Common Enemies of the Rose Bush and How to Combat Them

Growing rose bushes and other colorful flora can be one of the most rewarding parts of gardening for pleasure. Roses in particular are among the most popular species of blooming flower among recreational gardeners. Unfortunately, human beings aren’t their sole admirers — roses face a large number of pests and disease obstructing their goal of healthily budding and spreading the beauty and fragrance of their lovely blossoms.
This has given them a reputation for being notoriously difficult to tend and cultivate, but this is for the most part untrue. In actuality, roses fall somewhere in the middle ground as far as care goes. While they may have a high number of potential enemies, they don’t all occur at once and there are specific treatment regiments designed for each one. Here I outline some of the more common threats and how to defend against them.
Insects

Thrips: Light colored roses are particularly vulnerable to thrips, especially in early summer. They are small brown or yellow insects that cause irregular leaves, misshapen buds and unsightly blooms (brown spotted.) Spray with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Aphids: Aphids are minuscule, pear shaped and love to attack young growth on your rose. Dislodge them with a strong spray from a hose or treat with insecticidal soap, though never in temperatures of 80 degrees.
Japanese Beetles: Copper and green metallic looking bugs, they usually occur in small enough quantities to individually pick off and drown or place into baggies (avoid squishing, which releases attracting pheromones.) For greater numbers, check your local gardening store for Sevin and follow the provided instructions exactly.

Fungi

Powdery Mildew: Occurring only in dry weather, this mildew creates a white, powdery residue that tends to congregate on the leaves in particular. Fortunately there are a variety of treatments, including spraying with a baking-soda solution, summer oil, a sulfur-based fungicide or an anti-desiccant (which keeps the plant hydrated.)
Rust: Another disease that is prevalent during the dryer months. With rust, it is important to remove affected leaves and be careful with watering, doing so only at ground level. Treatment options include lime-sulfur fungicide, dormant oil or rusticide – the later option can again be acquired at a local garden center (be sure to read and follow label instructions precisely.)
Black Spot: This fungus is more common and detrimental during hot and humid weather, causing small black spotting and fringed edges to occur on the leaves. Affected leaves must be removed and destroyed (do not use for mulching or compost) and the plant pruned to improve air circulation. Water only in the mornings, and spray with neem oil, summer oil, sulfur-based spray, a baking soda solution, and certain commercially available strong chemicals.

On a side note, let it’s important to know that like a healthy human, a healthy rose bush is much better equipped to naturally fight off parasites and illnesses, so make sure to read up on proper rose-tending practices to keep your plants strong and thriving. In addition, roses are being specifically bred for resistance to many of their typical bests, and each year many improvements are made. Phasing newer breeds into your gene pool at regular intervals is definitely a good practice.
Following these guidelines for keeping your roses disease free in addition to regular nurturing gardening habits will definitely ensure your flower garden bears its most beautiful, fragrant flowers yet!

What is Economic Gardening?

Many of use have done some gardening at home. I built a couple of raised beds in the back yards a few years. Before they were built and especially after my wife and kids have been growing a number of items. It is important to know that the amount of vegetables that we get depend on the conditions in which the seeds and small plants are put into. The soil conditions need to be correct and filled with nutrients. This takes preparation such as fertilizing and turning over the soil. We compost and this is an excellent source of nutrients for the soil which then gets taken up by the plants, which we feed upon.

The same goes for business growth, stick a five star restaurant in a ghetto neighborhood and it will not be a thriving business. Just as an individual plant receives nutrients only from the soil that is around its roots so does a business grow based upon the immediate environment.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration small businesses have created sixty to eighty percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade. With that being the case then we should focus creating conditions that help small businesses become reality and help enable them to hire more employees. This will lower the unemployment rate.

The use of bailouts to “create or save” jobs is the wrong thing to do. Spending billions of dollars on projects that result in only temporary employment is not creating a permanent solution. These bailouts and extension of jobless benefits has increased the debt and has weakened the United States. Small business pays nearly 45 percent of the total U.S. private payroll and eemploys about half of all private sector jobs. Small business is the way to go. Time to create conditions that help. Money and efforts would be better spent helping small business owners hire a few employees for real and permanent positions not creating dependency and huge debt.

Small companies are also better able to adapt to changes. Trying to convince a large company to come to your state so as to create jobs would be difficult. The time it would take through, decision making, construction, training and start up could be years. A small business can be done in a much faster pace. When solutions are needed now it makes no sense to hope and wait for things to change. You need action and the best action is to create conditions for small business development and growth.

