Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tomatoes and Surprises

Yesterday started out briskly and went by in a blinding speed..... and it all began in the back garden. I went down to give it some water as the Weather Channel informs us that we cannot expect rain for at least 6 more days....and as I stood there admiring all the shades of green and how splendidly the corn was reviving from the storm last Saturday, I realized the tomatoes were really going crazy and spreading outward from the stakes. And thereby shading the marigolds I planted between the tomatoes.....

Two weeks ago John bought a great product form those fine folks at Velcro: it's a green velcro tape on a roll and you cut the length you need and secure your tomato bushes. It's completely reusable and really not expensive but best of all, I am able to EASILY reposition it as the plant grows and add more pieces when necessary.

In the past I have cut up those white plastic grocery bags into 4 strips and simply knotted them but then I look at white strips all summer and have to cut them away when I compost the dead plants in the fall....... not exactly a grind or anything but this is pretty neat. As the Velcro is green it all blends nicely.

So I am out there making mental notes to bring more supplies down after I finish watering and I see APHIDS!!!! on several of the 29 tomato plants! Yikes...... what to do , what to do;?

I hightail over to the garden shed and drag out a bottle of concentrate and read, NOT FOR USE ON EDIBLE PLANTS>>>>> great, that one is for roses...... Drag out the LSU gardening bible : Malathion. Hmmmm I call Leslie, (I am gonna miss you my friend...... you have NO RIGHT leaving me NOW!!!!) and run it past her..... "Malathion? No I don't think I want to eat anything that has that on it.... try Sevin liquid first."

I go online and read the Sevin will not do a thing for aphids but I can wash them off with a stream of water and run the risk of beating up the plants...... OR make a solution of veg oil, dishwashing soap and water and spray it on to suffocate the suckers. I opt for that and head out there.....

Tie up the shoots and limbs, 3 at a time. Trim off the lower branches to allow more air down there (and water only the ground to keep the plants dry and away from acquiring mold) and them spray the entire plants with the solution top and under the leaves. Repeat. I do this for 2 1/2 hours until all 29 plants are uplifted, cheerful and slightly glossy due to the oil. I realize that the aphids had really only terrible attacked a few of them and laid eggs. They were making their way thru the whole patch when I spotted them so "yea me!" I go back to the first one I sprayed and not an aphid is moving but I do see ladybugs so I hope they are not affected by this. We have a healthy colony of them out there wandering around on the potato plants and I love to watch them (call me Karl Pilkington) HOWEVER, when I went back down there in the evening hours I saw that some of the leaves were turning an off color so I I wonder if the spray solution has suffocated the leaves as well....... I'll keep an eye on this report back.

Gardening is always a surprise...... as I moved thru the garden I passed the compost bins and found a lily had bloomed
And on the backside, I found a squash plant, what appears to be a cucumber (possibly or that scary nightmare that raced thru the back garden last year, and a few tomato volunteers had set up camp. I'll probably allow them to grow and see what we get. Why not? They want to live.

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