Frankie Muzio, organic gardener and owner of Frankie’s Organic Fruits and Vegetables Market in North Haven, provided a program about how to use praying mantis and other organic techniques to raise healthy fruits and vegetables. Frankie has been using organic gardening for many years and encourages home gardeners to learn more about how to be successful with this approach.
The use of praying mantis in the garden is one of the key elements in Frankie’s approach to gardening. Mantis have an enormous appetite the moment they hatch from their egg case. As young mantis, they eat aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects. As they mature, their appetite also grows and they eat larger insects, including ticks, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and many other pests.
Fall is the perfect time to look for the egg case that the mantis lay on shrubs. They especially like to use weeds such as mug wort and golden rod, but the egg cases can be found on a wide variety of plants and items. They can be wintered over in the garden shed to protect the eggs from being destroyed by predators. A mesh container designed for praying mantis provides a safe place to keep the egg case. As the weather warms in the spring, place the egg case out in your garden so the babies can begin eating as soon as they hatch. Frankie reports that his garden remains free of most pests because the mantis are numerous and active.
In addition to praying mantis, Frankie also recommends using diatomaceous earth (DE) for natural insect control. This is a dust made from crushed freshwater diatoms, the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, that will cause soft bodied insects to get cut by the minute sharp crystals and die, yet the dust feels soft to us and does not cut our skin. DE can also kill insects such as fleas, ants, bedbugs, and cockroaches, which have an exoskeleton, because it can work its way under the shell and puncture the body. There are no chemicals in the product and it is safe for organic gardening. Food grade quality is recommended, not the DE that is used for swimming pool maintenance. You will find more details about using DE in the garden and home available on the Internet.
Daytime Gardeners of North Haven is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc., New England Garden Clubs, Inc., and National Garden Clubs, Inc. New members are always welcome. For information on our activities and membership, email [email protected], and be sure to visit us on Facebook at Daytime Gardeners of North Haven.
Powered by WPeMatico
DUQUOIN, Ill. — Although she claims to have something less than a green thumb, Du Quoin’s Karen Glynn she has always enjoyed gardening.
After retiring from a career as a college professor, Glynn taught business, marketing and consumer behavior at the University of Northern Iowa and DePaul University, she and her husband retired in Du Quoin.
In retirement, Glynn returned to her figurative roots, earning Master Gardener status. Earlier his year, she was named an Outstanding Master Gardener by the University of Illinois Extension Service.
“I’ve gardened all my life,” she said. “My husband and I retired down here 10 years ago from the Chicago area. In Chicago we lived in an apartment. Beyond house plants, we didn’t do anything. We have a small corner lot, a small. It’s perfect for us for playing around and doing what we want.”
The Master Gardener program is administered through the U of I Extension Service. Applicants take a 16-week course.
“It starts out with basic botany,” Glynn said. “After you get through with the botany and soil, to soil nutrients, into types of plants, perennials, annuals, shrubbery, turf. It’s very comprehensive. There is enough there you can make it whatever you want. You can keep it very fluffy, or you can get really into how do I communicate very complex concepts.”
She said the program was perfect for her needs.
“It serves three things I require — it had to have an intellectual capacity, you can really get into the botany and science and things, or you can keep it within ‘that’s really a pretty flower,’” she said. “Another requirement for me is it had to have a physical component. The last reason, I wanted something with a social component. It’s very social. There are only 12 master gardeners in Perry County. We do a lot of programming. That’s fun, I enjoy that, developing programs for kids.”
And, it is the service component that results in a person being named an Outstanding Master Gardener.
“We ran a part of a program that a colleague of mine put together in the Du Quoin public schools,” Glynn said. “It was a six-week program through the auspices of the 4-H. We took them through basic botany. We had digital microscopes. We took seed, different types of soil, seed germination. We dissected seeds that were germinating and just examined these all pretty closely.
“We provided grow bags for them. They took their plants home and they enjoyed it a lot. They like taking flowers apart. It’s quite fun under the microscope.”
Despite the accolades, Glynn said lack of rain in September and early October took a toll on her garden.
“Right now, it’s pretty horrible,” she said. “It’s been so dry and it’s the end of the season. It was quite lovely. I have some pictures from earlier this summer. I’ve contracted my gardening since I’ve gotten older. I have four raised beds and a little arbor.
“I’m doing primarily the native flowers, the blazing stars, the angelonias. Those are kind of fun to work with. I have a couple different varieties of black-eyed susans, a dwarf and other species. One of the big endeavors is we take care of the gardens in front of the grandstand at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.”
Participating in the Master Gardener program has not only provided mental and physical exercise for Glynn, but has also given her a deeper appreciation for her adopted home.
“It gives me a deeper appreciation of Southern Illinois,” she said. “I knew about Giant City. I knew nothing about the Cache. I maintain two pollinator plots for them (at the Cache River Wetlands Center). I didn’t know anything about the Cache, period. I was like ‘my goodness, cypress trees.’ That was a sheer pleasure. We have a very beautiful area we live in. And, also, to give back to the communities, to promote our communities to each other.”
