5 Fall Chores You Can Do NOW To Avoid Bugs In Next Year’s Garden

Click here to view the original post.
5 Fall Chores You Can Do NOW To Avoid Bugs In Next Year's Garden

Image source: Wikipedia

As the season comes to a close for many gardeners in North America, you may be thinking of some much-deserved “time off” from your garden. After all, you’ve spent the last few months caring for plants and probably battling a few garden pests.

But before you pack in your gardening for this year, why not get a jump on battling next year’s pests? That’s right, there are a few things that you can do right now, in the fall, to help you avoid some of next year’s pest problems.

Let’s look at the end-of-season tasks that can help make next year’s gardening season a whole lot smoother.

1. Give your garden a final weeding.

If you’re like many gardeners, wedding is probably your least favorite task, but removing weeds one last time is going to give you a leg up on battling pests come spring. That’s because a weedy garden can allow many of this year’s pests to survive the winter, giving them a ready supply of food and shelter.

Pulling weeds now has the added advantage of making your spring gardening tasks a lot less daunting, too. After all, come spring you’ll be excited about planting, and the less time that you have to spend weeding, the better.

Looking For Non-GMO Seeds? Look No Further!

Why not pull them now instead and start the new season with a few less bugs?

2. Get rid of dead plants and debris.

Just as pests enjoy hiding out in weeds, they also can thrive in dead and diseased plant material and other garden debris. The last thing you want to do is leave a bug buffet out for your garden foes all winter!

Clean up your garden before winter, being sure to remove any annual plants or any crops that are diseased or dead.

Be sure that these diseased plants don’t find their way into your compost, either, unless you are absolutely sure that your compost will heat up (between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal). Otherwise, you could end up inadvertently re-introducing pests to your garden after you’ve worked so hard to remove them.

If you’re at all unsure whether your compost pile will heat up enough to kill these pests, then throw out diseased plant material.

3. Till your soil.

5 Fall Garden Chores You Should Do NOW To Avoid Bugs Next Year

Image source: Wikimedia

Removing weeds and old plants alone does not ensure you’ve gotten rid of the bugs. In fact, some of the worst offenders like to burrow in the ground and remain there over winter only to emerge when the weather warms again – ready to destroy a freshly planted garden. Don’t give them that chance.

To deal with these nasty critters, get out your rototiller one more time this season and give your garden a good, deep tilling. This will help to push those pests deeper underground. Other pests will be pulled up to the surface, where it will become too cold for them to survive.

Tilling your garden once more at the end of the season also has the added benefit of introducing more organic matter into the soil.

4. Amend your garden if necessary.

The healthier your soil is, the healthier your plants will be. And the healthier your plants are, the less vulnerable they will be to pesky garden insects. If it’s been a while since you’ve done a soil test, take the end of the season as an opportunity to do so.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

Adjust your soil’s pH with any amendments as necessary. Planting a cover crop in the fall and then turning it under in the spring is a great way to add more nitrogen to the soil.

5. Start planning your spring garden.

Planning next year’s garden is about more than deciding what variety of tomato you’d like to try next year. It’s also about reviewing any pest problems that you had the previous season and strategizing how to avoid them in the coming season.

Part of your strategy should be crop rotation. If a particular crop encountered pest problems one year, it should be moved to a different location in the next year.

Another part of the strategy involves how you choose your varieties of vegetables. Depending on what problems you experienced, research some varieties of plants that are resistant to those problems. Or research what types of companion plants can help to minimize the problem.

So before you hang up your gardening gloves this season, take the time to prepare for spring and give yourself the advantage over pests next year.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:  

Every Year, Gardeners Make This Stupid Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

15 Insects You Can Use To Cure Wounds And Diseases

Click here to view the original post.

15 Insects You Can Use To Cure Wounds And Diseases This may be the coolest information you read today… 15 Insects You Can Use To Cure Wounds And Diseases If you’re ever stuck in a remote jungle, bleeding profusely, coughing uncontrollably, with a severe case of syphilis, these insects may save your life. Weird to think that …

Continue reading »

The post 15 Insects You Can Use To Cure Wounds And Diseases appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Click here to view the original post.
5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Basil. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Summer is here, and that brings one unfortunate type of creature: bugs.

Mosquitoes and fleas, and other bugs and insects, can become a real annoyance and ruin anyone’s outdoor fun. But there is an all-natural way to fight back against these pests: with herbs!

The five herbs below, and their essential oils, can help repel those annoying bugs throughout summer.

1. Basil. Basil is not only a delicious herb but is also great for repelling bugs. Flies and mosquitoes hate basil. Use it to repel bugs by planting it, making a spray with it, or rubbing the leaves directly on yourself.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

When plating the basil, put it near areas where you most want to keep those pesky insects away from you. A simple spray could be made by steeping the leaves in water for a couple of hours. Then, take just the basil-water and mix it with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and spray it on yourself.

2. Mint. Its intoxicating and overwhelming smell is what keeps mosquitoes away. Mint can be made into a spray by mixing its essential oil (a few drops of peppermint oil) with vinegar or water. The plant itself also can be utilized as a repellent by rubbing the leaves on your skin directly, or by placing the plant wherever you hang out most often.

5 Herbs That Mosquitoes Absolutely, Positively Despise

Lavender. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Lavender. One of the best-smelling and beautiful plants is lavender, and it has one of the most beneficial attributes to be used in the summer months. Lavender is perfect at repelling moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes! This is the one herb that can do it all. Yet it is beneficial to not only you but also your garden. Hang it in your house and even by the doorways to keep the flies away. It can also be made into a spray like the other herbs.

