Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adventures in Gardening!

Since I was a little girl, I've wanted to grow a nice sized garden. Unfortunately, I never lived in a place where a regular garden was feasible. I got to grow up with friends who lived on farms and I lived vicariously through their efforts in gardening.

As an adult, with each year passing, I kept saying, "Well next year will be different!" I mean while in college who cared, right?! I was just busy getting my essays done on time. After college, I felt the urge to garden again but with a deck and no yard it wasn't possible. But this past year I was determined to have a garden. Thanks to the new "green movement" there is all kinds of options for container gardens.

I decided like a fool, that not only would I have my first container garden, I would also be a organic gardener! This meant no harmful pesticides. This is a huge project for someone who has no gardening experience or ideas or how to keep pests away.

So off I went! I grabbed some tomato plants at a local garden center, some potato seeds, and bunch of seed packets to start on my adventure. I planted my potatoes in these great new biodegradable, Potato Grow Bag.  I bought used pots at a flea market. While there, I saw a lady selling bell peppers among other things. I added the bell peppers to my already crammed deck.

I was late to plant my cold weather plants like peas and potatoes. And I refused to weed out my lettuce. I picked tomato plants that grow so big, they regularly get to be 10-15 feet tall in a regular garden. I wanted these tomatoes because they give off some many tomatoes and they are little. I thought, "I can handle them!"

Oh and that nice little bell pepper plant, it gave my garden aphids! It didn't take long for my late peas, over-crowded potatoes and lettuce to attract those nasty aphids. (Never buy plants at a flea market :-P)
Soon my too huge tomato plants were harvesting a nice friend too, spider mites. I had caught a few spiders in the house; no doubt because of the huge behemoths just steps outside my back door. Late I night I would cringe, thinking of how big these tomato plants would get and the horrendous spiders they would bring.

 After some research, I discovered a great natural product that would help my garden. DE or Diatomaceous Earth, a crumbled rock silt that kills bugs naturally. So I bought a bag. I sprayed all the leaves and with a hand held water bottle. By hand I stuck the powdery DE onto the wet leaf. DE is completely harmless but it is so fine that you can not breathe it in because it can harm the lungs; So here I was with a mask on in the hot sun covered with white powder, applying DE to each leaf on every plant. I can't imagine what the neighbors must of thought! By the time I was done, there was DE powder all over my deck. It looked like a white snow storm in the middle of summer. It was on the sliding glass doors, the ground and everywhere in between! My mom stopped by and looked out the door in horror. There was really nothing I could do. The DE had settled and wasn't going anywhere. I had a tarp down so none of it blew onto the neighbors.

After I got over the DE debacle, I realized I was losing the war with the aphids. Amazingly, though, the spiders stopped coming in the house. This was a nice side effect. (I know, I know spiders are great for the garden but I hate them!)

Well after the aphids pretty much had a feast for the whole summer, I was left with some produce and a great learning experience. I had more tomatoes than I could eat and hey some potatoes ;-)

So I am off again to do another container garden!

1 comment:

Xenia said...

Every year I say that I'm going to start a garden as well... but after reading this, I think I'm going to go with just one tomato plant. A little one. And we'll see how it goes from there! Reading about those spiders coming into your house was making my skin crawl...