Poison Ivy, Can’t Touch It?

Start Looking Now In The Early Stages, Easy Kill

Over the past several days it seems, I have been asked what to kill this vine with. Yes, it’s beautiful Fall foliage is striking, in the tops of trees, but does it belong in the Gardeners Landscape? Is there a reason it survives? Recently, I have been in on some conversations about how to kill it. Bad thing is, it will grow anywhere, any soil, high or low Ph in most cases. So how do we control or kill it?

First good way, is to watch Lilacs, as the blooms emerge, so does Poison Ivy. That’s when to really try to eliminate it, as it starts to leaf out. If are persistent in removal of the “Tru Leaves”, you can starve it out, just by removal of them, but takes a while, that root is a mile long, right? Those first leaves aren’t pulling from the ground yet, they are needing Sunlight to perform Photosynthesis to feed the root. So removal, will starve the root…. UGH!!

So many folks are highly allergic these days, can’t even look at it. So how can it be eradicated without harm to them? Some garden beds, it just shows up, from nowhere, from seed from your Avian friends. So Mathilda, here’s your removal remedies.

First way to try, would be with a chemical. But the vile vine is in your Rose Garden. Can’t actually spray, and most likely, don’t want to. Never use Round-Up, that chem has Diquat and Glyphosate. Diquat is a defoliant, and this vine, IF the chem works, alerts it that something is attacking it from topside, and it will detach from the root, before the Glyphosate can reach the root bed to do the actual kill, to save itself. Glyphosate takes 7 days to kill grass, imagine how long to kill a vast root system. See? Get it? But most likely, most won’t be affected, because of the oily leaf coating, it won’t stick to it to make a dent….. No Surfactant.

Second, Organically. Yes there are thoughts of Vinegar, Bleach, FIRE!!! And other Kitchen things. But breaking down to what ratio, and how the plant actually lives, and protects itself, is the key. There are 3 ways, with any concoction, or chem to kill. A couple, you do have to “disturb” it, not actually handle it.  So pick your poison (pun intended} on how safe you feel.

Wicking, the application of a chemical to each leaf, using a cotton swab, rag on a stick, whatever, carefully not getting on wanted plant life.

Spraying, but only if the plant is not within the combined area of desired plantings. (Same concoction as below, but remember as a foliar spray, “if its green, it’s dead”)

Siphoning, (Systemic Induction) this may be you Mathilda, which only requires you to cut it, and put in a can with a chemical, and allow it to suck it down to the root bed. Actually, if you use one of those long pick up grabber things, you can work about it in a safe distance.

Your Non $$ chem can be as simple as one gallon White Vinegar, one cup Epsom Salt, and two TBS of Dawn Dish Detergent. Got your Bean Cans and rocks? OK, lets go. Mix your grog, and pour in can to about 2/3 full, not 1/3 empty, but 2/3 full make sure, 2/3 full, and under no circumstances, should it be 1/3 empty (MP Royal Hand-grenade?) Next, using your mile long grabber, pull a piece of the new tender growth vine until it rips off, and put the end of the still rooted intact vine in the can, put in a rock to hold it in, but don’t wedge it in, you will pinch the “straw”, and it usually will siphon it out within a day or two this time of year. Don’t forget to bag the piece you ripped off and toss in garbage. There, ya did it, but try to do several places around the base of the plant. If it’s winding around a desirable plant, won’t hurt it, it’s IN the vine. Soak your grabber thing in same solution or straight Dawn and rinse to sterilize.

Takes a bit of doing, but keep following up for a month or so after you see it dying off. As you see new leafs shooting up from time to time, simply snip, yank, shoot, whatever, them off. The plant is trying to do the last ditch effort, send out leafs to get Photosynthesis to occur to save itself. The more it loses those leaves, it dies a bit more each day.

Vinegar, lowers the Ph below it’s feeding capabilities, does burn anything, the Epsom Salts, Magnesium, supercharges plants to intake all that’s available (vinegar). Dawn Dish Detergent, animal fat, your surfactant, either in a foliar spray, adheres to slick leaves, or keeps the inner woody stems open to induce the vinegar.

