So here we are in autumn, a beautiful time of year. I’m so happy to see we are really getting a good one this year, the leaves had time to change and create the painted landscape when in previous years they were somehow torn from the trees overnight from a bad storm. There was no time to enjoy them. What comes with the changing season is also the end of the garden. Today I pulled up the remaining plants with the exception of some radishes, beets, and swiss chard that are still hanging in there. I learned some big lessons this year. I branched out and tried growing broccoli. Although it thrived, I realize I can really be a bad gardener. I could not bring myself to eat it as I found some well hidden, broccoli-stalk colored caterpillars hiding between florets. They were so well camouflaged that even after two sets of eyes and hands prodding the head of broccoli, they still remained mostly elusive. Even after the weather became cold and I believed they would have changed to whatever it was they were to change into, I cut some side stalks, inspected and saw none. Then as I chopped up the head to steam, a caterpillar began climbing up the side of the bowl. Gross. I felt so wasteful and for most tossed in the back of the yard for some little creature who needed some extra winter padding. Then I came upon an excellent post that proved I was not alone and explained one method to draw out the creepy crawlies was soaking in vinegar. My main lesson this year is I can handle flies, bees, ants, even beetles (unless they kill my plans), but I cannot handle any strange, alien-looking soft-bodied crawlies like caterpillars, slugs, earwigs, or anything else whose body shape is just not normal. So I need to either toughen up or hit the farmers market for those crops the weird creatures prefer.
Leaf it Alone May 27, 2012
The one thing I love about gardening is watching a plant grow from a seed to a beautiful, productive plant. What is it that tells us that plant is healthy? Its leaves. The leaves tell you if the plant is sick, thirsty, hot, or infested. So when there are beautiful leaves, you know your plant is doing well. My best advice? Let nature do its thing. The more I’ve fussed over my garden the less productive it became. Since then I’ve held myself back from “babying” the plants and it rewards me with a healthy, thriving garden. I had a rough start this year and lost a lot of my seedlings but after checking on the garden today, I’m really happy with the way my plants are after a sketchy start. Note the use of “checking on” rather than active gardening. Nature knows what it’s doing.