. . . . . It Is, After All . . . . .
I was looking forward to a few days in Laguna Beach to escape the sizzling heat last week or this week but the A/C in my Airstream Van has gone on the fritz and is in the shop for repair. I’ll go next week. Since my Airstream van fits in a city parking space I usually park in Heisler Park on the cliff overlooking the gardens and the ocean. I love listening to the surf while I’m about to go to sleep.
In the morning I walk my little Yorkie “Fancy” and my cup of coffee through the gardens and greet the other pet owners. “Hello, Good Morning, Pretty Dog you have.” It’s busy, lots of people doing this. It is like the Easter Parade in New York and you can see some wonderful breeds of dogs, beautifully groomed for the walk. It is, after all, a parade.
If I wake up early enough I can even get in some swim time before the dogs have to leave the beach. No dogs allowed down on the sand after 9 a.m. That is the time set aside by the city for the “people.” Not for me though. It is time to put little “Fancy” in her ‘tote’ so I can ‘tote’ her off to breakfast and shopping.
A favorite place in the mornings is downtown Laguna Beach with its nice restaurants, quaint shops and artsy, craftsy one of a kinds that I love to admire. It is, after all, an ‘art colony.’
When I go there next week, Herminia will come with me and help me drive and the afternoon will be spent shopping at the nurseries, the wholesale growers, looking for the NEW varieties introduced this year and hoping to find something to test here in ‘the test garden.’
After a couple of days on the coast I am ready to come home with my new plants and crafts and get busy with them. A tin frog to hang on the gate and a Statis plant in the plum bed. Some new veggie plants to test. It is, after all, a ‘test garden.’
Life is good.
I ate the Mirai corn this morning, raw. Lunch will be a BLT. Plum Sorbet for an afternoon snack and Peaches and Cream (and more corn) for dinner. . . 6/16/ 2021
The Aphids Are Here
Here is your annual warning.
Go to a nursery and buy a carton of Ladybugs. DO IT NOW. They are breeding, their eggs are hatching and they are HUNGRY.
HOW I APPLY LADYBUGS TO THE GARDEN
Don’t toss the Ladybugs into the bushes. Don’t dump them out onto the plants. Don’t shake them around and scatter them over the shrubs.
Be kind to them, they are your helpers.
Locate the plants that have aphids on them. This is where you will gently place the aphids.
Take the carton of Ladybugs into the garden at night, when it is dark. Open the container slowly, just a little bit at first because when you remove the lid they will quickly try crawl out and onto your hands and up your arms and they will tickle you. So now that you know this is going to happen don’t be surprised and freak-out, Be Prepared, be calm, be kind. These are adorable little bugs that will not hurt you and it is you that has frightened them to death.
Take a few out of the container with your fingertips and very gently place them on a plant with aphids or, better yet, a leaf with aphids on it. Close the lid and repeat this on other plants in your garden where you have aphids.
The reason you put them out gently, and at night is because they cannot see in the dark and can’t fly away. Which is the first thing on their minds when you have opened the prison door. Especially if you started tossing them about.
What keeps them in your garden is this; When they wake up in the morning on that buggie plant, on which you gently set them, they will be starving. And when they see that they are right in the middle of their favorite food they will stay.
Store the remaining carton of Ladybugs in the house until you want to place more in the garden, or share some with your neighbors.
As you go through the garden in the days to follow you will notice that some of the aphids have turned brown or look a little different . This is because the Ladybugs have left behind only a shell of the aphids they ate, kind of like us with a plate of chicken bones. Don’t think that they are not working because you may see some live aphids, it is going to take them a little time to work their way through the buffet. You can always go in the house and get the carton of Ladybugs you didn’t employ and put a few more here and there – AT NIGHT.
In my gardening classes I always talk about the importance of managing insect pests in our gardens. I talk about the 3 most terrible things that can happen to our homes: They are Flooding, Fire and APHIDS. I react immediately to each.
If you take your garden seriously and act immediately on the insect issues that crop up once in a while, you can eventually say, “I haven’t haven’t had an insect problem in decades.” Today is a good day to start to stop incubating insect pests in your garden.
Come to my classes – gardening can be a joy.
Come to my Gardening Classes
I am doing a series of Desert Gardening Classes here at the Test Garden, right here where you can see how we garden. I post the classes here on my website under the Gardening Classes tab, and usually with only a couple of days notice before the class. This is because of the unstable spring weather. My classes are outside, so we want to be sure it is not cold or windy during the class. When you subscribe to my newsletter I will send you an email when I schedule a class.
Do You Have Worms ? ? ?
During our cooler times of the year, worms are closer to the top of the soil, maybe even under the mulch and leaves. In the summer when the soil is hot they dig down where it is moist and cooler and you may have to dig a little deeper to find them. If you are over-watering, or if we have a lot of rain, they will wiggle up to the top of the soil for air so they don’t drown – but then, if the sun hits them they will die. A nice shady cover of organic mulch on top of the soil will help the worms in many ways.
If you feed your worms they will stay in your soil and increase in numbers. They like to eat tiny pieces of leaves, compost, used coffee grounds and chopped up veggies; they don’t have teeth. Worms are in my Tomato Lady Soil.
BTW – The food you feed your worms isn’t really touched by them for at least several days. How long depends on how quickly microbes can begin to decompose it and make it ready for worms to eat.
A Good Place to Visit
I hope you will come over to see the garden or come over if you need to ask a question or buy some plants or supplies like really good soil, mulch, etc., and seeds for fall, winter, and spring. Or just need encouragement or reinforcement that it is really easy to grow in the desert if you just make a few simple changes and forget trying to do it as you did it before. Remember, that doesn’t work.
Please bring a credit card or something smaller than a $20 bill if you can. Also, I need pots, big pots like 1-gallon to 15-gallon sizes. I will recycle them for you. Please don’t throw them out.
STAY AT THE
SWEET TOMATO TEST GARDEN
It is now possible to stay at The Sweet Tomato Test Garden as a guest in either my Guest House or my large Guest Studio. Both have a private exterior entrance and keypad door lock so you can come and go without disturbing me. Both have a private bathroom, microwave, fridge, queen size bed with fabulous mattresses and I can bring in a twin bed for a 3rd adult or your child. Think of The Sweet Tomato Test Garden as a place to stay instead of an expensive hotel on your next visit to Las Vegas.
I am on the northwest side of town, 20 minutes from the Bellagio Hotel, a short Uber/Lyft ride to the Convention Center. Contact me by phone or text to 702-472-3258 for information and/or to book your reservation.
Please don’t forget to start a few veggie seeds weekly for your garden. Remember that the Transplanting Guide in the back of my book is talking about when to transplant veggie plants outside and not starting the seeds; the seeds are started 6-8 weeks before transplanting and are started indoors and grown under grow lights. You can do this. Children do it, it’s not difficult.
Hours for The Sweet Tomato Test Garden – Open Mon. – Sat. 10 to 5. Other hours by appointment. Please call first – sometimes I go to the post office.
Sunday by appointment only.