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My Latest Deer Technique

I think I have solved my deer dilemma of how to protect our vegetable garden without building an 8-1/2 foot fence and without spraying my veggies with repellent. So far my approach to spray Ortho Deer B Gon Repellent on pieces of cotton rags placed at 5 foot intervals along the edges of my raised beds a couple times a week has done the trick. Prior to implementing this approach a couple of weeks ago the deer were grazing on my cucumber, green beans and squash foliage.

Ortho Deer B Gon also comes in a granular that I have not used along the edges on my raised beds, however I would suspect this approach would also work. I just happened to have the spray available in my garage as it has worked well to protect our ornamental plants. Click here to read how we protected our perennials.

By the way, one thing I like about the smell of the Ortho Deer B Gon is it does not make you want to gag like the old style deer repellents. (click here to learn more)

I took the first pictures of the damage several weeks ago and the picture of my uneaten plants that are near one of the sprayed rags this morning. So far so good!

Deer damage on my young squash plants (click photo to enlarge)

Deer damage on my young squash plants (click photo to enlarge)

Deer damage on my young cucumber plants (click photo to enlarge)

Deer damage on my young cucumber plants (click photo to enlarge)

Deer are avoiding my cucumber plants because they are confused by the smell of the Ortho Deer B Gon Repellent I sprayed on the cotton rag at the edge of my raised bed (click photo to enlarge)

Deer are avoiding my cucumber plants because they are confused by the smell of the Ortho Deer B Gon Repellent I sprayed on the cotton rag at the edge of my raised bed (click photo to enlarge)

WOW… An Outdoor Cleaner That Is Safe For Plants

In the old days I creamed a ground cover with the harsh runoff from a patio cleaner spray. That is why I am excited about a new product that is chlorine bleach-free so it is safe to use around lawns and plants. Scotts® Outdoor Cleaner Plus OxiClean™ Ready to Spray can be used on multiple surfaces such as: concrete/brick, wood, composite wood, vinyl, patio furniture (including outdoor fabrics), roofing shingles, fiberglass, painted metals, etc. It comes in a ready to use spray bottle, ready to use hose-end bottle and in a concentrate to use in your own sprayer or power washer. You will see it work on stains from moss, mold, mildew and algae. You just let the solution set for a few minutes. For best results, scrub as needed. Lightly rinse with water or wipe off with a clean cloth or towel.  Click here to learn more.

The right side of these patio pavers were cleaned with Scotts Outdoor Cleaner... and the good news is it is safe for surrounding plants!

The right side of these patio pavers was cleaned with Scotts Outdoor Cleaner… and the good news is it is safe for surrounding plants!  (Click photo to enlarge)

Peppers Galore from Our Deck Planters

After the last of our spring harvest from our deck planters (kale, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard) we planted 9 pepper plants in early May. These three planters have 3 – Carmen Hybrid Sweet Peppers, 3 – Padron Peppers, and 3 – Lunch Box Sweet Peppers.  These self-watering planters hold about 4 gallons of water. The soil is Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. We have found it is best to start with fresh soil each year and clean the roots out of the water reservoir. We fed the plants with Osmocote Plant Food when we planted them.

Here are the photos so you can check out the progress.  See the last photo to find out how we prepare and eat the Padron peppers.  They are outstanding!

In Early May we planted 3-Carmen pepper in the left planter, 3-Padron peppers in the middle planter and 3-Lunch Box Peppers in the right planter.  We use small cages to help keep the plants stable with the extra weight of the peppers.   (click photo to enlarge)

In Early May we planted 3-Carmen pepper in the left planter, 3-Padron peppers in the middle planter and 3-Lunch Box Peppers in the right planter. We use small cages to help keep the plants stable with the extra weight of the peppers. (click photo to enlarge)

Pepper planters in mid July about 9 weeks after planting.  (click photo to enlarge)

Pepper planters in mid July about 9 weeks after planting. (click photo to enlarge)

Carmen Sweet Peppers are absolutely delicious!  See if you can count 9 peppers in this photo.  (click photo to enlarge)

Carmen Sweet Peppers are absolutely delicious! See if you can count 9 peppers in this photo. (click photo to enlarge)

We pick the Padron Peppers when they are about an inch to an inch and half long.  We toss them in olive oil and salt, bake them for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (or grill them).  They are slightly black.  Eat them whole!  (click photo to enlarge)

We pick the Padron Peppers when they are about an inch to an inch and half long. We toss them in olive oil and salt, bake them for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (or grill them). They are slightly black. Eat them whole! (click photo to enlarge)

Our Front Porch Container Update

These three pictures of this year’s front porch containers were taken 1) when we planted, 2) about a month after planting and 3) three months after planting. You can click here to see how this year’s planters compare with previous years.

