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local dirt Vinegar in the garden I


n spite of common perception, vinegar is not an effective herbi- cide.


Vinegar will indeed burn the herba-


ceous parts of plants but won’t kill the roots. This is as true of the 20 per cent acetic acid vinegars sold as herbicides as it is of the five per cent kitchen vari- ety.


Create a vinegar trap Take a 2-litre soda bottle and add


the chopped up peel of one banana to one cup of sugar, one cup water and one cup of apple cider. Shake well then hang in a tree to catch flying insects or lay it on the ground to get the crawlers. Get tough-shelled seeds started. Woody seeds, such as moonflower,


passionflower, morning glory and gourds can be nicked or rubbed with sandpaper, then left overnight in a solution of two cups cider vinegar and two cups warm water. Rinse before planting the next morning. Ant hills


Spray a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar around and onto an


Special thank you I


forgot to extend a special thank you to our gardening friend, Janet Jackson, who gave us the wonder-


ful idea to make concrete mushrooms for our “Gardening with Kids” project last issue. Janet, a long-time friend of Manitoba Gardener, was teaching tradeshow attendees how to make these mushrooms for their home when I ran into her. She was enthusiastic about her creations and welcomed me to share the idea in the magazine. I can’t believe I forgot to say thank-you, so thank you Janet! Tania


Huh?


The domestication of bananas has produced plants that are sweet and tasty, but seedless. Most banana plants have not had sex for 10,000 years! They have been propagated by hand, from a sucker of an exist- ing plant, whose genetic material has not changed in 100 centuries. As a result, bananas are suscepti- ble to disease.


6 • Summer 2016


anthill. They dislike the smell of vine- gar and will move out. If you’re having a picnic, spray the area to keep them away.


Cut flowers Add two tablespoons of apple cider


vinegar along with two tablespoons of sugar to the vase water for cut flow- ers. The vinegar will sterilize the water and the sugar will stimulate the flow- ers. Change the water and renew the mixture every few days.


Rabbits Soak used corncobs with vinegar


and leave them around the veggie patch. Renew every couple of weeks to discourage rabbits. Vinegar will also send cats packing. Fungus


Three tablespoons of apple cider


vinegar to one gallon water sprayed on black spot or other fungal disease wlll stop its growth. It will not reverse any current damage.


Busting common garden myths about tomatoes


Myth: Sugar in the planting hole makes tomatoes sweeter. Busted! Sorry Grandma, this is not


true. Tomato plants can't absorb sugar in the soil, they produce it through photo- synthesis. The sugar content of a variety is predetermined in the plant's genetics. Myth: Add chalk or egg shells to the planting hole to prevent black rot on tomatoes. Busted! Again, a good tip, since


they provide calcium to the fruit (since egg shells take a while to decompose, crush or grind the shells to enable them to dissolve faster). The problem is the amount you need to add and the time they take to break down. Better: Use Seamagic instead, it


breaks down faster. But soil composition is usually the problem behind black rot. Black rot occurs because of a “blockage” in root absorption; the best fix is even and frequent watering. Myth: Planting tomatoes in a trench or up to the first true leaves promotes a sturdier plant.


Not Busted! This is true for seed


propagated heirlooms and hybrids. This one is still true for seed propagated heir- looms and hybrids. Planting deeply does help elongate the rooting area since any point on the stem that comes into contact with the soil will root. Busted! This is not true for grafted


tomatoes (plants and/or supplies for grafting are available by mail order) because if the scion takes root it will negate the benefits of the grafted root- stock so never plant a grafted tomato too deeply.


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