Herbs & Flowers for Natural Pest Protection – Update

This past spring of 2012, I started looking into various flowers and herbs etc. that might help deter and prevent pests in my vegetable garden in a natural way. I wrote a post on this subject early on in the season, Herbs & Flowers to Naturally Control & Deter Pests, in which I described a few plants believed to be helpful as pest control, and made a decision on which plants I wanted to try for my own garden. In this post, I will give you an update on how things went, and whether it seemed to work. All in all it was an interesting project, and though I did had some pest problems, I still think it was worth adding these plants to my garden. PETUNIAS The small section of green beans definitely took the biggest hit, this year as in previous years; the petunias I planted were supposed to help control Mexican bean beetles, but I would say the effect was very limited. The plants seemed just as attacked as before, but the difference was that (amazingly enough) I did not actually see any of the worms this year. I did see one beetle, but no worms, although the evidence of them were all over. So if I decide to plant snap beans next year, I will have to do something more drastic. For some reason, and I’ve also noticed this before, later in the season the beetles […] Read more »

Tomato Hornworms and How to Get Rid of Them

  Several years ago I used to keep tomato plants on my deck (before my fenced in garden.) One summer I saw that my plants were wilting and not looking healthy, losing a lot of leaves and twigs. I figured I wasn’t watering enough. Despite better efforts, my plants continued to go downhill, looking worse every day, until they were missing most of their leaves and dying. I also noticed several partly eaten tomatoes still on the plants. I couldn’t understand what was wrong. While studying my plants, pondering what might have gone wrong, I suddenly discovered two large, fat, brightly green worms on one of the stems! I was both shocked and horrified at the sight! I had never seen anything like it! My husband did a quick search on-line and discovered that these two hungry caterpillars were tobacco hornworms, and that they are extremely common in North America. They cause a lot of damage to tomato plants, and will destroy them completely if left alone. These worms are often mistaken with tomato hornworms, which is closely related. It doesn’t matter much which type they really are, as they do the same damage, feed on the same plants, and are controlled in the same ways as well. If you really want to know the difference between these two worms, there are a couple of things to look for: The tobacco hornworm has white stripes along its body and has […] Read more »

Creamy Blueberry Pie Recipe w/ Crumble Topping

  One of my favorite pies, and an easy one to make, is the Creamy Blueberry Pie that I found on AllRecipes years ago. With a few changes that I have made to this recipe since then, the result has been excellent; a pie that quickly becomes a favorite whenever served at gatherings. The changes include using less sugar, as the original recipe was a bit too sweet for my taste. I also added more salt to the filling for extra flavor, as well as a pinch of salt to the streusel topping, and adjusting the oven temperature to allow for shorter baking time. Most fruit pies seem to contain a filling based on berries in a heavy syrup. This pie, however, has a creamy, custard-like filling, adding flavor and a smooth texture by using eggs and sour cream in addition to other ingredients. Filled into a pie shell and topped with a crumbly streusel mix, the layers add variety in flavors and texture. If you do try this recipe, I would really appreciate a quick comment with a star rating (option found immediately under each recipe). It helps me out tremendously! Thanks in advance! This pie should be baked on a cookie sheet, preheated in the oven to 375° F. To prepare the pie, I start by spraying a 9-inch pie dish quite heavily with cooking spray, making sure to spray all the way to the top along the […] Read more »