Ask Mavis – How to Deal with Squash Bugs

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How to Deal with Squash Bugs

I have the most amazing readers, and most of the time, it is me learning from you, but every once in awhile, someone sends in a question that I think, “Hey, I bet lots of people would love to know the answer to that.”  So, I am going to try to feature some of your questions and answer them, the best I can.

Reader Chris from Facebook asked:

Hi Mavis !

Just a little note to say how much i appreciate your blog and newsletter. Love it m sooo much good info and ideas…keep up the good work .  I have a question for you?   How do you deal with pesky squash bugs that attack zucchinis and other plants in the squash family… I have tried anything from soap water to picking off by hand but i still don’t seem to get them all and have suffered shorter lifespans of my plants and harvest. I don’t use pesticides, all I plant is organic…any ideas or proven tips would be appreciated.

Good question Chris.  Sounds like you’ve done a couple of things I would recommend.  I’ve had some luck adding cayenne pepper to my soap mixture {about a teaspoon to a spray bottle}.  The soap thing will need to be fairly regular {daily} to manage them.  Picking them off by hand also works {I am not going to lie, squishing them gives me a sick satisfaction}.

chives growing in spring

The real key, though, is prevention.  Try planting mint, chives, garlic, onion, tansy, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, and/or bee balm close by.  Squash bugs HATE the smell of mint and chives–so they try to avoid anything close to them.  On the flip side, they are super attracted to marigolds and nasturtiums–which can distract them from your produce bearing squash.

You can also wage war by introducing beneficial insects to your garden.  That way, they can prey on those nasty squash bugs, leaving you to enjoy your garden.

heirloom-butternut-squash

If you find after all of that, you are still having a problem with them, you may want to try to grow varieties that are resistant to squash bugs.  Butternut squash, royal acorn, and sweet cheese squash all seem to be more resistant to squash bugs.

Finally, make sure to week very regularly to avoid giving the bugs a place to hide.  Also, if you do happen to get squash bugs, don’t compost your dead plants and clear your beds really well in the fall.  Those little buggers have a tendency to overwinter and cause trouble all over again the next growing season.

Hope that helps, Chris and thanks again for the question!

If any of you have found a super effective way to rid yourself of or avoid squash bugs altogether, please leave your comments below.

~Mavis

Got problems in the garden?  Well so do I. Last year I purchased  The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control and I LOVE it! Got bugs? Get the book and you’ll be happy. Or at least well informed. Ha!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Mavis Mail – Garden Photos from Fairfax, Virginia

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wood pallet garden pictures

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

wood pallets

Check out this story and the wood pallet garden photos from urban hipsters Dietrich and Carlie from Fairfax, VA.  The pictures you see start in March and then end with how their garden looks today.

Pretty cool if you ask me! 

how to build a wood pallet garden

Carlie writes:

Garden experience: None really. Both of our moms had very small backyard vegetable gardens growing up but neither of us paid much attention to the process. We are literal first timers and had no clue what we were doing.

landscape fabric

A little about us: We love eating and being healthy – I home-make much of our food and Dietrich is always running marathons. We moved to NOVA (since that’s where the jobs are in VA) after we graduated from Virginia Tech and got married. Northern Virginia is not known its gardens, but is very well known for being super expensive.

how to plant a wood pallet garden

Our life mission right now is to pay off our students loans – over $155,000 – in 5 years from when we graduated (we are on target so far!). So, living in the most expensive area in VA and trying to be as cheap as possible don’t quite mix usually. We started our blog Fat Soul Slim Kitchen in March to get information out there about how to live cheaply, healthily, and faithfully. Most of our friends are in a similar boat as us with lots of debt and low paying jobs, and we’ve been able to live fairly frugally, even in NOVA, so we wanted to get our life out there to show people how we did it – but also bring other’s ideas of how they are living life cheaply and healthily and faithfully so as to mutually encourage each other!

wood pallet edible garden

We currently live in someone’s basement and have our own back entrance and finally a “backyard”! Unfortunately, the “backyard” is a big slab of cement. So, we built our own little structure using free pallets we got from a nursery down the street and planted our garden in that. Since we share the “backyard” with our landlords, we couldn’t really take over too much, so right now we only have one little 3 X 4 foot bed. It’s producing like crazy though and we can’t believe it. We have eaten spinach that grew in our backyard! Mind blown.

wood pallet garden

Our plants are: Zucchini (taking over), tomato, carrots (harvested most), onion, asparagus, spinach (done harvesting), honey dew, watermelon, cucumber, broccoli (just popping out!), squash, strawberries (flowered but no berries), red peppers, and green peppers.