4. Lemon thyme. When using this herb it is important to bruise the leaves before rubbing it on the skin. The only way the aroma is released is by smashing it or bruising it to release the oils. Then it can be applied to the skin. Among bugs and insects, lemon thyme is best used to repel mosquitoes.

5. Lemon balm. Lemon balm is an amazing plant that not only repels “bad” bugs but also attracts good ones. It repels annoying insects like mosquitoes, gnats or flies and attracts insects like butterflies and bees. This allows for your garden to be cared for by the beneficial bugs and protected from the pesky bugs. This herb can be crushed and applied to the skin or put on a patio or deck, or even planted in the garden, so as to protect you when you work.

In nature, there is a balance of good and bad. Nature gives us those annoying bugs, but nature also provides us plants to repel them when needed. Now that you have discovered what herbs to use, you can keep those exasperating insects away and actually enjoy your evenings outside, bug-free.

What herbs would you add to this list? Share them in the section below:  

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

hydrogen peroxide report

8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick — But Is Safe For Humans!)

Click here to view the original post.
Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

If you’re determined to grow a healthy garden without benefit of pesticides, you’re definitely on the right track. Conventional pesticides kill both good and bad bugs, leaving no natural controls that keep pests in check. As a result, pests are replaced with even tougher, chemical-resistant super-pests, with no beneficial insects left behind to maintain control.

Try not to panic if your plants are bothered by an occasional nibble, as “sharing” the garden is part of growing organically. Keep your plants properly watered. Ensure the soil is healthy and rich in organic materials. Keep in mind that healthy plants are always more pest-resistant than plants that are stressed.

If you find that your garden is overrun with pests in spite of good gardening practices, then consider natural alternatives such as these.

1. Beneficial insects. Such as lacewings, ladybugs, ground beetles, pirate bugs, parasitic wasps, praying mantis and hover-flies. Beneficial insects have preferred targets, so a healthy diversity of helpful bugs will help control a variety of pests, such as aphids, thrips, scale, mites and whiteflies.

2. Beneficial plants. Many blooming plants attract beneficial insects. For example, try alyssum, cosmos, Shasta daisy, yarrow, calendula and coreopsis, as well as herbs like dill, fennel, lemon balm, parsley and coriander. On the other hand, some plants, most notably marigolds, may help deter harmful pests.

3. Handpicking. Although it isn’t anybody’s favorite job, picking pests by hand is a highly effective natural pest control technique made easier with a good pair of gardening gloves. Most pickable insects, including caterpillars, slugs and tomato hornworms, are most active at dusk.

4. Diatomaceous earth. This powdery substance is made of the skeletal remains of tiny marine creatures known as diatoms. The abrasive dust abrades the outer covering of soft-bodied pests like potato beetles, squash bugs, slugs, snails, aphids, whiteflies and others, causing the pest to dry out and die. Although diatomaceous earth is safe, wear a dust mask because the dust can irritate your lungs.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Insect Killer!

5. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – A naturally occurring bacteria, Bt is non-toxic to humans, pets, birds and wildlife. However, when it is eaten by pests, the toxin dissolves in the gut and causes death in three to five days. Bt, available as spray or dust, is best applied in late afternoon and must be reapplied after rainfall or irrigation. The substance also can be mixed with insecticidal soap (see below), which improves coverage.

8 Organic Ways To Keep Your Garden Bug-Free (No. 4 Kills Them Quick -- But Is Safe For Humans!)

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Insecticidal soap – A spray made of natural soap (not dish soap or hand soap), insecticidal soap spray isn’t toxic to people or animals, but deadly to soft-bodied pests like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites. It is relatively safe, but because it kills on contact, it shouldn’t be applied when beneficial insects are present on the plant. Insecticidal soap spray works fast and is safe to use on vegetables up to harvest time. Don’t spray in the heat of the day or when the sun is directly on the plant.

7. Homemade sprays – The jury is out on homemade pest control sprays; some gardeners swear by them, while others claim they are a waste of time. If you’re inundated with pests, it won’t hurt to give them a try, and they might just work.

  • Garlic spray – Blend 10-12 garlic cloves in a quart of water, and then let the smelly mixture sit for at least a full day. Strain the solution through cheesecloth and add a cup of vegetable oil. For even more punch, add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper or chili powder, then let the mixture sit for another 24 hours. The spray, which is highly concentrated, should be mixed at a rate of ½ cup to 1 gallon of water.
  • Insecticidal soap spray – Mix 1 ½ tablespoon of natural soap (such as castile or oil soap) with a quart of water and a few drops of cooking oil, which helps the spray stick to foliage. You also can add a teaspoon of garlic or a garlic bulb, and/or a small amount of cayenne pepper. Some gardeners like to add one or two drops of citrus essential oil.
  • Red pepper spray – This simple spray consists of a tablespoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper and six drops of natural soap in a gallon of water. Mix well and apply weekly, or as needed.

8. Horticultural oil – A type of highly refined oil, horticultural oil plugs the pores so that insects can’t breathe. They soon suffocate. Although the oil dissipates quickly and little residue is left behind, horticultural oil shouldn’t be applied on very hot or cold days, or on drought-stressed plants. Horticultural oil is effective against a variety of pests, including spider mites, aphids, leaf hoppers and whiteflies, among others.

What all-natural pest-control recipes would you add? Share your gardening tips in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Uninvited guests

Click here to view the original post.

They are back,  the uninvited guests who arrive as soon as the weather turns warm enough. I’m talking about bugs,  insects and arachnids.  In the last few weeks we are killing 2 and 3 kissing bugs each night,  fortunately they aren’t making it inside the SkyCastle,  but it’s not for lack of trying on their part.