Economic gardening is the creation of conditions that allow small businesses to develop and grow. It is also the best way to go to solve economic issues.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening – How to Succeed

Do you have an interest in raised bed vegetable gardening but don’t know where to begin?
That description fit me about eighteen months ago when I decided, at the young age of fifty eight, it was time for me to get my hands dirty and start planting.

But where was I to begin?
Truth is I didn’t have a clue.
Fortunately, I was able to find three mentors on the internet who guided me along the way.

This article is designed to introduce you to the three main personalities who inspired, motivated and taught me the basics of raised bed vegetable gardening.

My hope is that you too may learn from these mentors and ultimately succeed in your own vegetable gardening efforts.
My main reason for getting started in organic gardening was health concerns.

A medical check up indicated that my cholesterol was high and I needed to lose some weight.
The books on nutrition that I read encouraged me to eat kale, collards, and arugula. All of which were foreign to me.
As my local supermarket did not carry any of these veggies, I decided to grow my own.

And so my journey began.
My first mentor was Jules Dervaes and family. I stumbled across their website, Path to Freedom, by accident.
Jules and his three grown children Anais, Jordanne and Justin have accomplished nothing short of a miracle.

On a small plot of land, only one tenth of an acre, in Pasadena, Ca. they manage to grow some six thousand pounds of food each year.
They regard themselves as urban homesteaders.
For Jules, vegetable gardening is a act of political revolution.
It is his way of reclaiming the land and fighting back against a system that has polluted our air, our water and our soil and is now trying to genetically modify our food.

By growing his own food Jules is taking back control and reclaiming his independence.
Jules and his children have utilized every available inch of property to grow an amazing assortment of fruits, vegetables, and edible flowers.
I must confess I am addicted to their multiple websites and blogs.
I return to them often when I feel the need for a dose of encouragement.
The Dervaes family allows me to see what is humanly possible when one is committed to his beliefs and acts upon them with faith and passion.
If I ever get discouraged when my gardening efforts fail I remember Jules’ guiding words, “don’t throw in the trowel”.
If the Dervaes family taught me the “why” of planting, it was Mel Bartholomew who instructed me in the “how to” of raised bed vegetable gardening.

Back in 1978 Mel authored the number one, bestselling book on gardening ever written. It is called “Square Foot Gardening”.
In this modern day classic, Mel explains the ins and outs of raised bed vegetable gardening.
His particular system advises one to divide each raised bed into sixteen equal squares.

Within each square one may plant a different vegetable.
The advantage of this system is that it requires little work yet produces great results. Mel’s motto is “grow more in less space”.
There is no weeding or heavy digging to do.

It’s ideal for everyone, from youngsters to senior citizens.
Mel clearly explains, in simple language, the steps one needs to take to have a successful gardening experience.
As I approach sixty, I welcome the ease and quick results I can achieve following Mel’s system.

It’s no wonder his gardening principles have been adopted by home gardeners all around the world.
My final teachers are the many mentors I have found on YouTube.
It’s astounding that one may go on YouTube with any question regarding raised bed vegetable gardening and come away with qualified advice and answers offered by raised bed vegetable gardeners from around the world.
I am personally indebted and grateful to all of them.
One gentleman in particular, however, stands out above the rest. His name is John Kohler.

John’s positive energy, natural enthusiasm and sheer love for raised bed gardening is contagious.
He has countless video clips on his YouTube site “Growing Your Greens”. Each video is about ten minutes long. John generously shares everything he knows about organic vegetable gardening.
John has converted his front lawn into a massive raised bed vegetable garden.

He shares his successes as well as his gardening failures.
What I particularly like about John is that he, like myself, is also a health nut.
John knows the nutritional value of all the plants he grows and speaks knowledgeably about them all.

So, if you are interested in starting raised bed vegetable gardening but are afraid you lack knowledge or experience necessary to begin, don’t let that deter you.

Check out my mentors, the Dervaes family, Mel Bartholomew, and John Kohler and get started right away.
You’ll find that vegetable gardening is fun, it’s relaxing, and the rewards are tasty and nourishing.

Secret Benefits of Organic Food

Why should you eat organic food? For one thing if you have ever gone to the doctor, have they told you to watch what you eat? In other words have you been eating the right kinds and amounts of proper protein, fruit and vegetables? Unfortunately because of modern mass gardening or “Conventional” practices of growing vegetables and even livestock many of these inherently “good for you” foods secretly contain harmful chemicals, hormones and pesticides just to name a few.

