Garden Tribe recommends you look at your crops every day so that you’ll recognize when something is wrong. My problem is that I love to look every day–even more often–at the beginning of the season, but then I get sloppy, or busy, or distracted, or lose enthusiasm. And a few days go by before I go out and realize it hasn’t rained and the crop is thirsty. Or the slugs have had a field day with the lettuce. Or the Brussels are covered in aphids. (Aphids on the Brussels is somehow much more disgusting than aphids on any other plant!)
Google is really your friend when it comes to figuring out problems, and finding a fix. But you have to see the problem in order to google it. Try to make it a practice to go into the garden with a few minute to spare at least once a day. Might be after work, especially if you plan to harvest something for supper. Or before work if you’re one of those people who likes to have a leisurely breakfast reading the paper before your commute. Even better, before getting your kids off to school, get them out there as well peering into the nooks and crannies of the veggie garden.
And then try to pinpoint everything that you see wrong with a plant. Some pests will only attack plants that are already stressed. If you pick up on the stress (the leaves are your early-warning system: environmental problems most often show up in the leaves first), you may be able to prevent pest infestation by improving your plants growing conditions.
Finding concerns early will be your best strategy toward identity and remedy. Little holes in the cabbage leaves? Droopy tomato leaves? Holes in the ground where your carrots used to be? Two or three minutes with Google will give you answers and solutions, and since you found the problem early, there’s probably little harm done. (Well, except for the rabbits having stolen your carrots…)
Only three more lessons; stay tuned…