Aggie's Kitchen

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

I think gardening is making me smarter. There is so much to learn when you have your own garden. I really know this now. It’s not just the cutesy stuff like picking out your plants and seeds at the store, playing in the dirt with your new gardening gloves, sitting back and admiring the new bud flowers pop up as you are watering. There’s some down and dirty stuff too. Stuff that kinda upsets you because it’s interfering with all your hard work. Before you know it you are waking up to find holes in your basil leaves and white powdery stuff on your zucchini plants. Or how about that my spinach and swiss chard disappeared and there is something munching on my lettuces. There’s a lot going on in the phase of gardening that I’m in right now. I actually am starting to consider this phase “defensive gardening”.

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

It’s not all bad right now, please don’t get me wrong, there’s actually a lot of good going on. For instance check out my container tomato plants…I’ve got one grape and one cherry plant going strong…

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

But wait. Who is this guy and is it okay that he’s here? I know there is a scary looking caterpillar out there called the Tomato Hornworm (I met him last year, I’m not kidding, he’s scary looking, more like a monster than a bug and he eats your tomatoes!) But this guy looks quiet and innocent…

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

(bug #1)

Can he stay? Does anyone know??

Let’s move on to the main garden bed…

uh…whoever said my zucchini plants were going to take over was not kidding! It’s hard to see but I put in some thin wire fencing to kind of control them and keep them from smothering my pepper plants. They are quite plush.

Now I don’t know if you remember or not, but this is how it all started…kind of looked like this:


Crazy huh? Definitely proud.

In here we’ve got some good stuff growing…


Japanese eggplant

mixed lettuces

more tomatoes

the pom poms are doing well

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

and look, I spy a green bell pepper

and a friend.

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

(bug #2)

I actually did not see this guy until I was focusing in on the pepper. Kinda cute. But tell me, is he a friend or do I need to relocate him?? I need bug help people.

In addition to bug help, need to figure out two other things.

What’s happening to my basil? This is a first for me.

and why so many flowers on my cilantro? I keep cutting the flowers down, but more come up! I need cilantro not flowers.

Garden Tour and Gardening Questions

So like I said, gardening is making me smarter. I’m asking questions, I’m doing research, and I’m learning. And I’m constantly making mental notes on what to do and not do “next time”. A lot of it may not be rocket science but it keeps me entertained.

It’s a pretty cool thing.

If you have any advice or can tell me more about my “issues” please help! Thanks! 🙂

* Need to identify bug #1 and find out if he’s a friend

* Need to identify bug #2 and find out if he’s a friend

* Need to find out what is causing holes in my basil

*Need to find out how to control the cilantro flower situation

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23 comments on “Garden Tour and Gardening Questions”

  1. I have the same thing with all my herbs – you gotta keep on clipping! BUT you should try and let a few branches flower and seed though and try out this green coriander recipe:

  2. WOW – I just showed my husband this and he asked me to forward it – great stuff! I hope your bugs are “friends” hehe.

  3. Aggie,
    I don’t know much about the bugs, but my mom told me that Cilantro goes to seed really fast, especially in the heat. She said cilantro doesn’t like hot weather. My cilantro that I planted in early april didn’t last long at all. Your garden looks great! We’ve got some of the same plants. My zucchini is taking over also and shadowing my swiss chard, so I’ve got to figure that out. SOrry I’m no help with the bugs. Everything looks great!

    • So fun! I just found you through “Eat Live Run” and am psyched to have added you under my favorites section.

      Mary Ann is right – cilantro only lasts a short while. I purchased a small organic cilantro plant once that had a tag connected with all sorts of cilantro-related information. It said that cilantro “goes to seed” (flowers and lets off seed) in about 3-4 weeks, depending on the heat. They say to re-sow your seed every 3 weeks for continuous produce! You may also want to know that once an herb flowers, the taste of the herb will become more bitter. Not too bad, but the taste definitely changes. They say plants and herbs have the best flavor when harvested early in the morning… when our lovelies have had some good rest time and have not grown weary from the day’s heat.

      Enjoy your goodies! They look great!

  4. Looking good, Aggie! Mine is starting to catch up with yours. 🙂 This is my first year doing a raised bed. I’ve done containers and greenhouse in past – which I’m also doing this in addition to raised bed. Most of my pest/disease for plant knowledge is from the greenhouse, but I’m an entomologist’s daughter – an entomologist who also does crop consulting. They don’t look like beneficial bugs to me (especially the first one!), but I could be wrong. If you don’t have too many worms and caterpillars, I’d just stick with moving it away. They are good pollinators when they are all grown! But, if you see more and see them eating, you’ll have treat more aggressively. The beetle doesn’t look like a predatory one, but I could be wrong. I’d move it, and if you see more and start to see them damaging the plants, you may have to use a spray. I like neem oil, but it doesn’t always work well on beetles with hard shells.

    I have an awesome book you check out that applies to some of our outdoor gardening, as well. The Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion. It has good info on LOTS of stuff.

    Ladybugs are a great friend and will get rid of lots of the bad bugs like aphids, white flies and mealybugs. I like to release them for my outdoor plants – but spray them with a little diluted soda first to make their wings sticky so they can’t fly away from your plants when you first release them. This will keep them on the plants long enough to lay eggs and call it home for a while. Also, some beneficial nematodes are great for controlling some of the pests that live in the soil. And there are some predatory mites that do a good job, too. If you don’t have a store that supplies them where you are, I can send you the link for the company I’ve ordered from if you’re interested.

    As for powdery white stuff on the leaves, I’d say it’s probably powdery mildew. Unless it’s dust (probably not where you live!) or water deposits. Serenade spray is the natural fungicide I like to use.

    I’m impressed with all the yummy veggies you’ve got close to harvest!

  5. Wow, nice looking garden! I gave up trying to garden in FL because the weather gets so hot but you prove it can be done. GREAT job!

  6. Yayyy for garden action! Ours is totally exploding, especially the squash! We had similar caterpillars on our tomatoes before and we got powder to get rid of them, they totally freak me out

  7. How fun! It’s doing great. My just barely got planted. I won’t have a tomato until probably August. I haven’t had much luck with cilantro either. I read that once it goes to seed you’re better off just starting with a new plant.

  8. You have every right to be proud of this beautiful garden!

  9. I’m so jealous of your garden. I’ve got mine started and it’s just sitting out there patiently waiting for me to kill it. Soon, my little buddy, very soon.

    In other words, I am no help to you.

  10. Wow you are so ahead of us! lovely garden, great produce – it always tastes so much better out of the garden don’t you think?

  11. I plant cilantro seeds almost continuously to try to keep some that aren’t flowering since it gets a little bitter while it’s in seed. In Texas, it’s almost better just to buy it in the grocery store from June-October.

    I can’t guarantee it will work, but I have my zucchini going up a tomato trellis. It still takes up quite a bit of room, but it’s far less overwhelming so far. I read about the method in a verticle gardening article.

  12. I can’t help with the gardening questions, but I must say I’m envious of your little garden space!

  13. Wow, I see lots of beautiful veggies and herbs! The holes in your basil may be from snails. They usually come out in the evening and start nibbling away. I use an environmentally safe product that is non-toxic for animals and will not kill anything but the snails. The small pellets simply dissolve and turn into fertilizer if not eaten by the snails. Not sure if a similar product is available in the US though. Try your local university’s agriculture department, they can usually help with bug questions (at least, that’s been my experience in Louisiana).

  14. Aggie, your garden is beautiful. Except for the annoying pests. I just planted a little herb “garden” in a big container. I am not putting in a garden this year…. But am researching to do a raised garden next year. I would love to walk outside and have fresh veggies waiting.

  15. This is a really nice garden. Wish you luck with the bugs 🙂

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  18. Oh I am so jealous of your garden! What a beautiful space, Aggie.

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  20. My cilantro bolts quickly too! Each year I plant it, turn around to admire my work, look back and find it SHOOTING FLOWERS. W.h.a.t.

    What do we DO?

  21. I love your garden posts, I have an album on Facebbok of my container garden. My bok choy has grown really tall flowers, but I’m keeping them since my pea plant is clinging to them for support. I found 3 little caterpillars eating away at my bok choy also, they no longer live in the garden, somewhere in the bushes now.

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