As you all know, I’ve been super excited about my organic garden and compost pit. It’s probably been the highlight of my summer.
My garden in Seattle was an easy labor of love. The ground was well fertilized, the wall that I planted against held lots of heat and my plants flourished. My Orlando garden has been a serious struggle. First, the soil here in Florida is primarily sand. In order to plant, I had to work a lot of amendments into the soil: organic cow and mushroom compost, organic garden soil and lots of water.
When I first planted, everything was so lush and green. I was so excited.
And then my snap pea sprouts died. And then my squash got worms and my tomato plants started getting yellow spots.
I regrouped, fertilized and planted new seedlings. Rows of cucumbers started to flourish and I was thrilled. My garden was a success! Only, it wasn’t. When I came back from Maine I found that the same worms that eaten into the roots of my squash attacked my cucumbers too. I had been treating my plants with a mixture of dish soap and neem oil but this wasn’t strong enough. To add insult to injury, my herb garden didn’t survive our week away either.
I take full responsibility for the herbs, and here’s why: I planted in pretty pots instead of using clay pots. My cute little Ikea pots look great on my herb stand but they don’t allow the plant roots to breathe and so the soil would hold too much water or dry out. This eventually lead to the demise of my herbs. I’ll be replanting new herb starts into clay pots because the porous nature of clay allows the soil to breathe. A true testament to how well clay pots work is my aloe which was replanted and nearly dead but is now a healthy green. A major necessity in Florida because the sun is brutal and fresh aloe is so soothing on burned skin.
Despite these failures, I’ve grown a few things: okra, eggplant and several tomatoes. I really can’t complain but I am disappointed. I’m not new to failure so I’ll take this learning experience and up my game. Besides, it’s summer in Florida for 80% of the year so I’m sure that anything I plant now will still have time to produce.
Your turn: How do you handle an outcome you didn’t expect? Have you ever tried organic gardening? Any tips for me?