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Organic Gardening Tips
Terra Viva Organics


Gardening organically isn't just gardening without chemicals. You, the gardener, must work with nature to develop an ecosystem in your garden. What does that mean?

Learn about and encourage healthy bugs like ladybugs, lacewings, and other predatory insects to come into your garden and feed on your pests. You can do this by planting fennel, dill, allyssum, ammi majus, and cumin.

Help your soil feed your plants. Add as much organic matter as you can in order to feed soil organisms. These organisms will break down organic matter and will eventually feed your plants. Try to make your own compost. Not only does compost nourish the soil, making it reduces kitchen and garden waste immensely!

Finally, learn to tolerate a little bit of damage by insects here and there. If you wipe out all your pests, what will the ladybugs feed on?




Terra Viva Organics is based in Vancouver, Canada. We strive to provide you, our customer, with the best organic gardening supplies and great advice to help you grow organically. Everyday, we try to educate ourselves about new information in the gardening field so that we can pass this information on to you. We're a small company with a big heart!

Please feel free to send us your comments. We'd love to hear how your garden did this year and any problems you had.




  Jun-06-2002
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The praying mantis is a fascinating insect with a voracious appetite. Not only will they eat aphids, crickets & grasshoppers, they are one of the only insects fast enough to catch mosquitoes.
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  May-02-2002
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Fennel is an excellent plant for attracting ladybugs. The statuesque plants are usually covered in ladybug eggs and larvae. Set aside a space in your garden for this beneficial herb.
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  Apr-02-2002
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Keep garlic in your toolkit. If insect pests like aphids become a nuisance, use the crush the cloves to make your own insect spray. Any garlic that sprouts can be planted in the garden to help repel other pests.
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  Mar-01-2002
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Growing sprouts indoors is not only nutritious but also ornamental. Any container can be used to sprout wheatgrass. Start seeds in potting mix or compost and they'll be up in 3-4 days.
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  Jan-30-2002
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To prevent damping off in your seedlings, sprinkle the top of your potting mix with cinnamon, a natural fungicide.
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  Jan-03-2002
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Before starting your seedlings, make sure your containers are clean. Wash them out with warm soapy water and sterilize them with a 10% solution of bleach.
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  Nov-29-2001
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Start collecting your pop bottles and milk jugs. They make great mini cloches to keep frost at bay.
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  Sep-20-2001
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While soil temperatures are still warm, fertilize leafy greens like spinach, corn salad & sorrel so that they have enough nutrients to take them through the fall.
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  Aug-01-2001
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Don't let powdery mildew ruin your garden. Control it easily using milk! Mix 1 part milk to 9 parts water and spray affected plants once a week.
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  Jun-29-2001
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Whitefly can cause considerable damage as temperatures rise. Keep their numbers down by using sticky traps & organic sprays such as pyrethrum or neem.
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  Jun-01-2001
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If you can only have one herb in your garden, it should be fennel. Not only do the leaves & flowers attract beneficial insects, fennel is a wonderful herb to use in the kitchen with its sweet anise flavour. Perennial up to Zone 6, it's a very easy herb to grow.
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  Apr-03-2001
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Seedlings growing indoors will need to be fed every couple of weeks. Dilute fish fertilizer is a great choice but if you need to keep the smell to a minimum, try making a tea of worm casts. Works great & no need to worry about burning your plants.
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  Feb-28-2001
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Are the forsythia in bloom? If so, it's safe to plant cool-season crops like peas, cabbage & Asian greens.
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  Feb-01-2001
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If you want to get a jump on planting peas, start them indoors. You'll get a far better germination rate and your seedlings will be less susceptible to fungal and pest attack.
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  Jan-08-2001
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Test that old seed before you plant it. Most seed should germinate between moist paper towel so that you can gauge how much to plant in your garden without wasting time & money.
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  Dec-11-2000
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Keep amaryllis well fed with compost or worm cast tea. Both contain nutrients that help build strong roots & bulbs which then lead to larger blooms.
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  Nov-15-2000
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Spider mites can suddenly become a problem during the winter months as plants are brought indoors into warm, dry environments. Keep plants well misted to increase humidity and keep spider mite numbers down.
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  Oct-28-2000
Oct 29 - Nov 4

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Keep an eye on out on houseplants that have been outdoors all summer and are now being brought inside. Unwanted stowaways can flourish indoors where they have no natural enemies. Keep a bottle of soap spray handy to dislodge them before their numbers multiply.
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  Oct-16-2000
Oct 16-22

