Vegetable Gardening 101: 6 Edible Pest Repelling Herbs And Flowers

Vegetable gardening is a hobby that many people enjoy, but the care needed to make such a garden grow healthily and pest free requires plenty of effort. It is a challenge to keep your vegetable garden free from pests, but the application of chemical control methods can create more problems. As such the only solution to a pest free and healthy garden is to apply eco-friendly pest control methods. When you invest in natural forms of pest control such as repelling flowers and herbs, you get more than your money’s worth as not only will the pests be eradicated, but you also get a more beautiful garden with the addition of these flowers. In fact many vegetable gardeners now protect their gardens naturally instead of applying dangerous pest control products which can sometimes contaminate vegetables, however, when pest infestations are severe, professionals must be consulted.

 

1. Rosemary

This herb resembles an evergreen and it can produce lavender blossoms which can help repel flies and moths. It can be placed among plants especially carrots and cabbage as it can mask the scent of these vegetables making it difficult for pests to locate them. However, not only is rosemary beneficial to a vegetable garden as a natural form of pest control, but it is also handy when it comes to cooking delicious roasts.

2. Oregano

This is an amazing addition to any type of garden because it can keep aphids, ants and flies away. You must remember that oregano is an invasive plant which can take over large areas when planted without a barrier. This is why it is essential to have this herb planted inside a can. You can cut off the top and bottom parts of a can and insert it into the ground making sure that the top is in level with the ground so that the can will act as a barrier. Just like rosemary, it is also a useful herb to have around because they can make pasta dishes more delicious.

3. Basil

In order to repel mosquitoes and flies, you can plant basil in your garden. Its white or lavender blossoms and unique scent makes it a useful companion especially for tomatoes as basil can enhance its flavor. You can also take a few in a pot and place it in the kitchen’s window to help keep flies out and so that you can easily take a few leaves whenever needed to add to your pasta, pizza and salad recipes.

4. Mint

Like oregano, mint can also spread out quickly and choke out other vegetables. It can repel ants and aphids, while the blooms can provide a subtle color to make the garden more attractive. Mint must be planted in a submerged pot, but it can also be planted as a border so you can control its growth easily.

5. Marigolds

To make sure that your entire garden is well protected, you can plant marigolds all throughout. They can repel pests including nematodes which can attack vegetable roots. You can also plant them around your garden for a bright yellow border. They must be planted in direct sunlight and in well drained soil.

6. Nasturtiums

These colored flowers can brighten up a vegetable garden and keep beetles away as well. Not only are these flowers useful in making a garden beautiful, but the blooms can also be included in salads since they are edible.

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Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in natural forms of termite control in Santa Fe and other types of pest control in homes and gardens. She also provides information about natural pest control methods for vegetable gardens, how they affect lives and the various services of professionals that help treat severe infestations.






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Tips For Composting On A Balcony

Many people are starting to move away from using artificial fertilizers to fuel their garden. They’ve realized that they can fertilize their gardens much more cheaply by making their own compost. Homemade compost also has far more nutrients than the fertilizers normally sold at home improvement stores.

At the same time, many people have faced some challenges when making compost on their own. They have found that it is often spoiled by bugs and other vermin. Heavy rains can also ruin the quality of your compost. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate these risks while composting: consider creating compost on one of your balconies.

Why Compost on a Balcony?

Many gardeners have started to use their balconies as a place to create compost. Many of these people live in urban areas and don’t have access to a garden to make compost in. You need to be more resourceful when you are trying to garden in the city and your balcony can be one of the best places to do it.

There are a couple of other benefits to using your balcony for composting. For example, you won’t need to worry about animals and other vermin getting into your compost pile.

What Do You Need?

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to start composting. You can get started with the following:

  • You will need something to hold onto the waste you intend to compost with. A medium-sized garbage can will do. You will be keeping it on your balcony so a stationary bin will serve best.
  • You will need a large bin for your kitchen that you will throw your waste in before moving it to your compost bin. You will need to make sure there are some holes to keep your compost pile from retaining water and provide proper ventilation.
  • You will need some soil, but it doesn’t have to be the same quality that you normally use for plants.
  • You need worms to facilitate the composting process. You would have plenty of worms available if you were storing your compost in a garden. However, you won’t have that option when you are doing your composting on a balcony. You will need to buy a handful of worms to add to the bin. Red worms tend to work best.

