Having Fun With Nature

What's Going on Now!

Copyright © Red Gate Farm 2012. All rights reserved.

Spring, 2013

Spring has sprung
The grass is ris;
I wonder where
The posies is

Unknown Poet

Insecticidal Soap Spray

As the poem says, spring is upon us. And one with spring are the insects, and the first of these are the aphids.

Rather than spraying them with toxic chemicals, why not try "Insecticidal Soap Spray". You, your plants, the environment, everything will like it...except the insects.

Into a quart spray bottle add:

   - 1 tbsp. of shaved soap (not detergent), something like Ivory Soap
   - 1 tsp. of vegetable oil (not olive or canola)
   - Fill the bottle with water.

Place the cap on the bottle, shake, and allow to sit for at least one day.

Shake before using, and spray on and around the insects and insect damage. You can also spray to prevent insect damage before insects arrive. Reapply the spray after a rain.

The Monarchs are Coming...The Monarchs are Coming

Another right of spring is the annual migration of Monarch butterflies from their winter residence in the forests of Mexico to North America.

You can help scientists at the University of Minnesota learn more about these animals by watching for Monarchs and checking to see if milkweed in your area has any eggs or larvae.

Complete details are on the Monarch Larva Monitoring Site at www.mlmp.org.


Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Larva:
5th Stage Instar

Hardening Off

After your seedlings have grown, and probably been re-potted, it's time to move them outdoors.

Hardening off the seedlings prepares them for the transition to the garden.

As soon as daytime temperatures approximate the growing temperature required for the plant (broccoli 40º, tomatoes 70º for example) you can put your seedlings out in the shade and out of direct sun. Bring them in at night. Keep them in this shaded protected spot for two or three days, then move them to morning light/afternoon shade in a protected area. Unless nighttime temperatures are in the 40's or lower, you don't need to bring them inside at night now.

After three or four days, move them to full sunlight where they are exposed to breezes, but not strong winds.

After two or three days in this spot, they are ready to go into the garden, or into an outside container.