Friday, June 3, 2011

June in the Garden

June 3rd and already it is a busy month in the garden.... I love it!!

Tasks for the day:

-Tie up enthusiastic tomato branches. ~ I use either strips of old t-shirts or knee highs.  Both are gentle on the vines and relatively free.

-Pull the random weeds in the raised beds. ~  The planting medium we used plus the intensive beds have prevented almost all weeds! 

-Pull more weeds in the traditional beds containing pole beans, herbs, and a couple of tomato plants.

-Put Jobe's organic fertilizer stakes around tomato plants.
-Pick tons of peas.

-Cut the first harvest of broccoli from all plants. ~ Additional smaller stalks will form after removing the main broccoli head.

-Water potted tomato and herbs. ~  This happens frequently.

-Harvest one wilted potato plant. ~  This is my first attempt at growing potatoes.  Potatoes are not something my grandparents raised so I had no idea what to expect.  I pulled one plant that had totally wilted and found....drum roll....potatoes!  I know, what did I expect? Turnips?  :-)  I was as excited as a little kid over her first puppy.  My first potato!!

- "Hey Honey.  Come look at the tomato on my potato." 

Another discovery for this beginner potato grower is that the potato will produce fruits similar to small tomatoes.  At first I thought I had a genetic wonder on my hands but I learned that tomatoes and potatoes are very closely related genetically and will produce similar fruits.  The fruit of the potato is NOT edible and is actually toxic. 

Collectively, the veggies considered "nightshade" plants all produce a nicotine chemical in their leaves.  Eggplant and peppers are also included in this group.  Studies have shown that ( and other studies have not) that the chemicals in these plants may exacerbate arthritis.  Say it isn't so! That luscious red tomato I so look forward to may be a contributor to my ails.  Hmmm... tomato - joint pain.  Maybe I'll wait for everyone to agree and in the meantime I'll enjoy my harvest.

-Spray potatoes and one tomato plant with Neem Oil - I found those nasty flea beetles on my potatoes along with a few Colorado potato beetles.  The pictures are posted in May.  I read several sources that recommended Neem Oil for tons of aliments in the organic garden so I decided to use it on one tomato that has some yellow/burned/curled leaves.  The tomato is otherwise very tall bush and green and has bunches of baby tomatoes and more new flowers waiting for their pollinators.  I will let you know if I love Neem Oil as much as others have reported.

- Prepare Wheat-berry Veggie Salad with Sesame Dressing to share with friends for dinner.  ( It was a hit.  YAY!) Check out the recipe!

- Water all plants

A little info about Neem Oil:

I only hope Neem Oil is the magic organic cure it is touted to be. It seems to be given all the miracle properties of  Snake Oil from the Wild West Days in America.  From my research, I've learned that Neem Oil rids gardens of detrimental insects, fungus, parasitic roundworms (nematodes), mites, and algae while remaining safe for all the beneficial critters such as nonparasitic nematodes, earthworms, honey bees, etc. 

How does Neem Oil work?  Many fungi and soft bodied insects are killed on contact.  For others, Neem Oil acts as a hormone disruptor.  Just as in human, hormones control hunger and coordinate body changes for reproduction.  With the destructive creatures in the garden, Neem Oil causes them to lose their appetite and prevents them from reproducing.  Caterpillars are frozen in time, never to mature.  Eggs don't hatch.  Fertile females don't lay eggs....and none of these unwanted guests are hungry.  All die of starvation leaving your garden untouched. 

Very Interesting!!  I mentioned Neem Oil to an Indian friend who told me there were many uses for Neem in India.  More research has turned up that it is good for skin problems, as a moisturizer, has anti-inflammatory properties, cures acne, eczema, and even is used as a contraceptive.  Hmmm... I wonder if I can tap in to the appetite suppressant qualities without the anticopulation side effects???  Now that would have me setting up a side show like the Snake Oil salesmen of the old West.    Ha!  I wonder if rubbing Neem Oil on my joints will canel the effects of eatting tomatoes???

No comments:

Post a Comment