I’m a pretty positive person and don’t like whining. My last post about bugs was a bit of a downer, so I feel it is necessary to share a bit about some of the other garden issues and the easy fixes that make me smile. It doesn’t all have to be complicated and PhD in botany, folks.
Tomato End Rot:
I suppose taking a soil sample and testing it would be useful, and I probably should, but I’m a lazy and cheap gardener. How can I add some calcium to the soil easy and fast? That is what end rot is, after all, calcium deficiency. How about some calcium carbonate, aka baking soda?
I’m happy to report it worked. A few weeks ago I tried it on one plant that was experiencing end rot and within about a week, the next round of juicy red ones had no rot in sight. I added about 2 tablespoons in a watering can and let the Small Boy water the plants. Easy, and kid-friendly. I have now treated all my tomato plants, and haven’t killed a one! Victory!
Next easy fix: Chinese Beetles. They don’t like light. They only come out and nosh on my leafy greens after the sun goes down. What if they thought it was always daylight? After advice from a fellow Master Gardener (she is Certified, and has been gardening longer than I’ve been alive), I got some cheap solar lights from Target:
I put in nine of these cheap little babies all around my leafy chard and arugula and 3 nights later, there is significantly less chewing damage on the plants! I’m sure there’s a few die-hard beetles that don’t mind the light or find a way to hide under a leaf and chow down anyway, but one thing I learned in my Master Gardener class was about the issue of “threshold.” How much damage can a plant take? How many bugs or fungi are you, as the gardener, willing to endure? For me, a little fungus, a few bugs, a little damage, eh, it’s organic, right? But for others, the idea of even one bug crunching away on the babies in the garden is too much to handle. You must decided your own pest threshold.
Last easy fix: disappearing strawberries. At first I wanted to blame the Hungry Hubby and Small Boy for the Houdini like behavior of the strawberries. They would flower, get smallish little white berries, and boom, before they even got fully pink- GONE. “Are you eating the strawberries???” I would accuse. “No Mommy,” we are not, they would proclaim innocently. Hmm. Perhaps it is those pesky birds, I wondered.
Cheap roll of netting (that will last us FOREVER) and now we are getting ripe, red, gorgeous strawberries!