Posted in Lifestyle

Day 1: Garden Pests


Not all pests are insects! There is a way to tell whether the cause of your problem has 4 feet or 100 feet! It is a dead giveaway by looking thoroughly at the leaves.

Deer: These guys have tiny bottom teeth but none on top! They will leave behind jagged edges on stems and leaves! As a result, they tear off plant parts rather than nibble on them!

Preventative measures: OBF installs wire fencing around every single garden that is about 6 ½ Ft high! It doesn’t have to be fancy just keep them out anyway how before they destroy your garden!

Rabbits: Our furry enemies have very sharp teeth causing damage close to the ground. They will leave behind a trail of leaf clippings while clearing out your crop. For example, the tops of your beet greens will be robbed of their hair completely!

Preventative measures: Booby-trap your enemies without killing them! They are part of our environment but not in our gardens! OBF uses Havahart Easy Traps to lure rabbits in with apples, carrots, brussel sprouts or carrots!

Groundhogs: They love to swim underground! Check your soil and lawn for volcano shaped swellings, this should give it away. They will create passageways that allow other rodents to claim your produce!

Preventative measures: We dig our fences underground with chicken wire, about 8 inches to prevent this from happening during the season! The animal’s instinct is to dig directly next to the fence, hitting the chicken wire we lay underneath. They are not smart enough to move away from the fence and dig a wider hole!


There are many leafy culprits and even more ways to get rid of them! Their signatures are holes or jagged edges in the leaves. These little guys leave behind immense damage if left untreated or unnoticed.

As I mentioned in, 10 Reasons To Keep A Garden Journal, having a plan is vital in a successful garden season. Depending on the magnitude of the situation, handpicking these critters off and putting them in a bucket of soapy water is preferred but spraying them with organic insecticide is fine too!

OBF uses an organic insecticide called, Captain Jacks Dead Bug concentrate & Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT). They are both bacterium’s approved for organic gardens. It is safe for people and other beneficial bugs as well! If they become out of your control, spray vigorously 2-3 times throughout the week only in the infested areas meanwhile hand picking as many as you can!

***Spray Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) on the brassica vegetable plants and Dead Bug on leafy vegetable plants as needed!***

If you plan on growing leafy vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, collard greens, kale, lettuce and so on, you want to look out for the following…

  • Leaf miner
  • Caterpillars
  • Aphids
  • Thrips
  • Cutworms
  • Whitefly
  • Armyworms
  • Cabbage Looper
  • Beetles
  • Earworms and hornworms
  • Spotted Cucumber Beetle
  • Spider mites
  • Stem borers
  • Snails and slugs



After awhile, you may start to notice plants will turn a yellowish color with sappy dots on the surface. You may also see sunken holes that are brown within the leaves. Plants that are actively infested will be stunted and eventually die if left untreated.

They use special sucking mouthparts that damage plants by removing and ingesting plant cells and juices. The inner cells of leaves, called mesophyll includes the food-producing cell (photosynthesis) that lies between the upper and lower layer of the leaves.

These pests inject toxic materials and disease into the plants directly while they feed. As they move from plant to plant some will transmit disease ultimately killing the crop!

Preventative methods: You can use a number of soapy sprays (organic, of course) or powders.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Large sucking pests like Stink bugs will leave shiny eggs underneath the leaves. Be sure to remove all eggs by tearing them off.

***Spray Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) on the brassica vegetable plants and Dead Bug on leafy vegetables plants as needed!***

Make sure to look for these common sucking pests…

  • Aphids
  • Whitefly
  • Leafhoppers
  • Scale
  • Thrips
  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Lace bugs
  • Stink Bugs


These pests like to hide! They are hard to detect as they hide under the soil or plant remains. Most larvae pass the winter in soil or under garden waste. When the weather gets warmer, larvae awaken and start feeding on our plants, remaining hidden during the day!

Preventative measures: It is very important to clean and till your soil before planting in the fall in order to catch these little ones! Remove all waste in the spring time that larvae might feed on, giving you a chance to hand pick them out before it’s time to plant!

Make sure to look out for these common soil-dwelling pests…

  • White grub
  • Weevil larva
  • Japanese beetle
  • Earwig
  • Wireworm
  • Cutworms
  • Cabbage maggots


X, Carly

Posted in Lifestyle

10 Reasons To Keep A Garden Journal

“ The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”  – Gertrude Jekyll 

Author: Rebecca Truscott-Elves

A rule of thumb: The more you invest into a garden the more you will be rewarded.

I find myself searching for new learning curves and ways that will actually make me enjoy diving into a book. It is pointless to buy a dull notebook that doesn’t intrigue you to write or sketch your ideas in the garden.

I recently picked up the Illustrated Gardening Journal that comes from a London based publishing company called Cicada Books. This book is simply the foundation of my ideas and stories that I will bring to life during the garden season. I may sound very optimistic but it all seems so possible with this book. A sketch is often the purest form an idea.

