Defeating Plant [diseases the Organic l4y

Whether it's rust on your roses or powdery mildew on your pumpkins, the ugly symptoms and disappointing crops caused by plant diseases have no doubt resulted in suffering for you (or rather, your plants). All kinds of plants, from mighty oaks to dainty annual flowers, are susceptible to the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause plant diseases. But that doesn't mean that you're doomed to diseased plants. You have lots of solutions, from disease-prevention planting plans to homemade remedies...

Directions

Choose 1 nitrogen source, 1 phosphorus source, and 1 potassium source from the materials listed above. For example, you could select blood meal for nitrogen, rock phosphate for phosphorus, and greensand for potassium. 2. Mix the 3 materials you've chosen in the proper proportions. Be sure to wear a dust mask, gloves, and safety goggles while mixing the ingredients. Kelp meal is the single product that Bill Wolf uses most to fertilize plants because it is such a complete source of the minerals...

Mighty Milk 7omato ight Cure

To ward off common tomato diseases, like early blight, try a sprinkling of powdered milk when you set out the tomato transplants. This simple suggestion comes from organic gardener Marion Hess, who is a special contributor for Prodigy's on-line gardening newsletter Prodigy Gardens Newsletter. Marion credits milk with her amazing tomato track record of no diseases, ever. 1 have never even had to rotate my crop ' she marvels. And the technique is gentle, Marion assures. It won't hurt anything in...

Ingredients and Supplies

2 parts cottonseed meal 2 parts bonemeal 2 parts wood ashes Bowl or bucket for mixing 2 parts cottonseed meal 2 parts bonemeal 2 parts wood ashes Bowl or bucket for mixing 1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. 2. Using a fork, work the fertilizer into the top layer of soil, applying every 6 to 8 weeks at a rate of I teaspoon per 6-inch pot. 3. Store unused fertilizer in a sealed, labeled container for future feedings. Be gentle when you work fertilizer into houseplants' soil you don't want...

Conditioning Hair

To improve your hair texture and condition your scalp, try this simple herb-infused oil from Mariam Massaro, herbalist and owner of Wise Ways Herbals, a mail-order supplier of natural body care products in Worthington, Massachusetts. This treatment cleans and stimulates the scalp, she explains. You 11 reap lustrous results after just two or three weeks. Mariam recommends using dried or wilted herbs when making an infused oil to reduce excess moisture. To wilt fresh herbs, dry them on a screen...

Cleed3usters

Anyone who plants a garden enlists in a never-ending battle with weeds. Some gardeners take the quick-fix, shotgun approach and blast them with chemicals. In fact, home gardeners spend more than 200 million a year on herbicides. But that's only part of the cost. Chemical herbicides have been implicated in groundwater pollution, soil degradation, and even serious human health problems. In the end, it's a bad bargain, because the weeds keep coming back. But many enlightened gardeners take a more...

Keep Things Clean

There is one hard-and-fast rule in making herbal products for both internal and external use Be sure that all of your equipment and ingredients are clean. Sterilize storage containers or wash them well with hot, soapy water. When a recipe calls for cookware, use glass or stainless steel pans. Aluminum can react with some herbs and with ingredients like vinegar. Most herbalists prefer to use ceramic or glass containers to mix and store herbal products. However, it's fine to put a monthly supply...

Flowers That Attract Beneficial Insects

When you plant this mix of annual and perennial flowers in your yard, you'll provide food for hungry bees who will repay you by pollinating the plants in your garden. These blooms will also attract other beneficial insects, including hover- or syrphid flies, lacewings, lady beetles, and parasitic wasps. Clusters of Vi-inch-wide pink, purple, or white flowers on 4- to 8-inch-tall mounded plants Perennial with ' 2-inch-wide blue-violet flowers on long stems plants grow 1V to 2 feet tall Herb with...

Pray Away 3rown Tatch in Ld

If your lovely green lawn develops brown or yellow rings or patches that die out, brown patch may be the culprit. A variety of Rhizoctonia fungi causes this disease,- some species thrive in cool weather, while others affect grasses in warm weather. If brown patch plagues your lawn, fight back with this formula from John Dromgoole, owner of Garden-Ville in Austin, Texas. Follow up with John's suggestions for correcting water and fertilizer problems or the disease will return.

