I’m pretty new at this, have I said that before? Last year I used some miracle grow granular plant food around my foundation gardens and that’s as far as I got – but this year I really wanted to try staying away from the chemical products. I’ve got my compost bins going, but I wanted to give my gardens an extra boost.

During my travels with the kids today, between the Popcorn Park Zoo, the Ocean County library, the Huddy Park Farmer’s Market and grilling fresh veggies for dinner, I stopped off at the local farm stand/nursery around the corner on Rt. 9 in Bayville. Most of their vegetable seedlings are looking pathetic and way past their prime, but the flowers look like fun! I was drooling over some adorable Tiger’s Eye daisy looking flowers (Looks like Rudbeckia Tiger Eye Gold photo on this page) – but I wasn’t sure if they were annual and perennial, so I bought a dianthus to fill in a spot in the front where I let one die from lack of watering last season.

I also got a small rosemary plant because I hadn’t planted any this year and I wanted to have the whole “Italian seasoning” thing going with the basil, oregano and rosemary… Oops, I think I need some thyme.

I got 3 purple Echinacea to put in the foundation garden that has the lilies, the cucumber and the hydrangeas. The coneflower get nice and tall and will show pretty purple flowers up behind the shorter yellow lilies – the contrasting colors will look sharp there.

I also picked up some of this… 

Espoma Organic Traditions Bone Meal

I spread it around all the gardens in the front. I realize now that I probably shouldn’t have put any near the roots of the blueberries and the rhododendron because they like acidic soil, but since our soil is really acidic in the first place, I don’t know that what I applied will really change the ph of the soil significantly.

This morning in the back yard I found a funky curled up, slimy caterpillar looking thing in the dirt next to one of my zucchini plants. CRAP! I picked him up and put him in my trash can – I hope there aren’t any buggers already dug into the vine. If there were, I couldn’t find them. I also found this little bug on the leaf of one of my pole beans. A cucumber beetle!! That’s IT!

I applied Bonide Garden Dust (see Amazon link below) all over my veggie gardens but I probably did it wrong. Turns out I should have sprinkled it all over the foliage, but for most of the plants, I just put it down near the base around the soil. Uh, yeah. I think I wasted most of my dust. At least it’s organic.