Erin- Week 3

“I have made radishes!”  If you have ever seen the movie Castaway? You may recognize the reference to the scene were Tom Hanks makes his first fire on the island.  That is how I felt when I saw those first little green sprouts. I got so excited I think I actually squealed when I saw them.

Of course, like ants to a picnic, once the plants sprouted the garden pests followed shortly after.  I desperately hoped against hope that my plants and my apartment would somehow be different and be impervious to the normal infestation of plant eaters.  Alas, no such luck.  Shortly after my plants germinated, so did the bugs.  Teeny-tiny white bugs started attacking my plants, especially the basil.  They are so tiny my camera can’t even capture them, but that does not seem to stop them from walking all over my herbs.

I hadn’t purchased any pesticide when I spotted the first invader, so I looked up homemade pesticide recipes.  The internet is loaded with tips on how to make an effective pesticide.  I chose a standard soap pesticide because it was quick and easy and I wanted to fight back immediately.

See how the leaf is eaten away and there is a little brown edge? That is a sign that your pesticide is too strong or you are using too much of it


1 tsp soap
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 gallon of water- I used an old milk jug for this

Unfortunately, I think I may have been a little heavy-handed on my basil plants because within 24 hours one of my basil leaves was showing signs of pesticide burn.  It was a little brown around the edges and it even looked like the pesticide had eaten a bit of the leaf away.  The positive is that the bugs seemed to drop in numbers with the first round of pesticide, but I am being more cautious about how much to spray on my poor plants.

In addition to the issue of bugs is the issue of watering.  Plastic pots may not have been the way to go.  While clay pots are said to leech water out of the soil, my plastic pots are keeping the moisture firmly in the soil…longer than it should.  I have watered my plants once since I first planted the seeds.  Right now, there is not much I can do.  The plants are too fragile to transfer (which is a point for the starter pot/seedling camp) and the roots are not well established.  My plan is to wait a few more days and if the moisture has not decreased I will attempt to move my plants.  Worst case scenario, I may have to restart my plants.

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adventures in urban gardening