Extraordinary Benefits of a School Garden

Does your child’s school have an active working garden?

Research is repeatedly showing how critical school gardens are to your child’s health and overall educational experience. Not only will your child learn science and math… which is great for his/her brain, but your child will also reap the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and exposure to direct sun light! Not to mention, there will be good fruits and veggies to consume!

Here are 5 extraordinary benefits of having a school garden:

1. Help increase Vitamin D levels. With reduced recess and lack of outdoor play, children’s Vitamin D levels are falling across the board. One of the best and free sources of Vitamin D is… the SUN! And Vitamin D is turning out to be a potent cancer fighter. Actively engaging in the school garden for 20 minutes is a great way for your child to get that much needed Vitamin D!

2. Increase the new-age Vitamin “G” – green space. In a recent published article for the National Recreation and Park Association, Dr. Francis Kuo of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “found that children with ADHD who went for 20-minute walks in park settings performed as well on concentration tests afterwards as children who received common ADHD medications.” Outstanding!

3. Seasonal, local, organic and whole (SLOW). There is no denying the research behind SLOW foods and their superior nutritional benefits over packaged, processed, cooked foods. “Studies have shown that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly during transportation. During the trip from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.” Eating fresh from the garden preserves more the vital nutrients, which helps build healthy cells in your child’s body.

4. Children like to eat what they grow! There is nothing quite like putting a seed in the ground, watching those first two leaves sprout up and eventually seeing the results of tender love and care of a plant that grows and blooms. Curiosity is an inherent facet of all children… and they are far more likely to be more curious and taste a fruit of vegetable they helped grow.

5. Gardening is physical exercise! Planting, composting, weeding and watering all take physical effort. With fewer and fewer minutes of playground time and less outdoor activities by children in general, the incorporation of a school garden can extent children’s physical activity during any given school day.

How Tilling A Garden Causes More Problems Than Benefits

Garden tilling, also called cultivating, is often done with a gas-powered rototiller that goes down perhaps 6 or so inches, but soil can be “tilled” with a tool such as a pitch fork, too.

As you know, tilling a garden is when you turn the soil over so that some of the lower soil comes up and some of the upper soil goes down. It’s kind of like a food processor for your soil, just not as fast.

You may think it is more necessary in organic gardening because we don’t use pesticides like the no-till farmers, but that isn’t the case.

Garden tilling is an often-recommended practice, but this article tells you why you should stop the practice right now.

Reasons For Garden Tilling

The main reasons organic gardeners may till the soil are to:

* Reduce weeds
* Relieve compaction
* Make the soil look fluffy and nice
* Allow more air and water into the soil
* Loosen and warm up the soil in spring for planting/seeding
* Cause organic matter to break down faster and give more nutrients

Does Tilling A Garden Accomplish The Above Goals?

In the short term the above organic gardening goals are often satisfied, but right from the start, garden tilling can cause more problems than benefits. If there are plants in or near the garden, their vital surface roots are damaged, giving easy access for root-feeding organisms and decreasing water and nutrient uptake.

But the main disadvantage is the effect on beneficial microorganisms and earthworms, both of which are absolutely essential to the health of your soil.

Garden Tilling Problems

Upon tilling a garden, the microbes that need oxygen are buried, killing many of them. The microbes that can’t live with too much oxygen are brought to the surface, killing many of them.

Garden tilling causes the miles and miles of beneficial fungi to be sliced into pieces. Those fungi provided important nutrients to the plants, so that is no longer happening. Earthworms are also killed and their tunnels destroyed.

All of these critters had taken a long time to find the perfect spot for them in the soil. They worked day and night to build themselves little homes and cities. It takes years for this to happen and garden tilling destroys that all very quickly.

Does Garden Tilling Help In The Long Term?

Tilling your organic garden when it is wet causes long term structural damage to the soil, but even when the soil is dry, there are several serious long term consequences.

While annual weeds will have been killed, many perennial weeds have been cut into pieces that all come back as new weeds. While your vegetable seeds now have perfect conditions in which to germinate, so do all of the weed seeds that were lying dormant lower down in the soil.

While the initial influx of air and water broke down the organic matter more quickly, and released nutrients to allow microbes and plants to flourish for a short time, that organic matter is oxidized (basically burned) faster than it is replenished. Annual garden tilling causes a gradual decrease in organic matter in the soil.

