Protect Your Garden

A rule to remember when dealing with garden pests:  if it is slowing-moving, stamp on it; if it is fast-moving, leave it alone-it will probably kill something else.  ~Esme Boughey



One of the areas of gardening I still have a lot to learn is in how to deal with diseases and pests in my garden.  I have learned a great deal through reading books and blog posts.  And through that reading I became convinced that organic gardening, eco-friendly controls, works best.  And I have found the evidence for this in my garden results.

But I think my veg garden still is a hot bed for pests and problems that I have yet to control particularly with tomatoes.  I have posted about companion planting which really has been very beneficial in my veg garden, but I still have issues with tomatoes.  I think veg gardening is such a gamble because you never know what pest will infiltrate and destroy a whole crop, like the voles destroying most of my beans this year.

But in my determination to learn more and find answers, I found a great book that I wanted to share with you.  I have read several similar books, but this my favorite.  I will be linking in with Holley’s Garden Book Review on the 20th.


Protect Your Garden: Eco-Friendly Solutions for Healthy Plants



Author:  Rosenthal, Ed
Paperback:   208 pages
Publisher:  Quick American Archives; 2 SUB edition (April 9, 2013)
Amazon Price: $18.34 (paperback)







In A Few Words

This book is easily summed up in the author’s own words:

This book is a troubleshooting guide for indoor and outdoor gardeners.  It is meant to take you over the bumps and help you solve garden problems….you will have no need to worry that the cure may be worse than the disease.



The book is split into 5 sections:

  • Section 1-covers pests in your garden such as aphids, ants, beetles, deer, slugs to name a few.
  • Section 2-details many of the diseases that attack plants like wilt, powdery mildew and black spot.
  • Section 3-is chock full of information about the nutrients plants need and how to identify deficiencies.
  • Section 4-lists environmental stresses and how to alleviate them.
  • Section 5-gives a more detailed guide to the controls found in the preceding sections; these are referred to as eco-friendly solutions.



What I Liked

One of the first things you see when you open the book is a colorful guide to the most common pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies which is a great way to eyeball any of the pests you will likely see in your garden that might be giving you headaches.


Each section has loads of info that helps you understand more about the problem.  I like this because once I have a deeper understanding, I can utilize the solutions better, diagnosis a problem quicker, prevent more problems and apply the solutions to other similar situations.

In the Pest section you learn:  how common they are, what they look like, what plants they attack, where they are found on the plant, what they do to the plant, exclusion and prevention of the pest, controls, beneficial biologicals and interesting facts.  For example I still have problems with ants in one of my veg beds.  They suggest sprinkling the surface and/or brewing a tea from spices such as cayenne, cinnamon, lemon balm or mint to name just a few.  I have lemon balm growing all over and there are clumps near the other beds.  I think I will grow some near this bed and scatter leaves on the bed then wash it all down with a lemon balm tea.  I’ll let you know what happens.

The sections on Diseases and Nutrients were of particular interest to me as I continue to have tomato issues.  I believe some are from diseases like wilt, but some also are from a lack of nutrients.  Both sections give loads of details to help diagnose what is going on.  The author uses lots of pictures of tomato leaves with these issues which is very helpful.. I guess I’m not the only one with tomato problems.

While the Disease section goes into great detail much like the Pest section, the Nutrient section teaches you about the symptoms, mobility, role in plant nutrition, how to correct the deficiency and how common it can be.

I really liked the details of the eco-friendly solutions including beneficial insects like the one in the first picture.  And the resources guide at the end was an added bonus to introduce you to more companies that specialize in safe products.



Not So Much

There is nothing I disliked about the book.  But I am always wary of so-called “safe” products.  So I caution you to do a thorough check of all companies and products, as I have found some that appeared safe actually loaded with poisons and chemicals.



