What’s Wrong With the Urban Kinder-Garden?

Posted on Apr 26 2010 - 3:27am by Mike Lieberman

The last time I checked in on the Urban Kinder-Garden, the class was watering their garden and it looked great.

A few weeks ago the class harvested their first salad that they were able to enjoy. Since that time, the garden has taken a turn for the worse. Some of the plants have bolted, some have been infested by pests and some have just died.

In taking a look at the garden, I think this could be due to a few different things. Firs, some of the plants seem to be infested with little white bugs that look like aphids. They are on the underside of some leaves and going to town chomping through them.

The other problem that seems to be affecting the garden is drainage problems with the self-watering containers. When digging less than 2 inches from the top of the soil, it seems to be pretty damp and the roots of the plants aren’t very deep. My concern is that the bugs have burrowed into the moist soil, laid some eggs and totally ruined everything.

The drainage can be because of the containers themselves that were made using the tiles. They could’ve succomb to the weight of the soil and collapsed the tile causing no separation between the reservoir and the soil. This is the main reason that the way that I make a self-watering container has changed to use two buckets.

It could also possibly be the soil that is poor and not allowing the water to drain properly.

There are only about 6 weeks left in the school year. I think the best way to help fix the problem and let the class get one more salad is to remove the top 2-4 inches of soil and replace it, then replant some greens.

What do you think the problem could be and the best way to remedy it?


  • Sketchkat06

    well, no idea bout self-watering containers – haven't tried it yet. It's great that you're helping out a kinder class though!

  • Mike Lieberman

    That works. Thanks!

  • RawDamon

    How do the roots / soil smell?

  • Mike Lieberman

    I dunno, but pretty sure it's drainage. It's been over a week since they were watered and the water levels are still pretty high.

  • Angelina

    Maybe it has to do how much shading the plants are having. Maybe more sun, add free mulch from griffin park, and less water. I am sorry I can not come out with a solution on the water drainage ,but…from the look of your plant, it looks to me that leaf hoppers are having a feast, earwings (they love very moist soil and decaying things), and green caterpillars. That is my guess.

    You may know this but a little reminder… make sure you wash those buckets with a anti bacterial soap ( vinegar and lemon if you want to be eco-friendly). When the soil is too wet it can create and hold new bacterial. The best solution is to add new soil or if you want to be ricky…it let dry and add compost matter.) . Also some bugs carry viruses which can spread into the plant when the bugs start chewing or sucking on the plant. Like leaf-hoppers. You will start to see if a disease starts to spread so don't worry about it now. Just a 411 since you are new on what type of pest this part of the coast has. I am still learning and I have been here for 4 years. I am from NYC (The Bronx) . One thing I notice when I moved to L.A. and started my victory garden is L.A carries more pest then New York ( And there are so many different type of roaches in L.A . Thank God! they stay outside.lol). It what we get for getting good weather year round. Oh! if you need help from other people like you and you want to do a swap meet with other ubran gardners, visit Freedom Gardners.org . Good luck!

  • Angelina

    Opps! I meant freedomgardens.org

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thank you so much for the advice and ideas Angelina. I will most certainly take them into consideration.