Oh! I have so much to share with you!
I’ll start by sharing my joys.
These are the beans I am growing in my room (which, I’ll remind you, are grown from hardened bean pods from this summer’s plants!) They have been so beautifully responding to the sun every day, perking up as though its the leave’s best friend, and even the blossoms pleased me until one morning, surprise! I had beans! Some of the pods are still so cute and tiny, I almost don’t want them to grow any more 🙂 Even since this photo, the beans have started turning purple.
While we’re on the subject of growth, check out my brussels sprouts, which, by the way, I learned it’s “brussels,” not “brussel” without the ‘s.’ Oh, the things you learn in the gardening community.
Here’s some more pretty growth to the left to feast your veggie-loving eyes on.
I revamped the soil in a 4×4 section of the big tall boxed bed with our home-made compost. I felt proud that we are able to recycle our used food scraps from the kitchen and provide new seeds with wonderful food, and then I had a conversation with a very knowledgable worker at San Lorenzo Garden Center.
I was inquiring about organic pest control when pill bugs came up, or what I used to call “rollie pollies.” Here’s the scoop. These critters are great in the compost because they break things down. They love organic material to munch on and a moist habitat, which compost is. So when you finish your compost and move it to the holding bin or put it straight into your garden, you bring all those wonderful decomposers with it, right to your tasty seedlings. Aha! This is clearly a problem, so I asked the helpful worker “How do I avoid that?!” and she said “Well, it’s simple, you see. Once the habitat is no longer moist, they will move out. They will leave the dry compost and find the next moist oasis.” So let your compost dry out, give the decomposers the chance to move out, and then it is safe to use the compost in your garden.
Now, this doesn’t mean the transitional pests won’t find a way into your garden regardless. Hence, the search for pest control continues.
But before we get into pests more, I want to show you a few more fun things I did in the garden this week.
I flattened, smoothed, and formed the corners of the first level of terracing. It was a great arm workout! This will be home to 100 sqft of raised garden boxes. The picture on the right has the bed outline.
Yesterday I was in the garden for a very long time, so naturally I got hungry. I was in the flow of things and didn’t want to interrupt myself to walk back over to the lodge for food. I thought “If only I worked in a place with….Oh!” and I realized I had very high quality food all around me! There were so many options to choose from, suddenly, that I decided to make a salad. A salad sandwich. Feast your eyes! In this delightful stomach-filler I stacked swiss chard (so sweet), blue kale, dinosaur kale, red kale, mustard, matilda lettuce, romain lettuce, arugula, collards, spinach, and even some snap pea leaves. This handful filled me up and I was giddy about what I’d just done. My heart and arteries are happy!
If you don’t know already, start saving the butts you cut off of your celery, lettuce, and the root side of your onions. You can plant them, butt end down, and they will give you a brand new head of food to eat. Buy lettuce once, never buy it again. Actually, I’m not sure if you can do it more than once. I’ll let you know how it turns out for us.
This furry girl came to me in the garden one day and has been hanging around our property ever since. It’s nice to have a pal with me out there!
Okay, okay! We’ll talk about pests now!
They taint our food in some way or another, so we must be rid of them. Check out what I’m dealing with…
Some might call it bold to flaunt my infested leaves about the internet, but I figure you might have the knowledge to help me. This is a swiss chard leaf I have let attract all the black aphids, which they have stayed pretty well to these plants. I wonder why they like the swiss chard so much… because it’s so sweet?
Well, I told you I talked to the garden center lady, and she gave me some more interesting news. As it turns out, the ants I have been seeing going to and from the area are HERDING the aphids to the plants. Wait… What?! Ants are herders, just like sheep dogs. And it’s viable, I saw a stray aphid and ants all around it. This blew my mind. It’s kind of cute, but obviously not desirable. So now I have to focus on controlling the ant problem.
Donald to the rescue.
This sparked the ethical debate in my head. It is kind of ghastly, what we do to these living organisms. Sure, they don’t operate with a higher level of thinking, but do they suffer? Oi. I’ll try not to think about it. Too many factors.
Also, what do you think of the notion that once aphids hit the soil they’re done for? Garden Center Lady said they can’t hold their own, so you’re in the clear if you just get them off the leaves with a steady stream of water.
I am sick of slugs leaving gooey trails all over my soil and leaves as though they haven’t a care in the world, especially how they effect the harvest >:( Well their trails have betrayed them, so I bought some “Sluggo” (for organic gardens!) and sprinkled it all over the place. We’ll see if it does the job.
I bought some “Neem Oil” for pest control but haven’t used it yet. Oh, and I made a pest deterrent out of onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper. I sprayed it on a slug and I felt like a horrible person. I won’t say more except imagine the feeling in your mouth and throat after eating a hot pepper… all over your body and in your eyes. Oh the torture…… I might revisit that one, though. It requires a lot of application.
The white spots on this kale are aphids that have been stung and injected with a parasitic larvae. It makes the aphid swell up, and well, kills the aphid. It happens like this:
Leave a comment and share some of your successful (and unsuccessful) attempts and methods of managing pests!