Final Thoughts

This book is beneficial for all gardeners (in many different places around the world) whether you have just started or you have been at it for 20 or more years.  The solutions for troubleshooting problems in your garden work for flowers and vegetables.  I think one of the biggest reasons I like this book is that Ed Rosenthal gives you so many safe controls for pests so you can be assured you are not using harmful chemicals….and these are not just safe for you and pets, but safe for those very special critters (especially pollinators) in your garden.

****Run your cursor over the picture to find out what the problem is****

Blogger friend Judith@Lavender Cottage also reviewed this book.  I learned about this great book from Judith.  Check out her book review and blog.



Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.  ~ Henry John Kaiser






Summer is waning and fall will be here soon.  I hope you will join me for Seasonal Celebrations starting September 1st.  Read more about it below.


Come Join Us:

Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time.  I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether summer or winter or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting September 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.

Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (the 22nd of September).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create).  The badges here can be used in your post.   So won’t you join in the celebration!!


Next up on the blog:  Monday will be a combined Simply The Best-Herbs and Wildflower Tales post on a special flower blooming in late summer.  September 1st brings us Seasonal Celebrations and a post all about our next season.  I hope you will join me with a post of your own.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my most current post now.  Most recent post is up.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2013.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Christina says:

    Understanding what is happening to plants is the most important thing. I try not to intervene just squishing things I know are harmful, that way I know I leave some behind to feed the beneficial beasts that need some food to build up their numbers, so for the first aphids that always appear on new rose growth I squash most and then wait for the lace wings to appear to finnish the job. Balalce and equilibrium is what the garden needs which means their will be pests just they’ll be under control, we often forget that and think that once the preditor arrives there won’t be any pest left, it doesn’t work like that! good review as always Donna, thanks

    • Donna says:

      Perfect words Christina to describe the balance we need to maintain in our gardens. Best way is to make sure we give the plants the proper nutrients and let the natural order and predators take care of things. It seems to work the best for me too.

  2. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    Hi Donna – thank you for the review – the plant diagnostics are invaluable but as I look around at some of the decimation I am tempted to reach for the bugspray (not that I will!). I’m not sure the fundamental premise of such books is valid ie that nature is balanced/in equilibrium without interference. Some years, according to weather etc things get totally out of hand – sometimes pest plagues and this year the capsid bugs have deflowered all the fuchsias. Any useful info in there about it?

    • Donna says:

      Laura I do agree that when the infestation is bad we do need to intervene. I like the eco-friendly ideas the author has when we do intervene. Unfortunately he does not mention capsid bugs.

  3. Andrea says:

    I don’t think we have a tropical book like that here, most of the technologies are in individual small articles or scientific reports. I wonder why nobody compiles it into a book, maybe it is very expensive to do, and selling price will not be very affordable for us too!

  4. Cathy says:

    With the changing weather patterns I have found that nature is out of sync. For example, many good creatures (such as bees, ladybirds etc) are out in an early spring heatwave and two weeks later a freeze means they have no food. This year we had so much rain in spring that the aphids got the upper hand, especially as the rain was followed by unseasonally high temperatures. I think this book may be of use to me and I have put it on my wish list. Thanks for the great review Donna!

    • Donna says:

      Yes Cathy weather plays a huge roll that we can not stop….it has made for some interesting things in the garden. Less Japanese beetles and loads of dragonflies with all the rain this year. The opposite of last year with the drought.

  5. Crafty Gardener says:

    A very interesting review Donna. I’ll check to see if the book is at our local library.
    I always enjoy the way you plan out your future posts. I’ll be interested in your Seasonal Changes features.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks….if you find the book let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy the Seasonal post. I have to plan out my posts with my crazy job or I would never blog I fear.

  6. Angie says:

    Great review Donna – I have to admit in the past, when I’ve encountered issues, I head straight for the internet. Perhaps it’s time I started a collection of decent gardening books. Thanks for kick in the butt I need 🙂

  7. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    What a timely review…this summer I am totally convinced that the only thing that would protect my garden would be giant glass cloches, with stainless steel bottoms…lol.

    Buggy doesn’t begin to describe it.


