Gardens of California ® LLC 
Bridget Guzzi, Owner

btg@gardensofcalifornia.com
925-698-6222

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HEALTHY GARDEN PETS and UNHEALTHY GARDEN PESTS

Wyatt the Dog is shedding his winter coat. As is told, a dog's skin is many times more sensitive than human skin. This is reason enough to go "au natural" when providing skin care for your dog.

                                                                    
Wyatt the Dog



Bio: Rescue dog / perhaps 11 years of age / best friend / blue clean diet / gentledog (as in gentleman for manners) / breed is "love" / sharp focus / sings with my Son / works out with music / avid gardener / enjoys home grown organic carrots, peas and pommegranate / lovely companion.  Wears adult solar Gardens of California scarf in khaki.



                                                                                  Aloe Vera

Bio: Aloe vera from the genus Aloe orginating, it is believed, from the Sudan. The species name vera means true or genuine (wikipedia).  This plant grows year round in most of California.

Wyatt the Dog and Aloe Vera

Like Wyatt, many dogs are shedding their winter coat at this time. The weather has been such that the shedding is lasting a little longer than usual. This can cause drying of the skin and hot spots. To best manage this for your dog, and to do so in an organic clean way, toss the metal brush and use the aloe plant for hair removal and skin restoration. The fine pointed edges of the aloe plant act as a natural brush and the antibacterial healing properties of the aloe cleanse and hydrate the skin.

1. Select a few aloe branches from the main plant.
2. Filet the aloe, front soft side in a T.
3. Apply the filet soft side to the dog / cat coat and the fur will come right off and stay attached to the aloe so it does not fly around (before I experimented with this I would brush Wyatt indoors because pet dander can bring pests to the garden .. now I can brush him out of doors because the hair stays attached to the aloe).
4. For an extra tug, use the side of the aloe in a gentle sweep to draw out hair that may later cause a hot spot if not removed.
5. Once brushed, remove hair from aloe and dispose of the hair. Cut the aloe into filets and squeeze the remaining gel onto the coat, as you would a lotion. Massage in.


This is a win win amd makes for a wonderful massage for your pet. I brush Wyatt year round with aloe and apply it in gel form if he starts a hot spot or if his coat needs a little pick up.

Don't forget to keep aloe close by for burns, cuts and scrapes for yourself and your family. It is a magnificent plant.

UNHEALTHY GARDEN PESTS

We are 2011 gardeners. We are exemplary and with means to learn to grow organic and clean. Spring is unleashing an unprecedented number of aphids and pests that suck the juices out of the plants and leave behind an unhealthy residual that ants are very happy to eat. Both of these problems require attention.  If you control for the aphids when they arrive you can prevent the ants by removing this food source. There are botanical sprays available, largely plant / oil based that will suffocate the pests. Impact requires both upper and lower leaf applications, stems and surrounding soil area. Having just come in from harvesting some green onions, I noticed immediately that the onions were completely covered. These pests were not seen yesterday (but had I looked close enough).

You may make a home made botanical clean soap or purchase from a organic source. The general recommendation is thorough spraying. As we become increasingly pesticide and herbicide free in our gardens, I suggest an additional step be taken.
Spray your solution onto a cotton cloth and dust each of the leaves, top and bottom sides, and  the stems, additional affected areas and the soil around the area. You will collect the pests on the cloth and can flush them away and reuse the cloth. (Think of this application on the leaves of a plant as you would on your own skin .. the quicker you can reduce the problem the less spray needed which will hugely influence the breath of the plant through the stomata). Think plant / think you!
Spray only areas you see you have missed.  This is a good way to cut the amount of  needed spray significantly and the chances for full plant recovery.  At the same time, you are managing your garden hands on, which is truly great.
The closer and more hands on we are with our gardens, the sooner we will identify any one of many issues that may arise. Treat your garden like you would yourself, daily care and maintenance and all will grow well.  Follow up on procedures you take in an appropriate time to ensure your solution / application has worked.
One of my biggest worries is that people who are moving into edible gardening will get frustrated and give up because they do not want to use chemicals and are not aware of how to garden clean. Don't give up. There are many small answers that will bring your edible gardening to fruit. Check back often for updates and share those you know. Sign our guest book with a suggestion, one person, one garden at a time.

Bridget Guzzi, May 2, 2011.

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