Therefore, just plain ordinary, common sense tells you that perhaps, just perhaps, you should switch your veggies and dairy items to organically grown products. Furthermore for those of you who eat meat, find organic and hormone free meat products.

Another reason is simply because most of these have been treated with pesticides as well as hormones not to mentioned antibiotics, and, still others are genetically modified. Many Conventional Farmers have used methods that include chemicals, hormones and fertilizers to make their livestock bigger, and their veggies more prolific. Sadly some may even know that these chemically laced foods if ingested are a danger to health.

That is why it is so important that you take back the control of what you and your loved ones eat. Organically grown food is not magic, mystical or anything even fancy. All it takes is a little planning, fertile soil, sunlight, water and some good compost for veggies and fruit; and organically fed, cage free livestock to make it all work. It is something many can grow themselves or buy from local organic farmers. It’s another way to take back control and have victory over what you eat.

Even more evidence of the benefits of organic food comes from Professor Carlo Leifert, & his team, based at the university’s Tesco center for organic agriculture whose four-year study showed that “organic fruit and vegetables contained up to 40% more antioxidants than non-organic varieties,” and he said that… “Larger differences were found in milk, with organic varieties containing more than 60% more antioxidants and healthy fatty acids…” (Source: Oct 29, 2007 Organics Science News)
Keep another advantage in mind; you will probably enjoy these veggies even more because organically grown vegetables taste much better.

These properly grown veggies can make your body feel better too, merely because they have more nutrients in them, thus making them more satisfying to you and your body.

Nutrients, what do you mean you ask? It is widely known that the organic growing of vegetables and livestock restores the sustainability of our soil. Also known is conventional methods that use chemical fertilizers, pesticides and hormones to make their products look better and grow faster, eradicate essential vitamins and nutrients from the soil. This in turn makes whatever is grown in that depleted soil deficient also. What this means is you are not getting the “required daily allowance” that your body needs. In short, because of the conventional methods of growing non-organically you most likely are eating nutrient deprived veggies and meat. This has been linked to people overeating and obesity.

Here is another plus, by eating organic vegetables and food you are actually helping the environment. How? When farmers use organic methods on the land they farm, they employ proper cultivation, proper use, and crop rotations that reinforce nutrients into that soil making it sustainable and therefore farmable by the next generation. So when you grow or buy organic foods you are helping yourself and the environment to be more sustainable for the future.

Don’t be surprised when you go to the supermarket, if the price of organically grown veggies and other products are more expensive than those conventionally grown. This is another good reason to grow your own Victory Garden if possible.
Let’s face it when it comes to your health, buying quantity foods for less instead of quality organic foods, just doesn’t pay. The toll of eating potentially tainted food, for you and those you love is just too high.
Do you honestly believe you should always buy something just because it is cheaper? Frankly, in the case of food, the answer must be no! You can’t put a price on the lives of those who eat it. Don’t wait until someone you know and love gets sick, do something now and go organic.

You have possibly noticed some of the prices of organic items are beginning to lower. Why? More and more farmers are growing organic and even many large supermarkets have added organic, hormone free products as a staple for this growing market. Hopefully soon Organic food will become an industry standard and prices will come down.

Growing Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena – A delightful citrus scent
Aloysia triphylla, the Lemon Verbena, is a large tender shrub native to Argentina and Chile. It gets its common name from the lemony scent given off by the leaves when they are crushed or brushed against. Lemon Verbena belongs to a group of plants called “citrus mimics,” which, as can be inferred, all have citrus-scented foliage.

Large shrub
Lemon Verbena has narrow oval leaves in whorls of 3 or 4. It reaches a height of 6-10 feet when grown in the garden, less in containers.
The tiny lavender or white flowers appear in early summer and bloom for several weeks. They are borne in a loose, pyramid-shaped panicle at the ends of the stems.

 

Many ways to use it
Whether you grow it in a container or in the garden, plant Lemon Verbena where you can take advantage of its fragrance. Put it near a pathway or place a small pot in a sunny kitchen window. The leaves can be used in potpourri or added to iced drinks. Lemon Verbena makes an excellent herbal tea. Add a sprig or two to a bouquet, or float some in small finger bowls. Lemon Verbena can also be used in cooking, for example, in sauces for fish or chicken. Put a leaf in the bottom of a jar when making jelly.

