Tag Archives: Burley Tobacco

When you’re away…

5 Jun

Unknown. Flowers at Denver Botanic Garden.

Over the last week, I had an out of town visitor, leaving me with little time for the garden. As part of a “tour” of Colorado, we visited the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was my first time there, and although it’s not as impressive as some on the East coast (although I since have heard that the Chatfield Botanic Garden is without a doubt more impressive), it was still pretty awesome. What could be better than being surrounded by plants, plants, and more plants? (Most did not have labels, much to my frustration)

Roof of Ting at Denver Botanic Garden.

I loved the Ting. Both this one in particular as well as the concept. A ting is a Chinese covered resting place in a garden. It’s a place to rest from the walk, take shelter from rain (as we had to do), and I would add, a place to reflect and express gratitude for the grandiosity of nature.

View from inside the ting

The week has passed and I am back to my routine, my garden, my meditation. While I was away, my plants wept at my absence. Early blight set on (or was it powdery mildew?). I found them sad, with yellow spots on their leaves, and barely grown. I sprinkled cornmeal around their base. Cornmeal is miraculous. Within two days new leaves had sprouted, and they grew about an inch. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers all had it, and then didn’t. Cornmeal is a staple in my garden from now on.

Ildi tomato leaves. Was it blight or powdery mildew? Either way, cornmeal did the trick!

My tobacco plant was infested with June beetle bugs. They have devoured the beautiful leaves. I opted for a garlic spray this time. I chopped a garlic head, added boiling water and a tiny bit of vegetable oil, and let it sit for a few minutes, strained it, and poured it into a spray bottle. I sprayed the leaves, the bottom, the top, even a bit on the soil and around the pot. It worked! The leaves are still pretty chewed up, and the bugs came back two days after spraying, so I have to continuously spray them.

I love how there’s always a challenge in gardening. Boring, it definitely is not. There’s always a mysterious bug, or fungi to take care of. It keeps one on one’s toes. My garden might not look like the Denver Botanic Garden, but it’s mine, all organic, and as sustainable as I can make it with my resources. I nourish it, but in the end, it also nourishes me.


containing the contagion

9 Apr

It’s barely April, but tireless aphids don’t keep calendars. I have my first plant in quarantine. The young pretty basil has been infected. To contain the contagion, aside from removing from the other plants, I tried a tobacco and catnip tea.

A youngen herself, the Burley Tobacco plant teamed up with the teen catnip and donated some of their leaves to the cause. Before taking any leaves, I usually sit with the plant and give a prayer of permission and gratitude at her offering.

I chopped the few leaves and placed in a shallow bowl. I let them soak in water for 48 hours. I seeped through a strainer, and sprayed on the basil leaves and stems.

Since the basil is a small plant to begin with, I only used a few leaves of both the tobacco and the catnip.

Tobacco is said to be a natural insecticide. The effects are short-lived so it does not harm the plants. Do not spray on peppers, tomatoes, or any other member of the nightingale family as they are very sensitive to tobacco. Catnip is also said to be an excellent bug repellant, especially for larger bugs like cockroaches, mosquitoes, and caterpillars. I added a few leaves of catnip for an extra kick, but it would not have been absolutely necessary. I anticipate spraying the basil a couple of times in the next two weeks.

When I first bought the Burley Tobacco plant from the nursery, I thought it was more of a curiosity, a conversation piece. I had not anticipated she would be put to work. But she jumped at the chance!

I hope this tea takes care of the aphids before Mother’s Day (date of last possibility of frost for Colorado) when they will be transplanted in the garden plot.

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