We planted a "Fireworks" Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny (click photo to enlarge)

In mid April we planted a “Fireworks” Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny (click photo to enlarge)

A little over a month after planting:  A single “Fireworks” Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny around the edges.  (click on photo to enlarge)

A little over a month after planting: A single “Fireworks” Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny around the edges. (click on photo to enlarge)

Three months after planting:  a single “Fireworks” Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny around the edges. (click on photo to enlarge)

Three months after planting: a single “Fireworks” Fountain Grass in the center, 2 each of three different Coleus and 3 yellow Creeping Jenny around the edges. (click on photo to enlarge)

Our secret is to use great soil. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix (click here to learn more) works well because moisture is supplied to the plants as they need it. This soil is less likely to pull away from the inside of the container when it dries between watering, which means your water does not bypass the soil to drain out of the bottom holes like you can experience with other potting soils. Rita and I are big believers in this soil! And before I forget, we start with fresh soil each time we plant. We learned this lesson one year when we took a short cut to save a little money by reusing our soil the second year. The containers were not as good that year. We now mix the old soil into our garden.

And our other secret is to not let our plants starve. We fed these containers with Osmocote Plant Food (click here to learn more) a few weeks after we planted. The Miracle-Gro plant food that came in the soil gets the new plants off to a great start. The Osmocote then takes over and provides continuous feeding throughout the summer.

You Still Have Time to Put Down GrubEX

If you have not applied your GrubEx yet this year and you have had a serious grub problem in previous years, I say go for it ASAP. A sign of upcoming grub problems is if you have been seeing lots of Japanese Beetles feeding on your roses and other plants or other kinds of beetles hanging around your porch light at night. The best time to apply GrubEx is late spring to early summer. You may see some reduced control with an application in late summer, however reducing your grub population this fall and next spring would be better than doing nothing. It is best not to apply to waterlogged soils. If there is no rain after spreading, don’t forget to turn on your sprinklers so your lawn will get about a quarter to a half inch of water.

Japanese Beetles lay eggs in your lawn that become grubs in late summer that feed on your grass roots until winter.

Japanese Beetles lay eggs in your lawn that become grubs in late summer that feed on your grass roots until winter.

Grubs eat grass roots resulting in brown, dead lawn patches in fall and early spring

Grubs eat grass roots resulting in brown, dead lawn patches in fall and early spring

Planting Our Second Round of Tomatoes

We just planted a few more tomato varieties that are especially adapted to hot weather.  Many garden centers have plants available now.  Here is a link to info from one of the major vegetable plant growers with info about growing late season tomatoes in areas with hot summers.

We always mix a couple of inches of fresh compost into your existing soil prior to planting.  I like to do this every time I plant.  If you do not have your own compost you can use a bagged compost like Miracle Gro Natures Care Organic Garden Soil (click here for info).   If you are planting in a container use a potting mix rather than a garden soil (click here for info).  And don’t forget to feed your plants.  I like Miracle Gro Organic Choice Plant Food (click here for info).

If your tomatoes have ever suffered from blossom-end rot, which is a condition that causes the bottom of the tomato to turn black, you should feed with Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed for Tomatoes as this special food has extra calcium to help with this problem (click here for info).

And finally, to put a smile on your face, watch this short video.  It features a real toe-tapper by Guy Clark along with some mouth-watering tomato photos.  Enjoy!

 

How to Kill Lawn Insects That Turn Grass Brown in Summer

Tiny insects that you can’t even see can attack your lawn during summer.  One indication that they may show up is when you see moths fly from your lawn when you mow or walk on your grass during early evening hours.  These moths do not damage your lawn, however they lay eggs for insects like sod webworms and cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown.  Other insects, like chinch bugs can kill grass in sunny areas during this time of year.

You can protect your lawn while feeding it with a special summer lawn food called Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard.  This product also takes care of other insects like fleas, ticks and ants.  If your lawn does not need feeding, you can spread Ortho Bug B Gon MAX on your lawn to take care of any insect problems.  Oh by the way, it is ok if you still see some moths after treating, since they do no damage.  You have protected your lawn from the damage caused by their hatching eggs for about 6 weeks or so.

Lawn moths fly from the lawn during the evening or when mowing.  They lay eggs for sodweborms or cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown during summer.

Lawn moths fly from the lawn during the evening or when mowing. They lay eggs for sodweborms or cutworms that can cause your lawn to thin and turn brown during summer.

Chinchbugs are attacking the lawn on the left while the lawn on the right is protected.  If left untreated the lawn on the left will need to be replanted.

Chinchbugs are attacking the lawn on the left while the lawn on the right is protected. If left untreated the lawn on the left will need to be replanted.

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