What is Diatomaceous Earth?

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance that is made up of fossilized diatoms. These are a type of single cell planktonic algae that lived in the ancient oceans and freshwater lakes millions of years ago. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, ancient, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Silica is very common in nature and makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight. Various forms of silica include …


How to Keep Ants Off Hummingbird Feeders

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Umbrella Ant Moat

Feeding the hummingbirds should be enjoyable and shouldn’t be a battle against the ants. They love to live under concrete too so even if you don’t have any grass or ground space most likely you’ll still have thousands of ants.  The hummingbirds will love the feeder full of sweet syrup that you put out but the ants will love it too. They can be quite a nuisance and they’ll quickly clog up the drinking spouts with their drowned bodies and eventually the birds won’t come to feed anymore.  It’s not reasonable to try and kill all the ants to keep them …


Root Weevils

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Root Weevil

I didn’t even know what a root weevil was for all the years I was gardening at my last place which is in a mostly rural setting. But then, 18 months ago I had to move on short notice. So I packed up, picked up and dragged my mature 12 year old garden in the mucky weather of February and I managed to move it in less than two months! We now have a cute little house right in the middle of town. Little did I know that this new house is completely infested with weevils and ants for that …


Orcon Dellocate Snails

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Predaceous Dellocate Snail

What are Orcon Dellocate Snails? Orcon is a brand name, short for “Organic Control Inc.” and Dellocate snails are molluscs with the scientific name: Rumina decollata. They are a type of predatory snail that eats brown snails, slugs, other snail types and all of their eggs too! These particular snails are actually beneficial to the garden. They’ll catch your eye because they have a different appearance than your average garden snail, Dellocate snails are conical and slender whereas average garden snails are more round in shape. The Dellocate snail was introduced to southern California from the Mediterranean in the early 1970’s to …


Carrot Sprout Carnage

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Hugging Carrots

It’s carrot seed planting time! It’s springtime, an exciting and rejuvenating time of year, seeds being planted, perennial sprouts emerging, spring flowers and summer flower buds are abundant everywhere. Well, what am I talking about then…carrot sprout carnage?? Back up a little while: Read about how I built a small raised bed on a pallet about two weeks ago. This unique pallet was re-purposed and used to create a raised bed for planting Rainbow Blend and Purple Haze carrot seeds. May Showers Anyway, it’s late April and early May, summer is right around the corner. The carrots have been planted for …


My Cherries are Falling Off

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June Fruit Drop on Cherry Tree 2013

It’s almost June and summer is under way. The cherry blossoms have bloomed their dazzling spring beauty and are now almost gone. The immature cherries are just forming behind the flower petals as they blow away in the wind. But then disaster happens… The newly formed, immature cherries start falling off your cherry tree and there are a lot of them that fall! It makes you wonder the obvious question: Is my fruit tree sick? The answer is probably not. It might be a natural occurrence. It really depends on how much of the total crop of cherries actually fall off. …


Raspberry Crown Borer

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Raspberry Crown Borer

The Raspberry Crown Borer (Pennisetia marginata) and its larva are common pests of the raspberry plant. They are common throughout most of North America and are very common here on the west coast of BC and Washington. They are also known as Blackberry Clearwing Borer, as they can affect the closely related blackberry plant as well. Wild blackberries are a carrier of this pest and they will spread to nearby gardens with raspberries if they are close enough. They will infect your raspberries easily. Their life cycle is nearly invisible and you don’t notice they are there until your plant is …


Raspberry Cane Borer

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Raspberry Cane Borer

The adult raspberry cane borer (Oberea bimaculata ) appears in June. It is a slender black beetle about 1/2″ long.  How to recognize it and its’ presence This pest is a slender, dark coloured beetle, about 12 mm long, with antennae as long as its body. It can be recognized by the yellow band near its head and its long antennae. Larvae are white, cylindrical and legless. Adult females chew two zipper-like rings around the tips of raspberry primocanes and lay an egg between the punctures. The cane tip wilts above the point of injury and eventually dries up and dies. The beetle …


Big Fat Worm on Basil

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Worm on Store Bought Basil

So I caved and actually bought a couple of basil plants from the store, I just wanted more of it and the season was passing quickly.  There wasn’t enough time to sprout more seeds. You already know that there’s never too much basil! The plants are doing beautifully and were growing nicely. I watched them for a couple of weeks while they grew and made more leaves.  I hadn’t pinched any yet and was tenderly growing and nurturing these new additions, but then I started to notice some of the branches looked as though they had been harvested or pinched already. But I …


Slugs in January!

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Brown Slug

The garden usually rests around November in the Lower Mainland of BC, depending on the weather and when the rainy season returns. Usually the rainy season has long since arrived by the end of November and the gardeners of this area retreat to the dry warmth of the house.  Unless you have a greenhouse, then your growing time can be extended quite a bit. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the hard earned break from the work load of the spring and summer planting and growing season. That was two months ago. We don’t really get winter around …


Skeletonizers

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Skeletonized Raspberry Leaf

What is a Skeletonizer?  The pest group called “skeletonizers” is a category of worms or bugs that will completely devour the entire green leafy part of a plant leaving only the rib structure of the leaf. These are a very destructive creature that is highly traumatizing and sometimes fatal to the plant involved. Types of Skeletonizer The Oak Leaf Skeletonizer is common and affects the Great Lakes Region as well as southern Canada across to BC and northern USA. The Apple Leaf Skeletonizer is common to the west coast, Pacific Northwest and BC as well as up and down the East …


Slugs and Snails and What to Do About Them

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Brown Slug Hiding

If you live in a climate that’s even the slightest bit rainy or wet, then you know all too well about slugs and snails and the damage they can inflict on a garden. The wetter, rainier and more temperate your climate is the more likely you are to have an issue with slugs. Slugs like to hide in dark shady spots in the daytime and then come out in the evening and through the night. They’ll even come out in the daytime if it’s cool, rainy and wet enough. They have a voracious appetite for your garden. You’ll need to have …


How to Use Tanglefoot

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Tanglefoot is a very effective, natural pesticide product for trees that helps them combat the over-wintering bugs that cause damage to your trees in the spring. These insects include gypsy moths, canker worms, weevils, ants, caterpillars, moths, cutworms and more. If you’ve never used this product before then I’ll share with you a few helpful tips on how to use Tanglefoot to make it an easier task. Tanglefoot is OMRI rated and certified for organic gardening. “The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing” What …


Yuk! I have Spit On My Plants!

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Spittle Bug Foam

You’ll be out in the garden in early to mid spring admiring all of your fall planting work in its emerging beauty. Then, you’ll see something odd… You’ll see white globs of foamy stuff on some of your plants. You’ll think “yuk, I have spit on my plants”. Who spit on my plants?…will be the question on your mind. What’s this stuff anyway? That’s not Spit It’s not spit at all. It’s a foam created by Spittle Bug Nymphs. In Latin they are called Philaenus spumarius. At this point the nymphs are in the early stage of developing into the adult Froghopper insect. Their …


Pear Slugs

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Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs 2011

What the heck is a pear slug?? These are not your typical, large ground sliding, slimy slugs. Despite their name, Pear Slugs are actually an insect. They are the larva of the Sawfly and are also known as cherry slugs. These are tiny little creatures that pupate and become very similar looking to a regular fly. In Latin they are known as Caliroa cerasi. Pear Slugs aka Cherry Slugs have a maximum size of ½”. These little guys are tiny but very destructive. Pear slugs prefer your pear trees and cherry trees but will also eat other similar varieties too if they are available. Among the …