Mealybug Ieath [French

Melt mealybugs from the stems of orchids and sensitive tropical houseplants with this cheap and easy spray. Bob Thompson, an orchid hobbyist who lives near Daytona Beach, Florida, says this formula will control mealybugs on any plant, including citrus and poinsettias. The soap kills some of the mealybugs right away as it penetrates their protective coating, Bob says. Survivors are then suffocated by the thin coating of corn oil. It's horribly effective, Bob reports. Within days, every mealybug...

Try a Zye 6ed

To make a weed-free garden bed from scratch, try smothering the weeds in winter rye, suggests Julie Berbiglia, author of The Lazy Gardener's Guide to Organic Gardening. Julie says that she and her coworkers kept an 11 X 11-foot plot in rye all summer at the organic demonstration gardens of the Scarritt-Bennett Center's Organic Garden and Arboretum yf in Nashville, Tennessee. By July, J , MwEwL, the rye was completely dried, and A i MMjm MW' it had smothered out every kind of weed, says Julie....

Plants Cup of 7ea

Malcolm Beck of San Antonio, Texas, knows compost. He is the author of The Secret Life of Compost, and he manufactures and sells up to 100,000 cubic yards of it every year. Malcolm believes that compost solubles (the materials that are released when you make the compost tea) are the best part of the pile. He says that these dissolved minerals, microbes, hormones, and other ingredients in compost tea feed the plants, act as a general tonic, and also discourage some pests and diseases. So he...

FlAgp Off Pahpius Off

The compost in Eliot Coleman's seed-starting mix will help prevent damping-off, a fungal disease that infects seedling stems and causes the young plants to fall over and die. Other steps to prevent damping-off include Providing good air circulation. Run a small fan near the pots and don't plant seeds too thickly. into your tray and eject the blocks with the plunger. You can set your finished soil blocks in regular plastic seedling flats or, Fliot suggests, try using plastic bread trays from a...

Compost four [leeds Away

If you don't want to dig out a weed patch to make way for a garden patch, take a lesson from California organic gardener Carrie Teasdale. She makes an on-site compost pile that not only provides humus for her garden but smothers weeds as well. Choosing a site where weeds are growing makes sense, Carrie says. If there are weeds growing, that's a good place for a garden. She lets her on-site compost cook for several months, noting that the hotter the weather, the quicker it will break down.

Herbal ap ray

Keeping plants clean and disease-free is the backbone of Donna Carrier's job as owner of Organic Plant Care, an interior landscaping company based in East Swanzey, New Hampshire. Soap sprays are a crucial part of her strictly organic regimen, but they don't have to smell bad to work, she says. Donna concocted her own soap spray that's scented with fragrant herbs. 2. Let the mix sit until it cools to room temperature. Then drain off and reserve the liquid. 3. Combine V cup of the herbal liquid...

Fennel face toother

For a refreshing herbal splash, herbalist and licensed aesthetician Stephanie Tourles, author of The Herbal Body Book and owner of Septembers Sun Herbal Soap Company, takes advantage of the skin-softening properties of fennel. Fennel creates a slipperiness that feels wonderful on the face and body, Stephanie says. I use this as a hair rinse as well. It restores the natural pH balance of your skin and scalp. Herbalist Terry Whye of Whye Clayworks and Pottery Studio in Finksburg, Maryland, makes...

Heres toMour Herbal Health

Since the beginning of time, herbalists and physicians have turned to herbs for their almost magical soothing and healing properties. For centuries, herbs were the only medicines available. But the power of herbs is more than the stuff of superstition and old wives' tales. Many of today's prescription drugs are still made from common and not-so-common herbs. Using plants as partners for beauty, comfort, and health is an ancient art now enjoying a much deserved resurgence. And we don't need...

Test Ttjzzling rlic Extract

Garlic has a perplexing effect on a wide range of garden pests, from aphids to Mexican bean beetles. This formula for garlic extract comes from David Stern, an organic farmer and director of the Garlic Seed Foundation in Rose, New York. Garlic extract probably works by confusing insects in search of their favorite host plants, so for maximum effectiveness, spray before any pests have become a serious problem. pound garlic (2-3 whole garlic bulbs) 1 quart water 4-5 drops dishwashing liquid...