They arrive after dark,  when you are asleep,  they are over an I checked long,  crawl up to your face and suck your blood. Think of a giant mosquito with a beetle body…

They carry and spread Chagas,  a parasite that causes a chronic disease that slowly eats holes in your heart and lungs,  eventually leading to death.

I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge about these insert to,  especially here in west Texas,  I tell my neighbors about them and they seem oblivious,  I suppose it’s mainly because these are nocturnal creatures that are rarely if ever seen during the day.

The other creatures that invade in warmer weather are the ants, spiders, wasps, flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks…  It’s just a matter of knowing when to expect them and how to make it inhospitable for them.

What creepy crawlies do you deal with and what do you do about it?

The post Uninvited guests appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

4 Miraculous Warm-Weather Uses For Cintronella Oil

Click here to view the original post.

4 Miraculous Warm-Weather Uses For Cintronella OilEvery year, at the beginning of spring, I find myself searching through my essential oil stash for citronella essential oil. It has so many natural and practical uses during the warm seasons that I could not imagine going without it. I use citronella essential oil for everything from spring cleaning, to candle making, to homemade bug repellent, to combating exhaustion.

The soft and sweet lemony, grassy scent of citronella essential oil creates the ambiance of the outdoors and for me, brings thoughts of spring picnics, fresh cut grass, and relaxing summer nights. Because of this, citronella essential oil in the use of aromatherapy is perfect for the relief of stress and tension caused by busy days when you cannot seem to find the time to get outdoors.

Citronella grows naturally by the sea and is native to Sri Lanka, Java and the Seychelles, where the locals extract the essential oil from the freshly dried tropical grass. Traditionally, citronella leaves were used as a poultice for fever, pain and to speed healing. Today, it is mostly used as an antiseptical and germicidal cleaning agent, a natural deodorizer and a natural insect repellant.

Learn How You Can Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

To help you get started with the many uses of citronella essential oil, I have added some of my favorite ideas, tips and recipes. Some recipes include other essential oils to help aid with the effectiveness of the blend.

1. How to create your own all-natural insect repellant

Are you opposed to using harmful, unnatural chemicals such as Deet, which is found in mass produced spray repellents like OFF? Then try this:

  • 25 drops citronella essential oil.
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil.
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil.
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet almond carrier oil, or add to two fluid ounces purified water in a spray bottle (shake well before each use).

Massage on, or spray the mixture onto exposed areas of the skin and clothing before heading outdoors. Take the insect repellant with you on hiking trips or outdoor events, and reapply as needed.

2. How to create your own all-natural-insect repelling homemade candles

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Many of the commercially sold citronella scented candles just do not work. The reason is that a store-bought candle labeled “citronella scented” might be scented synthetically, having none of the natural citronella essential oil necessary to repel insects. To ensure the inclusion of all-natural, effective ingredients, it is best to make your own citronella essential oil-based candles.

What you will need:

  • Glass jars. Be creative, as there are many shapes and sizes from which to choose.
  • Wax wicks.
  • Bees wax or soy wax.
  • A melting pot — either a double boiler or a mixing pot atop another pot.
  • Citronella essential oil.
  • Natural dye or crayons for added color.
  • Scissors to cut down wicks.

Begin by measuring out and melting down your wax. I would recommend melting the wax in a double boiler or a mixing pot nestled atop a pot of boiling water.

Stir in the citronella essential oil. I use roughly five drops per cup of melted wax. You can add more drops for a highly scented candle, or fewer drops for a lightly scented candle.

Stir in a colored crayon or two, or add natural dye, to add color.

While melting the wax and adding the essential oil and coloring, you should slightly warm the jar either in your oven or the microwave. Doing so will prevent cracking while pouring the hot wax into the jar. Also, this helps to ensure that the wax will cool evenly.

Place the wick into the jar. You can attach the top of the wick to a pencil and balance the pencil across the mouth of the jar to help keep the wick centered.

Slowly pour the melted wax into the jar.

Let the wax completely cool.

Cut the wick down.

Light the candle and enjoy.

3. How to create your own all-natural-antibacterial household cleaner and deodorizer.

Instead of using store-bought, chemical harsh cleaners, citronella essential oil can be used to create an all-natural, effective household cleaner. Using a chemical-free cleaner ensures the safety of the entire family and is environmentally friendly.

Mix equal parts purified water and white vinegar to a spray bottle. Add citronella essential oil for the desired potency according to the size of the bottle.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Spray and wipe down eating surfaces to cleanse and to kill bacteria and germs.

Use as a bathroom cleaner, too.

Spray in any areas that need deodorizing, such as garbage cans.

Citronella essential oil cleaning spray also helps to ward off bugs, so you can safely spray this blend around doorways, baseboards, onto screens and window sills.

4. Use of citronella essential oil for aromatherapy.

Use a humidifier, air diffuser or oil burner to add the molecules and scent of citronella oil to the air inside your home.

The inhalation of citronella essential oil can ease the mind by helping to calm anxiety and mental overload. The scent also helps to support the spirit and can help with exhaustion.

Of course, using this method of aromatherapy also will ward off unwanted insects, as they hate the scent of citronella.

Citronella essential oil can also be combined with other essential oils of your choosing to create wonderful scents for your homemade candles, cleaning sprays and for aromatherapy purposes. I enjoy adding neroli and other citrus-based scents to my blends. Sweet orange, bergamot, peppermint, patchouli, spearmint, sandalwood and myrtle essential oils all blend well with citronella essential oil. Try adding your favorite essential oils to citronella essential oil to create your own personalized scents.

