Here is a progress report on my three raised vegetable beds (aka Project 802).
I planted seeds in early September for my first fall garden in the new raised beds. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT it has been so far. I am patient and I know that things will improve over time, but needless to say, if I had to feed myself on this garden, I would starve. It has been a very wet two months here and the lack of sunshine hasn’t helped.
I did manage to harvest some radishes which is by far one of the easiet and fastest growing vegetables around. Within a month of planting, I already have some to eat. I could have thinned them out a bit more and I think the harvest would have been better if did. Notice the yellowing of the leaves. Could it be lack of nitrogen or iron?
Imagine how hard things were for 100 years ago when you really were depending on your garden to feed your family.
I have a few Red Robin tomatoes producing in an old plastic pot on the driveway. Lately there has not been enough for a meal, but they do make a nice snack while walking through the garden.
My Zucchini has been blooming and growing but so far no little zucchinis.
Lately they look just awful.
First off, the insects! They are ferocious and have eaten just about everything. Trying to have an organic vegetable garden in Houston is challenging enough with the eratic weather, but the insects! This is going to take some time and work to find the right mix. My Zucchini squash toppled over and I found that the stem had been eaten through. Looks like squash borers to me.
And leaf miners have been tunneling the leaves of my Zucchini, beans and broccoli.
My broccoli was doing fine, although it has not really grown too much (I still think the soil is the issue here too), until something striped off every leaf on one of the plants.
Now look at it!
My beans have very few leaves left – they too have been eaten.
My three snap pea seedlings never got more than 5 inches tall and then they too toppled over.
My Rocky Top Lettuce is still alive, but it really hasn’t grown much in the past 3 weeks.
Healthy soil is the foundation for strong, insect and disease resistant plants. I believe my soil is still not right. [Updated: The problem is the soil and the insects.] It needs more organic material and I suspect it is still low in nitrogen (as it was when I first had it tested back in August). There may be more mulch in the soil that has not fully decomposed yet, which would be pulling nitrogen out of the soil.
I’ve decided to let it just play out until December, then remove all of the plants. I’ll add more blood meal and fully decomposed organic compost. I’ll plant more beans, since they do fix nitrogen in the soil and hopefully, next spring things will improve.
Looks like I’ll be doing some more research this winter on organic methods for controlling insects and still buying veggies at the grocery store.
This weekend I will put together both compost bins that having been sitting on the garage floor and get the COMPOST production underway. That will be the best thing I can do for the soil.
This story continues with my CSI: Compost Soil Investigation post.