Blessings,
Carlie

backyard-garden-photos

Bob and Sherle From California Share Their Vegetable Garden Photos

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Wood Pallet Garden – Planting Dried Beans

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wood pallet gardens

Lucy the garden dog and I worked in the wood pallet garden yesterday harvesting lettuce and re-planting the pallets with some cool seeds. The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been gorgeous lately and I’m having a hard time staying inside. Especially with Lucy, she want’s to go outside all the time now and check the gardens or sun herself on the back lawn.

What a life that dog has. What a life.

freckles romaine lettuce

We harvested the last of the Freckles romaine lettuce {it tastes just the same as regular romaine but looks cooler}and I’ll definitely be planting it again in the fall. We also harvested the rest of the endive as well.

grow dried beans

After harvesting the lettuces, we were left with 2 naked wood pallets, so we went ahead and planted them with bush beans. Tiger’s Eye  and Calypso Beans {or Orca Beans}. How cool are these beans going to look in some homemade soups this winter? Pretty stinkin’ cool if you ask me!

dried orca beansLucy inspecting the beans.

wood pallet garden lettuce

As far as the other wood pallet crops go, the romaine looks like it might be ready to start harvesting next week.

wood pallet garden celery

The celery is coming along nicely too.

wood pallet garden spinach

And I think we have about another week left before the spinach will need to be pulled.

DIY Wood Pallet Gardens

Not bad for a couple of wood pallets a little soil and some seeds. Gardening is awesome, no matter what methods you use. Have a great weekend everyone.

~Mavis

heat treated wood pallet

Want to learn more about wood pallet gardening and how I put mine together? Click on the pallets above and it will take you to my first pallet garden post of the year. You’ll also learn what to look for when choosing a pallet.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Seed Bomb

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How to make a seed bomb

Have you ever heard of seed bombs?  Basically, they are balls made out of clay, compost, and seeds.  They can be tossed anywhere you have a large area you’d like to cover with flowers, etc.  Apparently, seed bombs were first used in the 70′s to “bomb” large vacant lots in New York City with flowers–they called it guerrilla gardening– awesome!

If you have a large area you would like to cover in flowers, but don’t want to take the time to scatter seeds, seed bombs might be the perfect solution.  Plus, they are super duper easy and cheap to make.

flower seeds

You’ll need:

  • Clay {Crayola Air Dry Clay is a pretty cheap option}
  • Water
  • Seeds {flowers native to  your area are the best choice so that they will require very little maintenance}
  • Compost
  • Large Flat Surface

seed bombs

Mix 5 parts clay with 1 part compost and 1 part seeds.  Add a couple of drops of water {be careful not to add too much or it will be a gooey mess}.  Roll and knead the mixture into a ball.  After you have thoroughly mixed the dough, flatten it out and cut into pieces.  Roll the smaller pieces into little balls.  Now you have seed bombs.  Toss them into your open area and do nothing but wait for them to grow.  Easy Peasy.

How to make a seed bomb

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Square Foot Gardening: First Harvest

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square foot gardening

I snapped a few photos of our square foot garden this morning and thought I would share.  We pulled 10 ounces of radishes from 2 squares and replanted them with lima beans. I don’t think I’ve ever grown lima beans before but I thought they might be fun to try.

head of broccoli

A while back we planted 1 broccoli plant and take a look at it now! Yee-haw, looks like stir fry will be on the menu soon.

kohlrabi

The kohlrabi is getting nice and fat.

red sails lettuce

I went ahead and clipped all the lettuce {2 ounces} for a small lunch salad but as I was clipping, I noticed this guy:

slug eating lettuce

Mmm yum. Too bad we don’t eat slugs because we sure grow a lot of them.

tomato flowers

We have 3 tomato plants in our square foot garden and they all have flowers on them. I think I planted my favorite Japanese black trifle tomatoes in the  garden bed but I’m not sure.

organic celery garden

Celery. This won’t be ready to harvest until early fall.

sugar snap pea

And sugar snap peas. My favorite.

Since this was my first week of harvesting veggies from the square foot garden, I thought I would be fun to keep track of how much food we pull from the 4×8′ bed. I have absolutely no idea how much we’ll end up with, but I’m almost tempted to go for 100 pounds. Would that be attainable? I don’t know but I feel like I need to have some sort of goal.

What do you think is realistic?

Did you plant a square foot garden this year? If so, how is it doing? Will you be weighing your veggies too?

~Mavis

2013 Square Foot Garden Harvest: 1 pound 2 ounces

Kale 6 ounces
Lettuce 2 ounces
Radishes 10 ounces

Read more about my adventures in Square Foot Gardening.

