Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Squishy

If there's one thing I don't want, it's for the broccoli plants Nora and I started growing back in March to be eaten by cabbage loopers.   These little, green caterpillars will turn the leaves of your plants into fine Victorian lace.   Pretty but far from functional.  If you look below at this terribly out of focus picture, you'll see two of them crawling around.  

So, what do I do when bugs are attacking something I love?  Like almost everything in my life, I do my research:  Ah ha.  To prevent infestation, install a row cover in spring.  Too late.  Spray them with preen.  I don't think so.  Handpick them, squishing them between your fingers.  Um.  Gross.  But necessary.  And that's what I did.  If you're squeamish, you can also drop them in a bucket of soapy water until they drown.  This seemed inhumane compared to the other option, which is quicker.  I did attempt to throw them far away from the garden, but I started having visions of a sequel to Milo and Otis involving the unlikely pairing of a misplaced cabbage looper and AWOL army ant.

In addition to the cabbage looper, potato beetles are eating my green beans.  I don't think so.  (For the sensitive viewer, I have omitted photos involving bug squishing.)

I'm trying a new tomato "cage" technique.  I found some old rebar in the shed and drove them in every 4 feet down my 16 foot row of tomato plants.  Using jute, I wove back and forth between the plants and rebar.  As they continue to grow, I will add a new woven jute row.  I'll let you know.  I've used tomato cages in the past, but they turned into impenetrable danger zones rife with tomato spider snipers and fallen fruit.  I've crawled on hands and knees into these jungles, and went missing for several hours.  I'm hoping the long row (running north to south) will maximize the full arc of the sun while allowing adequate ventilation and possibly the ability to pick the fruit without having to carry a gun.

This bloom is so early:  the first hope of eggplant.  Isn't she beautiful?

Speaking of beautiful, Nora came outside to rest while I worked a bit.  She's had the flu for a few days, and the fresh air and sun was much needed.

She slept in the hammock for an hour, the breeze and birds and shade making peace for her.

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