Here’s to New Beginnings and Better Boys

Last night, in the heat of my battle against leaf footed bugs and in an act of fevered desperation, I took to squishing the freeloaders between my bare fingers! Last week, I sprayed all the tomato plants with Neem Oil, and those leaf footed bugs couldn’t have cared less. So, they got another shot of it and I didn’t see any today. Fingers crossed! The good news is, those green tomatoes I rescued and brought in to the infirmary (my windowsill) have ripened beautifully. So, if tomatoes equal points in this battle, I think I’m one or two ahead.

In other news, we planted some Boston Pickling Cucumber seeds just for the heck of it and to ease our pain left by the untimely death of our Burpless cucumber plant. It really is amazing that a new plant can sprout in just a few short days. I realize we’re off season, but as long asSouth Louisianasummers last, we’ll just take what we can get. Hope for bread and butter pickles springs eternal, right?

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Man Down

Tonight I made the decision to pull the plug on the cucumber plant. If it could make a sound, it would have been wheezing. I picked the five or six viable cucumbers it had left then I yanked the thing up. I think the faint sound of “Taps” was playing in back of my head as I hauled the plant across the yard and deposited it in our unofficial composting area.

Our youngest came out and was very sad to see I was pulling up the cucumber. I shared her look of defeat. But, she perked up at the thought of planting something new in its place. We’ll start a new journey tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have leaf footed bugs to contend with on the tomatoes. I have lots of Better Boys and a couple Cherokee Purples I’m very excited to see on the vines. But, these darn bugs are gobbling them up from the inside out. In hopes of rescuing the larger tomatoes, I brought them in to ripen in the windowsill. I’ve made a list of things to try to get rid of them without damaging the plants and crossed my fingers.

Y’all don’t even want to know what’s going on with the herbs. I can’t go on…I may just cry.

Beat It Beetles

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Okay, so things are both good and bad with my precious labor of love. I am happy to say that all week we’ve had salads made from our own homegrown lettuce and cucumbers. Last night we enjoyed pizza topped with fresh green bell peppers and basil – delicious! But…most of our plants’ leaves have been eaten holy by cucumber beetles. Meanwhile, the herbs are being ravaged by a very hungry caterpillar. And, I thought I had a beautiful tomato, but you’ll see from the pictures my excitement was short-lived.

I dusted the garden leaves with some organic stuff in hopes to rid my plants of the evil invaders. Now, I know I blatantly ignored all the advice of, “you oughta put that seb’em dust on ‘em,” but I wanted to stay true to my “no nasty pesticides” mission, despite the fact that Sevin Dust has been on the market for 50 years. Whatever, I’m stubborn. I chose the organic stuff. But, I have to say, I don’t like the looks of my cucumber plant these days. I guess time will tell. We have hit that time in early summer when there’s an afternoon shower almost daily, so hopefully the cucumber plant will rebound.

The next beetle bug gets 2 tablespoons of hot sauce mixed in a 1-liter spray bottle of water. That’s almost what would happen to whatever my husband eats anyway.

 

Progress!

Well, I’m happy to report despite the battle of the bug, we are already enjoying the spoils of our garden. I have to say, lettuce you grow yourself tastes better than any you’ll ever taste (and trust me, I’ve tried all sorts of fancy greens). Today, I had to deal with the cucumber plant that is now referred to as, “Godzilla,” because it is taking over our little community in a big way. The tomato stake the garden store recommended is no longer visible (clearly she underestimated my cucumber cultivating prowess) and the satellite stakes have become mere playthings to the vine. So, I installed a grid trellis and wrangled the beast into submission, for now at least. I just hope I didn’t damage any potential pickles in the struggle…

Here are some pictures of the garden today, our first-picked produce and – praise the Lord – a tomato!

Holy Moly, What’s Eating the Garden?!

Okay, so inevitably, something else likes my pretty green leaves as much (maybe more) than I do. While I’m inside researching, they’re out there munching. Hopefully I’ll find a healthy solution soon that doesn’t mess with my mission of growing some healthy, fresh food for my family. I welcome any advice from anyone who can help me get rid of these wicked insects pronto!