The Garden Experiment: week 7

Bell peppers are starting to pop out. Aren't they adorable?

Cherry tomatoes! Kent is so excited to pick them when they turn red. Right now, they're only ripening one at a time, and he can't wait to pick them. I'm kind of torn about something, though — he keeps saying, "K eat tomatoes!" but he doesn't actually like the taste. Every time he gets one, he takes a bite and then spits out the rest. So I'm not really keen on giving him all our yummy veggies, but I would love for him to eat them enough that he gets used to the taste and starts to like them, the way I trained myself to like tomatoes when I was younger. It's not a big deal, I guess, but I talk to him a lot about not wasting things, and this seems to fall into that category. I suppose he needs a reward for his patience with gardening, so if he wants to eat a tomato, I should probably just let him eat it, even if I know that it would actually make it to my stomach if *I* ate it. Maybe I'll cut them in half and we can share them.

Related to the wasting thing is something else that makes me crazy: Kent sometimes picks the plant buds when I'm not looking. I try to take deep breaths and remind myself that he's too young to understand, but it makes me really frustrated that the things he plucks off will never have a chance to become vegetables we can eat. Patience. This is supposed to be an experiment, after all.

The Superfantastic is doing superfantastically. I cannot WAIT for one of these to ripen. Still no tomato activity from the Brandywine plant, but it has to be soon.

The sunflower taunts us with its incredibly slow opening process.

And here's my Little Lucy okra plant, generally a container plant but doing quite well in the garden so far. I saw several pointy things on it that I thought were tiny okras and that I figured would ripen and get bigger.

Turns out they're flowers, which I guess will become okras next. The flowers are such a beautiful, sunny shade of pale yellow that compliments the dark red and green foliage so well. I see now why people keep these as container plants, and not just for the food.

The only other piece of news is that a couple of ant colonies have moved onto the eggplants and have built little hills at the base of each eggplant plant. I actually called our local gardening show on public radio this past Saturday, and the host, Louis Miller, told me I could disturb the hills every day and they'd eventually move, or pour soapy water on them and effectively disintegrate the part of their bodies that helps them float so that they drown, or buy ant killer that's safe to use around vegetables. I tried the soapy water thing and tried not to think about drowning Flik and Princess Atta from A Bug's Life, though they built up another hill the next day, so I assume it didn't work. I've been poking the hill or knocking it over every day as well, and so far, that hasn't moved them, either. I'm kind of reluctant to use a chemical, even though he assured me I could find something safe, but that might be in the future, since I really don't want the ants to destroy the root system and kill my eggplants before they've had a chance to produce anything edible. Advice is always appreciated.

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you could try cinnamon on the ants. it will deter them inside and should feel guilt free...
Yay for ripening tomatoes! I am envious that you get them so soon (though not envious of the summer heat down there, so it's a trade-off, I guess!)

Neem oil is a great organic pesticide. We used some last year when aphids (well, I think it was aphids) attacked our squash plants. I got a small bottle of it - it was maybe $10-15? You use very little of it diluted with water in a spray bottle, and spray your plants. Actually, maybe that would be a non-destructive thing Kent would like to do - spray the plants.

Here's some info: http://www.discoverneem.com/neem-oil-insecticide.html
Oops! That comment was me, accidentally signed with my lab email (brynmawrkids@gmail - catchy, isn't it?).
You may or may not know there are many varieties of sunflowers. That being said, yours may or may not have a seed head. Not all sunflowers make sunflower seed. Food for thought. Peace.
Gruncle Mark
I like the neem oil remedy...I have never had luck with cinnamon.
We used to use orange oil at the zoo for fire ants. It was really great at making them move...but they would just relocate and we would have to douse them again. Although, that was the zoo - so we're talking about a biiiig space! Lol. It would probably be really effective in your garden/yard.

And La - I bet they were squash borers - they suck the water and nutrients straight out of your squash so it looks like they never get watered. Even if you water every day!
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