Hayley Stewart

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since Mar 15, 2020
Lil' ol lady in a millenial's body
Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Recent posts by Hayley Stewart

Tyler Ludens wrote:We found out that pea gravel is not good for pathways because it gets caught in shoe soles and tracked into the house.  Woodchips will track also but won't damage hardwood floors.  I'm gradually covering the pea gravel with thick woodchip mulch.  You might put woodchip paths through the gravel and plant succulents and other plants that like good drainage in the gravel.  The book The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer has examples of gorgeous plantings in pea gravel.

Thanks for the tips! I just put a hold on that book at the library, looks great.
Yesterday I did a tour of a potential future gardening space that used to be very lovingly manicured for decades, but hasn't been touched in at least a year. A LOT of plants from all over have popped up into the pea gravel pathways, and there are some mature perennials like hostas that clearly haven't been getting enough water and are just dying in our hot (and often dry) Southern Ontario -zone 5ish- summers. There is a drip irrigation system in place for certain beds which also haven't been used in a while.

My dream is to be able to add in some edibles and natives to create a more permaculturist-approved garden. The pea gravel pathways are just a magnet for weeds - I'd prefer to use woodchips, personally. I'm thinking about doing a power-weed with friends and trying to get some stonecrop plants growing instead, with some little flagstones for stepping on. A part of me will be sad pulling out so many plants that I know a lot of beneficial insects love, but I'll try to leave what I can.

Does anyone here have experience in retrofitting ornamental gardens and/or creating little groundcover pathways? Please let me know if you can think of anything I should consider for adding edibles in a previously ornamental garden. I don't think I'll be able to get much information about past pesticide use, unfortunately. I understand changing something of this size is going to be a lot of work but I'm really excited by the prospect of chipping away at it and learning along the way.

Bumping this thread because I'm also interested. It looks like their courses also have been pre-approved to transfer credits to a few other programs.
1 month ago

Hayley Stewart wrote:
Well, now it looks like those white flecks are on about half of the peas in the planter box beside it, with what appear to be black spores beneath those flecks on the underside of the leaves.

Aha! I went out later today and saw little thrips scurrying around. We have our answer, ladies and gentlemen. Those black "spores" are thrip poop!
I removed the worst damaged plants and gave any other leaves where I saw them running around (but with less damage) a little castille soap + water spray. I did see some ladybug larva on the deck for the first time this year so I'm hoping they'll be around to chomp on any stragglers. We have oodles of spiders too. Do spiders like thrips? I hope so.
Hi, I don't know if folks want to glom onto here to post their plant problems or if it makes sense to keep these to individual threads - BUT! Allow me to begin with my weird plant problems.

I grow on a small second-storey deck where I have a series of cages (for plants to be trellised and/or protected from squirrels) and shelves with various containers on them. At the very bottom of the shelves, we have an experimental window box where we just let whatever from last year come up to grow, plus some clover seeds we tossed in earlier in the season. I noticed that there was quite a few forget-me-nots popping up but let them be. The result is it's pretty densely planted. Recently I noticed some of the clover in the corner started to develop white flecks all over it but it didn't seem to be spreading so I didn't get alarmed. Well, now it looks like those white flecks are on about half of the peas in the planter box beside it, with what appear to be black spores beneath those flecks on the underside of the leaves. I'm thinking it's a fungus, but would greatly appreciate anyone who might be able to recognize it and recommend a treatment. The peas are done producing anyways, so tearing them out isn't the end of the world.

THANKS GUYS, hope you enjoy all the cat hair in my photos.

Natalie Jensen wrote:Spouse and I live in Toronto and currently grow things in our tiny apartment and on our tiny, windy balcony, lol!

We're hoping to move out of the city in the next two years.

Whoa! We're twins!

I also live in Toronto with my partner and grow things on our tiny balcony. I have been able to convince my neighbours who have started a garden in the backyard to plant some nice things that are too big for us to fit on the deck, and my sister has given us free reign to do some experimental gardening in her backyard, so I'm happy that we have a bit more to work with this year.

Our plan is to get the heck outta here in a couple years and start up a homestead with our close friends who have the same dream. We all currently work in the photo industry which has been pretty hard-hit by the pandemic so we're all figuring out how to retool and start the transition. I've been chomping at the bit to get some more hands-on learning experience with farming/gardening/homesteading but it's been difficult to find opportunities that don't require a car.
2 months ago

Rebecca Crone wrote:When you mentioned the nuts it reminded me that walnuts were used by a friend of mine to mimic ground meat in a vegan reciepe. It wasn't meaty but was good so I could imagine them mixing well with meat.
Has anyone tried jackfruit? Its a popular vegan meat substitute. I've never tried but maybe it and mushrooms are food fillers.

