It’s time for another checkup on the garden since we’ve had some progress recently! We’ve also had some set backs. First, the good news: we’ve got pumpkins, eggplant, basil, tomatoes and peppers growing strong!
baby pumpkin (1 of many!)
a miniature variety of eggplant
basil with pumpkin plants in the background
made the “mistake” of planting the pumpkins and tomatoes too close together…
it works in my favor for now, since the pumpkins shade the tomatoes and there are lots!
the pumpkin leaves seem to be protecting this bell pepper plant for now too!
Now for the not-so-good news: one tomato plant is infested with spider mites, one pepper plant went to the birds and blossom end rot is a constant reminder of my watering inadequacies.
spider mite damage
spider mite web
spider mites and whiteflies suck the life out of plant leaves
For spider mites, spray the undersides of leaves with water in the morning or wipe with a soapy water mixture. Spider mites like dry, still areas and the tomato plant is on our front patio where there isn’t much circulation. I also struggle with keeping up water consistency on this plant since it could look beautiful, full and happy one hour and look like it’s on the fast track to tomato heaven in the next. I think the patio tile and the fact that its surrounded by walls on three sides bakes it in our increasing summer heat. (Yes, in Phoenix it is already summer according to the heat index!) At any rate, moving the plant and wiping it with a gallon of water mixed with a drop of dish soap might just solve my bug issue and help me control my watering schedule, which leads me to fix #2 for blossom end rot.
blossom end rot
Blossom end rot is most likely caused by inconsistent watering in the desert. It is also caused by a calcium deficiency, which can be addressed with crushed eggshells or other organic means. Since only random tomatoes are plagued with rot, I’m going to work on the watering schedule first. Once the tomato plant is moved off of the dark patio tile and into an area with better circulation, I am hoping that will help it to stick to a more predictable watering routine and end the blossom end rot issue.
peppers turned bird food
Finally, what to do with our bird problem? Well, there are a few options: set up a shiny deterrent that will scare the birds away, put up bird netting around the plant, surround the plant with chicken wire, or set up decoy peppers on the plant that will trick the critters into thinking all the peppers are fake. I’m still trying to decide what option will work best for me. I may have some old CD’s I can use to deter them. I’ll keep you posted on my solution. In the meantime, how is your garden doing this year? I’d love to hear about it!