Sunday, September 5, 2010

Garden Update - Trials and Tribulations

Reading through the Garden Update posts is like reading through all the fantastic moments of life while ignoring the unavoidable hard ones. As in life so in the garden. I will be amiss and send you the reader in the wrong track if I do not point out the frustrations and hard work that goes into growing and maintaining a vegetable garden.

Fruit of the mystery creeper which was soon eaten by a mystery animal

The first step in any vegetable garden is to find a spot that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight during the day. Once that is settled the soil has to be worked and mixed in with organic matter. Digging and preparing the patch is back breaking work. It is a good to keep watch for horse farms who give away their manure which are very essential for the garden patch. Composting is a good way to get some of your own organic matter. You are lucky if to have family members who take the same interest as you do in the garden. They might be willing you to give you a hand when you are sweating in the hot sun with the shovel.

See the black worm? a swarm of them had taken over couple of tomato plants which had to be pulled out

Seedlings can be bought or one can start their own. Seed starting soil works well for germinating seeds. Find a sunny window to put them and water regularly. Not all seeds germinate. When the outside temperature is warm enough transplant the seedlings. Here again judge the best day to put them put a hot a day or a rainy day is not optimal. Early rains help to set them on the way to good growth. Make sure to weed and work the soil around the plants and make sure water drains properly.

Armies of stink bugs have taken over. Late summer is when all of them mature and start feeding I guess

The perfect situation is for the plants to grow, flower, set fruit and make everyone happy with a bumper harvest.

Rarely does the story plays out that way. There are bugs to deal with, too much water cause the the plant to rot. If pollination does not happen at the right time the young buds do not mature. Birds and small animals like to nibble on young fruits, literally snipping the growth in the bud. Caterpillars can completely destroy a well growing plant in less than a day.

Don't they look cute? They are equally destructive.

If you are against using pesticides it is essential to keep a close watch and deal with them in an organic manner ;) It hurts to see a young fruit wither and fall off due to lack of pollination or nutrition or a plant mowed down by one single voracious caterpillar. Birds and chipmunks are as curious as DD2 in finding out how they taste when very young.

I have read and know for a fact that it is good to have flowering plants that attract pollinators be worked into the landscape thereby ensuring natural pollination, unless you are the kind that likes to hand pollinate your squash and zucchinis.

If you are committed to a vegetable garden besides watering and taking care of them regularly you have to find someone to water your plants when on vacation. I am lucky to have a friend/neighbor who is as interested in vegetable gardens.

Reached the second floor window but a fast wind would bring it all tumbling down

There are several factors in the composition of the soil , quality of sunlight, drainage of the patch which all decide the type of plants that will work best. I have been woefully disappointed growing okra or corn whereas I have friends who swear they are the easiest to grow. I have arrived at my combination of plants that work best for the patch of garden that I have.

Watching all the pests in action truly gives an appreciation for organic farming.

If you plan to start a vegetable garden, you might or might not face some of the problems that are mentioned here. Persistence and a dogged determination yields good results. Good Luck!


  1. Hmm.. brings such a balanced perspective to your garden updates!

    Those worms with green jackets.. they are caterpillars? They really are noticeable!

  2. SS, they are not that obvious on the plant itself. They were on my blueberry bush (brown twigs, green leaves) and I did not spot them immediately. The leaves looked like they were stripped bear and on searching what do I see.

  3. Ah yes.. its diff when they are actually on the plant! Gardening sure isn't easy. But I guess if it were easy the joy of success wouldn't be as much! Cheers, Indo! :)

  4. Those really are the cutest caterpillars I have ever seen- I am learning so much about gardening from you!

  5. ask me Indo. when I came back last weekennd after a 2 weeks break the garden was in a big mess. the weeds made it look like a small jungle and there were ants and termited everywhere. I still dint get time to spray some neem leaf decoction but has finally managed to make it clean by pulling out the weeds.

  6. My heart goes out seeing those worms and insects feasting on your hard-work! my plants seem to be doing okay so far.. but keeping the fingers crossed. nice educative gardening post, Indo.

  7. I think it is good yo posted these pics atleast gardens are not all rosey as they sound.
    But still you got lots of veggies before the harm started.

  8. tell me. I am not even on vacation and my garden is taken over by weeds.

  9. :-( Indhu.

    I don't have much more than bunnies, but it saddens me to destruction by these tiny things in your garden.

    I have something eating my mint leaves and I do not spot a thing. Keep spraying them with garlic and turmeric water.. don't know if it helps at all.


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