Here we see our first casualty of a busy woman’s schedule. No dirt. But don’t dismay — with the kids out of school this week, she’ll be filling this baby in no time!
Okay. Empty planter aside, everything is blooming, sprouts are bursting and the bugs are feasting.
Not good. No insecticidal soap at the hardware store and as a dedicated localavore on both food and material levels, Mandie doesn’t want to hit the big warehouse stores, but at this point — she may have to if she’s going to save her peas!
Either that, or coax some ladybugs into her garden. These little beasts are doing her babies NO favors. This conch pea sprout is too young to tolerate this kind of devastation. Once mature, I wouldn’t worry too much. A few aphids can be wiped off the leaves and stem with ease — a very organic system of bug removal! — but not from this delicate creature.
Number two on the action list are the potatoes. Aren’t they grand? Growing beautifully full and robust, they now need “hilling.”
Hilling is the process by which you mound dirt around the plant as it grows, fostering healthy and continued production. Once they reach about 12 inches, hill the soil around them so that only a few inches of the plant remains above the soil.
This growth habit is the reason they do well in “box production” for the smaller square foot gardens. (I believe Yukon Golds, however, set fruit only once and are not conducive to this method of growing.)
Number three. The tomatoes look much better but need some pinching.
This tiny sprout (more commonly known as a sucker) growing at the base of the two larger stems must be “pinched” off, directing nutrients to the main stem of the plant. Once the entire plant reaches the top of its support apparatus, Mandie will need to prune it back even further, ensuring all the plant’s energy goes toward the developing fruits.
But we have time for that discussion, later. Right now, she’s got to get snipping!
P.S. Mandie has added a new member to the family. A friendly Chihuahua in need of a good home has found one. (Did I mention she’s not only an earth lover, but an animal lover, too?)
Running the edge of insanity, she’s fired up and ready to take on the challenge. Atta girl! Just don’t let him near the garden.
Dogs are cute, but not when trampling through the garden. Soft dirt, delicate sprouts, weeks of backache — bad, bad, BAD combination!