ORGANIC PEST & WEED CONTROL
When it comes to controlling unwanted creepy critters and undesirable plants in my garden, I take a less is more approach. With twenty-seven hens pecking at the soil, five kids, a mini labradoodle puppy rolling around in the grass, and a need to feel confident that I am nurturing rather than harming all of them, prevention and organic help are the mantra.
The grass on our acre plot is green and lush. Chickens and my own lawn mower work together to keep it that way. The chickens fertilize the grass with their droppings and eat thousands of ticks, squash bugs, Japanese beetles, and fly larvae--just a few of the myriad of garden pests consumed daily.
By mowing the lawn ourselves, foreign equipment never tracks in outside weeds. The grass is longer than might be expected, 3 1/2 inches. Longer grass allows for stronger grass which chokes the weeds and helps to establish deep, hearty grass roots. Although the temperatures creep up to the 80's and 90's in July and August, strong plant roots keep the grass from asking for more water. Healthy grass adjusts to nature's temperature cycle on its own. Sometimes when it fails to rain for a lengthy stretch, I let the grass get longer rather than mow it. Longer grass may seem counterintuitive, however, long blades of grass help shade the root system which reserves moisture and maintains healthy, rich soil.
About the only thing I ever spray is reserved for all the fruit trees growing in the yard. If growing fruit trees, year round attention remains a cornerstone to a healthy orchard. I've had good luck with Bonide's All Natural Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray. It controls insect infestations and disease year round. In the winter, spray the trunk and limbs of each fruit tree once a week to prevent spring blooming fungus. During the spring months, spray weekly just as the leaves are budding to kill off black beetles, ants, and farming aphids. Continue until the fruit trees flower and stop to protect the bees needed for pollination. Once the bees are buzzing, limit re-application until the fruit is firmly established and the bees have moved on to other flowers. Continue bi-weekly treatment through the fall.