Gardening – More Complicated Than You Think

Posted by idawrites on July 15, 2008 in DIY, Food, Frugal, Gardening |

I’ve been playing in my Square Foot Gardens for months now.  I love them!  But, they are providing me with a lot of challenges and nothing is growing as consistently as I would like.

The large tomatoes are growing catfaced or splitting open or being eaten!  The caterpillars are eating the tomatoes themselves.  The birds are shearing off the tops of the plants completely.  They’re also shearing off the tops of my bell pepper plants!  The romaine lettuce does NOT look like the heads of lettuce at Kroger… but it’s still pretty tasty.  My strawberries are being attacked by the ants, who really seem to be enjoying themselves.

The good news is that i have NO weeds. The grape tomatoes have been abundant and really compliment the romaine lettuce.  We’ve had lots of caesar salads recently!  We’ve had enough strawberries that I was able to make homemade strawberry pancake syrup, which the children adore.  I even made homemade pasta sauce on Sunday night, complete with my own home grown basil.

As it stands, I’m “in the red” for produce vs. expenses, but now that the major expenses of building materials and soil have been completed, I should start moving toward breaking even with my winter garden.  This weekend, I’m going to pull out about half of the tomato plants, spray the peppers with hot pepper juice to keep the birds off, replant some things in a different area, and start prepping the winter garden.

Who has tips for me?  Please share them here, because I need all the help I can get!  Otherwise, I fear that my experiment in frugality through growing my own food will fail miserably.


  • frugalwench says:

    Use this to spray the plants for insects:

    1/3 cup Murphy’s Oil Soap (use the name brand, because the generics have different soap that might burn the plants)
    1 tablespoon Baking Soda (kills fungus)
    1 gallon water.

    Spray when it’s cool, early morning or early evening. Spraying any kind of oil in the heat will burn the plants.

    This will take care of most chomping insects, and things like leaf miners.

    For the birds, use a scarecrow, or put a cat statue in the garden, and keep moving it around. The only other alternative is bird netting…or bird shot. I feed my birds and squirrels a long way away from the garden, and they don’t bother it, because they know where their food is.

  • Chuck Bartok says:

    Sounds like frustration, but all of those problems are soluble.

    Regarding the insect and birds there are easy inexpensive solutions. The “cat-face” tomatoes are due to water management.

    Call sometime and we can chat.
    You may enjoy our videos showing weekly progress on out Tomato patch

    Growing Tomatoes for Health and Wealth

    Keep smiling, Gardening really can be Financially and Health wise very Rewarding

  • Our garden is doing pretty well but the zuchinni needed more nutrients in the soil and the broccoli has mites/beetles. 🙁

    I am curious – what type of garden do you plan on having in winter? Is it just indoors?

    I’d love to grow stuff in the winter but don’t really know where to start, especially with limited apartment space.

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