Monday, August 31, 2009

More caterpillars!

Yes, I found 3 more caterpillars today. They seem to be everywhere. I see the droppings and the vines that have been denuded of leaves. Tomorrow I spray for white fly. It has been one week since the last spraying.

I don't like the coating they leave on the tomatoes. But it does wash off easily enough.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All is well in paradise

Didn't do too much with the garden today. I watered all the vegetables. I also cut off a lot of dead leaves and vines from the tomato plants. Seems to be a lot of dead material. I hope the plants are okay. It might just be the heat. Getting lots of radishes and peppers, especially the jalapenos. I am told they are very hot. (I don't eat jalapenos) I now have six huge platters of tomatoes. Time to make tomato sauce.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BIG Caterpillars Everywhere!

It took to the end of August, so I guess I can't complain, but I just disposed of 7 large caterpillars within the last two days. They are 3" long and 1/2" thick. Yuck! They are mostly at the top of the tomato plants where the leaves and flowers and young and soft. I still have the white flies, but I sprayed them with water and will dust spray with the DE in a few days. Meanwhile, lots of tomatoes, so many that I feel I must start making and freezing tomato sauce immediately.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The gardens are doing well. I am cutting off a lot of dead or yellowing lower leaves from the tomato plants, but that seems to happen towards the end of summer any way. I disposed of a huge caterpillar (size of my middle finger) this evening, and one not so big. I couldn't find the 3rd one, although I know he's there. I saw the droppings. Tomorrow I will find him. Also, got rid of a huge locust yesterday. He's been eating my tomato flowers and leaves.

Not as many zucchini as I usually get, but I planted them on the hillside (the earth is newer, less amended) The corn on the hill did not produce good corn on the cob. The peppers are doing well, but too many branches are so heavy with peppers that they are breaking. Next year I must support them better from the very beginning. Lots of butternut squash--lots of butternut squash--and they are so big. I will take another photo of all the vegetable, especially the tomatoes. They are my pride and joy.

Meanwhile, I will soon have cantaloupe. This is the first year I have cultivated them. No watermelon yet, even though I planted a lot of them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's so hot today! I guess the plants love it, but I don't. I will have to fill the watering can from the rain barrel. The soil looks pretty dry. Lots of tomatoes. I am sure they will all be turning red soon. I should have been counting them to see how many I get this year. Too late now!

Guess what? I still have white fly!!! I am so disappointed. I thought the diatomaceous earth would do the trick. I will try spraying again tomorrow. Is that too soon? Anonymous- you seem to be my expert. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Food for Everyone!

Gardening day again. 7 people showed up--Ginger, Marissa, Juna, Michiko, Flora, Wendi & Jason. Thank goodness I have lot of food to distribute. First off I asked Marissa to cut down the sunflowers on the hill. They are way past prime; however, we may get some sunflower seeds out of it. Then, she tied up a younger sunflower farther down the hill.
We harvested radishes, beets, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers and all the chard. Didn't plant any more chard because the squash, cucumber and cantaloupe vines don't leave any room. Next year, I will have to plant all the vine vegetables on the hillside.
Michiko & Juna harvested the sunflower seeds & also put the dried oregano in small bags-dated, of course. Jason spent all morning shredding a large cardboard box to be divided betwen my 2 compost bins. Compost always needs a balance between green & brown and not too wet, not too dry. Right now we have green & too wet. The brown shredded cardboard will help until all my leaves on my big tree turn brown & fall to the ground.
We pulled up the thyme (all dried out) and planted dill. I will have to find thyme seeds or perhaps buy a small thyme plant. So, we watered, harvested and everyone went home with huge tomatoes, zucchini (or crookneck or butternut squash), cucumbers, green bell peppers, jalapenos, radishes or beets, chard. What a good day!
Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed a piece of zucchini bread with either coffee or lemonade.

Tonight I check the tomatoes for white fly. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yeah technology & the internet

It was so easy to spray the DE on the tomatoes. The sprayer worked so well and so easily. I had to put it together, of course. Nothing comes ready to use any more--you always have to put it together. Nevertheless, it was easy. Hopefully, one problem solved. Now on the powdery mildew--it has moved from the hillside squash to the squash leaves in the raised bed.
My diatomaceous earth and dust sprayer arrived today! Yeah! I can spray for white fly tonight. Who knew DE could be so exciting. Must say something about my social life! The white fly is better anyway, since I have been force spraying the tomatoes with water since I first spotted the white fly, but this should really take care of the problem. More later!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday-rest day! I watered and enjoyed the garden. However, I did find another huge caterpillar at the very top of a tomato plant in Garden #1. He was removed and disposed of. I also cut back a lot of the squash vines and leaves in the raised bed. The squash is overtaking the garden, so I am trying to keep it in control. I also wanted to remove the leaves affected with powdery mildew. Tomorrow I will spray.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Basil, soon to be pesto!

