It’s been several months now since I started our spring garden, and we are finally ready for our first (small) harvest! While I wish things would grow a little faster, I’m pretty proud of how far some of our plants have come. They were my babies for so long as I waited for the seedlings to be ready to go into the ground, I sort of feel like a proud plant mama that they are getting big and thriving for the most part. There have been some casualties though: mealybugs choked out one kale plant, caterpillars are fighting for their lunch rights to my biggest tomato plant, aphids likely love my roses more than I do and strawberries are apparently NOT in season right now. I have a couple berry plants hanging in there, but the rest of them bit the dust. White flies and ants are having a hey day, just like every other year I’ve planted. I tend to just leave them be since they are harder to fend off than it’s worth. Here are some more pictures:
purple basil will one day be a big, bushy plant but tortures me with how slow it grows in the meantime
one of two strawberry plants trying to produce fruit
cilantro, lettuce, pumpkin and in the verrrrry back is artichoke
kale and tomato
lettuce, marigold, cilantro, sweet basil and pepper
the sacrificed kale plant and lettuce
our biggest tomato plant
our little harvest
what garden would be complete without a little bit of pretty? angel face (purple) and climbing don juan roses
and another picture, just because they are so freaking pretty
**Keep an eye out for tomato hornworms. They get BIG and do a LOT of damage even before you can see them easily. If you notice holes forming on your leaves, do some searching-you’ll find the babies on the undersides of the leaves or on the branches of the plant. They are tiny when they are still small, it takes some time to find them. Pick them off and step on them, or they will find their way back to the plant. If you are opposed to killing them, at least relocate them to a plant on a very, very far side of your yard.
**Aphids can be controlled with ladybugs. You can purchase ladybugs at your local nursery. They will be stored there in a refrigerator, and each container likely contains hundreds. This isn’t my favorite method, since most ladybugs fly away when you release them, and even something as cute as a ladybug is creepy in such a high volume! I use a homemade spray of water, oil and blue dishwashing detergent in the morning.
**Most plants love infrequent and deep watering so that the soil will be moist at least 12″ below the surface. It’s hard to tell if the dirt is wet that low just by eyeballing it. Water probes are usually pretty cheap (about $10) and totally worth it! It will measure the moisture level to at least 10″. Also, water at soil level since watering from above encourages mildew growth.
**Flick your tomato flowers! This pollinates the flowers which leads to more tomatoes. It sounds silly, but I usually have more tomatoes on my plants than people who don’t do this! Do it in the morning when the pollen is fresh.
There’s lots to know about gardening, but I hope this little bit of info gets you motivated to start your own little crop and helps you troubleshoot some of the more common gardening problems. Happy growing!