The Conundrum of Managing Pests & Diseases on Edibles


Here’s a puzzler for you. How do you control pests and diseases on edibles without making the plants inedible? Last spring Mallory Hynes with Garden Safe joined me at the Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm to talk with a group of garden bloggers about the topic. I found her demonstration very interesting and thought you might too, so I asked her to write a guest blog post.

Garden Safe® Brand was thrilled to be invited to participate in P. Allen Smith’s inaugural Garden2Blog event April 26th & 27th at Allen’s Garden Home Retreat – and what an event it was! We toured gardens around Little Rock, participated in workshops with other Garden Home partners, enjoyed wonderful food and conversation and even survived a looming tornado. We enjoyed learning from Allen, the other partners and bloggers and loved being able to share our knowledge of effective alternatives for garden pest control.

Allen eating a carrot just after he sprayed it with Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable.

On the second day, the bloggers bravely battled the elements and met us (in their bright orange ponchos) in Allen’s vegetable garden for the Garden Safe Scavenger Hunt. The bloggers helped the Garden Home Retreat’s chef, Brian Kelley, prepare his Sliced Orange Salad for that night’s dinner by collecting lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, garlic chives and leeks. But first, they sprayed them with Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer RTU – safe to use on vegetables up to day of harvest – to kill any unwanted pests. Allen even sprayed a carrot and took a big bite! Everyone had a great time speeding through the garden to collect their goodies, with the fastest four winning gift cards to use in the gift shop – taking home many great books, kitchen décor and garden gadgets.

Adriana of Anachry in the Garden holding up a leek she harvested.

Our Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer – made with pyrethrin, a botanical extract of the chrysanthemum flower that affects the nervous system of many insects and kills them on contact in all stages of growth, including eggs – isn’t the only product we have that’s certified for organic gardening and safe to use on edibles up to the day of harvest. We also have many products safe for use on edibles that are also OMRI Listed, meaning they are certified for organic gardening by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as meeting the USDA National Organic Program’s requirements for organic production, process and handling. These include:

  • Fungicide3 and Neem Oil: 3-in-1 fungicides, insecticides and miticides, that are made from neem oil extract, a organic botanical extract from the neem tree that repels insects from treated leaves and stems and suffocates many small, soft-bodied insects on contact
  • Insecticidal Soap: Made from potassium salts of fatty acids, plant-derived fatty acids that damage the cell membranes of many soft bodied insects, killing them on contact, this soap breaks down into potassium, which is used by plants, and fatty acids, which are metabolized by soil microbes
  • Slug and Snail Bait: Derived from Iron Phosphate, a phosphate of iron that occurs naturally in the soil, this bait is not effected by temperature or wetness, can be used in greenhouses and around pets & wildlife

Garden Safe Fruit and Vegetable Spray

We at Garden Safe know that gardeners want effective pest and disease control products to help nurture their fruits and vegetables, along with the peace of mind that comes with gardening responsibly. And we are proud to provide products that allow them to ensure that their harvests are as healthy as possible. Better Plants, Better Planet.®

For more information, visit GardenSafe.com and facebook.com/GardenSafe

Road Trip to the English Countryside

I discovered my inner Anglophile shortly after college while studying garden design and history at the University of Manchester. England felt like a home away from home for me and I don’t think there was a more ideal place in the world for me to hone my landscape design skills.

I recently returned to England on a tour of houses and gardens. While I started in Cheshire for a stay with my friends at Arley Hall, the majority of my visits were made in Norfolk and Suffolk. There was so much to take in and discover. I certainly came home with more than enough material to share with you on my blog. Over the next few months I’ll post a series of installments about my trip. This first one gives the 30,000 foot view.

Arley Hall, Cheshire. A favorite haunt of mine as a student in England. Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook wrote the forward to my 1st book, Garden Home.

Roses and lavender are a classic. Arley Hall gardens.

Arley Hall walled garden. Catmint, 'Halcyon' hosta  and 'Rosemary Rose' roses.

The herb garden at Arley Hall. Lady Ashbrook designed this years ago.

Themed gardens! This one is for golden plants. Very striking! Next to this garden room was one done in silver foliage.

'Fire and Water' fountain at Houghton Hall. David Cholmondeley has done great things with the garden in the past 10 years.