How do you use cintronella essential oil? Share your ideas and tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Hunting in the evening

Click here to view the original post.

I went hunting tonight, my quarry is small and hard to find, unless you have the right equipment. I only bagged one this evening, it was a bit too cool for them to be very active, a young one was in my path and I stomped it to smithereens.

My quarry tonight was the not so humble scorpion. This is a creature that has plagued us since our first summer out here in the desert. I tend to be a live and let live kind of gal, but when they come into my house, fall on me (and my dogs) and sting, that’s when I declare war.

We don’t have the really painful (and deadly) ones, just the small brown ones, they do pack a punch though, I found out the hard way.

I know all the wild creatures out here have their place, but I’d rather they stay outside. We had our first scorpion of the season inside the SkyCastle just a few weeks ago, it was crawling across the ceiling and dropped right on Zoe’s nose, (one of my dogs), fortunately it didn’t sting her and she didn’t mess with it after she shook it off. And equally fortunately, we saw it happen and was able to put it out of its misery before it caused us any misery.

With the warmer weather comes the bugs, and we live in a very buggy place, it’s one of the things I like about winter, no bugs to speak of. But as soon as the weather warms up, especially at night, out they come. I even saw a couple of Junebugs, a whole month early, of course there are a plethora of moths and other flying & crawling critters that seek any crack or opening to come inside.

I knew that scorpions light up (fluoresce) under blacklight (UV light), they glow like a cheap kids toy, the great part is they don’t seem to know they are glowing and don’t try to get away, that gives me a few extra seconds to take aim with my boot. My light of choice is a 51 LED UV flashlight, it doesn’t seem to put out much visible light, which is a good thing, it puts out just enough visible light to be able to see where I’m walking, and when it hits a scorpion, the light that comes back is sooooo bright!

I haven’t actively hunted the scorpions in the past couple of years like I did the first year I started, I put a pretty good dent in their population that first summer. I don’t want to kill all of them, just the ones that are within striking distance of the SkyCastle. I suspect I’ll be doing much more hunting this year.

What is your nemesis in the warmer months?

web statistics

The post Hunting in the evening appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

Click here to view the original post.
4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Birds are spectacular creatures — full of grace and elegance, truly creatures of beauty that God placed on the earth for our enjoyment and to showcase His magnificence.

Ever since I was a small child, I have loved to watch birds as they battle against the wind, climbing almost out of sight and return moments later to snatch some seed from a feeder or rest upon an outstretched tree branch to sing a song of joy.

Birds just seem happy — unencumbered and unbothered by changes in temperature, light or season. They make me and millions of other people happy as they put on shows of color and poise in our gardens or along our windowsills.

Besides their tremendous entertainment value, birds do serve a number of purposes, which makes attracting them to your yard that much more important. Birds provide:

Pest control. A great number of birds enjoy dining on insects such as aphids, spiders, mosquitoes and other bugs that we don’t really want hanging about our yard. Attracting birds will keep these insect populations under control.

Discover 1,147 Secrets Of Successful Off-Grid Living!

Pollination. Birds such as hummingbirds, orioles and others sip the nectar from flowers and play an important role in pollination. Without pollination we would not have thriving gardens.

Weed control. Some birds such as sparrows, finches and towhees can be very helpful when it comes to controlling unwanted plants in your landscape.

Education. Besides entertainment, watching birds in your backyard gives an upfront chance to study local wildlife. This is a wonderful experience for the whole family and makes for a very worthwhile nature study.

4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

Image source: Pixabay.com

Conservation. As more and more habitats are being disrupted from development and human intrusion, birds, like other animals, need places to land. This is equally important for local birds as well as those that are migrating.

So, for whatever reason you see fit, here are some ways that you can attract more of these amazing creatures to your yard:

1. Food. In order to attract a wide variety of wild birds to your yard, it is imperative that you offer a diverse buffet of seeds, suet, nectar and other fitting treats. To know which type of food to offer, it is first important to learn about which kind of birds are in your area and which birds might stop during their migratory flight. A variety of feeders are also important — platforms, suet feeders, hanging feeders, etc. – in order to attract a wide variety of birds to your yard. Confused about foods? Then check out this North American bird feeding chart.

This Cool-To-The-Touch Lantern Provides 100,000 Hours Of Emergency Backup Lighting

2. Water. Many people may offer a variety of food but forget about water. Water is essential for birds just like it is for humans. Birds prefer moving water, but just about any water source often works. Install a moving water feature or even a bird bath, and watch the birds flock to your yard. Be sure to keep your water source clean and in good repair for best results

3. Shelter. Birds need a place to get away from predators and foul weather and a spot to birth and care for their young. Plant native bushes and trees, and put up birdhouses and nesting boxes according to the type of birds in your area.

4. Habitat. It is imperative that you create a welcoming habitat for birds if you desire to attract a variety to your yard. This will include trees, shrubs, grasses and plants. Native plantings are always best. Do research on what types of plants are native to your location before planting. The more you can mimic what is found in the wild, the more the birds will feel at home.

Have fun with your bird visitors!

What is your advice for attracting birds? Share it in the section below:

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

hydrogen peroxide report

If Your Garden Was A Disease-Filled Dud Last Year, Here’s What You May Have Done Wrong

Click here to view the original post.

If Your Garden Was A Disease-Filled Dud Last Year, Here's What You May Have Done Wrong

Everyone loves variety, and this is true even in vegetable gardening. In fact, variety in your garden could be the secret to a more bountiful harvest this year.

