Official Backyard Gardening thread

Discussion in 'The Food Forum' started by abomb, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. D-Dogg

    D-Dogg A Whole New World Contributor

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    We don't allow it to get to flower...I've read that if you allow it to flower, the taste goes bitter overall. So we keep cutting it back every time it gets about 8 inches tall, and get a huge harvest. Over and over again. We've harvested hundreds of dollars worth of basil from our garden, and I'm not kidding.
     
  2. D-Dogg

    D-Dogg A Whole New World Contributor

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    Oh, and the wind killed our biggest sunflower, and two neighbors. :( I am trying to nurse them back, but they damn near snapped off. Very sad, because they were beautiful. I still have 4 alive, but they are much smaller. Very harsh storm winds, and it is my fault because I never re-staked them higher when they got really tall. I'm an idiot, and a sunflower murderer.
     
  3. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    Vaccuum cleaner -- best way to deal with white flies.
    Neem also works pretty well, or yellow sticky traps. Or disturb the leaves and spray a fine mist of oil (or in a pinch, hairspray works well) on the cloud of white flies that flutter into the open.
    Knock on wood, for some reason I'm not seeing many of them this year.
     
  4. D-Dogg

    D-Dogg A Whole New World Contributor

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    Is Neem anti-organic? We are trying like hell to be totally organic in this garden.
     
  5. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    Neem is a straight extract from leaves and/or bark of a tree. They use it in shampoo for people with sensitive skin (it works pretty well, and also did wonders for my male chow dog who occasionally gets 'hot spots' in the summer -- but not once since using neem shampoo), in India they drink neem tea and use neem toothpaste, you can take it in capsules for your health. Unlike many other botanical or 'natural' insecticides (rotenone, pyrethrins, soapy oil spray) it is completely harmless to humans and animals. It's probably a lot more organic than hairspray, actually, but hairspray you apply to the flies, not the plant.
     
  6. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    I've been a big proponent of Neem for years. Here's a chunk of wikipedia:
    Usage

    In India, the tree is variously known as "Divine Tree", "Heal All", "Nature's Drugstore", "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases". Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infertility, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease[citation needed].

    Neem twigs are used for brushing teeth in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This practice is perhaps one of the most effective early forms of dental care.
    All parts of the tree (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) are used for preparing many different medical preparations.
    Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, shampoo, balms and creams), and is useful for skin care such as acne treatment, and keeping skin elasticity.
    Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.
    Practictioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients suffering from Chicken Pox sleep on neem leaves.
    Neem Gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food (those for diabetics).
    Aqueous extracts of neem leaves have demonstrated significant antidiabetic potential.

    [edit] Horticultural usages
    Neem is a source of environment-friendly biopesticides. Among the isolated neem constituents, limonoids (such as Azadirachtin) are effective in insect growth-regulating activity. The unique feature of neem products is that they do not directly kill the pests, but alter the life-processing behavior in such a manner that the insect can no longer feed, breed or undergo metamorphosis.[3] However, this does not mean that the plant extracts are harmful to all insects. Since, to be effective, the product has to be ingested, only the insects that feed on plant tissues succumb. Those that feed on nectar or other insects (such as butterflies, bees, and ladybugs) hardly accumulate significant concentrations of neem products.


    [edit] Uses in pest and disease control
    Neem is deemed very effective in the treatment of scabies although only preliminary scientific proof exists which still has to be corroborated, and is recommended for those who are sensitive to permethrin, a known insecticide which might be an irritant. Also, the scabies mite has yet to become resistant to neem, so in persistent cases neem has been shown to be very effective. There is also anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness in treating infestations of head lice in humans. A tea made of boiled neem leaves, sometimes combined with other herbs such as ginger, can be ingested to fight intestinal worms.[4]

    The oil is also used in sprays against fleas in cats and dogs.

    The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. Neem flowers are very popular for their use in Ugadi Pachadi (soup-like pickle)[5] which is made on Ugadi day in South India. A soup like dish called Veppampoo Rasam (translated as 'juice of neem flower') made of the flower of neem is prepared in Tamil Nadu.

