How to Keep Cats Out of Your Garden

Do you hate strange cats using your yard as a personal litter box?  You’re not alone. Keeping cats out of your garden is a big problem that comes up all the time on social media.

In this post I’ll examine the many proposals for controlling cats to see which ones actually work. Spoiler alert – most suggests are just myths and don’t work or are not practical, but some are worth trying.

This post contains affiliate links.

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Do Wasps Sleep at Night?

Wasps can be dangerous during the day, but what about at night? Do they sleep? Do they come out of the nest after dark? Are you less likely to get stung at this time of day? A better understanding of wasp activity at night will help you deal with nests.

ceramic figure, human head and body of a wasp
Let Sleeping Wasps Lie by Amber Aguirre, 2013 NICHE Awards Winner in ceramics

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Tick Talk – 18 Myths About Ticks Debunked

I was cruising the internet and found a few myths about ticks so I decided to do a blog post about them. Then I did more search and found a lot more misinformation about ticks. Funny how quickly people make up stuff and how easily it is spread by the powerful internet.

Ticks can be a concern. Lyme disease is real. But a lot of what you’ve heard is bunk!

Tick Talk - Myths About Ticks Debunked
Tick Talk – Myths About Ticks Debunked, source: Griffin Dill

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Does Callicarpa Beautyberry Repel Insects Such As Mosquitoes, Ticks Or Fire Ants?

Mosquitoes are a big problem in many places and ticks are becoming an even bigger concern. Fire ants are more localized but they can be a real problem in the garden. Both folklore and modern day experiences suggest a remedy for these pests based on callicarpa, the beautyberry. Some people plant it in the garden to reduce insect numbers. Others prepare various concoctions to spread on clothing or skin to keep pests off and some just rub the leaves on their skin for a similar effect. One person even reported that she eats the berries and never gets bit!

What does the science say?

Does The Callicarpa Beautyberry Repel Insects Such As Mosquitoes, Ticks Or Fire Ants?
Does The Callicarpa Beautyberry Repel Insects Such As Mosquitoes, Ticks Or Fire Ants?, source: Mt. Cuba Center

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Are Jumping Worms and Giant Worms Real & Other Earthworm Myths

Gardeners talk about earthworms as if they are all one species but there are over 3,000 earthworms on earth. Some burrow, some small, some jump or at least we call them jumping worms. There are also stories of giant three foot worms, but do they really exist?

We think they are good for our garden because they build better soil but the same earthworms are also very destructive to natural places.

And then there is the age old story about cutting worms in half to get two worms – is that true?

Giant Gippsland earthworm, Megascolides australis, credit: u/zZBluewalrusZz
Giant Gippsland earthworm, Megascolides australis, credit: u/zZBluewalrusZz

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?

The meme pictured below suggests that crushed tomato leaves are a good way to get rid of aphids. Who knew?

This meme is making the rounds and based on comments, a lot of you will give it a try. Why? Why not just use Google and do a quick search to find the facts? That does not always work, but in this case the facts are readily available.

Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?
Do Crushed Tomato Leaves Kill Aphids?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

How To Debug Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors

Growing marginally hardy or non-hardy plants in cold climates usually involves growing them in containers and moving them indoors before winter. Everyone loves to see houseplants flourish when grown outside during warmer months – but no one likes bugs hitchhiking back inside! Fortunately, there are ways to remove unwelcome insects before they enter your home.

How To Debug Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors
How To Debug Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors, Credit: Vadim Kaipov

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles in the Garden

One of the most frustrating things that happens to gardeners is putting in the effort to grow beautiful, healthy plants, only to have them chewed up by pests. You may have noticed that some of the leaves on your plants look skeletal – that is, most of the leaf tissue has been eaten, leaving behind the veins and petiole. This is likely the work of Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) are a particularly persistent invasive species that’s become a major pest in the garden. Even government-run control programs have failed to fully suppress populations, so gardeners should be prepared to keep this pest out of the garden.

This article will review various control methods to see which ones are best.

Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica)
Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) by Katja Schulz

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Fungus Gnats – Which Home Remedies Actually Work?

Check out social media gardening groups and you will find at least one post a day asking about a remedy for fungus gnats. They are perceived to be a huge problem with seedlings and other indoor plants. How do you get rid of them?

There is also a lot of advice online, but much of it is incorrect. Let’s swat some myths about fungus gnats.

Fungus Gnats - Which Home Remedies Actually Work?
Fungus Gnats – Which Home Remedies Actually Work? Source: Andy Murray

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Are Marigolds Good for Companion Planting?

There is a lot of talk about companion planting, especially for the vegetable garden, and marigolds seem to be at the top of most plant lists. They make other plants grow better and their strong smell keeps pests away. They even stop root knot nematodes.

Much of this information is anecdotal and I suspect some of it is just made up to sell some popular books. What do marigolds actually do in the garden?

Are Marigolds a Good Companion Plant?
Are Marigolds a Good Companion Plant?

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

The Truth About Btk – Bacillus thuringiensis var. kustaki

Everybody is talking about Btk because of the gypsy moth outbreak this year. This microbial pesticide kills caterpillars but does not harm any other insects. Unfortunately, its popularity has generated a number of misconceptions about the product.

I see this all the time in the gardening world. A little bit of misunderstood true science morphs into solutions that just don’t work. Let’s have a close look at Btk and separate scientific fact from fiction.

The Truth About Btk - Bacillus thuringiensis var. kustaki
The Truth About Btk – Bacillus thuringiensis var. kustaki

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......

Japanese Beetle Traps – Do They Work in the Garden?

Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) have become a major pest in Eastern North America and other places. The Japanese beetle trap is routinely recommended for garden use and is easily available commercially, but does it work?

One of the problems with this trap is that it does “seem” to work – it catches lots of beetles. But does it bring all the neighborhood beetles to your yard? Will a Japanese beetle trap reduce the damage this pest does to your roses and other tasty plants?

The answer to these questions is a bit more complex than you might think.

Japanese Beetle Traps - Do They Work in the Garden?
Japanese Beetle Traps – Do They Work in the Garden?, photo source: Natural Insect Control

Read More

If you like this post, please share .......