One way of adding variety is by rotating your crops. Most gardeners will swear by crop rotation, and there are many benefits to it.

Rotating your crops is a method of changing the location of vegetables and other plants from one season to the next.

Why Rotate Your Crops?

There are several very good reasons to rotate your crops in a traditional vegetable garden:

1. Prevents disease. By rotating your crops, you will be limiting the buildup of any disease in the soil, preventing issues lasting from one year’s growing season to the next. For example, say you had issues with blight in your tomatoes last year. This year, you’ll want to move them to a different location in the garden. You then will plant a different crop that is not susceptible to that particular disease in the location where your tomatoes were last year.

Need Non-GMO Herb Seeds For Your Garden? Click Here!

2. Controls pests and insects. Infestations of insects are less likely to occur when using a rotation practice, because the favorite plants of the pests are continually being moved to a different spot. Rotation keeps pests and insects moving so there will not be a build-up of bothersome bugs or other issues.

3. Keeps nutrients in the soil. Each vegetable crop takes and gives different nutrients. This rotating will keep the soil from getting depleted of certain vitamins and nutrients. There are plants such as beans and peas that can actually improve or enrich the soil; make sure you have a few of them included in the garden.

If Your Garden Was A Disease-Filled Dud Last Year, Here's What You May Have Done Wrong4. Prevents soil erosion. The different plants create soil structure. Productivity will go down after a season or two if there is no rotation. Rotation also reduces the need for heavy pesticides. Look for plants that naturally repel insects and pests and put them into the rotation plan.

Here’s How to Do it

Rotating in a small garden can prove to be a challenge due to space, but it can be done successfully.

Learn which vegetables grow well together and which are susceptible to the same diseases. Plant those together to limit any exposure or spread of disease.

Have a rotation plan. Mark which plants go in which section so you can keep track of where certain vegetables have already been — and where they should go next season. Having a plan will also help you choose the variety and amount of vegetables you will need.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

Some use a simple method called “the four-step system.” It is a handy and uncomplicated guideline to assist beginners, or any gardener, who are new to rotating garden crops. You simply divide your garden into four sections:

  • The first group should be a selection of leafy vegetables. This group includes lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
  • The second group mostly includes several types of vegetables, many of them on vines. These are tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peppers, squash and eggplant. Note: Do not plant tomatoes after potatoes as they are both prone to blight; if you leave infected potatoes in the ground over the winter, they can spread the disease to the tomato plants.
  • In the third group, you will should find the yummy root vegetables. These vegetables are carrots, turnips, radishes, beets and onions.
  • The fourth and final group of the four-step system includes crops that will enrich the soil with nutrients as well as create produce. Cover crops fit well into this section. Clover and alfalfa are just two good examples of cover crops with a purpose. Beans, peanuts and peas also fit into this fourth section. Beans have few pest issues and are very good to the soil.

You can make your garden rotation plan as detailed, or as simple, as you wish. There are countless ways to divide your garden, but in the end it needs to be a garden that works for you and your lifestyle.

Continue to dig up and turn under plant material that is no longer growing. This will provide the soil with even more nutrients. Even during rotation, you can still mulch and fertilize your vegetable garden when needed.

Well, now that you have more knowledge of garden crop rotation and its benefits, as well as a simple plan to start, you are well on your way to having a productive growing season. Now it’s time to grow!

What advice would you add on crop rotation? Share your tips in the section below:

Every Spring, Gardeners Make This Avoidable Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Click here to view the original post.
The Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

Insect bites can put a damper on even the most beautiful spring and summer night. Unfortunately, so can the intense aroma and harmful effects of insect repellants. Thankfully, there are essential oils that repel insects, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors again.

Essential oils can provide a safe and natural way to repel everything from mosquitos to dust mites. Some oils are also known to be effective insecticides so that you can kill bugs before they become a problem.

Depending on your needs, oils can be combined to make your own bug spray, offering you a safe and natural alternative to DEET and other chemical-based insect repellants.

Diatomaceous Earth: Get Rid Of Bugs The All-Natural Way!

The following is a list of essential oil ingredients to create insect repellant spray:

1. Basil. This zesty oil is great for controlling mosquito and dust mites. Several studies have found that basil effectively repels mosquitos and even exhibits mosquito larvicidal activity. [1] This makes basil oil an especially good option for those living near swamps, ponds and other areas with a high mosquito population.

2. Clove. A 2005 study of essential oils as mosquito repellants found that clove provided the longest duration of repellency against the three types of mosquitos used in the study.[2]

3. Eucalyptus. You get a lot of bang for your buck when using eucalyptus oil as an insecticide. It’s been found effective on a wide variety of insects, most notably its effect on sandflies.[3]

4. Garlic. For years, garlic has been used to control common pests found in gardens and has now been found to be an effective way to keep mosquitos at bay.

5. Geranium. A 2003 study found this pleasant smelling oil to be highly effective in killing larval, pupal and adult development of mosquitos. [4] This means that it’s not only great for preventing mosquito bites, but it can also kill mosquitos through all stages of life. A must-have for your backyard or cottage!

Time-Tested Essential Oils That Insects Simply Hate

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Lemon. Of all the essential oils that repel insects, lemon is by far one of the best-known natural insecticides and repellants. A 2012 study found that it offers an effective and natural alternative to conventional chemical insect control.[5]

7. Peppermint. This minty-fresh oil is used as a natural insecticide against many types of bugs. Studies have found methanol-based oils to be effective insecticides. [6]A 2011 study also found it to be an especially effective larvicide and mosquito repellant.[7]

8. Tea tree oil. This natural anti-parasitic is a great option for people and pets because of its ability to stop the growth of fleas, ticks and lice. Tea tree oil is also an effective remedy for soothing the itch and discomfort of mosquito bites.