Are you thinking about putting together a Square foot garden? See the how I built a square foot garden grid HERE.

All New Square Foot Gardening

For more information, check out All New Square Foot Gardening.  It is an amazon bestseller and the author, Mel Bartholomew is basically the king of square foot gardening.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Your Own Food – 6/5/2013 Garden Tally

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raised garden beds

This year I’m on a mission to grow 4,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in my suburban backyard. In 2012 I was able to grow 2,028 pounds, and in 2013 I’m going double or nothing. I have absolutely no idea if I’ll be able to achieve my goal. But, as with any adventure, half the fun is getting there.   ~Mavis

*******

endive lettuce

This week we harvested a boatload of radishes, 6 heads of lettuce, peas, strawberries, chives, indoor sprouts and collected 74 eggs.  26+ pounds of veggies plus eggs! Holy cow things are starting to look up.

Because we had house guests, the Mother Earth News Fair and several garden tours, I didn’t get much done in the garden this past week. But, the weather is suppose to be awesome all week {in the 70′s} so I’ll be out there attempting to get a tan and planting some seeds.

The pumpkins and winter squash need to get planted as well as another round of beets, beans  and lettuce.

The fun never stops!

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh organic  basil

Basil – 7 ounces

We started more basil seeds in the greenhouse gutters last week and I can’t wait. I LOVE making fresh pesto.

beets

Beets - 14 ounces

bok choy leaves

Bok Choy – 4 oz

Check out this Asian Noodle Salad with Bok Choy I made. It’s pretty awesome.

carrots

Carrots – 3 ounces

chives

Chives – 10 ounces

fresh eggs

Egg Count – 1,317

We collected  74 eggs this past week. Coo-Coo and Piggey are still sitting on eggs, waiting for babies to hatch. They are seriously missing out on some good veggie scraps!

pallet gardening endive

Lettuce – 12 pounds 4 ounces

This past week we harvested 6 heads of endive and tonight I am planning on harvesting the rest of the freckles romaine for a salad. The wood pallet garden is going to look a little depressing for awhile until we can get some more stuff planted and germinating.

microgreens

Microgreens 5 ounces

I need to grow some more of these. My favorite way to eat microgreens is with egg salad sandwiches.

oregano container herb garden

Oregano - 2 ounce

fresh sugar snap peas

Peas – 7 ounces

Sometimes it’s really, really hard to get a basket of sugar snap peas in to the house. The Girl and I picked a bunch last night and immediately weighed them. What you see is what made it to the back door after snacking on them for a few minutes.

To me, fresh peas and strawberries, feel like the beginning of summer.

potatoes

Potatoes – 2 pounds 9 ounces

french breakfast radish

Radish - 21 pound5 13 ounces

We have just enough radishes left for a salad and then they’ll all be gone! Eeeek! I totally forgot to plant more. Now I’ll have to add that to the list.

fresh organic spinach

Spinach – 3 ounces

grow your own sprouts

Sprouts -1 pound11 ounces

Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

strawberries

Strawberries 9 ounces

Rainbow-Swiss-Chard-picture

Swiss Chard 12 ounces

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass - 7 ounces

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 54 pounds 14 ounces

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 1,317

If you are new to gardening or just want to learn more on the topic of organic gardening, my #1 favorite book is The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food By Tanya L.K. Denckla.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

JBLM Community Gardens and Planting Peas with Preschoolers

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children's garden tacoma

Yesterday was Ryan’s last day here in the lovely Pacific Northwest so we headed out early and checked out a few more local gardens.

We ended up making a bean teepee and planting pumpkin seeds with some local preschoolers in their children’s garden. Oh my word I had forgotten how funny little kids can be.

ryan botanical interests

Ryan did a great job talking to the group of 30 kids and when he asked what the children’s favorite vegetables to eat were they surprised us with their answers. Cabbage, broccoli, beans, carrots {of course} and bean sprouts.

How many 4 year old kids do you know that eat bean sprouts? I thought it was awesome.

JBFL Community Garden Mavis butterfield Ryan

Then after planting beans and pumpkins with preschoolers,  Ryan and I took a trip out to the Joint Base Lewis McCord Community Gardens to donate some seeds and to plant a few raised beds for the troops. Karinna from Coupon Connoisseurs of JBLM invited us to stop by and take a tour so we did.

JBLM Community Garden  mavis ryan miriam holly

The garden has been there since the 1970′s but Miriam {with the baby strapped to her} has been in charge of the gardens for the past few years. The garden beds run $25 a year for an existing bed or $15 for the first year is you just rent a patch of dirt and build your own.

Ryan and I each planted a bed {I planted beans, beets, onions and squash} and Karinna is going to keep them watered and donate the vegetables for us. Pretty cool if you ask me.