    • Donna says:

      It has been buggy. This is a great book to learn how to prevent things, build up your plants with the best nutrients and then eco-friendly ways to deal with bad outbreaks.

      Hope things get better Jen!

  8. Donna says:

    As a MG I learned all about pest and disease and how to control them, but I found what worked best by leaps and bounds, was doing nothing at all. Like I said in my last post on my garden, I even let weeds go to flower, (but not seed) to bring in all kinds of birds and bugs that no ornamental garden plant could. I have even cultivated weeds that I have never seen but the bugs certainly like them. This has kept my vegetables all free of pests, tomatoes too. And a strange but happy thing happened with aphids. They like the weeds (the one I don’t know what it is) better and never attacked roses or vegetables. The birds happen to eat the aphids too.

    The real threat to tomatoes is the fungus and that is weather related, but a healthy plant will fight it off. Also, if the wasp population is high like in my garden, the bad insects never present a problem. I actually encourages wasps to the garden with sugar syrup just like I do with the hummingbirds. Sure having hornets and wasps is a bit dicey, but I have never been stung. Personally, I found caring about removing pests way too much work. Once I stopped caring, the garden never worked or looked better.

    • Donna says:

      Great advice Donna. Doing nothing should be first. And making sure your plants are healthy is next. I know that the cold June weakened my heirlooms as I neglected to cover them in the grow bags, but covered the tomatoes in the bed. The tomatoes in the bed are doing great.

      I rarely try to get rid of bugs, but I will deal with Japanese beetles as they destroy my beans, and no real predators.

  9. susan says:

    Hi Donna, I really appreciate the book review and the way I could enlarge the photos to see the critter doing the damage to a given plant. I’m now sure if it’s been noted, but a perfect natural deterant to many of the pests that plague tomatoes is to grow garlic between the plants. If you use garlic as much as I do, it’s a perfect solution. Many bugs cannot tolerate garlic and the beneficial insects have no trouble with it. Many others have mentioned weather…..and I would add that tomatoes must have free moving air between the plants AND a good suckering program early on in order for them to be strong enough to withstand any molds, blossom end rot, or other fungus related problems. It sounds simple, but many gardeners crowd their tomatoes and there must be air moving around them.

    • Donna says:

      Susie you have hit on some very important points…circulating air and pruning is essential to keep the fungal diseases at bay and these are what plague my tomatoes. I have already decided to spread my tomatoes out more as they were giants this year and were out of control growing into each other. I was not able to keep up with the pruning they needed either.

  10. Jason says:

    This does look like a useful book. As many have already written, I usually use a hands off approach and let problems resolve themselves. Even so, it is always important what is happening with your plants and there are those crucial instances when intervention is needed. Have you read the book What’s Wrong With My Plant?

    • Donna says:

      I have read that book too Jason but found this book a better place to start. Then “What’s Wrong With My Plant” is a great resource for even more information.

  11. HolleyGarden says:

    The fact that you state this is your favorite book on this subject means a lot! I am always doing battle with fire ants. And grasshoppers! Plus, the section on deficiencies makes me want this book, as our water ph can make my plants deficient at times. I laughed at the quote about the slow pest vs. the fast pest, even though I bet that is absolutely right! Thanks so much for joining in!

    • Donna says:

      I always find it fascinating what pests create problems for others as with your climate. Grasshoppers are here but do little damage. But have a dry season and I am overrun with Japanese beetles in the thousands. Thanks for hosting Holley.

  12. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    This looks like a great book. I have several books on the subject and find some more helpful than others. It sounds like this one is organized in a commonsense manner which seems to be the key to easily finding the info you need. I found the pests that afflict veggies are much more difficult to deal with than those on ornamentals, they seem to be much more persistent.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Debbie they can be very persistent. The book is definitely organized for ease of use which is why I liked it and it had so much more than others I have read.

