The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

Advice on pesticides organics and seeding for planting season

Erik covers a lot of ground in this week’s column

Someone asked this question: “What about the use of pesticides?

Let’s take a moment and look at the meaning of the word.

“A pest is anything growing in the wrong place, and ‘cides is from the Latin meaning killing.

This includes rodenticides and fungicides.

From my experience operating the gardening service, the use of some pesticides was necessary. Today, as it was then, it should be the last resort to cure a pest issue, especially in our vegetable garden.

I’m referring to insects (aphids) attacking currant bushes or attempting to kill my plum tree or slugs eating my cauliflower. Examples of alternative pest control to kill aphids can be dish soap or insecticide soap.

A pesticide is needed when your fruit trees are infected with algae, lichens or moss, and it will eventually kill your fruit trees.

To control this fungus, spray with a fungicide called lime sulphur in the dormant season (before the buds start to swell).

An example of an alternative pesticide to kill weeds in your garden, a garden hoe might be all you need.

“What is an organic product?”

An organic product is one grown without the use of commercial fertilizer or pesticides.

In the USA, some farmers, under a contract to provide grain organically, sold regular grain as organic. The organic products we buy should have been produced without fertilizer and pesticides. Unfortunately, the reality is it is hard to know which food label claims you can trust—and which to avoid.

“Can we produce organic products in our vegetable gardens at home?”

The answer is yes. In my vegetable garden, I rototill all the compostable materials to get my hands on into the soil. I’m so fortunate to have friends and neighbours who save both grass clippings and leaves for me.

A very little fertilizer is used and no pesticides, so it is nearly organic. It’s my opinion, the more compost you add to the ground, the better product you will harvest.

What are the growing zones? Growing zones are an indication for the buyer to know if, what he or she is about to purchase, is suitable for the area where the planting is to take place. Here we are in zone three. If you buy a shrub with higher growing zone numbers, it might not survive the winter.

It is more than a month since I seeded my marigolds called Crackerjack (24-36”). The seedlings are now two inches tall and ready to transplant. I use the size 3.5 X 3.5 pots, where the plants will remain until planting out.

I put them in plastic trays, a solid one inside the perforated one. I want to remind you not to over-water. Let the plants dry out for one day.

In mid-March it will be time to seed the kale, tomatoes, cauliflower or what you like to have the plants ready for planting at the beginning of June.

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