This loss of organic matter decreases soil fertility, nutrient-holding capacity, water-holding capacity and hurts soil structure. If the soil is left bare, it can crust over so that water runs off and causes erosion instead of infiltrating.

The damage of larger plant roots can result in permanent and severe damage of the canopy (especially in trees).

Terraces and paved Gardens.

One of the aims of garden planning is to associate the garden with the house so that one unit is created. The garden, viewed through a window, should be a natural extension of the house. The eye should sweep freely across an open lawn to the perimeters, to the prospect of hidden surprises behind curves, or be drawn to an apparently distant focal point.

The uniting link between house and garden is the terrace, usually leading from the living room into the garden. The shape and size of the terrace are usually determined by the garden area and by aspect. Where a new terrace is being built, it should ideally harmonise in shape with the garden.

A garden design based on curved lines should be repeated in a rounded terrace, and a formal rectilinear garden outline should be echoed by a square or rectangular terrace. Existing terraces can be made to conform to a curved garden design by hiding sharp corners with low-growing shrubs, or by adding to the front a curved strip of contrasting stone material as a standing area for planters.

Rounded terraces can be straightened out to some extent by means of additional stones of different material and colour, or by planting slender pyramidal trees at either end of the terrace.

A sunny or lightly shaded terrace will be used as a living and entertaining area in summer. It must, therefore, be large enough to accommodate garden furniture, such as tables and chairs, and to give easy access to both house and garden. Even where the rear of the house faces north or east, and a sunny sitting-out area is better sited somewhere else in the garden, a terrace against the house still provides a natural link between house and garden. It pushes the garden away from the immediate house walls, creating a feeling of space and opening vistas.

Older houses are often raised well above the garden area, and an existing terrace may be an elevated platform shut off from the garden by a low stone balustrade. Here, ornate planters are perfectly at home, and formal planters placed along the balustrade, or pots containing trailing plants, enhance the mellowed brickwork.

The outline of the steps leading from the terrace to the garden can be softened with planters or with plantings of low, graceful shrubs on either side. The bed at the foot of a balustrade can be treated as for a retaining wall and planted with shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs.

Most modern houses are built with the ground floor raised only a few inches above ground level. The terrace is on the same level as the garden, and steps are therefore unnecessary. On any type of terrace, leave small planting pockets between the stonework for cushion-forming plants, such as artemisia, armeria, dianthus, thyme and small-leaved mint or even the tiny rock rose (helianthe-mum). Reserve these planting pockets for those parts of the terrace that are not used for furniture or frequent walking.

Small beds can be made at the rear of the terrace next to the house wall. Climbers – for example, roses intermingled with clematis – can then be trained up the wall and above the windows. This is not feasible on walls with large picture windows; these are better embellished with a slender pillar rose or a camellia on either side.

Dark corners near doors or on the shady side of the terrace are ideal for shade-loving perennials such as hosta, primula and lily-of-the-valley, and for shrubs like mahonia and skimmia.

In very small gardens, the paved terrace may cover the entire area. If a high wall surrounds the garden it can be decoratively covered with climbers growing in planters. Shrubs and other flowering plants can be grown in more planters, window-boxes, troughs and hanging baskets.

‘Where space allows, a small, low pool, set off-centre, makes an attractive feature, planted with one or two water lilies.

Designing A Suburban Garden – A Brief Introduction

Some people relish the thought of designing a garden whereas others will go running straight to the yellow pages. If you have just purchased your new home and the garden needs some attention, there are a few basic design principles that should help whether you choose to do the work yourself or to engage a professional.

Most people who decide to redesign their garden have a general idea as to what they want it to do and how they want it to look when finished. What they don’t necessarily have is the experience to produce a detailed drawing or to do the actual work. Often the initial design is quite simple and a lot of people stop there however with the help of a professional designer and a little bit of imagination it is amazing how easily you can transform your garden into your own personal idea of paradise.

Your garden’s function

The first stage in designing any garden is to decide what its function will be when finished. If you have children then you might want a large lawn where they can play in safety or a patio area where they can have a playhouse. Pets, and in particular dogs will also need somewhere to run and so again a lawn may be beneficial. If you have an adult-only household however then there are many more options available and you can turn your garden into the perfect place for entertaining or into a tranquil haven depending on your tastes, simply by adding decking, a seating area, ornamental structures, a small pond and a water feature or perhaps gravel walkways that wind throughout the garden.

