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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Iron Man

The Iron Man Triathlon is an amazing competition where athletes train for endless hours to combat the forces of the environment, test human endurance, and compare athletic ability.
This three part race consists of swimming, biking and running, where the competitors race to finish all three events with the fastest time.

Now admitting that I have never participated in a true Iron man competition, takes nothing away from the fact that I too have been training for years. For the Iron Gardeners Triathlon.
It is not a widely known race, but it is also a three part event.
Weeding, bug elimination and disease control.
And this summer 2011, promises to be, the greatest race ever.

Each morning I arise with the expectation, that this will be the day that all of my hand pulling ,concoction making, bug catching skills will beat the foes of nature.

I will be victorious and be awarded the Iron Gardener award!

But, while I sleep the bugs have not only mated but hatched, the purslane and snake grass have slithered into recently weeded areas and the powdery mildew and Black Spot have bloomed with lightening speed.

                                                          Mandevilla has the Chicken pox

                                     Japanese Beetle (and some leaf spot disease, probably black spot)
                                                                   at the all you can eat buffet,
                       The Beetles are hand picked and plant is sprayed with Neem or a baking soda solution.
                                                              Powdery Mildew on Lilac just starting

                      Purslane and crabgrass compete for ground, all weeds are hand pulled in the garden
                  Two questions : If Purslane is so good for you, why aren't the rabbits eating it? and
                                                         Don't my weeds look healthy?

    Weeds are carted away by the wheelbarrow full- This shade garden has been weeded 4 times this summer!

                         Someone should tell this Imported Cabbageworm butterfly,(larva does the damage)
                                                                      that this isn't cabbage!
                A certain amount of damage is tolerated but will be sprayed with Neem if it gets out of hand.

With diligent observing every day in the garden most problems do not get out of hand.
As you can tell, Neem is my weapon of choice.

Neem ( also known as azadirachtin) is an insecticide extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. It is closely related to the Chinaberry tree.
It acts as a broad spectrum repellant, growth regulator,and insect poison.
Neem is almost nontoxic to mammals and is biodegradable.
Since neem has to be ingested for it to be toxic, its effect on spiders, Honeybees and other beneficial creatures is usually minimal.
Recent research indicates that neem can help prevent and  stop plant diseases such as powdery mildew and rust.
Commercial products: Bioneem/Neemisis and Neem-away.

*Neem information taken from  The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control.

News just in from Cornell University Cooperative Extension program that Long Island is experiencing the worst Blight epidemic in United States History.
Isn't it awful that i'm glad I didn't grow tomatoes or potatoes this year?
Shame on me.

So besides a good hand cultivator and a few bottles of Neem, all I need are cast iron hinges installed in my back and I'll be well on my way to winning this Iron Gardeners race.


  1. Cute post! I would not be a winner in the iron gardeners race, either. I wonder about purslane. I have some that I'm letting go this year. Do you think it will only stay where I want it? :)

  2. Ummm.. maybe if you ask it nicely, and don't turn your back for a minute,,,lol. One year
    I was actually able to trade my Purslane with a woman I met at a local Tea shop! She gave me a gourmet green tea I liked and I gave her shopping bags of fat healthy organic weeds! (Purslane).
    She like to eat it raw and she said I had the nicest Purslane she had ever seen!
    Go figure!

  3. What a gorgeous flower bed!!! Garden!! I was born and raised on LI, moved 4 years ago to the south....

  4. Hi GiGi,
    Thank you for your kind compliment!

    Do you miss Long Island?


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