So, everyone knows that wee fragile seedlings should be carefully staked to defend against the mighty winds that blow across the bow of the little blue deck. Right?
But who knew that the Mystery Melon (which, by the way, isn’t a mystery anymore — hello, charentais! Woo!!) would take on Barbie-like proportions and keel over, taking everything in her path along for the ride.
Thank you for posting a sighting of BMSB on our website. We are collecting specimens for research on the spread of this invasive species. If possible, please send live specimens to the address below (Attn: BMSB Sightings). Containers such as plastic medicine bottles or film containers work well.
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In this case, long trails of ants paint a smoky trail to the real hot menace: aphids.
By themselves, ants don’t pose all that much of a threat. Sadly, this rarely means one can rest easy. Nature, the wonderful beast that she is, always has a plan. You see, ants like to feed on the sweet stuff (honeydew) that aphids excrete — which means the army ants protect the aphids from natural predators. Which means lots of aphids.
Lots of aphids means that great quantities of sap is slurped from leaves, leaving them curled, dessicated, and unhappy. As if that isn’t enough, aphids may also contribute to the spread of cucumber mosaic virus.
So, yeah, it’s important to get rid of the sap suckers.
The best method for removing aphids (supposedly) involves spraying the leaves with a steady stream of water to wash the aphids and honeydew from the leaves. Unfortunately, the little blue deck isn’t reachable by hose. Ladybugs love to eat aphids, but you could count the ladybugs this urban garden sees on your fingers.
So what’s a container gardener to do? These buggers, which may produce up to twelve off-spring per day, are tenacious. So, try fighting fire with fire.
POD’s Pest Potion:
Combine 1 c. stems, seeds, leaves, flowers of thyme, lavender, and yarrow (handily, all are grown on or around POD) with
A couple of tbs of coffee grounds
Allow the herbs and coffee to steep for 24-hours
Strain the solution, discarding or composting the herbs
Add 1/4 c. milk to the solution and 1 tbs. natural dishwashing solution, castile soap, or Neem oil
Pour the potion into a spray bottle
Spray the infected plants thoroughly, making sure you hit the undersides of the leaves
Next year, try planting chives, basil, mint, or marigolds alongside the cucubmers and melons to discourage infestation in the first place.
So, POD hasn’t been entirely happy with the whole alternating weeks of fish emulsion/worm casting tea fertilizing routine. All sorts of secondary deficiencies have been cropping up in POD’s ever-suffering tomatoes. Like magnesium (helped by the addition of epsom salts) and calcium (maybe, or maybe not helped by egg shells) deficiencies, and who knows what else.
A desperate plea was recently lodged with a charmingly hairy farmer guy at Greensgrow. He was incredibly helpful. He suggested this stuff: