Friday, June 1, 2012

Okra, Squash, and More!

Well, it has been another week since I’ve updated the blog, and as you can imagine a lot is going on out there! I will try to make sure to provide more frequent updates, especially since it looks like there will soon be some produce to write about!
View of the garden

As you can see from the photo above, the plants have been loving this heat and sunshine! Just take a look at those monster squash plants! I counted a good 40 zucchinis starting between the 4 plants we have in these 2 pots, so I anticipate giving a few away! I had worried that 2 plants per container was going to be too crowded, but they do not seem to mind. One tip for any potential squash growers: these plants get HUGE! Plan to have a nice big space for them to spread out horizontally.
 The okra seems to have rebounded nicely as well. One thing I recommend for anyone who is interested in growing okra is a good insecticidal soap. Last summer the okra was set upon by an army of tiny ants that took to sucking its sap and nearly killing all of the plants. After reading up on it, apparently okra plants have a very sweet flesh, which of course ants love! I tried all sorts of “home remedy” type solutions, ranging from spraying the plants with cayenne pepper water to sprinkling them with cinnamon. Actually, the cinnamon helped a little, but not enough.

Red Okra

Green Okra
 What finally worked was the insecticidal soap. It has a lot of benefits over traditional pesticides, not the least of which is that it is non-toxic. It’s pretty much soap with potassium salts in it. The potassium salts actually eat away the exoskeletons of most garden pests, killing them in short order. I’ve always thought that if a given pesticide is poison to humans, why would I want to spray it onto something that I plan to eat? This product gets around all of that, as it is not only organic, but also pretty much harmless to people and animals.

After I applied the insecticidal soap, the ants were pretty much gone for the summer. This year, we had caterpillars that enjoyed munching on the broccoli, Romanesco, and eggplant leaves. The dreaded ants also seem to have returned to the okra. So far the soap is working very well to control both pests. The one thing with the soap is that you do need to re-apply it fairly often, as rain (and watering with a hose) washes it away fairly quickly.

Here are a bunch of pictures from the garden taken last night. We also added some petunias and celosia for color. The petunias and marigolds are blooming nicely, and it looks like the zinnias will be ready to bloom soon.

Until next time, happy gardening!

Peppers! Left: California Wonder, Right: Carnival Mix, Front: Sweet Banana



Eggplants, Swiss chard, cucumbers, and herbs (cilantro and parsley in one, chives in other)

1 comment:

  1. You are doing pretty well for someone who has no clue