Today was a good day! No hard work. I just picked lots of juicy red tomatoes. Then I picked basil, Italian parsley and took out the garlic I harvested last week so I could make pesto. What a great dinner! Fresh pesto with linguini and fresh slices of heirloom tomatoes. Mmm good!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Powdery Mildew

It's a l w a y s something! So said Rosanna Danna. Yes, my zucchini and crook neck squash leaves have powdery mildew. I sprayed at the first sight, but it's hard to get rid of. I just sprayed again tonight and cut off the really bad leaves. Amazingly enough, I still get a lot of good vegetables. It doesn't seem to affect them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunflower seeds!

Great Gardening Day!

6 people came to work in the gardens today: Ginger, Marissa, Juna, Flora, Jason & Raksha. It was cool and overcast the whole morning. Great for working outside. We planted spinach, radishes, Pak choi, dill. We weeded. We watered. We harvested butternut squash, tomatoes, basil zucchini, Pak choi, chard, Royal Oak Leaf lettuce. We got so much done.

About the white fly situation! I force sprayed water on the tomato plants 2 days in a row. There are less white flies. Yeah! I am still going to use the DE (diatomaceous earth) I will dry dust it on the tomatoes.

This is a tomato???

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take that, white flies!

Unfortunately I still have white flies, but thanks to anonymous, I may have a cure. I just ordered diatomaceous earth. The white flies eat it and the sharp edges of the shells, cut them up and dry them out. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Survival of the fittest. Meanwhile, the good bugs live.

While I am waiting for the diatomaceous earth to arrive, I force sprayed the heck out of the tomato plants with water. So many white flies in the air!

New project--teaching people about sustainable agriculture. Just finished helping Melissa set up her first organic herb garden. We bought established plants-basil, sage, rosemary, lavendar, parsley and repotted them all in organic potting soil. Fed them with Super Thrive ( a vitamin booster, makes the plants grow like crazy) She placed them on her balcony. Good luck Melissa!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Attack of the white fly!

One would never guess that I spent all that time yesterday spraying my tomato plants to get rid of the white fly. They are there in great numbers. I hung yellow sticky paper on each plant to hopefully catch some of the little guys. Let's see tomorrow. I think I have to buy more lace wing eggs. Someone anonymous suggested lady bugs, but I read that they are only good for aphids. I am not seeing too much of those.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I decided I had to spray the tomato plants with Oil Away Supreme which is a cottonseed oil spray. The white flies and aphids are going crazy. So far they haven't affected the tomato plants, but it only a matter of time. I filled up the backpack sprayer and sprayed away. I will check tomorrow. Hopefully things will be better. I plan on putting the sticky paper up tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not too much to do today except water and look for new insect infestations. I think I have to use the Oil Spray on the tomatoes tomorrow. The lace wings are not doing their job. I think they have eaten themselves (they are cannibalistic) instead of the aphids and white flies. My luck!

Better also keep checking on caterpillars. I think I found more droppings on one of my 8' tomato plants.

Friday, August 14, 2009

new images

Linda Kunik

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project


Up until today I have found only one caterpillar in the garden. It was on the hillside garden. Not too big.

Then, today, I was again working on the hillside with one of the tomato plants and I started to notice huge droppings on the leaves and on one of the tomatoes. I started looking around, but to no avail. Just as I was about to give up, I looked up, and there he was on the very top of the vine, six feet up. The largest caterpillar I have ever found in my five years of gardening. He was the size of my middle finger and did not want to let go of the vine. Yuck! I hate pulling caterpillars off the vine and then having to kill them, but what is a gardener to do. They eat the leaves and flowers of your tomato plants. It's either them or me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday-Not too much to do today since all my artist gardeners came yesterday. They mixed in compost, planted sunflower seeds and white radish seeds. My problem now is white fly. My neighbor has an infestation on one of the trees and the white flies have found my tomatoes. I sprayed a cottonseed oil on the plants twice already in the last 5 weeks. Then I ordered lacewing eggs. The eggs are supposed to hatch and become larvae that eat the white fly. Well, I don't think they are doing their job. I also bought yellow sticky paper. So far I have caught 2 white flies. I am afraid to use too much sticky paper because I might catch the lace wings too. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harvest & Eat

The barbecue last Saturday was a great success. 14 people came to work in the garden and harvest the vegetables while Ofunne deejayed. After we picked all the vegetables we prepared a delicious dinner which included: grilled zucchini spears, butternut squash sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt, raisins and cranberries, tomato with basil and mozzarella with an oil and balsamic vinegar spalsh, an arugula salad with green onions, white radishes, Beefsteak tomatoes cut in wedges, pine nuts and a delicious Italian dressing. I prepared teriyaki flank steak and Tuscan chicken with rosemary (from the garden). Others brought rice, quinoa, potato salad, home baked apple pie and home baked blueberry crisp. Of course, we had wine, beer, lemonade. A veritable feast. All vegetables came from the gardens.