After a hard day’s work at OVF, recall how nice it is to return home and enjoy a long, soothing shower. Keeping your garden cleaned and well manicured is as important for it as it is for you. Besides looking better, a clean, orderly garden can help prevent unwanted diseases and pests. This is particularly important to the organic gardener who doesn't rely on an arsenal of chemicals to control garden problems.
During the growing season, pick up any plant material that may be broken or diseased. Likewise, don’t allow any fallen or rotten vegetables to accumulate in your garden, as these will only invite unwanted critters and more disease. In addition, remove any unneeded wood or other materials from your garden to help reduce hiding spots for snails and slugs. This will make them easier to spot and remove.
You can further your garden grooming by giving your garden a bath once a week during the summer.
Use one tablespoon of insecticide soap per gallon of water in a hose-end sprayer or siphon to wash everything in your garden. For best results, do this early in the day so that the leaves will have plenty of time to dry before nightfall. Washing your garden like this will deter many insect problems, remove airborne disease particles, surface tension, pollution from the air, and promote photosynthesis and osmosis. Also make it a point to hit the mailbox, retaining walls, surrounding trees and just about anything else to keep everything squeaky clean.
A recent study at Auburn University in Alabama showed that a soap wash with the addition of 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper or a few dashes of Tabasco sauce applied once a week protected a cabbage crop better than standard chemical insecticides.