Saturday, June 18, 2011

So Many Bugs!!

Yes, there are tons of bugs in my garden, some good, some bad. I've noticed a bunch of small praying mantises hanging around. I know these are good bugs, since they eat bad bugs, but they are sooooo freaky looking! They totally freak me out. One molted in one of my okra containers, and the exoskeleton is even weird to look at. I hope they don't get too big, because then they'll be even freakier.

I noticed some bugs clmbing out of my compost the other day. At first I thought to myself "wow, I need to get rid of this compost if these weird bugs are climbing out of them". I did some reserch, and discovered that these bugs were really soldier fly larvae. It turns out that these are actually GOOD for the compost, as they help decompose the food waste. The soldier fly lays eggs near a food source (the compost) and when the lave hatch they munch on the food source. Then, when they are ready to become pupae and become adult flies, they climb out of the compost bin. In the evenings, when I can remember, I remove the lid of the compose so they can go be free to become adult flies.

The bad bugs include these little white flies hanging around my kale. I'm going to try spraying this organic pesticide, but I don't want to hurt the praying mantises. Tiny flies are also infesting the corn.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blossom End Rot!

I thought my tomato plants were doing so well, but it turns out they have a problem! Some of the tomatoes are getting something called "blossom end rot", which means the bottoms of the tomatoes are rotting. I was pretty disappointed when I discovered this. Not all the tomatoes have it yet. I'm still hoping to get some lovely fruits from these plants.

So what causes blossom end rot anyway? I did some research, and it looks like extreme heat can do it, and lack of fertilizer. I don't think I've been fertilizing properly, so I gave each plant some food. I hope that will solve the problem!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer is Here!

So it's getting pretty hot here in Phoenix AZ, and the planting season is long over. My garden has experienced a few setbacks. First, caerpillars have been eating my gorgeous pea plants. I tried using some organic spray on them, but I'm not sure it worked. I think they are gone now though. They were also in my parsley and kale, which was really annoying. Next time I notice caterpillar activity, I'm going to get a fungus that kills them and sprinkle it on the plants.

My pea plants are kinda recovering. I don't think I'll use hanging baskets for peas in the future, I think instead I'll plant in a 4-5 gallon pot with some polls for them to climb.

The corn plants are making corn! I didn't think it would happen, but I see two ears growing! I'm not sure I'll do corn again, but I'm glad I'm getting something from my current plants.

My tomato plants are getting really big! I can't believe they were started as seeds. For awhile they were dropping all their flowers which was very frustrating. I moved them to be more in the shad and started shaking their cages to help with pollination. Now I see at least three baby tomatoes growing! I'm really excited, I hope I get lots of tomatoes.

I planted some kale maybe 8 weeks ago, and it seems to be doing OK despite the hot weather. These plants are in full shade.

I bought a jalapeno plant and kept it in the shade and watered it everyday, and it's growing but it dropped the flowers it had made. I thought maybe it was getting over watered or it needed more sun. I put it in the sun for a day, and it was SO droopy by the end. I watered it and moved it to partial shade. I hope I can get it to produce, I buy jalapenos from the store quite often and would love to get them from my garden instead.

Since it's getting too hot for most vegetable plants, I've decided to try focusing on planting herbs for the rest of the summer. I planted some basil and I bought a parsley plant. I figure it will be easy to move them inside if they get too hot. I'll probably start some more herb seeds indoors.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tomato Plants Getting Big!

My tomato plants are growing really fast! And little yellow flowers are starting to appear! I'm really excited about the progress of these plants. I need to move them into bigger containers. I read that a 5 gallon container is the minimum size for tomatoes. I went to Home Depot to find some 5 gallon nursery pots, but they only had 7 gallon and they cost around $8 a piece. I thought that was way too expensive since I need six of them. I ended up ordering some containers online. I hope my tomato plants won't mind their tight quarters for a few more days.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Window Garden

I've been making the most out of the space around my window that overlooks my patio. It is getting hot here in Phoenix, and I'm finding that many plants prefer the shade since the sun is so string. First, I bought a parsley plant and a jalapeno plant from home depot last week because parsley comes in handy when cooking, and my jalapeno plants that I tried growing from seed didn't make it. I am hoping that the jalapeno plant produces!

Second, I decided to plant a window box with kale. I did some research, and it looks like kale plants prefer colder climates, so we'll see how it does now that it's getting hot. I'm hoping that by keeping it in the shade, it will grow better.

The third thing I did was move my hanging pea plants some hooks over the window. Here they have shade almost all day. I think the pea plants are doing much better now that they are out of the harsh sun. I've already gotten some peas from them, and it looks like they are still blossoming. I've decided to freeze the peas I harvest until I have enough to make something with them, since I've only been collecting 4-6 pods every few days.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Small Harvest!

So I read that when produce becomes ripe on the plants, it's best to pick them right away. So I decided to go ahead and pick the green beans and peas that looked ready. I only got a handful of veggies. Of course, the plants are still producing, so I'm hoping for more later. Since my harvest was so meager, I just lightly cooked everything and made a very small veggie salad :). It's a start I suppose...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Potted Mini Roses

I bought some mini rose bushed in February from my grocery store (Fresh and Easy). They are so beautiful and I think they were on sale for $2 or something. I've tried keeping mini rose bushes before in the house, and they always died. Once I put one out on the patio in a pot, but I forgot to water it regularly, and it died too.

This time, I re-potted the plants and put them by my front door, were they get full sun. I've given them some rose food once. The plant in the photo is doing great, look at those gorgeous blooms! The other plant is doing ok, but it's looking a bit yellow and there are just a few buds on it right now.

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