You see, despite the cooler weather and the much appreciated rain, the squashes and cucumbers are struggling. Their growth appears stunted and both the yellow squash and the zucchini are now flowering. I don’t know what to make of it. Top it off with a small infestation of aphids. This doesn’t sit well for an obsessive-compulsive gardener.
I brewed up a small batch of castings tea yesterday. I read that it can help troubled plants by giving them a dose of immediately available nutrients and trace minerals and a bath of beneficial microorganisms. As it turns out, there were a couple of sites that proclaimed the virtues of castings tea as a pest deterrent precisely because of these microorganisms. This is the recipe I used:
5 Gallon Bucket
Foot-long piece of old panty hose
Stick (from which to hang the panty hose)
2 C. Worm castings
2 T. of cane syrup (molasses or corn syrup)
I put the worm castings in the panty hose, tied a knot at the top, then tied the panty hose to a stick I notched to sit on top of the bucket. Then I filled the bucket with water and let it sit 24 hours. It is suggested that one use an air pump to bubble the brew, but I don’t have a pump and just decided to let it sit as is. The cane syrup serves as a food for the microorganisms living in and on the worm castings, and allowing the mixture to steep for 24 hours gives it time to produce excellent levels of these beneficial bacteria and microbes to enrich the soil and protect against harmful fungi. I am hoping that this will help the veggies out.
I came home and sprayed down the plants. I’ll hold out hope that they’ll be rejuvenated even though they’ve scarcely grown the past three weeks. I sprayed down the herbs as well, and it didn’t take but ten seconds or so for the little green worms to come slipping off. I found a couple more that obviously enjoy the basil almost exclusively. I feigned eating one, which totally freaked out my daughter. “Mmmm, tastes like basil.”