Coastal and Tropical South
Tool or Gardening Product
Beneficial microorganisms are amazing creatures. The role they play in the health of your soil should not be underestimated. When it comes to organic strategies to combat garden pests, fungus diseases have been a difficult challenge. Actinovate has proven very helpful in treating black spot and rust in my garden. The active ingredient is Streptomyces lydicus (strain WYEC 108). Actinovate is made by Natural Industries in Houston, TX.
Clever Gardening Technique
Safe bulb storage
There are few more painful garden losses than a sack of bulbs gone bad. Their potential is lost as they turn either to dust or a mushy mess. Either way, the gardener's ego suffers, but this dilemma can be avoided with simple, proper storage. Whether it's caladium, dahlia, or red and white spider lilies, sometimes bulbs must be lifted and stored for replanting elsewhere or at another time. Even garlic and shallot bulbs can go bad, and smell worse, but the same storage techniques work for them, too. Dig up bulbs with the soil still attached, taking care not to cut into the bulbs. Lay them out to dry a little. Pick a place like a shed where conditions are dry but not sunny, and air circulation is good. An old window screen works well for this brief drying. As soon as the dirt dries enough to be knocked off easily, the bulbs are ready to store. Assemble a container of sulfur dust, lots of dry material like shredded cedar or peat moss, and mesh bags like grocery store onion sacks. Wear your gloves to dust each bulb with sulfur and put it into the bag surrounded by your dry material. Use enough to keep the bulbs from touching each other, and then hang the bags in the shed.