Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Strange Is This?

It is just my serious garden group meeting and I mean serious!  Our workshop this day was on organic gardening with ammonia, yogurt, vinegar and molasses.  I don't think I could possibly fit in everything in just this one blog, but you will get the idea of where this is going.

The maple that overlooks my garden from my neighbor's home

Our presenter was a graduate of Ornamental Horticulture at a big ten university, so the credentials were there.  I was all ready to listen and find out how to get rid of my rose midges.  So I asked, how do I get rid of the rose midge?  Our presenter said he had never heard of this (although it is all over the internet) but that all insects will disappear if we use a formula to help the plant repel all infestations.  Pesticides did not appear until after WWII and before that just about everything had an organic solution.  I guess they just didn't know what to do with all of those leftover chemicals!

This is my daughter-in-law's container that we put together with the bronze sweet potato vine left over from the summer with Creeping Jenny, mums, cabbages, grasses, and willow.

The consensus is that if the plants are healthy they will not support disease.  It sounds feasible so I was totally focused on listening to these remedies that were in existence before I was born. 

2 ounces of Blackstrap Molasses
2 ounces of Cider Vinegar
2 ounces of Ammonia (non-sudsing)

Mix with one gallon of water and do one time each week.  Start this recipe when the plants have been in the ground about 5 to  6 weeks.  Do not use on spinach, lettuce or swiss chard.

He said this is what would cure my rose midges and to use it this fall so that it is in the ground before frost.

Stop using Killer Chemicals he said.  Plants don't have stomachs, so the digestion has to happen in the soil.

Liquid weed killers are better than than dry because they are absorbed in the leaf and stay out of the soil.  Dry killer chemicals get into the soil and do a lot of damage. Spot weeding is his recommendation.  He is a big proponent of gypsum and milorganite,both of which have been around for a long time.

He says grass is a sun plant and don't even attempt to grow it in the shade, choose mulch or shade plants.  I know, you are saying there is "shade grass," but he says it will never do well because all grass wants sun.

He recommends planting trees that are meant for your area, know what your soil has and needs, apply gypsum every year if you have clay soil, mow high, water the lawn for one hour, once per week from mid September to Halloween (remember some of these suggestions are meant for zone 5 which is getting ready to shut down for the winter - warmer climates move the months forward somewhat).

You can check this all out at

There was so much more that I am totally confused at this point in regard to proper fertilizations and insect interventions. As I departed, I asked our hostess if he taught a class anywhere in the area.  She said she would certaily check this out.  I feel I know so little about these organic interventions at this point and I certainly don't want to put any of my plantings in jeopardy.

This is a little Irish Cottage that my son built for his youngest daughter.  It has become a playhouse for the whole family.

I will try this organic intervention on my roses as the chemicals have not worked and they are not setting buds.  I will let you know what happens, although it may not be this year!

It's getting a lot scarier around here!