Monday, June 1, 2009

Another day older...

And, yes: deeper in debt. But not for long. We had to front a little money for supplies, since this weekend we worked on my grandmother's house, getting it ready for sale. Sigh. I wish I had all the money in the world to fix up houses. Her mid-century, one-owner house is definitely dated, but what a lot of potential. And a great yard, awesome because of her fantastic landscaping. The dogwood tree in her yard was a gift from her father when she moved in-- a cutting from a wild dogwood back home in North Arkansas. I'm going to try to propagate some cuttings for our yard before the house sells.

Adam and I replaced an exterior window sill a few weeks ago; this week Adam replaced some storm door glass and siding panels and I scrubbed and washed awnings and helped replace some broken shutters. Still a bit more to do, but so far so good.

Our house didn't get much attention, though we did mow the yard and finish off that gift certificate to the plant nursery. This time, I got 3 more tomato plants, 4 eggplant starters, and another chives and oregano. $7. I'm going to try to get those planted this week as soon as possible. Also-- does anyone have any opinions about neem oil? It's supposed to be a natural pesticide and fungicide, but I've never used it and have no idea of its effectiveness...

Other than that, we just grilled (with our new-to-us grill) using all natural charcoal for the first time and some hickory chips for flavor and hung out all weekend. That natural charcoal makes a huge difference-- nothing tastes like chemicals and it's cheap AND you don't have to use very much of it.

I'm a fan.


Iris said...


Natural charcoal makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it? We've been using one called "Mesquite Lump" charcoal.

I haven't yet used Neem oil because my approach to organic veggie gardening is this: unless something is totally decimating my crop, I just accept it (who cares if there's some spots or a few holes?) and try to learn what I might have done wrong.

Plus, anything that gets rid of harmful insects might also kill beneficial insects.

That said, I've heard of other organic veggie gardeners around here who have used it successfully.

Oops--didn't mean to get on my soapbox. Good luck!

Amalie said...

Absolutely. The natural charcoal is wonderful-- we used so much less and no lighter fluid.

Normally, I don't do much of anything to my plants other than use compost and water; but this septoria leaf spot has already obliterated the larger of my tomato plants and is apparently highly contagious and devastating once it's in the garden, in the soil and on the containers; stray leaves can spread it to surrounding plants. I'm likely going to use copper soap to handle the fungus, and iron phosphate for the slugs, since it is naturally occurring in the soil and safe for our outside critters-- what the leaf spot hasn't gotten yet, the slugs are seriously munching. We have, quite literally, hundreds and hundreds of snails and slugs just on that side of the house.

If it was a few holes and spots, then I'd be totally cool with it; unfortunately, the pictures of leaf spot a few posts ago? That plant now has not one single discernable leaf on it, and no new growth for weeks. The other plants are losing too many leaves daily to the slugs-- especially considering how young they are...

When I had aphids last year, I tried to buy ladybugs at Lowe's and they laughed at me! A few good sprays of water took care of them and I didn't end up having to do anything, but it's like they'd never heard of introducing ladybugs!

I definitely understand your soapbox position-- too many people want pretty plants, or perfect veggies, at the expense of a generally smooth running ecosystem. Things have just gotten out of hand at our place with slugs due to abnormally rainy season and the introduction of a foreign fungus from crappy old Wal-Mart, and I want to manage the situation with as little disruption to the natural order as possible...

Iris said...

Sorry--I missed your last post with tomato leaf pics. What you've got is definitely what I meant by "decimating my crop", so I admire you for figuring out the least disruptive way in which to control the damage.

Wow--I haven't had any diseases like that yet in my short tenure as an urban organic gardener. Except flying rats with bushy tails---aargh.

Oh! A ladybug tip I've heard about but haven't tried: spray some sugar water in the area you're going to release them and then release them at night so they won't just fly away.

Cheers and best of luck!!