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Gardening Newsletter: Gardening with Nature in Mind

Greetings Garden Friends!

Part of this week was spent in NYC, so away from the garden. Thankfully, it rained nearly everyday, and the containers and rows that have yet to be lined up with drip irrigation, did fine. We just need to stay ahead of the slugs, mostly hand-picking at this stage.

 

Neem Oil – Garden Safe Natural Pest Control

That said, our pest control regimen is coming on line today. We are beginning with neem oil applications of 2%. Why neem? It is basically safe to beneficial insects, affects only the plant eaters, and (a big bonus) helps control fungus disease-like the dreaded powdery mildew which really messed with our squash last year.

Please, check out another of our articles citing neem oil for countering fungi on organic tomatoes.

Neem Oil Fungicide

 

We sprayed all of our squash and pumpkin vines with the neem oil today and, depending on the rains, will continue on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. Each plant will be inspected daily for any sign of trouble. Already, some squash bug adults have been caught lurking around. They received a big smooshy welcome (could be there’s a double meaning to their name). 🤔 😉

 

Happy Spring Garden Plants

Late spring is a sensational time of growth and beauty in our garden. Everybody and everything is (mostly) happy. Our Styrian (hull-less seed) pumpkin vines are seriously claiming turf. We put down an extra thick layer of wood chips for them to rest upon hoping the extra drainage will keep the pumpkins from rotting.

 

Kamo Kamo Squash in front left; Hulless Styrian Pumpkin on the ground in back.

 

Exotic Squash Experiment

And our archway squash garden is taking shape with beauties like this Musquée du Maroc (82 days) which bears highly decorative gourd-like fruits. The leaves are quite attractive as well.

 

Musquée du Maroc Winter Squash

And THIS is what that cool exotic Musquee du Maroc will look like! We got our seeds (and this image) from Baker’s Creek Heirlooms at RareSeeds.com.

Squash Musquee du Maroc, image and seeds from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds at RareSeeds.com

 

Longevity Spinach

Our Longevity Spinach, grown from cuttings off two original plants, is doing much better now that they’re outdoors. They did not thrive indoors in pots. Chance are they needed more light, but they were scraggly and we couldn’t get rid of the aphids plaguing them. Now outside, that’s not an issue.

Longevity Spinach (gynura procumbens)

 

We heard about Gynura procumbens during our interview with Dr. Tom Cowan. It is easy to grow and propagate, and apparently forgiving, if overwintered indoors.

We’ll see if we can do a better job next winter of nurturing them, beginning with grow lights. We loved grabbing a leaf to nibble on once a day for the natural vitamin content, but had to stop that when the aphids moved in.

 

Praying Mantis – Beneficial Insects

And how bout a cheer for our beneficial insects. We’ve already spotted a number of ladybugs and just today, I came across this little guy—a young praying mantis—perched on a cucumber leaf.

 

Young praying mantis on a styrian squash leaf

Keeping with the least harmful pest controls helps these beneficial garden insects do their job. When we spray the neem oil and other treatments, we do so in the early AM or late in the day so as to avoid possibly harming bees and other good bugs.

 

What’s up in Your Garden?

So, that’s a wrap for this week. How are you all doing so far? Please, let us know by sending your comments, including photos. We love your garden “selfies”!  👨🏼‍🌾

Wherever you grow, May your garden flourish and your harvests be bountiful!

Coleman, for GardensAll

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