Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 17: Assessing the Battlefield

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5/29/2020

There’s a shy blue sky today, but the clouds are still threatening. I still have two more thunderstorms to look forward to before the promised forecast of sunny skies. I’m dancing on the battlefield with my frenemy: Mother Nature.

Before I get all crazy and anxious about the not so clear impending doom of blights and other diseases, I figure I’d assess the overall condition of my garden first before picking out all of the imperfect leaves, and before assuming the whole garden is in danger.

First, I officially started the garden on April 29th, 2020. I’m writing this on May 29th 2020.

OBSERVATION A: OVERALL GARDEN HEALTH

As of today, I’ve planted 21 different types of plants, but a total of 43 plants; some in pots, some in the raised bed, and some in the ground. Out of those 43 different plants, only 3 look really questionable: The hot and spicy oregano, Genovese basil, and marigolds from the Josephine Pot look sick. I may be able to save the basil and marigolds, but the oregano’s yellow and spotty leaves are starting to creep up the plant, which is probably going to force me to trash the plant eventually.

Gorgeous and Healthy Amethyst Basil

I had a feeling that I had stuffed too many plants into the pot initially, but that’s okay. I learned, and I won’t be stuffing any more plants in such close proximities in the future. It’s still too early to say, but the Josephine Pot marigolds still look partially healthy with only a few spots here and there that I will prune off when the weather improves. I mentioned in an earlier entry that I transplanted the basil to the ground since the roots looked healthy. It hasn’t gotten worse since then, but I’m still hoping its condition improves.

As a result of this observation, only 3 out of 43 plants are unhealthy. Not bad.

Improving Genovese Basil

OBSERVATION B: PESTS ARE UNDER CONTROL

Although I may regret this statement later, there hasn’t been any major destruction except for the slugs, which I was able to control in a few days with coffee, egg shells, and some slug bait.

I do plan on getting rid of the ants that have colonized my garden bed because too many have made it their home, but other than that, my plants have not all suddenly died overnight… yet.

OBSERVATION C: NO MAJOR FUNGAL INFECTIONS

I might also regret this statement later. But, I’ve been taking advantage of pruning to reduce fungal infections. Pruning is something I never did in the past because I always assumed my plants would grow taller and bushier if I just left them alone. But I learned that you have to control the growth of plants to get the best yields and the preferred behaviors.

Once the weather dries up, I’ll be pruning off A LOT of leaves that have been touching the ground, and pruning off any leaves and foliage that leaves little for air flow.

Fabulous colors on the Flossflower!

OBSERVATION D: MOST PLANTS LOOK HEALTHY

I got ahead of myself hoping and expecting for a perfect garden and crop when no one gets a perfect garden and crop. I’m getting used to the fact that not all plants are going to make it, and that the point is to plant a lot and hopefully harvest most of what you plant.

Most of my plants, overall, look healthy, and I was even able to harvest a healthy batch of herbs! I cut the heads off of my dill, harvesting a good 1 ounce worth of leaves. I also harvested 0.5 ounces of spearmint, and 0.5 ounces of oregano. Most stores sell 0.5 ounces or less for $3 a package! So, already I made some of my money back after planting the herbs.

4 out of 5 basil plants are growing tall, are richly colored, and have lively leaves.

3 out of 3 tomato plants are growing tall, have no diseases (yet), and have gorgeous leaves top to bottom.

2 out of 2 geraniums are flowering.

You get the point.

Popping pink flora!

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

Overall 93% of my plants look healthy. If my marigolds and basil bounce back, I may end up with 98% healthy plants. With this perspective, it makes me feel less anxious about “failing” as a newbie gardener. And yes, I know, failing is part of the learning process. And if my garden becomes a disaster this year, I will try, try again.

If you’re a new gardener battling the uncertainties of Mother Nature, what have you been doing to keep your plants healthy? What’s your experience? And will an overall assessment help you see the big picture of why your garden may not be in such danger as you initially thought? Let me know with a comment!

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