July 23, 2010

Very tall now!

The mainland jungle!

Potatoes planted in dirt are winning the race.

Not working out so well in seaweed.

Sunflowers are about 5ft tall. The aphids are almost gone.

The basil has plumped up nicely. We have had 2 pesto dinners so far. Many more to come.

Loads of green tomatoes. I can't wait to see the different colors!

The peas are prolific!

My tomatillos are growing!

July 6, 2010


I have aphids.

I think I have ALL the aphids.

I have red ones, black ones, green ones, little teeny white ones, and probably ones I haven't found yet.

I used my resources to try and find the best way to deal with the aphids.

Step 1: Spray them away with water - Works for green/white aphids. Black/Red just laugh

Step 2: Squish the little buggers - Works for all aphid types, but is time consuming. Are you really going to
turn over every leaf?

Step 3: Spray the leaves with Soapy water: Did not work for me, at all.

Step 4: Spray the leaves with a garlic/onion/water mixture: Worked at keeping the green/red aphids at an acceptable level, but did not phase the black aphids.

Step 5: Buy aphid lions. Yes, aphid lions. Those would be lady bug larvae. They eat between 600-1200 aphids and are a sure thing.

Step 6: Buy cloth netting to keep the robins and other birds from eating your lady bugs before they even have a chance to lay down some aphid lions. SERIOUSLY.

I made it all the way to step 6. I left loads of ladybugs out there under the cloth that covered the biggest infestation which was in the beets. I uncovered it today, expecting to see some beautiful aphid free beet greens. I instead found more aphids than ever. I did find 5 or 6 ladybugs, but they were just lounging around, having a good old time with their new friends, the aphids.

I was heartbroken. The beets were really starting to look terrible, a lot of withered leaves, all of the new growth was a black/grey color (completely covered in aphids). I was left with few options. I could try to fight these pesky bugs, and risk them spreading to the other plants or I could take up the small patch of beets that I had, and compost them. I chose the latter. We are not big on beets, and the sunflowers are already covered in those black aphids. I didn't want them to go further. The sunflowers have a good population of ladybugs on them, so Im sure they are laying eggs which should hatch soon.

Im happy we get our first CSA box tomorrow. At least someone knows how to grow food properly.

July 3, 2010

Still amazed by this tomato plant, its growing like mad every time I blink my eyes.

Ok, so I noted my beets weren't doing so well. They got to a certain point and then seem to have stalled. Not sure if this is regular 'beet-ness' but today I happened to pull back the tops and looked inside... What a heart wrenching site. Aphids. Not just one or two, but giant black clumps all down the stems. I have never seen so many black aphids before. I thought I had trouble on the sun flowers, the beets are 1000x worse. I actually thought about how much worse I would feel if this was my only source of food.

Here are those little monsters.

Ughh, I can't believe it!!! And this was the least populated leaf I found.

The first sunflower plant I planted has bloomed, but all those little back specs you see are aphids IN the flower. !!!

The tomato plants have the regular green aphids. But somehow they seem to be less annoying. they aren't on every leaf, only a few, and when I spray them away with water, or squish them, I don't find 10x as many the next day, unlike those pesky black aphids.

One of the solutions I'm hoping will work. I bought 1000 lady bugs from halifax seed. Says to release a few per night and keep the rest in the fridge. I put a few out tonight with a little helper and they seemed to start munching away right away. They lay larvae pretty quickly and those things eat between 600-1200 aphids over their larvae stage.

Wetting the plants down before releasing the ladybugs. (note the pyjamas)

Lady bug in action. Only one flew away.

So far the garden has been a bit discouraging. I know why people invented pesticides. Its a BIG problem if you put in all this work to feed yourself/ your family and you find its been eaten by some bug. The problem of course is that by using those pesticides you make your food potentially harmful to your family. What a vicious circle.