Every season, I emerge myself into a notebook that’s just right for me. Most of the time, I’m not even looking for it.

Anything colorful, recycled and authentic is my go to when it comes to preparing for the new season.


Physically writing in a journal will improve your gardening skills, almost like studying season after season. Recording when and where you left off is key to improving your work. When it is time reflect back on past seasons, you will be prepared. This will help minimize your mistakes and maximize your successes.

The accomplishments and disappointments of your past create a storyline that develops into a timeline of events. Being observant and recording everything you see and do in a day will help you tremendously in the long run.

Trying to remember what you did a few days back or even a year ago in your garden is very difficult!

Now that I’m mentioning it, where did 2017 go anyway? #Spring2018

Time flies and having a journal will make it easier on your memory. You’ll never miss a beat!


Unfortunately, nature is not always going to be fair with you. But, what if you were prepared for those frustrating turn of events?

Wouldn’t you feel so much better if you were ready for these misgivings and able to be in control before they happen?

The lessons you will learn become an experience. Gardeners will always learn something new each season. That is the best part of our hobby!

Here are my 10 thoughts on what should be inside your garden journal…


  1. Make a list of what you would like in the garden – Take some time to research your produce, after all your going to be eating it so you might as well enjoy what you invest your time into.
  2. List any specific information on how/where to grow your produce if you’re a beginner. It’s okay to mess up, that’s what your Journal should help you with in the seasons to come.
  3. Sketch a rough design of what you imagine your garden to look like! Check out our Pinterest page to spark some ideas!


  4. Date EVERYTHING! Jot down important notes that INCLUDE dates to keep track of expected harvest dates, how much you were able to harvest, specific pest damage, weather patterns, last succession seeding and so on!
  5. Take NOTES! From personal experience, taking notes on your harvest and how much you were able to harvest will serve as valuable information for the next season. If you find your family eating a ton of lettuce but can’t look at another zucchini till next year, you will be able to adjust this in the next season.


  6. Write down your GOALS! Any time you have an idea, write it down and come back to it later. These might include, natural pest control ideas, garden expansion projects, recipes, DIY projects and so on.
  7. Research Pest and Disease Problems that may occur in your garden. There are many organic methods to get rid of pests and disease. Google is your best friend. Did you know garlic spray is a natural repellent to get rid of insects or pests?
  8. During the full season, list some specifics regarding your produce – Is it a hit or miss for your liking? Did it yield enough produce? How much real estate did it take up in your garden? Would you plant it again?


  9. Make some notes on the wildlife that comes to visit your garden or even take a photo and paste it into your journal! Gardening brings many beneficial bugs, birds, bees, butterflies and more to the whole experience of gardening.
  10. Capture pictures – each season your garden will be unique and different than the last. Taking photos over time is a fun way to accumulate your progress as a gardener!


OBF Gardens

Have fun creating your garden journal!

X, Carly

Posted in Lifestyle

7 Easy Steps to Prepare Your Organic Garden

It’s time to wake your garden up! #Tired


A few early preparations for the spring gardening season will bring numerous benefits to your garden all year long!

It has been a long winter and I am itching to get back into the swing of things! Reconnecting with the earth is rejuvenating for you and your garden, especially in the early spring season.

Taking steps to prepare your garden will reap a successful harvest. Lets get to work!

Here are my 7 simple tasks to get you started…

  1. Clean Out: About a month before planting, clean up your garden area, wherever it may be, from leaves, debris and weeds. Go ahead and fix any broken gates, fences or existing beds to get ahead of the game.


2.  Tools: Always clean your tools before you start digging in the garden! We don’Toolst want any contaminates leaking into the soil that can accidentally spread fungus or bacteria.

3. Seedlings: Connect with your community or grow your own! Start growing seedlings now. Organize a list of fruits, veggies and flowers that work best for you. We suggest making space indoors for small LED lights to get your seedlings started. At OBF, we use organic starting soil and later transfer the gerSeedlingsminated seedlings into organic potting soil. If you do not have the means to grow your own, buying organic seedlings from local gardening centers or Oasis Backyard Farms will work as well! Call or email us for more details!

TBA: We will be selling OBF seedlings at Bayonet Farm in Holmdel for Earth Day on April 29th AND at our Farm’s Grand Opening on May 5th !!!


4. The Last Frost:  May is one of the long awaited months of the year in the Northeast. The warmer weather makes the soil perfect for sowing seeds. Warm soil will allow for fast germination and a healthy growing environment for the plants. Weather permitting of course, OBF plants on Mother’s Day or after May 13th.

5. Soil Testing: Remember to test your soil early spring or late fall. That way, it will give you enough time to add amendments before the growing season begins.

Our company, Oasis Backyard Farms relies on Rutgers University’s soil testing lab to get accurate results for our client’s gardens and on our farm!

