Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

The Diary of a Novice Gardener: Making Mistakes

Green pepper plants

The neighbor behind our house moved in last summer. Already his back yard is lush and magnificent. The trees, bushes and flowering plants have grown ten fold. Every evening the neighbor loving works in his garden. Tending to each tree and plant. Digging. Watering.

I planted a few tomato plants, bell pepper and some cilantro back in March. The cilantro died last month and the tomato and bell pepper plants are definitely not what I hoped for. First of all I have a major problem with bugs eating the meager offerings of vegetables. Secondly, or maybe this should be number one, I imagined the plants would produce more.

Dead Cilantro plant

During my research two most common answers were soil and water. There was a period when the watering system was not working. Then when the drip system was on the plants were over watered. Thus I have wilted and yellowing tomato plants. The other missing ingredient is food. Plant food. When the plants were originally planted I used a bag of soil with fertilizer. However all the over watering took the nutrients straight through the bottom of the barrel.

Tomato plant

It was suggested to combat any insects use organic compost. The art of decomposing bulk such as coffee grinds, paper, straw, manure, table scraps and dead plants is supposedly a turn off to bugs. Flowers and herbs also help with insects. There is a difference between the greener and healthier peppers that share the same pot with marigolds and the spiny tomatoes.

Lesson learned: Need to fix drip system, plant some basil with the tomatoes and make another attempt at composting.