Friday, May 11, 2012

Trouble in Paradise

Everyone has gardening problems. Even though we are doing a Square Foot Garden which is pretty much maintenance free, we still have to deal with pests. We are organic, so I am using fire garlic spray and I finally found some diatomaceous earth at my Ace Hardware (Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth). Diatomaceous Earth ("DE") is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a hard-shelled algae. Be careful to get the kind for gardens. The kind for swimming pools is actually a different composition and is dangerous to humans because it contains up to 70% "crystalline silica". Exposure to silica has been linked to lung cancer. The kind for gardens works like sharp shards of glass to bugs. They die from dehydration. While this kind is safe for humans, I still take precautions when dusting the stuff on my garden. 

look closely to see the matching bug -
I think he is some sort of a leaffooted bug nymph
Because we have just started our homemade compost, we had to rely on store bought compost for our Mel's mixture this year. Of course, store bought isn't as good as homemade when it comes to compost. As a result, I am currently dealing with a calcium deficiency in my garden which is affecting my cucumber and squash plants. How do I know? My squash has some blossom end rot. My cucumbers have some yellow leaves. I found a fix that seems simple enough. Time will tell. I purchased some water soluble calcium (Green Light - Blossom-End Rot Spray) to spray on the leaves and fruit. I am currently treating them with this treatment. I also gently scratched into the surface 1 Tbl. of bone meal to each square foot that contains melons, cucumbers, squash, zucchini and tomatoes. I will be sure to add lots of eggshells and bone meal to my compost to ensure we don't have this deficiency next year. 

note the yellow cucumber leaves - calcium deficiency

squash blossom end rot because
of calcium deficiency

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