How To Link: How To Have Your Soil Tested

  1. Working The Soil: Digging in the soil too early is a common mistake. When the soil is still saturated with melting snow or spring rain, it can be easily compacted by digging apart large clumps, which will only make it harder to break it up later due to lack of oxygen. Plant roots will grow best when there are air pockets between the soil particles.Workingthesoil
  • Pick up a handful of soil in your hand. Squeeze the soil together so that it forms a ball. If the ball of soil can be broken with your fingers, it is dry enough to dig!
  1. Compost: Composting is the process of giving nutrients back to your soil using organic materials. Oasis Backyard farms recreates this process using two main ingredients: organic green material & brown material including air and oxygen to break them down. SCompost-Circle-of-Lifeeason after season, we use this process that is naturally high in nutrients to grow our produce. With the right ingredients and the right environment, your compost system will create a product that is extremely valuable. Lay 3-5 inches of compost on top of the soil after you have broken it up.

FACT: According to the Composting Council, if everyone in the United States composted all of their food waste, the impact would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road!

LINK: How to Start Composting

Compost3Green Material

  • Grass clippings
  • Fruits & Vegetable scraps
  • Egg shells
  • Decayed plant matter
  • Organic Coffee Grounds
  • Fresh Manure
  • Seaweed

Brown Material

  • Dry Leaves
  • Saw Dust
  • Straw & Hay
  • Woods Chippings
  • Twigs

It’s time to prepare your garden for the upcoming growing season! Are you ready?

Call or email Oasis Backyard Farms with any question, we are here to help!

(732) 294-8703


X, Carly

Posted in Lifestyle

Millennials With Power

“If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrong.” ― Germany Kent

In this tech-savvy world we live in, I find it essential to inform my fellow gardeners and readers just how important social media is when it comes to showcasing your work.

We often focus on the benefits of gardening. However, there is one benefit we keep on the back burner, which is social networking. I started this blog to demonstrate how important it is to take what you enjoy most and create a safe atmosphere that showcases your work in a positive way.

Social media has paved a new route for people to connect and engage with anything or anyone, instantaneously. It serves as a platform for gardeners, like myself, to build an organic relationship with their followers (no pun intended). It is the best way to build a presence and leave lasting impressions with fans that love what you do.

I want to change the way people see millennials by using social media and build substance within my company. More importantly, I want to teach my peers that it is possible to use social media platforms, which are free, to navigate their way into the marketing world.

Social media has played a very important role when it comes to marketing for OBF. It operates and is controlled completely on your terms. The brand and the image you want to convey is crucial because your marketing techniques will have a lasting affect on each and every person that comes across your page.

Why should we create close connections with our fans?

You know the phrase, you are what you eat? Well, this correlates strongly with the posts you share on social media platforms. People will remember your brand if you are passionate about what is being promoted. That silly tweet you posted on Twitter a week ago, will be shared and that Facebook post that was boosted for the public to see, will be remembered.

My advice: Be as authentic and genuine as possible, never fake it.

We all want a sincere relationship with our followers. This is one of the many reasons why my blog is so important to my company and I. OBF is built upon authenticity.

My confidence is built when I grow something. I know I have done some good in the world when I share these thoughts with you. I encourage you to find your niche and use the technology provided to us in a resourceful way.

Use your time wisely, spread the word about social networking and continue to get your hands dirty in the garden.

Happy Hump Day! #letsgrowsomething

X, Carly

Posted in Lifestyle

Growing Local With OBF!


What’s going on garden enthusiasts! It’s me, your garden guru, Carly Whalen. It is a pleasure to introduce and welcome you to Oasis Backyard Farm’s first blog. I am so excited to engage and connect with organic lovers who strive for environmentally sustainable lifestyles like me!

Oasis Backyard Farms was founded in 2009 by Renée Mongiovi (my boyfriends mom and lovely boss might I add) whose vision came to life after leaving the corporate world for 20 + years. She invested all of her efforts in creating a business that would help others find the same satisfaction she had for growing healthy and organic non-GMO foods right from their backyard!

The nature of our company focuses on installing organic gardens in the Garden State, specifically in Monmouth County, New Jersey. OBF has created and maintained over 500 individual garden projects for homeowners, charitable organizations, and schools across New Jersey. Aside from installation, we have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, which will be ramping up significantly with an acquisition of a local farm property in Morganville, New Jersey!

I have had the honor of working and growing with this business for three years now! We have come incredibly far and I am so proud of what our team has accomplished. Our dream as an organic non-GMO gardening business has blossomed into something outstanding. OBF’s goals for the company are coming to life and I can’t wait to bring you along our journey.

This dark and gloomy day here in Monmouth County, NJ has just become a little brighter. I was born with this passion, which I feel is important to share with the world. Remember who you are and where you came from and I promise you will thrive in whatever you dip your toes into. Let’s step outside our boundaries and remember what is important to us. For me, I was born to garden.

I look forward to expanding my knowledge as a new blogger and I hope to enlighten your understanding and view on organic sustainable living.

In the meantime, lets grow something! Let the adventure begin, garden lovers.

#letsgrowsomething #OBF

X, Carly

OBF Logo