What Do You Put in Your Compost?

You will be collecting organic waste and storing it in your compost bin. There are a number of different things that you can use to generate your compost, but it can include:

  • Leaves
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Vegetables and fruits you didn’t eat
  • Shredded newspapers
  • Grass clippings
  • Animal waste

There are many different composting strategies you can try. Some people create specific mixtures to ensure their compost gets all the necessary nutrients. In general, you will probably want to alternate between layers of plant material and soil to ensure your compost ferments evenly. You can try a number of different strategies, but the important thing is to get started.

You will need to be a little more careful when you are composting from a balcony. Compost can give off some unpleasant odors or risk drawing bugs to your home if you don’t do it properly. You may want to reduce the odors and risk of drawing critters to your house by mixing similar levels of kitchen waste with leaves and grass clippings.

Start Your Composting Today

Your balcony can be a great place to create your own compost pile when you don’t have a garden available. You may have to wait a few weeks or even a couple of months before your compost is ready to use. However, you should have some high quality fertilizer to add to your plants after it has finished.

About the Author: Kalen is a consumer advice columnist who writes about green living for http://www.stockpkg.com/.

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Natural Alternatives To Weed Killers And Pesticides

Weeds and bugs can destroy your yard, and if you worked hard on your landscaping—or if you simply can’t stand weeds and bugs—you’ll want to find ways to keep them away from your yard. Most people turn to pesticides and weed killers, but if you have pets or small children, or if you worry about the environment, most weed killers and pesticides are not a great option. Instead of buying and using products that are filled with harmful chemicals, you can always opt for one of the following natural remedies instead.

WEED KILLER

Hot Water

One of the easiest and safest remedies to killing weeds in your yard is to use hot water. Boil some water so that it’s as hot as possible and then pour it carefully onto the weeds. The hot water will instantly kill the weed and won’t harm you or the environment.

Vinegar

Another safe remedy to kill weeds in your yard is to simply spray them with vinegar. Place vinegar in a spray bottle and spray down the weeds that you don’t want in your yard. The vinegar will eventually kill the weeds. Note that you may need to buy a higher concentrated vinegar, so if the vinegar you purchase at the grocery store doesn’t work, ask your lawn care supply store if they have anything stronger. (Note: pickling vinegar has a higher amount of acid, so if it’s available at your grocery store, choose that one over regular vinegar.)

Newspaper

Newspaper is a great way to naturally kill and keep weeds at bay. If you have weeds already, smother them with newspaper and they will eventually die. If you’re about to plant a flower bed or garden, don’t spend money on the expensive weed screen and instead throw down a few layers of newspaper, as it will keep the weeds from growing in the first place.

PESTICIDE

Syrup

Put a small amount of syrup (or even honey) in a container and place it far away from your garden or flower bed. The sweetness of the honey will attract flies, bees and other insects and keep them away from your garden or flower bed. Plus, since the syrup is extremely sticky, most bugs will get stuck and eventually die.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural pesticide that can be found at most home and garden stores. It’s a chalky substance that you place around your garden or flower bed, and the chalky substance works as an abrasive to smaller insects, killing them by tearing open their stomach or dehydrating them from the inside out.

Soapy Water

Add a few drops of dish soap to some warm water and place it around your flower bed or garden. Although this mixture will not kill the insects that come near your flowers, it irritates them enough to keep them away.

Cayenne Pepper

If you have bugs that are eating your flowers or vegetables, you may want to invest in some cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes) and sprinkle it on your plants. The spiciness of the cayenne pepper will not kill the insects, but it will make it uncomfortable enough for them to keep them away from your garden or flowers. Using spices has also been known to keep away small animals such as rabbits and squirrels too.

Jessica Crouch is a landscape expert and avid gardener who loves writing about common plants and ways to deal with herbal pests.

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