Recommended Products for Organic Gardening

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1. Vinegar:
Some gardeners recommend vinegar as a way to naturally control weeds. However, vinegar has actually gotten mixed results under scientific studies. Find out the facts before you use vinegar on your weeds. Check out this excellent study from Iowa State University on the use of vinegar in the garden.

2. Mycor Root Builders:
Mycorrhizal fungi are tiny, harmless critters that attach themselves to plant roots and actually help plants to make use of organic chemicals in the soil. You can stimulate the growth of Mycorrhizal fungi and get them to work more efficiently with a Mycor Root Builder. Mycor Root Builder contains Endomycorrhiza, Ectomycorrhiza, Scleroderma, Kelp, Zeolite, and Humate. It will work on all the plants in your garden, including turf grass. You can use it directly on your new transplants or use a coring drill or auger to penetrate deeper into the soil for established plants.

3. Natural Insecticides:
It’s a fact of life that your plants will attract pests. You can minimize this problem by growing plants native to your region. These plants are typically more resistant to pests. Companion planting is another solution for fighting off bugs. However, even with these simple techniques, you’re still likely to have problems with pests at some point in your gardening experience.

Gardeners all over the world have found that natural citrus-based insecticides will kill off most of the pests you’re likely to see in your garden. These products kill a variety of pests, including cut worms, caterpillars, snails, slugs, aphids, bean beetles, cabbage loopers, earwigs, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, rose chafers, scales, and adult whiteflies. They are generally even safe enough to use indoors if you happen to have houseplants that you’d like to treat.

4. Hot Pepper Wax Natural Bug and Critter Spray:
Another way to keep insects and even animals out of your garden is with a Hot Pepper Wax spray. This is especially important if you have a lot of edible crops to protect. Animals and insects are instantly repelled by the strong cayenne pepper oils. The spray lightly adheres to the plants with a natural food grade wax, and therefore won’t run off when you water your plants or after a heavy rain. It works to repel most insects and animals such as squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, and hedgehogs.

If it sounds like you’re going to be turning your vegetable patch into a salsa factory, not to worry! You can harvest your vegetables and eat them on the same day you spray your plants, without any spicy residue. They just need a good washing and they’re ready to eat!

5. Bat Guano:
The Bracken Bat Cave in Texas is famous for being the cave with the highest population of bats on the planet (roughly 20,000,000 of these fanged, flying mammals). This means it’s a great place to harvest high quality bat guano, which is an ideal natural fertilizer. Why bat guano? It has a high humus content and works great as a soil builder and fertilizer. It’s also 100% natural.

Farmers and gardeners have used bat guano for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until recently that inorganic fertilizers have become popular enough for people to forget that there is a natural option that works just as well!

Additionally, most manufacturers of bat guano products make sure not to harm any bats during the harvest. They usually follow the high standards of Bat Conservation International, so you can feel good about buying this natural garden and bat-friendly fertilizer.

6. Organic Natural Fire Ant Killer:
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is a major problem for many gardeners. They make big nests that can uproot turf and affect your mowing. Once they get established, fire ants can get into your compost pile, kitchen, vegetable garden, and even your electrical equipment. Moreover, if you’ve ever felt the sting of a fire ant, you know how painful it can be!

A natural fire ant killer should put an end to these pesky critters. Many natural products to kill fire ants come in a shaker, and contain enough fire ant killer to treat a dozen or more mounds. You just need to apply it to each mound and wait. You can also sprinkle it in your flower beds and around the outside of your home to keep the ants from coming inside. These fire ant killers are a synergistic blend of natural plant oils. Look for products with ingredients that have been approved by the FDA as food additives, so they are safe even if you have children or pets.

You can use a fire ant killer as step one of the Texas A&M developed Texas Two Step fire ant control method.

Step two involves using a citrus-based liquid insecticide that will help keep the ants from coming back.

7. Citrus and Vinegar-Based Natural Organic Weed Killers:
When you’ve got a serious weed problem or time constraints, you many not have the energy to manually weed your garden. However, instead of grabbing a bottle of harsh chemicals to kill off those weeds, try out a natural weed killer.

There are citrus and vinegar-based liquids available that you can use that will cause the weeds to wilt and die within minutes. If you have grass that’s growing into your garden beds or onto your patio, it will also work to kill it off for easy removal. While perennial weeds may need a couple treatments, most annuals will be gone after the first application.

8. Organic Liquid Lawn Fertilizer:
For a nice, lush yard without chemicals, try out an organic liquid lawn fertilizer. Look for products that are a combination of lawn food supplements, natural soil activators, and Humate Liquid Humus. These products will stimulate the beneficial soil organisms that live under your grass. You can use them to quickly green up your lawn, from spring to fall. They typically work a lot like other lawn fertilizers. Simply mix the fertilizer, attach it to your hose, and spray.

9. Rainwater from Rain Barrels:
Water is a precious and expensive resource these days. By simply investing in a rain barrel and using stored rainwater to water your garden instead of water from the tap, you can save money and grow happier plants.

The water coming from your tap has been treated as drinking water for human consumption, which your plants don’t necessarily need. In fact, most garden plants typically prefer naturally “soft” rainwater, which is also free of chemicals, minerals, chlorine, and fluoride. After all, rainwater is what plants have been thriving on for thousands of years!

10. Horticultural Corn Meal:
Horticultural cornmeal is an organic way of controlling harmful soil fungi and problems with plant roots. If you’ve got vegetable crops, you may be familiar with these soil related fungal problems.

When you apply horticultural corn meal to the soil, it actually strengthens beneficial fungi such as Trichoderma, which will fight off the harmful fungi that can attack your plants. It also helps build up the quality of the soil, which will benefit all the plants in your garden.

Apply it directly to grass, soil, and all your flowerbeds. You don’t have to worry about over applying this product, as it will in no way harm your plants. Also, if you have a pond, you can use it to remove algae. However, read the instructions carefully on the package when you use it in your pond, as applying too much can cause oxygen depletion problems.

12. Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal is a natural herbicide. However, it has the added benefit of helping to fertilize the soil. Please visit Dr. Nick Christians’ University of Iowa Corn Gluten research page for more information on the benefits of corn gluten meal.

12. Beer:Beer attracts slugs and snails. They promptly drown in a glass or specially designed slug and snail trap when it’s filled with beer.

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