Baking Soda in the Garden

If you’ve been following my blog for any period of time, you’ll know I’ve been fighting battles with Septoria Leaf Spot and powdery mildew in my garden due to all the rain we’ve had this year. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and improved ways to control problems organically, and I have found another household substance that can be used in the garden – baking soda. While researching its use for fungus and mildew, I learned there are several ways to use baking soda in the garden. Learn how!

Woman vs. Bug

My garden is supposed to be a place of peace, a botanical wonder of fruits and vegetables destined for my table or pantry. I work hard to give all my plants the care they need. The other day, I spent three hours pruning my tomato plants and spraying with fungicide to save them from the dreaded Septoria Leaf Spot. It wasn’t work to me; it was part of the loving relationship I have with my plants. But yesterday, I realized the springtime honeymoon for us was over when I caught two varieties of insects using my garden as their sleezy hotel to mate! See the intruders!

There’s a Fungus Among Us!

I love tomatoes! I am growing over 30 tomato plants because I want a plethora of tomatoes. I crave sliced tomatoes for insalata caprese (tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, balsamic vinegar/olive oil), crushed tomatoes for homemade spaghetti sauce, chopped tomatoes for salsa or rice and beans. I have to have my tomatoes! Last year, excessive rain killed all my tomato plants (along with everyone else’s around here), and I was devastated. But it was the weather. Who can control that? This is a new season, and I’ve had such excitement for my crop this year.

But now…there’s an enemy stalking my tomatoes, surreptitiously attacking the leaves and spreading its fingers of death from branch to branch. It arrived so silently, I almost missed it. But then, today….[Queue Theme from “Psycho”] the tomatoes screamed, ” There’s a fungus among us!” Read more!

Slug Fest

My string beans, wax beans, and lima beans are barely out of the ground, and they’re already being eaten by something! This morning, while performing my biweekly close examination of all my plants and trees, I discovered that several of my bean plants are sporting half-eaten leaves (as my wax beans in the picture above) or are merely spindly stalks sans leaves. I see no signs of insect infestation, nor bugs themselves. So, what is attacking my beans? Find out!

I Want to Be an Ant Killer

I want to be an ant killer. Not when I grow up. Now! One of the things I hate about living in the South is having to deal with ubiquitous red fire ant mounds. Unlike the harmless black ants I knew growing up in New England, fire ants are a painful pest to deal with. As a kid, I often watched black ants carrying crumbs of food to their silver-dollar-sized mounds, without any worry of being bitten. Fire ants are another critter altogether! Left alone, fire ant mounds can grow many inches tall and feet wide. And fire ants are aggressive, with painful and itchy bites that leave marks for weeks. Trust me, I know. (As a note: apple cider vinegar applied to the bites will ease the pain and itch as well as prevent them from causing marks.) Well, this past week, I was determined to rid my yard and garden of them once and for all. Join me on my quest!