Hi all, just joined today and am located in the northern Virginia area.
I spent a boatload of time putting my garden together this year and it's production is nil thus far and I think I had some weather issues combined with some homemade pesticide woes.
The gist of my garden construction is 2x10 raised beds, set on the ground. 8" of quality soil from the local supplier, a weed block fabric, soaker system and a couple inches of mulch topping. I'll post some pics once I get home and can upload them to my ftp host. Since I'm an engineer, I got very technical about the whole thing - maybe too technical which you may see in the forthcoming pics.
I planted everything as seed and grew them indoors until most everything was around 4-10" tall, depending on the veggie, naturally. Shortly after transplanting, we had a solid bout of rain that lasted around 10 days with little to no sunshine and nothing grew at all. Following this, something started eating entire leaves off the seedlings in the garden as some of the leaves turned yellow and started dropping. To battle any number of potential threats, I mad 'chickenwire hats' for nearly all of the plants. I also whipped up some spray I made from boiled garlic and peppers along with some soap later. I sprayed them healthily and soon thereafter I got spotted leaves and more plant decay.
Does this sound like a complete disaster or what?
First question - the only thing I can think of that would eat entire leaves is birds, rabbits and squirrels, which I think I stopped with the chickenwire hats. No deer are in my area - too urban. Does this sound correct?
Second, I think I pretty much killed the plants with a spray that was WAY too strong - it almost ran us all out of the kitchen and the can still stinks of pepper weeks and washings later. Too strong?
I've since found a recipe involving some onion, cayenne pepper and garlic, set for an hour, strain and mix with a bit of dish soap. It doesn't seem to be killing anything. Sound acceptable?
Regarding the rain - I've since stripped all mulch off the beds because the soil was staying saturated for days and days with no sign of drying up. Now that the mulch is off, the plants that survived my nuke spray seem to be coming back. Some of them.
In my mind, the combination of rain and toxic 'too strong' homemade pesticide did me in right off the bat. I've been very light in my application of my new and improved spray and have yet to see any bad results.
I think I'm on the right track, but any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated in order to get my garden back on it's feet.
I'm not 100% organic, I just refuse to use commercial pesticides with two dogs and a pregnant wife that roam the garden. (There is a fence, so I ruled out the dogs as the culprits that were eating whole leaves)...
Sorry for the massive post. I hope to be annoyingly present in this forum.
Anyone from my area? Feel free to PM me for more localized discussions...