn, vegetables, and fruits. Their damage is evident because they leave jagged leaf edges on the eaten plants, not to mention distinctive cloven hoof prints and bean-shaped droppings.

Although deer will eat anything if hungry enough, given a choice they tend to stay away from succulent plants, poisonous plants, pungent flavored plants, and plants with hairy or furry leaves. Plant ornamentals with these qualities in areas of heavy deer traffic. Some gardeners have had success using human hair, dog hair, soap, blood meal, rotten eggs, hot pepper, or predator urine spread around or on flowers and trees. Deer can be scared away by motion sensor devices attached to lights or loud music. Of all the methods, though, fencing is the most reliable. It's best to erect the fence before Bambi has found your garden or yard.

Images©2002, courtesy of


alli/hooray said...

We've been thinking about starting a compost. Our neighbor is growing a garden in the field behind our house, so we'll put the compost on it. I've been searching/pricing compost bins, esp. for under the sink. What do you use, or like?
I'll take a look at the article you linked, too.

Stacy said...

We use the Miracle Grow Compost Bin -

And we have a white compost bucket from World Market on our kitchen counter to collect scraps in.