Question: How do I keep the earwigs out of my peppers using organic methods? Every single one of my peppers this year has an earwig hole.
Answer: Earwigs love shady, moist areas and will often hide under plants or in mulch in the garden. Generally they eat the organic matter on the soil surface, but if there are enough of them, earwigs will feed on plants such as your peppers. To reduce the number of earwigs in your garden next year, consider growing peppers in raised beds, and spacing the plants further apart. This will create fewer hiding places for these creatures. You can also make a safe bait by rolling up damp newspaper and placing it in the garden where the earwigs are present. They will be attracted to hide in the newspaper at night, and in the morning you can safely remove the paper--with the earwigs hiding inside--without ever having to touch them.
Question: I'm starting to sell herbs at the local farmer's market. What is the right way to grow and harvest dill for the leaves and for seed?
Answer: Dill grows best in full sun on well-drained soil. It doesn't transplant easily so sow seeds after danger of frost has passed, and continue sowing every few weeks until midsummer to have dill maturing throughout the summer and fall. When seedlings are two inches tall, thin to 10 inches apart in the row. Keep well watered and weeded.
For the best flavor, harvest dill just before the umbrella-like flower clusters open. Only harvest as much as you'll need that day, since dill loses its flavor quickly. For seeds, cut the flower stalks before the seeds ripen and turn a tan color. Place a paper bag with a few holes poked for air circulation, over the seed heads. Hang the stalks upside down in a warm, well-ventilated room out of direct sunlight. As the seeds ripen, they will drop into the bag.