- Issue 163 - January/February 2022
- Issue 161 - September/October 2021
- Issue 160 - July/August 2021
- Issue 159 - May/June 2021
- Issue 158 - March/April 2021
- Issue 157 - January/February 2021
Garden Gate Issue 163 - January/February 2021
Simple pollination is much more complex than you think. Author Timothy Walker discusses all the intricacies of pollination biology, how pollinators are attracted and rewarded for their efforts, and touches on the ecological and economical aspects of pollination. Amazing and gorgeous photographs showing pollinators at work enhance this fascinating read.
Helpful Houseplant Products
Dusting is the simplest thing you can do to keep you plants clean. A good ostrich feather duster works great — just a quick flick of the duster can clean a plant in a jiffy, especially those with lots of tiny leaves. Microfiber cloths are soft and pick up dust easily. For large leaves, try a venetian window blind cleaner — simply clamp it on a leaf near the stem and slide it out to the end, effectively wiping both sides at once. If your plant has an insect problem, such as spider mites or mealy bugs, be sure to wash your duster or cloth before using it on another plant or you may spread the pest.
- Ostrich Feather Duster
- Microfiber Cloths
- Microfiber Dusting Gloves
- Window Blind Cleaner with Microfiber cloth
A commercial leaf shine (my personal favorite is Chrysal) also has a few benefits: I have found it prevents dust from settling on the leaves and is easier to wipe off when it does, has some bug killing effect, and can keep plants from drying out too fast. A leaf shine can still clog plant pores if used too much, so go easy and only use it a few times a year. Dracaena, poinsettias, fuzzy-leaved plants and succulents shouldn’t be sprayed with a leaf shine.
There are many foliar sprays available; I look for ones that are natural and a little safer to use, such as insecticidal soap, neem oil and pyrethrin-based sprays.
These bug killers are absorbed into the plant tissues either through a granular formulation applied to the roots or a foliar spray. Once in the plant’s system, they kill any insects that feed on the sap or leaves. Systemic insecticides work well, but I’ll warn you some can smell strong for a few weeks, especially the granular types added to the soil will be noticeable after you water.
Sprayed on foliage, a horticultural oil coats the insect’s shell, and suffocating it. Leaf shines can have a similar effect.
The color yellow attracts fungus gnats, so position yellow sticky traps just above the soil surface. Adults fly to the trap, become stuck and die, hopefully before reproducing.
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. Israelensis, or Bt, is a bacteria that attacks fungus gnat larvae. It is available in several organic-approved easy-to-use forms that are applied to the soil. It can be granules to sprinkle in the pot, cakes or granules to be dissolved in the water and poured on when watering, or a liquid to add to the water. Bt products do need to be watered in, so even if the plant is very wet, make the application first, then let the plant dry before treating again. I have the most success eliminating fungus gnats with Bt in any form.
Fungus gnats invariably arrive in fresh potting mix, having infiltrated wet bags stored outdoors. Peat and coir-based potting mixes dry out better and are less likely to encourage gnats, while mixes with bark and compost are more susceptible.
A layer of sand or rice hulls ¼- to 1-inch thick dries out quickly after watering and provides a dry, inhospitable place for adults to lay eggs.
Nematodes (Steinernema) and predatory mites (Hypoaspis) feed on fungus gnats and their larvae and can be applied to the potting mix as eggs that will hatch and begin to feed.
- Fungus gnat information from Arbico Organics
- NaturesGoodGuys Hypoaspis Miles aka Stratiolaelaps scimitis
- BioLogic Steinernema Feltiae
Garden Gate Issue 161 - September/October 2021
Ever wonder why birds don’t nest in your fancy birdhouse? Maybe it isn’t as appealing to them as it is to you. This updated edition of the Audubon Birdhouse Book is full of facts about many North American birds and how they nest, so you can build a safe birdhouse for your avian friends!
This reasonably priced and easy-to-find line of gardening gloves has something for almost everyone, and they come in different sizes to fit all hands comfortably. Also available at Home Depot stores and online.
Many styles and colors/patterns are available:
- Goatskin Hybrid Leather Palm Garden Safety Cuff Gloves
- Digz Planter Pro Women's Gardening Gloves, Geometric Pattern
- Digz Suede Leather Palm Garden Gloves with Safety Cuff
Garden Gate Issue 160 - July/August 2021
Sunscreen is a must-have for gardeners. This one offers lots of protection without a hint of greasiness or thickness. It’s easy to use on your face or body, and I’ve used it for years!
When holes start showing up on my coleus (Plectranthus hybrids) leaves, I grab my bottle of Bonide®Captain Jack’s DBB® Dust and give it a squeeze to dust the culprits with spinosad. This is a great organic alternative to the old, more toxic insecticides. It’s even safe for use on edible plants.
I love all of Litheli’s products, especially their power, ease of use, and interchangeable battery. A setup like this is well worth the investment. I clean leaves off my patio all the time with this lightweight blower. An hour of charging gives me about 30 minutes of runtime with the 2.5Ah battery.
Linda’s garden shows off thousands of bulbs every spring. The image on the colorful puzzle above shows her beautiful garden at its peak. This print of Linda’s garden is just one of dozens of exclusive puzzles available in the Garden Gate store.
Garden Gate Issue 159 - May/June 2021
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your chemical usage and let plants help each other solve problems like pests, weeds and even staking, Jessica Walliser has some good advice in her new book, Plant Partners: Science-Based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden.
Garden Gate Issue 158 - March/April 2021
Save your back and you knees with these handy shears that have a 36-inch-long aluminum shaft. The blades swivel 360-degrees to it's easy to adjust them to suit the job. Add to that an ergonomic handle and spring clean-up, keeping the lawn edge tidy or other trimming chores will be easier than ever.
Gain a new perspective on naturalistic gardening with this book by Kelly D. Norris, horticulturist and plantsman. Norris encourages the reader to consider how plants grow, their origins, and the sites where they thrive to create ecologically diverse yet jaw-droppingly beautiful gardens.
There’s no need to drag out a huge tiller to work up your soil. If you have a battery-powered EGO POWER+ string trimmer or hedge shear, you already have the power head to run another handy tool. This little cultivator can expand from 8 to 9 ½ inches wide — just the size for tilling up small gardens and raised beds or weeding between rows of plants where you need more maneuverability.
You’ll have lots to carry after your spring shopping trips to the garden center, and we have just the thing to make that easier! Check out our high-quality tote bag collection. We love these lush watercolor pastel prints and durable 100% spun polyester bags with wide, sturdy handles.
Help fight fungus gnats in your houseplants with this organic insect-control spray that targets these annoying insects.
Help control fungus gnats in your houseplants with these yellow stick traps.
Garden Gate Issue 157 - January/February 2021
You probably have experienced the positive effects that gardening has on your well-being. This book by Sue Stuart-Smith, a psychologist and life-long gardener, explores the science behind why gardening has a beneficial impact on our lives.
You’re surely dreaming of all the additions or renovations for your garden this coming year. Get some great help by purchasing a garden plan, which comes complete with plant recommendations and growing info. Garden plan pictured above is the Four-Season plan.