Ever since she was old enough to help her grandmother in the garden, Sharon Lovejoy has spent her life working with plants–and along the way, through “trowel and error,” she’s accumulated hundreds and hundreds of remedies, tips, short-cuts, and cure-alls. Now Ms. Lovejoy–author of Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots and the award-winning Sunflower Houses–does for the garden what Heloise or the Queen of Clean does for the household. Trowel and Error collects all of her homespun garden advice into an inviting, environmentally friendly, whimsically illustrated yet dead-on helpful book that will benefit every gardener, beginner or experienced.
Cure plant viruses with spoiled milk. Steep a natural and effective insecticide out of fresh basil. Place flat stones under squash or melons to hasten ripening. Recycle an old apple corer as the perfect dibber for muscari and other small bulbs. Start rosemary cuttings in a green glass bottle. Sprinkle baby powder over seedlings to discourage rabbits. Crush a garlic clove and apply it to your skin as an insect repellent. From urging the reader to take an occasional shower with the houseplants to giving all-natural gardenside first aid, Trowel and Error is a direct line to the kind of practical wisdom that comes only after a lifetime of experience. The book is indexed by problem, plant, pest, and solution, and includes a list of tools and common household items–borax, cornmeal, vinegar–that completes the gardener’s arsenal.
Watch this video “Lady Bugs by the Thousands”
Schoolchildren release more than 120,000 ladybugs into the garden at Edna Maguire Elementary School in Mill Valley on Thursday. Ladybugs are natural predators that can rid gardens of pests yet not harm plants. Ladybugs can eat hundreds of aphids a day, but spiders are good guys, too. Spiders do 80 percent of the pest control, eating whiteflies and aphids off roses, according to Sharon Lovejoy, author of the “Trowel & Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener.”