Condo Blues: organic




Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Why Are My Tomatoes Rotting on the Bottom?

I’m attempting to grow tomatoes in this year’s garden. I say attempt because I haven’t had much luck in the way of getting a plant to give me more than a handful of tomatoes any time I plant tomatoes.

I am determined that this summer will be different. I read everything I could find on how to grow tomatoes. I bought a more mature tomato plant instead of attempting from seed and upped the watering schedule.

I was excited to see more  blossoms than I’ve ever had on a tomato plant. I cheered when they grew into green tomatoes.  I was overjoyed when I plucked the first red tomato. Finally I broke our tomato curse!

Until I turned the tomato over and found this.

how to prevent blossom end rot in the garden
 Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Blossom end rot!

Vegetable Garden Blossom End Rot What it is, How it Happens, and How to Fix It

Thursday, July 15, 2021

How to Make Easy DIY Compost Tea and Friday Favorites 590

If you garden, one of the best zero waste ways to deal with food scraps is to compost them. 

So what do you do when everything breaks down into a lovely full bin of compost? 

Make compost tea and fertilize your lawn and garden the natural way! My husband and I couldn't have turned the sad chunk of clay pretending to be our yard into dark, rich soil without adding compost to the soil when we plant and compost tea fertilizer later in the season to keep them growing.

 

If you can steep a tea bag in a cup of hot water you have all of the skills necessary to brew compost tea. You can read my How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer the Easy Way tutorial here. Your plants will thank you for it!

Time to link up your favorite projects, recipes, and posts!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Edible Landscaping Groundcover Ideas and Friday Favorites Week 584

Last weekend was a long holiday weekend here in the US and my husband and I spent a chunk of it digging in the dirt. We want to add more color to our front flowerbeds which is largely an oasis of black mulch. Wood mulch isn't a bad thing. Mulching protects the soil from eroding and helps keep moisture in the soil after watering. Wood mulch also breaks down over time and add nutrients to the soil - which a good thing for our clay soil but also a bag thing because we have keep buying heavy bags of mulch. Anything we can do to less the chance of the yearly hefting mulch into the landscaping beds is a good thing in our book.

We didn't have to look any further than our own backyard for a practical zone 6 living groundcover solution: transplant the golden oregano overflowing its pots in the container garden to the front yard.  Thyme is another fast growing perianal garden groundcover we could use or mix in with the golden oregano but we don't cook with thyme as often as we do with oregano. We're hopping the yellow in the ground cover will make the lavender blooms pop a bit more.

Please don't die.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2021

DIY Compost Station

When someone asks why we started composting, my husband and I say it’s because we had to because all we had for garden was clay and zero topsoil. We sang the condo blues over how very little would grow in that pretending to be soil, researched how to amend it, and experimented with composting in a DIY compost bin.

I made our first compost bin by drilling a bazillion holes in a black plastic trash can. We loaded it up with food scraps and paper from our paper shredder and in about a year we had compost! We added the homemade compost to our soil and after awhile our tan clay soil started to turn black with nutrients. I practically dance the first time I dug a hole and found an earthworm – it is another indicator that the soil is improving!

 

We take our composting very seriously. Why do you ask?

 

And we’ve been composting ever since.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

How to Grow Basil Plants From Cuttings

Basil is one of my favorite herbs to grow in my self watering container garden.  It is affordable (especially if you grow basil from seeds,) fairly hardy (since I often forget plants need water to live,) and is the easiest (and cheapest) way to cook with the fancy varieties (opal basil, anyone?) I never see for sale in the grocery store. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links for your convenience.)

But the thing I really love about growing basil  is if you have one basil plant, you can use it to propagate the clippings to grow more basil plants!

Yes, really!

How to Propagate Basil Plants


quick and easy way to regrow basil plants from stems

Sunday, May 6, 2018

25 DIY Home Improvements You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

When you think of doing home improvement projects to add value to your home, most people immediately think of the big, long, and difficult DIY projects like remodeling a room or landscaping.

While I agree that kitchen and bathrooms sell houses and are super nice to have, it is often at the expense of those little quick and easy home improvement projects that pile up around the house and if done early, can save you the time and expensive needing to do a big, huge DIY project later on down the road.

Grab your tool belts and Do It Yourself Honey! lists. Be prepared to save a ton of money knocking out these quick and easy DIY projects when and where you can.

25 Quick and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects that Pay Off Big!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

How to Naturally Kill Grubs and Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore

When we bought our condo, the builder planted spirea bushes in front of all of the houses in the neighborhood. Those pretty pink flowers were quite attractive – to Japanese beetles and grubs.

Commercial grub killers from the big box store do not work for me which I only tried as a last resort. I was leery of what the 90% OTHER INGREDNETS listed on the ingredients label actually were since they had a warning about not using the stuff around kids, dogs, and fish ponds.

