When planting your garden some of you may find that you have a problem with what is known as cutworms.  These little critters will attack your new plants either at ground level or just below, chewing their way through the delicate stems and killing your new plants.  Here’s how to stop them:

Cut newspaper, foil, or thin cardboard into two inch wide strips and wrap it around the stalk of your new plants so that about 1/2 inch shows above ground and the remainder is below ground almost to the new roots.  I recommend the newspaper as it is easy to handle and is biodegradable.  Cutworms can’t munch through it and your plants are safe.

To avoid weeding incessantly (something I detest doing) use newspaper again.  Wet it well and lay it down in the walkway between your rows.  Cover it with about 2 inches of soil.  Not only will it prevent a large number of weeds from sprouting, it will also help to retain moisture in the soil from rain or watering. newspaper will also allow water to pass through to the soil underneath and prevent moisture loss in dry spells.

To help repell garden pests that nibble away on the plants, use a mild solution of soapy water that you have crushed a couple of cloves of garlic into and let stand for a few days.  The stronger the garlic smell to the water…the better pest control.  It won’t cure everything but will go a long way in avoiding pesticides.

If you are a rose lover like I am, planting garlic or onions, or even some of the stronger scented chives around the base of your roses will help keep aphids and white flies from eating them up.  Forking onion skins and banana peels into the soil around the roots will supply your roses with the potassium they love without using chemicals.

Garden slugs are a big problem here where I live.  If you have this slimy thing showing up on your plants you can get rid of them easily.  Place a container about 2 inches tall in your rows and bury them so that only about 1/2 inch shows above ground.  In your newly created “well”, put sugar water.  The slugs love it and will crawl right in and drown!  An added benefit is that hummingbirds love the sugar water and will show up too! 

Before using any pesticides, always try a solution of warm mild, soapy water and spray on your plants.  Many times its all you need to run them off. 

Marti Oakley