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The Garlic & Vinegar Solution

No, this isn't a post about cooking. It is about using everyday kitchen ingredients to keep the weeds and creepy crawly biting things away. I don't like using chemicals on my property. I don't like weeds or bugs. I don't want to harm myself or my pets with toxic chemicals. What's a girl to do? Go to the grocery store! Vinegar is about 3 dollars for a gallon jug, garlic is 25 cents per bulb and mineral oil is around $5, depending on the size and quality you want to use. If you're not going to eat it, get the cheaper stuff!

Vinegar is a non-selective, organic herbicide. A few of my neighbors' aren't as attentive with their properties as I am with mine and their weeds are constantly creeping under the fence. Every year I buy a few gallons of vinegar and pour it along the fence line. I am careful not to splash my existing plants, because like I said before, it is non-selective, which means it will kill any plant, not just the weeds. It won't destroy heavy hitters like English Ivy, Morning Glory Vine, Crabgrass or Dandelions, but it weakens them enough for me to rip them out more easily. Organic yards take a lot of one on one work, but it is worth it to me.

I'm fine with most insects but my hospitality runs out when mosquitoes use me and mine as a snack bar. Garlic oil is a good mosquito repellant. You could rub it on yourself but that's going to be rather awkward smelling. It is better to apply it to the garden, as a perimeter application, and it has the bonus effect of deterring bunnies from the yard as well. I'm not going to claim that this will take care of all the mosquitoes, but for my purposes, it does a decent job of protecting me and my pets. See the recipe below to make your own.

You can repurpose the vinegar jugs when you're done, using them as planters, watering containers, or to keep your garlic oil in!


Garlic Oil

1 head of Garlic
1 cup Mineral Oil
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 cups Water

Instructions: Mince several cloves of garlic and cover with mineral oil. Let it sit for at least 24 hours to infuse. Take about 1 teaspoon of the oil (I strain the garlic chunks out with wire mesh) and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake it up well and go to town! Store extra in a cool, dry place. You won't be cooking with it but no need to let it get any funkier. I usually make mine each time I need it.


The Taste of Nature

I have a completely organic vegetable garden every summer at my house. It is cheaper than buying vegetables in a grocery store or farmer’s market and I know exactly where my food comes from. In addition, I can grow whatever varieties I want and a tomato from my garden always tastes better to me and my family than the hormone enhanced, genetically modified strains they sell at the store. Store bought veggies grow on factory farms with genetically modified seeds formulated to grow rapidly and have maximum yields. They use manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and the end result tastes nothing like what a real tomato should taste like.

It is everyone’s personal choice what to feed themselves and their families, but I know that in my life, with all of the potential carcinogens and toxins just hanging around in everything we use and eat, it is important to me to do what I can to offset those toxins. I also love that I made those veggies happen! I gave them love, care, and then made them into delicious dishes for my family. Below is a recipe from my mom for Gazpacho. It is a delicious cold soup and every year I can make it using just the food in my garden and a few staple kitchen items. I also make a great salsa every summer and that recipe is below with a quick homemade way to make tortilla chips. I know that in this economy everyone wants to save a few dollars. What better way to do it than in your own backyard?

Noreen’s Gazpacho



2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

1 green pepper, cored, seeded and quartered

1 small clove of garlic

1 cucumber, peeled and cubed

3 cups tomato juice

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup chicken broth


Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic croutons for top

Instructions: Blend veggies in blender. Add tomato juice and blend again. Pour into large bowl; add vinegar, oil, broth, salt and pepper. Blend well and cover. Chill for several hours and serve.

AJ’s Salsa

3 large tomatoes, chopped 
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 chives or scallions, chopped
2 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
Lime juice to taste, approx. 3 tbsp
1 jalapeno, minced (seeds = heat, use gloves & wash hands thoroughly 

Instructions: Combine all ingredients and chill. Enjoy with tortilla chips or multi-grain pita chips.


Homemade Tortilla Chips

Use a pizza cutter to section fresh flour tortillas. Brush with olive oil and season with salt. You can add a little limejuice, too. Lay pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until crispy.


A Little History Lesson

Flyer: G&R GardenersSUNY FarmingdaleIn 1949 Leon Goldberg persuaded Robert Rodler to start a landscape maintenance business with him, "G&R Gardeners: Your landscape kept beautiful by competent gardeners." It was their senior year at Hempstead High School and they didn't know a thing about landscaping, but they quickly decided that this was the business for them. They were accepted to Farmingdale State University and Robert continued on to Cornell while Leon furthered his education at University of Connecticut.

Business Card 1958After college, Robert served in the Army and Leon served in the Navy. In 1956, Robert went to work for J.J. Levison, a prestigious landscape design-build firm in Sea Cliff, Long Island. J.J. Levison's pedigree included working on Long Island's greatest estates such as Oheka Castle's gardens with the Olmsted Brothers and Beatrix Farrand, Panfield, the Milbank estate in Lloyd Harbor, the Chrysler estate in King's Point  and the Marshall Field III estate in Lloyd Neck. Robert was fortunate to have worked on several of these projects during his tenure at J.J. Levison. Leon went to work for Donald Pollitt, a landscape architect involved in Old Westbury Gardens and the C.W. Post campus.

Ad: New OfficeOne of Many Awards Won Throughout the YearsIn 1958, Leon and Robert formed Goldberg & Rodler in Hempstead, NY. In 1962 they moved to our current location in Huntington. They handed the reins to their sons Neal Goldberg and Thomas and Steven Rodler when they retired. Many things have changed through the years but the core values of diligence, hard work and meticulous supervision remain.

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