Choosing the plants and structures

Once you have decided exactly what general layout you want in your finished garden, then you can actually start to design it. You will need to consider the amount of space you have available and try to make the most of it by planning what structures you want and where they will be placed. It is at this stage that a professional designer could well be an advantage as they will be able to make suggestions that you would never have thought of and the little details they bring to the design might make all the difference.

You will also need to choose a colour scheme for the plants and flowers and which varieties to include. This will depend in no small measure on the type of soil in the garden, where the sun falls during the day and how good the drainage is. In addition it will also be determined by how enthusiastic you are for the ongoing exigencies of gardening. If you like a nice tidy garden but don’t really enjoy or have the time needed to tend it in detail, then it will be worth choosing plants and flowers that that require minimal attention. Some simple research in this area will be beneficial as, again, may the services of a professional designer: they will be able to suggest unusual plant species that will set your new garden apart from others — and they will also know where best to buy them.

Larger suburban gardens may need additional trees and shrubs to fill out the borders or break up an expanse of lawn. Alternatively you can add extra flower beds or perhaps another seating area. It is important that you don’t leave large portions of the garden looking bare in the longer term but it is equally important that you don’t overstock the garden. When purchasing plants and shrubs, ensure that you understand their likely size at maturity. You may need to accept a somewhat sparse impression for a while as the plants grow. On this basis, it is sometimes worth the additional expense of acquiring larger, more mature plant stock as part of the mix.

Conclusion

Designing your own garden can be time consuming however it can also be very rewarding, especially when you are sitting out on a warm summer’s evening knowing that the ideas and inspiration were originally yours. Suburban and larger gardens are quite easy to redesign because of their size and you can consider including those features that you have dreamed about for so many years. To get started, all you need to do is put your ideas on paper and go from there.

LED Garden Lighting Can Be The Best Source For Garden Lighting

LED garden lights are increasingly in popularity with time. These stylish lights have many benefits over other kinds of garden lights in many ways. Light emitting diode (LED) have served the basic decoration needs of the garden in the most cost effective way. They can add beauty to the garden dcor in many ways. With LED appliances, people may decorate their trees, shrubs, paths down to the lawn, and many other areas. LED garden lightings can immensely spruce up your garden dcor, and are also safe to use.

Led appliances are either in round or pointed shapes. These low voltage devices are wrapped with a diffuse plastic lens. The good thing about LED lightings is that it is not affected by harsh weathers and traffic. These lights came into existence in 1970, and scientists are still bringing innovations in these lightings, as the demand continues to grow.

When comparison is made between LED backyard appliances with bulbs and fluorescent lamps, it has been discovered that they LED lightings are more energy efficient. Normal bulbs throw more heat to the environment whereas LED lights hardly emit heat. Moreover, LED lights are free from mercury, and are a safer lighting source. If you have kids in your home, then LED garden lightings must be your first choice, because as they are cool to touch, children would not be harmed when playing in the garden.

Another main benefit for using LED garden lights is that they consume very little energy, and hence dramatically reduce electricity bills. LED garden lighting is now available in many different designs, shapes, and colors. AS LED backyard lighting are structured in long ropes, these versatile lights can be shaped in many forms. Suppose you are throwing a children’s party in your garden, with LED garden lights, you can give shapes of flowers, butterflies, and animals that will greatly attract and amuse the children.

In case of a formal party, you can consider hanging them on the walls, trees, or shrubs, simply any way you want. However, these not only offer contemporary designs, but also in fact allow cutting many costs in the end. LED garden illuminations have a longer life span compared to other bulbs and lamps. These reliable lightings have really helped to embellish a garden with differently shaped colorful lights.

Maintaining Your Garden Improving

There are many things that go into planning and planting a summer garden. Far too often would be gardeners do not consider the time and energy that should be spent maintaining the summer garden in order to keep your summer garden looking beauty and healthy throughout the long dog days of summer and well, in many cases, into the first frosts of fall. If prolonging the life and beauty of your summer garden is a priority then there are things that must be done in order to keep everything ship shape and in good working order.

