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Natural Pest Control

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                        May 16, 2006

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Garden Going to the Dogs? 

Here's some advice from bhg.com to help you coexist peace-
fully with your canine companion:

Dig for a Solution - Dogs dig. It's their nature. 

- Use bricks and add dirt to fill their holes. After scrap-
ing claws on bricks, dogs will decide that this isn't fun 
after all. 

- They also enjoy scraping off huge sections of lawn, 
leaving bare dirt. Lay chicken wire, burying edges deep so 
they can't pull the wire out. Over this, lay St. Augustine 
sod. Wire effectively discourages digging in gardens, too. 

- Dogs may repeatedly dig in the same spot to get at under-
ground decaying matter. One way around that is to cover 
those spots with brick squares topped by decorative planters.

Use a plant's natural defenses to keep your dog from ruining 
your flowers.  

- Many herbs and pungent flowers perfume the air when dogs 
plow through. While that won't discourage the canines from 
doing their thing, it's a silver lining to cling to when 
beds get trampled. 

- Although small-thorned or prickly bushes such as barberry 
and hollies will discourage some dogs, resist the urge to 
plant varieties with long, lethal thorns or points, such as 
yucca. These might injure a dog's eyes. Sometimes a mulch 
that's uncomfortable or uneasy to walk on will work. A 
thick carpet of pinecones, for example, discourages even 

Give in to your dog, and create an attractive path that 
suits your pet and protects your plants. 
- Be willing to compromise. Turn a dog's favorite route into 
a decorative pathway and landscape around it. 

- To keep dogs on track, consider lining the path with 
raised beds or ornamental fencing. 

- Another option is to divide the yard, giving the dog a 
private area that is at least partially shaded.
- Line pathways with soft materials (pine needles or leaves) 
that dogs will like. A pretty but uncomfortable paving will 
send dogs on new routes. 

- In a fenced-off section, add a sandpile for digging, safe 
toys, and a flat-roof doghouse so they can get on top and 
survey their domain. Dogs like that. By the same token, if 
you have a stockade fence, leave a small window for them to 
see through.

- Remember that dogs, like people, are all different. It may 
take a lot of experimenting to see what works for both you 
and your pet. The important thing is to keep your sense of 
humor. Remember, dogs think their behavior is perfectly 
normal and you're the one who's not cooperating.

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Natural Pest Control
By Terry L. Yockey
Anyone who gardens know that some pests are unavoidable. 
I've found that it isn't necessary to use synthetic pesti-
cides to keep them under control.

One important way is to be selective about which plants I 
grow. Some plants are just more susceptible to insects and 
disease then others. A notable example of this are many 
varieties of hybrid roses. They are host to a multitude of 
pests. By growing rugosa or shrub roses, I can have the 
beautiful blossoms without all the problems. Many varieties 
of rugosa even bloom off and on all summer. Another advant-
age is that they are completely hardy so they don't need 
all that mulch and TLC to get them through the winter.

Since I don't use chemical pesticides, my best strategy is 
to keep the pests from ever getting a stronghold. I make 
make sure my plants are healthy, and my garden is free of 
debris and weeds that would harbor disease organisms. I 
watch my plants for any sign of pests and treat them 
immediately. I also choose flowers and vegetables that have 
been bred to be more resistant to disease. If a plant does 
show a tendency to have problems, I'm brutal--I get rid of 
it immediately. 

If you have a vegetable garden, rotate your crops every year. 
If you keep tomatoes or even their close relatives like 
peppers, potatoes, or eggplant, in the same area, their 
diseases will build up in the soil. Plant peas or another 
legume, in that spot the next year.

If you find an insect or disease is devastating one of your 
crops or flowers, try one of these "earth friendly" pest 


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Bacillus thuringienses or B.t., is a biological control 
which works effectively against a multitude of garden pests 
including cabbage looper, gypsy moth, corn borer, potato 
beetles and even mosquito larvae. It won't harm pets or 
other wildlife, but will kill other butterfly larvae, as 
well. The time to use b.t. is when the pest larvae first 
appear. There are many different strains available, so be 
sure and pick the appropriate one for your problem.

I use insecticidal soap for almost everything. It kills 
whiteflies, aphids, mealy bugs, scale and even spider mites. 
You do need to spray it directly on the offending bug to get 
rid of it. Repeat once a week until they are gone.

If you insist on growing tea roses, and have black spot or 
mildew, try this recipe. Mix one tablespoon each of baking 
soda and oil--either a light horticultural oil or regular 
vegetable oil--to one gallon water. If you use vegetable 
oil, add insecticidal soap in the amount recommended for 
one gallon water. Spray both sides of the leaves thoroughly 
every five to seven days.

Deer are a welcome visitor to some and a pest to others. If 
they have become a problem in your yard try pouring dried 
blood meal around your plants and shrubs. Even it doesn't 
work, the plants will appreciate the added nitrogen!

I saved the worst pest, for last. Slugs are truly the bane 
of any gardeners existence. I have yet to find the perfect 
solution, but I do have some suggestions for you to try.


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1. Put boards around your gardens and then scrape the slugs 
off the bottom of each one every morning. 

2. Use diatomaceous earth, cinders, eggshells, ground nut 
shells, used coffee grounds, or sawdust around your plants. 
The sharp edges puncture their soft underbellies so they 
dehydrate and die. 

3. Dig holes in the garden for containers. Fill them with 
beer with the edges flush with the ground. The slugs will 
smell the fermenting yeast and supposedly fall in and drown. 
The only pest that liked these were my raccoons! They had 
some great parties out back last summer till I caught on to 
where the beer was going. 

Before you resort to harmful synthetic pesticides and 
insecticides, please try these biological or "home" remedies. 
You may find they work better and will cost you far less 
in the long run!

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