Powered by WPeMatico
QUESTION: Is there no hope for a rose that has the rosette disease? Can I cut away the stems that are affected? I hate to lose this rose bush, as it is an old fashioned rose that has been in our family many years.
ANSWER: You can cut it back hard and try to save it. However, if the rose rosette disease comes back next year, it will be time to replace it with something other than a rose.
QUESTION: When is the optimal time to prune my landscape boxwood and holly bushes plus some small trees that are also in the beds? Additionally, when should my gardenia and knock out rose bushes be trimmed. They are very leggy and unattractive right now. Should azalea bushes be trimmed in the spring or can they withstand a light trimming now?
ANSWER: These are good questions, because there are different times to do your pruning, depending on the type of plants you have. The best time to prune holly and boxwood is late February, just before they start to make their new growth. As evergreens, they need their leaves through the winter to help insulate the stems from the cold.
Small deciduous trees can be pruned any time after they have gone dormant this fall. Once they have dropped their leaves, you’ll be able to see the limb structure and trim them the way you want. As for your roses, you can cut back very leggy stems now, but the major pruning on them should be done in February. By mid-February, you should see small red leaf buds developing on the stems. When those buds get ¼ to ½ inch long, it’s time to do your serious rose pruning. Lastly, your azaleas and gardenia already have their buds for next spring’s blooms. Consequently, you should hold off on any needed pruning on them until after they finish blooming in the spring.
QUESTION: About a year ago, I lost a 20-year old Bradford Pear tree in a wind storm. All summer long, I was continuously removing as many as 10 sprouts a day growing off of the surface roots. My question is: How do I stop these sprouts, or will they stop themselves over a period of time?
ANSWER: Since your tree was alive when it blew over, the roots are still trying to produce leaves to produce food. It does take some patience, but the sprouts will eventually stop, if you keep removing them as soon as they pop up. By preventing them from producing leaves, the roots will gradually starve to death. Since your Bradford is deciduous, it’s dormant now, and you shouldn’t have any more sprouts until next spring.
QUESTION: We have had what appears to be English Ivy growing in our yard and up the two large hackberry trees there. Having pulled all the vines off the trees and up from the ground, we would appreciate any advice on how to keep the area ivy-free. The area on the ground is about 50’ X 40’. Having heard negative reports on Roundup, I would rather you recommend something different.
ANSWER: If you plan to grow grass in that area, once the ivy is gone, you could use a selective broadleaf herbicide, used to control broadleaf weeds in turf. Right now, you can cut the ivy to the ground, removing all of the leaves. In the spring, the ivy will sprout and you can treat it with the herbicide when its new leaves are about the size of a quarter. The disadvantage to many broadleaf herbicides is they leave a residual in the soil that can affect shallow rooted plants growing under the treated area. Also, you cannot plant grass in the treated area for a couple months. Be sure to use a product that will not hurt grass, and not a “total vegetation” control product.
Of course, the most organic control is to mow the ivy to the ground and prevent it from coming back, by continuing to mow it. By not allowing it to make mature leaves, the roots will eventually starve to death, due to lack of photosynthesis.
Powered by WPeMatico
I love most living things but I have never been able to warm up to spiders or snakes. I do feel like I am making some progress.
I try to remember that there are only two kinds of venomous species of spiders in Texas, the black widow and the brown recluse. Both can be found both indoors and outdoors. Spiders are arachnids. They are air breathing arthropods with eight legs and use fangs to inject venom. Texas has over 900 species of spiders. The most common non venomous are Orb Weavers, Grass Spiders, Carolina Wolf Spider, Brown Widows, House Spider and the Gray Wall Jumping Spider. I still kill indoor spiders but leave the non venomous ones to happily live their lives in my yard. If you are bitten by a black widow or a brown recluse it is probably a good idea to check in with your doctor and let him or her determine if you need additional care. The spouse of one of our Master Gardeners was bitten by a black widow recently and spent four days in the hospital where he received antivenin. He put on a glove that had a black widow inside. So, if you keep gloves and garden shoes by your door, consider getting a plastic tub to keep them in.
Both venomous spiders prefer dark places. I found one this year under the bottom branch of a tomato plant. When you are gardening be sure to wear gloves and be aware of reaching behind bushes or pots.
On the bright side, some spiders eat aphids, moths and beetles which can help reduce the use of pesticides. Every insect has a purpose in your yard or garden. Remember that for every insect you kill you must take over the job it performed.
I spent lots of time with my granddaughter when she was younger and one day I was trying to teach her about spiders. I wanted her to see its eyes so we were both bent over one trying to figure our what kind it was. It was a jumping spider. As it jumped we both ran away screaming like five year old girls.
Happy Gardening and wear your gloves!
For more information, call the AgriLife office at 498-4071 in Odessa or at 686-4700 in Midland.
Powered by WPeMatico