My wife, Sarina has discussed the challenge with organic gardening does not ease with the purchase of organic plants, seeds, and soil. It is a constant battle against nature.I know a lot about gardening in the desert, however, sometimes I am still faced with things that I have never encountered before. I love the resources of the internet and Facebook groups and most of the time I follow their advice, a lot of them seem to have more experience than I do and know things that I have to admit I have no idea what they are talking about, they discuss things like “grafting” and “manual pollination” of plants. I love gardening and trying to figure out what is going on with my plants when things don’t go as planned and generally I am met with some pretty amazing results. I have had AMAZING results with tomatoes that I have grown from seed, constantly sacrificing one of the tomatoes into a pot or directly into the soil to rebirth the next generation of plants. I have battled my wolf dog Luna and her desires to lay in the moist soil and eat her favorite veggies before they are ripe. Sarina and I have gone to war with “squash/stink beetles”, admittedly prior to this encounter we had never heard of such an insect and I have to tell you bunnies have nothing on these insect’s reproductive abilities! This year we have battled through so much already it seems like a bit of a nightmare, I won’t dwell or spend anytime there as I have decided to focus more on the positive and less on the challenges I have faced physically over the past two months and honestly, I am tired of discussing it.
So back to organic gardening! I have always believed that when dealing with nature that there was an “acceptable amount of loss”. What does this me to me? That’s a great question! (I frequently talk with myself, some days I find this the best conversations!) Nature is in of itself not perfect, nothing in “Reality” is without flaws, all mommies have “battle scars” none of us are flawless. It was this need for “perfection” that has led us to the chemicals we poison ourselves with. I rarely use “store bought” bug killers on my food. I’m not crazy, I prefer the poisons I know are killing me over the ones labeled “safe” or “for organic gardeners”. There are many things that I do that are not healthy nor beneficial to my life. These are my choices and my family (thankfully) hates these habits, and even as I write this post I am constantly trying to break free of these addictions. They are no different than the addictions to fast food, processed food and hatred, all of these addictions cause cancer and shorten our lives. Again, my kids don’t smoke, I do, they hate the addiction, they hate the smell and I am using a vaporizer to try to compromise. My kids hate fast food as the norm because they also understand the poison that is in their food, much like the poison I consume when I smoke.
The other day I sought help from my “organic gardening” friends on Facebook. I posted this picture….
“Many of my squash plants are covered in these white dots and my veggies are growing and then turning brown then black and dying as in the picture on the right. I have followed the companion gardening guides and have marigolds and nasturtium are planted everywhere. I have tried ladybugs. The water is at the bottom and does not spray on the leaves. Thank you all in advance…”
I posted the above question…. I was advised to most part to “self pollinate” my squash (I have no idea how to do this) and spray my plants with a mixture of 1/2 milk and 1/2 water. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, my wife is an AMAZING researcher and puts up with more of my own crap than anyone I would ever meet, I’m NOT sure why I didn’t just ask her? This was another instance of me thinking I could do everything by myself. (When I know full well I can’t),So I listened to the Facebook know it alls and sprayed my plants in the early morning with 1/2 milk (whole milk) and 1/2 water, in a BRAND new spray bottle! I was also told that I had also been overwatering and there was not enough airflow in my garden. I followed all the advice. I turned my water back to every other day and removed my sunscreens. The following day my plants looked like this….
This broke my heart… I wanted to cry and give up. I had faced so much disappointment in the last few weeks, I wasn’t sure I could take another problem I couldn’t physically overcome. It was coupled with a fear I felt nearly turned into reality. I nearly lost all my marbles. (I had very few left at this point) I haven’t been able to really look at the garden since I pulled all the dead leaves off. I am determined to not loose anything else.
I know that the last few weeks, I have experienced an “acceptable amount of loss”. I fully understand that this is normal and another way the world shows me that “only the strong survive”.Some days I am completely fine with the answer that I’m “an acceptable loss” on other days, I’m not ready to give up…
It’s just nature, sometimes the insects win and there’s no vegetables or fruit, sometimes the fruit wins and we all get fed.
I’ll keep you all posted on the outcome. Because at Karen’s there was plenty of sunflowers and…
Matteo’s garden bloomed.
So there is always HOPE! Karen, never give up.
“We got this!” Lil Jon
As an ending note, we are all scarred, scared, broken, bruised and flawed.
At the end I chose to smile, because that’s all I have left.