2012 Spring Garden Progress Report #3

It's time for another garden update!  With a garden, I don't think there is ever 100% success.  There is always the chance, especially with new plants, that something will go wrong.  And... for me, it did.  You know those beautiful little cucumbers that I nurtured for over two months?  I planted them in the square foot garden after acclimating them to the outdoors, and while they flowered, they didn't grow any larger or taller. So, I pulled them up and planted seeds in their place straight into the garden.

On the other side of the bed, the snow peas are doing so well!  They get taller and fuller every week and are climbing higher and higher though they are still just babies.

The carrots haven't changed much, but seem to be doing well.  I planted a few more seeds where there were gaps so the squares are fully utilized.

The spinach... it looks beautiful here, but little green bugs- aphids to be exact- have taken over.  I checked the underside of the leaves and found the little culprits.  If they haven't eaten holes, they've sucked nutrients out of them so that the leaves curl and grow deformed.  I've plucked off so many already and harvested none.

Speaking of bugs, in addition to aphids, I also have spider mites, white flies and gnats.  Oh, yes, I can't forget the fly maggots.  Gorgeous, new, rich soil... full of bugs.  So, I've ordered some organic bug killer called No Spider Mites from Greenway Nutrients.  It has excellent reviews, and naturally, I expect excellent results.  I also ordered their No Powdery Mildew because last year that particular pest consumed my tomato plants late in the season.

In addition to those two insect and mildew fighting agents, I also got some food grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkled it directly in the beds.  Diatomaceous earth is sedimentary rock, ground into a fine powder.  Because it is so fine, it acts like tiny shards of broken glass to any creature with an exoskeleton (insects) and dehydrates them so that they die.  It also does the same thing to fly maggots living within the soil and chomping on those poor little seedling roots.  I pulled a dying plant up and found the little beast living in the roots... so small, but so destructive.  Ever wonder why a plant suddenly starts to wilt and collapse? Fly maggots.

I haven't gotten the bug spray yet, but I have less gnats already due to the diatomaceous earth, and I don't see any aphids either.

Here are my little pot of peas.  These are my first climbers and how I love them!  I've added a tomato cage to this pot to give them more room to grow.  But because these don't have much room, I do have more growing in the SFG.  This one was sort of an experiment.  Anyone who has grown peas knows that I had no clue what I was doing.

And here's another "problem" I'm dealing with.  Do you see that black ink mark at the back of the bed (left side of the image) that looks similar to a deranged, monstrous spider?  That is the gruesome remains of a cluster, or "tuft" of Coprinopsis Atramentaria- better known as "inky cap" mushrooms.  

All around the lining of the raised bed, clusters have been coming up, but almost before I know they are there, the sun shrivels them to nothing but a splotch of black ink and melting stems.  They don't harm the garden, but the ink is rather frustrating to deal with.

And here are some fun facts: the black liquid that the mushroom releases was once used as ink.  And though they are not poisonous, they can have terrible effects when consumed with alcohol.  No worries there.

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