A little compost goes a long way in the garden, so only use half to one inch to a bed in a year. You can supplement a fall or spring compost application with regular applications of blood meal, a 6-0-0 nitrogen fertilizer.
At a conference I attended recently, I heard about an interesting technique in vegetable production. It was called farmscaping, and it’s actually an old idea lost or forgotten, due to the convenience of pesticide applications.
Farmscaping consists of not harvesting and pulling out every plant once spent. Instead, let a few plants bolt or flower that you normally wouldn’t — like dill, fennel, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower or mustards. When allowed to flower, these plants serve as a nectar source for pollinators and attract predators and parasitoids to the garden.
In addition, you can add food sources in and around the vegetable garden to entice pollinators and parasitic wasps to visit yearround. This is best done by using plants such as yarrow, bachelors button, tansy, goldenrod, sedum “Autumn Joy,” comfrey, Queen Anne’s Lace and umbels like dill and fennel.
By incorporating a beneficial insect food source each season, you may see a dramatic difference in pest numbers. For more information on farmscaping and biological control, visit drmcbug.com.
If you have additional questions about diseases in the lawn or garden, call on a Cleveland County Master Gardener at 321-4774 or ccmastergardener@yahoo.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or status as a veteran and is an equal opportunity employer.
Tracey Payton Miller is Cleveland County’s horticulture extension educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension.