Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Slug Slime and Aphid Attacks

It is approaching the end of May and the first week of hot weather this year.  In the last few days my garden has come to life:  My tomatoes, beans and sugar snap peas grow inches each day, little seedlings  are popping up enthusiastic to greet the sun, and so begins the battle between mankind and pest.

One thing I learned early on in my gardening years is that healthy, organically-grown veggie plants attract more pests.  Another little tidbit I acquired along the way is that vegetable gardening is not for the faint of heart.  But don't let a few bugs deter you from growing your own veggies.

While I love the daily interaction I have with my garden, even enjoy pulling weeds, I really don't like bugs.  And take my word for it that slug slime doesn't wash off with soap and water.  

Tomato plants after an application of insecticidal soap
Discovering aphids on my tomato plants yesterday I sprayed them all with homemade insecticidal soap this morning (never spray anything on plants if the sun is shining -- it is cloudy today so it is perfect).  They are all kind of flopped over but after a few minutes I righted them and they look great (and yes, they definitely need to be staked).  I inspected them after spraying and found a handful of healthy-looking aphids so I just squished them and rubbed any eggs I found to destroy them.

Lettuce and spinach recovered after taking a beating
Last Saturday we had a crazy thunderstorm blow in: lightning, thunder, and torrential rains battered my baby lettuces, especially the red leaf lettuce plants.  As you can see in the photo above they have recovered and are doing well.  Still waiting for the bunching onion seeds I sowed in the spaces to germinate.  Seeds take so long to germinate up here in the northeast as compared to the south.

Beans, parsley, oregano and tomato
My container garden continues to thrive.  Beans, parsley, oregano, pepper and tomato plants all share a small space located on my driveway beside the garage.  Lots of sunshine and heat, it seems to do better than my garden beds.  I pick off at least one slug every morning before taking my son to work.  So far no aphids have found this little garden. 

Newest garden space in former goat yard
Finally, this is my newly formed 8x10 garden space.  Sod was removed and transplanted and my son turned the soil down approximately 10-12 inches.  I then formed three raised beds and a row in the back for climbing plants that will eventually grow on a cattle panel I have yet to install.  I am thinking about actually planting 2-3 pumpkin plants to grow up on the cattle panel trellis as an experiment.  It doesn't look like much yet but the seedlings are just coming up.  I sowed Dino Kale, peppers and something else I can't remember (why, oh why didn't I make a diagram and record what I planted where???) in the farthest bed.  The other beds are planted with zucchini and yellow squash and pumpkins.  There are a handful of bean plants growing on the back single row. 

Sugar snap peas are getting ready to bloom

Picking off slugs and squishing aphids . . . not my favorite past-time.  You do what you have to do!