Friday, May 20, 2011

Of Tomatoes and their Worms

The first cherry tomato is showing it's true colors. I'm actually surprised the tomato plants are doing any producing. Our weather has been not the best growing weather for those hot weather loving veggies like tomatoes and squash. While the plants are growing and blooming, we haven't had much fruit form. It still feels like winter around here and certainly not spring! Considering it was snowing in Mammoth 2 days ago, I think this is just one of those odd weather years. Come on out, Sunshine! My garden needs you.

We've also go one pepper struggling to be the first pepper of the year.

And a sugar snap pea!

The slow growth has also been "enhanced" by hungry beasties. I suspect tomato worms cause this bit of damage (although I haven't seen one yet (thank goodness).

So, along with other natural pest prevention, I got out the food-grade Diatomaceous earth. DE is the fossilized remains of diotoms. The fossils are made into a fine powder that has microscopic sharp edges. The DE scratches the outer layer of an insect's body and causes them to dehydrate and die. It doesn't sound like a fun way to die! So far, it is the only thing I have found that is both organic and edible - and works. I've been using it as a flea treatment on the cats for a while now and it works great - although it does take time to work.

I also got six more tomato plants from my next door neighbor. Karl has started them from seed but can't be digging in the dirt at the moment - Doctor's orders. So, he gave them to me, along with some greens, to add to the Urb-Garden. We may have to build another box or move the decomposed granite to the parkway and turn that area into tomato heaven.

That will be next week's heavy labor. Maybe I should actually be wishing for more cool weather for another week or two!

I'm off to make the world's tiniest salad with my bounty!

Until next time!

Monday, May 9, 2011

We Have Potato Sprouts!

If you look closely at this picture right in the center you'll see a bit of purple. Those are the first signs of the All Blue potatoes peeking out. The other two potatoes haven't appeared yet, but we have high hopes that they will follow in the blue siblings footsteps..

Keeping Snails, Slugs and Other Slimy Creatures Out of the Garden.

This is an idea that we got from Mother Earth News. Buy 80 grit Drywall Sandpaper at your local hardware store. It comes in 4"x11 sheets. Cut the sheets in 1/2 lengthwise (which we discovered is easy to do if you just fold a sheet.) Staplegun the strips of sandpaper to the top edge of the bed. Use stainless staples (if you can find them). Overlap the sheets and don't leave any gaps. We bought a package of 25 for 4-4x4 beds. Snails and slugs won't crawl over the sandpaper to get to the green goodness growing in the beds. The application of sandpaper should last for a couple of years.

We have also been using crushed egg shells to prevent slugs and snails, although they don't last quite as long. However, they decompuse and add extra nutrients to the soil. So, save your eff shells, wash them out, microwave them for about a minute to kill the bacteria, then crush them up and sprinkle around the edges of your raised bed.

Finally, our new fence/gate is done! (Well, it's built, but not painted yet). It is so nice to have an operable fence once again! One weekend soon, we're going to have to paint it though. My neighbor, Jayna, took the old wood and is going to use it for some beds in her yard, so we had virtually no trash from this project.

Next up - the new compost pile, making compose tea and trying worms again.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Of Seats, Sprouts and Fences

The garden is coming along nicely and we're getting our first bits of produce forming. During the week, Amy and I "built" a little seating area under one of the awnings. There is room for 2 vintage folding chairs that Amy found at a garage sale, a tiny folding table I had in the back yard and a dog bed for the pups. We put down some leftover plastic, covered it with mulch, added some old step stones that used to be near the driveway and - Voila! It's a perfect place to relax.

Today it was time for the old, termite-ridden gate to come down and a new redwood fence and gate to be put in it's place. Our friends Brendan and Cynthia came over and Chris and Brendan became tool-type guys . The got a great portion of it done before dark and should be finished tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get some good shots of the masterpiece tomorrow. It will be painted green at some point, which is the color I want to paint the trim when we get to that project.

Chris and Brendan hard at work

The old fence. Termites had definitely had their way with it.

We haven't gotten any potatoes sprouting yet. I'm not sure what the gestation period is for these guys, but I hope I see some green soon. All of the other seeds we planted are sprouting and we've got little tomatoes and peppers forming. I haven't found anything but snails in the garden yet, but something is eating the tomato plant leaves. It may be time for and application of Diatomaceous Earth.

We will also be installing a little trick to repeal snails and slugs. More on that next time.