Victory Garden 2011: weeks 6/15-6/30
It's been a heart-rending last two weeks in terms of my beloved garden. I had such high hopes for it when I started out and the last 2 weeks felt like a breaking point for me.
Two weeks ago I realized that something definitely was wrong with my peas, bush beans and tomatoes. I took the following pictures of my peas & bush beans and posted them on the Mittleider Yahoo Group asking if they were deficient any minerals and Jim Kennard e-mailed me back with an answer.
|bush bean plants|
|bush bean plant - brown & shriveled leaf|
He told me that dry, rough leave edges are often associated with potassium deficiency so he suggested that I apply some potash if I could find some at my local nursery. He also told me it was really unusual that I would have this problem when I did the correct pre-plant mix before planting and I have done the weekly feed every week since planting my food. I actually had some Dr. Earth Organic fertilizer that had a fairly high potash count so I applied that to my beans and peas. Wow! What a difference that made!
Having that problem 'fixed' it only took about a week until this week while pruning my tomato plants that I noticed my tomato plants have an aphid infestation! Seriously bad news- my poor end of the row tomato plant below USED to be the largest tomato plant, but I am afraid the aphids have stunted its growth (it's a good thing I have 7 plants!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can revive the tomato plant and that the aphids don't wreak havoc on my other 6 plants!
|My poor end of the row tomato plant - can you see how shriveled and dry it looks compared to its neighbor?|
This meant war on the ants! Ants farm aphids for their honeydew like humans farm dairy cows for their milk - and they will protect their food source at any cost! Kill the ants and the aphids lose their protectors. I've increased how often I head out at dusk to sprinkle ant bait and water it as the directions state. I'm sure the kind we are using (whatever was at the Big Box Blue or Orange Home Improvement stores) is working - because I found an ant hill littered with hundreds of dead ant bodies pretty far away from anywhere we have spread the ant poison. That taught me two things: 1) the commercial ant bait was finally proving its effectiveness and 2) rather than having 10 ant colonies, it is more likely that I have 1 huge metropolis ant colony in my entire yard (front, back and side yard!)
My friend Doug sent me this link on facebook when I updated my status with the fact that I had an aphid infestation. I am going to try the honey dish/tray idea next time I put ladybugs out. I also had 2 friends comment on facebook to buy marigolds and plant those around my tomatoes. I may try that now that I am running out of options to keep my plants healthy and pest-free!
Now that all the nitty gritty details about what I feel are my failures in the garden - here's the bi-monthly photo update the garden:
|The overall garden picture - see that patch of grass coming in nice and thick finally? I think one more seeding will do the trick!|
|My strawberry plants are not only producing fruit, they are sending out runners!|
|Pea plants are sparse due to not enough water and potasssium, but I am hoping to still get some pea pods even though it is July.|
|My canteloupe is growing up nicely and you can finally see the lettuce growing in size! I re-planted more lettuce seed and hopefully I can keep it moist enough that it will sprout and grow!|
|"Knee-high by the Fourth of July" is the old farmer's saying for corn. Looks like my corn is doing well although I am worried about the aphids attacking the corn next since they are already in the bush beans at the end of the row.|
|Here's the tomato row with peas at the head of the row. Pruning my indeterminate tomato plants sure helps to keep the stems and leaves off the dirt!|
|Carrots are sparse, but I re-planted these as well this week. I also planted pole beans in the half closest to the camera.|
I received my Winter Territorial Seed Catalog this week and I started to get excited to start my kale and broccoli seeds this next month in preparation for an August transplanting. It also got me excited to even consider doing a winter garden this year -but I may as well try building some row covers to try to extend my growing, or at least harvest, season this year.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading the Victory Garden update - I hope that if you are experiencing gardening troubles it makes you fell better that I struggle with unexpected gardening struggles as well.