Monday, July 14, 2014

The Worlds Most Expensive Vegetables - Part 13

It's been a tough couple of weeks in the ol' garden. Tough for bugs, that is.

About three weeks back my six year old daughter, ever the inspector, brought to my attention that there were yellow and black striped bugs in the garden. I had noticed them before but figured, "What's a garden without some bugs?" That was a mistake. These were cucumber bugs and they will destroy anything on a vine: melons, cucumbers, squash, you name it. Not only do they eat the leaves but they carry a disease that makes the plant wither and die. As my garden contains a whole lotta melons, etc I soon realized that this meant war! I'm too cheap to buy the goopy stuff that attracts and then traps these vermin (not technically vermin and I probably won't be too cheap to buy the stuff next year). Although I found them on all my vining plants, they were particularly heavy on one plant. Because I had "helpers" and didn't take especially good notes when transplanting this row of plants I'm not 100% sure of which kind of plant these bugs are chowing on, though I think it was a cucumber. I was half hoping that the plant would set some fruit so I could identify and use it next year for a decoy but alas, for all my effort this plant withered and bit the bucket. That effort was night after night of going outside with a flashlight, catching these buggers often while buggering, and squashing the squash eaters between my fingers. Early on I killed about two hundred in ten minutes but near the end my efforts had paid off to where I only found about a dozen. This same inspector daughter also noticed squash bore eggs on the zucchini plant. Tessa has earned the right to eat whatever she wants from the garden!

Just when I thought my melons were safe, though, my two year old ran over one of them in a PowerWheels car. Not just ran over but literally ran the big grinding back wheel right over the mound where one variety was growing. Fortunately they recovered and I am now extra vigilant whenever said daughter takes the wheel. Who gave her a permit, anyway? This naughty daughter also picked a wee little pumpkin that was just two inches around.

In other failures, something is eating my cauliflower plants. And the first set of broccoli plants went to seed almost immediately. It turns out that I didn't give them enough food and they starved to death. Oops.

Fortunately I was in time to fertilize batch #2 and this weekend one plant provided a tasty head of organic yumminess!

Last week was very busy after work so I barely spent any time out in the garden. However on Saturday morning I noticed that one of my cherry tomato plants had lost most of it's leaves. Weird. Since I over-planted cherry tomatoes I didn't think much about it until later in the day when I saw a big green thing moving on the wire cage. Scroll down if you're squeamish.
Yeah, it was this big yucky beast! After looking up what it was and learning that I needed to do a better job weeding around these plants I went back out and started some weeding. The sure was a lot of odd caterpillar poop around this particular plant. An awful lot. Too much and... WAAAAAAAH! THERE'S ANOTHER ONE RIGHT IN MY FACE!!!! AND ANOTHER! AND ANOTHER!!! Eventually all five of these massive nasty squishy horrible beasts were trapped in a jar where I intend to let them die a slow horrible death of either starvation or being cooked by the sun. Am I mean? Perhaps. But to show that I'm not all wretched, I captured a five legged grasshopper on a butternut squash plant and relocated him to the creek, a few hundred yards away.

Now on to the successes! We harvested a pound of delicious green beans as well as thinned out some yellow and white carrots. As of right now we have approximately two hundred and twenty green bean plants, planted over the course of two months. I hope we're buried in produce!

The Italian squash plant is starting to produce cute, keen and stripey squash, as is the zucchini but that's not a surprise to anyone. If the world ever gets destroyed by a nuke all that will be left will be cockroaches and zucchini.

Also stripey is this surprising find, a white watermelon known as Fred, or Cream of Saskatchewan. It's about four inches across already, even with our colder than normal weather, and it's got a twin and four small siblings! If this plant is able to churn out watermelons up here in Northern Indiana then I'll be one happy man!

In the "Free" department, I went poaching along the creek and brought back black raspberries. What is shown is about a fifth of what I ultimately picked. I also returned with this specimen for a bug-loving child:

So now it starts to be payback time. I spent $500 putting the garden in and have so far harvested:
1# green beans - $1
1 pint red rasp - $2.50
small strawberries - $1
5 organic beets - $3
Lettuce - 7 salads - & chives & parsley- $4
4 parisian carrots - 50 cents
mound of basil - $2
1 head broccoli - $1
Sugar Snap Peas - $3
=$18, meaning that my overall balance sheet is only $482 in the red!

No comments: