How to Use Neem Oil for Plants as a Natural Pesticide

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How to Use Neem Oil as a Natural Non-Toxic Garden Pesticide

Do you need a non-toxic natural pesticide alternative for your home and garden? Learn how to use neem oil for plants as a natural non-toxic pesticide!

In addition to neem oil’s many medicinal uses – for which I’ve already created multiple recipes for soap, shampoo, salves and lip balm – you can also use neem oil for plants in your garden as a natural broad spectrum pesticide. Neem oil is extracted from the seed of the tropical neem tree and contains thee active ingredient, azadirachtin, which acts as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide.

You can use neem oil for plants in the garden as a natural, non-toxic pesticide to help control slugs, snails, fruit flies, white flies, squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles, Mexican bean beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids small leaf eating caterpillars and other harmful insects.

In your home it works against fleas, ticks, ants, bed bugs, dust mites and cockroaches as well as scabies mites.

Simply combine between .5% and 2% of neem oil to warm water depending on severity of infestation. (So for every 16 oz. of water by weight, you’d want to use between .08 oz. and .32 oz. neem oil.) For the garden you can also include insecticidal soap or detergent at .01% – .02% of the water amount. Use the solution within a day or two and then make up a new solution to use as needed. If you have an existing infestation drench soil and leaves and apply once a week until infestation clears. As a preventative measure, use the neem oil at .5% dilution with warm water once a month.

Also be sure to check my natural homemade skin care recipes that contain neem oil: Natural Neem Oil & Rosemary Salve Recipe, Natural Homemade Neem Oil Cold Process Soap Recipe, Homemade Neem Cream Recipe, Natural Topical Anti-Fungal Toenail Treatment, Homemade Cold Sore Therapy Lip Balm Recipe, Natural Homemade Dog Shampoo and my Lanolin & Neem Salve Recipe.

For more home and garden tips and recipes like this one, follow my DIY Lifestyle Tips board on Pinterest. Or keep up with all of my new projects and recipes by following me on Blog Lovin, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google + and Instagram!

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Growing a Container Garden: From Bush Cucumbers to Herbs and Fruits

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Don’t have the time to till a garden bed or just don’t have the space? Even if you don’t have a yard you can still grow vegetables for your table! I went down to the Roanoke City Market over the weekend itching to buy something other than herbs that I could grow in a pot. The solution? Bush cucumbers!
After talking to Tim of Rolling Meadows Farms I purchased some bush cucumbers from him, then transplanted half into a large container. (As they grow I’ll probably split these again into a second container.) The other half I left for my mom to plant in a container somewhere she could place up high so the deer couldn’t eat her crop this year like they did last year. Apparently bush cucumbers are perfect for containers. They’ll also produce cucumbers a lot sooner than cucumber plants that grow on vines. Just make sure to place your container of bush cucumber plants in full sun and keep watered.
Cucumbers aren’t the only things you can grow in containers though. There are a long list of fruits that can be grown in pots like strawberries and kumquats, and veggies like summer squash, tomatoes, acorn and pumpkin squashes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, small melons, and of course herbs and many greens. Be sure to check out TLC’s article, 66 Things You Can Grow at Home: In Containers, Without a Garden, for a fairly substantial list.

And, if you’re looking to deter pests and diseases in your garden – however you choose to grow one – I highly recommend taking a peek at the article, 35 Pest and Disease Remedies, from Fine Gardening Magazine. It offers some great recipes for keeping your garden looking great with ingredients from your kitchen! For even more great gardening ideas, be sure to check out my Gardening Board on Pinterest.
What types of plants are you going to be growing in your garden this year?
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How to Grow Garlic

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Did you know that one clove or bulb of garlic, when planted, can produce up to an additional twenty cloves? So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it instead and learn how to grow garlic.

How to Grow Garlic! Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic so you can harvest next spring! Just one clove of garlic can produce up to an additional twenty cloves! So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it outside now instead!

How to Grow Garlic

Learning how to grow garlic is a snap! Simply plant garlic cloves individually in early fall. It doesn’t matter if they’ve already started to sprout. If your garlic hasn’t yet started to sprout, simply plant individual garlic cloves with the pointy end up.

How to Grow Garlic! Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic so you can harvest next spring! Just one clove of garlic can produce up to an additional twenty cloves! So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it outside now instead!

Make sure to plant your garlic cloves in a sunny location with good drainage. You can plant multiple cloves four inches apart either in your yard or in a large pot depending on your living situation. (Apartment dwellers may want to plant garlic in a large pot on a balcony.) Garlic grows well even if planted among other flowers or vegetables so don’t be shy about mixing your garlic cloves in among existing plants.

How to Grow Garlic! Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic so you can harvest next spring! Just one clove of garlic can produce up to an additional twenty cloves! So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it outside now instead!

Now all that’s needed is to sit back and wait for your garlic to grow! If you are growing your garlic in a pot, be sure water it occasionally. But take care not to drown it. As your garlic grows, it will sprout leaves. Once the leaves turn brown and die, it’s time to harvest your garlic. (Don’t harvest any earlier or your cloves will be too small!)

Once you harvest your garlic, hang the bulbs in a cool, dry location to dry them and prevent rot. Your garlic should dry in about a week, at which time you can simply brush off the dirt and start cooking with your garlic cloves. Or set some aside to plant even more!

How to Grow Garlic! Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic so you can harvest next spring! Just one clove of garlic can produce up to an additional twenty cloves! So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it outside now instead!

The handmade pottery pot photographed above that I used for planting my garlic bulb was purchased from a local potter at my local farmer’s market. These little pots are great for growing all kinds of things, especially if you’re limited on space. Because these handmade pots have handles, they are great for tying to lattice work or a trellis and building an herb garden upward instead of outward. Or hang them from a porch ceiling!

