Monday, May 29, 2006

Back to Blogging

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. I was usually posting in the evenings. Suddenly the sun is setting so late that there's not much time between the time it gets dark and when it's time to sleep. There were times I had my photo ready. There were times that I even started a post when either the phone rang or something else interrupted me. When I started blogging last November I intended to write about growing. Not much was growing, but I had time during the winter so I wrote. Now there's lots growing and I'm not writing. Hopefully I will be able to garden and blog in addition to all the other summer activities that I enjoy, and of course squeeze in a little time for the day job which fortunately is actually only 1/2 of a job.

My last post was about the flea beetles on my broccoli. I got lots of suggestions. I tried sprinkling with garlic powder and that seemed to help, but I think I would need to do that each day. This broccoli is in my community garden and I don't visit it daily. I once had luck with garlic powder to rid beans of insects, but those were in my own yard and I could apply it daily. Unfortunately after that it rained for 10 days. Because of it, I didn't go to my garden for a while and when I returned the beetles were much fewer. However, the broccoli looks terrible, has lots of holes and is stunted. I may try diatomaceous earth next . The broccoli is really a candidate for ripping out, but I figure I have two rows of it and it may be fun and educational to try diatomaceous earth on one row just to see if it works, so I know what to do next year. The garden is organic so it's not an option to just poison the little critters.
I'm not totally without broccoli however. The new little 8ft. by 42inch bed that I set up in my yard at home is doing OK. It only gets barely 6 hours of sun, so things aren't perfect, but I've eaten lots of lettuce from it and here's a photo of the first broccoli. It's such a contrast to the broccoli in my community garden. There's not even one hole in any of these leaves. I think one good thing about a new bed is that the pests haven't found it yet or maybe the chickens arfe helping with insect control. We'll see if the broccoli here looks this good next year.

So far I'm pleased with this new little bed. What's in it (starting from closest to the camera) is a row of broccoli, two rows of romaine lettuce and a few red lettuces, another row of broccoli, then an empty space where the spinach was a failure, then a double row of raab, then a row of parsley. I was happy that I made it 42 inches wide and not the 48 inches that I was tempted to do. I'm only 5'3'' but have no trouble reaching the middle. What also worked well was the 2 foot chicken wire. At first I wasn't sure it was tall enough to deter chickens and dogs. Two feet has been enough to give the dogs a visual cue not to run through the bed and the chickens do not go over it. I believe that it's the floppiness of it that deters the chickens from jumping up on it. Two feet is nice because I don't need to open it up to weed or harvest. I just reach over. There is one problem though. The chickens have eaten some things through the wire. One broccoli plant disappeared. It was probably pulled through when it was young. I really should move the wire out a few inches to help prevent more chicken damage.


  1. Thank goodness you're back. I was worrying, if you can believe that. Your account doesn't allow us to email you (can't say that I blame you for that) so I was just waiting and biting my nails. Good to see you posting again :)

    Your broccoli looks *gorgeous*. I am envious.

    FWIW I tried wood ashes on my flea beetles (on my potatoes) and it didn't make any difference at all.

  2. leslie,
    I need to post a photo of my other broccoli. You will NOT be envious then. I don't seem to be able to remember to bring my camera to the community garden where the flea bitten broccoli is. Maybe next time.

  3. Yeah, sure seems to be less time to blog when there are real garden chores to be done.

    The beetles are in fact not gone from my kohl plants, and may have gotten worse. Like the garlic powder, diatomaceous earth probably needs to be applied more often than I have done. Obviously, wind and rain have a big effect on it. I'm going to try a few more treatments before I give up. I'd noticed that more than one of the vendors at the farmer's market had damaged radishes too, so I don't feel that bad. I think the warm spring might have brought them out more than usual.

    I also noticed that they like the burdock in my derelict community garden neighbor's plot quite a bit too. I had inherited quite a stand of it in my garden this spring, but there definitely won't be anything leafy left standing for them to hide in at the end of this year...

    Your new bed sure looks like it was worth the effort. I suspect your chickens indeed have a lot to do with pest control—that's how it's supposed to work 8-)

  4. I am so jealous of your broccoli!