Sunday, August 9, 2009

Garden Progress (or lack there of)

Black Mission Fig

This being my first year I feel like I'm working with only the troubleshooting garden handbook. I've gotten every kind of issue out there; aphids, snails, assassin beetles, ants, shield beetles, floods, drouts, no germination, lack of polinization and fertilization. So far this entire season I've harvested a pint of cherry tomatoes, about 2tbs dried of basil leaves and dill leaves and that's it. Out of a garden that had cherry tomatoes, a corn stalk (yes, just one), sage, basil, dill, butternut squash, lavender, fig, red and yellow peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini and lettuces. And seeds that included those plus yellow squash, carrots, beefstake tomatoes, watermellon and cantelope that never even sprouted.

New growth on the tomato vines

A very tiny cucumber

We started the garden using 18 gallon plastic totes we found on sale, pond baskets and pvc pipe to make our own "earth boxes" with organic soil. These boxes work out great except the aphids and ants had a great time in the wonderfully rich soil. Trying to stay organic I used a lot of methods to get the buggers out of there but ultimately had to turn to orange oil based insecticide and bio-chemical based ant granules. Like I said, it's a learning process!

Momma and baby Aloe

If I've learned anything this year it's not to give up. And tried to learn from my mistakes. The season isn't over yet. Here in Florida we'll be going strong for a few more months. The peppers look promising and the basil is growing strong. I have three small 1" or so cukes that I'm holding out hope for and blooms and blooms of butternut squash I'm waiting for just one of those babies to go to fruit. The fig is progressing with foliage and new blooms and tiny cherry tomatoes are making a comeback for a second harvest this season.

Thriving Basil

After dousing the tomato plants with the orange oil based insecticide which really didn't do much unless you drown them in it (in which case, just about anything would have worked, drowning is drowing) a beautiful silver frog moved into the vines and magically, after watching a very plump looking froggie for a few days) the assassin beetles disapeared. Then I couldnt' find the froggie anymore and a few days later, I found this teeny guy hanging out on a leaf. Less than half the size of the other, I'm thinking she left me a baby to plump up on my butternut squash.

Baby Froggie visiting my garden

Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

Overall, this gardening season has been a little disheartening. I have learned lots of information. One of my very favorite sites is The people there are just a well of great advice and experience. It really encourages me to see more experienced farmers and gardeners,both urban and rural, sharing their stories. The site isn't mainly gardening, but all facets of homesteading. Be sure to check it out!

Butternut Squash Blossoms

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