Dear Aphids: POD Hates You

plants on deck aphids and waspsAs one of the only vegetable gardens in Pennsport, POD provides quite the haven for local pests. Each year POD struggles, and ultimately fails, to keep these suckers in check.

This year POD pulled out the stops with mulch, preventative organic sprays, squishing, leaf-soaking, and ultimately, chemical sprays. Can’t you tell? That is one messed up melon. One of these days, when this gardener has a garden that extends beyond pots, we’ll set some ladybugs free. (In the meantime, we’ll settle for not killing them.)

But for those gardeners just starting out, here’s an encyclopedia of aphid control options:

More Than a Handful is a Waste

Gardening plans for next year always begin to form as the fruits from this year’s labors are being harvested. Recently, much time was spent researching potential muskmelon varieties for next year. Then I realized, the solution is right there at the farmers’ market, gazing up at a me. Duh.

Over the past few weeks the husband and I have been sampling melon varieties. It’s a rough job, surely, but someone’s gotta’ do it. Given the space limitation of a roof deck garden, cantaloupe options are limited. The great thing about this method is it allows POD to choose the melon that tastes best and happens to be tiny.

charentais melonStep One: Slice the melon in half and scoop out the seeds. This is a wonderful French heirloom called Charentais. It grows to 2-3 pounds, probably a little on the large side, but worth a shot.

Step Two: Place the seeds in a wire strainer and rinse the seeds while smooshing the goo out the strainer. cleaning seeds

Step Three: Put the seeds in a bowl. Cover with warm water. Scoop off the seeds that float; they’re no good to you. straining melon seeds

Step Four: Rinse some more.

Step Five: place them in the wire strainer and allow them to air dry them thoroughly! About three days. melon seeds drying

Step Six: Seal them in a well-labeled bag and freeze.