Sunday, July 24, 2005

Can This Garden Be Saved?

We need help. Of the gardening sort.

I have hesitated to post pictures of our garden because, um, it's sort of pathetic. (And it doesn't have anything to do with knitting. Although that hasn't stopped me before, I suppose.)

In our defense, it's the first year that DH and I have ever tried to grow anything (other than children), and we are complete novices, even though we both come from families full of gardeners. You see, neither of us really enjoys doing any kind of yard work, which is why we bought a house with a tiny backyard. We don't even have a motorized lawn mower. If we're going to be outside, we'd much rather be biking or hiking, or kicking back with good books and cold drinks, than pulling weeds and pruning bushes.

However, we're both rather fond of vegetables, especially as DH does not eat any meat or fish. Many years ago we belonged to a great CSA in Vermont. It was only a couple of miles from our house. For very little effort (and an upfront commitment of cash), we got fantastic fresh veggies (and flowers and berries) every week. Perfect! But then we moved. And life got busy. And we joined a new CSA, but it was 45 minutes away, and it involved a lot of pick-your-own veggies, and this was not so easy to do with small children. So last year we joined yet another CSA, one which would deliver our weekly box of veggies to a local farmer's market. We split the large "share" of vegetables with two other families, which helped to keep it affordable for us, but which made coordination of the weekly haul a big PITA. And, honestly, I just didn't always have the time to deal with large amounts of fresh produce that had to be eaten fairly quickly.

So this year we did not join a CSA. Instead, I have been trying to buy some local (and, when possible, organic) produce at the farmer's market. And we decided to grow a few vegetables of our own. (Like, three. Or four.)

So we bought the book Square Foot Gardening, and DH built us this 4x4 garden frame:
In the back are a few snowpeas; then a row of scraggly carrots; then a lot of basil; and, in the front right corner, some sad cilantro. (We have a few tomato plants in another spot, one that gets more direct sunlight).

You can see that there are actually a few pea pods on the plants, which is always a good sign.

BUT--there is trouble in the garden, folks. Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with B that stands for Bugs. (Or something else?)

First, look at the bottoms of the pea plants. All the leaves are turning brown. And there is white stuff on the leaves.
(Click on the picture to see a bigger version.)

Next, look at the hole-y and shriveling leaves on this tomato plant. AND there are white spots on the ground near the plants that look suspiciously, um...suspicious. (And there is a big white leg in the picture to provide contrast. Yep, it's mine. Sorry.)

So, Norma (and all you other gardeners), what do we do? Advice? Ideas? We are humble and hopeless, and we desperately need some help.

p.s. Yes, I went away. Yes, I came back. More details to come.