The Mediterranean garden at Houghton Hall. Note the 'bullnose' boxwood border around the raised pool. Brilliant! Love the potted agaves too.

Catmint 'Six Hills Giant' framing the view to the glass house at Houghton Hall.

My friend Xa Tollemache and Carla Carlisle at Lady Carlisle's home Wyken Hall. They are standing behind the Cornstalk Gates. Love it!

Silver parterre at Wyken.

Guinea fowl on the lawn at Wyken. Carla loves poultry!

Wyken Hall. Love the color!

Gifford's Hall. So attractive. David Hicks did the interior design back in the '70s & it still looks great! So hip!

Helmingham Hall was built in 1510. It's completely moated & the drawbridge comes up every night.

Helmingham is so majestic! I love the punctuation & rhythm of the boxwoods along the moat.

One of Xa's beautiful designs at Helmingham.

Columbine Hall and its moat.

The kitchen at Columbine. So charming!

Columbine's dinning room. I was so taken by the generous fireplace.

 

 

 

Sad News from the Farm

It’s with a sad heart that I write that our little Jack Russell x Rat Terrier mix (aka Jack Rat) Lucky passed away this week.

He and his sister Angel have been a part of the goings on at the Garden Home Retreat since we began construction. I remember when my brother Chris brought them out to the farm. The exact month escapes me but it was cold. I could fit one in my left jacket pocket and the other in my right. The farm won’t be the same without Lucky leading the charge through the gardens.

 

Gotta Love a Beautiful Lamp

One of my favorite lighting designers in Christopher Spitzmiller. Last year he visited the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home and we taped an interview with him about his fabulous lamps. I adore the goose neck gourd lamps, but then I am a sucker for gourds. The handmade bases come in richly hued glazes so bewitching I want one in every room.

Right now Christopher is offering a sale on seconds from his collection. These are lamps with slight imperfections in the ceramic form. The sale ends next Wednesday July 20 so email or call to find out what’s available ASAP.

info@christophersptizmiller
212-563-1144

Three Ways to Use Lavender

lavender

If you are looking for plants for your garden with a heav­enly scent, lavender has to be right up there at the top of the list.

From a garden design point of view, lavender’s silver-gray fol­iage is an excellent neutral. Use it as a backdrop for brighter plants and as a bridge between contrasting colors.

To successfully grow lavender, select a spot with well-drained soil and a full day’s sun. Water consistently and apply an all-purpose, liquid fertilizer in spring as new growth emerges. To keep plants full, lightly prune after the flowers fade in summer.

Lavender is a multipurpose plant that is useful in herbal remedies, aromatherapy, cooking and perfumes. Here are three easy ways to put lavender to work around your house.

Lavender Syrup

Slowly boil one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add ¼ cup dried lavender flowers and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and cool. Lavender simple syrup will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Lavender Swizzle Sticks

Freshen up your drink with a little lavender. Snip a stem that is an inch or so longer than the depth of the glass. Strip the leaves from the bottom, leaving the ones at the top. The pungent flavor is particularly good for a gin and tonic or martini.

Lavender Tea

A cup of lavender tea is good for anxiety, upset stomach or sleeplessness. Mix one tablespoon of dried lavender flowers with boiling water in a teapot and steep for 10 minutes. Save leftover tea to use as a hair rinse.

Happy Independence Day – 10 Things that Inspire Me

Flag waving at the Garden Home RetreatHappy Independence Day! I hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying their celeb­rat­ions. I’ve just returned from a trip to Great Britain where I visited some amazing estates and gardens. The trip provided a much needed refill for the old creativity tank, but I’m glad to be back on home ground.

When traveling I do a lot of reflecting. It’s really one of the few times when my attention isn’t pulled in 100 directions so there’s space in my mind for thoughts other than “What’s next?” Maybe it’s because it is July 4th or because I was in a foreign country, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I appreciate most here in the U.S. On my flight home I came up with a list of 10 things that I find inspiring about this country.

  • Thomas Jefferson and Monticello
  • Our National Parks System
  • American farmers
  • George Washington and Mt. Vernon
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • American ingenuity and the free market system
  • Freedom of speech
  • PBS and NPR
  • American armed services
  • Bluegrass music
  • American cuisine (I adore fresh blackberry cobbler and homemade ice cream)
  • Garrison Keillor

What do you find inspirational about the United States?