How To Rid Your Garden of the Japanese Beetle

If you are a gardener, you should be familiar with the Japanese Beetle. Following are ideas on how to rid your garden of these pesky beetles by using eco-friendly, chemical free strategies.

These beetles originate from the island of Japan, which bears their name. They found their way to the United States early in this century by latching themselves onto plant roots from Japan. Now that they are settled in the United States, Japanese Beetles create havoc in gardens as they remain unchecked from natural predators. They do not discriminate with the types of plants they will disseminate. In our garden, Japanese Beetles favor our roses and okra blossoms. They devour the entire leaf or blossom, leaving little behind.

Insecticide or Neem Oil is known to work in ridding garden from these beetles. However, both solutions can cause harm to the environment. Chemical dusts and sprays are highly toxic to honey bees. Neem Oil is harmful to fish and should only be applied to plants after a rain.

Following are three environmentally-friendly ways to eliminate Japanese Beetles and keep them from devouring your garden.
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Lavendar and Yarrow; It’s Uses and Benefits

The Ranchettes have been busy harvesting both lavender and yarrow at our farm. We mostly use lavender and yarrow for decorative purposes. However, both lavender and yarrow have an enormous amount of medicinal and culinary benefits.

Lavender is Lavandula in Latin. It grows in temperate climates around the world. While it is used as an ornamental plant for gardens and it’s extracted oils are used commercially, it is also used in food and medicinally. Lavender has been known to alleviate anxiety and restlessness.
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The Business of Bees

Bee keeping is now a family occupation. The saga began when my friend, Lizz, gifted us, the Ranchettes, a bee hive, bee equipment, and the book “Beekeeping for Dummies.”  At first, we were quite excited, thinking “How complicated can beekeeping be?” But, then we started reading the manual “Beekeeping for Dummies.” We soon realized that if “Beekeeping for Dummies” was trying to simplify bee keeping, it was a whole lot more complicated than we originally thought. We eventually passed the bee hives and equipment onto our brother, whose wife and four children now successfully maintain four healthy bee hives.

Here are a few pointers on keeping bees, which we have learned through my brothers’ family’s endeavors.
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Forest Ferns


On the Ranchette’s daily walks, we take great delight in the ferns that decorate the forest paths. This spring, which has been unusually wet and cool, we have noted that our local fern foilage seems to be growing fast and furiously.  Ferns have been popping up every where on the forest floor. We have found that there are many types and varieties of ferns, numbering at least seven different species in our local woods. Upon further research, we found that there are over 10,000 species of ferns in the world.
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Simplicity; Eco-Friendly Sustainable Decorations

For years, we have made an annual trip to Colonial Williamsburg to admire hand-made decorations displayed throughout the town. Many of these decorations are created self-sustainably and with natural elements.  These ornaments surpass any plastic, store-bought ornaments a person can buy in a store. In addition, they are free, gathered from from the forests floors, seashores, and gardens. To create natural ornaments only require a little bit of creativity and elbow grease.
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The Lonely Sweet Potato Trail

The Ranchettes recently harvested these sweet potatoes. Our sweet potatoes grew to mega-sizes thanks to the plentiful horse manure that Dixie and Faah supplied to our garden soil. Above is a picture “our lonely sweet potato trail harvest.”

Naomi, who harvested these potatoes, found this wiki How website which provides instructions on how to preserve sweet potatoes. Here are three simple steps on how you can preserve sweet potatoes. Continue reading “The Lonely Sweet Potato Trail”

Four Simple Steps; Preserving Herbs

At the Ranchettes farm, we have herbs flourishing in all corners of the yard. We grow Basil, Sage, French Taragon, Chives, Oregano, Dill, Cilantro, Rosemary, and Mint and use these herbs as a source of fresh culinary seasoning. Try fresh rosemary with roasted potatoes or fresh cilantro on spicy chicken soup! Delicious.

It can tend to be frustrating when these herbs go to flower or to seed and take over the garden. Consequently, we preserve and dry these herbs with the simple use of hot attic. Following are four simple steps we implemented to preserve our flowering dill, cilantro and mint. Continue reading “Four Simple Steps; Preserving Herbs”

Moonshine Yarrow

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One of the Ranchette’s favorite flowers to plant and dry is moonshine yarrow (Latin name is Achillea). We have experimented growing many types of flowers in the many years we have lived in Virginia. Through many trial runs, we have found that yarrow grows well in Virginia soil. But, most importantly, the foraging deer in our area do not seem to eat it. Supposedly, they do not find yarrow appetizing due to it’s strong odor. Continue reading “Moonshine Yarrow”

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