I’ve finally harvested my first batch of exactly four tomatoes from my container gardens. The one pictured above was delicious and bright, juicy, red all the way through. Aside from a few minor obstacles that were remedied pretty easily, including mule deer, aphids and cabbage worms, my baptism into vegetable gardening has been pretty successful. Of course, this doesn’t count all the seeds that never sprouted or the few seedlings that didn’t make it past the first few hot days we had here but, oh well.
Southern, Coastal California is perfect for growing just about anything. Especially here on Catalina Island, it never gets too hot, too cold or too dry (humidity-wise that is – we can go months without seeing a drop of rain).
I found a great organic, vegetable oil based pesticide that took care of the aphids and cabbage worms. Pesticidal Oil by Worry Free Brand is what I used though it seems recently, that there are quite a few brands to choose from, which is great. I rinsed the leaves and fruit well with water, then gave them a light misting with the oil after they had dried. I had to re-apply once or twice more but it seemed to have done the trick. The only drawback I’ve seen so far is that the tomatoes were just a bit sticky even after rinsing well with water but it doesn’t seem to have effected the taste. I probably put too much oil on in the first place.
The mule deer on the island are really desperate for food considering the dry winter we had. They even climb one flight of stairs on an almost nightly basis to get to our property and yummy plants. At one point they were knocking large ceramic planters over and even breaking a couple in their early morning forays for food (usually around 4am). I finally put deer netting up over all our plants including the shrubbery and they’ve pretty much given up for the time being.
I feel so bad for the poor deer since they’re probably starving to death but I know that feeding them is not the right thing to do. We have a hunting season on the island but I’m not sure how I feel about that as a solution to the problem either. I suppose if the hunters eat the deer they kill it’s okay, even though I’ve chosen to not eat any animal based foods myself. Actually, if you’re going to eat meat, killing the animal yourself is probably the most humane way to go about it.