New “Survival Herb Bank” Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest

Thyme. Thyme has been found to be very effective in repelling two of the peskiest insects around: mosquitos and houseflies.[8]

Each of the ingredients above can be mixed with a water and vinegar base to create a natural insect repellent spray. For the most effective insect repellent spray, use the following:

Natural Insect Repellent Spray 

  • Basil oil: 15 drops
  • Lemon oil: 10 drops
  • Tea tree oil: 10 drops
  • Peppermint oil: 6 drops
  • Geranium oil: 6 drops
  • Distilled water: 2 ounces
  • Vinegar: 2 ounces (preferably white vinegar, but apple cider works as well!)

Blend all the ingredients and put into a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Note: This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you. Do not use for topical or internal use.

Having these essential oils that repel insects on hand can help you keep your home and garden free of pests without the use of chemicals.

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below: 

[1] Perumalsamy H, Kim JY, Kim JR, Hwang KN, Ahn YJ. (2014). Toxicity of basil oil constituents and related compounds and the efficacy of spray formulations to Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). J Med Entomol. 650-657.

[2] Trongtokit Y., Rongsriyam Y., Komalamisra N., Apiwathnasorn C. Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites. Phytotherapy Research. 2005;19(4):303–309. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1637.

[3] Maciel, M.V., Morais, S.M., Bevilaqua, C.M., Silva, R.A., Barros, R.S., et al. (2010). Chemical composition of Eucalyptus spp. essential oils and their insecticidal effects on Lutzomyia longipalpis. Vet Parasitol, 167(1):1-7. Epub 2009 Oct 9.

[4] Jeyabalan, D., Arul, N. and Thangamathi, P. (2003). Studies on effects of Pelargonium citrosa leaf extracts on malarial vector, Anopheles stephensi Liston. Bioresource Technology 89:185-189.

[5] Khani,A; Basavand,F; Rakhshani, E. (2012):Chemical composition and insecticide activity of Lemon verbena essential oil J Crop Prot, 1 (4) (2012), pp. 313–320

[6] Ansari M.A., Vasudevan P., Tandon M., Razdan R.K. 2000. Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of pepper- mint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technol 71:267-271.

[7] Kumar, S., Wahab, N., & Warikoo, R. (2011). Bioefficacy of Mentha piperitaessential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine1(2), 85–88. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60001-4

[8] Park B.S., Choi W.S., Kim J.H., Kim K.H., Lee S.E. 2005. Monoterpenes from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as potential mosquito repellents. J Am Mosq Control Assoc-Mar;21(1):80-3.

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

Amazing: Insects Solving World Hunger

Click here to view the original post.

The total of human population at the beginning of 2016 is roughly around 7.6 billion. And if it’s one thing that’s characteristic for us, is the speed in which we’re depleting our resources; not only are we fast, but we’re constant as well. There’s plenty of us already, and in the near future, there are many things we’ll need to learn to do without. The world reserve of petrol won’t last more than 20, maybe 30 years before its completely depleted. But even more important, it’s finding an alternative for when the food runs out. You can live without petrol and other commodities, but you can’t live without food. The best solution at hand is to throw aside culinary “traditions”, toughen up and accept the fact that the insects solving world hunger. They are the best source of food for dark days! Whether you’re the survivor for a massive World War, scouting the remains of a destroyed society or you’ve been stranded in a hostile environment, you’ll still be surrounded by insects. Most insects are good for eating, just don’t go for the poisonous and venomous ones. It’s their high concentration of protein (can go even up to 75% protein), but also saturated fats (the good kind of fats), minerals and fibers that put them at the top of the list; about 70% of the world’s population is living of insects already, so how long until the rest of us join in? Even the UN launched and official recommendation which encourages insect consumption. Not only is insect consumption healthy, but insect farms would be far less costly and pretentious than any other type of animal. If I’ve got your attention, let’s see some of the best insects across North America that you can get your hands on if SHTF, or if you simply want to experiment.

ANTS (the Formicidae family)

There are plenty of ants to choose from. They’re widely spread and within reach all the time. Just take a bit of patience to scout around the place and you’ll find some sooner or later. Most of the ants you’ll come across are harmless. But if you come across red ants, means you stumbled across some fire ants. They’re bite is really painful, so be as cautious as possible. If we’re talking about an extreme survival case, you can simply reach in the anthill and grab the ants or even better, use a container. I’m sure that if you’ve been starving for a while, you won’t mind their vinegary taste or the fact that you ingurgitate some soil. But if you have the time, boiling is the way to go.

 

TERMINTES (the Termitoidae family)

Termites are colonial insects, just like ants, they can often be found in large number at ones and their diet consists mainly in eating wood (xylofagous diet). In many places around the world, they live in regular fortresses; termite mounds that are run by all sorts insects devised in social ranks: workers, soldiers, scouts and the queen. However, the mound type structures are no longer found in North America; only fossils are left. Finding termites is really easy, just look for any signs of decaying wood, tree stumps and most of all, damp dead wood.

 

 

CATERPILLARS

The caterpillar is not a genus of insect, but rather a transitional form for all sorts of butterflies and moths. Before reaching adult state, moths and butterflies are found in caterpillar form. They don’t have wings, are rather slow by nature (which means they’re easy to catch) and are full of all sorts of nutrients and beneficial substances: vitamin B, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. Whether they’re hairy or not, they’re still a fully nutritious food source. Some reports I have come across suggest that some of the caterpillars you might come across are potentially toxic, but I have found nothing conclusive in this regard. But just to play it safe, I strongly advise you to stay away from the brightly colored ones. In nature, bright colors mean imminent danger.

