Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter garden presents challenges

This falls garden has presented a number of challenges. The infestation of whiteflies and other insects I had in the front yard garden has carried over onto many of the fall garden plants. I have pulled out all of the infested plants throwing away many eggplants and squash plants. Faithfully using fish emulsion on the suggestion of green and growing and the sustainable harvest people I have managed to have plants that are once more thriving except for the beets. They are being particularly hard hit by something that's eating holes in their leaves but I don't want to risk putting too much nitrogen on them and causing them to not make adequate sized beets. I have also found a number of very large cut worms in the soil which were doing significant damage to my bean plants and others. I have dug them out and smash them in hopes of reducing their population. At least we have had several flight freezes in late December and early January.

We were able to get the greenhouse repositioned and covered with its plastic in plenty of time for the cold weather. In fact as soon as we had it ready the weather was not cold for several weeks again. The plants seem to be thriving in there with the extra humidity and heat. I have about six different kinds of pepper plants in the greenhouse and all of them have numerous peppers on them. This morning I noticed almost 20 small tomatoes on the four tomato plants and one more eggplant. I have a shelf mounted on the side to nurture small plants before I transplant them to the garden.

I use the tops of several 2 L bottles to make cloches for my broccoli and brussels sprouts transplants and these  seem to have caused them to grow better. Experimenting with the tops and the middles of the 2 L bottles leads me to believe that the tops that are closed with just a small hole work better then a 4 inch tall surround from the middle of the bottle. Now I wonder if using the bottom that is totally closed over the plants will also work well. However I will use whatever I can use so that the plants are protected from all the wind we have had.

The garlic and the onion sets that I planted are  growing well this year. I did get to mulch them with about an inch of leaves just before the freezes to keep the moisture into the ground. I think that only two or three of all the garlic bulbs I planted failed to germinate. We've been stealing a bit of the tops and they taste wonderful. I can hardly wait till this summer when we harvest them to have much superior garlic to what we've had in the past.