Monday, November 20, 2017

Greenhouse and salad time 11/20/2017

The nights are cooling off, not the days but the nights really are so I have begun the process of setting up the greenhouse for the winter.  I love having fresh herbs available and some squash or tomatoes that might not like the cooler nights.  Everything grows so much faster in there and if it ever gets cooler down here I do enjoy going out and spending some time inside where it feels almost like a sauna some days!  I got this little greenhouse from Harbor Freight and its the same type I had set up in Mesa for 7 years.  I did tweak it a little bit to keep panels in better and improve it a bit but for minimal money it has always proven to do its job quite well.  I have even had some success with cukes in the winter so its a definite win.

I have added eggplants and two large pots that I have put some squash seeds in and might try some cucumber seeds after the Thanksgiving holiday is done.  I usually like to get some large bucket of water inside of it too because it seems to help with holding the heat during the night.  If I can't find one that has a screened top I use mosquito dunks to keep those little pests at bay.
The row of salad greens has really taken off.  The warmer weather has really made the arugula rather spicy but it isn't a bad thing, I just add less to the mix of lettuce and spinaches.  The heat will also make my radishes a bit peppery but hopefully it will cool off soon and they will get milder.  Until then I will enjoy the spicy flavors and tell myself it is summer saying good bye.

Beets, cabbages, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, peas, radishes, onions, arugula, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and the 1 year old jalapenos are all doing really amazing right now.  I have been using my favorite organic fertilizer (Happy Frog) and this stuff keeps growing nuts!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fall and winter garden in SW AZ


I have had some run ins with worms lately. I use the term worms loosely, I have had more problems with caterpillars I guess.  Worms are not the bad guys.  I just know that I did have a tomato horn worm and this guy was huge!
From experience one of these ugly looking things can clean the leaves off of a perfectly healthy tomato plant overnight.  He should be called a caterpillar.  I love my earthworms and other worms in the ground.  They are beneficial. 

Now on to caterpillars.  They are often the ugly little precursors to beautiful moths and butterflies.  They serve no purpose, do their jobs, go into a state of metamorphosis and emerge into a winged creatures that pollinate and flit about.  I try to tally their checks and balances with what they have destroyed with what they create.  When they were children they ate a lot of shit, but does the positive stuff they do as adults compensate for the damage they have wrought?

I have passion vines that the Gulf Fritillary butterfly loves to lay its eggs on and if I don't catch them in time they will clean the entire vines off, like zero leaves left.  I usually use a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) sold as Thuricide to combat them but with all of this GMO and Monsanto stuff going on I wonder if even this bacterial warfare I use is going too far?  Maybe the answer is to just keep them in control and let them clean some leaves off and complete their life cycle as long as they don't destroy my plant, I doubt if they would kill it completely because they would have no plants for the future generations to feed upon.

Maybe if I can strike a balance between nature and my garden I can reap what I need and still allow mother nature to collect what she needs to carry on.  She is the one being abused in all of this.  I can allow one ugly caterpillar to eat some of my leaves and go into the ground to become a moth that is in amazing in itself.
The hummingbird moth