Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Spider Mites

Sometime this last year some pest control salesmen came to my door to try to get us to pay their company to spray the bugs in and around our home. One of the salesmen mentioned all the spider webs. Soon after they left I experienced one of those moments when I leave the conversation only to realize what the perfect response would have been. 

The real reason why I love spiders is all about pest control. These helpful arachnids eat mosquitoes, flies and fruit flies. They keep all the other critters that cause disease away from my family and I. Thank you spiders!

As much as I like spiders around me property there are however, another type of web-weaving arachnid that I have zero tolerance for. These little red critters are the one of the vegetable vampires of the garden. Just when you thought your garden was safe, along come Spider Mites!

This last fall, I was visiting one of the schools that I work at and noticed a very sad-looking tomato plant. In fact, it looked pretty much dead. What's more, the tomatoes looked like something had been sucking there juices. In fact, something (or some things) had. The somethings were spider mites.

Spider mites require diligence and a keen eye to control. They tend to like specific plants, but can quickly get out of control if not identified and eradicated. I'm sure that they fill some niche in their native environment, though I work pretty hard to ensure that my garden does not welcome these 8-legged pests.

Coming back to the subject of spider mites, the reason why they are so bad is because they suck the juices out of whatever plant they are making their home. Their size can often make them difficult to spot and they multiply quickly. This is the reason why a gardener should eradicate these pests on sight. There are a number of ways a gardener can do this, but one of the most humane ways seems to be either some kind of insecticidal oil, soap or a good spray of water.

While I was at it, I decided to take a quick little video. Though my phone's camera is not the best, it should give you a good idea of what to look for.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

2018 Greenhouse Carosello Tondo Manduria

The second half of the summer, I decided to try growing the Carosello Tondo Manduria or (as I like to call it) the Mandurian Round. It is a pretty easy carosello to grow.

The seed from my own source grew well, while the home-grown seed from a friend was pretty weak. One really good way to ensure that you continue to preserve seed is to grow your favorite varieties often.

Like many other carosello varieties, the Mandurian Round starts out small and just gets larger throughout its lifetime. This variety is best when between the size of a baseball and softball.

The coloring of this and other carosello varieties becomes lighter as the seed inside matures. At the larger stage (especially with the round carosello) the faded fruit is not as good for salads. Though the Mandurian Round is a C. melo (like cantaloupe) this carosello variety exhibits minimal sweetness and a more grainy texture then a cantaloupe. They can still be eaten when mature, but are so incredibly tasty when eaten immature that unless you are trying to save seed you will probably not grow them to maturity.

The temperature in the greenhouse was perfect for the plants. I am still working to find a better way to water the plants so that they do not wilt. At the time I was growing this variety, I decided to take the time to make a short video about this variety. Hopefully, you enjoy!