Grow it indoors or out
Lemon Verbena is only winter-hardy in the mildest climates, but it can be successfully grown outdoors all year in a container if given winter protection. Planting against a warm south-facing wall will allow it to survive in areas with cooler winters. Otherwise Lemon Verbena can be grown indoors in a cool position all year or placed outdoors for the summer. It can stand on the patio or the whole pot can be sunk to its rim in the garden. Bring it in again when the weather turns cool in fall.

Through the year with Lemon Verbena
Winter
Lemon Verbena should overwinter indoors in all but the mildest climates. Place it in a bright, but cool position; 50°-60°F is best. The night temperature can go as low as 40°F. Water sparingly, keeping the soil on the dry side, and don’t feed.

Spring
Remove Lemon Verbena from its pot and carefully shake off the old soil. Repot in fresh soil; well-drained commercial potting soil is fine. Older, larger specimens can be top-dressed instead. In February-March, the plant can be pruned back by 1/3 to 1/2 to shape. Step up watering and begin feeding every 3 weeks.

Summer
Regular watering is a must and dilute liquid fertilizer can be added about every 2 weeks.

Fall
Prepare Lemon Verbena for its winter rest. Outdoor plants should be brought indoor or placed in a sheltered position.

Propagation
Lemon Verbena is easy to propagate from tip cuttings taken in spring or early summer. Take cuttings from the pruning done in spring, or use the pinched tips removed later. The cuttings should be 3-4 inches long. Remove the lowest leaves, dip the cut ends in rooting powder, and insert them in a moist mixture of peat moss and perlite. Cover this with a perforated plastic bag and place in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. Once the cuttings have rooted, they can be re-potted into individual pots and otherwise treated as mature plants.

Plant Doctor
Lemon Verbena is one of those rare plants that is hardly ever bothered by insects or diseases. Even aphids seem to leave it alone. The only problems likely to be encountered are in the overwintering. If plants are kept too warm and wet in winter, soft, leggy growth will result.
Mites may be a problem in warm dry conditions indoors. Prevent an attack by keeping plants in a cool spot and misting frequently.

Buying Tips
Lemon Verbena is usually available at most nurseries and garden centers.
Lifespan: Can live for many years.
Season: The leaves can be used all year. Blooms in summer.
Difficulty quotient: Easy as long as it is overwintered properly.

In Brief
Size and growth rate
Narrow oval leaves in whorls along the stems. Can grow as large as 6-10 feet, but usually much less than this in containers. Fast growing.
Flowering and fragrance
Panicles of tiny white or lavender flowers at the ends of the stems for several weeks in early summer. The flowers are scentless, but the leaves have a strong lemony fragrance when crushed or brushed against.

Light and temperature
Full sun both indoors and out. Normal indoor temperatures are fine during the growing season. Frost tender; overwinter indoors in a bright but cool position, 40°-50°F at night, 50°-60°F by day.

Watering and feeding
Water regularly spring-fall–never let the soil dry out. Reduce watering in fall, and keep it to a bare minimum in winter. Add dilute liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks spring-fall, none in winter.

Soil and transplanting
Regular well-drained commercial potting soil is fine. Repot into fresh soil each spring. Older, larger specimens can simply be top-dressed.

Grooming
Prune back by 1/3 to 1/2 in February-March. Pinch tips of new growth to keep plants bushy. Can be trained as a standard.

Propagating
By cuttings.
Environment
Lemon Verbena is delightful anywhere its scent can be appreciated–by a doorway, along a garden path, or on a windowsill in the kitchen.

Key Points to Success With Your Organic Vegetable Garden

Many people across the developed world are looking for new and rewarding ways to go green and avoid the pitfalls of modern food cultivation and supply. Organic gardening has become a popular method for ordinary people to grow their own vegetables, using only natural methods of fertilization and pest-control.

Food grown in this way is not only more healthy, but also tastes better. Organic vegetables and fruit are more nutritional, contain a higher vitamin content and have no chemical residue. Growing your own food without chemicals is also better for the environment.

There’s also the fact to consider, that if you grow your own fruit and vegetables, you know what’s in them. Organic vegetable gardening is no harder than traditional gardening methods once you have the basics in place. I have prepared some key points that will help you to success with your organic vegetable garden.

More attention needs to be given to the soil than with a traditional gardening approach. Turn the soil regularly, whilst adding and mixing-in compost. Compost consists largely of leaves, vegetable scraps, dead flowers and grass clippings. Compost also retains moisture, has nutrients, acts as a natural pest-controller and will provide most of the materials necessary for your organic vegetable garden to grow and flourish.

