The Root

One gardener’s quest to get to the bottom of it all.

Organic Underdogs June 9, 2008

Heat wave: 90’s and humid. Freya and I have been hunkering down indoors near the air conditioner Nev’s folks bought us — a life saver. Without it, it would be running 95 in here. As it is, with the condo’s less-than-stellar air circulation, we’re relatively comfortable at 80 degrees.

My sweet pepper and tomates are loving it. I went to the plot across town last night. There was just enough daylight to observe that, in the Vineplot, the tomatillos are growing about an inch a day and have blossoms; the tomatoes are thriving and have yellow buds, as well. At their feet are tons of tiny sprouts, a real melee of salad greens on the up and up. Everything is just sucking the moisture from the air and greening like money.

Including, sadly, the weeds in my first plot. I haven’t had any time to attend to it in the last two weeks and so, at this point, there are more weeds than vegetables there. Really, the pea plants are gone, chawed to nubbins by my herbivorous nemesis. So! Round two is on: Under cover of darkness, I built a fence around Firstplot. Dead simple: I drove in four stakes and wrapped them with the same wonderful nylon mesh stuff that I draped over Vineplot. Will the herbivore be more resourceful than me — will he dig under, chew through? I’m not really mad about the peas anymore; I realize that this is one of many, many pest sagas that I will experience and am taking it pretty docilely. It’s a strategy game. The fence is just the most current way of saying “Touché!” But I do hope it lasts because I haven’t planned my next move.

Another pest I discovered just last night: tiny worms or grubs burrowing into my radishes. I had a real “aha!” moment there when I peered closely at the suspicious brown spots and discovered wriggly, black-nosed and -butted little things. I gave them a lot of distance and felt pretty chagrined, kind of like being told, “Oh, no, madame, that table’s reserved.” Aha! Nature. Eating. Competition. I’m not on top any more.

In fact, I get the feeling organic gardening/farming is about constantly being the underdog in nature’s vast army…

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4 Responses to “Organic Underdogs”

  1. Daphne Gould Says:

    I know how you feel. We are stuck in the air conditioning as well. I’m starting to go stir crazy since I want to be outside.

  2. concretegardening Says:

    One year we had crazy squirrels attacking everything we put in our garden. It was insane! Even hot pepper spray wouldn’t keep them away. I’d sit at the back door and yell and throw things at them.

    The heat wave is brutal, huh? We’re out in it all day due to the monster walking. UGH! My tomatoes and peppers are in heated bliss though.

  3. Kate in NJ Says:

    We have a lot of moments like that around here too.
    And I am so glad the heat has moved off us for a bit.
    Everything is wilting..especially me.

  4. cake Says:

    i love that first photo, with freya in the background.


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