Aphids insecticidal soap Pests

Get Rid of Aphids Naturally

How to Kill Aphids Naturally

Each spring to early summer, I usually start to find aphids in the garden and they can quickly turn into an infestation if you don’t catch them early.
To get rid of Aphids, I use insecticidal soap that I make at home instead of buying a commercial product. Making it at home is much cheaper and cost efficient for a larger batch and it is easy to do.

Here is what you need:
1 gallon spay bottle
55 ml of dish soap
55 ml of vegetable oil
20 ml of orange oil (if you want and/or are also having ants).
Combine dish soap and vegetable oil in the spray bottle and then fill the water to the 1 gallon mark. Now you can head out and spray your garden.
If you see curled leaves that is often a sign of stress from aphids so start and check there. Spay both the top and the underside of the leaves.
Check out the Aphids video above to see the garden pests that I find in the garden and how I make the insecticidal soap to control them.

Blackberries Propagation Serpentine Layering Tip Layering

Blackberry Cuttings Failed and What I Do Instead

Blackberry Cuttings

I have tried blackberry cuttings several times and have not had any success with them.  I can easily propagate with root cuttings, harvesting the suckers, tip and serpentine layering but cane cuttings has proven difficult.  Note, I have not tried using the rooting hormone for the cuttings so maybe that is why but research says you can do it without the rooting hormone.  I recently did an experiment on stem cuttings trying both primocanes and floricanes along with scratching and no scratching to promote rooting.  Neither worked.  It’s difficult to keep the right moisture levels.  I’ve also tried using a lot of moisture and less moisture along with keeping the cuttings inside and outside in the shade.  Still no growth.  I don’t want to use a rooting hormone so I’ll stick with root cuttings, harvesting the suckers, tip and serpentine layering which I find the easiest.  Check out my experiment below.  

Blackberries Propagation Root Cuttings Serpentine Layering Suckers Tip Layering Tip Rooting Trellis

Should You Grow Blackberries

Grow Blackberries

One of my favorite things to grow in the garden are blackberries.  They are easy to propagate, cold hardy and great to eat and enjoy with family.  See my video below for more details and examples of why I recommend everyone grow blackberries at home!

Blackberries Trellis

I-Trellis Upgrade for Blackberries

I Trellis upgrade to wire from string

My first blackberry trellis was a simple I trellis using garden string.  It worked very well for one season but now that my blackberries are established it’s time for an upgrade.  The video below is upgrading my T-Post I trellis from string to 12 gauge wire.

Grapes Muscadine Trellis

How to Grow Grapes at Home

Grow Muscadines at Home

My family eats a lot of grapes and back in 2021 I decided to try growing muscadines at home.  After reading up on grapes, I found that Cowart muscadines grow well in Texas.  I got a bare root Cowart muscadine plant and planted it that spring!  Above is a video showing start to harvest and it was easy to do!

Blackberries Propagation Tip Layering Tip Rooting

End of Blackberry Season 5 Steps

Grow Blackberries – 5 steps at the end of the season

5 things to do at the end of your blackberry season.
1. Prune the floricanes.
2. Tip the canes to encourage laterals.
3. Add compost/fertilizer.
4. Cane management – attach to trellis.
5. Blackberry propagation – Tip Layering.  

Compost Garden Trench Composting

Composting How To – Trench and Piles

Composting How To – Trench and Piles

Try the direct composting method in your garden with trench composting. After my strawberries have finished producing for the season, I will prepare the row for composting. This involves first storing up kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable parts and keeping them in a plastic bag in the freezer. At the end of the week, I’ll take what I have to the garden to be composted. I’ll dig a trench down the row where my strawberry plants were and then place them all inside the trench. Add some grass clippings and move the soil back over the top.
Since done at the end of the season – they will have 6 months or more to break down before I replant in the coming spring. Video above shows the process and also how I built composting bins using free pallets.

Blackberries Propagation Root Cuttings

Blackberry Root Cuttings

Blackberry Root Cuttings

I often tip layer my blackberry plants and they will sometimes grow roots thru the bottom of the container drainage holes. In this video, I pull up the blackberry root and do three cuttings.


Texas Heat Wave Summer Garden Tour

Summer Garden Tour in the 111-degree heat wave

The weather has made a particularly difficult time for my garden this summer. We had a record temperature of 111 degrees and several weeks before and after of triple digit heat here in Texas. See the video above for a tour of my garden and a quick look at blackberry pests and watermelons eaten by animals.

Blackberries Propagation Suckers Uncategorized

More Blackberry Plants by using Suckers

A very easy way to add more blackberry plants to your garden is to let them do the work for you. Blackberry plants will send out roots under the soil that will spread out and send up suckers. These are new blackberry plants that will begin growing in that area. If they come up in an area that is good for your row or garden then you’re all set! If they pop up outside the row or garden then you have a few options.

1. Dig them up and transplant to another area of the row or garden.
2. Transplant them to a pot and grow them in containers.
3. Give them away to family, friends or neighbors.

I’ve found tip layering to be the most successful way for me to propagate blackberry plants.

Below listed in order are the ways I find to be most successful for propagating blackberries:

1. Tip layering also called tip rooting. I do this most often and it is very simple. Place the tip of a cane in a small cup or pot and cover it with soil. In 4 weeks you can cut it from the main plant and hand it to someone else to plant in their own garden.

2. Blackberry suckers. Dig up the suckers and move them to a pot. Try to keep as much of the roots as you can. Make sure they get sufficient water after transplanting so they can grow their roots.

3. Serpentine layering. This works with trailing varieties of blackberries as they are easy to bend down into pots and over again to several more pots with a single cane.

4. Root cuttings. I’ve had some success with root cuttings but not as much as the top 3.

5. Cane cuttings. I have tried this method several times but have not had any success. I’ve tried keeping the cuttings indoors and outdoors in the shade. I’ve also tried keeping moisture in soil and misting the leaves but have yet to find the right combo to keep them alive. Thankfully, the other 4 methods work well for me!