Keep an eye out for insects on everything. Not all insects are bad; of course, and always choose the least toxic solution to any problem. I often get aphids on roses, and I have to admit that I usually squish them with my fingers. Next, I use a strong spray from the garden hose to dislodge the pests. Then, if I need to, I’ll use a few drops of dish detergent in a spray bottle with a pint to a quart of water. If all else fails, I move on to hot pepper wax spray or insecticidal soap. In all cases, I read and follow the directions.
All garden chemicals have labels that tell you how safe the chemicals are. Here is a tip. The words “caution, warning” and “danger” tell you, in that order, the level of toxicity of a preparation. I steer clear of all but caution.
If your garden waste isn’t turning to compost fast enough, there may not be enough air in the pile. Be sure to add some twigs along with the vegetable waste to make air pockets. Other problems can be caused by not having enough nitrogen or leafy material. Add grass clippings if the grass has not been treated with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Read the rest of this post in the new issue of Thrifty & Green magazine on page 42.