Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slugs and pillbugs

They say that pill bugs (rolly pollys) will only eat dead material, but its a LIE!!!!!  These little critters are eating everything in sight.  My poor little eggplant seedling didn't have a chance.

Between the pill bugs and the slugs/snails, my poor little plants won't have a chance while I'm gone so I had to do something drastic!  Now you know that I'm trying to do this organically so I've been trying not to use anything... just crush the little buggers by hand when I find them, but I can't ask my house sitter to do THAT!

Last night my husband had to make a run for Home Depot to get the watering system I told you about so I asked him to get me some "Sluggo Plus" which had good ratings by folks on the internet for killing BOTH snails AND pill bugs.  Well they only sell it online at Home Depot so he picked up some "Ortho Elementals Slug and Snail Killer".  It does say "For Organic Gardening" on the box so I'll pretend that it's organic.

I poured a bunch of it in the greenhouse (too much I found out after getting a magnifying glass to read the four point font).  Oh well, I'm not going to pick up those little granuals one by one to remove them! 

This morning I saw a dead slug in the inside of one of my red drinking cups (you know, where I planted my seedlings?) so it must be working.  We'll see if everything is alive when we get home on Tuesday...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I got a Greenhouse!

After my last travel experience, I am a little shy to travel again, and I have to go to Austin for my father in law's 90th birthday (how can I miss that?). I talked my husband into letting me get a little 5x5x6 greenhouse so that I could put all my plants in that, get water hooked up to them, and not have to worry about the house sitter neglecting the plants. So here's what I did:

  1. I had to uproot several of the sunflowers and peas, because the green house had to go where they were sitting. I was afraid that they would die, but so far they are doing ok.

  2. After I got the sunflowers situated, I started re-planting my jiffy pellets. I planted each seedling in a red plastic cup that you normally see used for parties. I left a few inches at the top so that the seedlings would have some room to grow without falling over.

  3. Then I dug holes in the ground under the soaker watering hoses and "planted" the cups. I did this a few days before I was to leave, so that I could monitor how my system would work.

  4. I realized that I wasn't going to have time to plant the landscaping plants I purchased (artichokes to replace some ugly shurbs in the front yard and blueberry bushes to replace some geraniums that weren't flowering) so I had to buy a shelf to put them on so I could put them inside the greenhouse--don't want them to die either!

  5. Then my husband had to rig up a watering system for the additional plants.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this is all going to work!

My Trip to Indianapolis

I went to Indianapolis to do some volunteer work and before I left I planted the sunflowers outside (sunflowers do not like to be transplanted apparently so I planted them as soon as the little roots were sticking out of the jiffy pellet). I also planted the peas next to them. My idea is that the peas will climb on the sunflowers. I got this idea last year when I was pulling the ONE sunflower that made it past the slugs up out of my raised vegetable bed. It was a bear to pull up and I thought, "why am I using stakes when I could use one of these plants?" I'm thinking that corn might work too. Anyway, I had been keeping plastic milk jug tops over the plants just to keep the bugs off of them until they got big enough to live on their own. It's also been unseasonally cold here in San Diego, so I wanted to keep them warm at night. I showed my husband how to water the indoor "nursery" and how to take the milk cartons off (and on) the plants without breaking them, and went on my trip. When I came home, I was so proud of my husband because all of the sunflowers had made it! The indoor nursury, however, didn't have as much luck. All of the tomatoes, cucumbers, and pak choy had died, presumably from lack of water. The nursery felt was damp, but not damp enough to support the plants. So I had to start over.

My Tiny Urban Garden

My mother was a gardener. When I was a child I always wondered why she did it... our family had corn growing in the front yard before it was "cool", and I was always embarrased about it. Because we always turn into our mothers when we get older, at age 44, I started a garden last year, by planting plants that I had bought at some local hardware stores. I had so much fun that I decided in 2011 I would plant from seeds. I went online to see what I should plant. I found a site called and bought some seeds. Here's what I bought (everything is heirloom non-GMO):
  • Sun flowers- Mammoth Grey Striped (for my peas to grow on... they are so much prettier than the metal stakes!)
  • Wando garden peas
  • Spinache-Bloomsdale Long Standing
  • Peppers-Emerald Giant (when I bought them online I thought they were red)
  • Artichokes- Purple of Romanga
  • Eggplant-Ma Zu Purple Chinese 
  • Asparagus- Mary Washington
  • Spinache- Bloomsdale Long Standing
  • Pack Choy-Oriental Greens EXTRA Dwarf
  • Tomato-Cherokee Purple 
  • Cassabanana--This is a tropical fruit that can also be used like a zucchini before it is ripe. I have never tasted it.
I received the package in the mail, and planted everything in my little jiffy pot "greenhouse" on 2/21/2011. I'm looking forward to letting you know what happens this year.