Garden Frustrations Abound, But Plenty of Positive Going On

After my “I hate my garden” hissy-fit the other day, I just spent 6 hours manicuring our strawberry beds. Loving them! They look like they are going for round two. It’s times like these that I have to remember all the positive going on so these problems don’t get the better of me. It IS My Garden Haven after all.

First, the bad that is driving me crazy:

  • Root Knot Nematodes are still in our salsa garden. They are affecting our tomatoes. That, coupled with very cool, overcast conditions so far this summer = tomato harvest at risk!
  • Bolting: Arugula, mustard, tatsoi, cilantro, spinach (see “bolting” in positive things below)
  • Container veggies  (tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans): They hate the potting mix I concocted. Creativity and penny-pinching turned around and bit me.
  • Ants and aphids in the artichokes. I spray them off every day, then they are back. It is the black aphids.
  • Bagrada bug: Southern California’s latest organic gardening menace! It has decimated our radishes, arugula, and alyssum.

    Bagrada Bug
    Bagrada Bug
  • Not enough time or energy to do everything needed
  • Tomatoes have escaped their staking
  • Tomato leaves have spotted white mildew on them
  • Heirloom tomato plants are big, but all blossoms have dropped thus far
  • The over-watering dilemma
  • The planted-too-close-together dilemma
  • Blueberries aren’t producing
  • Snap peas not well. They got all covered in white (powdery mildew?) and stopped producing. Good while they lasted, though.
  • Our crazy kitten chases insects and lands on plants, damaging them. I know it’s her.

Things making me happy:

  • Giant sunflowers are giving needed afternoon shade to plants in all day sun, plus welcoming butterflies :D

    Butterfly on sunflower – took me 30 minutes to get this shot
  • Bolting (see above): Actually also positive because the flowers are attracting beneficial insects and will give seeds to use this winter!
  • We harvested our first garlic crop and it is hanging to cure!

    Garlic Harvest
  • We planted peppers where the garlic was, and they seem to like it there so far.

  • Thanks to my husband, we now have two additional water faucets in the back yard, making my job much easier
  • Strawberries really put out this year and they look like they are going for round two!
  • We have blackberries!
  • Our Anna Apple Treehas produced so many apples, there are plenty to share. Several people have said they are the best apples they have ever had. I need to make applesauce!
    Micah reaches for an anna apple

    Oh yeah!
  • We are growing kale for the first time and it’s going well! We have made several homegrown kale green smoothies.
  • Basil has turned the corner and is doing well! We have Genovia, Lemon, Thai, and Italian
  • We have learned how to use our new dehydrator and are dehydrating a lot of our own fruit and herbs
  • Raspberry patch: One cane has baby berries :)
  • The bees are very very happy workers in our garden

    Image courtesy Ken Shortridge
    Honey bee in our succulents
  • Planted tomatoes in the ground from their containers and they are coming around
  • The Sungold cherry tomatoes are delicious!
  • NO tomato hornworms (thanks to borage)
  • Jalapeños are coming on
  • I found a perfect place for planting dill. It really loves the semi-shade spot.
  • We had our first BLT with our own tomatoes (Pastured bacon of course)
  • It smells herbalicious everywhere! Oregano, rosemary, basil, cilantro… Love working the soil and smelling those smells!

Ok, so that is enough positive to shut my mouth!

What do you do when your garden is driving you crazy?


PS: A lot more is happening over at – it’s so quick and easy to post photos and such… Have you “Liked” yet?

Garden Frustrations Abound, But Plenty of Positive Going On

Beautiful Slideshow of Bees Close Up On Our Succulents

My husband, Ken, took the most awesome photos yesterday of honeybees on our Hen and Chicks flowers. Our succulents have never bloomed like they are blooming this year, and the bees are loving it!


Please enjoy our other favorite photos from the shoot:

Beautiful Slideshow of Bees Close Up On Our Succulents

Spring Winter-like Storm and Problem With Swarm of Bees

For everyone wondering about our bees… They are in their new box. A generous couple from Alpine who belong to the San Diego Beekeeping Society drove all the way here to Linda Vista and helped us figure out the problem(s).

1. The Queen was NOT in the box with her bees! We located her on a neighbor’s trailer with her troupe of about 50 bees. 
2. Another Queen was dead on the ground with a small group of loyal bees.

It appears that a second swarm came into our yard during this last bout of rain and wind. It may have been dislodged from it’s location during the storm.  At some point, our Queen left the temporary box. This is why the bees were in mass confusion – they were looking for her!

This was April 14, 2012. The Queen has left the building.

We will probably never know what really happened…

Because we thought that the bees were highly agitated due to the wind and rain, and because our neighbor was pretty frightened, Saturday night we moved the temporary box to a location across the yard in a more sheltered area. 

Sunday morning it was the same behavior. 

We called the couple who gave us the swarm to see if they knew what was going on. They packed up their bee stuff and came over!

They got the hive moved over to the permanent box, captured the Queen and put her in, and lent us a feeder to place in the hive (they were so hungry). The experience was actually thrilling. You should have seen it when they recognized her! I wanted to cry.

Anyway… That’s the short story!

Here is our Flickr stream of all the photos.

UPDATE: Sunday, April 15th

 Boo! Same behavior today :( It appears the Queen left again! Our bees are on the way to Alpine to hopefully get integrated with other bees. It is better than having them fly around the neighborhood in confusion until they die…

We will try again in a couple weeks!

Spring Winter-like Storm and Problem With Swarm of Bees

When Bees Swarm

A swarm of honeybees hit our backyard today!

Our organic garden is going to love it if these bees decide to stick around and make a hive…

Bees swarm when a group leaves the main hive and sets off to create a new one.

There is usually no need for alarm, bees are usually not aggressive during this stage of their lifecycle.

They create a huge ball of bees which is a small pitstop while scouts go looking for a good hive location.

We have seen 2 swarms in 2 days. Hopefully this is a sign that honeybees are making a comeback!

Read more about swarming:

What is happening to honey bee research?



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When Bees Swarm