by Rachel Pound, Garden & Education Coordinator Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources
Imagine this: your June garden is all planted, you are starting to see more flowers and even some fruits and vegetables emerge, everything is going great and then boom… an explosion of weeds and potentially unwanted bugs take over. Not to fear! We have some solutions to keep your garden growing and glowing.
It always seems that weeds pop up in every little nook and cranny of a garden. Now weeds are simply unwanted plants, but they do take away nutrients and water from your desired crop. There are several nontoxic solutions to use against these invaders. Once a week, hand-pick the weeds by gently pulling out anything that is growing where you don’t want it to. Another idea that will prevent weeds from growing in the first place is to plant flowers, such as marigolds and petunias, in between your crops. Companion planting with flowers and other crops that grow well together saves space and even helps keep pests away. The other benefit is that plants stay moist in the arid Colorado summers when there is less open ground to dry out. One more idea is to have some sort of mulch around the garden space. You could use untreated wood chips, straw (without seeds), or even coconut husk fibers. The mulch also prevents the area from drying out and the soil from blowing away. Be careful not to smother small plants when using mulch and leave a small ring around any plants to give them space to grow a strong stalk.
Pests could also already be taking an interest in your garden. Here are two tips to help remove them. The first is to make a natural, soapy water solution and saturate your plants with it. To do this, add one tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil and one tablespoon of Castile soap or natural dish soap to a one quart spray bottle and fill the remainder with water. The second option is to add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of garlic to the above recipe. The added spice and scent repels pests, while the oil and soap make it difficult for them to stick to the plants. It is best to spray your plants in the morning or evening so as not to burn the wet leaves in the harsh sunshine. When your plants’ leaves aren’t looking the best and you can’t figure out what is going on, check the levels on your plant food. The ratio can be found on the product label. Here is a chart to help identify deficiencies your plants might be experiencing.
Check out next month’s article for more fun tips on feeding and watering your garden. Happy summer!
Rachel is the year-round Garden and Education Coordinator at Brigit’s Bounty Community Resources. She creates and facilitates all of the affordable youth programming, manages hundreds of volunteers, attends community outreach events, recruits volunteers, and manages the entire 1-acre Giving Garden. Rachel is integral to the success of the organization. Find out more about Brigit’s Bounty at https://www.brigitsbounty.org/