The Root

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

More Meditations on Pests and Scourges June 22, 2008

You know, I just wasn’t as observant of my garden last year. Already I have noticed a host of insects — pests and otherwise — that must have been present last summer, but that I just didn’t notice or care to identify. The main reason for this: I was in no state, mentally or physically or schedually, to quietly ponder the garden. (Around this time last year, we discovered we would be having a baby, I quit my gallery job in a blind rage, I started temping full-time, and we moved across town. Listed in order from least premeditated to most.)

Thank the stars for my current, more placid pace of life and increased mindfulness. I can make more time for gardening. But there’s also something about having a baby that’s contributing to my fervor — I give a hoot about many more things, organic gardening included. I really care if it works out, almost as much as I care if Obama wins. Like I told my good friend Claudia, as we were comparing notes on child rearing and world changing, “Ack, idealism rampant! I want the world to be a better place, now!!” From trekking down to the primary polls, to consciously considering where my food comes from, to actually growing my own.

Goddamn, I’m getting preachy. So anyway. I have this weird new relationship with garden pests. I respect them a lot more, I pause to actually study them, but I’m also a lot more willing to do violence towards them. And I can’t believe how many different ones there are to scrimmage. In the past month I have pinched off dozens of flea beetles, sprayed dead a slew of whiteflies, and subjected a slug to some unpleasantries. I found myself cheering on a wolf spider that I saw skulking around one of the plots. Go, eat them. I’m currently trying to figure out whether spider mites are a bad thing and how to keep cucumber beetles under control.

About sticking it to those cuke beetles. This is an experiment that hasn’t worked yet, I think because it’s rained so much recently. But what it is is a manila envelope (I needed something yellow to draw them in) covered with a mixture of clove powder (also to draw them in) and molasses (to trap them). No luck yet, as I said, because it’s basically been rained to snot. I give this technique advance points for thrift, though.

I’m also really getting into compost teas. Didn’t give a whit about feeding my plants last year, didn’t think I needed to, thought doing nothing was the organic way, but this year I want produce. I have a batch of tea brewing on my balcony. I didn’t have the patience to wait a couple weeks for it to be ready, though, so I also made a quick batch from worm castings. The poo’s in the pantyhose in the water:

And the plants went, ahhhh. I have got to farm worms this winter. So to speak.

Comfrey tea went on the ‘matoes yesterday. They look no better or worse. Still ominous amounts of brown and yellow foliage.


One Response to “More Meditations on Pests and Scourges”

  1. merlotmudpies Says:


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