GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

A Few Easy Fixes


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.

image from “” and their post on end-rot

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!

Bottom left, you can see netting over the strawberry barrel


Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

16 thoughts on “A Few Easy Fixes

  1. Yay! Great fixes and I didn’t know about two of them – so thanks for testing and sharing! Happy harvesting to you.

  2. You are a genius! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Would you mind if I re-blog this at my site?

  4. Reblogged this on Weed'em and Eat'em and commented:
    A few AWESOME tips from The Green Box Garden. Simply genius!

  5. You are such a genius! I love that solar light solution. Who knew that something so cheap and simple can solve a (pretty) big problem. If life could be that simple, right? LOL

    • I have to thank an Auntie who is also a Master Gardener for that one. I wondered if they would be bright enough, but I think it’s just enough to reduce the their appetite!

  6. I am happy to inform you that in light of your many gardening sucesses, I have managed to nearly kill the one outside plant I own. It is a peonise, and from what I am told, very hard to kill. Well, its no match for my mediocre gardening skills. 🙂

    • Oh no! Peonies are hard to kill!! LOL But you did so well with your indoor plants and cacti. Maybe you have to have them in front of your face everyday to remind you to care for them- like planting them in pots around the TV so you see them. Hahaha! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by m’dear. xoxo

  7. no i don’t think we have any mites that’s making our pepper plants leaves turn over to the underside i think its either for them to cool off or their growing towards the sun and that’s why because i don’t have any bug problems on my pepper plants or on my tomato plants.

    but what ever it is whats making mine turn over to the underside I’ll just leave it be
    because the plants look healthy it has tons of flowers and big dark green leaves also
    they are growing in big pots one that’s growing the best is in topsoil mostly red-clay the other is growing in sifted tree stump soil in a big pot i like to use the dirt whats in my yard because
    the clay dirt holds water longer.

  8. tomato end rot / blossom end rot what i read is from to much watering not
    from a calcium deficiency but from over watering it says the same in my garden book
    also it may be that you need more rotted leaves under your tomato plants and wood-ash
    mixed in the soil and a bit of cow poo. books aren’t always right so i just thought I’d tell
    you this


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