I would suggest making your own compost heap at the bottom of the garden, or in some out-of-the-way corner. Add all of your crass cuttings, other garden and kitchen-food waste to the mix. Be careful not to add too much animal or fish remains. Once you have your compost ready, spread it over the top soil. Make sure that the layer is about two inches thick. The compost will supply a large part of the minerals and other nutrients that your plants need to grow.

There are many organic fertilizers and other organic garden products on offer. If you are a vegetarian I suggest you check the label, because some of them contain animal products like fish oil, bone and leather. Make sure that the seeds or plants that you buy are organic. These are easily available to buy online if you have trouble purchasing them in your local area.
If you are starting your vegetable garden from seeds, these will need to be planted either indoors or in a greenhouse. Plant them in a container with plenty of organic soil. Make sure that they have plenty of light and water, but don’t over-water them as they can die easily. The soil just needs to be moist. When your seedlings have two leafs on them it is time to transfer them to a bigger container. Consider potting your plants in biodegradable pots, as these can be planted straight into the soil.

As I have already said, your compost will act as a natural pest-controller. Organic gardening, however, allows for a certain level of insect and pest activity. Consider actively enticing insect predators to your crops, such as ladybugs and birds, by keeping a water source nearby. There are also some household items that you can use, such as garlic and hot peppers, to keep insects away.

These key points should guide you to success with your organic vegetable garden. When you harvest your crop, you will know that not only is the taste far superior, but that your vegetables are much more healthy than traditional methods of growing food.

Types of Waste Bin Around the Home

We probably have one in each room of the house and yet very rarely give them a seconds thought but the humble waste bin is an important part of keeping our homes clean and tidy and without them we may find ourselves knee deep in rubbish before we know it.

Yet the different types of rubbish bin used around the home are quite numerous as each of them has to work in a different environment. Waste bins are far more than just receptacles for rubbish a lot more thought goes into them than that.

Take the external waste bin, often called the dustbin or garbage can. These have to be large enough to hold an entire household’s waste for a week or in some locales – two weeks.

External bins therefore have to obtain certain criteria to function. If waste is to sit in them all week then they need to have a good string lid that will not only keep the smells in but prevent vermin from entering These make it a lot easier for refuse collectors to transport them from the front of our homes to the rubbish collection vehicle.

Many of us are now recycle much of our rubbish which probably means not only do we have an external bin for our household waste but also we have recycling bins for different types of recyclable rubbish..

Many kitchens are now accompanied with multi-section colour coded recycling bins. Like regular kitchen bins they have to have a good lid too to prevent smells from leaking out and making the kitchen stink.

There are others around the home have too and they have different functionality. The one in the living room needs to be more stylish than regular bins (as we do have to look at them every day) and designer bins are now common.

The Anatomy of Earthworms

With no appendages on their bodies, earthworms are some of the most interesting creatures that can be studied by scientists everywhere. It is very difficult to determine between the head and the tail of the earthworm at times simply because the structure of the earthworm’s body is such that it is not clearly evident, even from close distances, which end is which.
There are many different variations that are characterized simply by the natural habitats that they dwell in. Many species can be found in large bodies of water, either freshwater or saltwater. Other forms are able to be observed on land where they usually gravitate towards dark, swampy areas that provide them with a lot of water to feed off of.

Earthworms have been known to feed off of land or soil many times, as is evident after a rainstorm when you can see the creatures on top of the soil feasting at the lush dirt that feeds their very existence. Some earthworms, however, also eat other small organisms that they have hunted and captured. Finally, there is a class that is highly parasitic, which creates an interesting distinction of what separates earthworms from other similar creatures.

The main reason why earthworms are so important to study and understand is because they are such an important element in the creation of topsoil. Topsoil is one the most essential elements to our well-being because it helps farmers produce the fruits and vegetable that we desire for survival as well as providing crops to feed to cows, pigs, and chickens to supply us with other foodstuffs.

If you have ever seen an earthworm cast laying around in your yard, you might want to begin collecting them, as they are the most effective means for the production of healthy topsoil that one can find.

The main reason why earthworms are so good for the soil is because rain and other precipitate help bring earthworms to the surface level of the ground. It is there that an earthworm really does its job, both by bringing along well-buried nutrients in the soil as well as helping to consume a large amount of the organic matter that is necessary to have proper plant growth.
It is when earthworms are no longer alive that there bodies provide essential food to the soils of the Earth that allow us to have strong and healthy crops year after years. They are a very important element of our being, as they make it possible for us to get the nutrients we need from the foods we love.

