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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Re-Useable Seedling Starter

Re-useable Seedling Starter for Less Than $6

I bought this re-useable seedling starter for less than $6 from my local garden center. It's working well. The tray is designed in a way to help keep the soil moist. I planted butter lettuce, swiss chard, tomatoes, peas, butternut squash, nasturtiums, and thyme seeds. As you can see my swiss chard is doing really well here. Today I transplanted almost all of my seedlings. I'm just wait for a few more to grow to 3 to 4 inches before attempting to transplant them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Composting Education

This article talks about the global benefits of composting and also goes in depth on how to compost your organic waste.

"An astonishing 26 percent of the garbage we discard is organic waste, Ms. Lamb says — plant and food materials that could be kept out of landfills and worked back into the soil. I didn’t realize that organic waste decomposing in the sun is the No. 1 source of the greenhouse gas methane, which is 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide. "

Cabbage Caterpillars Destroying My Collard Greens

Photo of Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Small Cabbage Caterpillars have attacked my collard greens! The caterpillars have almost completely devoured one of my plants and the others are riddled with holes and covered in caterpillar eggs, larvae and caterpillar excrement! Yuck! Strangely enough I have not found any of these cabbage caterpillars on my crop of cabbage.

Photo of Small Cabbage Caterpillar blending in with the base of the leaf.

Photo of what I think may be cabbage aphids?

Photo of the waste that the small cabbage caterpillars have left behind.

I did some research on organic pest control. These are some of the methods suggested:
  • Physically remove caterpillars and drop them in a jar of kerosene.
  • Physically remove and crush caterpillar eggs and larvae
  • Physically remove affected leaves
  • Cover plants with insect-proof netting
  • Invite natural predators like birds to the garden by using bird feeders, bird baths, planting dense brush that provide birds security, etc.
  • Spray Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium that only kills caterpillars and not the predatory insects, above and below the leaves.
  • Use companion planning methods
I will have to figure out the right combination of methods to get this problem under control. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More on Honey Bees

Carson Krislov, a reporter from WDBJ7, was kind enough to forward me a video on bee keeping story a while back. Unfortunately, the video link is unavailable now, but I found an article related to the plight of the honey bees, titled "Beekeepers hope to keep bees busy," on their website that you might find interesting.