Mini gardening goals should be mapped out and you should make all attempts to achieve and follow them as closely as environmental changes permit. Make sure this list allows for upsets such as a week of rain or a week of no rain as well as time to adjust for these inconsistencies and an inability to work in the garden when temperatures are well over the mark on the thermometer that reads uncomfortably hot. You should place a copy of these task or goals in a highly visible spot that you can notice each and every day and more likely make them happen.

Do what you have must to keep the weeds out, and provide proper nourishment to each specific plant you are growing. Check for leaves that are turning yellow and any pruning that needs to occur on a weekly basis. Get rid of the leaves as well as execute necessary cutting as required and take away every weeds when ever the ability or demand comes up. When you feel that weeds are taking over your garden area, you should simply add more mulch to kill them off.

Keep a garden perfectly trimmed so the grass and also flower garden seem properly blended and totally incorporated together. You do not want to ignore the best thing about a garden because your lawn looks unkept and ungroomed. Invest some time to grass maintenance in order to keep your grass and garden over a regular balance together throughout the summer time gardening season.

You must make sure that you are ready to fulfill the specific necessities of the numerous plants and flowers that you are growing inside your flowerbed. Should your plants and flowers that require less sunlit areas or even added liquid happen to be possibly getting too much sun rays or not really enough water you need to come up with attempts to incorporate cover from the sun to them and obtain a lot more h2o to them during the entire outstanding months or else you face the loss of an investment of your time and cash you will have currently made in acquiring and raising these kinds of crops.

Implementing proper care of your garden during the summertime might make the fall gathering operation go far more effortlessly whilst assisting get ready for the actual preparing that should happen in the winter months ahead of you. Learn from the maintenance of your garden and plan the next garden with the needs you became aware of this season in mind. Always take time to learn from both your successes and your summer gardening failures for the best possible results. Understanding how to take care of your flowerbed is the best strategy to see whether or not you would like to chance a pretty much driven flower garden in the future growing months.

Maintain your dream garden with your gardening skills

Spending hours of time with plants and flowers can easily warm up your mood and can bring positive vibes around you. Flowers and plants are the beautiful creation. We manage them in a selective way within our location and named them as dream garden. Having a garden of your dream at your own place can change your home to special and peaceful place like heaven. Every person has the dream of having garden on their front yard or back yard. But having a garden on your place is not an easy work. We have lots of things to care about like designing, cleaning and maintaining it.

Garden not only for the purpose of show of your home. It also maintain the freshness in your home environment. Whenever we feel some uneasiness and stress at ending of the day, you prefer to have a walk on your yard and garden. The flow of the cool air and fresh fragments from the fresh flowers of your own garden can easily made your day.

Generally gardening is preferred for the peace of a mind. But also taken as a fashion and competition now a days. Who have the beautiful garden in the society? How they maintain it? And many more questions arises and you always tries to make the best one among them.

To make the best garden among all, we uses lots of tools and designs to maintain and decorate our garden which could be the artificial as well as the natural resources also. But simply using some old stuffs also can make vast difference and make it the awesome one. We can use our old chairs, broken glasses, pots, stones, shoes, plastic bottles, boxes and many more stuff as the useful and decorative sources. Using the old stuffs can increase the attractive pattern on your garden, even you can create a fairy world on a corner of your garden. And can hang out there on any time and feel your fairy dream garden and enjoy.

Nowadays everybody has a busy and tired schedule. So having a dream garden and spending some time serving it may sound impossible. There are lots of service provider who serves for garden designing, garden cleaning, garden maintenance and gardeners to the particular area. Which makes us easier to maintain our garden with our expectations. And you can feel the peace and positive vibes all over the air.

Benefits of Growing Veggies on Raised Garden Beds

My husband and I have been growing vegetables and herbs on raised garden beds for more than 30 years now. We have moved a number of times but have recreated the raised garden beds in each location because of the many benefits. Our first home had a concrete backyard and it was the only way we could create a garden, but we appreciated the benefits so much that we have built raised garden beds at each of our subsequent homes. There are more than four benefits but these are the primary ones:

