The Growing Girl

Amateur gardening experiences of a growing girl.


Leave a comment

Ding Dang Squirrels

I have had enough! Just because the foliage is small does not mean that it is a squirrel playground. There are no acorns or any other tasty morsels in my containers, I say. Get back!
Lately, I have been waking to find my containers pilfered or rummaged through. The lettuce, green peppers, and eggplant have all been disturbed. Actually, all but one bell pepper plant and all of the lettuce have been eradicated by the crass little rodents. I am not pleased.
Off to the computer I went. What can I do to win the war for my seedlings? I read that many of the manufactured squirrel-be-gones are ineffective or are a gamble. The one thing I kept seeing is that there is nothing repellent that is a guaranteed winner. Floating row covers, that’s the answer.
I still don’t have any row covers, but I did read that cayenne pepper may be effective. I tried it. I’m trying it. So far it has been doing the trick. Then it rained, and the offending rodent(s) returned. I’m not sure if the pepper is doing anything or if the squirrels have just been off digging up someone else’s future ingredients, but it does appear to be having some effect.
I am using cayenne pepper-90. I just sprinkle it over the leaves and dirt. The cayenne pepper doesn’t seem to be having any adverse effects on the plants, and it does nothing for the cabbage moths/worms. I would like to think that it is irritating to other invasive pests, but at this point I can’t tell.


1 Comment

Fruits or Veggies

I know you’ve been wondering, searching high and low to find the difference between the two. It’s really quite simple: a fruit has seeds encased in flesh, produced from a flower, while a vegetable’s seed is found in its flower (the non-scientific definition according to my understanding of the botanical definition).

Generally, our ideas of what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable is cultural or familial. Someone told us tomatoes and cucumbers are vegetables. After all, we do eat tomatoes and cucumbers in salads. Makes sense, right? Corn is a vegetable too, or is it? Is it the need/preference to cook it that makes us separate fruits from vegetables? Maybe it’s the level of sweetness that sways our categorization.

Botanically speaking, a fruit comes by the pollination of a flowering plant, where its fertilized ovules make seeds at the same time the surrounding ovary creates the fruit tissue. It appears there is no botanical definition of a vegetable, as the term is not botanical; however, I keep coming across “the edible part of a plant” as a pseudo-definition.

Given the definitions, consider these fruits:

  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Beans

It’s funny to think of some of these “vegetables” as fruits, but the facts are their seeds are inside and they originate from their flowers and they grow above the ground. This makes them FRUIT.


Leave a comment

Patience is a Virtue

I’m ready! The weather isn’t. Here in Maryland, winter was quite mild and I expected that I would be able to plant earlier. WRONG! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I know that when gardening patience is key.

I have my nursery tomatoes ready to go, but I keep having to bring them in at night; and I have eggplant, broccoli and beet seedlings marinating in the Jiffy greenhouse with nowhere to go (yet). I haven’t even bothered tilling the soil yet because we are still not out of frost danger. I did say patience is key, right?

In all honesty, this finicky weather is actually a good thing. It is giving me time to better prepare. I’ve been able to consider soil amendments and look into what to use and where to get it. I have been able to price supplies that I otherwise would have just gone to whatever store and made a purchase. I have even been able to allow my 4-year-old to be more active in the care of the plants/seedlings.

Waiting on more consistent temperatures and precipitation is also giving me an opportunity to change the situation of my garden plot as I watch the shading of the nearby trees and the amount of sun certain areas are getting. And best of all… it gives my body more time to adjust to all the allergens, time for my body to store up some of these antihistamines to better shield me from the nature that disagrees with my physiology.

Take time in your gardening, take time to watch your garden and care for it. Don’t rush the seasons, and find ways to maximize your delays. Use them as chances to make improvements or introspection. Think on how to better discourage pests or weeds. See how you can apply gardening practices to your own life or lifestyle.

Don’t let impatience ruin a great season, nor your will to plant. Patience is key.


Leave a comment

US Pollen Counts 4/7/12

Don’t forget your favorite allergy medication.

Pollen Counts:

Washington DC (20011) Medium High

9.6

Richmond, VA (23220) Medium High

9.1

Philadelphia, PA (19130) High

9.8

New York, NY (10038) Medium High

9.4

Raleigh, NC (27601) Medium

6.4

Atlanta, GA (30315) Medium High

9.1

Nashville, TN (37205) High

10.3

Miami, FL (33130) Medium

6.4

Chicago, IL (60606) High

10.0

Los Angeles, CA (90057) Medium High

9.3

Austin, TX (78757) Medium High

9.5

Birmingham, AL (35222) High

10.2

Sacramento, CA (95816) Medium High

8.4


Leave a comment

US Pollen Counts 4/6/12

Don’t forget your favorite allergy medication.

Pollen Counts:

Washington DC (20011) Medium High

9.6

Richmond, VA (23220) Medium High

9.1

Philadelphia, PA (19130) High

9.8

New York, NY (10038) Medium High

9.4

Raleigh, NC (27601) Medium

6.4

Atlanta, GA (30315) Medium High

9.1

Nashville, TN (37205) High

10.3

Miami, FL (33130) Medium

6.4

Chicago, IL (60606) High

10.0

Los Angeles, CA (90057) Medium High

9.3

Austin, TX (78757) Medium High

9.5

Birmingham, AL (35222) High

10.2

Sacramento, CA (95816) Medium High

8.4


Leave a comment

US Pollen Counts 4/5/12

Don’t forget your favorite allergy medication.

Pollen Counts:

Washington DC (20011) High

10.7

Richmond, VA (23220) High

10.3

Philadelphia, PA (19130) High

10.9

New York, NY (10038) High

10.3

Raleigh, NC (27601) Medium High

8.0

Atlanta, GA (30315) Medium High

7.6

Nashville, TN (37205) Medium High

9.1

Miami, FL (33130) Medium

7.2

Chicago, IL (60606) Medium High

8.1

Los Angeles, CA (90057) Medium High

9.0

Austin, TX (78757) High

10.1

Birmingham, AL (35222) Medium High

9.3

Sacramento, CA (95816) Medium High

9.2


Leave a comment

US Pollen Counts 4/4/12

Don’t forget your favorite allergy medication.

Pollen Counts:

Washington DC (20011) High

10.6

Richmond, VA (23220) High

10.2

Philadelphia, PA (19130) High

10.4

New York, NY (10038) High

10.4

Raleigh, NC (27601) High

11.1

Atlanta, GA (30315) High

11.2

Nashville, TN (37205) Medium High

9.6

Miami, FL (33130) Medium High

7.7

Chicago, IL (60606) Medium High

8.5

Los Angeles, CA (90057) Medium High

8.9

Austin, TX (78757) High

9.7

Birmingham, AL (35222) High

10.6

Sacramento, CA (95816) Medium

7.0