Useful Things

These are products that I recommend to my clients regularly and also use in my own garden. I try to garden as organically as possible and only use products that will allow me to do so.

Pest Problems

Neem Oil

By far my favorite go-to spray when dealing with soft-bodied insects in the garden. Neem oil is derived from Neem seed. It works as an insecticide, miticide and fungicide. It will help control aphids, mealybug, spider mites and whitefly. It will also help control powdery mildew. It works best when the insect infestation or mildew occurrence is caught early. The pint concentrate lasts me over two years.

Safer’s Caterpillar Killer

Insecticidal soaps and oils simply don’t work on caterpillars. For that I like Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer with Bt. Bt is short for bacillus thuringiensis var Kurstaki which is a bacterium which occurs naturally in decaying matter of soil. I like it because it is selective and only effects caterpillars. Caterpillars affected by Bt cause no harm to birds if eaten. Sunlight destroys Bt in about 5 days so it does not multiply in the environment.  Also, you only use it if and when you see caterpillars on your plant. This helps with pests like tomato hornworm and cabbage moth loppers.
which contains the active ingredient

Safer’s Diatomaceous Earth

Earwigs are a big problem here and for that I use Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth. I was having trouble with something mowing down my seedlings almost as fast as they came up.  Here this is caused by earwigs. In other areas I have lived, it was snails that did the dirty work. Luckily diatomaceous earth helps with both. The powder is actually made up of a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock.  Although it feels rather soft, like flour, to the touch, for insects it’s like walking over broken glass. So they avoid it. Placing a ring of diatomaceous earth around you rows of veggies will help keep the creepy crawlies at bay.  Only drawback is you will have to reapply after rains or if you overhead water. One bag has lasted two years. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is also available and I use this on my pets bedding to deter fleas.

Sluggo for Snails and Slugs

The active ingredient in Sluggo is Iron Phosphate. It’s safe to use in your vegetable gardens. Safe to use around children, pets and wildlife. It even remains effective after rain or watering. Some folks think that pet safe snail baits don’t work because they don’t see a trail of snail shells clustered around the bait. When actually it just works slower so snails have time to make the journey home and die quietly in their little beds. (Well, I’m not really sure it’s quiet. I’ve never really listened). Although diatomaceous earth makes a great deterrent, Sluggo will help reduce your snail population. Here on the Central Coast baiting right after the late winter rains is a good idea.

 

 

Tools

Felco Pruners

Felco F-2 Pruner seems a little pricey at the onset, but these pruners really last. They are comfortable and you can purchase replacement blades and springs. With a little care and proper use, these pruners can last a lifetime. I use these for my seasonal pruning on fruit trees and roses.

6-in-1 Multi-Sharpener

Want to sharpen your pruning shears fast? Then try this 6-in-1 Multi-Sharpener for Pruner/Scissors. The grooved sharpening area in the front makes sharpening super easy. Just line the flat part of your blade against the flat part in the groove and either pull the blade through the groove or slide the groove over the blade. No worrying about filing at the appropriate angle because the tool holds your blade at precisely the right angle. A couple of quick swipes and your ready to go. It also has a tiny reservoir in the back to keep a bit of oil so you can oil if need be out in the garden. At work the pruning shears also masquerade as mult-purpose cutting tools getting used on everything from paper to wire. A weekly sharpening really helps.

Milwaukee Hackzall

Want a gardening tool the guys will think is cool? Then get a Milwaukee Hackzall
. When fitted with a pruning blade, this lightweight, rechargeable reciprocating saw can be used with one hand and can get into some pretty tight spaces. It makes quick work of pruning jobs like hacking back a buddleja once a year to keep it in line.

Should you choose to purchase the products through the Amazon links above, I will get a small commission. This goes towards helping fund The Kat’s Garden so I can keep testing and trialing gardening products. All products listed were purchased and used by me in my own garden and the opinions stated are strictly my own.