Diquat, a defoliant, most vines and tuber/rhizome plants will disconnect when trouble above is occurring. Glyphosate is an axcellerant in cellular growth in a plant (and as Humans, we are plant like make up) and makes the plant grow so fast the cells rupture, making it look burned, in other words, gives the plant cancer. Takes 7 days to get to the root, so if the plant detaches in a day or two, no kill. So in actual fact, straight Glyphosate is better than Round Up.



That Solarize Thing

So how did your Solarized bed do? Mine fried like I wanted it to. If you missed the Frost last week, I believe you will have another chance on April 3rd on the Eastern Seaboard, just watch your weather, and remember when the weatherman says, “Cover your tenders” then uncover your Solarized bed.

Uncovered the evening before Frost

Uncovered the evening before Frost


Next afternoon after Frost

Next afternoon after Frost. And will Continue to die off.


Tomato Complexity

When Did It Get So Hard..

…just to grow a Tomato? Most of the time in your life, you wanted either just a nice slicer, or a bushel of canning Tomatoes, and we knew what to grow. Hybrid vs Heirloom, Indeterminate vs Determinate, was about all there was. Bit since the long adjusted hybridizing of this great Summer treat, now there are letters on the tags with some secret code.

So, I have the breakdown of the letter codes here for you.

V – Verticillium Wilt
F – Fusarium Wilt
FF – Fusarium, Races 1 & 2
N – Nematodes
T – Tobacco Mosaic Virus
A – Alternaria Stem Canker
St – Stemphylium Gray Leaf Spot

Normally, I wouldn’t care about these codes, I pick what variety I want, and plant, but I have already gardened my soil, and know what to look out for during the growing seasons, issues. But I have had several asking about these mysterious letters, so here they are.

Somewhere in my life I have read a few articles about the chemical processes in any one Tomato plant, it’s like 428 at any given time, and if one, or a combination of a select few, are interrupted, the plant starts over, for example, Blossom End Rot. I know it’s been too wet, a couple of yellow leaves at the bottom in late April, and I add 1/3 cup of whole milk to the root base, one time. Calcium has dropped out, the plant is confused, so this believe it or not, corrects it. Old school…. So I guess the lettered codes have some meaning to folks that had plants die last year, from one or more of these diseases, and they will pick from the codes? But, in most cases, the disease is still in the soil, and the “Hybrid” plant will process the disease, in one part? Hybrid is 2 or more plants crossed into one? So will it happen?

I just want a Tomato.

What Do You Grow In?

Grow on That Balcony

No Sense Listening To That Box Store Jockey

You wanna grow? Anything? On that 4×11 Balcony? Free food, great greenery? How about you Townhomies? Patio and then a long narrow strip?

I got you, been growing in small spaces for years. There are so many ways to grow food, have that sweet garden surrounding you, just outside those patio doors.

…and, cheap… Lots of “things” about, that are in the “go away” part of life. We can do it. Up-cycle those things.


or… email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com

Ideas you never imagined. This is the time of year we connect greatly at your Community Center. Just get the neighbors, get a time, we’ll get dirty together. Some complexes actually have competitions, others grow in sun, as the others grow in shade, and the community, trades, as the season progresses.

Think about it, get that co-op together, I’ll show you too.

El Nino and Wrong Season Blooms

Out of Season Blooms and Winter Storm Jonas

Several of our landscape Spring Bloomers were popping out mostly on the upper SW sides of the trees, not to mention, bulbs, Hydrangeas, Forsythia, and the list goes on, depending on your exposure.
So what can we expect in the coming season, especially with this past weeks big snow? It’s kinda simple really. Those “pre-bloomers”, were just showing off. We’ve had a lot of rain, which leached the nutrients down past most root beds. So, putting the plant in a “distress” situation, it needed to partially leaf, for Photosynthesis, then bloom… They will recover, because they need to leaf, bloom, produce, in the coming, “Right” season.

