A Perfect Paring: Cannabis and IPM
September 2, 2020:Current cannabis growing norms are ideal for practicing Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Whether they are motivated by the desire to grow healthy, clean plants, or purely by regulatory constraints, the end result is the need to minimize impacts on people and the environment. IPM begins with getting your soil or soil medium right and moves on to pest prediction, trapping and monitoring; using cultural, biological and (carefully vetted) chemical controls and, throughout it all, conscientious observation and record-keeping to plan for the future (for more on all this see our IPM page here). All of which works perfectly for a well-run grow. Read More >>
10 Super Succulents and Cool Cacti
Aug 13, 2020:As part of the Plant Parenting craze that has surfaced in the last few years, succulents have seen a rise in popularity that is more of a tsunami than a surge. As a person who lives in and loves the Sonoran Desert, it pleases me to know that cacti and succulents are getting the appreciation and respect they deserve. On the other hand, as with many things that suddenly become popular, their very popularity can be devastating to them. Desert habitats may seem tough and durable (and in many ways they are), but they are also finely balanced and the flora that thrives in them can be quite delicate. They can be damaged irreparably by the smallest amount of foot traffic, not to mention rampant and/or random harvesting. Here are two excellent articles on the effects of the succulent/cactus trade: This one explains how all cacti are endangered and this one lists the succulents that are almost gone already. There are several plants on the following list that are endangered and/or rare. If you are interested in them or are actively collecting any cacti or succulents, always order from a reputable dealer and never purchase from unknown sources online or attempt to collect them yourself. Read More >>
10 Great Plants That Need A Good Home
July 30, 2020: If you are deep in the throes of Plant Parenting (or just a Plant Lover), you are probably always looking for a new plant to add to your collection. I would like to suggest the following 10 candidates. These plants aren't wildly new; in fact, you've probably seen most of them before. But give them a second look anyway - even the smallest, scrawniest brown dog in the pound has untold stories to share with you.
These are not in any particular order and I have thrown in a mix of types to (hopefully) offer something for everyone. Additionally, they are all fairly-easy to very-easy to grow, for those people whose eyes are bigger than their nurturing skills. With the exception of the Fiber Optic Grass, this selection consists of tropical plants and several of them are toxic to a degree. While that should not necessarily disqualify them, it is something to consider for many people. I have also included links to more information on caring for them, so you can get the low-down quickly.Read More >>
Oils for Pest Control – Essential, Botanical, Whatever...
June 26, 2020: Essential oils are the driving force behind many of the nature-based pest control and fungicide products in the retail world today. Sometimes called botanical oils or horticultural oils, the distinctions between essential and botanicals can be semantic, non-existent, or formulation-driven. Horticultural oils, on the other hand, are generally mineral oils and not plant-based. Essential oils are derived from various plants and have been used to combat pests for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Neem oil, for instance, is a product of the Neem tree and has been used in India since ancient times. Essential oils work in many ways to control pest creatures and fight pathogens: they smother insect pests, they coat plant surfaces and suppress fungal growth, they breakdown insect exoskeletons, they disrupt reproductive cycles and they are excellent repellents. Sometimes all the different oils can be overwhelming to consider; I'm going to go over some of the products we carry to (hopefully) ease some of that. Read More >>
What is That? The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper.
May 14, 2020: These days everyone wants to just get out and get on with their summer fun (except for those of us in AZ who are entering our self-imposed, heat-avoiding annual lockdown); but, remember there are hungry creatures out there waiting anxiously for your return. Case in point: The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper (SLG). If you think this sounds like something you might hear on a show like "Moonshiners", you aren't far off. "Gallinipper" is an heirloom Southern term for an exceptionally large insect with a frightening bite. Which this is and it has hairy legs.
So, what is this bug? It's a mosquito (Psorophora ciliate), but not your average skeeter. It's unusual in many ways. First of all, the SLG is big (as you've no doubt deduced) - like 3 to 6 times as big as a typical mosquito. It's fairly rare and does not appear unless there has been abundant wet weather. It's also an aggressive carnivorous predator that prefers other mosquitoes as prey, but does not limit itself to them. On the up side, it's not a vector for disease transmission to humans...Read More >>