A Mid-Summer Foliar Spray for Fertilization and Pest Control

Reader Contribution by Joshua Burman Thayer and Native Sun Gardens
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Photo by Flickr/Herry Lawford

Across the Northern Hemisphere, we are now beginning the transition from summertime active growth. We now have passed the longest weeks of the year, when the sun is as far north as she sets. In plant terms, the month following Summer Solstice (on or around June 21st),  are when plants transition from green growth to forming flowers and then fruits.

In those next weeks, you can give a last nitrogen boost to your plants to stilt them up tall. This easy blend can be given as a root drench and also as a foliar spray. Foliar is to be applied in the time when the sun is up but too low to shine on the leaves. By spraying directly on the plants leaves, a boost to their metabolism hits them faster than in the soil.

June is a time when many of the insects have sprouted and are potentially snacking on your plum leaves. By spraying weekly you can discourage the bugs to bite the summer foliage.

Joshua’s Multi Function Foliar Boost for Summer Solstice

1 teaspoon kelp meal *(adds nitrogen for green growth final push)
1/2 teaspoon volcanic ash dust *(lengthens nodes of branches)
5 drops peppermint oil
750 mL spray bottle
Note: Spray 1 time per week just before sundown.

Want to learn more about foliar sprays? Check out Joshua’s Foliar Spray Article in the Spring 2016 Edible East Bay.

Joshua Burman Thayer is a landscape designer and permaculture consultant with Native Sun Gardens. He is the Urban Agriculture Supervisor for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation in San Francisco, Calif. Find him at Native Sun Gardens and read his other MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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