However, keep in mind garlic gets BIG! So starting your garlic in a small pot works great if you’re snipping off greens indoors for culinary delights. Otherwise, as your garlic grows, and in order to be able to harvest the garlic later on, you’ll need to transfer your garlic into a larger pot or outdoors! Happy gardening!

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DIY Spring Gardening Projects, Tips & Tricks

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Get started on your spring garden now with this wonderful collection of DIY spring gardening projects, tips and tricks!

It’s almost time to start planting here in Southwestern Virginia! Our last danger of frost usually passes towards the end of April, though with the warm weather we’ve had recently it’s hard to believe we could still end up with a snow storm. (And we have before. I remember back in April of 1993 I believe, we ended up with 3ft. of snow!)

But with the super warm days we’ve been having, I thought now would be a great time to share some DIY spring gardening projects, tips and ideas! Here are a few of my favorites.

DIY Spring Gardening Projects, Tips & Tricks

le zoe musings blog has some DIY spring gardening projects for getting a jump start on your outdoor garden like this indoor greenhouse. To make this indoor greenhouse garden, Kellie uses a 72 cell greenhouse kit with a dome.

However, you could also use recycled newspaper to make your own seedling starter pots and cover with wide mouth masonjars, another wide mouthed glass container or the top half of a plastic 2L bottle.

You can even start garden seeds in a lemon peel! Just plant the seeds of your choice and wait for them to bear fruit! I love the selection of seeds available from Mountain Rose Herbs – especially the Lifeline Medicinal Seeds Kit they sell which contains certified organic seeds suited for starting a medicinal herb garden.

Another great DIY spring gardening idea is to recycle a plastic jug into a DIY watering can rather than buying one. A Journey to a Dream Blog has a simple tutorial that shows you how to do just that using the jug of your choice and a heated needle to pierce holes into the lid.

I was also super psyched to discover I can grow my own ginger from leftover ginger I’ve purchased which keeps me from having to buy ginger over and over. A Nest for All Seasons Blog explains how you can grow ginger from an inch long, unpeeled chunk of ginger.

You just need some soil, water, and small pieces of ginger root that have a node on them. You can also keep yourself in green onions without repeat trips to the grocery store by saving the roots once you’ve used the ends and placing them in water where they will grow back. There’s tutorial on how to grow green onions in water over at The Burlap Bag Blog.

Want an herb garden for fresh herbs all summer long but don’t have the space? Garden up! Camille Styles Blog has an awesome tutorial for crafting your own DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden.

Plant all of your favorite herbs along a board that you can hang on a wall. Start your garden indoors by a sunny window, then transfer it outside once the danger of frost has passed. You can then bring your herb garden back indoors once the weather cools back down in the fall!

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Stevia – the sweet herb. Here’s how it grows.

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Stevia is the hot, new sugar substitute as it doesn’t affect blood sugar and it’s not chemically produced. In fact, stevia is an herb you can grow in your own garden and then reap the rewards every fall. Here’s how to grow and harvest stevia for use.

Stevia plant pinched out about ten days ago

It’s recommended that you buy the initial stevia plants that you intend to grow since starting from seed can be tricky and stevioside levels – what makes the plant sweet – can vary widely in plants started and grown from seed. Buying your plants from a local nursery or like me – from a farmer on our city market – ensures you’re buying higher quality stevia. My plant is now over two feet tall and just a few weeks old.

Because stevia is sensitive to colder temperatures, you should wait to plant your stevia after all danger of frost has past and the soil temperatures are consistently in the 50s – 60s or higher. I think mine’s finally ready to go into the ground and sprout more green, leafy sweetness, however I’ve been waiting on this rain that we’ve had for the past week to stop first. Stevia plants will also do well in pots that are 10″ – 12″ in circumference.

When transplanting your plants to a garden area, be sure to plant them in rows 20 – 24 inches apart and space each plant about 18 inches from one another. Stevia grows tall and wide – about 30 inches tall and up to 24 inches wide so you need to allow for this growth.

Use the same soil you would for your regular garden plants adding compost to lock in moisture and add extra nutrients. Low nitrogen fertilizer is best or even an organic fertilizer would be fine. Water your plants frequently during the summer months but take care not to over water.

Harvest your stevia leaves in the fall as late as possible. The cooler fall temperatures help to intensify the sweetness of your crop. It’s recommended that you cut your branches from your plants before stripping the leaves.

You can also use the tips of the stems as they often contain the same amount of stevioside as the leaves from your harvest. If you’re in a climate where stevia will survive a cool winter, prune the plants so the stems are about 4 inches high.

Generally you can get a second harvest from these plants, but a solid third harvest is not as likely, nor will it be as productive. Otherwise be sure to keep cuttings from your harvest to root indoors, pot and keep for planting next spring.

Stevia rooted cutting after 14 days in water : bouturage de Stevia

Once you’ve harvested your stevia leaves you will want to dry them on a screen or net. Good air circulation is a must but this process doesn’t require a lot of heat. You can likely dry your leaves outside on a warm day in full sun in about a 12 hour period.

Once your leaves have dried, simply crush them by hand or in a coffee grinder to release the sweetness for future use. A liquid extract can be also produced by mixing a cup of warm water with 1/4 of fresh, finely crushed stevia leaves which you would then refrigerate after 24 hours.

Don’t have the space to plant stevia? You can also buy dried organic stevia leaves steep in your own tea blends.  The whole organic stevia leaf is also available in powdered form. (Note that most commercial Stevia which is a white crystalline color is actually the dried powdered extract of Stevia and not the whole leaf.)

Have you tried stevia or do you plan on growing this amazing herb in your garden this year?

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