The only thing that worked was using the all natural, people and pet safe organic grub killing combo of Milky Spore powder and Beneficial nematodes in my flowerbeds. (Disclosure: I am including a few big bold affiliate links in this post for your convenience because I couldn’t find any of these items for sale locally and figure you might be in the same boat too.)

Now if I was smart and applied Milky Spore to my grass and lawn when I did the flower bed years ago, the good Milky Spore bacteria would have been fruitful and multiplied in the soil throughout my property by now.

While the flower beds are naturally pest free but I found a grub in the yard recently and where there is one grub there are a dozen or more. Live and learn  should have applied my organic pest killer to the yard too. But my shortsightedness is your gain because I can write you a quick and easy tutorial.

How to Easily Apply Milky Spore to Your Lawn and Garden


Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to Make Compost Tea Fertilizer

Every evening as part of my post dinner cleanup,  I try to dump our kitchen compost collector into the big tumbling compost bin outside to keep the little guy from stinking up the joint.

This particular evening I gave the compost bin a crank like I have done so many evenings before only for the half full bin to suddenly become much easier to turn, like it was practically empty – because it was.

The hinges and latch on the door to the compost bin failed and dumped compost all over the yard.
For the third time.

I didn’t have enough finished compost to fertilize my garden but instead of singing the Condo Blues, I used it to make compost tea. Compost tea is an excellent plant food and fertilizer and well earns its nickname – Black Gold.

How to Brew Compost Tea Concentrate the Easy Way

Pin this post for later!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to Naturally Kill Grubs, Fleas, and Fungus Gnats

Japanese beetle grubs decimated our “easy to care for landscaping” shortly after we bought our condo because our builder planted the entire neighborhood with plants that attract Japanese Beetles.  Our final solution was to rip out every bush and plant in the yard and let it lay fallow for a year. It wasn’t pretty but it worked.

Dang it. They’re back.

Commercial grub killers from the big box store do not work for me which I only tired as a last resort. I was leery of what the "90% OTHER INGREDIENTS" listed on the label actually were next to the warning about not using the stuff around kids, dogs, and fish ponds.  So, yeah. I'm glad it didn't work.




Tuesday, May 11, 2010

40 Ways to Organically Repel Japanese Beetles

The natural predictors that keep Japanese Beetles from ruining plants in their native Japan do not exist here in the United States. That’s what makes Japanese Beetles so difficult to control and kill.

One of the best organic and pesticide free ways to keep Japanese Beetles from eating and killing the plants in your yard is to simply remove the plants that attract Japanese beetles from your home and landscaping.

If you have a Japanese beetle problem in your garden, you might want to thing twice about keeping or planting the following flowers, shrubs, vines, plants, and trees in your yard.


Eighteen Flowers, Shrubs, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Gladiolus - bulb/flower - Annual
2. Coneflower - flower - Perennial
3. Dailah - flower - Annual
4. Daylilies - flower - Perennial
5. Shasta Daisies - flower - Annual
6. Hollyhock - flower - short lived Perennial/Biennial
7. Hibiscus - flower - Annual & Perennial
8. Evening Primrose - flower - Biennial
9. Clemantis - flower - Perennial
10. Sunflower - flower - Annual
11. Cardinal Flower - flower -Perennial
12. Peony - flower - Perennial
13. Zinnia - flower - Annual & Perennial
14. Pennsylvania Smartweed/Heart's Ease - flower/herb - Perennial
15. Rose - flowering shrub/vine - Perennial
16. Viburnums - flowering shrub - Perennial
17. Climbing Hydrangeas - flowering vine - Perennial
18. Morning-Glory - flowering vine - Perennial


Six Food and Fruit Plants That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Soybean - food - Annual
2. Sweet Corn - food - Annual
3. Asparagus - food - Annual
4. Rhubarb - food - Annual
5. Grapes - fruit - Perennial
6. Red Raspberry - fruit -Perennial


Sixteen Plant, Tree, and Vines That Attract Japanese Beetles

1. Common Mallow - plant - Annual or Biennial
2. Birch - tree - Perennial
3. Cherry - tree - Perennial
4. Elms - tree - Perennial
5. Fruit (some types) - tree - Perennial
6. Horse Chestnut - tree - Perennial
7. Japanese and Norway Maple - tree - Perennial
8. Lindens - tree - Perennial
9. Mountain Ash - tree - Perennial
10. Ornamental Apple - tree - Perennial
11. Pin Oak - tree - Perennial
12. Plum - tree - Perennial
13. Sycamore - tree - Perennial
14. Willow - tree - Perennial
15. Porcelain Vine - vine - Perennial
16. Virginia Creeper - vine - Perennial



For more ways to kill Japanese Beetles in your garden check out the following ideas - and more! below!


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This post is an updated and reprinted version of  the post of the same title that appeared on 7/22/08.