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  • Organic pesticides & fertilizer

    6 posts, 4 voices, 1077 views, started May 15, 2009

    Posted on Friday, May 15, 2009 by Greendiva


    • Amethyst

      Hi, Ladies!

      I’m so excited to find this gardening section. For the first time ever, I am growing an organic windowsill garden in my NYC apartment.  

      I have planted tomatoes (some grown from seed from a cherry tomato we ate a month ago), hot peppers, baby greens and basil. We were given a tiny mint plant by someone on Craigslist, and we bought a chocolate mint plant at a farm in New Jersey last week (it is huge and thriving, as mint does).  

      I have tons of questions, but will start here with my biggest questions:

      1) Can you suggest a homemade organic fertilizer that isn’t made from manure (not so appropriate for a small nyc indoor garden).  

      My plants are planted in a compost/peat combination that is sold for gardening (made locally in Long Island), so I’m hoping there will be tons of nutrients in there, but I know I’ll need more.  

      2) Can you suggest an organic (preferrably homemade) pesticide to keep the bugs away. I probably won’t have alot of the same challenges as an outdoor garden, but I do know that little bugs can go anywhere..even in NYC apartments 4 floors off the ground.  

      I get tons of sun in my apartment, and since we don’t have air conditioning, the apartment will be nice and warm for most of these plants..and they’ll have plenty of fresh air sitting in the windowsills.  

      Also, does anyone have a suggestion for something around the house (an nyc apartment, no garage ;) ) that I can use to stake tomatoes? One of my store bought plants needs to be staked already (2 weeks after I bought it).  

      Thank you so much! I look forward to learning from you all!



        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Tuliplady wrote Jun 14, 2009
        • Hi greendiva,

          I didn’t realize there were any new posts here or I’d have answered your questions ages ago.

          1.  A good fertilizer for potted plants is fish emulsion.  It’s widely available.  Some brands are organic, some are not.

          2.  You shouldn’t have to worry too much about bugs.  If you end up with flying bugs, hang up one of those old fashioned yellow sticky strips that are used for flies.  If you get bugs on the plants, a mixture of water with a little dishsoap sprayed on them takes care of most things.

          Good luck with your garden.  happy

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Tiffany @ Newf Brand wrote Sep 3, 2009
        • Hi!

          I’ve recently been working on making my own garden at home more organic and thought I would share what I’ve learned myself...I know I’m late but I just joined :)

          1. If you want to make an awesome fertilizer yourself and get rid of kitchen scraps at the same time, consider vermicomposting (WORMS). Bins can be put under your kitchen sink or in a spare room and they don’t require that much work. Or if you happen to know someone with rabbits, that also makes incredible fertilizer but doesn’t smell like other manures.

          2. You can give neem oil a try to repel all sorts of bugs. Just mix 1-2 tablespoons of neem oil, 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil and 1 gallon of water together in a big sprayer. I guess for your case, cutting this recipe in half or into fourths might be more practical. Spray your plants with the mixture and it will repel most unwanted bugs. You’ll need to reapply it about once a week and after it rains to ensure everything stays at bay.

          Hope your garden is thriving!


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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Greendiva wrote Sep 3, 2009
        • Tiffany, thank you so much for your comments.  

          I was very interested in vermicomposting, but have decided it is not for a/c in an nyc apartment in the summer = stressed worms and odors and more flies. Will have to find someone with a bunny (hard to find in nyc).  

          Will try to find neem oil and try this. No worries about after it rains, since I am indoor gardening :).  

          Thank you for your input... I appreciate all comments, no matter what time of year it is... we can always learn something new :)

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Tiffany @ Newf Brand wrote Sep 3, 2009
        • Hi again greendiva!

          Actually we did vermicomposting here in Germany and we also don’t have a/c. The worms and composting scraps should be completely covered with damp, shredded newspaper or cardboard and that should keep the flies away (the fruit flies especially like the stuff in the compost). The fresh stuff goes down toward the bottom of the bin and only newspaper and worm droppings should be at the top level - which flies never bothered.  

          We had our worm bin just outside our kitchen door in a mud room area, on top of a little refrigerator. Unfortunately we had temps around -0.4F for over a week here and the little guys didn’t make it. But we are hoping to get them started again soon because all of our plants just adored the compost.  

          Most people put some sort of lid on the box also to keep worms from accidentally freeing themselves. We just used a large plastic bag at the time. It was a very improvised, trial set up.  

          I’m sure there are lots of people talking about it in blogs and elsewhere online...even people living in cities. I don’t have a premium membership or I would gladly go track some down and post them here...but I fear all the links will be blocked.  

          Looking forward to learning more from everyone...and if you‘re ever in need of an organic fungicide, try a tablespoon of baking soda, 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap and 1 gallon of water. Add it to a large sprayer (or scale it back) and be sure to keep shaking it from time to time while you spray to keep everything mixed.  

          All the best!

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Greendiva wrote Sep 3, 2009
        • Tiffany, thank you for all of your feedback. It is most appreciated!

          Compost is wonderful stuff for plants. My plants love it too, but believe it or not, it attracts roaches and fruit flies in my NYC apartment (i’ve dealt with it, but just barely).  

          I’ve talked to quite a few people that compost and most say you really need a space that it is outdoors to do it. Even the woman at the composting booth at the green market told me she had to give up hers because it just isn’t for small nyc apartments :(. (it’s too bad, because it had really interested me, and I always try to be as green as possible... but I have huge issues with bugs. Just freak out about them in my home.)  

          Oh hey, that reminds me... my mom needs a pet-friendly way to get rid of spiders... any suggestions? They have gotten into her bathroom and are eating her alive (the little tiny ones).  


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