1. More Nutritious Food
The reason that raised garden beds yield more nutritious food is due to the fact that the soil is loose, deep, and rich in nutrients. It is not compacted since the gardener never walks on the soil. Plants benefit from the great drainage and speedy root development that loose soil allows. Earthworms love to call it home. Plants are placed closer together in a staggered or triangular pattern (often called square foot gardening) so that their leaves slightly overlap when they reach maturity. This means the soil stays shaded which inhibits weed growth and maintains moisture. Amendments to the garden beds that enhance the nutrient value cost less because you are not covering the pathways. Compost is added each year, mixed with the soil and peat in the beds, to replace nutrients and beneficial microbes. Healthy soil means healthy plants, which allows us to grow organic food.
2. More Abundance of food
Succession planting is easy with the raised garden. Once you have harvested the spinach, you can plant a crop of green beans in the same bed. It is easy to start a new row of lettuce or spinach each week so you have a continuous supply. Planning is important in an intensive garden like this. Once you understand the growth pattern and spread of the veggies in the garden you can combine more plants together. Spring scallions and radishes can be planted between the broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, for example, and then harvested before these larger plants grow big enough to shade the entire bed. Keep a garden journal so you can remember where you planted the tomatoes, so that you plant them in a new location the following year and where you planted the beans that fix the nitrogen in the soil. You can also note what plant combinations work well together to control pests.

3. Easy Access
A raised garden bed is best if it is no wider than 4 feet so that the gardener can easily reach to the center of the garden bed. This is the ideal type garden for the person with physical handicaps. The person with arthritis, knee problems, or hip problems has access since they dont have to get to ground level or kneel on a sore joint. I often sit on a five gallon bucket with a seat when working in my garden. A raised bed garden would be accessible to a wheelchair if the pathways were built wide enough and smooth enough. It is easiest to use because of the height of the bed which can be adapted to the person or situation. Our beds have started just 8 inches above the ground but as we have added compost and mulch we have raised them much higher, up to 24 or 36 inches above the ground.
4. Less Maintenance
A raised garden bed is easy to maintain. The only tools required are a trowel and a garden rake. We sometimes use a spade to turn over the top layer but not always. I mentioned earlier that weeding is less since they pull out easier and are inhibited by the close spacing and shading of the veggies in the garden. Simple mulching with grass clippings is usually enough to stop the weeds until the plants are established. Once your organic raised garden is established it is sustained only with compost. Compost can be added from your compost bin in the spring, fall, or just any time if you use it as a mulch layer. Our beds are rich with microbes and earthworms. We have a lot of trees so in the fall we mow over our leaves and put the leaves onto the beds. In the spring they are broken down enough that we just turn them in with a spade or a trowel.
Save yourself time and money gardening on raised garden beds. You need only dig, fertilize, and water the beds, not the paths. You dont need to weed as much when crops grow close together, because weeds cant compete as well. You dont need a tiller because the soil is never compacted.

Beautify Your Outdoor Space With Garden Furniture

For many homes, the garden often forms a very important part of the living space and a lot of importance is placed on the way a garden should look.

Outdoor furniture is particularly important in houses where the garden is also considered a part of the living room. There are literally dozens of types of furniture which could be placed outdoors in the garden and they go a long way in enhancing the beauty and aesthetic value of not just the garden but the entire house.

There are many types of outdoor furniture ranging from patio furniture to wooden garden furniture. Choosing the right type of furniture could be a bit confusing. It would entirely depend on the customer’s tastes and preferences. It is best to gather a lot of information from various websites and other sources before deciding which type of garden furniture to buy.

Some Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to choosing good furniture for your garden, there are certain important considerations that need to be kept in mind. The first point is the safety aspect of the furniture you buy. Some parts of the garden are vulnerable to cyclones and storms. It is always advisable to have Outdoor furniture such as rattan garden furniture fixed firmly to the ground to prevent them from being blown away and injuring people nearby. Secondly, the garden furniture sets that you buy should be of good quality and they should perfectly match the main furniture placed in the garden.

Taking Care of Your Garden Furniture.

One problem with outdoor furniture especially if they are made out of wood is that they tend to develop cracks and become bloated during the monsoon. Wooden furniture needs special care so that they can remain a part of your garden for many years. Buying good quality and costly outdoor garden furniture is not enough. Maintaining them in a good condition is very important. There are various types of conservatory furniture made of teak and other types of wood which are very trendy. They go a long way in adding to the beauty and aesthetic appeal of the garden. Such special furniture need proper maintenance and care if they are to last a life time.

It is important to remember that the garden is a place where we are closest to nature and hence the furniture that we use in the garden must also respect nature. It should be environment friendly and not cause any damage to the surroundings. Always make it a point to use outdoor furniture made only out of renewable materials. The next thing to remember is to invest a reasonable amount for the proper maintenance of your garden and outdoor furniture. Garden furniture does not come cheap and are quite expensive. If they are not properly maintained, their life span gets reduced drastically.