 

CRICKETS / GRASSHOPPERS / LOCUSTS (the Orthoptera order)

The insects in this order are some of the most popular amongst people. And with good reason too. They’re everywhere, easy to catch and sometimes swarm in large numbers; they can be devastating to crops, so if you add humans to they’re natural predatory lists, means less damage they’ll be able to produce. Start eating them, before they’ll eat what you worked so hard for. Besides, they are very nutritious; they have a good overall taste, which is similar to peanuts. Frying them accentuates the flavor, and because they’re packed with protein, you can also dry them up and grind them into a fine powder, which you can store in a cool and dry environment.

 

 

Be warned, procuring insects is not as easy as it seems. You really need to know what you’ll be going against. If it’s small and it’s crawling, it’s good to eat. BUT if you see bright colors, stay away. Bright colors mean that the insect is probably poisonous or venomous, so move on and keep looking. You also must be aware of you “hunting ground”. You should gathering insects from urban areas or large crop fields, as these are very likely to have been sprayed with all sorts of insecticides, which can be very toxic.

 

By Alec Deacon

 

 

The post Amazing: Insects Solving World Hunger appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

Keep Your Pollinators Warm this Winter with an Insect Hotel

Click here to view the original post.
insect-hotel

“InsectHouseMonaco” by Gareth E Kegg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for a cool gardening project to occupy your idle time this winter? Look no further.

Insect hotels are a great winter project, and they pay big dividends by increasing the likelihood that your garden will be graced by lots of pollinators and beneficial insects next season and for years to come. They also have lots of fringe benefits…

You get to provide a nice, safe, and cozy home for solitary bees and their insect buddies. We hear a lot about honey bees, but there are over 4,000 species of wild, native bees in North America alone. A well-designed hotel is a safe haven for some of your local bees, and it can help them to thrive in your area. In addition to bees, you can build rooms for ladybugs, millipedes, wasps, beetles, spiders… the more the merrier.

With a hotel in or near your garden, you can increase the biodiversity of your garden; and we all know by now that diversity is a key component of healthy soil and healthy ecosystems.

Perhaps the nicest feature of insect hotels is that they provide a great outlet for upcycling materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Got an old wooden pallet laying around? Some surplus bricks? A pile of rocks that you’ve gathered from the lawn and garden? Some old fence posts? This is a great way to tidy up your spare bits and pieces, and put them to good use.

Insect Hotel Tips and Pointers

• Put your hotel in a sunny spot. It’s good if you can face it to the south for full exposure – warmth is important for overwintering bugs, and it’s essential for developing larvae. Nobody likes a freezing room – so err on the side of caution and arrange your hotel in the sunniest spot available.

• Bugs need water, just like you do. Incorporate a water source into your hotel, or keep one nearby. A plant saucer, a small cache pot, or anything else that will hold a little water should work just fine.

• Be mindful not to expose your guests to toxic chemicals. Use untreated, natural materials as much as possible. Untreated wood will warp, twist, and break down faster. But if you want to provide a safe home, it’s better to avoid chemicals and just accept that you’ll need to replace some pieces or rebuild altogether every few years or so.

• Be creative! Bamboo and drilled wood are the standards, but there are probably a hundred different materials right outside your door that would work great. In addition to scrap building materials, look for natural elements like pine cones and needles, fallen limbs and twigs, tree bark, straw, etc. If you have trees with thick, waxy leaves that don’t break down well in the compost – like magnolias, live oaks, ligustrums, or hollies – those might make good stuffing for any empty spaces.

I compiled a few videos that show different design ideas. As you’ll see, you can feel free to let your imagination roam, and the sky’s the limit. I think it would be fun to regroup in the spring and see all the different designs everyone has dreamed up. Maybe we can come up with a prize for the best design…

Insect Hotel Videos

A Good Overview, with Instructions for 2 Simple Hotels

This video shows a whole slew of different design ideas, and that’s the part I really liked. The second half of the video walks you through step-by-step instructions to build a two small hanging hotels that look something like bird houses. Nice and neat…

Posh Style for Your Discerning Bugs

These hotels are the highest in modern insect style. For those of you who keep an immaculate landscape, these are something you can do without messing up your view. This style of hotel probably won’t draw any unwanted attention from your H.O.A. or nosy neighbors.

Back when I did lots of landscape design, one of the most common requests I got was for creative screens to block the view of utility boxes, air conditioners, pool pumps, and exposed pipes. I think that a clean looking insect hotel like this one could make a great screen. If you situated this right in front of your utility box, and planted the area with a small, tidy pollinator garden – you could turn that ugly box into a win-win for you and your neighborhood insects.

The Insect Economy Inn

If you’re less concerned with style, but more interested in practical economy – this is for you. Reused materials and quick assembly make this bug hotel all about functionality. I think this style of design would actually draw more insects than some of the fancier designs I’ve seen. I’m not too sure about the planting on top… I might have done that a little differently.

A Rustic Bug Cabin

I really like this one. Reclaimed materials and solid construction, for a natural rustic look. I love how these folks were so creative and used many different materials to make homes for lots of different insects. And other than screws and cinder blocks, they probably didn’t need to spend a dime.

Start looking around at the materials you have available – you might find that you already have everything you need to build a nice insect hotel. Hopefully, this will give you a way to do a productive garden project or two while you wait out the winter.

If we have a lot of interest, we might organize a [Grow] Network Insect Hotel Contest and arrange some prizes for the best designs. Let us know if you’re interested using the comments below!

