Mister gardener’s outdoor garden is growing but he grumbles that things are not going well. He points out that the sun is lower in the sky and hidden behind the trees much of the day and his vegetables are ‘sun starved.’ So, while mister gardener was away for the day, I decided to take a peek at how his garden is progressing. From my point of view (the dinner table), I see nothing amiss with the vegetables that are harvested. We have eaten radishes, broccoli, arugula, curly kale, collards and we’re on hold for the cabbage, beets, and brussels sprouts. I’ll just have to see for myself if the garden is in trouble.
As one can see from these photos, I found mister gardener’s vegetables in fine shape. The radishes are numerous and very healthy. The collards and arugula are growing vigorously and have been delicious on the dinner table. The kale is thriving and lovely… but what’s this? I see some telltale holes. Could we be sharing our kale with visitors? Yep, beneath the leaf are cross striped cabbage worms. I wonder if mister gardener has noticed. I must let him know that garlic juice or red pepper powder have been shown to be effective organic controls for this little pest. Overall, except for the pokey brussels sprouts and beets, the winter veggies are flourishing.
Now that he is not spending hours in the outdoor garden, mister gardener has prepared his annual hydroponic Aero herb garden right on the kitchen counter. For those who may not know about the Aero Garden, herbs or other plants are grown in water in a compact appliance with timed lighting and alerts when the plants need more water or nutrients. This is mister gardener’s third year growing hydroponic herbs. You’d think a person who loves to work hard in the soil all summer might scoff at growing plants in water but he loves his fresh basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme and parsley. Plus, the handy little device does all the thinking for him. Once the herbs are depleted, he plants our favorite hydroponic vegetable: lettuce. In no time we enjoy green leaf, red leaf, butternut and romaine on sandwiches and in salads. In the spring, he will use the Aero Garden to start seeds for his REAL garden. Easy. Quiet. Fun. Tasty. Organic. And it keeps him gardening for 12 months of the year.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester