Thursday, November 10, 2016

Worming the Garden

Went out to check sproutage today...

Beets're lookin' good.

Garlic, too.

Even the old mustard seeds I didn't think would sprout did.

But what's this?!

And THIS?!?!?!

Oh, you little BASTARDS! You got them ALL!!!

FINE.  I'mma' gonna' get ALL o' YOU!!!!!

Bt.  Bacillus thuringensis.  Kills them ALL!  

BOTH the cabbage looper and cross-striped cabbageworm.  

Some tips for using Bt:

  • Use fresh Bt.  If your bottle is four years old, it's dead.  Bt is alive, a bacteria that's dormant, and it dies over time or if left in prolonged heat.  Speaking of that:
  • Store it at room temp.  If you left your bottle of Bt in the garage through last summer, it may be dead.  Buy another one and this time store it under the kitchen sink.  
  • Mix a fresh batch each time.  When you mix it with water, it "wakes it up" and it dies in about a day and a half.  The worm has to eat it when it's alive, so spray in the evening if you can.  
  • Coat the entire plant.  Pay close attention to the undersides of leaves.  A lot of the time moths will lay their eggs under leaves to protect them from rain.  When they hatch, the worms are so small they don't really move far, so if you don't spray under the leaves where they are, they'll likely survive and you'll have to deal with them later, when they're bigger and can eat more.  
  • Tip for coating underneath leaves: Starting at the bottom of the plant, use a broom or leaf rake to "rake" the leaves upwards and follow it closely with the spray before the leaves fall back down.  
  • One more tip: Some gardeners spray their entire garden once a week with Bt as a preventative.  I don't (obviously), but I may start.  Neem oil would be another good thing to use regularly since it would nip beetles in the bud when they're still tiny. 

Now go get those little bastards.  I did and feel much better for it.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Carrots and Radishes Together Again

I love this time of year.  Late fall, when everything starts to cool off and you can feel winter coming in the air.  Piles of pumpkins arrive at the grocery stores and mums show up at the garden center.

Gardening is so much better this time of year.  One can garden all day without fear of sweating to death.  No threat of said sweating for at least a few more months.  The weeds grow slower, the bugs are fewer, and the garden rebounds from the hellish nightmare of sumer.

And winter veggies!!  I ADORE winter veggies.  Mama was from Jackson, Mississippi, so you know I love me some greens.  Broccoli and cauliflower are sure winners, as are turnips and beets and carrots.  Romaesco, aka Broccoflower, a curious fractally spirally thing that tastes like a cauliflowery broccoli, or broccolish cauliflower.  Hence the name.

As you can see in the first photo above, I plant my radishes with my carrots to get a good stand of each.  Carrot seedlings are weak little things, so meek that even the slightest crust on top of the soil will smother them.  Radishes on the other hand are tough little musclemen, busting up through the toughest soil, crust or no crust.  I guess you'd say carrots are like three-year-olds - cut the crust off, Mom!  Okay, honey.  

They grow well together for another reason - by the time the radishes are harvestable, the carrots are big enough to need thinning, so I pick my radishes and that thins my carrots.  Neat, huh?

What kind of carrots, you ask?  Multicolored ones of course.  There's just something about pulling a purple carrot out of the ground that makes me insanely happy.  You should try them.  Then you can be insanely happy, too.

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