Monday, June 25, 2007

Mistress Mary, quite contrary... does your garden grow?

I know you were all wondering. The garden is actually the contrary one at present, so I gave it some extra attention today, with frequent consultations of my gardening book. It doesn't seem like gardening is something one should learn from a book but one manages as best one can. I'm already thinking about what to try next year.

The daylilies had stopped producing, quite early in the season, so I dug them up and replanted them on the side of the yard. They may not survive it, but they weren't doing any good in the pot and the squash and pepper plants can use some extra room. I stuck a few more green bean seeds in the empty spot, though; they take less space than the lilies.

The lemon basil had gone almost entirely to flower and seed, despite being repeatedly pinched off, so I cut it back almost to a single stem to see if it will regrow. A few of the trimmings will go in tonight's green curry (with eggplant, red pepper, and green beans) and the rest will infuse a sugar syrup for herbal lemonade.

The cucumber and squash plants seem to have an aphid problem. They are crawling with ants, which is supposed to be a warning sign, but I haven't been able to spot more than a few of the pesky little varmints. So far I'm trying kitchen remedies; I don't want to use chemical pesticides and the organic garden center is too far away for a quick dash, so I'm removing them by hand and spraying with homemade insecticidal soap (Dr. Bronner's castile soap and water) and monitoring. Despite the bugs, the cucumber has just started producing a gratifying number of tiny knobbly cukes.

The squash, however, is not well at all. It has white and yellow blotches all over the leaves, and the one tiny hint of an actual squash has turned brown and shrivelled up. I suspect some sort of mildew and have just removed the worst leaves and sprayed with baking soda-water, at the book's suggestion.

I also had to cut off the first pepper, because it had some sort of rot and I didn't want it to spread. Fortunately the second one is growing fine so far. Also the tomatoes look fine; the little green ones are now big green ones, and the vines are taking off.

Any advice is welcome!


Brianna said...

I'm no gardener, but my mom is, so I'll just pass on something she says constantly. You probably already know this, but herbs should be put in as poor of soil as possible and then promptly neglected. They do not grow as well or taste and flavorful if taken good care of.

(I should grow an herb garden, come to think of it. Sounds like it would be right up my alley. *wry look*)

Michaela said...

must be...i planted some peppermint three years ago, promptly forgot about it, and now it's all over the yard.