Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Fighting Flea Beetles With Basil Flowers

A few weeks ago I blogged about fighting flea beetles with used coffee grounds and wormwood.  We have had good success with this method even with the rain diluting the strength of the coffee.  This week we found another quick way to keep flea beetles away: basil flowers!  We have 10 basil plants that keep trying to go to seed and we have found that placing the basil flowering heads on the eggplant leaves keep the flea beetles away.  We have never seen this mentioned as a flea beetle deterrent so we could just be lucky or there may be something to this strategy.  We won't think too hard about it though, we are just thrilled that it is working!

Picture above shows basil flower resting on the eggplant leaf.

Isn't this Listada De Gandia Eggplant so cute?! 

Casper Eggplant

Unknown eggplant variety given to us from a friend.


Harvesting Garlic and Onions Before They Rot

It has been a very wet summer for us in West Virginia.  In 3 weeks, we have received 14 inches of rain.  The garden has been so wet that we do the absolute minimum amount of work because wet plants spread disease when touched and we want to avoid soil compaction.  The weeds have definitely taken over and some of the plants are rotting in the ground.  Potatoes were harvested before they flowered and the brassicas rotted with a month left to grow.  We are not taking chances with the garlic and onions.  My family absolutely loves garlic and we never have enough onions for canning and cooking.  In fact, this week we are finishing up the last of the 85 bulbs of garlic that we harvested last year!

This year we planted both large cloves and bulbettes. The picture above shows the finished size difference between cloves and bulbettes. The bulbettes came from the flowering scapes that were picked and dried from last summer and planted last fall.  The bulbette that was harvested this summer will then be planted this fall for next year's garlic crop.  It's basically two years of growing before you receive a finished large bulb of garlic when you start with bulbettes.

Garlic bulbettes that are still on the plant.

Garlic bulbettes ready for drying that will be planted this fall for next year's crop.

Water-logged garlic picked early this year.

Zebrune Shallots picked early this year.
Some brassicas are still holding on but many have rotted.


Stack Exchange - The Perfect Organic Gardening Resource

This shows our tomato blight last year.  Stack Exchange has given us great tips on how to prevent it this year. 

Do you have a question about organic gardening and want some advice from fellow gardeners who have down-to-earth experience and practical solutions?  One resource my husband discovered this summer is Garden Stack Exchange.  It is an online forum where you can post questions and receive answers about organic gardening from a broad community of gardeners. The answers are then rated by the community and the question asker can select the best answer to a question. Each question that you ask or answer gives you more clout and thus you can build your reputation and your garden skills.  Here's an example of a question we asked:
http://gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/19495/how-far-do-potatoes-really-need-to-be-from-tomatoes-to-prevent-disease-blight

There's even another one for baking/cooking which can prove useful too: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/

To make it easy, you can use your Facebook or Google account to login too.

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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