Keep in mind, snow is loaded with Nitrogen, as well as a thermal, slow irrigating, part of gardening. Worst part about it really, is going to be an abundance of Dandelions. See, they have a deep taproot, that brings Nitrogen from the deeps, back to the top of your soil beds. It’s their job, even if the seeds were dormant, for up to 7 years!!! Clover on the other hand, may be actually less, because that “plant” corrects the lack of Nitrogen in the soil. Well, I think we got plenty from Jonas. Weeds can tell you a lot about soil conditions. For a great PDF chart, this may help make sense, before you spray!!
Spring Blooming live goods will be OK, maybe even more prolific than normal, depending on the coming “La Nina”, which usually follows a powerful “El Nino” like we are experiencing now. Warm Wet Baby with a coming Cool Dry Baby, may impact some of the “self pollinizing” plants and trees, but still, may also have you picking way more than you think. It’s a Ma Nature Timing thing. Remember last year, “Polar Vortex” we had some trees actually rupturing at the base in mid March, due to the fact, they were coming into season, pulling up moisture, budding, and then some minus 0 wind chills, made the lower trunks freeze, and explode. Same with Japonica Camellias and a few early blooming Rhodo’s and big buds rupturing. So be happy, your “early-out-of-season-bloomers”, did so, proving they are also anxious to perform this year.

Just make sure you are still keeping up your Winter chores, as well as documenting it in your Garden Journals, at least with digital pics with a time date stamp accurately showing the “mis-fire”. If some new shoots got burned with the Winter temps, prune as you would normally during the “right” season, to make them come on again. Remember, “They have to”… They just do.

Community Gardening

What’s in Your Food?

10402845_10203951685935305_6841474191350039476_n Made You a Salad… Typical Saturday Purchase at a Box Store, From the AD!!

Seems the trend these days, when buying produce, is Eating Healthy. But suppose for a minute, you actually know, what’s in your store bought packaged soil???Or do you want to know? Or, do you care, as long as the label states, It’s Organic? (By Federal Law, anything labeled Organic, only has to meet 85% organic, and the other 15%, they don’t have to divulge)From my findings on just Hay Field Crops alone, with the induction of 2-4D and Glyphosate, and Cow and Horse manure having these chemicals in them for up to 4 years after being eliminated by the animal and folks re-using the composted manure, then, crops failing, well, I love helping these Community Gardeners get going without the “free stuff”.Most folks, even the Balcony Gardeners, have a sense of what they are gardening with. But the Community Gardeners, have several “guests” in their plot. There should be a Community Rule, of NO Chemicals Here set up…. OR, be managed by a Personal Garden Coach who could monitor, educate, and help find sources of conditioners, compost, and other avenues of “pureness” in that community plot.Some of these plots, are steadfastly overseen by the elders, who won’t tolerate Box Store Ads or advice. They will tell you, “They just don’t make sense”. After all, they didn’t have those bagged, boxed, bottled goods when they were young, and they ate good!!Over the years, I have seen some flourish, get row by row, bigger by the year, and then others, fail and quit. Some, make a profit, selling off surplus to restaurants, others, donating to local Homeless Shelters. Whatever you do, DON’T QUIT!!One of the best reasons in Community Gardening, is the companionship developed in the age brackets. Some of the best Saturday mornings are spent weeding, picking, pinching back, watering, and then delivering fresh produce either via shopping cart, bike with a basket, and yes, even a golf cart. The lawn chairs are left for others, to come work as their time permits, as picked produce, are left in bags for them as well.I could go on, but remember, “Community Gardening” does not stop in the plot.. There are other venues, such as a Veterans Center, Hospice Ward, Retirement Home, Courtyard in an Apartment Complex, or just your own Cul-de-sac neighborhood. What are those useless center plots for anyway?Think about it. Find it. Organize it. It’s time to really find that spot to eat healthy and, well, mostly free!!

Sign up for more Gardening News and Insights and in the Richmond Va area, if you need help, it’s time to get your indoor seed starting gear together. I have special rates to get you going, the cheap way and successfully growing. Simply email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com