JBLM community gardens mavis

Gardeners Holly and Jessica selecting seeds.

bee hive boxes

One of the soldiers over there even has bees! How cool is that? It was a great day and I had a blast showing Ryan around town and checking out the various gardens.

Gardens are cool no matter what size they are, big, small, or in containers. As long as you are having fun and enjoying what you are growing, that’s what it’s all about.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, have a great day. I’m off to go dig in my own dirt.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Butterfield | Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 23 of 52

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raised garden beds backyard gardening

Backyard Garden Plot Pictures – Week 23 of 52

raised garden beds

See that first box? Green beans. So far, so good. I thought for sure nothing would grow in those first two garden boxes but the beans I planted are thriving.

As for the garden bed behind it… well that’s another story. I dug up the broccoli plants {they were so tiny} and replaced them with potatoes. Now, if I can’t get potatoes to grow in that garden box, then I’ll know for sure something in wrong with the soil.

pallet gardening

The pallet gardens are looking good, but I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll put in them once I harvest the lettuce.

wooded backyard garden

You probably can’t see it in the photo above but the pea teepees are covered with white flowers. Wahoo! Although we’ve already picked a few, we should be swimming in spring peas in another week or so.

glass greenhouse

The tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, Swiss chard and strawberries are all doing great in the greenhouse. Now I just need to get the rest of the pots planted and line the insides with them.

potato towers

The potato towers are looking good. I also planted a few spuds along the backside of the greenhouse.

wooded backyard red mulch

A view from the back deck. Yes, it’s still looks like a neon orange bomb went off.

future pumpkin patch

Over the weekend the HH hauled in some more soil for my pumpkin patch. Or our future pumpkin patch I should say. I started a few pumpkin seeds in the greenhouse, but I need to direct sow the rest of them this week in order to have the pumpkins ready by around mid to late September.

Halloween may not be until the end of October, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to decorate the front porch with pumpkins from September through November.

raspberry canes

Ahh the raspberry patch. I keep telling myself this is going to be a bumper year for raspberries. Last year we didn’t get to many but the bees are everywhere this year.

container herb garden

Right now this is one of my favorite views of the garden. The containers are overflowing with herbs and the raspberry patch is full of green canes and the bees are buzzing around like crazy.

Now, if I could just get a few projects checked off my list, everything would be perfect.

How is your garden coming along? Do you still have a long list of things you want to plant?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Garden Tip – Add Leftover Coffee Grounds to Your Soil

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Garden tips add leftover coffee grounds to your soil

If you are looking for an easy way to acidify your soil to give acid-loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and  rhododendrons a little boost this growing season, grab the coffee grounds.

By adding a little bit of coffee grounds to your soil every month, you’ll help keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side. Your plants won’t thrive unless they’ve got the nutrients they need.

If you don’t drink coffee and you don’t have a bunch of coffee grounds laying around, no problem. Starbucks bags up their used coffee grounds as they go and gives them away for free. The Starbucks closest to me sets them by the front door in a bucket with a sign that says “Free Coffee Grounds for your Garden.”

Testing the pH Level of Soil

I also tested my soil back in April and was surprised to find out my soil was pretty neutral. I guess all that fresh chicken fertilizer  I use really does keep my soil in check. Who knew?

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Japanese Tea Garden – Seattle

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Japanese Tea Garden - Seattle pictures

My buddies Amberlina and Lola are in town this weekend and one of the things on our to do list was to check out the Japanese Tea Garden in Seattle. Have you been?

Japanese Tea Garden  Seattle

If you live in the Seattle area, you really need to stop over at the Japanese Gardens.  It was one of the most serene, beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  It was designed by a Japanese garden designer, Juki Iida in 1960–which means it has had 53 years to mature.  And seriously, it is exactly what you would imagine a Japanese garden to be like.

Japanese maple tree

Apparently this year, they are piloting a new program where you can schedule weddings.  But don’t get your hopes up because you have to go through an application process and they are only accepting a handful of couples. I totally would want to get married here.  You wouldn’t have to do anything but buy a dress–the flowers and ambiance are already provided.

The park is only 3 1/2 acres, but it packs a lot in.  There are walking paths that twist through immaculately landscaped gardens.

Japanese Tea Garden - Seattle

I think my favorite spot was the little bridge over the pond though. I’m not sure what the tall tiny purple flowers were, but I need a few for my wooded backyard. Oh and the moss. It was amazing. How weird is that? Who on earth gets excited about moss?

If you get the chance, Go! You’ll love it.

~Mavis

Seattle Japanese Tea Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd E
Seattle WA 98112

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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