Fantastic tliar teeding formula

Foliar (or leaf) feeding is the most efficient way to fertilize, says John Dromgoole, owner of Garden-Ville nursery in Austin, Texas, and host of the Gardening Naturally radio program. When you apply fertilizer to the soil, the roots may take up as little as 10 percent of the nutrients, he explains, but when fertilizer is applied to the leaves, 90 percent of the material is absorbed. John regularly foliar-feeds all of the nursery stock at Garden-Ville, as well as the plants in his home...

Teed four harden with Cover Crops

Fifth generation farmer Dean Berden of Snover, Michigan, uses cover crops for fertilizer in his farm fields and his family vegetable garden. Dean produces dry beans, soybeans, wheat, oats, and organically certified cover crop seeds on his 500-acre Thistle Down Farms without using any commercial fertilizer supplements. In his home garden, Dean also depends on cover crops to build soil fertility. He uses a three-year rotation program, planting a cover crop the first year to build fertility,...

Fast tun and t3bulous fertilizer Quickfixes

Feed the soil, and the soil will feed your plants. That's one of the basic tenets of organic gardening. In most cases, an annual application of rich compost or well-aged manure will provide enough nutrients and organic matter to sustain your plants all through the growing season. Even so, your garden will probably need a quick pick-me-up from time to time. That doesn't mean that you have to run out to the garden center and drop some cash on an expensive fertilizer. Chances are you have the...

Let Those rass Clippings

Grass clippings make great fertilizer, according to Cyane Gresham, compost specialist at the Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Cyane says that it's a crime to waste grass clippings by bagging them up for disposal with household trash because they're such a terrific organic source of nitrogen and other nutrients. Grass clippings should never leave your property. They are too valuable as a mulch and fertilizer for the lawn, gardens, and landscape,'' Cyane explains.

Piant Help from lelp

Looking for the perfect all-purpose food for your perennials, herbs, shrubs, roses, and fruit trees Phil Boise of Goleta, California, has concocted an organic mix that keeps his plants healthy and productive all year. Phil and his wife, Ellen McLaughlin, sell organically grown plants, organic pest controls, fertilizers, and seeds at Island Seed and Feed in Goleta. Don't skimp on the kelp,'1 Phil says. He uses only cold-water-harvested kelp. It has a lower salt content and a better nutrient,...

Mix and Match Organic fertilizer

Make your own custom organic fertilizer for almost any plant, says Bill Wolf, co-author of Rodale's Chemical-Free Yard and Garden. In general terms, there are three basic nutrients that a good general organic fertilizer should supply nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can save money by buying organic amendments that supply these nutrients and mixing them yourself in the proportions Bill recommends. The specific quantities of each nutrient will vary according to the materials you use, but...

Piajt That Peeree a Low pH

The plants listed below will thrive in soil acidified with Dan Hartmann's methods, as well as in naturally acidic soil (below pH 7). Most acid-loving plants, including many of these, will also tolerate neutral soil. Flowers Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spp.) Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Candytufts (Iberis spp.) Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) Euphorbias (Euphorbia spp.) Heather (Calluna vulgaris) Japanese iris (Iris ensata) Lilies (Lilium spp.)...

Vinegar Tonic Tea for Houseplants

Do your houseplants look pale and undernourished despite regular feedings Maybe your water is to blame. Nutrients are less available in hard (alkaline) water, but you're sure to have a simple solution at hand. Just a little bit of vinegar, diluted in water, can help make vital nutrients more available to the plants by shifting the water's pH into the neutral range. And because it's loaded with up to 50 trace minerals, vinegar may be just the thing to perk up your plants. Raw, unpasteurized...

Lunar Farms Herbal Specialists

Kawai Pra Colorir

Decide whether you want to make the 3. Cover them with oil and cap tightly. fragrant, relaxing oil or the oil to soothe sore 4. Let sit in the sun for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking muscles. Wilt the appropriate herbs and every few days, i V flowers overnight. 5. Add more oil as necessary to keep the 2. Place the wilted herbs and flowers in a plant material covered, glass jar. 6. Line the strainer with cheesecloth. Oils infused with healing herbs are among the most versatile homemade body care...

Wiss Thard Tocktail

Yield About 8 cups of Swiss chard tea Note Swiss chard leaves that are longer than 10 inches are best added to the compost pile or used in this tonic tea. You can also use the liquid that's left after cooking Swiss chard in the same way. Variation If all of your chard winds up on the dinner table, you can substitute comfrey in this recipe. Its leaves are high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, trace minerals, and vitamins A, B-12, and C. 1 cups red or green Swiss chard leaves, 1 cups red or...