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Busy times in the garden

July 15, 2010
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

At this time of the year, it feels like some sort of embittered, embroiled battle is being waged across the gardens of the Midwest. It has a lot to do with our staying power in the garden while nasty mosquitoes, gnats and other no seeums have at us while we are trying in vain to get rid of all that crabgrass that wants to take over not only our vegetable gardens but our flower gardens as well.

I have taken to wearing a heavy fall coat in the evening hours while working in the vegetable garden just because I don't like to wear bug spray. The bugs don't seem to like me much anyway.

I gave up on my flower gardens this past week and pulled out the old trusty Grass B Gone product and after I had pulled whatever broadleaved weeds were growing in the garden, I gave the grasses that were growing in my flower gardens their last rites.

Grass B Gone is truly a time saving product and it works well but you must be patient because it does not work fast. So, if you are planning on having company and can not stand to have that grass in your garden and the company is coming in less then a week, you had better get going and start pulling it up. Grass B Gone will take about two weeks to take care of it. I can now spend more time on the crabgrass that is trying to take over parts of my vegetable garden. I don't like to use much, if any, chemicals in the garden. I enjoy having the ability to eat straight out of the garden without having to worry too much about what is going into my mouth or my children's mouths for that matter. Because of the early spring and all of the rain, heat and humidity this year, the plants in the vegetable gardens are going crazy.

We are able to eat fresh out of the garden with fresh potatoes, peas and raspberries for dessert though many of the raspberries don't quite make it to the house.

All of this plus fresh farm meat, we can live like kings on the farm for the rest of the summer. The food seems to be very satisfying as well.

I have also been slowly working on pulling some perennial gardens apart, moving a few things around and decided what to move once the weather turns a little cooler this fall. I have three beautiful Canadian roses which need to be moved since they are pretty much taking over the area they are in. I have a bigger space for them elsewhere. I am also moving some of my sun loving perennials out of one garden and into another garden since the trees have blessed us with so much shade right in front of our house.

I have been moving in hostas and other shade plants since much of these types of plants are now on sale. Hostas have been recently struggling too with slugs and snails in our gardens. I generally don't have too much trouble with them because we have a whole bunch of chickens; they pretty much take care of the slugs for me.

However, if you are not blessed with a few chickens, then you will want to keep an eye out for slugs eating your hostas. A product that has Diatomaceous earth in it will help keep them under control. I think there those who place a saucer by each of their hostas and fill the saucer with beer. I have heard this works and I have heard this doesn't work very well at all. I will let you decide.

Although I look rather suspiciously at those who tell me they use this technique, a beer for the slugs and a beer for them while they are working in the garden. I am not sure about this remedy at all.

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