container gardening newbie
Hi everyone... I'm brand new to the community and also somewhat green to gardening. I live in urban Philadelphia and I've got a very big container garden half in my concrete back yard and the other half on a roof. This is the first year I grew plants from seeds and it worked out well... except that I had a lot more plants than I anticipated (hence the garden on the roof). I've got two questions... 1. I've got about five containers of squash (yellow and zucchini). All the plants are blossoming. I've picked a few of the flowers and eaten them. However, some of the ones that I've left on have produced fruits which started to rot only after they grew two inches long. Could this be because I planted too close together? Or could it be that I need to pick more flowers? 2. I've also got a million of these red little mite things that are all over the herbs and tomatoes. The zucchini and squash don't seem to be as affected... they are in another end of my patio. I think the mites might be coming from birds... they are everywhere. They are the size of a size of a pin point and linger on the plants, pots, concrete pavers, back door, etc etc. When you crush them with your finger it looks like you have a little blood from a pin prick. I tried to kill them with some insect/mite spray from the gardening center but it didn't work and I didn't like using it. How can I kill these things? Should I kill these things? Has anyone purchased lady bugs? I'm a little unnerved about letting creatures fly away after i spent all that money to ship them here... (As an aside, years ago I had an iguana who also contracted these mites. We were able to take care of it by giving the iguana a rub down with olive oil, it smothered the mites... however, if I rub olive oil on my veggies I'll have stew by the time I get home from work.) Thanks in advance for your insight.