Homemade Garden Insect Repellent

2 whole heads of garlic with the cloves separated and peeled.
3 cups of mint leaves and stems.
2 tsp of dry red cayenne pepper.
2 small squirts of eco-friendly dish soap.

Pulse prepared garlic and mint in the food processor for several seconds.
Transfer mix to a pot with 12 cups of water.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let it rest overnight.
Strain into spray bottle and add soap. Shake to mix well.

Shake before each use.
Try to use on cloudy days to prevent burn.
Spray the top and underside of the leaves.
Generally takes a day or two to notice results.
Apply as needed up to 3 times per month.
Safe for the entire garden.

All of the previously mentioned plants- garlic, mint and cayenne-
are effective at deterring insects on their own. However, when
they are combined, what you get is a super strength pesticide.

What’s in my Rows- An in depth look at Tomatoes.

In my second edition of this multi-part series, I’m going to talk about tomatoes.  Both easy to grow, process and enjoy, these fruits are a staple in nearly every garden.  Below, I’ll  provide a list of 7 rules that I follow to help guide you to healthy plants and bountiful harvests.

Rule #1:  Always transplant seedlings as deep as possible.   This includes removing some of the lower leaves if necessary.  The reason for this is that any part of the main stem that comes into permanent contact with the soil will develop roots.  This in turn, leads to heartier plants and usually more tomatoes.

Rule #2:  Well drained soil is preferred so that the aforementioned roots get just the right amount of both water and air.  If your soil is heavy or compact, consider using raised beds.

Rule #3:  Use medium to coarse mulch around each plant in order to prevent soil splashing during heavy rains or watering.   Soil splashing on the lower foliage often times leads to disease.

Rule #4:  Don’t crowd tomatoes.   While they can be planted in rows just like anything else, be sure to space them so that as the tomatoes mature air and sunshine can reach in between each individual plant.  This also helps prevent disease and keeps insects at bay.

Rule #5:  The larger the fruit, the more direct sunshine the plant needs daily.  Six hours is the minimum.  If your plot doesn’t get that, then smaller varieties or even cherry tomatoes may be a more viable option.

Rule #6:  Always be on the lookout for wilting.   This is a tell tale sign in tomatoes of either thirst or disease.

Rule #7:  Try different varieties.   Find out what you like the best for both your taste buds and your needs.

I hope this serves each of you as well as what it has me over the years.   Be sure to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, no matter how big or small.   Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!