Red lily beetles emerge in the spring ready to wage war on your lilies. These ferocious bugs can devour your lilies in a matter of weeks preventing them from blooming. The trick to controlling them lies in being ready when the first scarlet beetle emerges in the spring.
The first line of defense, of course, is handpicking - but don't forget to inspect the undersides of leaves for rows of red-orange eggs, too.
Remove the red lily beetles and eggs by hand deposit them in a jar of soapy water to kill them - some report using ammonia or bleach in the jar (but never mix the two as they can cause lethal fumes and may kill off more than your lily beetles!)
Check nearby plants for lily beetles too. Many report that the adult beetle can often be found hiding in hostas or other plants.
Use Neem to control lily beetles if handpicking doesn't keep them under control. Neem is a plant based pesticide that doesn't pose a risk to bees. It does need to be reapplied on a 5 to 7 day schedule to keep lily beetles under control.
Controlling red lily beetles on Oriental lilies provides more detailed information about red lily beetles and commercial pesticides effective for their control.
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Shop at Gardens Alive! for a selection of natural products for your garden.
Getting rid of weeds in your garden may seem like a full time job, as these pesky little plants seem to thrive in any soil. If you, like me, are reluctant to use chemicals to control weeds, you may think your only alternative is to hand pull them.
There are, of course, other options - but I'd like to share an all natural weed killer that can be found in your kitchen cabinets.
Vinegar makes an effective weed killer for both the yard and the garden. According to Purdue University, the best solution to use is distilled vinegar with a 5% to 10 % acidity. Vinegar purchased in the store typically contains 5 % acidity making it suitable for killing most weeds. Stronger solutions, labeled as herbicides, can be purchased from gardening centers.
Use caution with vinegar, as it will kill any vegetation it contacts and can't tell your vegetables from weeds. For stubborn weeds - like burdocks - pour vinegar directly onto the roots.
For more tips on controlling weeds in your garden, read Waging war on weeds: Winning the battle
.Note: Because vinegar breaks down quickly, there is little risk of it effecting the pH of your soil, says Purdue University.
If you are in the habit of thinking other people's gardens thrive because they have been blessed with good soil while you are stuck with inferior soil - you need to know that rich soil doesn't just happen on its own. Granted, some have better soil to start with, but that rich dark soil you see takes years in the making.
The good news is: You can start now to build organic-rich garden soil that supports healthy plant growth.
For more information about testing and amending your soil visit my SOIL page and follow the links to detailed articles about garden soil.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Ants may be amazing creatures in their own right, but when they begin to invade the home these pesky insects quickly lose their appeal. Because they are attracted to both sweets and grease, the kitchen is typically their haven, as they carry food back to the nest leaving a trail for other ants to follow. Getting rid of them often involves nasty chemicals - but there are some natural remedies you can use that won't pose a risk of contaminating your food or endangering small children and pets.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Please take a moment to explore the site. Have a question not answered here? Drop me a line in ASK A GARDENER and I'd be delighted to find it for you.
The recent rainy weather may have been good for the gardens, but unfortunately it's good for slugs too. These slimy critters are likely to find their way to your garden and will quickly devour any vegetation in their path.
The Good News is you can control them with natural products found in your kitchen cabinets - or on the shelf of your corner store.
Until Next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Please take a moment to explore the site. Have questions you don't see answered here? Drop me a line in ASK A GARDENER.
If you haven't discovered the joy of growing herbs, yet - it's time you start. These hardy little plants are easy to grow and aren't very fussy about soil. As long as they have full sun and a little water now and then, most herbs thrive in nearly any garden.
I've been growing herbs for over twenty years and I still find them one of the most enjoyable parts of gardening. It's not so much that I love the flavor they give to food - although I do enjoy that too. It's more about their beauty and fragrance for me.
I've added some basic information about herbs to the site today. How to Grow a Culinary Herb Garden provides you with the basic information for growing your own herb garden, while those about specific herbs provide more detail about that herb.
So, go ahead and explore and choose an herb or two for your garden this year.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
Got questions you don't see answered here? Crop me a line in ASK A GARDENER and I'll get back to you with answers soon!
When it comes to planting onions, getting them into the soil as soon as it can be worked is always the best time - but not because these veggies love cool weather. Bulb formation of onions is determined by the number of hours of daylight. Long day onions - the kind we grow in Maine - begin to form bulbs when the hours of daylight ranges between 15 and 16 hours. This means that onions in Maine begin to develop bulbs between the last week of May and the middle of July. When bulb formation begins, the tops stop growing and the plant channels its energy into forming the bulb.
What this means to gardeners in Maine is that if onions are not planted early they will not have time to grow healthy tops to produce the energy needed to form large juicy onion bulbs.
There are, of course, variations on exactly when your onions will begin bulb formation, depending on the specific onions you wish to grow. As a rule planting onions now will likely result in small onions, whereas those planted in April are likely to produce bigger bulbs.
If you didn't get your onions in until late, all is not lost. They can still be eaten as green onions or harvested whenever needed for your favorite recipe - just don't expect large onions in the fall.
Until next time ~ HAPPY GARDENING!
If you are new to Maine Garden Ideas, won't you take a moment to look around? Have a question you don't see answered here? Visit ASK A GARDENER and drop me a line.
One of the most common complaints I hear from gardeners in late spring is that their garden isn't growing as it should. Typically, it goes like this:
"Everything came up fine and was looking great - now it's 'just sitting there' doing nothing!"
Your garden really isn't being lazy. You haven't done anything wrong. In fact, your garden plants are doing exactly what they should be doing. Even though it looks like they aren't growing - they are. When plants seem to sit for days - or weeks - without doing a thing, they are developing roots.
As a gardener, you are understandably eager to see lush, green plant growth, but rest assured your plants are building the foundation they need to thrive. Without a strong root system, plants cannot support the growing weight of foliage or support fruits and veggies. They also can't carry nutrients and water to the growing plant.
So, they next time you are tempted to curse your garden because it appears as though it isn't growing, take a moment to consider the root growth taking place beneath the soil. Once the roots are established, plant growth will resume with a burst of renewed energy.
Please feel free to look around for more gardening info. Don't see what you are looking for? Drop me a line in Ask a Gardener.
Until Next time - HAPPY GARDENING!
For the past few years, I have found that I enjoy attracting an assortment of birds to my yard to add movement and color to the garden. My favorites, of course, are brightly colored goldfinches - but then that may be because they are so easy to attract. Many offer them finch or thistle seed in special feeders, but I find mine happily visit my feeder filled with sunflower seeds.
If you are new to bird feeding check out these tips for attracting and keeping birds in your yard.
Until next time ... HAPPY GARDENING!
Well, I finally got the trellises for my morning glories made using the image above as my inspiration. It was actually much simpler than I thought it would be. My morning glories, of course, aren't ready for climbing yet, and have barely poked through the ground - but I'm hopeful they will cover the porch by midsummer. Stay tuned for pics!
If you love morning glories as much as I do, go ahead and click the image to see the slideshow of gorgeous morning glories. I'm partial to the heavenly blue morning glories, but then the pinks and reds are spectacular too.
For more nature photography, check out my photography site.