Jackfruit is great for making pulled-pork-like foods - we eat it all the time and it comes together really quickly. Make sure you get young jackfruit in water (or brine). Lots of recipes say to remove the core and seeds but all of it is edible and breaks apart when cooking. We cook it in an onion-barbecue sauce mixture and serve it on buns with a simple coleslaw and pickles. We made it for a huge group of non-vegetarians and everyone was asking for the recipe. Can't go wrong!

As for the walnuts, our favourite ground beef substitute is roasted cauliflower with walnuts, tomato paste, garlic and seasoning. It's amazing. We add it to bolognese sauce when we're looking for something hearty in the winter.

Also, if you want to get off the meat train and like spice, just get your hands on a copy of Rick Stein's India and start making things in the vegetarian section. Yes, there are a lot of great recipes we're probably missing out on, but I find that indian vegetarian food in general leaves very little to be missed in the meat department. Between the paneer and legumes, you won't be left hungry.
2 months ago

Sionainn CailĂ­s wrote:Thank you for the barrage of photographs!  It was actually helpful for me to diagnose and correct my own problems. Some of my starts this year have similar to the damage as your first photographs, although I think mine was oedema as was suggested.

It was also only affecting two of my new varieties, but these are also the only ones in plastic pots. The rest I have in little peat pots. Water is probably not evaporating fast enough on those compared to the peat pots which dry out faster, and that issue was probably compounded by the fact I had to bring my whole setup up from our cool basement and it was then put into the back bedroom with a very warm floor and very cool air. Poor little guys. Lol. I moved them all out to the unheated garage last week and they have picked up now.

Sorry you have buggies that also developed on yours :(  Hopefully the rest can be saved. If ever there was a year to have home grown tomatoes, this would definitely be at the top of the list.

Last year I used a mild spray of a bit of neem oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil into just warmed water, and very lightly misted over my tomatoes. Worked against the aphids and they didnt come back the rest of the summer. Also worked on my squash and cucumbers against the beetles that showed up. Not sure about whitefly but good grief neem is truly vile smelling, so hey it might work.

If you do go the neem route, be stingy. Lol. It seriously stinks with this awful skunky musk. And it stays stuck to your skin so if you (accidentally) spray it onto your arms you'll have the advantage of mosquito repellant. But you'll smell just awful. Its a husband repellant too. Lol. Tried and tested.

I'm glad this thread proved to be helpful! I too had never heard of edema but always good to know what numerous issues can pop up that don't fit the usual suspects. Thanks again for the tips about neem oil! I've been using a light solution of castille soap and water since the plants are still so young, but I've heard that thrips can develop a resistance to insecticide so I'll probably try to alternate methods.
Hello! Here's an update for all y'all. I have come to believe that it's Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus spread by some thrips that were hiding out in my houseplants and hopped into my nursery, which was only a couple feet away. I wiped a little black speck from a tomato leaf off onto my finger, and watched it wiggle a bit, and then jump SO FAR! They're springloaded. Explains why some other plants seem to have "caught" the spots. All in all, I think I was a bit too late with my treatment/prevention methods, especially since I was starting these seeds right next to these host plants, totally unaware of their army hiding out. I still have a few plants that look like they're unaffected by the disease, but I've had to toss about half the plants I've started. The rest are going to be closely monitored and dusted/sprayed to get rid of any jerks that might be hiding out.

Ah, death. We meet again.
Hey fellow apartment grower! I'm not sure what your growing space is like, but on my second floor southwest facing balcony, I've had the best success with arugula and other leafy greens, kale, chives, peas, beans, jalapenos, and basically all the herbs. Larger plants like cucumbers and tomatoes can get big FAST (even when pruning) so be sure to opt for a dwarf variety or be prepared to set up a trellising system so you can manage their growth a bit more easily. But it can be done, and it's really satisfying.

I've learned the hard way that with container gardening, you have to really keep an eye on the moisture and temperature levels. Last year I was not very diligent with my watering schedule and my corn, tomatoes and cukes ended up with a bad case of verticullum wilt at the end of the season that spread around the garden. Just be aware that plants need appropriate spacing for air flow and to water in the morning so your plants can let the excess moisture evaporate through the day. This year I'll be building some wicking/self-watering containers and using ollas to build a little more resiliency when it comes to the usual issue of fluctuating between too much and too little moisture. With that in mind, I think you could actually grow just about anything (except maybe giant pumpkins) so long as you give each plant what it needs to succeed (which will be very dependent on the environment).

P.s. If you're working with a small space, you can apply the Square foot gardening approach to container growing for a rough idea of what kind of spacing you can get away with per 1ft(ish) container. Here's a handy lil pdf: http://plantandplate.com/p-downloads/PlantandPlate-SFG-spacing.pdf

P.P.S. There's a balcony gardening webinar tomorrow if you wanna sign up! https://www.miinikaan.com/resources
2 months ago