Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eight Lessons I Learned From My Zone 10a Garden

Jewel Nasturtiums 

1 - Planting Petunias and Nasturtiums in among the tomatoes adds to the visual pleasure of the veggie garden. Nasturtiums are reported to deter nematodes, but the jury is out on that one. An added bonus is that they both give off a heavenly scent in the evening. A report by the USDA says that ordinary sugar sprinkled on the garden has a drying effect on nematodes (either that or the sugar high kills them).

Broccoli in the ground
Potted Broccoli

2 - Broccoli (Packman variety in my case) prefers to be grown in the ground, on a slight mound, with plenty of compost dug in and commercial weed block underneath the leaves. For years I have grown Broccoli in pots and have been happy with the results. Check out the size of the leaves of the potted example, compared to the foliage of the plants in the ground. I have noticed that potted Broccoli rapidly assimilates its potting compound into itself, thereby causing the medium to shrink and diminish. They have deep roots and will go through the pots and anchor into the soil below. You might wonder why I grew Broccoli in pots to begin with? My dogs just love to roll around in the vegetable garden!

CD hanging
3 - We love the birds visiting our garden, especially when they bring their fledgelings with them. What I don't love is a tiny peck hole in every single tomato. Solution? Hang old CD's nearby. Oh, and then fill up the feeders - we don't want them going hungry! 

An added bonus is the attractive, sparkly and reflective 'winks' from the CD's surface. 

Woodpecker in Feeder

4 - Despite my best (and continued) efforts, I cannot grow cucumbers, zucchini or summer squash to fruition. They develop powdery mildew and just dissolve into a mush. I have tried most natural remedies out there. The boys don't care for squashes anyway.

5 - If your Eggplant develops a whitefly infestation, try Diatomaceous (Dya-tom-a-cee-us) Earth. Take a paintbrush and just lightly brush the underside of leaves. Problem solved. You will have to reapply after it rains. I picked up a big bag of DE from a local feed store. DE dusted on your garden also helps to eliminate fleas, lice and cockroaches. It interferes with their protective shell and desiccates them. Do not inhale the dust.
Where does Diatomaceous Earth come from? Click Here for Wiki info.

6 - If tomato or pepper fruit production comes to a grinding halt, try watering with a solution of Epsom Salts, and IF the plants has plenty of green leaves hold off on the nitrogen. If the fruit however is too small that's the time to add nitrogen. Nitrogen rich add-ins include: coffee and tea grounds and fish emulsion.

7 - There is no substitute for your own compost. It is truly amazing how quickly all those vegetable scraps break down into the 'gold' standard of soil! I have 3 bins throughout the garden. 1) For large item like broccoli that has gone to seed 2) For kitchen scraps, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds etc. 3) For potting soil that has been 'recycled' from out of season vegetables or annuals.

White Periwinkles
8 - With daytime temperatures now stretching into the 80F, Bizzy Lizzies (Impatiens), Marigolds and Pansies are pretty much done. Rather than coddle them along (with vast amounts of water) I have moved on. Periwinkles are thriving and look good either in a pot or as a border item. They need very little water to survive. Only thing about Vincas is they will reseed like crazy and pop up everywhere! Nasturtiums, and Petunias are still thriving, although they have to be shaded from the afternoon sun, not so with Portulaca which loves the heat. Coleus and Dianthus are also looking good in the garden.

Fading Away - Impatiens

What is a Zone Anyway? Click here to find your USA Zone

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog and leave a message. Happy Gardening!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...