House Plant Care – Insect Control in Garden Fruit Plantings

Growing fruit in the home garden can be an interesting, fun and rewarding hobby. This does not happen without a great deal of work. House plant care can be very easy with a few tips to keep them healthy.
Control of pests (diseases and insects) is an integral part of the care necessary to obtain good results. Insect infestations reduce yields and lower the quality of harvested garden vegetables and home fruit plantings. All plant parts may be injured by insects. Some insects bore into roots, seeds or stems. Others destroy crops by chewing on the succulent foliage, stems or fruits. Plant diseases are carried by certain insects. Control can be maintained all season by a combination of cultural practices, mechanical control, biological control and chemical applications.
Cultural practices such as pruning, sanitation, variety selection and selecting open, sites for planting are necessary for good pest control.

How to Use the Spray Schedules

Most fungicide (disease control product) and some insecticide (insect control product) applications are effective only if applied preventatively. The timing of these preventive sprays is based on the growth stage of the plant and forms the foundation of the spray charts that follow. In very rainy seasons, sprays may need to be applied more frequently than the schedule given in the following charts. Wet weather favors development of the disease causing organisms and more chemical protection is needed. Also, rains can wash off the fungicides and insecticides. When rain occurs before a spray has dried or if rainfall totals more than 1 inch within 24 hours, the spray should be re-applied. Fungicides provide more benefit when applied before a rain than after, because protection from infection by disease-causing organisms is needed when plant surfaces are wet.

Additional Spray Tips

One of the biggest mistakes home fruit growers make is to allow their trees to grow too tall. If trees are maintained at a manageable height, it is easier to spray them properly, as well as to harvest the fruit. Proper pruning practices reduce the amount of spray needed and permit better coverage. The type of sprayer used depends on the size of the fruit planting. For most plantings of small fruits or for a few small fruit trees, pump-up sprayers are adequate. Trombone-type sprayers are helpful for taller trees. For the increased spray volumes required by larger home orchards, power sprayers are recommended. Honey bees and other pollinating insects must be protected from insecticides, which will kill them. Do not spray fruit plants with insecticides while the plants are in bloom.

Pesticide Safety

Most of the pesticides suggested for use are low-toxicity materials. However, some precautions are needed:
Keep pesticides in the original, labeled container.
Keep pesticides in a locked storage cabinet, away from children or pets.
Read the label each time before you use the product.
Wear rubber gloves, goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat when mixing and applying pesticides. Refer to the label for required protective gear.
Handle the pesticide carefully when mixing. Avoid breathing dust or vapors. Wash any chemicals off the skin immediately with plenty of water.
Never apply insecticides and fungicides with a sprayer that has been used for weed killers.
Do not spray if it is windy.
Mix only as much as you need. Do not store diluted spray mixtures from one application to the next. They will lose effectiveness and are unsafe.

Multipurpose Fruit Spray

Growers with small fruit plantings may want to consider multipurpose fruit spray products. These materials are widely available, convenient and will serve most pest control purposes. They are mixtures containing a fungicide (captan), and usually two insecticides (malathion and methoxychlor). Multipurpose sprays are produced by several companies and sold under names such as Home Orchard Spray 7, Tree Fruit Spray, All Purpose Fruit Spray7, General Purpose Fruit Spray7 and others. Certain brands contain an additional insecticide, carbaryl (Sevin). Mixtures containing carbaryl should not be applied to apple or pear until 21 days after petal fall, as it causes the fruit to drop.

