Gardening Waves

Beautiful SC Texas. I'll come back to this when the grass is dead this summer, and remember...

Behbeh chicks! Someday, they're going to love me. Right now, not so much...

Let’s kick this post off with a view of the farm, so freaking pretty that I had to share. The trees are all coming in, the grass was mowed on Friday, everything’s stowed, and the farm’s looking tight. Springtime in South-central Texas. Can’t beat it.

Plus, chicks!!! Under the red grow light, their eyes look Satanic. They peck at my rings and generally have a shit attack when I try to gently pick them up. I’m wearing them down with food and love, though…

Surprise bulb from the former owner. Thanks, garden present!

So far, the gardening comes in waves. We were *able* to plant three weeks ago, but probably shouldn’t have, because of the two bouts with torrential rainfall that drowned both seeds and seedlings. There was just no way to know that, though.

After the floods, we couldn’t work the gardens for days and days afterwards, which causes downtime even when it’s sunny, to allow the gardens to dry out. Which is super-frustrating.  Then we caught about a weeks’-worth of break with sunny weather, tried all the seeds again, and then got three days of non-stop rain. Gaaahhhh…

And although I’ve been a gardener for about 15 years, I’ve never had anything larger than roughly 40 s.f. to plant in. Now I have almost 2/3 of an acre that we’re devoting solely to crops, and this is the first time I’m going totally organic. In the past, I’ve cheated and relied on Miracle Gro and Sevin, when things just got too hairy. You’ll kind of try anything when your roses have all succumbed to black spot. Now it’s just us vs. nature’s nasties, armed with a garlic/dish soap concoction for the rust, a chili pepper/dish soap concoction for the bugs, and vinegar/hand-pulling for the weeds. The learning curve is pretty steep, but we’re getting there.

First up in the experimentation: Tomato rust vs. garlic stuff.  Garlic stuff wins!  I started with just a blended garlic/water deal, and have graduated to this (plus blended garlic):

2 tbsp. canola oil
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 tsp. Murphy’s Oil Soap
1/2 gallon tap water

Before chili pepper spray. Next week: "After" picture. Stupid bugs.

which super-extra works. I pulled all the blighted leaves off, have been spraying with this stuff for a week, and the tomatoes look awesome. My tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and cabbages have fallen prey to grasshoppers and caterpillars already, so I’m using a chili pepper/garlic water spray, which the jury is still out on. It’s only been two days of application, so we’ll see how we are in a week.

Today is remarkably beautiful. 79 degrees, slight wind, low humidity. I got in beans, corn, squash, and watermelon, replacing what was washed away, drowned, or moved to a new location. I’ve got what looks suspiciously looks like corn growing where we definitely did not put it. When the garden comes up fully, I’m going to tell people we did it that way on purpose because we’re non-conformists and eclectic.

Okay! Off to check the fire ant mounds that I poisoned yesterday morning, and if that poison doesn’t work this time, it’s a boiling water enema first thing tomorrow morning…

Meet your foe: Vinegar, bitches!

Oh, and p.s.!!: Nettle update. I’m trying a full-on vinegar attack out in the chicken yard.  Here’s a “Before” picture. As soon as it starts dying, I’ll throw a party and post pictures of us dancing on nettle dirt.

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8 thoughts on “Gardening Waves

  1. I sprinkle cornmeal on ant hills. It’s kind of gross, but they eat the little piece of corn meal and swells up in their stomach and they explode. Pop! It really works too, we never have ants anymore.
    Are you doing any companion planting? Or do you have way too much ground to cover for that?

    • I’m not too crazy about the boiling water idea, but it sounds less gross than the cornmeal. Ha! I’ll try it last…

      No companion planting yet, but we’ll get there eventually. I’m doing marigolds around the potager, and keeping enemy plants away from enemy plants, but yeah…It’s a big freaking garden.

      Next year, though! We’re going to try companions when we rotate. And maybe I’ll actually be able to stick to my garden plan…maybe.

    • Libby Keane says:

      I can vouch for the corm meal treat. I saw it in action in FL.

  2. Bana Elzein says:

    Ugh.. I wrote a long comment and my stupid fidgety mouse clicked itself over the X and closed the window. It’s now bedtime. I will comment again but food for thoughts.. biological controls for the grasshoppers etc? Have you looked into any. And prepare for birds to damage your crops too. Between some pecking those lovely little fresh green shoots out of the dirt to the bastards that peck holes into your tomatoes. CDs/discoballs/mirrors scarecrows etc.. or netting over a big square frame protecting your crops. X

  3. Daisy says:

    Oh, jealousy. I’m only now just thinking about planting my peas. It will be months before the tomatoes or corn make an appearance around here.

  4. Libby Keane says:

    I feel your pain. Here we have Japanese beetles. Last year I made the chili pepper spray by the gallon. It worked well for the most part. But needed to be applied again after a rain. I will be interested to hear how your bugs fair against it.

  5. riderofchaos says:

    I am eagerly awaiting the vinegar after pics.

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