Natural Gardening



“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Growing up on a farm, I always appreciated the land.  Now that I live in the city, driving home gives me a sense of peace and calm.  I used to tease my dad for “watching the corn grow”.  Now I often find myself driving by the fields, admiring the corn that’s surpassed the “knee high by the fourth of July”, and commenting with my ex-farmer neighbor about how the humidity and heat is great for plant growth.

Even in town, I’ve tried to add a little country to my backyard (minus the chickens and goats, of course).  We have a large organic garden, and this year we’ve added a few apple trees and a plum tree (alongside our old cherry tree).  Right now my heirloom squash is going crazy, we have green beans coming on, and the rabbits have managed to get into our cabbage and chard.

Which leads me to my reason for writing: how can you deal with pests and problems in your garden naturally?

I wanted to post a couple of recipes that my mom has been using with  her apples trees and to control blight in her garden.  With all the rain that we’ve been having (and because heirloom tomatoes are not bred to be resistant to blight), you may notice that you have some dark spots on the leaves of your tomato plants or on the tomatoes themselves.  You may notice “squash bugs” that attack your zucchini plants (they should be arriving in the next few weeks — I haven’t noticed any yet).  And there’s a reason that apples are #1 on the “dirty dozen” list: the amount of pesticides and chemicals that producers apply to their produce to prevent insects and other pests from destroying their crop.  We have a more natural alternative for you.

There is also an organic product that I bought at Wal-Mart in past years called Ecosmart Organic Home Pest Control that contains 2-Phenethyl Propionate 2.0%, clove oil 1.0%, rosemary oil 1.0%, peppermint oil 1.0%, thyme oil 0.5%, and other ingredients (water, potassium oleate, lecithins).  It worked well to remove the squash bugs.  (It did not work on the Japanese beetles)

So here are two recipes that my mom is using this year on her apple trees and to control blight.  I haven’t tried them yet, as my garden has been doing OK so far on its own, but my mom says they’re working wonderfully in her garden.

Recipe to Prevent Blight

Makes 1 qt. (You can also quadruple this recipe to make a gallon at a time)

1/4 Tbs. baking soda

< 3/4 Tbs. vegetable oil (2 1/2 Tbs. for a gallon)

1 qt. water

1/8 tsp. Castile’s liquid soap


Mix all ingredients and pour into a spray bottle or other container that can create an aerosol.  Apply to plant for 5 to 7 days or until blight is gone.



Pest Deterrent Spray

1 gallon water

1 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. Castile’s liquid soap


Mix and spray.  This is good to help control insects on your apple trees.  Spray prior to bloom to kill any eggs left in the trees and regularly after rainfall.



Happy gardening!

~ Alicia


Photo via Visual hunt


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