Yay! The radishes have sprouted and are now growing their next set of leaves. The lettuce, green onions, thyme and a few of the sunflowers that we planted have also emerged. The boys have enjoyed going out into the backyard with me to check on the plants' growth each day. It has been amazing to us how much plants grow from the morning to the early evening as well.
Although we have been rejoicing over the sprouting and new growth of our garden, we have encountered a couple of hiccups along the way. When we went out to water the garden Monday morning, we noticed that something was eating the leaves of our radishes! We were so bummed (me especially, since I had just thinned the row the afternoon before...). I went and grabbed my book, The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith, and looked up his recipes for Homemade Pest- and Disease-Control Remedies. I love that the ingredients for the bug sprays are made from ingredients that I have in my kitchen. Unfortunately, the only one I had all of the ingredients for this time took 2-3 days to steep! Oh well, 'twas yet another lesson in patience for me. :) There are others that you can use immediately that have similar ingredients to the one I made that I found when I did a little Google search on organic pest control methods, but this is one that we have had success with when we used it in years past.
Here is the recipe for the bug spray I was finally able to use this morning.
7 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon powdered cayenne pepper
3 cups hot (not boiling) water
Crush the garlic and place it in a heat-proof container. Add the cayenne. Pour the hot water over the garlic and cayenne. Stir to combine completely. Steep your mixture for 2-3 days, then strain and pour into a hand-held sprayer.
It smells good to me, but apparently, pests don't like the strong garlic smell, or the heat from the cayenne.
My poor tomato plants were not to be left unscathed this season. :( The leaves were full of leafminer tunnels almost overnight! After doing a bit of internet research, I found out that the leaves with the tunnels in them needed to be removed and thrown away in a plastic garbage sack, and the soil around the plants needed to be sprayed with neem oil. You are supposed to spray every few days, fertilize your plants with compost weekly, and after a couple of weeks, can spray every 10 days or so (if I remember reading this correctly--truly, the Internet contains a wealth of information! It is one of my favorite resources.). Although the plants are looking pretty sad at the moment, new growth is appearing and we think that they are going to make it! Doesn't the LORD also prune things from our lives to allow for new growth to take place? Hmmm...I see a new Bible object lesson forming around this thought right now!
Now you may be wondering where lessons from a movie may come in with regard to gardening. Please bear with me a moment. Rob and I recently saw the movie Soul Surfer. Just a little FYI--we LOVED the movie (and I bawled through about half of it...)! While I was outside watering the gardens this morning with Aidan, we noticed that there were more baby palm trees sprouting in the ornamental bed next to our pool. We literally pull anywhere from 10-50 baby palms a day. I had just pulled a bunch yesterday and was a little bummed that more sprouted up overnight. I'd get down into the garden, right where the palms were growing and would work the soil with my hand cultivator, loosening up the soil so I could pull the unwanted plan out, roots and all (some of them have very long and interconnected roots). Meanwhile, Aidan is chattering away. He is asking me about what I am doing, why we always have baby palm trees sprouting, if we are going to dig rock out of the section I was working in, etc. I stand up, thinking I was done working in one particular area and realize that I had missed at least 10 different little green spikes. I had been so close to the issue, that I didn't notice what I had missed until I had a change in perspective. The scene in the movie where Bethany and her youth leader were speaking about perspective came to mind at that moment. I realized just how true that statement was with not only gardening, but with so many other areas of life too. We can be working our wheels trying to work through some problem, thinking that we have it all figured out and then we step back and see that maybe there was something we missed along the way that we couldn't see when were close to it.
The LORD has been speaking to me and has been teaching me (and the boys as well) so much this month through the work we have been doing in the garden. I wonder what will be next and what we will learn from that?