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If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom by the holidays, it's time to put it into a cool, dark place where it gets less than 8 hours of light per day. The change in temperature and light levels triggers the plant to begin bloom production.
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  Sep-28-2000
Oct 1-7

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Time to bring in houseplants and non-hardy species. Give all your plants a good once over with soapy spray or insecticidal soap to prevent unwanted stowaways.
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  Sep-17-2000
Sept 17-24

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Cilantro can be started now for early fall production. Sow seeds often in short rows so that you can keep picking through the fall.
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  Aug-30-2000
August 27 - Sept 2

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Keep tatsoi producing well into the fall by picking individual leaves instead of harvesting the whole plant. Older leaves can be clipped from the bottom and will encourage a new flush of younger leaves.
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  Aug-17-2000
August 16-23

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If you're having trouble starting your winter garden seeds in the heat of the sun, you'll have much better success starting the seeds indoors where you can keep an eye on soil moisture. Transplant your greens outside once you have a couple of sets of leaves.
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  Jul-31-2000
August 1-8

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Recent research has shown that milk is an excellent control for powdery mildew disease. Dilute 1 part milk in 9 parts water and spray on your plants.
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  Jul-19-2000
July 19-25

Click here to read more about organic winter gardening
The imported cabbageworm butterfly is a pest of brassicas including kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens. The adult butterfly lays single, white eggs on the underside of brassica leaves. Squish the eggs when you see them to prevent them from hatching.
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  Jul-04-2000
July 2-8

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As you start your winter garden this month, protect young seedlings like kale and carrot from pests by using a floating row cover. These row covers prevent insects from laying their eggs around your plants.
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  Jun-28-2000
June 25-July 1

Click here to read more about controlling powdery mildew organically winter gardening
Time to start kale, winter cabbage, winter carrots, parsnips and winter beets. Start your brassicas indoors for better germination. Outside, use a light mulch over your seeds to help conserve moisture and aid germination.
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  Jun-18-2000
June 18-24

Click here to read more about controlling powdery mildew organically
If powdery mildew is a problem in your garden, water your plants in the morning to allow the moisture to evaporate off the leaves during the day. High humidity is one of the factors that helps the spread of fungal diseases.
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  Jun-08-2000
June 4-10

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With warm days and cool nights, powdery mildew can soon cause damage to your roses, tomatoes, peas and squash. Control is easy using your own home-made baking soda spray.
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  May-27-2000
May 28 - June 3

Click here to read more about controlling organic pest control
If carrot rust fly is a problem in your garden, spread onion and shallot skins around your carrot seedlings to repel the flies and prevent them from laying their eggs.
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  May-16-2000
May 14-20

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To repel many common insect pests, use members of the allium family such as chives, onions, scallions and garlic as companion plants. Plant whole rows or slip in seedlings wherever you can fit them.
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  May-08-2000
May 7- 13

Click here to read more about controlling lawn grubs
White grubs are the bane of home gardeners trying to maintain a healthy lawn. At this time of the year, they are plentiful and beginning to pupate. Keep your lawn aerated and well-drained to discourage females from laying their eggs.
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  May-03-2000
April 31 - May 6

Click here to read more about growing tomatoes
Begin the process of hardening off your seedlings, especially the tender ones like tomatoes peppers & eggplants. Gradually expose them to outside temperatures, beginning with 4 hours per day and working up by 2 hours until they can spend the whole night outside.
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  Apr-23-2000
April 23-29

Click here to read more about growing tomatoes
As your tomato seedlings grow, you'll need to pot them up into larger containers. As you do this, plant the seedlings deeply, covering the stem until the first set of leaves. This will encourage more roots to grow for a stronger, healthier plant.
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  Apr-10-2000
April 9-15

Click here to read more about attracting pollinators
Before the honey bees come out to pollinate your garden, Orchard Mason Bees are the primary pollinators. You can attract them into your garden by providing places to nest. They'll ensure a good crop of fruit with all your early flowering fruit trees.
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  Apr-06-2000
April 2-8

Click here to read more about attracting ladybugs
Ladybugs will control a variety of pests in your garden, especially aphids. Keep them in your garden by providing nectar plants like dill, parsley & fennel. You'll soon see their bright orange eggs all over your garden.
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  Mar-26-2000
March 26-April 1

Click here to read more about attracting beneficial insects
Attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting angelica, cilantro, dill, fennel, & parsley and allowing them to go to flower.
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  Mar-13-2000
March 12-18

