Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Caterpillars, Cucumbers, and Cool Weather
So it's finally supposed to cool down a little bit this weekend. I'm actually looking forward to it—as long as it doesn't get below 50ºF (or even if it does for a little while), the cool weather shouldn't be a problem in the garden. Actually, I'm expecting it'll help some ... it should slow down the fungus I've been dealing with all season.
Right around this time of the year is when I also start seeing caterpillars show up. I've already picked off my first few tomato hornworms and treated the plants with BT (bacillus thuringiensis). BT is a beneficial bacteria that kills chewing insects; it's often sold as Dipel dust. You can buy it anywhere. It's rated for organic growth and it's great stuff. Oftentimes, it's nearly impossible to see caterpillars on your maters because they blend in so well. Instead, look for tiny black pebbles on the leaves. That's caterpillar poop, and if you've got caterpillar poop, you've got caterpillars.
Outside of Tomato Land, I'm getting excited about my other veggies. I'm doing romaine and broccoli in EarthBoxes, cherry bomb and chocolate habanero peppers in pots (those are cherry bomb pictured below), and cucumbers in coconut grow bags. I haven't written much about EarthBoxes this season, but I will say this: if you're new to growing veggies and you want to have a pretty much guaranteed successful crop, use an EarthBox. You can pick up the basic box, with no wheels, fertilizer, potting media or trellis, for $30. They also sell potting media, fertilizer, and staking systems (which are essential if you're doing tomatoes in an EarthBox). It's easy to use (my five-year-old planted one this season), easy to maintain, and works like a charm.
But this morning was big for another reason: I picked my first vegetable of the season. It was a cucumber ... and yeah, I realized after I took this picture that there really isn't a good way to hold a cucumber.