What is the Best Place For Growing Strawberries?

Strawberry plants are the favorite plants to develop by many gardeners. Strawberries are quite sweet and delightful fruits to eat and thus many of us like them. Furthermore they have various advantages to provide as they are low calorie food, considerably advantageous for those having to deal with diabetes, have low fat and are rich in vitamin C.

So, if you love to eat those fantastic fruits then you may also wish to opt for growing strawberries in your own garden.
Prior to setting your strawberry garden plan into action, it is really important to know where and in which conditions strawberries are grown. Mostly strawberry plants can be grown in most climates. Nevertheless if you wish to grow them in the best conditions, it is recommended to cultivate them in cool regions with a great deal of extra wetness.

Once the strawberry plants are in their growing phase and get placed in a proper manner, they should be grown without extra moisture. This is because too much wetness can damage the strawberry plant before it is even picked.

Strawberries can be grown in farms, nurseries, gardens as well as… containers.
I am sure you may be aware of the container gardening idea. This way of gardening is really advantageous and it will allow you to spare a lot of space in comparison to traditional gardens. Moreover, container gardening necessitates less hard work. When it comes to growing strawberries in containers, the possibilities are almost endless as they can be raised in strawberry pots, hanging pots, old tires, usual flower pots as well as in almost anything where they can have correct drainage and humidity. You can even grow them indoors; for example in the kitchen – for as long as you make sure you place them in a sunny and warm site.

After having made decision on the sort of receptacle, you are going to pay attention to the ground as it has an important role while growing strawberries at your doorstep. You must make sure that the soil has sandy composition and is also correctly drained. There should not be excessive standing water as it can lead to molds in the fruits and harm them. Strawberries necessitate a pH going between six and seven. It has to be fertile and this can be done by correctly adding natural compost in the organic ground.

Growing strawberries requires close to six hours sunlight daily – this is why you need to place them in a sunny area. You can plant them either fall or springtime.

Generally, for as long as you take good care of them, you can grow strawberry plants at home.

Organic Gardening Pesticides – The Natural Way to Avoid the Need For Them

An organic garden is a rewarding source of healthy fruits and vegetables for you and your family. Maintaining the delicate balance between all of the components of your organic garden’s ecosystem is hard work but it is the key to successfully preventing damage from harmful garden insects.
If that balance is upset, harmful pests may become a problem that requires additional attention. The topic of using any “pesticide” in an organic garden is a controversial one. There are both homemade and commercially-available products to assist in the control of harmful garden pests but it is important to note that extra care should be taken when selecting any pesticide to use in your organic garden. Pay particular attention to ingredients and warnings even though it may be labeled “natural” or “organic”.

To avoid the need for any pesticides, you should focus on the prevention of harmful garden insects instead. It is indeed the best “medicine” you can give your organic garden. Your ultimate goal is a natural balance of all the key elements of your , water, plants AND insects. There are quite a few “good” insects that will help you fight the battle. Treat them well and you will reduce the risk of ever needing a pesticide.

When the key elements of your garden are in balance, it promotes a healthy garden and a balanced insect population (just enough of the good insects to control the bad ones) a healthy garden will do a great job all by itself to control harmful pests.

Here are four tips to promote a natural organic garden balance:

1. Maintain healthy soil.
This will promote healthy plants. Most insects only attack unhealthy plants. Incorporating natural compost consisting of garden and kitchen scraps is a natural, organic way to keep your soil fertile and healthy.

2. Rotate your crops.
Planting a crop in the same spot season after season will eventually weaken the soil of the nutrients a particular plant needs. The resulting unhealthy plans will be more prone to insect attack. Rotating crops from year to year allows the soil to replenish itself of depleted nutrients from the year before.

3. Invite the good bugs to your garden.
Encourage beneficial predator and parasitic insects into your garden by planting flowers in your garden that provide sources of food for them. They, in turn, will help keep the harmful insect population in check.

4. Keep your garden clean.
Keeping the garden or orchard free of excess debris will give the harmful insect population less places to hide and thrive.

At times, considering all of these factors may seem a bit overwhelming and stressful. However, if you are successful in keeping this delicate balance in check, you may never need to consider using pesticides in your garden and it will reward you with some of the healthiest, freshest vegetables on earth. Please never forget one of the most important things about your garden. You planted it because gardening is fun.