Sanitation and Cultural Practices

APPLE AND PEAR
Apple and pear trees are subject to serious damage from pests. The following practices will improve the effectiveness of the pesticides and may lessen the need for sprays.
Plant disease-resistant varieties. Varieties resistant to cedar-apple rust, scab and powdery mildew are also available.
Rake and destroy leaves in the fall, if apple scab, pear scab or pear leaf spot are problems. The organisms that cause these diseases overwinter in infected leaves.
For cedar-apple rust control, elimination of the source of spores – cedar trees – is effective but not always possible. Removal of the galls caused by the fungus on cedar trees is helpful. Pruning trees according to recommendations improves control of all ground diseases. In well-pruned trees, air circulation and sunlight penetration are improved. This helps control diseases by promoting rapid drying after rains and dew. Penetration of sprays into the canopy is also better if the trees are well-pruned.
Prune out and destroy all dead or diseased shoots and limbs during the dormant season. This helps reduce fire blight, fruit rots and certain leaf spots, as the organisms that cause these diseases overwinter in the wood.
PEACH, PLUM AND CHERRY
Peach, plum, cherry and other stone fruits are commonly affected by serious pest problems and, as a result, a conscientious spray program is needed. The following sanitation and cultural practices will improve the chances of success and may lessen the need for sprays.
Prune trees according to recommendations, to allow better air circulation and sunlight penetration. This helps control diseases by promoting rapid drying after rains and dew. Penetration of sprays into the canopy is also better if the trees are well-pruned.
Remove the overwintering structure for the brown rot fungus, old mummified fruit left hanging in the tree or on the ground.
Control of black knot of plum and cherry is dependent on removal of the knots before they begin to produce spores. In late winter, prune out and destroy these rough, black swellings or tumors that develop on limbs and twigs.
Avoid planting peach varieties that are highly susceptible to bacterial leaf spot. Examples are Elberta, Halehaven, Rio- Oso-Gem and Sunhigh. Chemical control of this disease is very limited.
GRAPE
Most home grape plantings will require a preventive schedule of pesticides, since certain pests such as black rot can completely destroy a crop of fruit. However, the following sanitation and cultural practices will reduce the need for pesticides.
Keep vines well-pruned according to recommendations, to prevent overgrowth of vines and dense canopy. Pruning promotes air circulation and sunlight penetration, thus more rapid drying after rains and dew. Penetration of sprays into the foliar canopy is also better if the vines are well-pruned.
Remove mummified berries (shriveled, dry, raisin-like). Clusters on the vines as well as those that have fallen to the ground should be removed. Also, destroy infected canes that have been pruned off. For control of grape root borer, mounding soil makes it difficult for larvae to reach the roots or adults to emerge. Mound some soil 1 foot high for 12 feet around each vine between early and mid-June.
STRAWBERRY
An intensive, preventive spray program is generally not needed on strawberry. Treatments can usually be made on an as-needed basis. The following sanitation and cultural practices will reduce the need for pesticides.

Bed renovation immediately after harvest is crucial to managing pest problems. Renovation involves narrowing rows, mowing leaves, removing weeds and fertilization. Rake and destroy cut-off leaves and stems after renovation.
Maintain narrow rows throughout the growing season (maximum 18 inches wide), to maintain good sunlight and air penetration of the canopy. This provides good berry formation and rapid drying after rains and dew.
Plant varieties with resistance to red stele and leaf spot. Where anthracnose is a problem, consider the resistant varieties Delmarvel and Sweet Charlie.
Control weeds throughout the growing season. Weeds increase disease by shading the plants and by interfering with air circulation. Weeds also harbor many insect and mite pests.
Mulch with straw before berries begin to lie on the ground, to reduce gray mold and leather rot (fruit rots).

Safe Handling of Insecticides

Home gardeners can control insect pests with reasonable safety by observing these safety rules:
Keep insecticides in the original, labeled container.
Keep insecticides in a locked storage container.
Read the label each time you use the insecticide.
Measure the amount to be mixed carefully.
Do not exceed the recommended rate of application.
Handle the insecticide carefully when mixing to avoid splashing of liquid concentrates and billowing of dusts and powders.
Wear protective clothing and other personal protective equipment as dictated by the label.
To protect yourself when mixing insecticides, it is suggested that protective clothing and equipment, such as chemical-resistant gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and protective eyewear, be worn.
Wash all insecticides off the skin immediately, using plenty of soap and water.
Avoid breathing the spray mist or vapor.
Always mix insecticides outdoors near a source of water.
Clean up any spilled materials to prevent children from entering a heavily contaminated area.
Apply insecticides to only those plants listed on the label.
Observe the time intervals between the last application and harvest.

The severity and type of pest problems on garden vegetables usually vary considerably from year to year. During most growing seasons, consistent production of high quality vegetables is assured only with the use of pesticides for insect control. This is not to suggest that vegetables cannot be grown without pesticides by using nonchemical methods, but it will usually take more effort on the part of the gardener.