Click here to read more about growing organic potatoes
To get a head start on growing potatoes, allow them to sprout indoors by moving them into a warm place. This process, called chitting, will give you at least a week jumpstart.
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  Mar-01-2000
Februrary 27-March 4

Click here to read more about growing organic potatoes
If you've given up the thought of growing potatoes due to lack of space, think of vertical gardening. Potato stems can be buried to encourage more tuber production. Growing potatoes in barrels is just one way of taking advantage of this phenomenon.
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  Feb-16-2000
Februrary 13-19

Click here to read more about apartment composting
If your outdoor compost pile is under a blanket of snow or you have no room to start a compost pile, don't let your kitchen scraps go to waste. An indoor composter is easy to use and will help you turn your waste into gardener's gold!
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  Jan-27-2000
Jan 26-February 2

Click here to read more about organic sprouting
Sprouters aren't just for growing alfalfa and bean sprouts. You can sprout your garden seed on your sprouting trays to give your seedlings an extra jump. Soak your garden seed for a couple of hours & then place them on the trays. Keep them moist and within a few days, you'll see the root emerging. Plop them in the soil and watch how quickly they emerge!
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  Jan-18-2000
Jan 16-22

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When growing organic sprouts, make sure they are rinsed at least once a day to maintain freshness.
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  Jan-13-2000
Jan 09-015

Click here to read more about growing seedlings indoors
When growing seedlings indoors, use a fan to simulate a natural breeze. Not only will it help increase air circulation, cutting down mould problems, but the fan will help build stronger seedling stems.
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  Jan-03-2000
Jan 02-08

Click here to read more about winter lighting
If your seedlings tend to get leggy, try building your own indoor light system. Supplemental light helps to keep seedling short and healthy.
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  Dec-28-1999
Dec 26-31

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Use the winter months to read-up on how to grow a butterfly garden or a medicinal herb garden. Or, even better, take a class at your local college where you can meet fellow gardeners with common interests.
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  Dec-20-1999
Dec 19-25

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Leaving seedheads in the garden through the winter not only gives interest to the garden landscape but provides a source of food for birds.
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  Dec-13-1999
Dec 12-18

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Forcing paperwhites indoors can sometimes be tricky when leaves become large and floppy. Try planting the bulbs in deep, glass vases so that the leaves are supported as the grow. Otherwise, grow dwarf varieties that won't require the additional support.
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  Dec-08-1999
Dec 5-11

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Bring spring colour indoors! Narcissus bulbs will bloom within 5 weeks and only require pebbles and water!
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  Nov-29-1999
November 28 - December 4

Click here to read more about pumpkin uses
Squash and pumpkin are so delicious in the winter time but actually cutting into them can be a struggle. Heat the whole squash in the microwave for 3-5 minutes to help soften it and make it easier to peel and cut up.
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  Nov-21-1999
November 21-27

Click here to read more about pumpkin uses
Pumpkins are far more versatile than just sources of jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins can be baked, steamed or added to soups. To help them keep longer, wipe down the outsides with 10% bleach solution.
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  Nov-15-1999
November 14-20

Click here to read more about winter vegetables
Frost will actually improve the taste of many winter vegetables. Kale, cabbage, parsnips, and even Brussels sprouts become sweeter after a cold snap.
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  Nov-07-1999
November 7-13

Click here to read more about cabbages & slugs
Wait until the ground freezes before applying a mulch over plants. The mulch will act as an insulator and prevent freeze-thaw cycles over the next few months. In milder areas where the ground doesn't freeze, use mulch as a weed control and apply it around plants (not over them)and in pathways.
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  Nov-07-1999
November 7-13

Click here to read more about cabbages & slugs
Wait until the ground freezes before applying a mulch over plants. The mulch will act as an insulator and prevent freeze-thaw cycles over the next few months. In milder areas where the ground doesn't freeze, use mulch as a weed control and apply it around plants (not over them) and in pathways.
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  Oct-31-1999
October 31-November 6


If slugs are a problem in your area, try this trick in your cabbages. Remove the older, yellowing leaves closest to the soil. Not only will the garden look better, slugs will have a harder time crawling into your cabbages and doing any dammage.
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  Click here to read more about cabbages & slugs
  Oct-17-1999
October 17-23

Click here to read more about elephant garlic
Do not overfertilize garlic or plants will become leafy. Choose a fertilizer with a high middle number (phosphorus) to encourage bulb formation.
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  Sep-23-1999
If your growing season is short, plant elephant garlic for a bumper harvest of mild-tasting cloves. October is the prime month for planting garlic.
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