One thing that excited me most about doing this organic garden was the fact that we would be using fresh, new Nursery Mix from Bricko farms. I knew this would be rich with nutrients and devoid of pests. What I didn't know (but have learned since) is that this high-nitrogen mix would make our plants explode with growth so quickly that the plants prone to blossom-end rot disease would likely get it.
Blossom-end rot disease is due to a calcium deficiency in the plant. The great Nursery Mix has plenty of calcium but I know from my glaze-mixing for pottery (see my Forrest Pottery Blog) that calcium carbonate is not very available because it is not water soluble. Now this is great for glazes, but not for plants. So plants that grow very quickly don't have time to absorb the calcium from the soil and will eventually fall prey to the dreaded disease.
In the past this has stopped me from growing squash and zucchini but thanks to Brian and Kate Gandy of Garden City Organics I now know that my second planting of these in this rich soil will likely not suffer from the same problem. And I hasten to add that we have gotten armloads of zucchini already and more are successfully growing. Still, it's nice to know that while this is likely to happen, it isn't a deal-killer and I can simply replant!
Another problem that I looked for and didn't see was the boring pest that feasts on the same crop. I looked too high up on the stalks. Brian advised me to simply mound up the dirt around the infected bases. There is no substitute for first-hand knowledge! And all of us at Hope House are so grateful to Brian and Kate for their generous spirit and expert advice.
Just so you believe me when I say that in spite of these minor problems we have a good crop, here's a picture of a beauty! Also, some tomatoes-in-waiting.