Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm a homicidal maniac...

...Actually, I prefer to think of myself as a specialized assassin. I only have a few victims: aphids, japanese beetles and garden slugs. I haven't seen aphids in weeks, I think I got them all. Japanese beetles started to show up a week or two ago. I haven't seen a lot of them and what I have seen has pretty much ended up in my soapy water dish. I'm a big chicken and won't work without my green suede assasin gloves. Sometimes a beetle will escape while I'm fumbling around trying to get the gloves on. I must work on my rection time. I didn't mind picking japanese beetles when I was a kid but now their hairy legs creep me out! I can't abide touching slugs either! Eeewe! I have to have my gloves or a stick to pick them up with. My preferred M.O. is a jar full of cider vinager. I throw the slugs in there and they are done.
I guess I'm an organic gardener or at least organic-ish. I don't use anything stronger than above mentioned vinegar and I've convinced DH not to use herbicide in the lawn anymore, I really don't mind the dandilions- they are rather cheerful looking I think. Living in suburban hell is tough because the Chem lawn trucks are still patrolling the area with depressing frequency. When we walk the dog we have to keep our eyes peeled for the little lawn flags that alert us to the use of chemicals. My husband has noticed that the little chemical pellets get scattered out into the street so even though we avoid the lawns we're still afraid it ends up on Bodies paws which he usually ends up licking at one point or another. Washing his feet is not really an option, he doesn't like us to mess with his feet too much. We try to get them wiped off as much as possible after the walks.
I realized that I post a lot about my flower garden but not so much about the veggie garden, so here's a progress report on the vegs: It's official that some of the seeds I started this year ended in failure-namely the peppers, lettuce and marigolds. Yes, marigolds! 5 year olds can grow them in dixie cups but for whatever reason I failed miserably this year-how depressing! I bought a flat and planted them in pots for the patio but my veggie garden is woefully bare of flora. Marigolds get a bad rap, I think they're great... they look pretty, they are easy to care for and they keep bugs away. You can't ask for anymore than that! The spinach I started fizzled out and the endive bolted immediately. I'm reading a book by Sally Cummings -a Master Gardener from the Buffalo area (Great Garden Companions). From Sally's advice I'm trying to stretch the garden into the fall. Yesterday I planted radishes, parsnips, arugula, spinach (again!). I also planted white clover as a cover crop around the tomatoes to crowd out the weeds (and maple seedlings). I'll try to incorporate more of her ideas next year and see how it goes. The ideas in the book seem like really good ideas, but lets review: she's a Master Gardener, I'm not.
I find vegetable gardening to be more difficult that the flower gardening. I know a lot of people that have flower gardens (and even more that don't garden at all)-no veggie gardens. I only know one person with a veggie garden and she lives in Ithaca and I don't talk to her or see her very often. It's hard to figure out how to do stuff. I need to construct something for my peas and beans to grow on but I have no idea how to go about it. Thank God for the Internet!
It's been rainy today-everytime I go outside the heavens open up and it pours, so I've been looking at stuff on the computer. I found the Seed Savers Exchange and Diane's flower seeds- both sites are dedicated to saving and perpetuating heirloom seeds. I try to use heirlooms as much as possible in the veggie garden. I think they are much more interesting than hybrids-those 2 sites have CRAZY stuff-I can't wait to try some new things next year! Brandywine tomatoes are divine, I had some Green Zebra's last year that were out of this world.
A note about the picture above- all of my tomatoes (I started from seed) got rearranged and mixed up when DH was helping me out getting them hardened off while I was travelling for work in the spring. I have no idea what is what in the garden and I also planted up 4 tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets for my mom and niece and nephew but I have no idea if they are the cherry tomatoes (Jellybean and Peacevine) that I had intended or some monsterous Brandywines and Super Sioux! Whoops! Need to come up with a better plan next year!


Mother Nature said...

"green suede assasin gloves"
I could use some of those around here. The Japanese beetles are fierce. Hubby goes on a JB hunt every day. He decapitates them and tosses them to the goldfish.

I likE plants! said...

Great post! I'm in the middle of an ant war right now [in the house not on my plants]. Like you, I'm organic so I only use a mild soap spray, so it's really a battle. I wish everyone would go organic. Don't you? My problem is that in my community everyone sprays but me. Who knows how much of that creeps over to my side!!!