Monday, June 09, 2008

God Bless Neem

I have learned a lot this year in my gardening. First, neem is the best thing invented by trees in India and Pakistan. It's sort of like that other bug killer I love, BT: it kills the bad bugs and doesn't harm the good ones and has not effect on humans. My tomatoes were being attacked by aphids and after two weeks of neem application, my tomatoes are all happily climbing up their trellises.

Yes! I've got my tomatoes and cucumbers on trellises. Thank you Dave for making that for me! Theoretically, they should take up less space and keep the fruit healthier. I will tell you that both of those vine-y plants are growing up and I think this actually may work!!

I've also kind of figured out who needs extra fertilizer (asparagus) and who doesn't (tomatoes). I'm growing potatoes under 12 inches of straw. I found out today, I've probably put too much on there, but oh, well. I'm learning; I have not yet fully learned.

We have killed three rats now. It's nearly 100 degrees and bunnies often from the heat, so I have my fingers crossed for some dead rabbit soon. Groundhogs and chipmunks are not a problem here in NC, but I wish for their death, should others find them to be a nuisance.

We're still having problems--cabbage moths has eaten more of my bok choi than I have and our turnips are really bitter. (I'm thinking that's b/c they are better in the fall than the spring/summer) The onions I planted in the spring were still tiny; I think I should be planting them (along with the garlic) in the fall. So I shall.

I'm getting a pint of killer ladybugs tomorrow and we are thinking of buying beneficial nematodes to spray in the garden and yard.

I also found out that you can freeze dill and basil but not cilantro. I even bought a special freezer air vacuum thingy to help save some of our garden.

I still completely suck as a gardener. But I'm learning. I take a little step forward each year.

ETA: I totally forgot to blog about my whole reason for knowing I'm learning and knowing I need to learn more: flea beetles. They make these lacey little holes in eggplant leaves. I've had them every year and didn't know what was up. Well, it's a flea beetle. And flea beetles die, Die, DIE when exposed to neem. And beneficial nematodes. Who the hell knew?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Groundhogs...are not a problem here in NC"

I cannot let my beloved husband know this fact, or we will have to up and move immediately. He has been embroiled in a so-far-completely-unsuccessful war against gophers for years. And rabbits now too. Gah! We are *this* close to importing a clutch of gopher snakes -- seriously!

But, Anita -- not able to freeze cilantro? Whyever not? I freeze it (and parsley too) all the time. Usually I just freshen a bunch from the store in some water for an hour or so, and then put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. When it's all crispy, I take it out and "smoosh" it (sorry of that's getting too technical) re-bag in a freezer bag, and just carve off some of it as needed for chopped cilantro/parsley. Works perfectly every time.