Thursday, June 19, 2008

trying not to loose

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This time of year the garden gets invaded. It is amazing to see how many life forms want a piece of it. It is a battle trying to raise things, and protect them from the many forces of destruction. I don't like to interfere too much...I like to let nature take her course and decide what will be-- most times. But enough is enough.

I've had to plant my corn and beans twice this year. The chipmunks have stolen the first planting...leaving me with 3 bean plants and about a dozen corn plants. The only method that works for me is to cover the seed with my clay pots until they germinate and set leaf. I check the plants and uncover them when I am out working in the garden. Once they are about 2 inches high, they no longer interest the chipmunks, and I can remove the pots.

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Most of my methods involve hand removal of a pest. The gypsy moth caterpillars are almost as big as my fingers, and I have to wear gloves to remove them- ugh. I try to erect barriers in those places that I cannot reach. They are very bad this year, mostly defoliating my largest oaks. The loss of sunlight on the leaves is costly, serious...and sad.

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The striped cucumber beetle has arrived and is busy in my potato patch. It is not so much the damage they do (chewing the leaves), my squash is infected with the bacterial virus that they spread. Hand removal works best with these also. The best time to catch them is when they are- ahem- engaged.

If I hold a small bucket of soapy water beneath them, I can shake the leaf they are on,and they fall right in. It is also a good time to check the underside of the leaves for eggs of potato beatles and eliminate the next generation.

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Is it worth all this effort? The constant vigilance... ...sometimes one gets weary of the battle...but I think of the harvest.

11 comments:

Manise said...

Pests certainly do put one through ones paces! Your first photo kind of looks like graveyard with the overturned clay pots. I cover my beans with a synthetic burlap until they germinate and sprout a pair of leaves- the birds have a field day with them. I too check under leaves for eggs to squash. I never remember which the tiny black spherical ones are- a beneficial or a pest. Do you? I usually squash them anyways just in case. Great photos even if they are of the enemies in our gardens. :-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Cyndy, it sounds like you are at war with the bugs and chipmunks. I hope you win. Sometimes the battles make us weary but as you say the harvest will be worth your vigilance.

elizabeth said...

I have seen pictures of your harvest so I can say YES, it is worth it! There's a bluejay that's been eyeing my tomato plants. They don't even have fruit yet, but he's on the watch.

Judy said...

It is worth the effort but a job I hate so I pay the kids to pick bugs! No squash bugs yet but lots of potato bugs. Before the potatoes were up they were on some of my tomatoes. Next year I don't think I will grow those varieties. Good luck in the war.

fiberjoy said...

Morning coffee has been consumed, the day's plans are mapped out with garden work foremost and what do I find here? Inspiration to look closer.

Amazing pictures!

Leslie Shelor said...

I remember planting a lovely patch of thyme and the little sparrows came and snipped it every bit off. But it used to be satisfying to feed all the bugs from the garden to the chickens!

Susie said...

When I was a kid my father used to send me out to the garden with an old mayonnaise jar that had an inch or so of kerosene in the bottom...it was my job to collect all the Japanese beetles from my mother's Peace rose, via the shake-drop-and drown 'em method of hand picking. I hated that job! But yes, the veggies and the ornamentals alike are worth the trouble (and the "ick factor" : eeewwwh, those gypsy moth caterpillars)!!!
By the way, did your father ever put you on Japanese beetle patrol???

Joanne said...

My professor liked your bug pictures very much. He said he appreciated the "inventory!" To answer your questions:
About the garlic--I can't even remember if it was soft or hard neck. I think one was called "German" something and hte other was "Music." I do remember they are both good keepers, which is important since there is no way we can eat all that garlic quickly!

I also love the lemon balm bath--too bad my bathtub here is too small for me to really stretch out..but no worries, I dream of future (large) bathtubs to do this in!

Oh, and the radish pods? I think we won't eat them all at once, it turns out they are pretty strong tasting. The professor thinks we should saute just a few with other veggies so we are not overwhelmed with sharp radish flavor! Thanks for your fun comment on my blog!

Q said...

I also am an organic, heirloom gardener, I do know it is worth it!
Great pictures.
Sherry

Leigh said...

I reckon this is why the old timers used to plant extra. :)

cyndy said...

...heh heh....

one to rot
one to grow
one for the farmer
one for the crow...

and the chipmunk, woodchuck, deer, racoon....slugs, beetles, cut worm and caterpillers.......etc!

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