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Help Your Plants Beat the Heat

Hot temperatures can be difficult for plants as well as for us. Sometimes even plants that like heat don’t do well with excessive or sudden heat. So, what can you do to help your plants survive during the hottest parts of the  year? 1. Proper watering. There is a tendency to water plants every day when the weather is hot. Plants may need watered more frequently or for longer but most plants will not need watered every day. Plants in hanging baskets or pots may be an exception. Even lawns do not need watering every day. It is said that more plants are killed by over watering than anything else. Wilting is not always a sign that plants need water. How to check for watering needs? In a few places stick your finger into the ground up to the first knuckle. Is the soil damp? Most plants can tolerate the soil getting almost dry before watering but will not tolerate wet soil. If you cannot stick your finger into the ground stick a screwdriver in. Some areas or some containers may need watered more frequently than others. Water in the cool of the morning or, if that is not possible the cool of the evening. Water at soil level whenever possible. 2. Give it some shade. Some plants prefer some shade especially when weather is hot. Lettuce, spinach, arugula, and cilantro flower and set seed when temperatures are hot. Plant them where they are getting some shade by the time the weather gets hot or when you are planting a second crop, or see number 4 below. Shade cloth can also be used to protect plants at least temporarily. Tomatoes drop blossoms when the weather is hot so providing some shade for a time may help to get a continual

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Genetically Modified Food – GMOs

Genetically Modified Food or GMOs Information on GMO Foods – also search my website for information on GMOs. I have written at least two blog posts to help with the understanding about GMOs. What is a GMO and Why Should You Care? GMO Defined GMOs: We need to go way beyond labelling to keep any food healthy Researcher: Roundup or Roundup-Ready Crops May Be Causing Animal Miscarriages and Infertility The Future of Food documentary Heirloom Seeds, Plants, and Plant Exchanges – Open Pollinated,  Organic, Seeds for long term storage Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding Non GMO food The World According to Monsanto documentary See also: Pesticides & Herbicides, Information and Alternatives Beuna, Garden Coach

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So You Don’t Want GMOs?

You want to avoid eating, planting, and/or storing genetically modified food? How do you know how to tell when there are no labels (yet)? I have noticed that there is still much confusion about GMO foods. This article is only covering GMO plants but some applies to GMO animals also. The short answer is if something is labelled “Organic” it cannot be GMO. Always read labels since the labels hold clues and may contain other information about ingredients you want to avoid. GMO and GE are terms that tend to be used interchangeably. GMO = Genentically Modified Organism GE = Genetically Engineered Wheat – GMO is not approved so you cannot buy GMO wheat. Seeds for your garden – only farmer’s can buy GMO seed. Popcorn – no popcorn is GMO. Cornmeal or corn for grinding – buy popcorn and grind it. I have always bought popcorn for grinding anyway. Why buy two kinds of corn when you can just grind popcorn? Corn – Sweet corn – make sure it is labelled Organic or get to know a farmer you can trust. Ask if they plant any GMO corn. Soybeans – make sure it is labelled Organic or get to know a farmer you can trust. Ask if they plant any GMO soybeans. Cottonseed oil – avoid cottonseed oil. Why consume an oil of something that you don’t eat? Canola oil – avoid Canola oil. Why consume an oil of something that you do not eat? I would avoid it anyway since there are other indications that Canola oil is unhealthy. Sugar – avoid sugar from sugar beets. Use cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, or stevia. You can even grow your own stevia. Potatoes – created by J.R. Simplot under the name Innate. Does it say that it does not

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Growing Lemons (or Any Citrus)

I have no experience growing lemons outdoors in the ground but I have grown lemons indoors in pots for several years. One Meyer lemon I have had for over 20 years. In fact when moving from Utah to Alaska I pruned it back to fit in a Priority Mail box for my sister to hold until I arrived. I did the same when moving out of Alaska three years later. I then purchased a second Meyer lemon as well as a navel orange, pink grapefruit, and key lime. Citrus trees are attractive houseplants with lovely scented flowers and delicious fruit. My first lemon was purchased from a local nursery. My second was purchased from a big box store. My last citrus was purchased online. So, it is not that difficult to find citrus plants. As with other plants do some research and shop around for the variety you want at a good price. Check the condition of the plant if purchasing in person. If buying by mailorder/internet purchase from a reputable company. Logees is one that I like. I also now sell citrus at my brick and mortar store Basil & Rose in Bountiful, Utah Lime I transplanted my lemon trees into a larger pot right away using a good quality organic potting soil. Whether you transplant them or not depends on their current size. Citrus like to be pot bound. In the summer I move them outdoors in a full sun to partial shade spot. It is important to help your plants adjust to a change in sunlight. If your plant is in full sun indoors it may be able to handle full sun outdoors. To be safe slowly acclimate it to the amount of sunlight it will be receiving outdoors by placing it in a bit more sun

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Weed Control

Who doesn’t have weed problems? There are some things that can be done to prevent weed problems before they get overwhelming without resorting to typical yard chemicals. Certain types of weeds can indicate problems with your soil which if corrected may eliminate or reduce those types of weeds. Visit http://oregonbd.org/Class/weeds.htm Pre-emergent (prevents germination of seeds): corn gluten meal, sold under various brand names, has been shown to prevent seed germination as well as the chemical products sold for this purpose. Corn gluten meal should be applied in the cool of spring (when daffodils are blooming) and for even better control again in the cool of fall. It is safe and will add some nitrogen to your soil. Avoid using on newly seeded areas or just before seeding. It may be necessary to wait six weeks before planting seeds but plants can be planted at anytime. When weeds are small scrape the soil with an action hoe, stirrup hoe, or Winged Weeder. This cuts the weeds off right at soil level

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Controlling Slugs & Snails

I am often asked about damage to a plant where the client has not seen any pest. Sometimes this is caused by slugs and snails which are often out at night or early morning snacking on plants. Slugs and snails damage may be reduced by changing how you water. Since they require damp ground cutting back on watering when possible can reduce their numbers. It is common for landscapes to be over watered. Most plants in most growing conditions do not need to be watered daily or even every other day. Some other types of control: Beer or a mix of honey or molasses with bakers yeast placed in container. I think this works best if placed in a bottle that is then placed at an angle to reduce the chance of rain or sprinklers diluting the mixture. These will need to be checked often because of evaporation. Iron phosphate slug baits work very well and are not harmful to people, pets, birds, or wildlife. Sluggo and Escar-Go! are a couple brands I have used. Nutribiotic (Grapefruit seed extract) mixed 5 drops per cup of warm water. Spray on slugs and snails. Nutribiotic may also help if drizzled around plants for a barrier. After eating cantaloupe, watermelon, or grapefruit, place the rind upside down outside with the edge propped up. Go out later and you should find many slugs or snails inside. Barriers can also reduce slug and snail damage. Small bits of hair (people or pet hair), crushed eggshells, sharp sand (not play sand) are all unpleasant for them and can protect your plants. Diatomaceous Earth (also called DE) works as a barrier and a killer as long as it does not get wet. Be sure to buy the garden type (not the kind for swimming pools) and read

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