Garden Savior

Some of you know that I recently returned from a great two week trip to France (I have at least one set of pics from a Paris Garden I can post at a later date). I expected to see all the plants I started for the fall (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil) dead when I returned. Before the trip, I devised an elaborate watering scheme to water the new plants while I was gone. The plan consisted of a soaker hose and a battery powered facet timer. The plan may have worked but I unfortunately tried to set it up the day before we left for the trip and it didn’t exactly work as planned. When the facet was in the “on” position and ready for the timer it continually dripped water onto the ground. If you know Carlos and I, you know that some affectionately call us tree huggers. This leak was unacceptable and I didn’t really have time to deal with it. I turned the system off and placed the plants under the shade of the Okra plant. I secretly hoped they would survive unattended. You might say, why didn’t I just ask someone to water my plants? The thought did cross my mind but I have a problem asking people for help (other than my husband). So I left my plants to take care of themselves for a little over two weeks. However, not all was lost. Before the the trip okra was in full production and tomatoes were expected soon so I told my aunt to feel free to come steal some veggies. During a visit, she noticed that my baby plants were not looking so good and took it upon herself to water them on a regular basis while I was away. So I have to say that my aunt was my fall garden savior. Without her, we would have a lot less fall crops on the way.

Plants that were saved by my aunt Betty

Hornworms
Before our trip, I reluctantly sprayed every tomato plant, young and old, with BT. When I returned from the trip, the plants were not fully stripped of leaves but there are no tomatoes in sight. This leads me to believe that the first treatment probably worked but has since worn off. Since returning home, I have mutilated two small and two big hornworms. I will be spraying the plants soon. I have too many tomato plants planned this fall to carefully inspect them on a daily basis. When I say daily, I really mean twice daily. A large one I caught this morning had done considerable damage in less than 12 hours.

Okra Party

We are starting to like okra now, which is a good thing considering that the okra is non-stop. I am about to start just one more plant so we can extend the harvest into the fall sometime. I just hope I am not too late to extend the okra party.

New Starts
Since returning home, I have started corn, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, kale, and collards. This along with what I plan to start in the next week or so, should hopefully provide nice fall bounty. The official inventory post vacation was about 11 tomatoes (6 good ones), 4 peppers, and 2 eggplants.

Bamboo
This past weekend I traveled to my co-workers house to get some bamboo. I felt a little guilty about buying the perfect little bamboo sticks from the big box store when my co-worker had uncontrollable bamboo growing in his neighbors yard. Since the bamboo is pretty much invasive and will eventually take over his yard, he had no problem using the machete to cut the heck out of some of it for me. It was a very hot morning and we were all sticky and sweaty after gathering the bamboo. I plan to use the stalks to stablize climbing and leaning veggies. The left over leaves will be used as mulch. Don’t pay any attention to the dead grass in the backyard. We are in the process of replacing all of it with a florida native plant called Mimosa strigillosa .

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