Gardening has it’s ups…and downs

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There is something wrong with my tomatoes!

The one in the picture above looks pretty mild compared to some of the other beefsteak tomatoes.  Several of them have had really deep, dark, and dry-looking grooves on the tops and they also have holes in them, some small and some large.  However, the leaves are pretty much in tact.  I think it might be the case of a worm (tomato worm, horn worm, pin worm) which means I have to go out there and have a closer look.   This is the part that I DO NOT like about gardening.  Creepy crawlies?! And especially WORMS?!  Oh, dear!

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I was hoping I could snap a clearer picture, but I had to be fast before something landed on me.

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I’m also getting powdery mildew on the leaves of my squash plants.  The fruit itself is fine, but the leaves have this unpleasant look about them.  This condition has affected the zucchini (also infected by stem borer pests), the cucumber plant, and now the butternut squash.

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Plants get sick, too!  Looks like I need to find out the cure for these ailments.

– Nizzy

Gardening has it’s ups…and downs

Tell ’em Why You Mad, Son!

This is my second year for gardening. Last year was really successful! The green beans were delicious, the tomatoes were poppin’, and I had tons of jalapeno to freeze. It was work, but rewarding work, so I’m back at it again this year.

But those strawberries…

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A few weeks ago I noticed that the strawberry patch had quite a few flowers and little green berries budding. I got happy. Hey! More strawberries for me! Much more than the two that I ate last year.  I popped off a couple that were ripe and went on about my business.

Then the animals came.

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Red berries, Half ripened berries, tiny green berries, many of them GONE.  So I got me a piece of chicken wire and I wrapped that fruit up tight.

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Or so I thought. 

The next day even more berries were gone.  I don’t know if it’s the birds or the squirrels, or something else, but I’m mad now.  Those are MY berries. 

I reduced myself to eating a half-ripened berry this morning just to ensure that I got to it before the animals did.  Now, that’s desperation.  I’ve been back and forth several times with myself about on giving up on those berries.  Nu uh!  They can’t have ’em.  Not today!

I’m plotting to get 1/4 in plastic fencing and I’m going to wrap that fruit up so tight that even I will struggle to get to them.  Anything to keep away those berry stealing creatures.

Thank goodness we don’t have deer!

 -Nizzy

 

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Gardening 2013

I recently read a post over at thethingaboutjoan about her planting tulips and that inspired me to blog about my gardening experience so far.  I really don’t have the gift  but I’m trying really hard to slowly turn this brown thumb at least a light shade of green.  My first experience with growing anything was strawberry seeds from a kit. I forgot all about that plant and accidentally knocked it over.  I didn’t even realize it until a week later.  Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive in starting an edible garden of my own.

Ummmm, first off, Gardening is a lot of dang work!  And it’s taking away my precious crafting time!  It’s said that gardening is rewarding and I’ll get food out of this if everything goes well, but I’m not feeling the meditative and calming vibes just yet!

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A friend and I decided to get into gardening together (me in my backyard, her on her apartment balcony) and we started early by planting the seeds indoors.  We planted oregano, cilantro, jalapeño, sweet pepper, broccoli, green pepper, tomatoes, parsley, and green onion.  Once it warmed up we built four raised beds for the veggies, waited for them to germinate, then put them outside.  It seems we put them out a little too early because the plants didn’t last through the last of the winter chill at the turn of the season.  Back to square one!

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We planted/replanted garden beans, snap peas, red and green cabbage, okra, pak choy, sweet peppers, jalapeño, spinach, collards, four kinds of tomatoes, summer squash, lettuce, green onions, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, lavender, carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and some herbs.

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Another friend gave me a strawberry plant this past fall which surprisingly kept some of its green leaves throughout the winter.  At the turn of spring , one fully ripened berry showed up.  I was at work thinking about this berry and I said to myself ‘When I get home I’m going to eat that berry in case I only get one from this plant ever’.  Well something was reading my mind!  When I got home that berry was gone and the one other half-ripened berry had signs that something had munched on it.  Rabbits are like stray cats in my neighborhood  so I knew they would be a problem, but I didn’t think they had a taste for berries.  And you can imagine my dismay when I found a nest of baby rabbits right beside the beds.  Although, I still had to swoon when I saw this little guy/gal.

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I’ve learned gardening is about 75 percent pulling weeds, 20 percent watering, and 5 percent enjoying the fruits of your labor.  More watering = more weeds.  Yes, there is math even in gardening.  So, after days upon days of weeding I can now enjoy about 30 seconds of rest before I have to do it all over again.  There is a bit of excitement flowing through me at the idea that I’m growing food and flowers. Maybe once I have that first bite of tomato or broccoli I will begin to appreciate all the hard work, let the calm settle in, and then maybe it will feel a little less like work.

-Nizzy

Gardening 2013