Bob Tanem In the Garden

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Gardening Recipes

This page is under reconstruction - I am  currently updating the recipes that are available also in print by sending $1 to Bob Tanem 36 Clubview Drive Novato, CA 94949 - When this page is finished there will be more information on it than in the printed version - Edie

Problem: Thrip

Thrip damage can be seen as strips of discoloration on flowers, or silvery leaves on plants like Rhododendron, and English laurel. Look for brown stains on the underside of leaves.

Solution #1 : Purchase blue sticky cards and place every 7 linear feet or square feet throughout infected area. Replace cards when full.

Solution #2 : spray plants with horticultural oil (Sunspray Ultra Fine or Neem Oil) once a week for 3 weeks and watch for any reinfestation. Follow directions on product.

Problem: White Fly

Solution #1: Purchase yellow sticky cards and place in the garden every 7 feet where problem exists. (Whitefly can be detected on the underside of leaves, or when the plant is brushed against, the white fly become airborne.) Using the yellow cards prevents reinfestation.

Solution # 2 : For heavy infestations, spray plant with horticultural oil once a week, until the infestation declines.

Solution #3 : Place 2 lbs of old coffee grounds in one gallon of water. Bring to a boil, cool and run through a coffee filter. Spray on infested plants.

Solution # 4: Plant Sweet alyssum around plants to ward off infestations.

Problem: Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, Rust and Black Spot

Solution #1: Powdery mildew, rust, and black spot. Use three Tbs. horticultural oil per gallon of water; spray weekly as needed. Remove infected leaves.

Solution #2 Powdery mildew and compost tea. (A listener suggested getting an old T-Shirt and tying the compost up in it) Put one pound of compost, worm castings, or seaweed dry extract in one gallon of water. Let stand covered for 48 hours. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or coffee filter. Use the liquid full strength on infected areas. This is especially effective in the fall on squash and other cucurbits.

Problem: Scale and Ants in Citrus and other Ornamental Shrubs

Solution #1: Use ant recipe to get rid of ants. Spray with horticultural oil once a week for 3 weeks. Feed citrus once a month with citrus food all year long. Add rock powder at least 3 times a year. Or spray with VF-11 once a week to keep plants healthy to fight the infestation. Solution #2: Put Tanglefoottm around tree trunk.

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Problem: Earwigs

Normally earwigs cause little damage to plants and they eat other insects. On the other hand when the population grows expediently they do a great deal of damage. The damage expresses itself by holes in the center of a leaf. They can invade ripening fruit in trees. To find out if you have earwigs roll up some wet newspaper and place on the ground where you see the damage. Unroll each morning and if you see them, pour contents into a bucket of soapy water. There is an organic product on the market that contains Spinosad that can be used to control heavy infestations. See Note* at end of list.

 Problem: Deer

The best defense against these large rats with horns is to plant around their tast buds. Purchase Deer Resistant Planting for a guide. (Listed with books on this website) You can purchase a convenient repellant called "Deer Scram". You can also spray a weekly solution of fish emulsion on new growth.

Problem: Slugs and Snails

Solution : Use Sluggotm by Monterey Lawn and Garden. This snail bait is safe for pets and wildlife.

Problem: Ants in the home or landscape

This ant eliminator is simple and very effective: Mix 3 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 4 teas. of boric acid (powder or crystals). Bring to a boil (don't cook), let cool and place in small bottle caps. Don't put where food is present. If you have animals or children that might ingest product put attractand out of reach or under clay pots lifted by toothpicks.

FYI : Unless ants are a problem with insects on plants (they carry aphid and scale into the branches of plants or trees) or in the house, they can be beneficial creating a barrier against fire ants. If Fire ants are a problem  *see Note at end of list.


Problem: Squirrels in the ground and squirrels in the fruit trees

Ground squirrels need special attention, so go to for their solution. Tree Squirrels can be washed away with a stout stream of water and in most instances they will not return. Tanglegoot on the fence and around the trunks of trees can discourage them.

If you find that they have unearthed your bulbs you could try this deterrent to make the bulbs taste bad. Mix ½ oz. Tabasco sauce, 1 pt water, ½ tsp. dish washing liquid, 1 tsp. chili powder. Spray on stems of new buds and on ground after plantingbulbs.

Problem: Moles

Solution #1: Use a product found on the market that contains castor bean oil. Follow directions, water in very well to get this mixture down to where moles tunnel.

For Gophers: Solution #1: Try the mole deterant. Solution #2: Place dry ice in the tunnels. Call for suppliers in your area. Solution #3: Try human male urine poured down the hole. Solution #4: Try human hair down the hole being careful not to disturb the opening.

Problem : Raccoons and Skunks in the Lawn

Also worms in apples, fleas in the yard, termites near the house, onion and carrot maggots, thrip and any other insect that goes through a ground cycle.

Solution : Purchase Beneficial Nematodes and follow directions carefully on the label. Apply at night or when area to be treated is in heavy shade. Also when mixing nematodes for spray or application keep out of sunlight.

Problem: Cats in the Wrong Yard

Solution #1: Rose clippings on ground around area where they are leaving messes. Also bird netting spread over the area can deter them.

Solution #2 : Spray vinegar over area where problem exists. Solution #3 : Squirt bottle, water gun or a strong dousing with the hose.

Problem:Dog Messes

Solution #1 : Hot Thai pepper or black pepper sprinkled on their messes or where they lift their legs deters them from using the area again.

Solution #2 : Female dogs on lawns. Use one cup of vinegar per gallon of water on the area, as close to the incident as possible.

Solution # 3: Try the many dog repellants on the market. Many of them do work.

Problem: Budworm

(Detected when you can see holes in the flowers and flower buds of plants like petunias, nicotiana, pelargoniums, and snapdragons.)

Solution #1 : Cover plants with Gro Covertm or plant and seed cover at night when moths are flying. Remove in the morning. Prevents moths from laying eggs in the flowers.

Solution #2 : Use B.T. (Bacillus thuringiensis) Follow directions on the label.

Problem: Roof Rats

(Unexplained bites found on citrus, tomatoes and other fruit) Solution #1: Repel by using bobcat predator scent. Call for supplier, follow directions.

Solution #2 : Consult an exterminator - Set out rat traps.

Problem : Diabrotica Beetle (and possibly Earwigs)

Solution : Sprinkle white flour on plants when leaves are moist in the morning.