Thursday, June 28, 2007

pests and troubles

This is the post where I show you the dirty underside of my garden! You just might want to skip this 'cause it can get pretty ugly, particularly if your tastes go to the neat and trim style of gardening!

I'm an inconsistent gardener at best. I can be obsessive about every microscopic seedling one day, then too exhausted to think about it for days on end. During those days, the weeds march inexorably on in their bid to take over the garden and the tender seedlings of my 'intendeds' start to shrivel up, suffering terribly of neglect! When I get back into the garden, I swoon with guilt for a second or two. Then I get inspired to abuse my little 'intendeds' even further by yanking them up after I've decided they look better somewhere else. They get plopped into their new home, drenched with water my amazement, nearly every time, my garden continues to surprise me with the determination of even my tender and abused 'intendeds' to grow and bloom!

I think that is part of the blessing that a garden is for me. In observing the beauty that results inspite of my bumbling interference, I realize that life is irrepressible! Life will come up for more again and again, inspite of everything that seems to be against it. Life is exuberant and abundant and gorgeous.

Oh, this is terrible! Is this evidence of Japanese beetles munching on my Apothecary rose?? And look at that! Those @#$% tawny daylilies persist, even though I thought I dug them all out of this bed beside the greenhouse!

Can you see the pig weed masquerading as basil in the middle of the row?? How did I miss that in my weeding? The root on that sucker will be as large as a Japanese radish!!

The cilantro last year seeded itself far beyond the original bed it was in, right into the path. I've already enjoyed many a meal in which the bright, musky flavor of cilantro just sang! But even I can't get to all the cilantro and in this heat, it is quickly going to seed again, as you can see. This is fine, actually. Only hitch with this is that it is now largely in the middle of what I intended to be a path through the garden and if it self-seeds here, am I going to revise the direction of the path to go round it?? I've found that lifting the seedlings of cilantro to move them to a "better" location doesn't work as easily as it might with say something like dill or fennel.

Bronze fennel generously seeded itself about, and where it's not a complete nuisance, I've just let the seedlings grow on. The fuzzy bits of the unfurling leaves did give me a start on first glance, making me think I was looking at a furry caterpillar! Of course, you see I'm not keeping up with the weeding, lamb's quarters, purslane and green foxtail grass being far too generous with their seedlings, thank-you very much!

The first little signs of fruiting on the tomatoes. I'm pretty relaxed about "pests", but I'm keeping out a very careful watch for the tomato horn worm (shud-d-d-der!!!!).

It started with just the ripening berries going missing. Now, it's not just the berries but most of the stalks as well that are being bitten right off! I should put netting over this bed. It's worth doing even this late because this is an ever-bearing variety and I could reasonably expect more berries all summer long.

Netting might keep out the critter responsible for the destruction -- unless it's a bug-like critter. I was going to say "thieving" but I think that's highly inaccurate as the critters with whom I share this world don't have any idea that I think I own the strawberries.

I have noticed earwigs are rampant in every part of the garden.

And we still have had no rain.

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Blogger Angie said...

I recognize some of those weeds from MY gardens! I liked that you showed some of the "ugly" side of gardening-the true spirit of gardening! Great post!

6:10 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

oh-oh! I was afraid that if I didn't stop them, the weeds not only had designs on taking over my garden -- they intend to take over the world!!

9:44 a.m.  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Your place looks like mine, Kati. :)

I adore those bronze fennel, and you're right about the seedlings looking like little fuzzy caterpillars. When you can even see them, that is--I regularly miss the little guys until they're at least 5 inches tall. They blend in with the fine-textured mulch I use too well!

10:24 p.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

I am often intimidated by the perfection of others' gardens. But since I need to garden for my own sanity, I decided to let it all hang out, hoping that my struggles might give permission to those who are afraid to be imperfect, to jump in and let the garden do its magic.

10:02 a.m.  
Blogger Ki said...

Cilantro is welcome anywhere in our yard. We let an errant one grow in a flower bed until it was large enough and before it bolted.

The amaranth (pigweed) is a great cooked vegetable if you pick it soon enough. But you'll need a few more plants to make a veggie side dish. Or you can throw it in with some spinach or some other kind of wilted greens. Funny though, we don't have very much lambsquarter this year. I would cook up a couple of batches a year just picking the weeds from our yard. But not so this year.

11:13 a.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

That's very interesting, Ki. I knew that the grain amaranth is related to our weed, but I didn't realize pigweed is edible. Which parts of the plant do you use, the leaves, like greens? I'm sure I have enough pigweed -- and lambsquarter -- to make several helpings. If not, I'll just wait for the next batch of weed seedlings to sprout...

9:24 a.m.  
Anonymous Tambra said...

Hi Kati,

I am a beginner gardener all the way down in sunny coastal Texas. I did most of my planting 3 months ago and everything was going so well. Then all of a sudden it seems like my whole garden is under attack by all kinds of little pesky pests! How can it happen so fast?
I completely came undone! I was running around like a mad woman collecting samples, identifying bugs, questioning the near- by nurseries! seeing in my mind's eye everything rotting before my eyes! Freaking out over every little brown spot and yellowing leaf!No time for husband, no time for friends- my garden is under attack! Or is it me? I feel like I'm under attack. Thats it. It's all ego, isn't it?
Your site helped me to see that and now I will slow down and work in acceptance. Life goes on with or without my outrage!
Thank you for bringing me back down to earth.

4:39 p.m.  

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