Welcome to gardeners, growers of veggies, fruits, flowers, and trees!
Welcome backyard hen enthusiasts, worm farmers, beekeepers & composters!
Well it has been a humbling past week in the world of organic gardening for me. I thought I'd share in case more seasoned members have any advice, or simply want to commiserate with me.
I check the garden at least twice daily. I usually take my morning coffee out to the plot with me before work, and I check on things at least once in the evening. Up until this point, things have been going swimmingly. The heirloom seeds I carefully chose and planted had all grown and developed faster than my expectations, and we have already enjoyed many wonderful meals from the garden.
Last week, during one of my twice daily inspections, I noticed little green insects all over my tomatoes! These aphids were different than the yellow ones I have had on the past on butterfly weed, but it was still fairly easy to identify the problem. I took turns googling and rummaging in the shed to see how I could attack this problem. I ended up spraying with organocide, which seemed to be a good choice. Almost a week later, there are still some aphids, but the organocide certainly made a huge dent in the population. The plants however, once robust and covered with blooms and small green tomatoes, are looking a bit ragged. I will wait out the two weeks as per instructions before spraying again.
Two days ago, when I went out to manually pollinate the crook-neck squash, I noticed several fruits that were covered in black mold and shriveled. Also, there were little white patches on all of the leaves. The plants themselves looked a little ragged, but still stood about two feet high and overflowed far past the mounds they were planted in. After a little research, I learned I had two separate problems, BER (bloom end rot) and powdery mildew. I quickly removed the moldy fruit and discarded it. I also checked growing fruit for blooms still attached and removed ones that appeared to have been pollinated. We had some rain last night, so this evening I will attack the powdery mildew. I've decided to first try a mixture of 10% milk with water. We have already harvested loads of squash, so I think this is a good time to experiment with this (according to articles I've read) promising treatment.
I am now moving on to pollinating my glass gem corn. Some days it feels more like I have a menagerie than a garden, as these little guys take far more care than I ever imagined. Luckily, I am not discouraged by these little bumps, but rather excited that I am learning new ways to handle problems. I am also learning that perhaps I need to plant even more variety, as my patient family is tiring of squash and beans! My apologies for being so long-winded. If anyone has any advice to share, I would certainly appreciate it. I hope you are all having a better garden week.
Annie, it's all an adventure! The only reason I have success is I have so many failures. This year, late frost destroyed the growing leaves of my new place fig trees. They have only a few distorted leaves now. The frost also semi-killed one new kiwi vine, and something ate the other. Deer or rabbits ate off one small fig tree, a small paw paw, and a tomato plant. The late frost took all but 3 cherries one tree, all but 2 plums on one tree, and all plums on another tree. The animals also ate most of the leaves off the newly transplanted strawberry plants. One of the peach leaf curl resistant peaches is completely covered with peach leaf curl.
But, with new screening in place, the strawberries are recovering, the eaten paw paw stub has little buds. The newest buds on the figs are swelling. Tomatoes are planted in a newly fenced bed - a tomato plant was eaten off too. And the mulberry tree, which was also touched by frost, has the most berries I've ever seen on it, green and starting to plump.
Plus my iris bed is so filled with grass, I've decided it is a miniature prairie, dotted with irises.
I won't say I don't get frustrated, but there are so many trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers growing, I have the successes to focus on.
Good luck with the squashes and tomatoes and corn! I use neem oil on my insect and mildew problems, seems to work well except the case of peach leaf curl.
And here we have the coldest and wettest spring I've ever seen. I had to save the seedlings from drowning!