 

Eating crickets

Click here to view the original post.

Like virtually all of you, I grew up in a culture where bugs were gross and I would never consider eating them. However, as I’ve traveled the world I’ve come across a few cultures where bugs are considered food. It turns out bugs are nutritious and as safe to eat as any other food source (keep in mind how much attention we pay all down our food chain making sure our food is safe and remains uncontaminated). Being curious by nature, an adventurous eater, and wanting to be prepared for who knows what, I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to eat various bugs. I’ve had ants, ant eggs, bees, water beetles, june bugs, crickets, cricket larvae, some sort of beetle I don’t know what it was, unknown (to me) grubs from a river, silkworms, and forest cockroaches. I’ve really enjoyed some of the ant recipes, but my favorite of all are always crickets.

bats and insects

From l to r: bats, forest cockroaches, silkworms.

Recently I found myself in Cambodia and was able to observe how they caught crickets. The crickets were caught out in their fields, then sold in restaurants, marketplaces, and roadside stands. Apparently, crickets are attracted to light; and judging from what the Khmer people were using, they are particularly attracted to violet or reddish fluorescent lighting. The farmers would attach such a light above a sheet of plastic hung vertically low over a basin of water. At night the crickets, drawn to the light, would unexpectedly hit the sheet of plastic and fall into the water. There, they would drown or become otherwise incapacitated. In the morning, the farmers would go out to their cricket traps and collect several pounds of nutritional and delicious insects.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

A cricket trap in Cambodia.

I recommend frying your crickets and seasoning them with garlic, onions, soy sauce, etc. I’d avoid eating insects I suspected might be contaminated with pesticides; as with other foods, a safe source is ideal. When you don’t know if an insect is edible or not, keep in mind that brightly colored, spiny, or hairy bugs are often poisonous. No meal of insects has yet made me sick.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

Crickets roasted with pig fat served with prawn crackers. From a restaurant in Hanoi.

If you would like to try some insects for yourself now before you find yourself in dire straights, I recommend you look for a supplier of quality insects and grubs intended for pets such as birds and reptiles.

If you appreciated this article, please help me by voting for Still Getting Ready! at topprepperwebsites.com

        

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestRedditPrintShare

Tastes Like Lemon: The Time I Ate Ants (& more about eating insects)

Click here to view the original post.

Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

This is the most self-deprecating thing I have ever posted online.   But you know what they say: If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused. My interest in this topic started with one of only a handful of regrets I have obtained through life. I’m just not prone to regrets,…

Continue reading

The post Tastes Like Lemon: The Time I Ate Ants (& more about eating insects) appeared first on Pantry Paratus.

Garden Pests Part Two – The Insect Variety

Click here to view the original post.

Garden Pests Part TwoInsects can be hard to get rid of, especially if your garden is organic, as you don’t want to use common chemical pesticides to kill them off. Some insects are small and hard to see, making it even tougher to remove them from your vegetables. Thankfully there are ways of getting rid of these pests without having to resort to methods that will harm your vegetables as well as the insects munching or living on them.

Aphids – Aphids don’t just go after one type of plant – they go after many different kinds, turning their leaves yellow by sucking out the sap. Instead of spraying your plants with a chemical pesticide, there are several other methods of getting rid of them. You can spray them with a mild soap spray (a few drops of liquid soap in a gallon of water) or use row covers and yellow sticky traps to catch the aphids before they get to your plants.

Weevils – You know that weevils have invaded your garden when you see holes punched in your plants’ leaves. They can also remove all of the foliage from your plants. Weevils will go after many different plants, not just specific ones, which makes them even more of a nuisance. In order to keep weevils away, make sure that your garden is as clean and free of debris as possible. Weevils like a messy environment, so by not giving them one, they’ll steer clear.

Slugs – Slugs are unpleasant creatures that will eat the foliage and fruits right off of your plants. While they are big and slow enough to be removed from your plants by hand, that can quickly become an annoyance. You are better off setting up a few anti-slug measures, like arranging a border around your garden and lining it with ashes, sand or lime to keep the slugs at bay.

Leaf miners – Leaf miners will stunt your plants’ growth by tunneling inside of the leaves and eating whichever parts they find appealing. Unfortunately, they like many different types of plants, so they can be tricky to avoid. However, by setting up row covers and removing the infected leaves, you can rid your garden of these insects.

Cutworms – Cutworms will kill your plants if you don’t get to them first. They can be hard to detect, as they attack your plant’s stem from the soil line and begin to eat their way through it. By keeping your garden clean and weed-free, not to mention being very careful when you transplant your seedlings, you can keep cutworms out of your garden.

Hornworms – Hornworms prefer to snack on your tomato, eggplant, pepper and potato plants. They go after the leaves and fruit of each plant, destroying your crops before they have a chance to fully ripen. If you don’t have any of these plants in your garden, then you won’t have to worry about these insects. But if you do, you can get rid of them by sprinkling dried hot pepper on your plants or removing the insects by hand.

Sick of Pests Ruining Your Garden? Natural Pest Control is NOT a Dream!

Be Self SufficientDo you want to be rid of pests in your garden?

If you’ve ever wanted to find out how to get rid of pests organically, then I highly recommend that you check out Companion Planting and Natural Pest Control for Veggies.

The Companion Planting and Natural Pest Control for Veggies can help you rid your garden of pests organically. You’ll learn 7 proven strategies for discouraging pests and 11 must have plants which attract good predatory insects. Get this comprehensive and gorgeous book today.

Click here to see if it is right for you.

 Pic by Martin LaBar