November 03, 2018
More than half the tomatoes ripening in the cardboard box have turned red already. Can confirm, not as tasty as vine ripened, but still a treat. It's like forbidden fruit that nature intended to be decomposing on the ground. It's interesting that the largest ones ripened to dark red already, the mid sized ones are orange, and the smallest, golf ball sized ones are still green..
Two of the small ones even got moldy and rotted. This makes me believe that the size of the tomato might be a better indicator of it's ability to ripen when removed from the vine than how yellow it is. These were all about the same color when picked..
November 04, 2018
The hay mulch I applied around the mounds last spring is still there. It's thinner but still doing it's job. I realized that it was alfalfa hay instead of grass hay. It has solid stems, not hollow tubes like grass hay or straw, so it breaks down more slowly. I'm now saving it from the stall cleanings, and putting it in a pile, until I get enough for a wheelbarrow full, and then spreading it over the last years mulch..
Grass hay can be harvested with the seeds ready to germinate, but alfalfa hay is harvested with it's flowers still intact, so it doesn't contribute to a garden weed problem. Straw makes the garden soil sweet, and the worms and night crawlers seem to prefer it, but it breaks down quickly, and costs $7 a bale. Leaves and alfalfa hay are free, which is in tune with the spirit of organic gardening..
November 05, 2018
Growing Fall cauliflower in the greenhouse has always been successful but this year is a real challenge. First the cabbage moths laid eggs consistently so that if I skipped checking for a few days there would be up to four caterpillars on a leaf. Some would be an inch long already indicating they must eat night and day. The leaves are all holey with jagged edges and the plants look terrible. Then the aphid moved into the tender small inner leaves and multiplied so quickly that the gray mess of their presence is disgusting. I sprayed them with soapy water and now the gray mess is sticky too..
I can't imagine cauliflower heads forming in that dismal abyss without having aphid up inside the crowns. Now the white flies are attacking each plant with abandon, swarming up when you brush the leaves. Soapy water should help control them but it feels like a losing battle because they will never be pretty plants. I don't want to even get near them, and how poorly they look feels like a neglected responsibility on my part..