  13. Pam's English Garden says:

    Donna, This is a very timely posting for me. I was just thinking of writing a post about the pests and problems in my garden and how I deal with them. Maybe I should read this book first! I will be joining you for Seasonal Celebrations, but you will have to wait until Sept. 1 to find out the special event in my gardening life at that time every year. P. x

    • Donna says:

      I think you should still post about the pests in your garden. I am excited you will be joining in for SC and can’t wait!!!

  14. Hootin' Anni says:

    I am not much on gardening these days, but when I was younger and had kids to raise, I continually helped my father with his small acreage of veggie garden and orchard. I remember two things he did to keep the garden organic without the use of pesticides, and that was to plant a row of garlic around his veggies…and the use of a spray bottle with soapy water. Those two worked like a charm. Oh, and the tomato worms…we’d just pick them off and ‘squish em’.

    • Donna says:

      Thankfully I have not had the tomato worms but I think the companion planting like garlic helps and it helps the veggies grow better with their special friends growing alongside them.

    • Donna says:

      Sorry to hear this Karen. My heirlooms were doomed with this weather…but the hybrids are doing well so far. There are many preventions for our gardens but weather is one thing we can do little about.

  15. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    I agree, not all ‘safe’ products are safe for all concerned in the garden. When I first really turned to organic gardening years ago, I was using an insecticidal soap quite liberally in the garden. However, even those can be problematic, either removing a food source for predatory beneficial insects, or heaven forbid, inadvertently spraying non-target species. So even though it was safe for us, and our dogs, I was probably still doing some harm. I’m always interested in other’s solutions to garden problems though. I’ll have to check this book out next time I’m at the library. Thanks for a thorough review.

    • Donna says:

      I agree Clare that we think we are doing no harm and in essence we are creating an imbalance. Hope the book gives you some useful info.

  16. PlantPostings says:

    Sounds like a book I would like, too! Tomatoes can be tricky. Even “experts” sometimes have problems with them. I volunteer at a community garden. The man in charge is a veg gardening expert, and he admits we’re at the mercy of the weather when it comes to Tomatoes. I’m with you regarding the companion planting–it really works!

    • Donna says:

      I agree about tomatoes although I am finding if I give them some nutrients depending on their issue they appear stronger. Of course I have resorted to more hybrids as well.

  17. KL says:

    Thanks for this review. I have to check out this book. Though I am yet to have any disaster due to pests, but you never know what will happen, what might happen (fingers crossed, wood-touch). So, better be ready.

    • Donna says:

      This is the perfect book to learn how to be preventive. You are probably already doing much of what gardeners should to keep pests away.

  18. Dorothy says:

    The book sounds like a very comprehensive guide and well worth having as garden reference. Thank you for the excellent review. The one disease I always dread is clematis wilt, and I can’t seem to do anything to help once the poor plant gets it. I am trying to refrain from planting the large flowered types that seem more susceptible to the wilt

  19. debsgarden says:

    Sounds like a great book! One thing I have learned regarding pests is that sometimes, not always, it is best to do nothing and let the plant develop its own defenses. Last year I had a particular hosta that was extensively eaten by bugs. This year the leaves are untouched.

  20. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden says:

    I like the proactive approach of this book. It is a nice idea to get the upper hand on problems before they start.
    It has been a great summer all round, but I have never had so many serious problems-scale on my euonymus being just one of them. I am in a serious battle now to prevent the problem from spreading. This sounds like a book I sure could use!

    • Donna says:

      Jennifer so sorry to hear that you are having garden problems. I am not able to get out in mine and cringe at what I might find in a few weeks. Although the dry spell we had for 3 weeks may have helped. We shall see.

    • Donna says:

      Yes those holes are the wonderful Cabbage White butterflies. I learned to keep my cabbages covered to keep them from laying eggs on my veggies.

  21. Jennifer RIchardson says:

    It’s been a really difficult Summer for pests
    and diseases here….so wet, the air so thick with humidity, rain almost every day, strange.
    Especially yellow jackets….I’ve had to use chemicals
    on many nests this year. Sigh.
    Your photos and journey are a joy…thanks for sharing.

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