Friday, June 20, 2008

My Garden Part 3

Hi everyone, it's time for another garden update. Click on the pictures for bigger images.

For the past few days it's been raining pretty good, yet my heirloom plants in my new unestablished (or poor quality) soil are still growing extremely slow. But they aren't dead.

My guess is that they won't do much this time around until I can get enough compost in the soil.

As you can see my yellow watermelon is growing out of control.
But where are the bananas this year?

I've dug up my garlic, and jarred many of my red beans,I've also manage to create a couple jars of pickles so far.

So far I've received two nice big tomatoes, (and two nice big horn worms) and you can see another getting ready to turn red. The first one the birds ate, so my 10 year old helped me to create a scarecrow. I hope it works.

I'm getting ready to add a bit more compost to the new boxes in hopes to have a healthy happy fall garden.
I'll keep you posted.


Menopausal Mick said...

Hi there...sorry my comment on this is a bit late.

One idea for easy improvement of soil quality....worm farm. Easily accomplished in an urban setting, a worm farm will provide you with organic soil fertilizer and soil conditioner and has the added benefit of the worms composting much of your kitchen trash.

more info can be found in this old post: or any search on vermicompost will likely provide you with numerous references on how to do this.

You don't have to buy the expensive worms listed in some of the sites mentioned. A few containers of fishing worms will do just fine. Red Wigglers, if you can find them.

You don't have to buy the expensive containers for the worm farms either. Some experimenting with various plastic tubs and the like will quickly provide you with an inexpensive housing arrangement for the earthworms. As long as they are well fed and watered, they will happily compost for you and leave you lovely castings in a homemade and cost efficient environment.

On another gardening subject: I recently learned from some Ozark MTN. organic farmers that a great scarecrow for the garden is rubber life-like snakes...particularly darkly colored ones and then paint glow-in-the-dark green eyes on the snakes. Very cool tip. I have been racing to the berry bushes every morning in an effort to get the day's ripening berries before the birds get all of them. I don't mind sharing with the birds but they don't seem to share my sentiments on this whole share the crop thing. If I'm not out there very early in the morning, the birds have picked the day's crop clean.

Menopausal Mick

that girl boo said...

Thank You Mick, information this valuable is never to late. When I first learned of worm casting I hastily drove to my nearest home garden center to purchase a jar, but when I arrived the price tag stopped me in my tracts. So I began looking for what I was hoping to be the next best thing which were the actual worms.

So a few months ago I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a container of fishing worms. These worms were the fattest, slowest worms I had ever seen, I mean really if there is such a thing as obese worms then I guess I had purchase them, so I hope that they did something besides die. Thank You for the link I will check it out.

PS. Good luck with your berries, I 100% know what your going through, but honestly the ole scare crow is doing it's job so I think I'll make another one near the grape vine.

Menopausal Mick said...

Miss Boo, are you the person that DP said might be interested in learning how to do aquaponics in an urban setting? If so, we can talk about it here if you like...if not, I'll email the links for him to forward.

I left another comment for you but as usual, I didn't notice the date of your original posting. It was back in April. Just a few tips. Sorry I put the comment on such an old post.

If you have any questions about organic gardening, please feel free to ask here or in email. I'm no expert but I have been involved with raising much of our food organically for a very long time...and I love talking about the subject. I especially love talking to people who have recently caught the organic gardening bug. For me, it's an artform. All things in balance and then watch nature's magic. I find great joy in it.

Happy green thumb, darlin'


Anonymous said...

Make sure you are not growing tomatoes that are harvesting salmonella sis; ya know how some folks are scared to eat tomatoes because of 'Tha Man's' propaganda. SMH!

that girl boo said...

Aquaponics sounds so wonderful DP told me about it and I can't contain my excitement, so please let's do exchange email addresses I would love to know about this system. Right now I have a bunch of flowers on my tomato plants but they're just falling off, or not doing anything, so I'm ready for the worms, but I wonder if there is an alternative to the pricey membership fee and the containers. Twenty five dollars for the worms I can explain away, but I'm not sure if I could get away with the other two ha ha ha but you know I would if I could.

that girl boo said...

@ Marcus, Thank You Marcus for lookin out, right now I'm so careful that I only have one tomato, ha ha ha, no all jokes a side I believe that it's a shame what has happen not only theses tomato's but all of our fresh produce. We have to be very careful when purchasing EVERYTHING, especially all of our berries, bugs won't eat the produce after it's been sprayed yet the gov feeds it to us.
I would like to think our gov is smarter then a bug.

Menopausal Mick said...

Miss Boo,

Flowers dropping off before fruit forms is caused by one or all of three main possibilities. Here's a quick reference link for some answers:

My guess would be available nitrogen. Or it is now too hot in your area and you can probably expect your next harvest towards the fall.

You can help pollination by taking one of those fluffy make-up brushes (clean and never used) and briefly/gently brushing the flowers. The brush will pick up pollen and leave a bit on the next flower.

Tomato pollination is mainly facilitated by wind, so you can gently shake the plant and pollen will be released into a breeze.

As for worm farms. When we first started, we read everything we could find on how to accomplish a worm farm for a small operation. You absolutely do NOT have to buy anyone's kit or even any specialty and expensive worms.

Although I usually am thrilled to find earthworms in the mix when I turn the soil in the garden because it indicates to me that the soil is healthy and biologically active...I would not directly add the worms to the garden soil until it is much healtheir than your post indicated the soil to be at this point in time. With no other food possible, the worms will move on to healthier territory and/or eat the roots of certain plants.

So, I feel the best way to have worm castings benefit soil quality is thru the use of a worm farm container where you can harvest the castings separate from the worms.

An inexpensive way to learn to be a worm farmer:

Buy a couple of plastic or stainless steel tubs. Garage sales or thrift stores or feed stores are a cheap source of this.

Buy or obtain several forty pound bags of organic soil.

Dump the soil into the containers.
Dump fishing worms on top of the soil.
Put stale bread or vegetable refuse from the kitchen on top of the soil.
Put a piece of plywood over the top of the container...or a fine mesh screen...or anything that will keep critters and bugs out of the container.

Make sure the container is not air-tight.

Make sure the soil is neither too wet nor too dry...(some experimentation will teach you how to spot this on sight)

Replace food and water as necessary. Worms will eat a great assortment of things. Keep it simple at first. Plain paper with no color print... vegetable refuse from your kitchen. Stale bread.

Eventually, you may decide to buy the expensive earthworms for more productivity but do it after you have managed to beat the learning curve with cheap fishing worms that you manage to keep alive and healthy.

When the soil content of the container begins to rise from the addition of worm castings...gently remove a section of the soil and place it on a screen where the soil can fall thru and the worms will remain on the screen. Use the harvested soil in your garden mix and return the worms left on the screen back to the container.

As for aquaponics, I think it is one solution to organic farming in a world where water supplies and the need to produce greater food quantities often conflict. It works when one is able to recreate a balance that happens in the natural world within a small self-contained symbiotic ecosystem.

I can be reached at Phukkoff is pronounced "Few Cough". I am sometimes asthmatic...really! That's the name of the site..Few Cough. heh


Menopausal Mick said...

Miss Boo! Check out what I found! Even better instructions on starting a worm farm.

Search on Red Wigglers produced this: