* garden problems and solutions

Posted on May 29th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.

Now that the garden’s finally gotten going, I’ve got to deal with some of the slings and arrows of spring: slugs, poor germination, wimpy seedlings, and weeds.  And of course, there’s stubborn Miss Sue.  This weekend was all about problem solving.

Slugs. That does it, slugs.  You ate my lone artichoke seedling, and now you’ve eaten the replacements too.  After reading Erica’s Slug Wars post, I set out some beer traps.  So far no catches, but maybe they haven’t found it yet.  I also placed pieces of scrap decking in my raised bed to catch more offenders to be fed to the chickens.

Germination.  I’ve had pathetic germination this year from my beets, scallions, chard, and, worst of all, collards and carrots, which have not germinated at all.  The collards I have given up on, saving the remains of my seed sampler pack for a possible winter crop.  Erica had another helpful post on using burlap to help carrots along (Can you tell that I just rediscovered Erica’s blog?  She is one of my old favorites and I don’t know why I ever unsubscribed.)  Conveniently, Second Use had carts and carts of coffee sacks last weekend for like a dollar each.  (We also found an awesome salvaged concrete-and-fiber planter that I haven’t decided what to plant in.)  I pinned it down using garden markers.  Fingers crossed that this batch takes.


Sad seedlings. I think I just don’t have the knack for starting seeds.  This year I paid a lot more attention to getting them light and heat, and I hardened them off and everything.  They looked pretty strong, if maybe a little bit leggy.  About half of the ones I’ve planted out have shriveled, though, and the ones that are still growing have been outpaced by their direct-seeded neighbors.  I think I will stick to direct seeding and purchased starts from now on.  So far, I’ve bought artichokes, eggplant, and tomatoes, all from the local Fred Meyer, which has a surprisingly good selection of 4/$5 veggie starts.

Weeds. Stupid weeds.  No easy solution for this one: just brute force.  I’m also still pulling up seedlings from my turned under cover crop.  The clover is especially persistent.  The second prong of attack is to crowd them out with some pretty groundcover, like nasturtiums.  My first planting of nasturtiums has mostly come up, so I just filled in gaps today.

Broody Sue. I locked the chickens out of the nesting box today.  Lester had to find another spot to lay her egg, but I found it without too much hunting.  Sue seems nonplussed and has not laid an egg since Wednesday.


Good things. It’s not all gloom and doom in the garden.  Lots of the crops are looking great: radishes, lettuces, mustard spinach, broccoli rabe, and all my Asian greens.  The peas are big enough to train onto the fence now.  We finally hit 70° last week, so things are looking up.

2 Responses to “garden problems and solutions”

  1. Sandy Says:

    for the slugs: they HATE anything aromatic, so cedar shavings around the edge of the bed is good as well as coarsely ground cornmeal.. i can’t imagine that they haven’t found the beer.. maybe they’re waiting for a friday night on the town thing..

  2. Jean Says:

    We are having a problem with the bottom 1/3 of the garden. Seedlings are stunted and the leaves are curling. It seems to be affecting everything in that area, peas, beets, tomatoes etc – further up the row they look better but still not as good as they should. Garlic and onions at the top of the garden look fine. Any ideas? A virus or fungus or lack of something? Any recommendations for treatment?


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