The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of  Gardening!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Gardening!

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Hey, hey!

It’s been a little over a month since my first garden post and boy have there been some changes; both good and bad. 

I’ve become slightly obsessed with my garden. I say the word garden or tomatoes at least 10 times a day. Robert teases me and says “Will I have to hear the word garden and tomato every day for the rest of my life?” And I’m like “Umm yeah, man.” I’ve now got Micah on the garden bandwagon; he runs around saying garden and loves to help water it and watch me work.

Micah helping in the garden

The good

I have seven tomato plants y’all! My Better Bush Tomatoes are flourishing, and I couldn’t be happier. The tomatoes and mint have by far been the easiest to maintain. I really don’t have to do anything but water them twice a day and they just keep on growing, and growing, and growing. 

Here is a video and some photos of my first time pruning the mint. This video was taken just 3 weeks after planting.

The Red Leaf Lettuce has been another plant that has done exceptionally well with very little maintenance. I watched a few youtube videos to learn how to prune lettuce, and a technique called the cut and come again method came up several times. You only prune the outer leaves, leaving the center of the plant intact. This way it continues to grow and create new heads, which results in a continuous harvest. In a few more weeks, when my lettuce is ready, I’ll try harvesting with the cut and grow method. The link to the youtube video I watched is here.

The Orange Swiss Chard and Romaine are doing okay, not really much to report there. 

The Italian Oregano, Italian Parsley, Lemon Thyme, Sage, and Dill are all growing at a steady rate and are looking healthy.

The spearmint and what I think is a hosta plant is growing faster than expected and both look and smell amazing. I am not sure what kind of plant it is because I pulled it from my front yard, but I’m just going to wait and see if anything pops up!  I will eventually move them to a drained pot, so they have more room to grow. Since we are still social distancing, I haven’t been able to make any trips to Home Depot.

The bad

Slug in the garden

Slugs, slugs, and more slugs! Oh, and snails and I think Japanese beetles too. Sigh.

My poor sweet basil has been going through some really tough times. I am noticing holes continuously showing up in the leaves, and now they are starting to turn yellow. There is still some new growth popping up, but it seems like every day I am pinching off more and more leaves that have holes. 

I purchased food grade diatomaceous earth which is a non-toxic way to control pests and insects in the garden. I sprinkled it on the plants about 2 ½ weeks after planting, and it helped get rid of most of the slugs. However, I noticed shortly after the treatment, the leaves had even more holes than before. Obviously, something else other than slugs is getting to them and I am determined to figure it out! 

So then I tried laying a beer can on its side letting some beer seep into the soil. I read that the yeast will attract the slugs, and I am happy to report that this method did work! Finally some relief for my sweet basil! I left it in the garden for a day or so, and once I cut open the can there were several slugs in it. Yucky!

Close up of Cilantro

Also, my cilantro has bolted, which means it flowered early. This happens to cilantro plants because of too much heat. Cilantro grows best in shady areas and with this Texas heat, I guess I can’t be too surprised this happened. Next time, I will plant it indoors or in a drained pot placed in a more shady area of my backyard. 

Did you know coriander seeds are from a cilantro plant? After consulting with good ‘ole google, I read it was best to leave the flowers and wait for them to turn to seed. Once they turn to seed, I can pick them, grind them, and create my own coriander powder.

Hoping for better luck with the cilantro next year.

The Ugly

Slugs, snails, and beetles can really wreak havoc on a garden! All of these pesky bugs and insects are frustrating, but from what I have read, they are very common problems for a garden to have.

I mentioned wanting to learn about fertilizer and compost in my first post. Since my soil is healthy, I decided to skip the fertilization and use an all-purpose plant food instead. The plant food will add extra nutrients to the soil.

Herbs in a Garden
Lettuce in a garden

I’ve done some research on composting and there’s a slew of different methods out there. Compost is considered liquid gold to gardeners. It is composed of twigs, leaves, and kitchen scraps. The benefit of using compost is that when it is mixed into the soil it helps improve plant health and growth. I’ve already planted and have my harvest established, so I’ll probably wait until next season to compost. 

I’m hoping by my next update I’ll be able to share photos of my bright red juicy tomatoes!

See you, next month friends.

XoXo,

Jacqueline



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