Monthly Archives: June 2012

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies and Worm Composting

Getting rid of fruit flies is a common problem associated with worm composting. Personally I haven’t had any problems with fruit flies in my worm bins. I always bury my food scraps with lots of bedding and so far that seems to work well.

But I have definitely had problems with fruit flies gathering around my fermenting water kefir or ripening bananas on the counters in the kitchen.  And they multiply like crazy making the problem worse very quickly!

We have tried several ways to get rid of fruit flies. We tried making home made traps with vinegar in a jar, covered with saran wrap with a few holes in it. This certainly attracted the fruit flies and we had some that drowned in the vinegar. But then a lot of them were very good at getting out of the holes when they were finished. This was very frustrating watching them exiting our good homemade fruit fly trap!

Then we used sticky fly paper for a while. This was great when the fruit flies decided to land on it but they didn’t do that so often and sometimes I ended up waving the fly paper in their direction trying to make contact with them so they would stick to it.

Fruit Fly Traps from Gardeners.com Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Our best results were when we tried Fruit Fly Traps from Gardeners Supply.  They work by luring fruit flies into the traps using an all natural, non toxic, weak vinegar solution. Just don’t turn the trap upside down or some will leak out!

About 2 years ago we bought some of these fruit fly traps and they worked great.  In a very short time, our fruit fly population was decimated and they didn’t return.  We just placed one of these traps next to our fruit bowl and the water kefir and they did the trick!  Then we replaced it every 30 days during the summer months and we had no more fruit fly problem.  They also sell pretty ceramic boxes to put the trap in but we just used it plain and it worked fine.

Plant Flowers or Vegetables–Try it!–It’s Fun!

Plant Flowers in the Garden

Plant flowers–it is a great activity!  We were out of town this week at some friends and I was asked to help them start a flower garden.  They have beautiful landscaping and mulched beds done by a landscaping company but no flowers.  So we went to a gardening store and chose bedding plants.  My friend wanted to plant annuals as opposed to perennials (which come back every year).  Then she could experiment without having to suffer the consequences if she didn’t like the plants.  Annuals last for one year and that is it whereas the perennials would come back year after year.

We had a crazy good time.  All the kids and adults were digging holes for the flowers.  We bought a bag of compost and manure and added it to all the holes.  It was all wrapped up in a comment by the 4 year old as she ran back and forth getting water to water the new plants.  “This is so much fun.  I love planting!”  Other benefits include:

  • good exercise
  • family event
  • outdoor activity breathing in fresh air
  • playing in the dirt increases serotonin levels
  • feeling of competence for kids and adults
  • ongoing benefits as the flowers bloom or vegetables ripen
  • feeling of self-sufficiency as you grow some herbs or food

There are so many possibilities for gardening.  It is only the middle of June so there are still lots of opportunites:

  • container gardens or in the dirt
  • buy bedding plants or plant seeds
  • plant herbs, vegetables or flowers or any combination

Plant Flowers or Vegetables or Both

If gardening seems overwhelming then start off small.  You could just buy 2 tomato plants or two pepper plants–whatever your favorite vegetables are.  Or just buy some marigolds or zinnias.  They are nice and easy without too many problems.  Or maybe plant some basil in a container.  Just try it–it is lots of fun and very rewarding!  Look for lots of advice on this site by using the search box in the right hand column or click on the Old Farmer’s Almanac.  You can order seeds from Burpee by clicking on the link below or go to Wal-Mart or Home Depot.

Burpee.com - Tomato HP Logo

 

How to Grow Peas

How to Grow PeasHow to Grow Peas

There are several things to know about how to grow peas. Of course I have only tried the Sugar Snap variety which is an edible pod pea.  I have just been picking sugar snap peas for the last half hour.  I filled up 2 bowls.  As you can see from the picture I have a nice crop of sugar snaps.  They have grown over 6 feet tall.  Here is more information on planting sugar snap peas.

Sugar Snap Peas Need to be Supported

One thing to know about sugar snaps is that they need to be supported.  I have found an unusual solution for supporting my plants.  I grow them in tomato cages.  I use Texas tomato cages which I love.  They come in sections so you can add height as you need it.  I just keep adding sections as the peas grow.  There are 2 three foot sections and then an extra 2 foot section.  They all fold so they are easy to store.  I plant the seeds around the outside and inside edges of the tomato cage.  This method works very well and is a great tip on how to grow peas.

Next Planting Time for Sugar Snaps is the Fall

Now that we are almost into the summer, it is too late to plant these peas.  They like the cool weather so the next time to plant will be in August for a fall crop.  Some plants like the hot weather like tomato, pepper and eggplant and some plants like lettuce, peas, and cabbage do best when it is cooler outside.  Sugar Snap peas can survive some light frosts which extends their growing season into the fall.

Peas Fix Nitrogen into the Soil

An added advantage to growing peas is that they have the ability to take nitrogen from the air and transfer it into the soil.  So they enhance the soil where they grow.  This is a great plus for the plants that are planted after the peas die in early summer.