Vegetables are not vegan?

I was outside last night and along came a 4″ long fluttering thing. At first I thought it was a dragonfly. Then, I realized it was my nemesis: a hawk moth – the parent of the tomato hornworm. I fought it off with a broom, but you know it will be back. So, I sprayed with neem. Unfortunately, because my peppers are doing great and the web tells me tomato hornworms like those too, I also sprayed them. Here’s what happened:

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All those spots are my doing. I’m learning that neem is less than the “killer app” for organic gardeners. Look at my naked-legged okra in the box below:

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After coming out of the gate like Mario Andretti, its growth has slowed and it’s losing leaves.  I’ve tried neem but It seems possible that it’s eelworm, thriving away anyway on my plant’s foliage.

Still, the okra is about to flower. I’m okay with short and naked as long as the vegetables appear. So, I’ve been reading a bit about soil chemistry. This has made me re-think the newly-discovered fertilizer and consider instead worm castings and kelp. It kind of wigs me out that my vegetables need to eat worm poop so that I can, in turn, eat those vegetables… That’s humbling: the worm as king of vegetables and fruit…

On a separate note, since my elderberry has moved, literally, to greener pastures, I have a big space I can fill next to the rose bush.

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Since I’m loving my finally flowering hibiscus so much, I am thinking witch hazel ‘Diane’. I’ll get some fire red in winter (knock on wood). Anyone have experience with that in a rooftop container garden? They are said not to like the wind…

Another potentially difficult thing with which I’m going to experiment is heath and heather. I’ve just ordered both from Heaths and Heathers online nursery. It will also be my first foray into online nurseries.

The adventure continues!

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