Posts Tagged Garden pests
Picture this: Sicily, 1934. A young peasant girl walks in the garden… Oops! Wrong show. Don’t you love the Golden Girls? But I digress.
Picture this: It is a beautiful spring morning. Birds are everywhere. The sun rises above the mountain and soon turns spider webs in the field, below the house, into luminescent dream catchers. It is one of those spring mornings when all concerns, no matter how heavily they had weighed on your heart, seem insignificant.
From the window, I can see our first garden; a long, rectangular patch with sunflowers and corn at one end and strawberries at the other. It was a spur of the moment decision. We bought random seeds, tilled a patch, gave each variety of seed its own small territory within the garden, watered them and waited. It did not take long.
This was nearly 20 years ago. I grew up with a garden; a very well-tended and, I must say, esthetically beautiful garden. My father had taken great pains to design it so it would provide sustenance, but also very distinct beauty. I was very young then, but remember the taste of fresh string beans, straight from the garden, unwashed. Can you imagine? Unwashed, in the 1960′s, when the first defense against pest was chemicals.
20 years later, my husband at the time and I planted our first garden without so much as a gardening catalog for guidance. We were both Aries and each one of us as stubborn as two rams. On that morning, as I looked out the window at our first crop, I realized we needed to learn a trick or two.
My husband had installed a net over the strawberries, to discourage birds from stealing them. I personally did not mind sharing, but I could see his point that it was discouraging to lose our entire crop, even to beautiful winged creatures. That morning, however, I noticed something fluttering on the ground, at the base of the netting. I ran out.
A small crow had its leg tangled up in the net and was trying, in vain, to fly free. I rushed back to the house to get a small pair of very finely pointed scissors. I had no idea how I would manage to free the bird without risking having my hand shredded to pieces, but this did not matter. I could always go to the hospital; the bird did not have that luxury.
I took a moment to speak to it softly. What I actually did was to explain what I was about to do. I reasoned that it did not matter that the bird did not understand my words, just calmly stating the facts would calm us both; and it did. Soon, I was able to hold it still, allowing it to see my face the entire time so it could at least, maybe, get from my expression that I was not a predator. I managed to free it without a scratch to its legs and without it so much as attempting to poke at me. When it flew away, I sat there and cried.
I cried because our ignorance had caused an innocent creature to experience fear for its life, and I cried because of how it had trusted me in a moment of utter vulnerability.
We humans go to great lengths to protect our possessions, we even invent poisons to this end, until we realize that maybe there is a better, healthier way. It is, well, only human to want to care for our things and when those things are produce that provide sustenance, protecting them is the smart, logical and natural thing to do. What matters is the method. Had we used a proper row cover, the bird would not have been able to take our berries and would not have become tangled up in a flimsy net.
I suspect that my father, years ago, might not have used row covers in a suburban garden that was visible to neighbors. “How unsightly!” he might have thought. But that was then. Gardening is a balancing act and row covers are part of the landscape, an elegantly efficient part in fact.
Row covers protect seedlings and small, low-to-the-ground plants from intruders of all shapes and sizes, they can extend the growing season and they prevent possible intruders from getting hurt. They also save money. Install once; no need for refills!
As I think back on the view of my garden from a second floor window, years ago, I imagine how it would have looked with a few row covers. Frankly, I find the linear, rounded tunnels add perspective to the garden. And we could have planted an entire, uncovered section just for the birds.
The weekend is a good time for grazing. This is a summary of some of the delightful Blog articles I have been reading during the week. I invite you to graze through these, and also through the archives of the creative writers who have written about appetizing recipes, food preparation, gardening, canning and preserving, and many other aspects of nutrition, homesteading and living a sensible and healthy lifestyle.
We begin this week’s review with Daisy’s World and a rather appetizing tour of New York City by way of a food review that is, in itself, a delicacy. My first thought upon diving into this article titled “New York Trip Report – Part #1: Top 6 Dishes of the Week,” was that the author should submit it to a travel agency. You could have your own column in their NY City brochure, I suggested: NY’s Best Bites by Daisy. The tag line would read something like: Tourist and foodie? Discover NY City one flavor at a time.
“New York City, with every kind of restaurant imaginable, is a food lover’s paradise. It is one of my favorite cities and I’ve had the good fortune to have visited there four times in the past year and a half, including a trip last week… I made it to all of the restaurants on my list… I wanted to share with you the top 6 dishes I enjoyed this week. Why 6? Well, because I just couldn’t get the list down to 5…” [Read full article]
I read this post backward. It made the progression from dismay to acceptance even more evident. In “The Carnage Continues,” Organic Urban Farming explores the challenge of working hard to create a harvest only to have it stolen from right under your nose. Your open mind toward the masked critters who only took what in their minds is theirs, highlights the miracle of the broader picture. This, in turn, makes for a very enjoyable, appeasing article.
“I came out the other morning to find my zucchini still on the vine, but half gone and sporting bite marks… Again my money is on those blasted raccoons. They must be pretty confident and relaxed, taking their time and enjoying their meal on the spot. I am so unimpressed, but again, what do I expect? I’m living in a forest…” [Read full article]
Next, we discover a new Blog: Savoring Every Bite. The author had kindly stopped by Granny’s Parlour, so I returned the favor. What I found was a fresh, Cartesian approach to the whirlwind of the Holiday season. In “Thanksgiving Countdown,” the author humbly refers to herself as a “control freak”. This, it turns out, is not a flaw, but an ability to plan and, most of all, to inspire others to see the steps in a process rather than be overwhelmed by its magnitude. Food preparation requires that we be present to the moment. Perhaps it is the sanest of all activities.
“The Thanksgiving Dinner can be a challenge for even the best of us. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a feasting holiday. This is the dinner your guests have been waiting all year to enjoy… It’s a meal that needs to be timed to perfection… And to top that off, it seems that reviews of past years’ prize winning pies or failed attempt at biscuits are remembered, year after year… This year I’d like to share with you my Thanksgiving Countdown…” [Read full article]
Next, we return to Emerson’s Acre, where another chapter unfolds in the productive daily grind we discovered last week. This particular article being Part II, it only made sense to check in again. I especially enjoyed how the author humorously illustrates his decision to skip the trip the Home Depot. It made me realize that while creativity requires hundreds of miles of neurons, it is the shortest distance from an idea to its materialization.
Cold Frames II begins, “Sunday morning I got up and made breakfast. Sunday breakfast is best because it is then that I have enough time to devote to making a proper breakfast. Monday through Saturday I get up early for work and breakfast is usually a protein shake… Sunday I… set about to feeding my family properly. This past Sunday’s breakfast consisted of free range organic eggs, spicy pork sausage and sliced tomatoes. Once properly fueled I set about the day’s project, the much anticipated cold frames…” [Read full article]
This last article is beautifully written and clearly comes from a big heart, but one that knows to allow others their own path. In “The Plight of The Drone,” Leslie Ann Lloyd observes the unique plight of the male bee in autumn and considers what might be learned from this. Observing requires self-restraint. Perhaps this is one of the hidden lessons.
“It breaks my heart each time I find one of these guys on the floor. What these poor bees go through is a sad and sorry tale… It may be difficult to understand the efficiency of Nature’s way, for she can be coldly pragmatic, in a way that may seem heartless… You see, the male bee (called a drone) lives a privileged life until the autumn rolls around. He is fed and groomed by worker bees… of course the drone must be cared for this way. He cannot feed himself…” [Read full article]
Happy Reading… take a moment to leave a comment on each author’s page, if you like what you read and feel so inclined.