Friday, May 18, 2012

Slugs Slugs Slugs

Slugs. They never used to bother me before. They also never used to eat my plants down to nothing in  a matter of days either. I knew we would have a bug problem this year, but my goodness!! Do slugs even count as bugs? This morning, just on opening the back door, I counted no less than twenty of the slimey little beasts just on the plastic deck chairs. For the past couple of days, while we researched what to do about them, Andrew and I have spent each morning and evening (I get a.m. he gets p.m., which seems to me like I got the worst end of the deal there) combing the garden picking them off the plants. They are particularly fond of the pepper plants. From the reading Andrew did this is what we've come up with: A circle of sand around the plants, supposedly they won't crawl over the sand...cornmeal...supposedly they will eat it and their stomachs will explode....and beer...supposedly they will drown themselves in booze....we'll see what works. At least this year, we are not alone in our misery. Chicken neighbor has them bad too. He doesn't treat his yard either.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adding Corn

So Andrew has decided to take the summer off from school. (He is currently working on an engineering degree with concentration in solar energy). He went last summer and it was really hard on him, and since we have a lot to do this summer it made sense to take a break. The past couple of weekends were spent planting and mulching and fencing the beds. The fencing is a big hassle because our dog  really likes to dig in the gardens when we add fresh compost, and so we have to keep her out. The game is to come up with something different every year without spending a ton of money, because she always ends up figuring out how to get over/under/around by the end of the summer. Last weekend Andrew said, "how about corn?" I love fresh corn on the cob so I was agreeable to the idea. Apparently he meant right then, because within the hour he had me outside figuring out where to put the new bed, how big it needed to be, and researching different corn varieties to figure out what to plant. Before the night ended he had dug the bed and added compost. The next day corn was bought and planted. So, we have added corn, and assuming all seeds germinate (though by the squirrel party I witnessed out there yesterday we may be missing a few) and  all plants are healthy, we should end up with nearly a hundred ears of corn. Every year we add more and more to our garden. When I first started gardening, I was doing it all on my own, but now Andrew is as much a part of it as me, which has been great. Between the greenhouse and new corn bed, our garden space now takes up half of our yard. But that's just fine...less to mow!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bad Year for Bugs

I foresee an epic battle with the insects this year. Our winter was extremely warm...I don't think it dropped below forty more than a couple of times, and it is already, before summer is even here, getting into the 90's. Not to mention that we have had a huge drop in the bat population, which are crucial to help controlling the insects that are already taking over. All over the city they have hung bat houses up in the trees for the bats, hopefully to help their population re-growth. The ticks have been insane. Everyday now before coming back in the house we have to check each other and the dogs, because they are crawling everywhere. And the gnats! I think I must eat a hundred a day just sitting on the back porch. Just opening your mouth to talk you can't help but swallow them! Of course we have wasps...we always have a problem with them making nests right at our front door...but I don't mind a few because the help control garden pests. Since we don't treat our yard (most of our neighbors do) with chemicals, we are researching some natural things we can do to help alleviate the problem. I know we are not going to wipe them out completely, but we have never seen such an invasion as this! Strangely, though, for the second year in a row we haven't seen ladybugs. Used to be they would be everywhere! Always crawling in the windows and if you sat still long enough outside one or two would be crawling on you. I don't mind bugs..(although I really could do without the huge black widow that was in the garden shed with a big egg sack)..they have a job to do that is important in the overall balance of things...but this is a little bit ridiculous.