    Neem is also used in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia and Thailand (where it is known as sadao or sdao), Laos (where it is called kadao) and Vietnam (where it is called sầu đâu). Even lightly cooked, the flavour is quite bitter and thus the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be good for one's health. Neem Gum is a rich source of protein.
     
  7. D-Dogg

    D-Dogg A Whole New World Contributor

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    Good info, thanks!
     
  8. Kel Varnsen

    Kel Varnsen Moderator Contributor

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    Wow, that is so exciting. Congratulations!

    :jealous:
     
  9. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    For the last two weeks I have had a Mexican yardman/handyman who cleaned the yard, repaired my screen porch, fixed hose bibs, cleared and made a rock garden, and most relevant here -- he has diligently been rooting out the wall-to-wall bermuda grass and broom bushes that had claimed 90% of my large (35 X 50) garden for the past 3-4 years. I had despaired -- quite literally -- of ever being able to use the garden again, since my back and newly arthritic hands are just no longer up to that level of sustained, relentless labor. (I even thought of selling my house, marketing the garden as a pasture.) He has worked nonstop 8 hrs a day for 5 days and is about 75% done, to give an idea what we're talking about here.

    Noah is me-tic-u-lous. He works harder than I have ever worked in my life. He's cheap. He speaks very minimal English, but is fantastic at charades. He's a genuinely nice, bright guy with a sense of humor. He's quite possibly undocumented, but that's not certain. I have a list of a dozen projects I'd all but given up on, from totally re-doing the garden irrigation to building a new grape arbor, rebuilding and reflooring the carport, massive tree-pruning, working a couple tons of organic compost into the garden and busting the subsoil, building raised beds and a little mini-greenhouse, and on and on. What a treat to be able to really garden once again!

    After years of miserable unreliable POS half-assed excuses for handymen ripping me off left and right, I have found Handyman Nirvana.

    And in a couple days he is going back to Mexico until next Spring. [​IMG] I am unbelievably bummed.


    Edit: The guy is a schoolteacher in Mexico! - math and history -- who comes up to join his brother-in-law's 'company' in summer to make enough money to live. I know some US teachers who can appreciate that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  10. Pariah

    Pariah H.S. Contributor

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    Random question: I have some kind of semi-dwarf apple tree in the back. It has a ton of apples on it, but none have ripened yet. I think it's the first year it's born fruit, is it possible they won't ripen this year and I'll have to wait until next season, or are some apples not ready until late in the summer?

    I don't know what kind of apple it's supposed to be, so they might not even me any good for eating.
     
  11. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    Lots of apples don't ripen until Sept-Oct.
     
  12. schutd

    schutd Regular User

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    Sorry to hear about your neighbors.
     
  13. Bada0Bing

    Bada0Bing Don't Stop Believin'

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    Nice work on the garden man, it sounds outstanding. Hey, where did you order your ladybugs from? I tried Lowe's and Home Depot, but they only sell them in the spring. I need some aphid help!

    I think my tomato plant lost its will to live after my dog got to it. It didn't produce any new fruit and died.

    We harvested a ton of radishes, wow they're spicy. Good in salads, but burn the heck out of your mouth if you try to eat them separately.

    The lettuce is awesome to add to our burgers when we barbecue.

    My lemon tree has 30 lemons this year. I planted it 3 years ago.
     
  14. AZZenny

    AZZenny Registered User

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    Try www.arbico-organics.com in Tucson. Green lacewings are even better for aphids, though.

    They're very decent price, very good quality, and ship fast. They also have a sale on do-it-yourself pick-up loads of organic compost just now if you drive there and load it - $75. The 'load it yourself' part discouraged me, but for some of you it might be OK, and I've used it in the past. Good stuff.
     
  15. D-Dogg

    D-Dogg A Whole New World Contributor

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    This is where I ordered them from:

    http://www.growquest.com/free_ladybugs.htm

    However, they haven't sent them. I'm pissed.

    Also pissed because those white flies have destroyed the garden. Squash. Dead. Cukes. Dead. Melons...alive, but not happy. Two tomato plants. Dead. Pumpkins...almost dead.

    It is almost like a family member is ill...I'm very upset with those damn bugs.
     

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