Monday, July 13, 2009
gardening is hard....ening
Well dagshnabit, a flock of pygmy grasshoppers has decimated our beet crop and our three variety of lettuces. First they got the claytonia, a very fragile lettuce, and we thought that's all they cared for. But a few days later, it was the black seeded simpson, and now they're working on the butterleaf. It's discouraging. I did re-plant beets, but the grasshoppers must lay in waiting, salivating, because they're attacking them as soon as they spring up. We were so looking forward to beets! Maybe ours wouldn't have been ready in time anyway though. I saw gigantic beets at the farmer's market last week, with greens that looked like bushes. They must've been, oh, roughly 3,000 times the size of ours.
The hopper population is of plague proportions. Don't try that sentence with numb lips. Our best defense against them seems to be keeping the garden area wet, but who wants to run the sprinkler 24 hours a day in one spot? Something seems wrong about that. The grasshoppers sometimes catch a northernly breeze, flying across the lawn in swarms, and we will lean on our hoes with weathered arms and watch the bugs with old farmer eyes and say bitterly under our breath, "Good riddance." And then we'll look down at our two remaining cabbage plants and five elephant garlics and say, "Looks like we'll be having a lot of cabbage and garlic. Or, wait. Looks like we'll be having a week's worth of cabbage and garlic."
The plague of hoppers has occured over the last couple weeks, and we're not hearing similar sentiments from other gardeners in the area. It is probably because we are surrounded by dry pasture land. Now today, we just discovered that our gate must've come open, because a deer ate our sugar snap pea plants down to 4 inch stalks of nothingness.
There is a time for admiring wildlife and a time for wanting to ring its neck.
After our first round of tomatoes sprouted but then died horrid deaths due to us purchasing "daylight" bulbs instead of "plant and aquarium" bulbs, we planted a bunch more maybe 6 weeks ago. Well, I am happy to report that those are healthy plants, ready to be transplanted into the garden. And actually, the seed success rate was such that we should have plenty of tomatoes. Should. Should. But not a lot else in the garden has gone as it "should." Our three mature tomato plants from Jese and Nikki are so far unscathed by critters. And our one zucchini plant and two winter squash plants are continuing to grow.
I also planted corn and carrots a couple of weeks ago, hoping for a late, hot summer. Yeah, I know the saying about corn, that it should be "knee high by the 4th of July." Well, ours was knee high...to a grasshopper, which, believe me, I had plenty of to measure by.