Tropical South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Bugs Are Not All Bad

Learn what you can about the various bugs you see, the damage they do or do not do, and their life cycles. Then you can control the harmful ones. Finding that first pesky hornworm and stomping on him works best, even if you hate to do it.

Be Ready for Battle

Carry a rag in your pocket when you're out working and you can rub out a bunch of baby grasshoppers or tent caterpillars if you come across them. One lady I know keeps a pair of tongs handy and clips onto any larger grasshopper she see, then snips it in half with her pruners.

Make Your Own Safe Sprays

Put one or two hot peppers in the blender with water, blend, and then strain and spray for the munching insects. Pepper juice is about as dangerous as I want to handle. Be careful not to touch your eyes or face, and wash your hands as soon as you finish.

Plant Disease-Resistant Roses

If you grow roses to show, you will probably want to spray constantly for perfection, but if you grow them for the joy of it, planting antique roses or some of the ones like Belinda\'s Dream and Don Juan that are very disease resistant will free you from spraying at all.

Make the Most of the Rainy Weather

Plant or transplant those bananas, shrubs, or annuals now that the rains will do most of the watering. Most of us have a list of such chores we've been postponing during the dry times. Take cuttings of any plants you want to multiply for your own garden or for your friends. With the added humidity, they will root more quickly and surely than at any other time. I could hardly believe it that first summer I was here and saw coleus root in a week.

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